65 Interesting Facts About Hinduism Every Indian Should Know
Hinduism is the oldest living religion in the world. Hinduism is a very complex religion and it is the only religion that gives complete freedom to its followers to pray God in any form. Two major religions of the world i.e. Christianity and Islam were born after Hinduism and today they have more followers than Hinduism. There are several interesting facts about Hinduism and very few people know about it. Even a number of people following Hinduism do not know these interesting facts about Hinduism. This article will provide you the interesting facts about Hinduism and what are the unique features of Hinduism. The facts about Hinduism mentioned in this article can be shared among friends as well as for teaching children the greatness of Hindu Religion. In case our readers know some additional facts about Hinduism which are not mentioned here, please let us know via the comment and help us to expand this article as long as possible.
Historical Facts about Hinduism
- Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world. Its origin can be dated back to 10,000 BCE. Various seals and artifacts found at Indus Valley Civilization (Harappa Civilization) prove that the practices of Harappa people were similar to that of Hinduism today. For example mediating figure that resembles Lord Shiva, a discovery of swastika, mother goddess seal and worship of Shiva lingam.
- The word “Hindu” is derived from the Sanskrit word “Sindhu” meaning River. Arabic invaders used the word Hindu for the people living on the other side of River Indus.
- “Hinduism” is not the real word for the religion. The real name of Hinduism is “Sanatana Dharma” or the “Vedic Dharma”. Sanatan Dharma means “Eternal Dharma” or “Eternal Truth”.
- “AUM” or “OM” is considered as the holy sound because it is believed that consciousness manifested itself as a form through the sound of AUM.
- The Vedas are the central book in Hinduism. Lord Brahma is credited with the composition of Vedas which were passed down from the great sages to their disciples.
- The Rig Veda (oldest of all Vedas) describes River Sarasvati as the mightiest river on the earth. It proves that the Vedas were composed before 2000 BCE when Sarasvati River dried up. Vedas also mentioned India as “Sapt Sindhu” meaning “the land of seven rivers”.
- The Mahabharata is the longest epic poem in the world and it is also described as “the longest poem ever written“. The longest version Mahabharata consists of over 100,000 shlokas or 200,000 individual verse lines. About 1.8 million words in total the Mahabharata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined.
- Unlike all the other major religions in the world, Hinduism does not have a founder or a prophet. No one knows who founded Hinduism or exactly when it started.
- An interesting fact about Hinduism is atheists and theists exist together. Since Hinduism gives complete freedom of practice and advocates “there are many ways to reach God, the path may be different”.
- Dharma is a Sanskrit word and there is no single word translation for dharma in western literature. The Dharma includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and ‘‘right way of living’’.
- The concept of Marriage was founded in Hinduism and later it was absorbed by other religions in the world.
- Hinduism promotes organ donation. The first example of organ donation in the world can be found in Hindu Mythology. Sage Dadhichi, who happily donated his bones so that Lord Indra could use them to create a weapon Vajra to kill daemons.
- Takshila and Nalanda are the oldest universities known to mankind which flourished under Hinduism. Today both the university is on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. According to British historian Joseph Needham “When the men of Alexander the Great came to Takshila they found a university there the like of which had not been seen in Greece”. Nalanda University was destroyed by the Muslim army of Bakhtiyar Khilji.
- Hinduism is the source and inspiration of three major religions of the world i.e. Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. All these religions originated in India and they have many teaching and rituals similar to Hinduism.
- Yoga, Pranayama, Meditation, Vastu, Jyotish, Tantra, Astrology, and Grammar (Vyakaran) are the main contributions of Hinduism to the modern world.
- Varanasi is the oldest city in India and it is also considered as one of the oldest and continuously inhabited cities in the world. The city of Varanasi has many holy places. It is believed, if you die in Varanasi you will attain Moksha (liberation from the cycle of Birth and Death). Goswami Tulsi Das wrote his epic poem on Lord Rama’s life called Ram Charit Manas in Varanasi.
Facts about Hinduism in Western World
- Historian A.L Basham in his book “The Wonder That Was India” described the Gupta Period of Hinduism as “the happiest and the most civilized reign of the world“. He also mentioned in his book “A man can escape from “Law of Gravity” as well as “from the passage of Time” but not from his deeds (the concept of Karma in Hinduism).
- French historian and philosopher Voltaire said, “The Vedas were the most precious gift for which the West had ever been indebted to the East”. Rigveda manuscripts were selected for inscription in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in the year 2007.
- No other religion in the world is science-oriented as Hinduism. The Nasadiya Sukta is 129th hymn from the 10th Mandala of the Rigveda. It is concerned with cosmology and the origin of the universe and therefore also known as the “Hymn of Creation”.
- Pierre Arnold Bernard was an American yogi and businessman. He traveled to India and founded the Tantrik Order of America in 1905. Bernard is credited with being the first American to introduce the philosophy and practices of yoga and Tantra to the American people. His teachings gave many westerners their first glimpse into the practices of yoga and Tantra.
- Robert Oppenheimer an American physicist and director of the Manhattan Project learned Sanskrit in 1933 and read the Bhagavad Gita in the original form, citing it later as one of the most influential books to shape his philosophy of life. Upon witnessing the world’s first nuclear test in 1945, he later said he had thought of the quotation “Now I have become Death, the destroyer of worlds“, verse 32 from chapter 11 of the Bhagavad Gita.
- Barak Obama was the first President of the USA to celebrate Diwali in the White House. He also carries a statue of Lord Hanuman with him.
- Steve Jobs and his friend Daniel Kottke were followers of Neem Karoli Baba. Both visited India in 1974 and made a trek in search of spiritual enlightenment. Steve Jobs had also suggested Mark Zuckerberg to visiting Kainchi Dham in Uttarakhand to find inner peace and spirituality.
- Hollywood actress Julia Roberts was also influenced by Neem Karoli Baba. A picture of Neem Karoli Baba drew Roberts to Hinduism. During the shooting of his movie Eat Pray Love, Swami Daram Dev gave new names to her children. Laxmi for Hazel, Ganesh for Phinnaeus and Krishna Balram for Henry.
- George Harrison, a guitarist, and singer from the rock band “The Beatles” embraced Hinduism in his later life and tried learning Sitar. His most famous song “My Sweet Lord” was in praise of the Hindu God Krishna. According to him:
“Krishna actually was in a body as a person. What makes it complicated is, if he’s God, what’s he doing the fighting on a battlefield? It took me ages to try to figure that out. So the point is – that we’re in these bodies, which is like a kind of chariot, and we’re going through this incarnation. The horses pulling the chariot, and we have to get control over the chariot by getting control over the reins. Arjun, in the end, says, “Please Krishna, you drive the chariot” because unless we bring Christ or Krishna or Buddha or whichever of our spiritual guides. We’re going to crash our chariot and we’re going to get killed in the battlefield. That’s why we say “Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna”, asking Krishna to come and take over the chariot.”
Also Read: 25 Amazing Hindu Temples Outside India
- Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Andhra Pradesh is considered as the world’s largest religious pilgrim destination. More than 1 Lakh pilgrims visit the temple every day making it the most-visited holy place in the world surpassing Rome and Mecca.
- Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the wealthiest place of worship in the world. An estimated $22 billion worth of gold and jewels are stored in underground vaults of the temple. If the antique and cultural value were taken into account then these assets could be worth ten times the current market price.
Facts about Hinduism Related to Hindu Mythology
- Ravan (demon king of Lanka) was a devout follower of Lord Shiva. He was a great scholar, a capable ruler and a maestro of the Veena. His ten heads represent his knowledge of the six Shastras and the four Vedas.
- Parashurama (6th incarnation of Lord Vishnu) and Indrajit (Ravana’s son) are believed to be the only two humans whoever possessed the three ultimate weapons: The Brahmanda Astra, Vaishnava Astra, and Pashupatastra.
- Sage Vishvamitra is said to found the famous Gayatri Mantra. It is a verse from Rigveda (Mandala 3.62.10). Gayatri is the name of the Vedic meter in which the verse is composed.
- Mohini is the only female avatar of the God Vishnu. 4034 Vishnu is an asteroid discovered by American astronomer Eleanor F. Helin.
The Present-Day Facts about Hinduism
- Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world with more than 1 Billion followers. People following Hinduism are found in more than 150 countries around the world.
- Many scholars define Hinduism, not as a religion but as a fusion of various Indian cultures and traditions. According to the Supreme Court of India:
“Unlike other religions in the World, the Hindu religion does not claim anyone Prophet, it does not worship anyone God, and it does not believe in any one philosophic concept, it does not follow anyone act of religious rites or performances. In fact, it does not satisfy the traditional features of a religion or creed. It is a way of life and nothing more”
- Hinduism has no central organization and no single dogma. No person or institution is in charge. Hinduism derives its practices from ancient sages to today’s saints. There has been a tradition of sages and saints from thousands of years, at least for the last 10,000 years.
- In Hinduism God is called Satchitananda. The word is made of three words Sat (Eternity), Chit (Knowledge) and Ananda (Bliss). It also means the Brahman (Eternal Truth), Antaryami (God in Heart) and Bhagwan (Residing Outside).
- There are no sad or mourning festival celebrated in Hinduism.
- Hinduism believes in the Supreme God (Brahman or The Ultimate Reality). There are many God and Goddess, the spiritual world, the divinity of the soul, Dharma, Karma, Reincarnation, and God-realization.
- Many people say there are 33 Crore God and Goddess in Hinduism. This is not 33 crore but 33 Koti. Koti is a Sanskrit word which means Prakar (Types). The Rigveda also speaks of Thirty-three gods called the Tridasha (Three times ten).
Miscellaneous Facts about Hinduism
- Bangkok International Airport is also known as Suvarnabhumi Airport has a statue depicting the “Samudra Manthan” which is a very important episode in Hindu Mythology.
Also Read: What is the Greatest Thing About Being Hindu
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