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Hindu Trivia Quiz Questions

Trivia quiz with answers about the Hindu religion.

 

Hindu Trivia Quiz Questions

What is Hinduism?
A: Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or a way of life widely practiced in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia.

Hinduism has been called the oldest what?
A: Religion in the world.

Some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal tradition", or what?
A: The "eternal way", beyond human history.

Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions with diverse roots and no what?
A: Founder.

When did this "Hindu synthesis" start to develop?
A: Between 500 BCE and 300 CE.

It flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of what?
A: Buddhism in India.

Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, it is linked by shared what?
A: Concepts, recognizable rituals, cosmology, shared textual resources, and pilgrimage to sacred sites.

 
What do these texts discuss?
A: Theology, philosophy, mythology, Vedic yajna, Yoga, agamic rituals, and temple building, among other topics.

Major scriptures include the Vedas and Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the what?
A: Āgamas.

Sources of authority and eternal truths in its texts play an important role, but there is also a strong Hindu tradition of questioning what?
A: Authority in order to deepen the understanding of these truths and to further develop the tradition.

Hindu practices include rituals such as what?
A: Puja (worship) and recitations, japa, meditation, family-oriented rites of passage, annual festivals, and occasional pilgrimages.

Some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions, and then engage in lifelong what?
A: Sannyasa (monastic practices) to achieve Moksha.

Hinduism prescribes what eternal duties?
A: Honesty, refraining from injuring living beings (ahimsa), patience, forbearance, self-restraint, and compassion, among others.

 
What are the four largest denominations of Hinduism?
A: Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism and Smartism.

Hinduism is the world's third largest religion; its followers, known as Hindus, constitute about how much of the global population?
A: 1.15 billion, or 15–16%.

Hindus form the majority of the population in what three countries?
A: India, Nepal and Mauritius.

Where are significant Hindu communities also found?
A: In the Caribbean, Africa, North America, and other countries.

It is believed that Hindu was used as the name for what river in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent (modern day Pakistan and Northern India)?
A: Indus River.

The Arabic term al-Hind referred to the people who live where?
A: Across the River Indus.

This Arabic term was itself taken from the pre-Islamic Persian term Hindū, which refers to what?
A: All Indians.

 
By the 13th century, Hindustan emerged as a popular alternative name of India, meaning what?
A: The "Land of Hindus".

It was only towards the end of the 18th century that “whom”, began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus?
A: European merchants and colonists.

The term Hinduism, then spelled Hindooism, was introduced into the English language in the 18th century to denote what?
A: The religious, philosophical, and cultural traditions native to India.

Hinduism includes a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, but has no what?
A: It has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet(s) nor any binding holy book.

Hindus can choose to be what?
A: Polytheistic, pantheistic, monotheistic, monistic, agnostic, atheistic or humanist.

Because of the wide range of traditions and ideas covered by the term Hinduism, arriving at “what” is difficult?
A: A comprehensive religious definition.

Hinduism has been variously defined as a religion, a religious tradition, a set of religious beliefs, and a what?
A: A way of life.

 
From a Western lexical standpoint, Hinduism like other faiths is appropriately referred to as a what?
A: A religion.

In India the term dharma is preferred, which is what?
A: Broader than the Western term religion.

The study of India and its cultures and religions, and the definition of "Hinduism", has been shaped by the interests of what?
A: Colonialism and by Western notions of religion.

Of the historical division into six darsanas (philosophies), which two schools are currently the most prominent?
A: Vedanta and Yoga.

Classified by primary deity or deities, the four major Hinduism modern currents are what?
A: Vaishnavism (Vishnu), Shaivism (Shiva), Shaktism (Devi) and Smartism (five deities treated as same).

Hinduism also accepts numerous what?
A: Divine beings.

Many Hindus consider the deities to be aspects or manifestations of a what?
A: A single impersonal absolute or ultimate reality or God, while some Hindus maintain that a specific deity represents the supreme and various deities are lower manifestations of this supreme.

 
To its adherents, Hinduism is a what?
A: A traditional way of life.

Many practitioners refer to the "orthodox" form of Hinduism as what?
A: Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal law" or the "eternal way".

All aspects of a Hindu life, namely acquiring wealth (artha), fulfillment of desires (kama), and attaining liberation (moksha) are part of what?
A: Dharma which encapsulates the "right way of living" and eternal harmonious principles in their fulfillment.

Sanatana dharma has become a synonym for what?
A: The "eternal" truth and teachings of Hinduism, that transcend history and are "unchanging, indivisible and ultimately nonsectarian".

The word 'Vaidika' in Sanskrit means what?
A: Derived from or conformable to the Veda or 'relating to the Veda'.

Many Hindus do not have a copy of what?
A: The Vedas, nor have they ever seen or personally read parts of a Veda, like a Christian might relate to the Bible or a Muslim might to the Quran.

Raja Rammohan Roy is known as the father of the what?
A: Hindu Renaissance.

 
Some academics suggest that Hinduism can be seen as a category with what?
A: "Fuzzy edges" rather than as a well-defined and rigid entity.

Ganesha is one of the best-known and most worshipped what?
A: Deities in the Hindu pantheon.

Most Hindu traditions revere what body of religious or sacred literature?
A: The Vedas, although there are exceptions.

These texts are a reminder of what for Hindus?
A: Their ancient cultural heritage and a point of pride.

By late 1st-millennium CE, what had emerged?
A: The concept of a belief and tradition distinct from Buddhism and Jainism.

What is considered the foremost goal of a human being in Hinduism?
A: Dharma.

Hindu Dharma includes the religious duties, moral rights and duties of each individual, as well as behaviors that enable what?
A: Social order, right conduct, and those that are virtuous.

 
Dharma, according to Van Buitenen, is that which all existing beings must what?
A: Accept and respect to sustain harmony and order in the world.

In the Mahabharata, how does Krishna define dharma?
A: As upholding both this-worldly and other-worldly affairs.

The word Sanātana means eternal, perennial, or forever; thus, Sanātana Dharma signifies that it is the dharma that has what?
A: Neither beginning nor end.

Artha is objective and virtuous pursuit of what?
A: Wealth for livelihood, obligations and economic prosperity.

The Artha concept includes all "means of life", activities and resources that enables one to be in a state one wants to be in, wealth, career and financial security.

What is the most important goal in Hinduism?
A: Moksha.

In one sense, Moksha is a concept associated with liberation from what?
A: Sorrow, suffering and saṃsāra (birth-rebirth cycle).

In other schools of Hinduism, such as monistic, moksha is a goal achievable when?
A: In current life, as a state of bliss through self-realization, of comprehending the nature of one's soul, of freedom and of "realizing the whole universe as the Self".

 
Karma translates literally as what?
A: Action, work, or deed, and also refers to a Vedic theory of "moral law of cause and effect".

Karma theory is interpreted as explaining the present circumstances of an individual with reference to what?
A: His or her actions in past.

These actions may be those in a person's current life, or, in some schools of Hinduism, possibly actions in what?
A: Their past lives; furthermore, the consequences may result in current life, or a person's future lives.

This cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth is called what?
A: Samsara.

Liberation from samsara through moksha is believed to ensure what?
A: Lasting happiness and peace.

Hindu scriptures teach that the future is both a function of current human effort derived from free will and what?
A: Past human actions that set the circumstances.

The meaning of moksha differs among the what?
A: The various Hindu schools of thought.

 
Hindus believe that all living creatures have a what?
A: A soul.

This soul – the spirit or true "self" of every person, is called the what?
A: ātman.

The soul is believed to be what?
A: Eternal.

Dualistic schools understand Brahman as a Supreme Being separate from what?
A: Individual souls.

They worship the Supreme Being variously as whom?
A: Vishnu, Brahma, Shiva, or Shakti, depending upon the sect.

God is called Ishvara, Bhagavan, Parameshwara, Deva or Devi, and these terms have different what?
A: Meanings in different schools of Hinduism.

The Hindu scriptures refer to celestial entities called what?
A: Devas, which may be translated into English as gods or heavenly beings.

 
Devas are an integral part of Hindu culture and are depicted in art, architecture and through icons, and stories about them are related in the scriptures, particularly in what?
A: Indian epic poetry and the Puranas.

Theologically, the reincarnation idea is most often associated with the avatars of whom?
A: The Hindu god Vishnu, though the idea has been applied to other deities.

The avatars of Vishnu are important in what theology?
A: Vaishnavism.

While avatars of other deities such as Ganesha and Shiva are also mentioned in medieval Hindu texts, this is what?
A: Minor and occasional.

The Yoga school of Hinduism accepted the concept of a "personal god" and left it to the Hindu to define what?
A: His or her god.

Hinduism has no central doctrinal authority and many practicing Hindus do not claim to what?
A: Belong to any particular denomination or tradition.

What four major denominations are used in scholarly studies?
A: Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism and Smartism.

 
Vaishnavism is the devotional religious tradition that worships whom?
A: Vishnu and his avatars, particularly Krishna and Rama.

The Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana, along with Vishnu-oriented Puranas provide it’s what?
A: Theistic foundations.

Shaivism is the tradition that focuses on what?
A: Shiva.

Shaivas are more attracted to what?
A: Ascetic individualism, and it has several sub-schools.

Some Shaivas worship in temples, while others emphasize what?
A: Yoga, striving to be one with Shiva within.

Avatars are uncommon, and some Shaivas visualize god as what?
A: Half male, half female, as a fusion of the male and female principles (Ardhanarishvara).

Where has Shaivism been more commonly practiced?
A: In the Himalayan north from Kashmir to Nepal, and in south India.

 
Shaktism focuses on goddess worship of whom?
A: Shakti or Devi as cosmic mother and it is particularly common in northeastern and eastern states of India such as Assam and Bengal.

Followers of Shaktism recognize Shakti as the power that underlies what?
A: The male principle.

Shaktism is also associated with what?
A: Tantra practices.

Community celebrations include festivals, some of which include processions and what?
A: Iidol immersion into sea or other water bodies.

Smartism centers its worship simultaneously on whom?
A: all the major Hindu deities: Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti, Ganesha, Surya and Skanda.

The Rigveda is the first and most important what?
A: Veda and is one of the oldest religious texts.

The ancient scriptures of Hinduism are in what language?
A: Sanskrit.

 
Hindu scriptures were composed, memorized and transmitted verbally, across generations, for many centuries before what?
A: They were written down.

Shruti (lit. that which is heard) primarily refers to the Vedas, which form the earliest record of the what?
A: Hindu scriptures, and are regarded as eternal truths revealed to the ancient sages.

How many Vedas are there?
A: 4, Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda.

The Upanishads are the foundation of what?
A: Hindu philosophical thought, and have profoundly influenced diverse traditions.

The Bhagavad Gita is an integral part of the what?
A: Mahabharata and one of the most popular sacred texts of Hinduism.

The Puranas, which started to be composed from c. 300 CE onward, contain what?
A: Extensive mythologies, and are central in the distribution of common themes of Hinduism through vivid narratives.

What is the most extensive personal ritual an adult Hindu undertakes in his or her life?
A: A wedding.

 
A typical Hindu wedding is solemnized before what?
A: A Vedic fire ritual.

Where do most Hindus observe religious rituals?
A: At home.

The rituals vary greatly among what?
A: Regions, villages, and individuals.

They are not mandatory in what?
A: Hinduism.

The nature and place of rituals is what?
A: An individual's choice.

Major life-stage events, such as rituals after death, include what?
A: The yajña and chanting of Vedic mantras.

Major life stage milestones are celebrated as what in Hinduism?
A: Sanskara (saṃskāra, rites of passage).

 
The rites of passage are not mandatory, and vary in details by what?
A: Gender, community and regionally.

The list of sanskaras in Hinduism include both external rituals such as those marking a baby's birth and a baby's name giving ceremony, as well as inner rites of resolutions and ethics such as what?
A: Compassion towards all living beings and positive attitude.

What does Bhakti refer to?
A: Devotion, participation in and the love of a personal god or a representational god by a devotee.

Bhakti marga is considered in Hinduism as one of many possible paths of what?
A: Spirituality and alternative means to moksha.

What are the other paths, left to the choice of a Hindu?
A: Jnana marga (path of knowledge), Karma marga (path of works), Rāja marga (path of contemplation and meditation).

This bhakti is expressed in a domestic shrine which typically is a dedicated part of the what?
A: Home and includes the images of deities or the gurus the Hindu chooses.

Among Vaishnavism sub-traditions such as Swaminarayan, the home shrines can be what?
A: Elaborate with either a room dedicated to it or a dedicated part of the kitchen.

 
The devotee uses this space for what?
A: Daily prayers or meditation, either before breakfast or after day's work.

Concurrent Hindu practices include a belief in what?
A: God-without-attributes, and god within oneself.

Hindu festivals are ceremonies that weave individual and social life to what?
A: Dharma.

Many adherents undertake pilgrimages, which have historically been what?
A: An important part of Hinduism and remain so today.

What are the Pilgrimage sites called?
A: Tirtha, Kshetra, Gopitha or Mahalaya.

The process or journey associated with Tirtha is called what?
A: Tirtha-yatra.

Where are Pilgrimage sites of Hinduism mentioned?
A: In the epic Mahabharata and the Puranas.

 
Tirtha has been one of the recommended means of addressing what?
A: Remorse and to perform penance, for unintentional errors and intentional sins, in the Hindu tradition.

Hindu society has been categorized into four classes, called what?
A: Varnas.

What are the four classes?
A: Vedic teachers and priests; the Kshatriyas: warriors and kings; the Vaishyas: farmers and merchants; and the Shudras: servants and labourers.

Yoga is a Hindu discipline which trains the body, mind and consciousness for what?
A: Health, tranquility and spiritual insight.

This is done through a system of postures and exercises to practice control of what?
A: The body and mind.

Texts dedicated to Yoga include what?
A: The Yoga Sutras, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Bhagavad Gita and, as their philosophical and historical basis, the Upanishads.

An individual may prefer one or some yogas over others, according to what?
A: His or her inclination and understanding.

 
Practice of one yoga does not exclude what?
A: Practicing others.

Why do Hindus advocate the practice of ahiṃsā (non-violence) and respect for all life?
A: Because divinity is believed to permeate all beings, including plants and non-human animals.

In accordance with ahiṃsā, many Hindus embrace what?
A: Vegetarianism to respect higher forms of life.

The food habits vary with region, with Bengali Hindus and Hindus living in Himalayan regions, or river delta regions, regularly eating what?
A: Meat and fish.

When do some avoid meat?
A: On specific festivals or occasions.

Observant Hindus who do eat meat almost always abstain from what?
A: Beef.

The cow in Hindu society is traditionally identified as a what?
A: A caretaker and a maternal figure, and Hindu society honors the cow as a symbol of unselfish giving.

 
There are many Hindu groups that have continued to do what?
A: Abide by a strict vegetarian diet in modern times.

Some Hindus such as those belonging to the Shaktism tradition, and Hindus in regions such as Bali and Nepal practice what?
A: Animal sacrifice.

The sacrificed animal is eaten as what?
A: Ritual food.

In contrast, the Vaishnava Hindus do what?
A: They abhor and vigorously oppose animal sacrifice.

The principle of non-violence to animals has been so thoroughly adopted in Hinduism that animal sacrifice is what?
A: Uncommon and historically reduced to a vestigial marginal practice.

A Hindu temple is a what?
A: House of god(s).

It is a space and structure designed to bring what about?
A: To bring human beings and gods together, infused with symbolism to express the ideas and beliefs of Hinduism.

 
Many temples feature what?
A: One or more idols (murtis).

In larger temples, the central space typically is surrounded by a what?
A: An ambulatory for the devotee to walk around and ritually circumambulate the Purusa (Brahman), the universal essence.

Monastics commit themselves to a what?
A: A simple and celibate life, detached from material pursuits, of meditation and spiritual contemplation.

A Hindu monk is called a what?
A: Sanyāsī, Sādhu, or Swāmi.

A female renunciate is called a what?
A: A Sanyāsini.

Renunciates receive high respect in Hindu society because of their what?
A: Their simple ahimsa-driven lifestyle and dedication to spiritual liberation (moksha) – believed to be the ultimate goal of life in Hinduism.

Some monastics live in monasteries, while others do what?
A: Wander from place to place, depending on donated food and charity for their needs.