13 Most Interesting Facts About Hinduism – Sanatana Dharma

Brahma Vishnu Mahesh - Hindu Trinity

Hinduism is the world’s oldest known religion, with its roots going back to over 10,000 years. Hinduism is the foreign name given to “Sanatana Dharma,” which literally means eternal dharma.

Modern Hindu dharma includes many different sects and cultures from the Indian Subcontinent, mostly in India and Nepal. Hinduism is a very mystical and vibrant religion with no founder or absolute rules. There are many unknown facts about Hinduism that most people do not talk about.

Interesting Facts About Hinduism

Brahma Vishnu Mahesh - Hindu Trinity
Hindu Trinity – Brahma Vishnu and Maheswar. Art by Lama Thanka Painting School

1. Hinduism is not a Religion

Hinduism is not a religion but a set of hundreds of different philosophical thoughts and lifestyles. It is the only religion that can be accurately yet not fully described individually by all these terms: Hinduism is An Atheist at the same time as it is Polytheist at the same time as it is Monotheist, as well as Henotheistic.

In Hinduism, one can have a belief in one major God and also worship other subsidiary Gods. Hinduism can also be considered “monist,” i.e., believing that all the seemingly disparate elements in this universe can be reduced to one single unity.

Bhagavad Gita clearly explains the concept of monotheistic and polytheistic worship per the individual’s faith.

2. Hinduism Has No Founder

Hindu religion has no founder or origin; that’s why it is known as “Sanatana Dharma.” It was a lifestyle that flourished in the ancient Indian subcontinent thousands of years ago, later taking the form of what is known today as Hinduism.

3. Holy Books of Hinduism

Hindu Scriptures - Sanskrit Literature

Hindus have many sacred texts, but the most valuable and primary texts are Vedas, composed around 1500 BCE in the Sanskrit Language. The collection of verses and hymns contains revelations received by ancient saints and sages. Before Vedas were documented in written form, knowledge used to be transferred verbally. There are four Vedas.

Besides Vedas, Bhagavad Gita is a popularly known Holy Book of Hindus.  The Upanishads, 18 Puranas, Ramayana, and Mahabharata are also important Hindu Scriptures. The most common language for Hindu scriptures is Sanskrit- the oldest language in the world.

Bhagavad Gita was declared to humanity by Sri Krishna, who manifested as the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu more than 5000 years ago.

4. Hindus believe in reincarnation

According to Hindus, the soul is immortal but takes on the form of many bodies until they achieve enlightenment. In Hinduism, the body is only a form of container. It is like clothes. The main essence is the soul. The soul is immortal, and when a person dies, it takes another body, just like how we wear new clothes. The rebirth, however, is based on one’s karma. You can incarnate as birds, animals, humans, or other forms as per your karma.

5. 108 is the holiest number in Hinduism

In Hindu Dharma, the number 108 has held great importance. According to Various Puranas, Lord Shiva has 108 Mukhya (Main) Shiva Ganas; Lord Vishnu has 108 Divya Desams; 108 gods and demons took part in Samudra Manthan. The number 108 appears many times in ancient Hindu texts and scriptures. Some claim it must reflect a spiritual dimension of the Universe.

In the Sanskrit language, there are 54 alphabets as opposed to the 26 in English. Each has masculine and feminine, Shiva and Shakti. 54 times 2 is 108.

6. ‘AUM’ and Swastika are symbols of Hinduism.

Hindu Symbol OM or AUM

“Om” serves as the Divine itself too. It’s the sound of Brahman, of the atman, and shows the divine as a part of Om-Tat-Sat (Bhagavad Gita, 17.23). Lord Krishna says, “Of speech, I am the transcendental syllable, Om.” (Bhagavad Gita, 10.25). He adds, “I am the divine syllable Om in all the Vedas” to show how the universe rests in Him (7.08).

The swastika is one of the oldest symbols known to humans and has great value in Hindu Dharma. The Vedic Sanatana Dharma, known as Hinduism in the modern world, is based on a philosophy taught through four scriptures, known as Vedas. The swastika represents these pillars of Vedas, geometrically pointing out four different directions. Even if you rotate the symbol, the symbol does not make any geometrical or physical changes. What is this representing? The unchanging, all-directional, and everlasting nature of God. Hindus and other religions have used this symbol in religious and cultural ceremonies.

There is a Swastika saying in the Shlok:

swasti na indro vruddhastravaha svastinah pusha vishvavedaha! Swasti nastakshya arishtanemihi svastino bruhaspatirdadhatu!

This translates to:

May all mighty god of infinite glory be auspicious to us, May the all knowing Lords of the universe be of auspiciousness to us. May the powerful protection of the universe bring auspiciousness to us May the Lord of Lords. The supreme being brings fortune to us.

7. The largest gathering of people in the world

The largest gathering of people in the world

‘Khumba Mela’ is a Hindu ritual bath of cleansing the body and spirit, which occurs after a gap of every 12 years at four river-bank pilgrimage sites: the Prayag, Haridwar, Nashik, and Ujjain. Khumb Mela attracts the largest gathering of human beings in the world.

8. Buddhism, Sikhism, and Jainism

Hinduism has a huge influence and common concepts with Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, which later originated in India.

9. Hinduism doesn’t consider the pursuit of wealth as a sin

Hinduism doesn’t consider the pursuit of wealth as a sin

Hindus celebrate wealth in the form of many gods such as Lakshmi, Kubera, and Vishnu. Hinduism has a 4 level hierarchy –  Dharma (the pursuit of philosophy, religion, and doing duties to society), Artha (the pursuit of livelihood, wealth, and power), Kama (the pursuit of pleasures), and Moksha (liberation) and we progress from top to bottom. This is very close to Maslow’s hierarchy; thus, Hindus are natural capitalists.

10. Hinduism is pro-science from an early age

The concept of Zero (as a number and as a marker), the concept of Infinity, and the concept of the Decimal Number System (with a carry-forward), the Pythagoras Theorem, originated from the Vedas.

The Big Bang theory is mentioned as early as the Rig Veda, where, in Tenth Mandala –  the Cosmos and the ‘Golden Egg’ or the Sun, are born from the Cosmic Void – often called Asat (Non-being) – also meaning ‘Non-wisdom’ or Chaos.

Ayurveda was taught to Chinese, Greek, Roman, and Persian students who studied at the great Ancient Indian Universities like Takshila and Nalanda – as early as 700BCE. Yoga, Vastu, and Palmistry originated from the Hindu scriptures from the ancient past.

11. Roles and Titles of Hindu Gods

Brahma, Vyas, Indra, Saptarishis, Surya, etc., are titles in Hinduism. As per qualifications, different people assume these roles in different eras. For example, Lord Hanuman will be the next Brahma & Ashwathama will be the next Ved Vyas!

12. There are 33 types of Gods, not 330 Million

In Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, while discussing Brahman, Sage Yajnavalkya is asked how many gods are there. The number 33 comes from the number of Vedic gods explained by Yajnavalkya in Brhadaranyaka Upanishad – the eight Vasus, the eleven Rudras, the twelve Adityas, Indra, and Prajapati. (Chapter I, hymn 9, verse 2)

13. People of Vedic Times – Shrutidhars

The people of Vedic times were Shrutidhars, meaning someone who can remember anything just by hearing it once. That is how Vedic culture was transmitted & is still practiced in some parts of India.

This is what Hinduism teaches us.

‘ लोका समस्ता सुखिनो भवन्तु !!! ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः !!!  ‘

‘Loka Samastha Sukino Bhavantu. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti,

‘May all the beings in all the worlds be happy. Let there be Peace, Peace, and Peace everywhere.