Main Traditions and Paths

Classifying the many groups within Hinduism is a challenge more so than with other religions. In so doing, we may unconsciously promote the idea that Hinduism is a single monolithic religion. As mentioned before it is more accurately a “family of religions” with each family member autonomous but sharing distinctive family features. The fact that…

Three main features of the Supreme

These correspond to three main features of the Supreme: Brahman refers to the all-pervading aspect of God. Scripture states ‘everything is Brahman.” This sat/eternal aspect of God is realized by understanding one’s own eternal nature as atman. Paramatman or Antaryami means “the controller within” and refers to God residing within the hearts of all beings.  He is…

Basic Concepts of Hinduism

Atman  – in order to understand the Hindu world-view it is essential to grasp this first and foundational concept. Atman refers to the non-material self, which never changes. It is distinct from both the mind and the body. This real self is beyond the temporary designations we normally ascribe to ourselves, in terms of race,…

The Vedangas and The Upavedas

There are also 2 important bodies of supplementary literature, related closely to the Vedas themselves: The Vedangas which expound the sciences required to understand and apply the Vedas: Kalpa: Ritual detail Siksha: Pronounciation Vyakarana: Grammar Nirukti: Etymology Chandas: Meter Jyotisha: Astronomy/Astrology The Upavedas (usually considered Smrti) which deal with 4 traditional arts and sciences: Ayur-veda:…

Divisions of Vedas?

The Rig Veda is the most important and the oldest and it is divided into 10 books with a total of 1028 hymns in praise of various deities. It also contains the famous Gayatri mantra and the prayer called the Purusha Sukta (the story of Primal Man). The Yajur Veda is a priestly handbook for…

The Word “Hindu”

Scholars suggest that the term “Hindu” was first used around the 8th century CE, by Persian invaders to refer to the people on the far side of the River Indus. These early connotations weren’t specifically religious but more cultural, political and geographical. Only later, when outsiders (first Muslims and later Christians) tried to impose their…

What is Hinduism?

Hinduism is the oldest of all religions and yet endures today as a healthy, colorful and exuberant tradition. It has intimate links with India and Nepal, but its influence visibly extends throughout South East Asia to countries like Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Singapore, Bhutan, Indonesia-Bali etc. It has in recent times reached all…