Every religion has its own set of misconceptions and Hinduism is not an exception. It is the oldest religion in the world, not to mention there isn’t a specific date as to when it was first formed. The name itself is a Sanskrit word and both Hindu and Hinduism were coined by the invaders as a means to refer to people that they have encountered during the time that they crossed the mountains of Hindu Kush and arrived at Indus River.
There are over a billion followers to Hinduism, followed by Islam and Christianity behind. Some people argue that Hinduism is not only just a religion as it doesn’t have a common church or creed. It is not even based on teachings from a holy book or founder.
- There are over 330 million gods
There is one supreme being that can never be understood or known. Followers of Hinduism are encouraged that they related to the Supreme Being in a way that really suits them best, just like how worshiping a lot of deities believed to be different manifestations of the Supreme Being. The 3 main deities are the creator Brahma, the preserver Vishnu and the destroyer Shiva. This is why the many people mistakenly think that Hinduism is polytheistic.
- They are idol worshipers.
Reality is that the Hindus worship as a means to remind them of God. You will never meet a Hindu that will tell you they are worshiping an idol.
- They worship cows.
The Hindus do not worship or even pray to the cows. However, they regard every creation and life as sacred. Hindus do believe that every living thing contains a soul. However, cows hold a special place in Hinduism. This is why they avoid eating beef.
- Hindus are vegetarians.
The truth is, most Hindus eat meat. Around 30 percent avoid meat. This comes from the belief of ahimsa, which is a principle referring to non-violence. All living things are the creation of the Supreme Being, thus violence against them is seen as the imbalance of the universe.
- It supports the caste system.
The caste system where Hindus are dominantly living, India, is seen as discriminatory. However, the caste discrimination is rooted in culture and not in religion.
- In Hinduism, women are subservient to it.
This is the same misconception with the caste discrimination – it is rooted in culture and not in religion.
- Women in Hinduism wearing the ‘read dots’ on foreheads are married.
Reality is, not all of them. The red dot was once the marriage symbol among Hindu women. These days, the red dot is widely decorative. They are used as fashion statements.
- Hinduism’s Bhagavad Gita is similar to the Bible.
Hinduism doesn’t have a central and authoritative book. However, they are rich in scripture with the vast collection of religious writings from ancient times.
- Karma is fatalistic.
Every individual is given the freedom to choose their life’s actions. The theory of karma is like this: every action that the person has set in motion, there will be a corresponding reaction. Know More