Hinduism is one of the most influential religions in the world and the oldest that goes back as far as 5,000-10,000 BC. It comes at No. 3 after Christianity and Islam in terms of followers. Regardless of which religion you practice, most of the major religions preach peace and non-violence, so does Hinduism. Here are some interesting and lesser-known facts about Hinduism. Let’s have a look.
Hinduism or what we call Hindu dharma isn’t the actual name for this religion. Its actual name is Santana Dharma, which means the Eternal way of Salvation. The word Hindu or Indu comes from the Sanskrit word Sindhu, meaning a large body of water or River. The people who lived beside the Indus valley were called Hindus by the Greeks.
Sanskrit is one of the oldest languages in the world having a history of more than 3500 years. Many linguists consider it to be the mother of many (almost all) languages, It belongs to the language family of Proto-Indo-Aryan, Proto-Indo-Iranian and Proto-Indo-Europian Languages. It is also been proven that Sanskrit is the most suitable language for computers. Pretty cool, isn’t it!
Yes, you read it right. The holy river Ganga has its bacteria called Bacteriophage. It infects and kills other harmful bacteria invading the river. That’s the reason river Ganga water doesn’t go bad if being kept for a long time. University of Roorkee’s D.S. Bhargava, an environmental engineer, stated that the Ganga is the only river in the world that decomposes organic wastes at a rate 15 to 20 times faster than any other river in the entire world.
The English word Juggernaut, which means huge or powerful, is named after the Hindu deity Lord Jagannath. Every year, a cart festival is held in Puri, a city of Odisha, named The Holy Rath Yatra. The carts used for Lord Jagannath along with his brother Lord Balavadra and sister Goddess Suvadra are huge and the devotees would crush themselves under the wheels of the carts to attain salvation. That’s where the word came from.
In Hinduism, it is believed that God is one eternal energy, who can take any form or Avatars according to the situation and in the favour of mankind and it’s also believed that a part of Brahman lives inside every single being in the universe or multiverse.
Most religions have a founder such as Prophet Muhammad for Islam, Jesus for Christianity, Buddha for Buddhism, Mahavir for Jainism and so on. Hinduism, however, has no single founder and no one knows the exact timeline for when it originated.
Hinduism believes in Ahimsa or non-violence. They don’t want to hurt any living being. That is why many, if not all, Hindus prefer a vegetarian diet as they don’t want to hurt animals.
OM or AUM is the most sacred symbol or syllable in Hinduism. It’s often chanted as a prefix of any mantra. Its also been suggested that when chanted the vibration of OM is said to be 432HZ which is the vibrational frequency of everything in this universe.
Yoga is a vital part of Hinduism. Even if you don’t know Hinduism or India still you know what yoga is. That much influence yoga has created into this world. The original meaning of yoga is ‘Union with God’ for Hindus. But in recent years it has been adopted by western society as well. Lord Shiva is said to be the lord of Yoga often mentioned as Adi Yogi or the First teacher as he is the first person to describe the secret of yoga to the Sapta Rishis or the seven saints.
Hinduism is the only religion that never invaded any country or other religion to convert them into Hindus. Hinduism has no rule or ritual for conversion. But it will not be going to restrict you if you want to practice Hinduism. You can practice it and attain salvation even being into your religion.
The Kumbh Mela, a spiritual gathering of Hinduism held on the banks of Holy river Ganga every 12 years. Millions of people gather there to bathe in the holy river. The gathering is so massive that it can be seen from space and on 10th February in 2013, more than 30 million people gathered in a single day! It has also been awarded the status as a cultural heritage by UNESCO.
The Vedas are a large body of text originated in ancient India. Composed in Sanskrit around 1700-1100 BCE making them the oldest religious scripture in the world. They had a great influence over Hinduism and Indians. There are 4 Vedas Rig Ved, Sama Ved, Yajur Ved and Atharva Ved. Vedas are also called ‘Sruti’, as knowledge of the Vedas were passed orally thousand of years ago from generation to generation.
Indians, the followers of Hinduism offered this world some great knowledge and innovations. Yoga, Astrology, Decimal system, Infinity, Pi, Meditation, Vastu, Navigation system, Shampoo allegedly have their origins in Hinduism. The Mathematics Society will always bow down to Aryabhatta as the greatest mathematician as he invented ‘Zero’. Can you Imagine number system without zero? The first man to perform plastic surgery was Sushruta back in 600 BC, often regarded as the father of surgery and medicine, he was the son of Rishi Viswamitra.
Hinduism believes in a circular concept of the timeline rather than a linear concept. According to Hinduism, time is divided into four Yugas such as Satya-Yuga, Treta-Yuga, Dwapara-Yuga and Kali Yuga. Right now we are in Kali-yuga. At the end of Kali Yuga, an apocalypse will come to destruct anything and everything for the recreation of the Universe and Multiverse.
Hanuman Chalisa is a prayer offering to Lord Hanuman written by Santh Tulsidas in the 16th century. In a verse of this prayer, it’s written as follows
“Yuga-Sahasra-yojana para Bhanu
Leeloo Tahi Madhura Phala Janu”
According to the above verse, the distance between the Sun and Earth is Yuga-Sahasra-yojana. As said by Hinduism, 1 yuga is 12000 divine years, Sahasra means one thousand and Yojana means 8 miles. Now Equating this calculation we get 12000 x 1000 x 8 = 96million miles, which is 154.4 million km approximately, much closer to the 20th-century calculation of 152 million km at Aphelion (Longest distance between the Sun and the Earth). Just WOW!
So, these were some interesting and lesser-known facts about Hinduism.