Understanding Hinduism

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

             Hinduism is the name given to the beliefs and teachings that are foundational to much South-Asian, especially Indian, culture. As a result it is as old as civilisation on the Indian subcontinent and therefore nearly impossible to tie to a specific point of origin in history. However, we see especial significance given to the Vedic period, named after the Sanskrit Scriptures that inform much of Hindu Theology, which can be traced back over 3000 years. Traces of thought and theology can be tied even further back to the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation as well. Many aspects of ‘Eastern’ theology have their origin in Hinduism; especially belief in the cyclical nature of reality and teachings about the Dharma.

             As a system of thought, Hinduism developed from certain beliefs, texts, and practices that have been shared by many people on the Indian subcontinent. While a unified system, perhaps, can be laid out; a key aspect of Hinduism, perhaps more so than any other theological tradition, is the diversity that it contains. Many different gods, sacred spaces, and texts, are honored by different groups of people.

             With the following pages we hope you will come to know and understand the basis for Hindu beliefs, teachings, and practices, and also be able to reference relevant sources of wisdom and authority. Ultimately ending up with a good grasp of common and divergent views within Hinduism and the different ways in which these beliefs and teachings shape the world we live in.

Beliefs and Teachings

Sources of Wisdom and Authority

Practices and Expressions

The Hindu Tradition Through History