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Hinduism

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Last updated date: 16th Jul 2024
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When did Hinduism Begin?

Hinduism is an eminent religion of the world. Though it refers to people living in India, it is followed by many disciples of Southeast Asia as well. It is also the third-largest religion with 1.2  billion Hindu members in the world. There are many followers of Hinduism in ten countries, starting from India to Mauritius. The data for the same will be shared in this article further.


Hindu Religion’s History dates back to more than 4, 000 years. The texts included in this religion are Puranas, Ramayana, and Bhagavad Gita. The place for worship for Hindus is the temple and deities worshipped are Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu, Trimurti, Devi, etc.


Besides getting the ranking data of Hindu followers all around the world in terms of percentage, we will also learn when Hinduism started and also in detail about the Hinduism holy book. 


All You to Need to Know: Hinduism History

From the above text, we understand that the Hindu religion’s history is rich in its belief and culture. Now, let us know more about Hinduism in India.


Also, we got to know that Hinduism is a grand world religion that begin on the Indian subcontinent and is widely practised all around Southeast Asia. It is regarded as dharma, meaning a way of life that comprises various philosophies, beliefs, and rituals. 


The four largest denominations of Hinduism are as follows:

  • Vaishnavism, 

  • Shaivism, 

  • Shaktism, and 

  • Smartism


The peculiar feature of this religion is, it accepts and celebrates that truth or reality cannot be summarised and must be pursued in multiple sources. Many Hindus firmly believe that patience is the core religious virtue and perceive Hinduism to be a method of life more than a religion.


Noteworthy themes in Hindu beliefs incorporate the following four Puruṣārthas, i.e., the proper goals/aims of human life:

  • Dharma (ethics/duties), 

  • Artha (prosperity/work), 

  • Kama (desires/passions), and 

  • Moksha (freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth/salvation). 

Additionally, Hinduism is formed by the following five elements: 

  • Doctrine, 

  • Practise, 

  • Society, 

  • Story, and 

  • Devotion.


Being the oldest religion in the world, developing between 500 BCE and 300 BCE, it is currently the third-largest religion worldwide, with around 1.2 billion Hindus in various countries. The dominance of Hinduism is observed in India, Nepal, and Mauritius and has significance in the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, North America, South America, and other places worldwide.


Ranking of Hinduism Around the World

The ranking of Hinduism and its followers in the ten countries are as follows. 


Rank

Country

1

India 

2

Nepal

3

Bangladesh

4

Indonesia 

5

Pakistan

6

Sri Lanka

7

United States

8

Malaysia

9

United Kingdom

10

Mauritius

                          

1. India

Noteworthy, India has the largest Hindu population in the world at 1.2 billion. The percentage of India’s Hindu population is 79.80% of India's total population. 


Also, 95% of the world's Hindus reside in India. Besides Nepal and Mauritius, India is one of three countries where Hindu is the dominant religion. And the majority of Hindus in India are from the Shaivite and Vaishnavite denominations.


2. Nepal

Nepal has the second-highest Hindu population of 23.5 million, the Hindu population in Nepal is 81.30% of the total country's population. This religion had played a vital role in Nepal's history, as it was the only Hindu state in the world until 2008. 


Hinduism in Nepal differs from that in India in the following three ways: 

  • Hinduism and Buddhism are inseparable in local populations.

  • There are no influences of Islam, and 

  • There are no effects of Bhakti traditions.


3. Bangladesh

The third-largest population of Hindus at 14.3 million. Islam is the largest religion that contains 90 % of the total population, while Hinduism is the second-largest religious affiliation comprise about 8.7% of the population in Bangladesh. Despite having an outnumbered Hindus, Bangladesh has observed a gradual decrease in the Hindu population since 1940, where the percentage of the total population dropped to 28 %.


4. Indonesia

Indonesia has the fourth-highest Hindu community in the world with a Hindu population of 4.4 million. Indonesia is predominantly Muslim (90%), with only 1.7% of Indonesian people practicing Hinduism. However, Bali island has the largest population of Hindus living in Indonesia, with more than 83% of its Hindu population. 


5. Pakistan

Pakistan has about 3.626 million Hindus, having  Hindus as 1.85% of its total population. Hinduism is Pakistan's second-largest religion after Islam. Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism religions have been declining in Pakistan for centuries. 


Along with Hindus, Non-Muslims in Pakistan have gone through discrimination and persecution with the rise of the Muttahida Majilis-i-Amal (MMA), an alliance of Islamist political parties that have opted for a particular anti-Hindu stance. 


6. Sri Lanka

Hinduism is the oldest and the sixth-largest Hindu population in Sri Lanka at 2.671 million, comprising about 12.60% of its people. Sri Lankan Hindus are almost completely Tamils, the oldest ethnic group in Sri Lanka, with some immigrants from India and Pakistan making up the rest of the Hindu population. Most Sri Lankan Hindus follow the principle of Saiva Siddhanta while some follow Shaktism.


Hinduism is the oldest and the sixth-largest Hindu populace in Sri Lanka at 2.671 million, comprising approximately 12.60% of its people. Sri Lankan Hindus are almost exclusively Tamils, the oldest ethnic group in Sri Lanka, with a few immigrants from India and Pakistan making up the relaxation of the Hindu population. Most Sri Lankan Hindus comply with the teaching of Saiva Siddhanta while a few comply with Shaktism.


7. United States

The United States has the seventh-largest population of Hindus of around 2.23 million, comprising 0.70% of its total population. Most American Hindus are immigrants, along with the children of immigrants and about 10% are converted. Hindu-Americans preserve the very best academic attainment level amongst all religious groups in the U.S. Hindu concepts, including karma, veganism, reincarnation, meditation, yoga, and Ayurveda, have come to be famous in the U.S. mainstream, believed, and practised by non-Hindus. 


Hinduism additionally has the highest retention rate for any faith in the U.S., with 80% of adults who stated they were raised as Hindus continuing to stick to Hinduism.


8. Malaysia

Malaysia has approximately 1.949 million Hindus, approximately 6.3% of the country's overall population. Hinduism is the fourth-largest religion in Malaysia. Hinduism spread in Malaysia when Indians began settling in the course of the historical and medieval eras, most of which still stay in peninsular Malaysia. As in a few other countries with large Islam populations, Malaysian Hindus face institutionalized discrimination because of discriminatory laws that blatantly prefer Muslims. The Malaysian authorities have destroyed masses of Hindu temples, and religious violence in opposition to Hindus is common.


9. United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has the ninth-largest Hindu population of 832,000. This is 1.70% of the U.K.'s overall populace. Hinduism was present in the United Kingdom as early as the 19th century while the British Empire had control over India. 


Most of India's Hindu migration to the U.K. happened after World War II and came in massive waves during 4 main durations afterward. According to the Office of National Statistics of the United Kingdom, British Hindus have the highest economic activity of all ethnic minorities in the U.K., where Hindu men are more presumably than the general population to be entrepreneurs.


10 Mauritius

Mauritius has a Hindu populace of about 600,423, comprising approximately 48.50% of the overall populace. Mauritius is one of the only 3 nations and India and Nepal, in which Hindus are the majority religious group. The Mauritius charter disregards discrimination relied on religion, safeguards all religions, inclusive of Hinduism, from the discrimination and persecution seen in different countries.


India, unsurprisingly, has the most important Hindu population in the world of 1.053 billion. This comprises 79.80% of India's overall population. Nepal has the second-highest Hindu population of around 23.5 million, which is 81.30% of the overall country's population.


Did You Know?

  • Hinduism has a specific symbol that represents good luck and good fortune.

You can see the image of the symbol below:          

  • A few years after Indonesia gained independence from the Dutch, the Indonesian Ministry of Religion came under Islamists' rule, who defined religion as monotheistic.

After this, Indonesia refused rights of citizenship to individuals who did not belong to a monotheistic religion; therefore, the Balinese Hindus accepted Hinduism to be monotheistic. Balinese Hinduism is a unique type of Hindu worship that incorporates local animism, ancestor worship (Pitru Paksha), and reverence for Buddhist saints (called Bodhisattva).

  • Hindus value numerous pure writings as opposed to one holy book.

  • The primary sacred texts, known as the Vedas, were written around 1500 B.C. This bunch of verses and hymns comprising revelations received by ancient saints and sages was written in Sanskrit.

  • The Vedas are made up of the following:

    • The Rig Veda

    • The Samaveda

    • Yajurveda

    • Atharvaveda

  • Hindus believe that the Vedas exceed all time that is endless.

  • The most significant Hinduism holy books are Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, 18 Puranas, Ramayana, and Mahabharata.

  • Hinduism was promoted as the Gupta empire religion but Gupta Dynasty supported Buddhist and Jain cultures as well. Gupta Buddhist art was spread across East and Southeast Asia as trade between regions increased.

  • The rise of the Taliban in Pakistan has raised the anti-Hindu attitude and increased the oppression of Hindus and all non-Muslims. So, the religious discrimination and persecution in Pakistan have led all the Hindus to shift to India for safety.


Conclusion

Thus, in this article we have covered basic information about Hinduism. It is such a vast religion that can't be summoned up in a few words. Since ancient times, it has been part of people's life and society.


On the other hand we can say that India has the largest Hindu population in the world of around 1.1 billion. It comprises 79.80% of India's overall population. 


However, Nepal has the 2nd highest Hindu population of 23.5 million, which is 81.30% of the overall country's population. The greatest religion that brings peace and prosperity and individuals’  life. This attracts huge masses of people around the world, who visit our country to learn Hinduism history to understand the significance of Hinduism in India and the world.

FAQs on Hinduism

1. State the difference between Hinduism and Buddhism.

Hinduism and Buddhism are similar. Buddhism emanated from Hinduism, and both religions believe in reincarnation, karma and believe that a life of devotion and honour is a path to enlightenment.


However, both religions have a key difference: Buddhism does not consider the caste system of Hinduism, free from all the rituals, the priesthood, and the gods that are integral to the Hindu faith.

2. Describe Medieval Hindu history.

During the medieval period between 500 and 1500 A.D., poet-saints recorded their spiritual beliefs about Hinduism. However, when Muslim Arabs attacked the Indian subcontinent and imposed Islamic rules all across India.


The reign of Islamic rule was from 1200 to 1757 A.D., where Muslim empires restricted Hindus from worshipping their deities and demolished their temples.

3. What impact did Hinduism have on history?

Hinduism is said to be the oldest religion in the world with origin in the Indus Valley Civilization. This religion played a major role in the development of the early men and in the formation of society. The development of the Varna system as well as later the caste system became major parts of the society through this. It also acted as a unifying force between the people. From this religion, some important personalities came forward to share their own opinions which led to the birth of other religions such as Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Where some of the social evils also emerged in the name of the religion, various social reformers also contributed to society to enlighten the world about what true Hinduism is.