Hinduism (सनातन धर्म; Sanātana Dharma, which means Endless Religion) is thought to be the oldest major world religion that is still practiced today. It was the first religion that had the idea of reincarnation (that people can be born again after they die). The most important thing, however, is that Hinduism, unlike Christianity or Islam, is NOT a single religion which have almost the same faith and a unique holy book.
Actually it is the federation of a number of faiths which have evolved from people who lived in the Indian subcontinent. Its a composite mixture of faiths. One group accepts varna, another declines. One group accept vedas, another declines. One group accepts god, another declines god itself. But they are all called Hindus. According to the Indian constitution, the definition for a Hindu is whoever who lives in India and is not a Muslim or a Christian.
In Hinduism spiritual practice (such as praying) is very important.
Hinduism encourages tolerance for what other people believe. Hindus believe that there is not only one correct understanding of the one True God.
Not all people agree on whether Hinduism is polytheistic (believing in many gods) or monotheistic (believing in one god). Many people think that Hindus believe in many gods. Others argue that there is only one god in Hinduism. Under this view, this one god (referred to as Brahman) is expressed in multiple ways. Nirguna Brahman is God without form, or God without personal attributes. All personal forms of God in Hinduism, such as Vishnu or Shiva, are different parts of God in personal form or God with attributes. Many Hindus believe that the difference between polytheism and monotheism is not as great as people in the West might think, because they believe there are different ways of looking at the truth.
God’s energy is Devi, the Divine Mother. For worshipers of Vishnu (or Vaishnavas) who follow Ramunjacharaya’s philosophy, Devi is Lakshmi, the Mother of all, and who pleads with Vishnu for mankind. For worshipers of Shiva (or Shaivas), Devi is Parvati. For Shaktas, that is, worshipers of Devi, Devi is the personal form of God to attain the impersonal Absolute, God. For them, Shiva is personified as God without attributes.
Last updated: September 2, 2014 at 10:15 am
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