The focal point of this paper is to understand the true nature of Hinduism. To ascertain the true nature of Hinduism it is important to focus on the religion, cultural and societal influences and compare them to its origins. Furthermore, the Hindu desire for liberation from earthly existence would also be explained. As a background of Hinduism as a religion it should be mentioned that it lacks a uniting belief system. In other words, Hinduism is actually many beliefs and practices labeled as a single religion.
Thus it can well be enumerated that Hinduism is more of a compilation of different conflicting school of thoughts unlike more modern traditional religions like Christianity or Islam. Hinduism can be compared to sociological or artistic theories like expressionism or surrealism or for that matter modernism or post modernism and not any religion. The basic of Hinduism is based on six parallel theories, the Shadadarshan or the ‘Six Philosophies’. These are Shyankhya, Yog, Patanjjal, Dbytabad, Adbytabad and Mimansa. (Kar, 2006) Out of these six only two believe in the existence or the need of existence of God.
Furthermore, the saints of Hinduism never referred to these philosophies as religion. Rather they called it Dharma- the way of life or how a life should be led. Dharma is basically a code of conduct for citizen more in the pattern of Capitalism or Communism. Thus in traditional sense the idea of Hinduism is more about philosophy than religion. It is the members of non Hindu origins who labeled it as a religion as it was difficult for them to classify these philosophies as way of life devoid of any religious canon.
To find the true nature of Hinduism it is more relevant t look into the sociological and cultural aspect of India. To could be mentioned in this context that the Indian subcontinent is the only region in the world where we could find almost a billion people living a life where that life is directed by cannons of philosophies and that too without any compulsions or force applied. It is here we find people devoting an entire life to a specific philosophy and maintaining a day to day peaceful existence in close vicinity with its conflicting counterpart or ever a completely different religion like Islam or Christianity.
It is this place in the entire world where we find that people are free to choose their own philosophy as practice and the government or even the society is most reluctant about this choice. (Lamb, 2004) The Hindu desire for liberation from earthly existence is found in Yog and Dbytabad, the only two segments that believe in the existence of God. However, majority of the population of Indian subcontinent believe in these two segments and their subdivisions and these two philosophies favors the reincarnation of the human soul.
These reincarnations are called the devotional phases of spiritualism where the ultimate goal is achieving the ‘Moksha’ or the singularity of existence. Though ‘Moksha’ one is able to be aligned with the ‘Paramatma’ or the ultimate entity of existence. This process takes several cycle of birth, death and rebirth till the ‘Moksha’ is achieved. (Kar, 2006) As a conclusion it can be mentioned that there are widely misunderstood conceptions about Hinduism as it is unique in the entire world only Taoism and Confucianism comes close to Hinduism as concepts.
(King, 2001) It also would be impractical to recommend a wide spread of Hinduism for a better understanding rather it could be mentioned that the basic concepts of Hinduism should be taught in universities for students to be acquainted with Hinduism and its true nature thus nullifying the regular misconceptions.
Kar, P; (2006); History of Hinduism: The Philosophical Schools; Dasgupta & Chatterjee King, H; (2001); Hinduism: Yesterday and Today; HBT & Brooks Ltd. Lamb, Davis; (2004); Cult to Culture: The Development of Civilization on the Strategic Strata; National Book Trust.