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The Hinduism Portal

Aum, an all-encompassing, mystical entity, representative of the Hindu religion and philosophy.

Hinduism (Sanskrit Hindū Dharmaहिन्दू धर्म, also known as Sanātana Dharma सनातन धर्म, and Vaidika Dharma वैदिक धर्म) is a religion originating in the Indian subcontinent, based on the Vedas, and the oldest religious traditions still practiced today. The term, "Hinduism," is heterogeneous, as Hinduism consists of several schools of thought. It encompasses many religious rituals that widely vary in practice, as well as many diverse sects and philosophies. Most Hindus believe in a Supreme Cosmic Spirit, which may be understood in abstract terms as Brahm or which may be worshipped in personal forms such as Vishnu, Shiva or Shakti. The religion is classified by many different forms of theism such as monotheism, monism, pantheism, polytheism and even atheism. Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world with approximately 970 million adherents, (2006), approximately 900 million of whom are in India.

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Hindus putting lit candles on the river Ganges.
The Ganges River (called Ganga in most Indian languages), is a river in Northern India and Bangladesh. The river has a long history of reverence in India and is worshipped by Hindus as a goddess. It is often called the 'holy Ganga' or 'Ganga ma' (mother Ganga).

The total length of the river is about 2,510 km (1,557 mi). Along with another river Yamuna, it forms a large and fertile basin, known as the Gangetic plains, stretching across north India and Bangladesh, and supports one of the highest densities of human population in the world. About one in every 12 people on earth (8.5% of world population) live in its water catchment area. Due to this incredible concentration of population, pollution and the destruction of habitats are matters of serious concern.

The picture shows Hindus putting lit candles on the Ganges thus demonstrating their immense reverence for the great river.

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Rama breaking Lord Shiva's bow, from the Ramayana.
Credit: Skildring
Rama breaking Lord Shiva's bow, from the Ramayana.


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Sivaya Subramuniyaswami
Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927 - 2001), affectionately known as Gurudeva by his followers, was born in Oakland, California on January 5, 1927. He established a Hindu monastery in Kauai, Hawaii and founded the magazine Hinduism Today. The author of many books on Hinduism and metaphysics, Subramuniyaswami was one of the most prominent faces of Hinduism during the last two decades of the 20th century. He was one of Shaivism's most orthodox and revered Gurus, the founder and leader of the Saiva Siddhanta Church, world's first Hindu church. Born with the name Robert Hansen in California in 1927, as a young man of 20, in 1947, he journeyed to India and Sri Lanka in search of his guru. Two years later was initiated into sannyasa by the renowned siddha yogi and worshiper of Shiva, Jnanaguru Yogaswami of Sri Lanka.

Did you know...

  • ...that Krishna (pictured) literally means "black" or "dark one" in Sanskrit?


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Will Durant 1961
It is true that even across the Himalayan barrier India has sent to us such questionable gifts as grammar and logic, philosophy and fables, hypnotism and chess, and above all our numerals and our decimal system. But these are not the essence of her spirit; they are trifles compared to what we may learn from her in the future.
Will Durant (1885-1981) American historian.


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