This is Q and Ans
Hinduism - Frequently
Why there are so many gods in Hinduism ?
Generally Hindus believe in one Supreme God. But there are many
gods who are praised in the religion. These gods are actually the life
supporting powers. For example Sun (Surya), Water (Varuna), and
Air (Vayu) without which the life cannot exist. In Hinduism these
elements which make the life possible are praised along with the Very Essential
God. This gives the feeling that Hindus believe in many gods. At the end God is
still but in differenr names as Vishnu, Ram or Krishna.
- 2.1. Is Hinduism polytheistic
(accepts many gods)?
Is Hinduism pantheistic
(involves worshipping nature - trees, hills, etc)?
Why do Hindus worship stones ?
Why do Hindu
Gods have fancy forms like elephant faced, monkey faced, with six faces, with
four hands, etc ?
- 2.2. Who is the founder of Hinduism
Which is the book of Hinduism ?
- 2.3. Who is a Hindu ?
Can I get converted into Hinduism ?
- 2.4. Should I know Sanskrit to be a
- 2.5.Does Hinduism consider monastic
life better ?
- 2.6.Does Hinduism consider
vegetarianism better ?
- 2.7.What does Hinduism say about
polygamy, homosexuality, etc ?
- 2.8.What is the Hindu concept
of life after death ?
What is the Hindu
concept of Heaven and Hell ?
- 2.9.Is there the concept similar to Satan
in Hinduism ?
- 2.10.Is there a concept of sin in Hinduism
- 2.11.Do all Hindu saints perform
- 2.12.Does astrology come under
- 2.13.There are many
contradictions in Hinduism. For example, Rama is hailed for monogamy, but
Krishna has many wives.
- 2.14.What is the Hindu concept of
What is the Hindu concept of destruction ?
- 2.15.What does Hinduism say about
- 2.16.What does Hinduism say about
- 2.17.What is Hinduism's stand on human
- 2.18.What is Hinduism's stand on
euthanasia (assisted suicide) ?
- 2.19.What is Hinduism's stand on
abortion and contraception ?
- 2.20.How do Hindus pray ? What is the
Hindu prayer ?
- 2.21.Do Hindus say any prayer before
eating food ?
1.1. What is Hinduism ?
When was Hinduism founded ?
The name 'Hinduism' is
of a much recent origin, coined by the Greeks and Arabians to refer to the
religion of the people living around and to the East of the river Indus. The
earliest records of this religion are in the Rig Veda, the oldest known human
literature. Some portions of the Rig Veda have been dated to before 6000 BC.
This implies that the religion was in vogue atleast a few centuries earlier than
that. Hinduism has been gaining increasing popularity due to its high
philosophy, broad outlook and non-dogmatic approach. Hinduism is different from
many other religions in that it does not have a founder and does not claim
exclusivity. It explicitly accepts all religions as valid.
1.2. How has Hinduism
survived for so long ? Is the Hinduism practised today the same as that
practiced a few millenia ago ?
Hinduism has stood
the test of time much more effectively than any other religion of the world.
This is mainly because of its clear separation of the essentials from the
non-essentials. Every religion has a few principles, which are independant of
the cultural context of the followers, and a few practices which need to vary
with time, place and cultural background. Hinduism has clearly separated these
two right since its known history. The principles are presented in texts
classified as 'Sruthis', which primarily comprise the part of the Vedas called
Upanisads. The changable texts are classified as 'Smritis', which include
various texts on etiquette, moral and ethical codes of conduct, law and justice.
The former form the universal principles and the latter form their
culture-dependant implementation. The essential principles of Hinduism are the
same as they were concieved of by the sages who lived during the Vedic period.
Even the Vedas have come down to the present day unaltered. The Vedas are being
chanted even today with the same melody and rhythm as they were chanted during
the Vedic age. The social customs and values have changed to cater to the needs
and to utilize the means of changing times and culture, without altering the
basic principles and goals.
1.3. Why is there so much
confusion about Hinduism ? I see Hinduism as a mass of conflicting ideas.
Due to the enormous time period through which Hinduism has
been practised, it has passed through a huge spectrum of cultural environments.
Due to this, the non-essential portion of Hinduism has passed through so much
changes in various places during various times. This has resulted in a situation
where even people who have born and grown in Hinduism face a lot of difficulty
in understanding Hinduism. Many see Hinduism as a huge mass of conflicting
ideas. This is mainly due to two interrelated reasons.
- Not distinguishing between the essentials and the
- Trying to apply the culture-dependant non-essential
concepts out of context.
This gives rise to a plethora of questions in the
minds of almost anyone who come in touch with Hinduism. This FAQ is an attempt
to answer a few of these questions.
1.4. What are the basic principles
of Hinduism ?
The basic principles of Hinduism are
in the Upanisads. They have been collected, organized and explained in various
other texts, but the root source are the Upanisads. Hinduism has three basic
- It is God who has become this Universe and everything
Whatever is seen, dreamed or imagined are nothing but manifestations of God.
God is beyond space, time, causation and all distinctions like gender, race,
species, living/non-living and form/formless. Since He is beyond space, He is
omnipresent. Since He is beyond time, He is eternal. S