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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Hindooism \Hin"doo*ism\, Hinduism \Hin"du*ism\, n. The religious doctrines and rites of the Hindus; Brahmanism.


Hinduism \Hinduism\ n.

  1. the dominant religion of India; characterized by a caste system anud belief in reincarnation.

    Syn: Hindooism.

  2. a complex of beliefs and values and customs including worship of many gods, especially the Trimurti composed of Brahma the Creator; Vishnu the preserver; and Shiva the destroyer.

    Syn: Hindooism.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

blanket term for "polytheism of India," 1829, from Hindu + -ism.


Hinduism is a major world religion, or a way of life, originated from Indian subcontinent and found most notably in India and Nepal. It influenced the cultures and life styles of many Asian and South East Asian countries. With over one billion followers, Hinduism is the world's third largest religion by population, and the majority religion in India, Nepal, Mauritius and Bali (Indonesia). Hinduism has been called the " oldest religion" in the world, with some practitioners and scholars refer to it as , "the eternal law" or the "eternal way" beyond human origins. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder. This "Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE, after the Vedic times.

Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, it is linked by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, cosmology, shared textual resources, pilgrimage to sacred sites and the questioning of authority. Hindu texts are classified into Shruti ("heard") and Smriti ("remembered"). These texts discuss theology, philosophy, mythology, Vedic yajna, Yoga and agamic rituals and temple building, among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas and Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Agamas.

Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include the four Puruṣārthas, the proper goals or aims of human life, namely Dharma (ethics/duties), Artha (prosperity/work), Kama (desires/passions) and Moksha (liberation/freedom); karma (action, intent and consequences), samsara (cycle of rebirth), and the various Yogas (paths or practices to attain moksha). Hindu practices include rituals such as puja (worship) and recitations, meditation, family-oriented rites of passage, annual festivals, and occasional pilgrimages. Some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions, then engage in lifelong Sannyasa (monastic practices) to achieve moksha. Hinduism prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings ( ahimsa), patience, forbearance, self-restraint, and compassion, among others.

Usage examples of "hinduism".

The Dharma of Hinduism in this respect is placed beyond all doubt by the Bhagavat Gita.

Then he read the Bible, the Koran, and other major religious works: he covered Islam, Zoroastrianism, Mazdaism, Zarathustrianism, Dharma, Brahmanism, Hinduism, Vedanta, Jainism, Buddhism, Hinayana, Mahayana, Sikhism, Shintoism, Taoism and Confucianism.

But India, which had already exported Buddhism, now exported Hinduism and Sanskritic culture.

What a glorious privilege it is to play our part in this history of the world, when Hinduism and Christianity will unite on behalf of Islam, and in that strife of mutual love and support each religion will attain its own truest shape and beauty.

Buddhists, though by no means all, are described in supposedly secret texts called Tantras and the word Tantrism is therefore used to designate this stage of Buddhism and Hinduism.

Tripitaka of Buddhism, the Agama of Hinduism, the Zend-Avesta of Zoroastrianism, and the Veda of Brahmanism.

The antinature religions are those like Hinduism and Stoicism, where men say, "I will starve my flesh.

It includes Roman Catholicism, the Orthodox Churches, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism, rock and roll music, channelling, astrology and New Age beliefs in general.

While the infinite flatness of the Indo‑Gangetic plain unfolded outside the window, sending the hot insanity of the afternoon loo‑wind to torment us, the shaven American lectured to occupants of the carriage on the intricacies of Hinduism and began to teach them mantras while extending a walnut begging bowl.

In Hinduism, in Neoplatonism, in Sufism, in Christian mysticism, in Whitmanism, we find the same recurring note, so that there is about mystical utterances an eternal unanimity which ought to make a critic stop and think, and which brings it about that the mystical classics have, as has been said, neither birthday nor native land.

It includes Roman Catholicism, the Orthodox Churches, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism, rock and roll music, chan­.

Hindu: of Hinduism, a religious and social system which developed in India about 1400 B.