The Gifts of Hinduism

American theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer saw the first successful test detonation of an atomic bomb, the deadliest weapon ever created, on July 16, 1945, in a New Mexico desert. Oppenheimer had overseen the project for almost four years. The Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Hindu scripture, inspired Oppenheimer's initial thinking upon seeing it: "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

Half a globe away at that very moment, in India, the most well-known Hindu of all time, Mohandas Gandhi, sometimes called Mahātmā, or “great-souled,” was pleading with his fellow citizens for peace, for love to triumph over hate.

The fact that one religion can embrace both unfathomable peace and love and unfathomable destruction is a testament to the immense global influence that Hinduism, the third-largest and oldest religion on Earth, has had throughout the course of its many millennia of existence.

Hinduism, better known to its followers as Sanātana Dharma, or the "eternal essence from which one may be sustained," is a religion with many sacred writings but no comprehensive "bible," many prophets and wise men but no one prophet or messiah, and many deities but no mandate for pantheism or monotheism. It is a religion in the purest sense—a study of wisdom—and predates written history. Not only is the spirit covered, but also interpersonal relationships, cosmology, metaphysics, philosophy, mythology, and a host of other topics.

Before Hinduism gained traction, our species believed that there was a supreme entity that one could blame for their bad lives or lost harvests. This supreme being was like a capricious celestial butler to whom you would make requests that might or might not be granted. The world then benefited greatly from Hinduism's teachings of responsibility and knowledge.

Hinduism established the example, which other religions have since followed, that religion is knowledge at its core and that it is our responsibility alone to uphold its teachings or face the consequences, which we alone are responsible for and can only escape by our own volition.

It follows that serving others is one of Hinduism's main tenets. Despite making up approximately 1% of the American population, there are about 800 Hindu charitable organizations.

According to recent statistics, around 5,000 Hindus are honorably serving in the United States military, either as active troops or as employees of different branches stationed abroad.

With 80,000 members, or approximately 30% of all doctors in the United States, the American group of Physicians of Indian Origin is a professional group for Indian American physicians. The great majority of these 80,000 members identify as Hindu.

Miley Cyrus, Madonna, Hugh Jackman, Russell Brand, Julia Roberts, and British rapper M.I.A. (Matangi Maya Arulpragsham) are among the celebrities who identify as practicing Hindus or who were raised as such. After his kid passed away, Sylvester Stallone was in a sad place and turned to Hinduism for solace. He has been a devoted Hindu ever since. Exasperated with his lot in life, Mark Zuckerberg followed Steve Jobs' suggestion and traveled to India to see a Hindu avatar. After his life turned around, he went back to the US and started Facebook.


The blessings of Hinduism flow from the twin wells of duty and wisdom, bestowing upon us all happiness, support, tenderness, and knowledge from its followers. The Bhagavad Gita states that one has reached the pinnacle of spiritual connection when they respond to the happiness and grief of others as though they were their own. 

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