The Denominations of Hinduism


Hinduism: Understanding Sanatana Dharma

Hinduism is the oldest major religion. It has about 900 million adherents; 780 million of those are in India, comprising 79 percent of that country’s population. Hindus also make up 89 percent of the population of Nepal, where there are about 19 million adherents. In the United States, roughly two million individuals are Hindu. There are many forms of Hinduism, all with unique faiths and customs. This guide teaches you about the main varieties of Hinduism, and their rituals and practices; it also introduces you to Hindu news, music and art, points out some Hindu organizations, and helps you connect with the Hindu community online.

Hinduism Beliefs and Basics

Known as Sanatana Dharma, or “the eternal law” in Sanskrit, Hinduism is a ... read more »

Rituals and Practices of Hinduism

The Hindu tradition is filled with unique ceremonies and customs, from the multicolored, ... read more »

The Denominations of Hinduism

There are innumerable forms of Hinduism, as was mentioned above. The sites in this section will attempt to differentiate the various Hindu denominations from one another in terms of beliefs, practices, and the major geographic locations of its adherents.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • The faith can essentially be broken down into four forms: Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, and Smartism. These four denominations are further broken down into sects. A grouping tends to be characterized by its monist or dualist beliefs.
  • Dualism refers to the Hindu belief that the “soul” (atman) and the “supreme spirit” (Brahman)are distinct. Monism refers to the Hindu belief that the atman and Brahman are one and the same.
  • Unfortunately, the Internet is not a particularly helpful resource for the casual researcher of Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, or Smartism. There are surprisingly few high-quality sites out there on these broad topics. If you would like to find more information on your own, try searching for a more specific sect, like Sri Vaishnavism.
  • Before you explore this section, review a summary of Hinduism’s four main denominations, provided by Hinduism Today.

Dulcinea's Picks

For Vaishnavism …
For Shaivism …
For Shaktism and Tantric traditions …
For Smartism …
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The Hindu Community

There is a vast Hindu network on the Internet waiting for your presence. Read a Hindu or Indian ... read more »

Hindu Music and Art

Hinduism is renowned for beautiful music and art. The Internet makes it simple to listen to a ... read more »

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