Some people I came accross in various forums have a lot of doubts regarding Hindu religion. I’m not an expert on religion. Am an atheist and I can’t even remember when was the last time I visited a temple. But the text I’ve typed out below is true to best of my knowledge . Some things could be wrong,. You”re welcome to point them out. But keep in mind that custom followed by Hindus of North India might differ from those followed by South Indian.Similarly somethings can be different for different sects and school of thoughts.
1.) There are 14 Crore ( 140 Million) Hindu gods, but not all are worshipped. Hindu gods of heaven are no different than Greek gods. Just a different entity for different things.. for example:
Indra for rains (King of Gods)
Varun for water
Pawan for air and so on.
They are just divine beings, same a Djinns are for Muslims and Angels are for Christians. Worshipping these heavenly gods might get you some favours on earth, nothing more than that.
Then there is the Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu & Mahesh.
Brahma is the creator
Vishnu the nurturer and
Mahesh/Shiv the Destroyer.
These are most powerful divine beings, but even they are not supreme. They can’t help you attain salvation.
2.) In Hindu philosophy, heaven isn’t the last stop. True aim of a soul is to merge with ultimate god, source of all souls..called by various names, Brahman, Pramatma, Omkar . All the divine beings mentioned above are creations of this supreme Pramatmaa. Becoming one with this supreme God is called Nirvan.
Untill a soul is able to do so, its forced to go through cycles of birth, death,heaven/hell and rebirth (in different forms).
Hindus don’t worship idols. Idols for Hindus no more significance than Macca Medina hold for Muslims and Cross for Christians. Idols are just a way to visualise the god and channelise the devotion. Nobody in his right mind would say, ” This stone idol is my god”. The idol is just a representation.
3.) Hindu religion can be considered animist as they hold natural sources like rivers, mountains, sun, moon, trees etc. sacred. In my opinion that was a way of conservation of natural resources. If a communtiy holds something say a lake sacred, its less likely to pollute it. I see this thing almost daily.
4.) Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism are separate religions which trace their origins to Hinduism. They are considered sister religions, not Hindu sects.