For hundreds of years, the Indian subcontinent has categorized many religious ways into one tradition known as Hinduism. The term “Hinduism” was given to people regional to the Indus River and dates back to the nineteenth century. Hinduism, also known as Sanatana Dharma, is thought to be over 3000 years old (Fisher, 2005). Throughout this paper, two different questions will be answered and discussed. The questions that will be answered and discussed are: “What makes up the Hindu religion?” and “What are the cultural and societal influences that have made Hinduism vital to the region in which it originated?” Also discussed will be the Hindu’s desire for liberation from earthly existence.
Considering the diversity of religions studied in the world today, one may ask, what makes up the Hindu religion? Hinduism lacks a uniting belief system. Meaning, there is no single set of beliefs or way of worship. Instead, it is the conglomeration of a variety of different religions. Many of the practicing Hindu’s believe in one God, known as Brahman. Other deities are recognized as various forms, or visualizations, or Brahman. Karma is also a large part of Hinduism. Karma may be explained as the belief that everything we do, think, and feel determine our future experiences. Along with Karma, reincarnation is central to Hinduism. The belief the soul is reborn again and again in one form or another could describe reincarnation, as perceived through Hinduism (Fisher, 2005). One may also consider something else that defines Hinduism is the way, or paths, believed to attain salvation. The first path, also known as Karma-Marga, salvation is achieved through works, instead of knowledge or faith. The second path, Jnana-Marga, salvation is achieved through knowledge. The third and final path, Bhakti-Marga, is one of faith, love and devotion. In order to ensure liberation from reincarnation, these three paths should be equally supported through life (Summer Showers in... [continues]
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