FAQ: Other Facts
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What are the religious texts in Hinduism?
There are 4 main bodies of Hindu religious texts: sruti, smriti, itihasa, and purana. Sruti means “that which is heard”. The Vedas are the main Hindu text that fall under this category. There are 4 vedas, Rig veda, Sama veda, Yajur veda, and Atharva veda. The Upanisads are a subset of these Vedas and go deeper into some of these concepts. Smriti means “that which is remembered” which includes various codes of conduct and treatises over different periods of time which are designed to help individuals live harmoniously with each other and the environment. An example of this is the Manusmriti. Itihasa translates to “this verily happened”, or valid history events. These include Ramayana and Mahabharata, and within the Mahabharata is one of the most powerful texts, the Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita is a conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna the protagonist warrior in the Mahabharata, where the Lord explains the entire message of the Vedas to Arjuna. The Gita is the most commonly studied text because it so concisely explains this entire message in a set of 18 chapters. The Puranas are stories that are focused on various forms of God within Hinduism. These include Vishnu Purana, Shiva Purana, and Ganesha Purana.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qkpYAGZMiY [11:00]
Why is Hinduism not an officially recognized religion?
An officially recognized religion must have a single prophet, a single scripture, a definition of God and the relationship between an individual and God, as well as a set of regulations or teachings. Hinduism doesn’t have any of these in a definite sense. There is no single founder of Hinduism, but there are many key figures that have helped to shape the ideas and how they are shared with others. There is not one single scripture, but a set of Vedas (See question on Hindu scriptures). Hindus believe that God is infinite, and the infinite cannot be described in finite terms, therefore there is no effective definition of God. The relationship between one and God also varies based on how one looks at it. Hindus believe that the same Consciousness Principle that is in God is in each and everyone, this Principle as certain forms are also prayed to. There is no defined set of rules or teachings as Hindus are free to practice their religion as they wish. There is no regulation saying one should be a vegetarian or not it is just taught why one should consider it.
What does Hinduism say about other religions?
Hinduism is very religiously tolerant in its belief that all religious paths lead to the same goal. At the same time, Hindus believe that all souls, even those that happen to belong to individuals of other religions in this life, are subject to the cycle of birth and rebirth until liberation is achieved. This moksha is most readily achieved through the yogas described in Hinduism.