Hinduism is an ancient Hindu religious tradition and Dhrit, or way of life, regarded as the ultimate path to spiritual awakening. It is the world’s fourth-most popular religion, with more than 1.2 million followers, or about 15 percent of the world’s population, considered to be Hindus. Hinduism preaches the doctrine of ‘Sadhana’, which translates literally into ‘awakening’. It emphasizes the relationship between the Hindu gods and their respective worshipers, known as ‘Shiva’, and also emphasizes the role of the practitioner in making the material and spiritual realities of the religious experience real. The term ‘Hinduism’ was first used by the British during the colonial period because they had difficulty understanding Hindu religious beliefs due to their British mindset.
The term ‘Hinduism’ today has become a commonly used term denoting any number of Indian religious traditions, including Hinduism. There are approximately forty-two important religions recognized in the Hindu pantheon, including Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, and Christianity. Hinduism believes that Lord Buddha attained enlightenment in India at the age of thirty-three and received revelation concerning the duties and obligations of human beings in the seventh heaven called the heavens of divine bliss. He then went on to teach his vast knowledge to his student, Buddha Shakyamuni, who spread these teachings to thousands of Buddhist priests and laymen. A primary constituent of Hinduism is’sadhana’, or self-transcendence, and the primary goal of the Hindu faith and practice is the attainment of dharana, or enlightenment.
One of the most interesting facts about Hinduism is that it was practiced by the Gurus, or religious leaders, as much as 500 years before Christ and one hundred and twenty years before the creation of the Christian religion. Some Hindu scholars have estimated the date of inception between five and eight thousand years ago. Another intriguing fact about Hinduism is that the word, ‘hinduism’, is derived from the Sanskrit term, ‘anant’ meaning a nobleman, and ‘tamas’ meaning ritual or discipline.