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Hinduism and the Hindu religion

The Hindu religion or more specifically tradition or culture is a large subject that only a whole book would do justice to.

For many thousands of years the far-East has been a very rich source of Universal practice, wisdom and knowledge, especially within the countries and cultures of India, China and Tibet, which have given rise to many philosophies and pseudo-religions including Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism. There are also many variations and sub-traditions within these main traditions, the overall message however remaining totally consistent throughout.

Hinduism is one of the worlds oldest religions if indeed can be properly called a religion. Indeed, Hinduism cannot even be correctly referred to as a single philosophy, encompassing as it does a very wide diversity comprising numerous different social and pseudo-religious philosophies, cults and sects, although all ultimately originating from a common origin. These in turn involve equally numerous, diverse and colourful rituals, ceremonies and Spiritual practices. Hinduism has three main names; “Sanatana Dharma”, meaning “eternal religion”, “Vaidika Dharma” meaning “religion of the Vedas” and of course “Hindu” itself, the absolute origin of which is not precisely known.

One theory as to the origin of the name “Hindu” is a derivation from an ancient inscription that has been translated as meaning: the country lying between the Himalayan mountain and Bindu Sarovara, known as Hindusthan by combination of the first letter 'Hi' of 'Himalaya' and the last compound letter “ndu” of the word “Bindu”, hence the derivation "Hindu.. Bindu Sarovara is called the Cape Comorin sea in modern times. The origins of Hinduism trace back to the Indus Valley civilisation dated at between 4000 and 2200 BCE Note: “BCE” is an acronym for “Before the Common Era”, previously known as “BC” or “before Christ”.

Among the most sacred of all Hindu texts are the “Vedas”, the Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. Rig Veda, also known as Rigveda is the oldest work, having been originally composed around 1500 BCE and written around 600 BCE. The Vedas contain hymns, incantations and rituals from ancient India.

Another group of important primary texts are the Upanishads. These are a continuation of the Vedic philosophy and were written between 800 and 400 BCE. The Upanishads expand upon how the Soul, Atman, can be united with the ultimate truth, Brahman, through contemplation and meditation as well as through the law of karma.

The Mahabharata of the Hindu were written around 540 to 300 BCE and have been attributed to the sage Vyasa. They record "the legends of the Bharatas”, one of the Aryan tribal groups. Another very important and well-known work is the Bhagavad Gita, which is the sixth book of the Mahabharata. The “Gita” is a long and highly colourful poem describing a conversation between the warrior Arjuna and the God Krishna. It is an ancient text that has become central to Hinduism and other belief systems.

Another important text is the Ramayana, a love story with moral and Spiritual themes. The Ramayana is dated to the first century CE and has been attributed to the poet Valmiki. Other important texts in the Hindu culture include the Brahmanas, the Sutras, and the Aranyakas.

Although Hinduism contains many different variations and practices according to its various component traditions and regions, there are nevertheless very important Spiritual principles central to Hinduism and its various levels of teachings. These principles are encompassed by a collection of works known as the “Vedas” which were written by a number of ancient sages known as “Vedic seers”.

Hinduism is a very large subject indeed; 

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