Hinduism (/ˈhɪnduɪzəm/)[1] is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life.[a] It is the world's third-largest religion, with over 1.2 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global population, known as Hindus.[b] The word Hindu is an exonym,[c] and while Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world,[note 4] many practitioners refer to their religion as Sanātana Dharma (Sanskrit: सनातन धर्म, lit.''the Eternal Dharma''), which refers to the idea that its origins lie beyond human history, as revealed in the Hindu texts.[d] Another, though less fitting,[9] self-designation is Vaidika dharma,[e] the 'dharma related to the Vedas.'[14]

Hinduism is a diverse system of thought marked by a range of philosophies and shared concepts, rituals, cosmological systems, pilgrimage sites, and shared textual sources that discuss theology, metaphysics, mythology, Vedic yajna, yoga, agamic rituals, and temple building, among other topics.[15] Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include the four Puruṣārthas, the proper goals or aims of human life; namely, dharma (ethics/duties), artha (prosperity/work), kama (desires/passions) and moksha (liberation/freedom from the passions and the cycle of death and rebirth),[16][17] as well as karma (action, intent and consequences) and saṃsāra (cycle of death and rebirth).[18][19] Hinduism prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings (Ahiṃsā), patience, forbearance, self-restraint, virtue, and compassion, among others.[web 3][20] Hindu practices include rituals such as puja (worship) and recitations, japa, meditation (dhyāna), family-oriented rites of passage, annual festivals, and occasional pilgrimages. Along with the practice of various yogas, some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions and engage in lifelong Sannyasa (monasticism) in order to achieve moksha.[21]

Hindu texts are classified into Śruti ("heard") and Smṛti ("remembered"), the major scriptures of which are the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Purānas, the Mahābhārata, the Rāmāyana, and the Āgamas.[18][22] There are six āstika schools of Hindu philosophy, who recognise the authority of the Vedas, namely Sānkhya, Yoga, Nyāya, Vaisheshika, Mimāmsā and Vedānta.[23][24][25] While the Puranic chronology presents a genealogy of thousands of years, starting with the Vedic rishis, scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion[note 6] or synthesis[26][note 7] of Brahmanical orthopraxy[note 8] with various Indian cultures,[27][note 9] having diverse roots[28][note 10] and no specific founder.[29] This Hindu synthesis emerged after the Vedic period, between c. 500[30]–200[31] BCE and c. 300 CE,[30] in the period of the Second Urbanisation and the early classical period of Hinduism, when the Epics and the first Purānas were composed.[30][31] It flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of Buddhism in India.[32]

Currently, the four largest denominations of Hinduism are Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, and Smartism.[33][34] Sources of authority and eternal truths in the Hindu texts play an important role, but there is also a strong Hindu tradition of questioning authority in order to deepen the understanding of these truths and to further develop the tradition.[35] Hinduism is the most widely professed faith in India, Nepal and Mauritius. Significant numbers of Hindu communities are found in Southeast Asia including in Bali, Indonesia,[36] the Caribbean, North America, Europe, Oceania, Africa, and other regions.[37][38]

  1. ^ "Hinduism". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Hindu Countries 2021". World Population Review. 2021. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  3. ^ Siemens & Roodt 2009, p. 546.
  4. ^ Leaf 2014, p. 36.
  5. ^ Knott 1998, pp. 3, 5.
  6. ^ Hatcher 2015, pp. 4–5, 69–71, 150–152.
  7. ^ Bowker 2000.
  8. ^ Harvey 2001, p. xiii.
  9. ^ Smith, Brian K. (1998). "Questioning Authority: Constructions and Deconstructions of Hinduism". International Journal of Hindu Studies. 2 (3): 313–339. doi:10.1007/s11407-998-0001-9. JSTOR 20106612. S2CID 144929213.
  10. ^ Sharma & Sharma 2004, pp. 1–2.
  11. ^ Klostermaier 2014, p. 2.
  12. ^ Klostermaier 2007b, p. 7.
  13. ^ Cite error: The named reference Sharma1985a was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  14. ^ "View Dictionary". sanskritdictionary.com. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  15. ^ Michaels 2004.
  16. ^ Bilimoria 2007; see also Koller 1968.
  17. ^ Flood 1997, p. 11.
  18. ^ a b Klostermaier 2007, pp. 46–52, 76–77.
  19. ^ Brodd 2003.
  20. ^ Dharma, Samanya; Kane, P. V. History of Dharmasastra. Vol. 2. pp. 4–5. See also Widgery 1930
  21. ^ Ellinger, Herbert (1996). Hinduism. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 69–70. ISBN 978-1-56338-161-4.
  22. ^ Zaehner, R. C. (1992). Hindu Scriptures. Penguin Random House. pp. 1–7. ISBN 978-0-679-41078-2.
  23. ^ Clarke, Matthew (2011). Development and Religion: Theology and Practice. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 28. ISBN 978-0-85793-073-6. Archived from the original on 29 December 2020. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  24. ^ Holberg, Dale, ed. (2000). Students' Britannica India. Vol. 4. Encyclopædia Britannica India. p. 316. ISBN 978-0-85229-760-5.
  25. ^ Nicholson, Andrew (2013). Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History. Columbia University Press. pp. 2–5. ISBN 978-0-231-14987-7.
  26. ^ Samuel 2008, p. 193.
  27. ^ Hiltebeitel 2007, p. 12; Flood 1996, p. 16; Lockard 2007, p. 50
  28. ^ Narayanan 2009, p. 11.
  29. ^ Fowler 1997, pp. 1, 7.
  30. ^ a b c Hiltebeitel 2007, p. 12.
  31. ^ a b Larson 2009.
  32. ^ Larson 1995, pp. 109–111.
  33. ^ Tattwananda n.d.
  34. ^ Lipner 2009, pp. 377, 398.
  35. ^ Frazier, Jessica (2011). The Continuum companion to Hindu studies. London: Continuum. pp. 1–15. ISBN 978-0-8264-9966-0.
  36. ^ "Peringatan". sp2010.bps.go.id.
  37. ^ Vertovec, Steven (2013). The Hindu Diaspora: Comparative Patterns. Routledge. pp. 1–4, 7–8, 63–64, 87–88, 141–143. ISBN 978-1-136-36705-2.
  38. ^  – "Hindus". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 18 December 2012. Archived from the original on 9 February 2020. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
     – "Table: Religious Composition by Country, in Numbers (2010)". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 18 December 2012. Archived from the original on 1 February 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2015.

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