Although there is no specific date as to when Hinduism began, it sure has been there for long enough as humankind can remember. Sadly, enough Hinduism also referred to as ‘Sanatana Dharma’ has been plagued over the years by the various generations. While some people believe that ‘Sanatana Dharma’ is a religion that has specific rules to be adhered to, a considerable section of the society believes that this faith is purely just a way of life.
Over the years, so many people who claim to be scholars of this faith have preached so many different versions that Hinduism could be clearly awarded the title of one of the most misinterpreted religions. Though it is one of the most followed religions, it is misjudged by so many that even most Hindus who have been following this faith ever since birth too have got it all wrong.
Now if this sprouts a thought in your mind as to, what is Hinduism exactly, you have landed yourself on just the right article. Since getting down to the nitty-gritty of this Dharma is near to impossible, in this article, we’ll list out the nine common myths of this widely followed faith that you would be surprised to know.
1. It is called ‘Sanatana Dharma’
The term ‘Hindu’ was used by the Persians to address all those Indians who lived near the banks of Indus River. Both the terms ‘Hindu’ and ‘Hinduism’ were coined by these invaders when they passed the Hindu Kush Mountains to reach the Indus River. This faith is called, ‘Sanatana Dharma’ which means, ‘Eternal duty of God’, however not many people abroad know about this name.
Foreigners who were interested in this intriguing faith started the trend of using terms like ‘Hindus’ or ‘Hinduism’ and people in India also followed it. This is how the practice of calling this faith ‘Hinduism’ and the people who follow it being called ‘Hindus’ came into practice.
2. Hindus are off non-veg food
‘Ahimsa’, a belief that supports non-violence against living things is widely practised by Hinduism. This belief is also stretched across to the practice of eating only vegetarian food since animals are again living beings. Though this is a practice that is followed only by extremely staunch Hindus, about 30-35% of them, a considerable section doesn’t believe in it. It is a belief that is followed by all spiritual leaders and people of the olden times; however, with the growing times, this belief is nearly abolished.
3. Hinduism wasn’t popular till recent times
There are no records to date as to who has founded Hinduism and how this religion not only came into existence but also spread worldwide. Certain reliable sources claim that Hinduism started developing during 500–300 BC and turned into the religion we see in the present day and time. Unlike other religions like Christianity and Islam that were spread by the Romans and various full-fledged Muslim campaigns, Hinduism had no such medium or any sort of political connections and hence was easily one of the least organized back then.
4. The caste system is not part of Hinduism
Ever since reliable records can be traced, Indians have been divided into various castes based on their occupation. There are 4 divisions namely the Brahmins who were religious leaders and sages and the Kshatriyas who were fighters formed the upper section of the caste system. The last two castes called the Vaishyas and the Shudras were basically the farmers and labors respectively. There were also some people who did not fit into any of these categories; they were termed as ‘Dalits’ which meant that they were untouchables
Since Hinduism is believed to be integrated with India ever since mankind exists, it is a common delusion that these castes are a part of the religion.
4. Hinduism does not promote idol worship
One of the most popular myths about Hinduism is that a huge section of society believes that Hindus believe in Idol worship. The truth in-fact is far from this myth, Hinduism believes that God is in everything and hence for the sake of focus, they have turned to “Murthy puja” which enforces the fact that God is in everything. This practice is often confused as idolatry and by the westerners.
5. Hindus do not worship cows
Indians worship cow is a popular misconception that is spread so world-wide that a majority of Hindus to believe in it. However, the truth is that Hinduism does believe in treating every living thing with love and respect. A cow is seen as a selfless animal since it gives us milk and is a huge source for all dairy products which is important to human life.
6. Wearing ‘Bindis’ is not an indication of married women
In ancient times a ladies would sport a red dot (bindi) that was worn a little above between both her eyes. Earlier people believed that a bindi signifies good luck helps in losing the ego. All married women used to wear a red-colored one while the widows would sport a black one. This tradition has no changed and women wear a bindi is only worn as a style statement, since they come in different shapes, sizes, and colors.
7. Hinduism Began Around 4000 BC
Hinduism is one of the oldest faiths known to mankind; however, a lot of people all over the world believe that Hinduism and Judaism began at around the same time. Judaism was a catalyst that gave rise to Christianity and Islamic belief in the world that started around 1500 BC. Reliable sources claim that Hinduism started around 4000 BC making it one of the oldest practiced faiths in the world.
8. ‘Bhagavad Gita’ is not the lone Hindu textbook
The Bhagavad Gita is one of the oldest records of the conversation between Prince Arjuna, who was one of the five Pandavas and his charioteer Lord Krishna. It is through their conversation that a lot of teachings relevant to life are put across. The teachings are divided into two parts, ‘Stuti’ and ‘Smiti’, which means, “What Is Heard” and “What Is Remembered” respectively. This book is read by many during troubled times to help them get past the storm they are facing at the moment.
9. Hinduism does not have 330 Gods
Hinduism is believed to be a polytheistic religion since it is believed that like the faiths practiced in Greece and Rome, here too there is a different God for prosperity, wealth, etc. While this is not entirely false, the truth is that the concept of the supreme power is extremely complex and intriguing in Hinduism. Hindus believe in different representations of the same God and the faith is liberal enough to let people pray to the representation they relate to the most.
Thought the number of misconceptions this faith holds is innumerable, these are one of the 10 that top the list. Do write to us in the comment section below about the weirdest thing you have ever heard about Hinduism. We would love to hear your point of view on this subject. Also, remember to hit the like button and share it with your friends and relatives.