Hinduism is one of the oldest religions known to humanity. Though there is no known single founder of the spiritual movement, academics agree that the religion dates back at least 5000 years. Despite how ancient and prevalent Hinduism is, there are countless people across the planet who don’t know much about the belief system. Explore these intriguing facts to learn about a religion that has more than a billion followers worldwide. 

India Is the Center of Hinduism

Despite the fact that Hinduism has existed since a time period when people still used bronze for weapons and Neanderthals still lived alongside the human race, the spiritual movement is not as widespread as some of the more recent religions. According to experts, almost the entire population of people who identify as Hindu live in India. This means roughly 900,000,000 followers of Hinduism live specifically in this one location. Nepal and Bangladesh also have large populations of Hindus, though the numbers are much smaller when compared to the population of followers in India. 

Hindus Believe the Divine Has Many Aspects

Many Westerners often label Hinduism as a polytheistic religion. While there is some truth to this claim, followers of this spiritual system usually don’t have the same view. Research suggests that a vast majority of people who identify as Hindu believe there is a single god. The many gods and goddesses presented in Hindu stories are said to simply be a variety of manifestations of the same god. While a majority of followers take this stance, it should be noted that there are still hundreds of thousands of Hindus who believe the religion is polytheistic. 

Reincarnation Is Often an Outdated Viewpoint

Reincarnation is a core element of Hinduism. However, not all followers of this religion believe in the concept. According to reports from recent years, only about a quarter of the world’s Hindu population actually believe in reincarnation. Studies suggest that the concept is not as popular with individuals who attend college and other academic institutions. Typically, people who are older or consider themselves more traditional are likely to have strict and serious beliefs about reincarnation. Interestingly, converts to Hinduism are more likely to believe in Hinduism than those born and raised into the religion. 

Secular Holidays Are Observed

Hinduism is a religion with plenty of holidays and festivals. One of the most popular of these gatherings tends to be Diwali, the “festival of lights.” However, Hindus also tend to observe certain religious holidays that are not part of their religion. In the United States, for example, it is commonplace for people of all religious backgrounds to celebrate the Christian holiday of Christmas. Like many non-Christian Americans, Hindus who observe Christmas tend to do so in a secular way. This means they focus mainly on rituals like exchanging gifts, hanging lights, and decorating trees. 

There Is Not One Book at the Center

Unlike many world religions, Hinduism does not have a singular book at the center of it. Instead, there exists a collection of ancient spiritual scriptures that most Hindus look to for guidance. Known as the Vedas, this is primarily a collection of hymns and mantras. Historians have stated that the stories collected within the Vedas were originally passed down via oral tradition for thousands of years before they were finally committed to paper. 

Interestingly, some academics believe that Hinduism might be older than most people believe. Since the texts included in the Vedas were not written down for many years, scholars argue that the religion could very well have existed in one form or another amongst the ancestors of modern India. 

Hinduism Is an Ancient System

While it is one of the oldest and largest religions known to humanity, Hinduism remains a mystery for many Westerners. By dedicating time to learning more about this ancient belief system, you can uncover a wealth of information about both modern spiritual practices and the history of the human race.

Category: Religion

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