The Hindu religion is an ocean of spiritual teachings about all aspects of life and consciousness. It’s the world’s oldest religion going back to the very dawn of history. It sees its origin in the cosmic mind itself. Yet Hinduism is also perhaps the world’s youngest religion because it emphasizes the authority of living teachers and allows for correction and evolution over time.
Hinduism is the most diverse religious tradition in the world. It could be said that there are probably more religions inside of Hinduism than outside of it. It has numerous saints, sages and yogis, both male and female, from ancient to modern times, and today still has what is probably the largest number of monks and renunciates (including a number of Westerners).
Hinduism is the world’s largest non-biblical tradition, with nearly a billion followers worldwide. It could be called the world’s largest non-organised religion as it emphasizes individual spiritual experience, the realization of the Self over any religious institution, book, dogma or saviour. It’s also the world’s largest native or pagan tradition, reflecting the ancient spiritual traditions that once existed all over the world. Like native traditions everywhere, it honours God or the sacred throughout all of nature. It has many insights in harmony with the ecological age, as it affords reverence to the Earth as a conscious and loving presence and asks us to respect our environment.
Hinduism contains the world’s oldest and largest tradition of Goddess worship – worshipping the Divine not only as father but also as mother. It recognises all the diverse forms of the Goddess and her powers of wisdom, beauty, strength, love and compassion. Perhaps most notably, Hinduism is the world’s largest pluralistic tradition, recognizing One Truth – an eternal reality of Being-Consciousness Bliss in all beings – but also many paths to realize it. Hinduism recognises theism (the belief in One Creator) but only as one portion of the human religious experiences that includes polytheism, pantheism, monism and even atheism. As the most inclusive of the world’s great religions, Hinduism has room for all these views and yet guides us through these to Self-realisation that transcends them all. Hinduism has probably the world’s largest literature of spirituality, mysticism, and yoga. It provides a complete culture including art, dance, sculpture, medicine and science, with all these subjects explained according to a science of consciousness.
Hinduism has a view of the universe in time and space that is compatible with modern science. Aspects of Hindu tradition such as Yoga, Vedanta, Ayurveda and Vedic astrology are already popular in the West. Hindu terms as guru, mantra, shakti, prana, kundalini, and chakra have entered into English language. Great gurus from Hindu tradition such as Ramana Maharishi, Yoganand, Ramkrishna, Shivananda, Aurobindo, and Vivekananda have extensive followers and much respect in the west today. Clearly examining Hinduism will geometrically expand your ideas of religion and spirituality.
Hindu Way of Life
For Hindu there are four goals in life:
1) Moksha – the release of the soul from the cycle of rebirth
2) Dharma – the code for leading one’s life
3) Artha – the pursuit of material gain by lawful and honest means
4) Karma– through pure acts, knowledge and devotion, a person can reincarnate to a higher level. The opposite achieves the contrary result