Hinduism is a religion which originated in Ancient India, and holds the title of the oldest religion to date.
Hinduism is much more philosophically based than many monotheistic religions, and does not preach an eternal Hell or Heaven, salvation, redemption, nor does it promise eternal life on Earth. Hinduism does promise, however, a different form of "eternal bliss" and end to suffering. (explained below)
Hinduism has many holy texts, but the most sacred are the Vedas and Upinashads. The Bhagavad Gita, a section of the epic Mahabarata, is sometimes referred to as the "Hindu Bible" because in this text the Lord Krishna relays the major points of the Hindu faith to Arjuna, a warrior hero.
The major beliefs of Hindus include reincarnation, karma (the belief that actions in this life will contribute to the quality of the next life. good actions yield good results, bad yields bad), and ahimsa (nonviolence to all living things). Ahimsa will help one attain good karma, which in turn will help him/her achieve a higher quality next life. The ultimate goal of the Hindu is to achieve moksha, or union with the eternal soul, Brahman. (since the ultimate goal is a union with THE eternal soul, Hinduism is fundamentally "monotheistic," the visible manifestations of God such as Vishnu and Shiva are representations of Brahman, so that the human mind can comprehend it). Union with the eternal soul can be attained through meditation and yogic practices or dedication and devotion to one's duty. Because of this need for dedication to duty, the caste system was created by Krishna to keep people focusing on their jobs; HUMANS (not God) corrupted the system and discriminated against people of "lower" castes. Hinduism also urges people to be dispassionate because attachment to worldly objects is superficial and leads only to suffering.
Today, Hinduism is practiced mainly in India and Nepal, though it is spread throughout the world including the U.K., some countries in Africa, South America, and of course in the U.S.A.
Hinduism is one of the most tolerant religions in the world! It has complex philosophical concepts, is very widely practiced, is the oldest religion in the world, yet never tries to convert people!
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