Definition of Hinduism in English

Hinduism is a polytheistic religious system originating in India. Although it is made up of a great diversity of tendencies, it is based on two fundamental elements: the belief in Brahma as the supreme god and the belief in reincarnation.

Hinduism is the dominant spirituality in India, Nepal, the island of Mauritius (Africa) and the island of Bali (Indonesia), although its practice has extended to some countries of other cultures where believers constitute a religious minority.

Origin of Hinduism

The term Hinduism comes from the Hindu word , a Persian adaptation of the name of the Sindhu River. However, it was only in the nineteenth century of our era that the term was coined to encompass the set of religious practices of the Indus Valley peoples.

It is estimated that its origin dates back to the year 1750 a. of C. It comes from the Brahmanic monotheistic religion. Little by little, other gods were incorporated into the belief system such as Visnu, Indra, Shiva, Saravasti, Lakshmi, Kali, Krishna and Ganesha, among many others, from which their diversity derives.

Characteristic elements of Hinduism

For believers of this spirituality, it is very important to consider the sacred books, among which the Vedas stand out in the first place. Followed by these are the Upanishad, the Mahā Bhārata, the Rāmāyan, the Sūtras, the Brahmanicas and the Aranyakas.

Hinduism does not have a founder nor does it have an institutional structure similar to those of monotheistic religions. This, added to its polytheistic character, allows for a great diversity of orientations. Thus, Hinduism brings together many metaphysical, spiritual, philosophical currents, customs, cults and diverse rituals.

Given these characteristics, its practitioners prefer to call it “Sanatana Dharma”, which wants ‘tradition or eternal path’, rather than religion. This term is broader and more just for them, because the diversity of beliefs that are involved in Hinduism does not allow it to be identified as a unified system, but rather as a way of life.

In this last aspect, karma and dharma is fundamental . Karma refers to the consequences of all the actions that a person develops in his life (law of cause and effect). Dharma refers to the set of duties that a person must respect in his life, such as virtue, religiosity, behavior, etc.