Hinduism is a religion originating on the Indian Subcontinent and is the oldest major religion that is still being practiced. The followers of Hinduism mainly originate from India and Nepal though there are increasing adherents outside the subcontinent, in places like Indonesia or Malaysia.
The word Hinduism originates from the Persian word "Sindhu" referring to the people who lived near the Indus River (despite what the extremely well-informed twat, has written below) The term was used to refer to the religion of the Indians (mispronounced as Hindu) and eventually adopted by the Indians themselves. The word Hinduism also appeared in medieval Sanksrit texts.
Hinduism is a product of the cultural development of the Indian Subcontinent itself and of an early Vedic religions. Hinduism encompasses seemingly all manner of religion, it is polytheistic, monotheistic or even atheist at times. It has a vast body of scriptures developed over millenia, the main ones in orthodox views, being the Vedas and the Upanishads. Hinduism contains a large number of different schools of thought, encompassing philosophy and theology. There are six major schools of Hindu philosophy each one different, some of them not originally theistic at all. One teaches the pursuit of knowledge, through meditation and spiritual connection, similar to Buddhism.
The Hindu view of God is complex as Hinduism in itself is not a cohesive religion like Christianity. However, most Hindus believe that the soul, the true self of every person is eternal. Others believe that the ultimate goal is to be one with the entity known as Brahman, the eternal and the infinite. Hinduism has often been called polytheistic since it has a pantheon. They are referred to as Devas, or roughly translated, Gods. However these are more closely in line with angels in Judeo-Christian beliefs as the ultimate entity in Hinduism is still a Supreme God. The Devas control natural phenomena and sometimes take corporeal form to help man.
Ultimately Hinduism teaches dharma, or religious living. What in the West is referred to as religion, in the Indian Religions, they are dharma, or versions of it. There is no wrong way to live, there are simply different versions.
Hindu: I believe in a set of diverse practices, I do not worship a cow as my savior, I only pray to a deity for strength or courage. I pray to the Supreme God and I only seek personal liberation by being one with the eternal. And for the last time, NO, I will not give you technical support for your Dell laptop!
In Hinduism, one can follow the teachings of Jesus Christ (also known as Christianity) since Jesus would be considered a wise man in many schools of Hinduism and a teacher of religious living.
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