The Hindu sacred texts about human origins

The Hindu sacred texts about human origins

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Third in the list of major religions, with more than 870 million followers, is Hinduism. Hinduism goes back to 5000 BCE and is a compilation of many diverse traditions (in contrast to Christianity and Muslim traditions, both of which emerged from a single founder) making it the oldest practised religion, closely related to that of Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism.

The religions main body of texts are referred to as the Veda, the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad Gita.

There are many different Hindu creation stories. References to a first world, or universe, won’t be found. Also, though the belief in one supreme god is common, Hindu texts consider all deities to be extensions of this god.

Lord Brahma is the Creator of the universes, and the first in the triumvirate. The other two gods comprising the triumvirate are Vishnu, who sustains the creation, and Shiva, the destroyer of the evil. These 3 gods form the Supreme One who is behind all of creation and destruction—and these Gods create and destroy universes continuously. The length of time such a process takes is uncountable; however, one day for Brahma is considered 4 billion years for us. Also according to the Hindu texts, whenever Brahma sleeps the world is destroyed, and every morning when he wakes up it is created again.

Brahma creates human beings and all life. All different species come out from different parts of Brahma’s body. He created man as the first of the animals and the strongest. He created him from his own soul. One of the stories mentions that Brahma splits himself into two to create male and female.

In other texts the Prajapati (a group of deities), the sons of Brahma, are said to be creating all living beings, both gods and mortal creatures.

The concept of god in Hinduism is exceptionally complex and varies according to different philosophies and traditions. Generally, gods in Hinduism appear more like supreme personal beings. Devas (a word for deity) can easily be conveyed as supernatural beings and, according to Hindu texts, there are 33 in the celestial world.

However, an interesting concept mentioned in one of the Creation Hymns (Nasadiya Sukta) is that the creation of the universe came first, and gods came afterwards. Still, since Hindu texts do not state one clear origin of everything, the creation tradition in Hinduism is a little bit obscure.

By April Holloway

Related Links

Hindu Mythology

Hindu Creation Story

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