What is the precise definition of Hinduism?

Hinduism is the world’s most ancient religion with its roots and traditions dating back to more than 10,000 years with different incarnations of Lord Vishnu in various forms.

Hinduism has over 1.1 billion adherents worldwide which is around 15of world’s total population.

Excerpts as sample page from my book: ‘Want to God: For Young and Old

In the beginning there was just one Aryan race of Sanatana Dharma although many different sects and faiths appeared with the passage of time over many generations. Christianity was declared 2000 years ago to denote the beginning of the Christian era; and Islam came into existence about 1400 years ago.

Around 90 percent of the world’s Hindus live in India. –Hindu religion follows multiple demi-gods and it is difficult to trace its founder, origins and history. —

Hinduism is known as the ‘Sanatana Dharma’ or the most ancient religion, with its roots originating from the ancient beginning of mankind.

Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma permits the worship of ‘One God’ in many forms as different deities and gods or goddesses, as per the individual’s belief as a polytheistic religion. Hinduism permits its adherents to follow their faith and beliefs in any form whether ‘seen’ as in photos of gods or idols; or ‘unseen,’ as one Spirit of God.—

Hinduism is unique in the sense that it is not a single religion but a combination of many traditions and scriptures from the ancient history of civilization.

In Hinduism the basis of belief is still ‘One God’ as ‘the creator of the entire universe’ with appearances of different incarnations of God in different Yugas and time-periods.

Hinduism has been wrongly misunderstood to propagate the concept of idol worship only, but the fact is that Hinduism permits both the ‘seen’ as well as the ‘unseen’ aspects of God.

Hindu deities:

Hindus worship many gods and goddesses in addition to ‘Brahman,’ who is perceived as the absolute spirit of God which pervades the entire universe and the cosmos. The word ‘Brahman’ is the name used in Hindu scriptures for the chanting of the syllable ‘AUM’ which is symbolic of the ‘One Spirit of God’ which permeates everything.

Lord Vishnu

Few of the most prominent Hindu deities are: Brahma as the god of creation of all living beings; Vishnu as the God who preserves and protects the entire universe and all living beings; Shiva as the God who destroys in order to recreate new beings; Devi as the goddess who fights to restore dharma; Krishna as the God of compassion, tenderness and love; Lakshmi as the goddess of wealth and purity; and Saraswati as the goddess of learning.

Bhagavad Gita comprising of just 700 verses in 18 Chapters is the essence of all the Vedas, and is considered as the most sacred book of the Hindus. Gita clearly explains the concept of both the monotheistic and polytheistic worship as per the faith of the individual.–

Bhagavad Gita was declared to the humanity by God-incarnate Sri Krishna who manifested as the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, more than 5000 years ago.

The holy book of Bhagavad Gita clearly states that God can be realized both in unseen (unmanifest) and seen (manifest) forms.

Arjuna says to Lord Sri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita:

I see You with a crown, mace and discus (form of Lord Vishnu); a mass of radiance blazing all around, dazzling like a flaming fire, and like the Sun of immeasurable intensity and very hard to look at.

(Book: Want to Know God: For Young and Old)

The Sanskrit word avatar literally means “descent.” It refers to the descent of divinity from the heaven to earth in the human form which is called as an incarnation of God, to deliver the message of God.

Lord Vishnu, the Hindu God of preservation of the universe is said to descend in the human form of an avatar to restore the cosmic order, whenever there is degradation of human race and rise of evil forces. –

Lord Vishnu is depicted with a blue complexion. This signifies his all-pervasive nature. In his four hands Lord Vishnu carries Shankh (Conch), Chakra (discuss), Gadha (mace) and Padma (Lotus flower). The most famous posture of Lord Vishnu is reclining on the snake ‘Adisesha,’ in the ocean.

Ajay Gupta

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