Portal:Hinduism

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Introduction

Hinduism (/ˈhɪnduɪzəm/) is an Indian religion or dharma, a religious and universal order to which Hindus abide. It is the world's third-largest religion, with over 1.2 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global population, known as Hindus. The word Hindu is an exonym, and while Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, many practitioners refer to their religion as Sanātana Dharma (Sanskrit: सनातन धर्म, lit.''the Eternal Dharma''), which refers to the idea that its origins lie beyond human history, as revealed in the Hindu texts. Another, less fitting, endonym is Vaidika dharma, the 'dharma related to the Vedas.'

Hinduism is a diverse system of thought marked by a range of philosophies and shared concepts, rituals, cosmological systems, pilgrimage sites, and shared textual sources that discuss theology, metaphysics, mythology, Vedic yajna, yoga, agamic rituals, and temple building, among other topics. Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include the four Puruṣārthas, the proper goals or aims of human life; namely, dharma (ethics/duties), artha (prosperity/work), kama (desires/passions) and moksha (liberation/freedom from the passions and the cycle of death and rebirth), as well as karma (action, intent and consequences) and saṃsāra (cycle of death and rebirth). Hinduism prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings (Ahiṃsā), patience, forbearance, self-restraint, virtue, and compassion, among others. Hindu practices include rituals such as puja (worship) and recitations, japa, meditation (dhyāna), family-oriented rites of passage, annual festivals, and occasional pilgrimages. Along with the practice of various yogas, some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions and engage in lifelong Sannyasa (monasticism) in order to achieve moksha. (Full article...)

Selected article

Vithoba
Vithoba is a Hindu god, worshipped predominantly in the Indian states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. While generally considered a manifestation of the Hindu god Vishnu or his avatar Krishna, he is sometimes associated with the god Shiva, the Buddha or both. Vithoba is often depicted as a dark young boy, standing arms-akimbo on a brick, sometimes accompanied by his main consort Rakhumai (Rukmini). Vithoba is the focus of the monotheistic, non-brahminical Varkari sect of Maharashtra and the Haridasa sect of Karnataka. Vithoba's main temple stands at Pandharpur in Maharashtra, close to the Karnataka border. Vithoba legends revolve around his devotee Pundalik, who is credited with bringing the deity to Pandharpur, and around Vithoba's role as a saviour to the poet-saints of the Varkari faith. The Varkari poet-saints are known for their unique genre of devotional lyric, the abhanga, dedicated to Vithoba and composed in Marathi. Other devotional literature dedicated to Vithoba includes the Kannada hymns of the Haridasa, and Marathi versions of the generic Hindu arati songs, associated with rituals of offering light to the deity. Though the origins of both his cult and his main temple remain subjects of debate, there is clear evidence that they already existed by the 13th century.

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Selected biography

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (September 1, 1896–November 14, 1977) was born Abhay Charan De, in Kolkata, West Bengal. He studied at the Scottish Church College, Calcutta, which was then administered by the British. In his later years, as a Vaishnava sadhu, he became an influential communicator of Gaudiya Vaishnava Theology to India and specifically to the West.

He took sannyasa vows in 1959 from his Godbrother Sri Bhakti Prajnana Keshava Maharaja at Mathura, following which he singlehandedly published the first three volumes of his thirty volume translation of the 18,000 verse Bhagavata Purana and the commentary on it. He then left India to fulfill his master's spiritual mission. In his possession were a suitcase, an umbrella, a supply of dry cereal, about seven dollars worth of Indian currency, and several boxes of books.

Selected quote

Mahatma Gandhi
“If I were asked to define the Hindu creed, I should simply say: Search after truth through non-violent means. A man may not believe in God and still call himself a Hindu. Hinduism is a relentless pursuit after truth... Hinduism is the religion of truth. Truth is God. Denial of God we have known. Denial of truth we have not known.”
Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948)

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