Axia College of University of Phoenix
HUM 130 Religions of the World
Professor Naomi Doumbia
October 21, 2007
The term Hindu was introduced by the British in the nineteenth century as term to classify the people who lived near the Indus River (Fisher, 2005, p.69). The term Hinduism was derived from the term Hindu in order to categorize the religion of this same region. The religion of Hinduism is actually comprised of several traditions and religious beliefs. This has lead to a lack of a uniting belief system and makes Hinduism hard to classify in the Western idea of a religion. Despite the lack of a uniting belief system, Hinduism has had a profound affect in India, the region in which it originated. Hinduism is driven by the concept of moksha, which, as Fisher (2005) explains, is the "liberation from the limitations of space, time, and matter through realization of the immortal Absolute".
The term Hinduism is out dated and most Hindus prefer to call their religion Sanatana Dharma. Fisher (2005) states that there are over 330 million deities in India, and that a reason for this great number of deities is that the divine can not be identified by a single object, but instead has many faces. A majority of Indians live in villages, and the deities that are worshipped in these villages vary vastly from village to village. One common theme is that runs through most of these beliefs is that truth is obtainable and a person may directly experience this truth.
Another common theme is the unwillingness to have a fixed name or form for their deity. This had lead to the misconception that Hinduism is a polytheistic religion. Most people observe that Hindus have many forms deities and give their deities many names. These people fail to realize that all of these forms represent a single deity, and the Hindu's on supreme God answers to many different names. What separates most Hindus is the path they believe will help... [continues]
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