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Bailee Van Beek

Mrs. Perez

Comparative Religion

Block A

12/12/17
World Religions Research Paper

Hinduism is the religion of peace. It is the religion of the majority of the people in Nepal

and India. It also is practiced all over the subcontinent and among populations outside the

subcontinents. Hinduism is mainly practiced by the natives of India and the people who have

migrated from India to all over the world. There are over seven hundred million Hindus that

practice Hinduism everyday. Eight five percent of the population of India are Hindus. They don’t

have one scripture and no common set of teachings. Although they do have a very long history,

they have many different teaching and many different writings in their books. The word that

comes from the ancient Sanskrit word that means “dwellers by the Indus River”. This refers to

the location in Pakistan. The religion follows by something called Dharma. Dharma is a

commitment to or respect of way of life.

Hinduism is the oldest religions to date. It dates back to more than 3,000 years. Hinduism

is one of the few only religions that have no distinct founder. The earliest records of Hinduism is

in 1500 B.C. Hinduism originated in India but has spread throughout the world through trade and

through word of mouth.

This religion has no system of beliefs and ideas. Although it is a religion and a way of

life, you can look at it many different ways. Unlike other religions here is no specific path to

heaven, there is multiple paths to heaven. So Hinduism has many different tenants. One major
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core belief would be the The Four Puruṣārthas. The Four Puruṣārthas are dharma, artha, kama

and mosha. Dharma is the ethical driven manner of living in society with fellow humans. Artha

is the pursuit of material prosperity through constructive work. This would include not only

traditional work but government and civic service. Kama is the pursuit of pleasure and happiness

through the exercise of desire and passion. Moksha is the pursuit of spiritual liberation and

salvation. Like Buddhism, which came from the Hindu philosophy, Hindu tradition believes that

one's current situation and the future outcome is the result of action and consequence. Karma and

rebirth go into the same category. Hinduism is not a religion that leans on the idea of divine

grace, but on the merits of the free-will action. In Hinduism, what you have done determines

what you are, and what you do now determines what you will be. Hindus believe that the

ultimate goal of life is moksha or nirvana. Moksha is the realization of one's relationship with

God. There’s are many many more different beliefs but those are some of the major ones just

because every Hindu has a different set of beliefs.

One major practice that the Hinduism religion believes in is the caste system. The caste

system is referred to as the "duties of one's class and station". The ancient texts tells of four great

classes, or castes which are: the Brahmins, or priests; the Ksatriyas, or warriors and rulers; the

Vaisayas, or merchants and farmers; and the Sudras, or peasants and laborers. The class that is

not really a caste is the Panchamas, or untouchables, are people whose jobs make them touch

unclean or unholy objects. The practices of religious life of many Hindus is focused on devotion

to God. It is mainly perceived as Brahman, Shiva and Vishnu and several other gods. This

devotion usually takes the form of rituals and practices associated with sculptures and images of

gods in home shrines. The home shrine is called a puja. More philosophically-minded Hindus

ignore the gods altogether and seek realization of the self through intense meditation. They call
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this yoga. Yoga directly translates to “ discipline” While still others focus primarily on fulfilling

the social and moral duties appropriate to their position in life. Most Hindus have a shrine or

offerings at home where they prayers are said. Family members worship and pray together 5

times a day.Although rituals should be performed 3 times a day. Hindu leaders and called

Brahmins which means priests.

The major popular sacred text that Hinduisms have are the Vedas. The plural term

“Vedas” has two related meanings in Hinduism. First, it refers to the four Veda texts: the Rig

Veda, the Yajur Veda, the Sama Veda and the Atharva Veda. The second meaning of "Vedas"

also refers to the literature of the Vedic period which are based upon the four Vedas. Hinduism

considers The Vedas texts to be sruti, a word which means "heard." The Vedas were written

down by rishis (holy men who are the mythical founders of Hinduism) who "heard" them during

deep meditation. The texts come neither from god's not men, but from the nature of the books

itself. Then there is the Brahmanas. The Brahmanas were composed between 1000 and 700

B.C.E. as commentaries on the four Vedas. There was a specific Brahmana to each Veda. The

Upanishads are as different and diverse as the Vedas. It was composed between roughly 700 and

300 B.C.E. The Upanishads are discussions of the deep inner meaning of their respective Vedas.

The Hindu religion has many different symbols. There are 4 major ones that truly have an

impact on the religion itself. Aum, or spoken as “Om”, is the most important symbol in

Hinduism. It is made up of 3 Sanskrit letters, A, U and M. All the major Hindu mantras start with

Aum. It represents the almighty. The second most important symbol of Hinduism is the swastika

sign. The word swastika is broken down into parts meaning “Everything is good”. The saffron

color is the color that can symbolize all aspects of Hinduism. It is the color of Agni or fire, which
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reflects the Supreme Being. Last but not least the bindi. The bindi is a small sign that is placed

between the eyebrows of a married women. Some married women use the sign as well.

The Hinduism religion has many days and holidays that they observe. Diwali is the

Festival of Lights that is a major holiday but is also celebrated by Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs. It

extends over 5 days and celebrates the victory of good over evil. Some Jains may choose to fast

for the two days of Diwali. Dussera is the important tenth day of Navratri. Ganesha Chaturthi is

the celebration of the birth of Ganesha, son of Shiva. Festival may last 10 days, or may be

celebrated at home. Holi is the Festival of Colors. They normally celebrate it in the spring.

Krishna Janmashtami is a two day festival celebrating the birth of Lord Krishna. Maha Shivratri

is the Honor of Lord Shiva. The celebration involves all-night worship the night before, fasting

on the day, prayer and vigil. Navratri is the Nine Nights. The celebration and festival last for

nine nights and ten days. Raksha Bandhan is The Bond of Protection. It celebrates brotherhood

and love.

The gender roles in Hinduism women are inferior to men. One of the most widely known

of the Dharmashastras, the Manu Smriti, or Laws of Manu, depicts women as being entirely

subservient to men: a girl is governed by her father, a married woman by her husband, a widow

by her sons. Women are not allowed to do anything without their husband.

The modern religion in today’s society is very similar to what is was back then. They

believe in the same concepts that they did back then. It has just been passed on from oral

tradition, so somethings do get changed naturally but it is all the same more or less. To this day

India has the most followers.

Hinduism is the religion of many beliefs and practices. There is many information about

this specific religion but its a way of life. You have have to complete a set of rules and practices
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to reach your ultimate goal is to get liberation. Although you may have to be reincarnated a few

times you will soon achieve it.


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Citations

1. “ISKCON Educational Services - Heart of Hinduism.” Welcome to the Heart of

Hinduism, iskconeducationalservices.org/HoH/index.htm.

2. “Hinduism Origins, Hinduism History, Hinduism Beliefs.” Patheos,

www.patheos.com/library/hinduism.

3. “Religion: Hinduism.” BBC, BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/.

4. https://www.hafsite.org/sites/default/files/Hinduism101TheBasics_1.pd