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What is Hinduism?

Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life, recognizing the divine is infinite and embraces all creation and beyond. It is the world's third-largest religion, with over 1.2 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global population, known as Hindus. Most scholars believe Hinduism started somewhere between 2300 B.C. and 1500 B.C., but many Hindus argue that their faith is timeless and has always existed. However, unlike other religions, Hinduism has no one founder but instead is a fusion of various beliefs including, the Vedas and Buddhism.

Hindus believe in the doctrines of samsara (the continuous cycle of life, death, and reincarnation) and karma (the universal law of cause and effect). One of the key thoughts of Hinduism is “atman,” or the belief in soul. This philosophy holds that living creatures have a soul, and they're all part of the supreme soul, Braham or God. Hinduism is also often considered a polytheistic faith, as the religion does not advocate the worship of one deity but includes an abundance of deities each one representing a certain aspect or worldly extension of the Supreme, Brahma because they are all manifestations of the same divine spirit. There are deities represented in the family, the community, and the region of the country. There are deities recognized in the plants, the stars, the rivers, the mountains and the planets. I’d like to highlight Ganesha, one of the deities that may be well-known to some.



Ganesha brings good luck and clears obstacles, and his name is often invoked

before important events or rituals as a blessing-

Ganesha also spelled Ganesh and referred to as Ganapati in certain chants or mantras in his name. He is the eldest son of Shiva and his wife, Parvati and the lord of all living things. He received this honor when he beat his brother, Karttikeya, in a race around the universe. Instead of bolting across the earth like his brother did, Ganesha simply circled his parents, the sources of life, to win the race. Not only did he have the wisdom to understand the position his parents held in the universe, but he also demonstrated the knowledge of an important lesson taught throughout Hinduism: that a person should give deep reverence and honor to his or her parents, for without parents, nobody can be created. There are many stories that explain why Ganesha came to have the head of an elephant but it’s Ganesha’s elephant ears that have served him well by helping him better hear the needs of his people.

There is a lot of symbolism depicted in photos and art. As a result, each deity’s form and accompanying items can be meditated on as symbols of various spiritual truths. It can also be a fun way to embody some of the spiritual principles these deities teach.

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