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Summary: Hinduism is a religion that started in the Indian subcontinent thousands of years ago. There are over 750 million Hindus worldwide, even within the United States. Hinduism emphasizes man’s divinity.

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Hinduism is a religion that started in the Indian subcontinent thousands of years ago. There are over 750 million Hindus worldwide, even within the United States. Hinduism emphasizes man’s divinity. There are no dogmas or strict codes. Like Buddhism, Hinduism is an ever growing and ever changing belief system. Its roots are in the Aryan literary and religious practices and ancient Dravidian religious practices. Hindus can be monotheistic, polytheistic, or even agnostic. Like Buddhism, Hinduism is a more flexible religion whereas Christianity is more rigid. Hence, Hinduism is an open religion yet Hindus have the sacred documents Smirti, the Vedas, and Sruti. The Sruti is a document on what is heard and recorded from a seer. The Smirti is a document on what is remembered. The Vedas are the oldest sacred Indian texts.

From the Aryan roots come the Hindu caste system, which has long been criticized because of its elitist structure. and the Vedas, which form the basis of Hindu beliefs. A person is a member of a case by birth or personal karma. The lowest members of the Hindu caste system are the laborers. Those outside the caste system are known as the untouchables, or outcasts. They are usually the poor. Salvation is only possible for the upper three classes in the caste system: First: Priests, Second: Rulers or Warriors, Third: Merchants and Farmers. Salvation is not possible for those who are laborers because they are not twice born. Though the system was outlawed in the 1940’s, the caste system is still a big part in Indian society.

Hindus have a strong belief in karma. Karma determines one’s position in life as well as the cycle of life. Karma in other words, is cause and effect. There are three goals to which Hindus may give any of those. The first goal is through love and sex. The second goal is wealth and success. The third goal is seeking the common good. Hindus also believe in salvation through works, way of knowledge, and the way of devotion, all of which are achieved through fulfilling one’s duties, meditation or worship. They also believe that Brahman is his creation and that all are divine, even objects have a divine nature. Brahman is an impersonal, absolute god that cannot be known by humans. One’s soul is Brahman and each creation is god. There are many gods and goddesses in Hinduism, some of whom are intermarried and incarnate. Each diety have their own characteristics and represent various attributes.

Despite what many think, Christianity is based on the inspired word of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ. Hinduism is based in mythology. Life to a Hindu is a series of reincarnations from which they need a release called Moksha or enlightenment. The purposes of a Hindu’s life are Dharma, Artha, Kharma, and Moksha. Dharma is the fulfillment of one’s purpose; artha is prosperity. Kama is desire and enjoyment and Moksha is of course, enlightenment. The ways to escape are through duty, committment to Brahman, and meditation and suppression of desires. Another source of criticism of Hindus is how women are viewed. Women are viewed with seeming hatred. They are punished for ever minor offenses and widows are burned in a pyre. This practice is known as Sati. They could not divorce or own property. Baby girls are often killed while boys are spared. The source was from Vedic texts of centuries ago.


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