The dietary restrictions of Hindus vary among practitioners: nearly all abstain from eating beef, and some follow a predominantly vegetarian diet, while others, such as Shaktas, consume meat, provided it comes from animals sacrificed in rituals. Among Hindus, Shaivites and Shaktas have the most lenient diets and may include meat products in their meals, while more conservative Hindu branches such as Vaishna abide by theological rules that dictate permissible and impermissible foods.
The foods deemed suitable or unsuitable for consumption by Hindus are listed in a theological system called guna. There are three gunas that contain a broad list of foods, and rank food products based on their level of acceptability. Meats generally rank at the lowest level of acceptable foods for Hindus, as meat is considered to be influenced by negative forces such as darkness. Since many Hindu practitioners consume primarily vegetarian foods, the vegetarian cuisine in areas with large Hindu populations, such as India, are quite diverse. Dairy products, particularly those derived from milk, are among the most prevalent and popular foods for many Indians. Indian Hindus incorporate large quantities of milk in their foods, as well as ghee, which is a type of clarified butter used to fry food. Hindus add flavor to their meals with spices, and consume large quantities of bread, rice and legumes such as lentils.Learn More
Hindus worship by venerating religious icons and images called "murtis," and by reciting prayers called "mantras." Hindu worship is simply called "puja," which literally means "honor."Full Answer >
According to Religion Facts, Hindus believe in a variety of things, mostly related to their pantheon of deities and what they see as the cyclical nature of the universe. Hindus also believe that all life is sacred and should be treated with respect and reverence.Full Answer >
According to the Smithsonian Institution, Hindu prayer, called mantras, occurs daily. This is a part of a larger branch of worship, called puja. The BBC states that puja is an individual act, rather than a communal one.Full Answer >
The Ganges river is sacred to Hindus because it is considered to be the extension of God, Lord Shiva, and therefore, the river is divine and an image of the higher power. Not only does the Ganges hold this sacred quality, but it is able to provide water and agricultural food for 350 million people, as well as nurture the endangered Bengal tiger and the blind freshwater dolphin, the susu.Full Answer >