By: John Scalley, Eugene Han, and Zane Erickson

Overview of hinduism

The Story of Hinduism

Origin of Hinduism

Origin of Hinduism

The word Hinduism originated in the sixth century B.C. to refer to people living in what is now India. It did not have a specific founder like Buddhism. Unlike the three main universalizing religions, Hinduism existed prior to recorded history.

Main Religious beliefs

A few basic religious beliefs of Hinduism are: the existence of an enduring soul that transmigrates from one body to another at death (reincarnation); and the law of karma that determines one's destiny both in this life and the next.

Classification and Branches

Hinduism is classified as an ethnic religion.

There are two primary branches of Hinduism:
  • Shivaism, where Shiva is worshiped as the supreme deity.
  • Vaishnavaism, where Vishnu is worshiped as the supreme deity.

Geographic Distribustion

Religous Diffusion

There is no diffusion of Hinduism due to the lack of those willing to spread it, and the need to be born into Hinduism.

Holy places

Rivers and coasts are holy to Hinduism, the Ganges River in particular, because they believe it sprung from Siva’s hair. Also, they believe mountain tops are holy because their gods reside there.

Where it's Practiced today, and number of followers

  • 97% of Hindus are in India
  • 2% of Hindus are in Nepal
  • The other 1% are scatter around the world

  • 950 million people world wide , or 14% of the world are Hindu
  • 80% of India's population is Hindu
  • 90% of Nepal's population is Hindu

Map of followers

(pink is Hinduism)

Unique features

Key Figures

The main Hindu gods. Shiva; the destroyer. Vishnu; the protector and Bramha; the creator. A Sage is the equivalent of a Catholic Priest, he commonly conducts the prayers at Temple.

Holy Text

The Vedas- There are four Vedas, the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. The Vedas are the main texts of Hinduism. They also had a vast influence on Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.

The Atharva Veda- The Atharva Veda also contains material from the Rig Veda, but of interest are the numerous incarnations and metaphysical texts, which the anthology (part of the Sacred Books of the East series) collects and categorizes. The Atharva Veda was written down much later than the rest of the Vedas, about 200 B.C.; it is possible it may have been composed about 1000 B.C.

Religious Symbols

A variety of Hindu symbols are used in art, sacred objects and ritual. They usually signify Hindu concepts, the attributes of deities, or the gods or goddesses themselves. This section explains the history, meaning and use of some common Hindu symbols. A little known fact is that the Namaha (Swastika) was originally used by the Hindu people to represent peace.

Place of Worship

Temples, inside the gods are called Devas. They have granite flooring with golden statues in America but in India they tend to be very open huge temples, they are very expensive and gold is a very common element used most Temples also have gardens in them.

Impact on social and family structures

It affects the food the family eats and where they go to worship (temple) and how the family interacts and treats their elders.

Impact on cultural beliefs and expectation

  • Hindus expect marriages to last forever.
  • Love marriage is not common because most marriages are arranged.
  • Divorce is forbidden.
  • Homosexuality is not accepted in the temples in India.
  • Transsexuals are killed at birth.
  • Cows are sacred animals.

Essential Question

Why Hinduism classified as an ethnic religion even though it is the world's third largest religion?


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