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 ... read more »
The Hindu Community
There is a vast Hindu network on the Internet waiting for your presence. Read a Hindu or Indian online newspaper, post on some Shaivism forums, view a Hindu mother’s blog, or find a future spouse, date, or friend on one of the Hindu dating and matrimonial sites.
- Many of the newspapers don’t restrict their content to Hinduism. The newspapers mentioned below devote most of their attention to the current events of India, which often involve Hindu issues.
- Dating sites can ask for a lot of personal information. Just realize that you don’t have to include everything they ask for to find the girl/guy of your dreams.
- Most of the organizations offer memberships, which may or may not require payment. Many of these organizations also offer newsletters; subscribe to stay updated with events or news.
- One of the themes in this guide has been the fact that Hinduism is the majority religion in India, shaped by Indian culture and values. However, many dating Web sites are not solely for Hindus, but for Indians in general. Take note that you often have the option on these sites to restrict your search to Hindus, or even a specific denomination or sect of Hindus.
For connecting with the Hindu community …
Beliefnet has an assortment of features related to Hinduism (and unfortunately, plenty of advertisements, too). Each day spotlights a few Hinduism articles, holiday e-cards, polls, quizzes, or videos. Look for discussion topics listed near the bottom of the page, such as the “Do Animals Have Karma?” thread, or the “Featured Discussion.”
The Hindu Universe has a large forum for discussion of Hindu beliefs, politics, defense, economy, foreign policy, terrorism, media, education, Indian history, and more. Expect plenty of activity on many of the threads.
For Hindu news …
Hinduism Today is a publication that offers news and features related to the Hindu community around the globe. Register for free to download the digital version of current and past issues to your computer, or subscribe to the quarterly print edition for $35 annually.
The Times of India is a major English-language newspaper in India. Although the paper is certainly not restricted to religion, the majority of the country’s population is Hindu, and as such, Hinduism is an integral part of Indian current events. There are many pesky advertisements but the site is easy to navigate.
The Hindu , founded in 1878, is an independent paper based in India that boasts a readership of more than four million people. Look for coverage of important people and events in India, or news from abroad that has a bearing on India. Unfortunately, the Web site doesn’t have the cleanest design; use the navigation bar on the left to find information of interest.
For Hindu blogs …
Hindu Blog tackles everyday issues related to Hinduism. The author notes that the blog is “for common people, not for scholars,” and it promotes “practical Hinduism." Find frequent posts on a variety of topics, or scroll down the right sidebar to find “Popular Posts.” Be aware that the author is highly critical of the caste system.
Hindu Expressions is written by a chemical engineer turned writer and musician. Look for an emphasis on Hindu passages about Indian spirituality and Vedic culture, and their relation to daily life. As a musician, the author also frequently mentions music and its relationship to religion.
Mera Bharat Mahan is written by a Hindu woman living in Virginia. Believing that India is “a nation whose nationhood is rooted in Hindu culture,” her blog examines Indian political, socioeconomic, and humanitarian issues as they relate to Hinduism. Find typical posts covering a recent issue in the news related to India or a book written by an expert on the area.
For Hindu organizations …
The Hindu American Foundation claims to represent the roughly two million Hindus in the United States. The organization raises awareness about issues affecting the Hindu community in the United States and abroad, and fights against discrimination.
Hindu Students Council was created as a resource for young Hindus living in North America and elsewhere around the world. The council seeks to preserve traditional Hindu religion and culture for students and others who may feel isolated from the religion. Find a local chapter of the council, read the site’s blog, “Samskar,” and learn about their campus study groups and seminars, among other services.
Hindu Collective Initiative of North America spreads information and awareness about Hinduism. This New Jersey-based nonprofit organization hosts the Hindu Dharma Summit, which brings together Hindu organizations, scholars, and paramount figures throughout the world to speak and share information. Download the PDF flier on the 2007 Hindu Dharma Summit that took place in December.
For Hindu dating and matrimonial sites …
Shaadi.com , founded in 1997, is the oldest and one of the most well-known matrimonial sites. The focus of the site is marriage. Basic membership is free but a premium membership provides you with more choices. Post photos and videos, read horoscopes, talk with other members on “Shaadi Messenger,” and use the “eMatchMaker” tool to find that perfect match.
Indian Matrimonials is one of the more popular sites for Indian dating with the aim of finding a spouse. The site is unquestionably meant for marriage seekers as opposed to casual daters; besides the “matrimonial” name of the site, your two search options are “bride” and “groom.”
Indian FriendFinder is not as marriage-focused as the two previous sites; look here for a friendship, date, or marriage. And unlike the other sites, Indian FriendFinder is not restricted to the heterosexual community. The site boasts hundreds of thousands of members throughout the world (with a substantial base in New York). Indian FriendFinder is part of the larger and trusted FriendFinder network.
Hindu Music and Art
Hinduism is renowned for beautiful music and art. The Internet makes it simple to listen to a ... read more »