Hinduism is extremely varied; some believe in one god, others believe in many and still others don't believe in any, some are vegetarians while others eat meat. However Hindus do not consume beef.
Hinduism is more like a way of life rather than a religion like Christianity; there are thousands of religious groups under Hinduism.
Hindus believe in reincarnation.
The "aim" of every follower is to attain "moksha" or salvation.
Hindus believe in the concepts of virtue and sin, or the good and bad.
Hindus worship gods, visit temples, and practice various rituals.
One amazing thing that separates Hinduism from other commonly followed religions is the absence of a prophet. There is no teacher or prophet who taught the religion and founded it. There is no central authority either to the religion. Regarded as the world's oldest form of organized religion, Hinduism is followed not only in India and Nepal but also is seen to be growing in following in U.S. and Canada.
Hinduism has spawned many other religions. Almost all of them are henotheistic in nature. The belief of Hinduism is: the gods other Hindus follow are just a manifestation of the god they consider as supreme. Brahman is a term for the divine in Hinduism. The religious groups are divided on the basis of the Brahman they follow: Some follow Lord Vishnu, some worship the Shiva while others worship Shakti - also known as Parvati, Kali, or Mahalakshmi.
Step 1: Understand the Concepts of Hinduism
Changing religions is a huge step. A lot of thinking and soul-searching goes in to it. You must be well prepared before you pick a religion and make it a part of your life. Following a religion like Hinduism especially is a little confusing in the beginning. There are many groups and sects in Hinduism that believe and practice rituals somewhat differently. To learn about every sect and following will take time.. However, realize that there is no rush. You can stop practicing whatever religion you followed earlier while learning about Hinduism and slowly deciding which one of the various courses to take.
Hinduism has three ways to life. Life is all about gaining salvation and you can choose any of the approaches:
-The way of knowledge is taken by those who practice yoga and the like. [Meditation]] is another daily habit for them. They tend to look at life and learn more and more by unveiling the illusions.
-The way of doing or action is the other approach. You do good because you believe in 'what goes around comes back around. You fulfill your karma this way. The purpose of current incarnation is to be met and completed by you when following this path.
-Lastly, the way of worship and devotion. Praying and worshiping gods will lead you to salvation.
The concepts of Hinduism have to be understood before choosing the religion as a companion for life. Learn and read about these, understand and contemplate, talk with other Hindus or visit Hindu communities that will help you with the writings and scriptures. Remember, the more you know about the religion, the better it is. After all, you are researching for your own self. For embracing a particular belief set, you have to be sure what it is about. Join libraries, read books, and discuss online with people who have been practicing the religion to gain first hand knowledge as to what it is like to be Hindu.
Once you've learned the concepts and teachings, at least on a basic level, from the books and the practitioners, start to research the other side. Ask people who have left the religion. Ask them what led them to quit, what they went through, what were the feelings involved and so on. Discuss thought patterns and beliefs with them. That way you know both sides
When doing research, keep tabs on your own feelings. The whole idea is to diagnose what resonates, and what does not, with you. Pay close attention to what your intuition and your inner self says. Don't neglect them! After all, a religion is all about living life in a certain way. Feelings and intuition have every thing to do with it, along with the sprinkles of logic and practicality.
At the end of step 2, you will have met or spoken to people of both types - the followers and then the quitters/non-followers. You will have a fair idea by now as to what you are dealing with.
If you decide, Hinduism is not for you, that is okay. Not every religion suits every individual.
This video attempts to prove a relation between the ancient Vedic literatures and modern scientific findings. It delves deep in to the culture and re ... read more
This video attempts to prove a relation between the ancient Vedic literatures and modern scientific findings. It delves deep in to the culture and religion of the old times of India and the great wealth of the knowledge found in Vedic religions, and it's relevancy in current times.
Step 3: Embrace Hinduism
After musing over the beliefs and the concepts the religion offers, how do you feel? Where has it landed you? Do you feel prepared? Do you feel unsure? Do you feel nervous? Are you overwhelmed? Answer these questions for yourself. If you happen to get stuck, take a break, go out have a walk, meet friends.
Just cut out from the "Religion" stuff for some time. Then come back again. If you keep getting the answer that, you're unsure after a substantial amount of time and reckoning, Hinduism may not be for you. You may want to give up the thought. Before converting, always remember that your feelings have to be in alignment with your decision. Don't force it for any sort of superficial validation or gratification.
However, if you are sure and have been feeling great about the new establishment in your life, go for it. Now is the time that you can actually practice it with fellow Hindus. Next, you may go ahead and severe the ties with your former religion in the way it is supposed to be done. Further, you may go forward with receiving a Hindu name by attending the name-giving ritual. A priest will do the ceremonial acts in a temple devoted to a God you wish to follow.
Finally, you will come to become a Hindu. Start meeting other Hindus in the temple, praying to the chosen God, and gaining pure joy from it all. Your soul will then gain the joy from the decision, and the happiness will come to manifest.