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Saturday, 11 July 2015

Hinduism

Hinduism is a fusion of a number of faiths, which have evolved from people who lived in the Indian subcontinent. It has been called the "oldest religion" in the world

Among the roots of Hinduism are the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age India, the Upanishads, as well as the teachings of many Hindu gurus through the ages.

Historically, the word Hindu comes from before Hinduism was thought of as a religion. This term is of Persian origin and first referred to people who lived on the other side (from a Persian point of view) of the Indus river. It was used to refer to not only ethnicity but also the Vedic religion as far back as the 15th and 16th centuries. During the British Raj, the term's use was made standard, and eventually, the religion of the Vedic Hindus was given the name 'Hinduism.'

Prominent themes common to all Hindus is belief in Dharma, reincarnation, karma, and moksha (liberation) of every soul through a variety of moral, action-based, and meditative yogas. Also understanding that the essential spark of the Divine (Atman/Brahman) is in every human and living being, allowing for many spiritual paths leading to the One Unitary Truth.

The caste system plays a big role in Hindu society,. In early Vedic periods, the Brahmins began not letting young candidates become priests if they were in a lower caste. This became more part of the culture over centuries until it became almost impossible to move up into a higher caste. Even though the Indian Constituent Assembly abolished the lowest class, the Untouchables, in 1947, caste is still much a part of in Indian culture.

The Indian constitution says that, by law, a Hindu is whoever who lives in India and is not a Muslim or a Christian.

Hinduism, with about one billion followers is the world's third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam.

The nations of India, Mauritius, and Nepal as well as the Indonesian island of Bali have more people who are Hindus than people who are not Hindus.

The Indian Hindu monk Swami Vivekananda introduced Hinduism to the US at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Chicago on September 11, 1893. He begun his address by greeting the youngest of the nations on behalf of "the most ancient order of monks in the world, the Vedic order of sannyasins, a religion which has taught the world both tolerance, of and universal acceptance".

Vivekananda in Chicago, September 1893

The BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham temple was consecrated on November 6, 2005 by Pramukh Swami Maharaj.in New Dehli. Measuring 356 ft long, 316 ft wide and 141 ft high, it was named the largest Hindu temple in the world by Guinness Book of World Records. The temple was built within the space of five years by 11,000 artisans entirely from stone without any structural steel.

Swaminarayan Akshardham in New Delhi, India Wikipedia Commons

An estimated 2 million Hindu women gathered at the Attukal Temple in Kerala, India on March 4, 2007, making it the largest gathering of women in history, overtaking the record set by the same festival in 1997.

An estimated 30 million people gathered to bathe on Mauni amavasya on February 10, 2013 during Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India. Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. It was probably the largest ever human gathering on a single day.

Pilgrims gather in 2010 at the 3rd Shahi Snan in Har ki Pauri to take the Royal Bath in the Ganges. By Coupdoeil,
The English city of Leicester holds the world’s biggest celebration of the Hindu Diwali Festival of Lights outside the Indian sub-continent. .

The most sacred color in the Hindu religion is saffron.

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