Hinduism is the ancient religion of India. It is not a single unified religion and has no founder, single teacher, nor prophets. Hindus believe in a universal soul or god known as Brahman who is worshipped in many diverse forms. These forms include complementary attributes of male and female deities, in human as well as animal forms. Hindu sects may have their own divinities whom they worship but these are simply different ways of approaching god. Brahaman is often represented in a threefold form: Brahma as the creator of the universe, Vishnu its preserver and Shiva its destroyer.

Hindus believe that the soul is immortal and on the death of the body it transmigrates to a new life on earth. Whether this life is better or worse than the previous one depends on the amount of good or evil done in the previous life. This is the law of Karma. A series of good lives will break this cycle, leading to the ultimate absorption of the soul into Brahman.

Bhagavad Gita is one of the many holy books of Hindus. It teaches that salvation comes through devotion and good deeds.

The temple or mandir is the spiritual and community centre for Hindus. Each family will have a small shrine in their own home for daily worship. The Hindu population globally is about 15%.

The major festivals

The main festivals in the order they appear in the Hindu calendar are:

  • Mahashivratri - Birthday of Lord Shiva (Information to be provided later)
  • Holi - Festival of colour
  • Ramnavmi - Birthday of Lord Rama
  • Rakshabandan - Protection from evil (Information to be provided later)
  • Janmashtmi - Birthday of Lord Krishna (Information to be provided later)
  • Navratri - Trinity of God worship in female form (Information to be provided later)
  • Diwali - Festival of lights and advent of Hindu New Year

(Text copyright © Bolton Interfaith Council)