Hinduism is among the oldest faiths of the world which in itself is a complete way of life. With its roots extending way back, even before the recorded history, It is a way of life (Dharma) that has evolved from the knowledge shared by the great ancient saints and sages of India. The early phase of the Vedic tradition in India dates back somewhere between 10,000 - 7,000 BCE and in spite of the fact that it first evolved more than 5,000 years ago, Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) is still alive and prospers.
Hinduism got its inspiration from ancient Rishis who sang divine songs in the forests and on the river banks of India, many thousands of years before Moses, Buddha or Christ. The original name for the religion of the Hindus is “Sanatana Dharma" which means (Eternal law of Righteousness). Hinduism is the only religion, that is not founded in a single historic event or by a prophet. It was also been termed as called the "cradle of spirituality" and "the mother of all religions", because of its evident influence on all other major religions.
From early ages, India has been an experiment ground for religion: everything imaginable has been tried and nothing got completely rejected. India is a predominantly Hindu country since then. Spirit of Hinduism has evolved over the years trough its the ancient Hindu traditions, customs, philosophy and culture. In spite of many attempts of invasion on Hinduism by varied invaders, Hinduism has survived all announcements of its forthcoming demise.
What Makes Hinduism Unique?
- 1.) The first fundamental principle of Hindu Dharma is that "the Reality is one without a second." This reality is beyond description by human mind. The Infinite, eternal, changeless existence is the All; from that All, All comes forth; to that All, all returns," Chandogya Upanishad (vi.2.1) tells us.
- 2.) Hinduism's greatest value has been its positive ideas and those who do not belong to it are not heathen or dissenters. Hinduism does not believe in bringing a mechanical uniformity of belief and worship by a forcible elimination of all that is not in agreement with a particular creed.
- 3.) Hindus have never conquered, plundered or committed genocides on other peoples, because of the deeper values incorporated in the Sanatana Dharma are against such mindless violence and expansionism.
- 4.) Hinduism is a positive religion. There is no fear of fire and brimstone, hell or damnation to encourage the listeners to fear divine wrath and punishment.
- 5.) Hindus were the first to discover that Truth had many facets. That the Supreme can be worshipped in any form is a concept unique to Hinduism.
- 6.) Hinduism never opposed scientific enquiry. While all Semitic religions have opposed the ways of science at one time or another, Hinduism has always welcomed the scientific enquiry and it isn't afraid of knowledge. The Gyana Marga(Path of Knowledge), is considered to be one of the ways to salvation by the Hindus. This is very unlikely to other religions.
- 7.) Secularism is an extremely ancient practice in India. Back in Vedic times, Brahmins in India have long been classified as Vaidika and Laukika. Vaidika Brahmins are those that are engaged in priestly duties, while Laukika Brahmins are those that are active in the secular professions like medicine, engineering, law, teaching and others.
- 8.) According to the Bhagavad Gita, even those who worship other gods (Anyadevatah), ancestral deities, elemental powers, if they do so with faith, then their faith is justified, for the Divine accepts every form conceived by the worshipper.
- 9.) Man is not born as a sinner in Hinduism. "Each soul is potentially divine."
- 10.) Hinduism lays emphasis on direct experience rather than on authoritative power.
Words from famous personalities about Hinduism and India
- 1.) Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902): "The Vedas teach that the soul is divine, only held in the bondage of matter; perfection will be reached when this bond will burst, and the word they use for it is, therefore, Mukti - freedom, freedom from the bonds of imperfection, freedom from death and misery."
- 2.) Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950): "Hinduism.....gave itself no name, because it set itself no sectarian limits; it claimed no universal adhesion, asserted no sole infallible dogma, set up no single narrow path or gate of salvation; it was less a creed or cult than a continuously enlarging tradition of the God ward endeavor of the human spirit. An immense many-sided and many staged provision for a spiritual self-building and self-finding, it had some right to speak of itself by the only name it knew, the eternal religion, Santana Dharma...."
- 3.) Julius Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967):"Gita is the most beautiful philosophical song existing in any known tongue."
- 4.) Alain Danielou a.k.a Shiv Sharan (1907-1994)"The Hindu lives in eternity. He is profoundly aware of the relativity of space and time and of the illusory nature of the apparent world."
- 5.) Rabindranath Tagore(1861-1941):All the modern civilization have their cradles of brick and mortar, The walls leave their mark deep in the minds of men...Thus in India it was in the forests that our civilization had its birth, and it took a distinct character from this origin and environment. It was surrounded by the vast life of nature and had the closest and most constant intercourse with her varying aspects. The west seems to take pride in thinking that it is subduing Nature as if we are living in a hostile world where we have to wrest everything we want from an unwilling and alien arrangement of things. This sentiment is the product of the city wall habit and training of mind. But in India the point of view was different; it included the world with the man as one great truth. India put all her emphasis on the harmony that exists between the individual and the universal."
- 6.) T. S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot (1888-1965)"Their (Indian philosopher's) subtleties make most of the great European philosophers look like schoolboys."
- 7.)David Bohm (1917-1992):"Yes, and Atman is from the side of meaning. You would say Atman is more like the meaning. But then what is meant would be Brahman, I suppose; the identity of consciousness and cosmos....This claims that the meaning and what is meant are ultimately one, which is the phrase 'Atman equals Brahman' of classical Hindu philosophy."
- 8.) Werner Karl Heisenberg (1901-1976):"the startling parallelism between today's physics and the world-vision of eastern mysticism remarks, the increasing contribution of eastern scientists from India, China and Japan, among others, reinforces this conjunction."
- 9.) Dr. Jean LeMee :"Precious stones or durable materials - gold, silver, bronze, marble, onyx or granite - have been used by ancient people in an attempt to immortalize themselves. Not so however the ancient Vedic Aryans. They turned to what may seem the most volatile and insubstantial material of all - the spoken word ...The pyramids have been eroded by the desert wind, the marble broken by earthquakes, and the gold stolen by robbers, while the Veda is recited daily by an unbroken chain of generations, traveling like a great wave through the living substance of mind."
- 10.) William Macintosh:" "All history points to India as the mother of science and art, This country was anciently so renowned for knowledge and wisdom that the philosophers of Greece did not disdain to travel thither for their improvement."