Essay Hinduism

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Hinduism is one of the world’s oldest religions in existence (Srinivasan 66). It ranks as the third largest religion. Today there are about fifty million Hindus worldwide, majority of them living in India (Wangu 6). In order to understand the followers of the religion, you must first realize that Hinduism is more of a way of life than a religion (Srinivasan 66). Hinduism holds together diversity and not only for its own spiritual tradition, but for the entire subcontinent of
India (Berry 3). All traditions within India are somehow associated with Hinduism. “The diversity which marks Hinduism begins with the notion of deity” (Boraks 14). “There is a strange kind of unity in the vast multiplicity of the Hindu pantheon” (14). “One
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“One of the four Vedas contains hymns, chants and praises to gods” (Wangu 9).
“Another Vedas serves as a guidebook for rituals and priestly behavior” (9). “A third offers information on magic and charms that can be used as blessings or curses, and the fourth gives musical notes to be chanted while performing rituals” (9). The latest of the shruti texts are the Upanishads (Wangu 9). The Upanishads were written around 700 - 500 BC (9). Most of the Upanishads are written in the form of dialogue, possibly between a teacher and a student (9). The most important concepts explained in the Upanishads are the concepts of karma - the belief that ones beliefs will later have an affect in this life or another life, samsara - reincarnation, and moksha - release from the cycles of samsara (9). In the texts of the Upanishads one finds more of the philosophical outlook of Hinduism, especially concerning the ,meaning of life and the value of suffering (Boraks 17). These two groups of books are the principal doctrines of the Hindu faith (Wangu 10). All of the works that come after the Vedas and Upanishads are smriti texts (10). The smriti texts include epics, Puranas, Sutras, Shastras, and devotional Bhakti songs
(Wangu 10). Two great smriti epics that have had a significant influence on Hinduism are the
Mahabharata and the Ramayana (10). These two epics have undergone numerous changes throughout the centuries

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