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  • Hinduism: A Simple Look into Something Not So Simple to Explain


    Hinduism is the predominant religion of Indian subcontinent. It is often referred to as Sanatana Dharm, a Sanskrit phrase meaning “the external law”. Hindu beliefs vary widely; concepts of God and/or Gods. They also believe in reincarnation and karma as well as personal duty, or dharma.


    Hinduism is often said to be the oldest religious tradition. It has diverse traditions and has no single founder. Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion after Christianity and Islam. Hinduism has a vast body of scriptures which discuss theology, philosophy and mythology and provide information on the practice of dharma (religious living). It can be subdivided into a number of major currents. From history there were 6 major divisions, only two schools, Vedanta and Yoga survive. The main divisions of Hinduism today are Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Smartism and Shaktism. The majority of presend day Hindus can be categorized under one of these four groups. There are many other denominations but the four discussed seem to be the majority.


    There is a wide range of traditions and ideas incorporated in the Hindu beliefs and while often referred to as a religion, in Western terms is sometimes defined as a religious tradition. It is sometimes described as one of the oldest of world’s religion and most diverse in religious traditions. Most Hindu’s practice through a body of religious and sacred literature, the Vedas. Hindus is characterized with the belief of reincarnation determined by the law of Karma and that the ultimate salvation is brought forward from this cycle of repeated birth and death. Hinduism has been dated back into the prehistory.


    A single definition of what is actually meant by ‘Hinduism’ is hard given the fact that Hinduism does not seem to have a single or common historical founder. Hinduism does not have a single system of salvation and has different goals according to each sect or denomination. Hinduism has a vast body of scripture which they practice and believe in. They are divided into Scruti (revealed) and Smriti (remembered). Among these texts the Vedas and the Upanishads are the foremost in authority for the Hinduism belief sect. Other major scriptures include the Tantras, the Agama, the Puranas and the Mahabharata and Ramayana. The Bhagavad Gita is sometimes called a summary of the spiritual teachings of the Vedas.


    Hindu is the Persian name for the Indus River. This term entered India with the Delhi Sultanate and appears in South Indian and Kashmiri texts from at least 1323 CE and increased during the British rule. Since the end of the 18th century the word has been used as an umbrella term for most of the religious, spiritual, and philosophical traditions of the sub-continent, excluding the distinct relgions of Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism. The term Hindu was introduced to the English. It general denotes the religious, philosophical and cultural traditions native to India. Hindu beliefs vary widely from Panentheism, pantheism, monotheism, polytheism and atheism with Vishnu and Shiva being the most popular deities.