Hinduism is the major religion in India and Nepal with 900 million followers worldwide. 80 percent of the population in India is Hindu, making it the major religion of the country (BBC, 2009a). Hinduism started in the Indus River Valley in modern day Pakistan about 4000 years ago (United Religion Initiatives Kids, 2002). Unlike many other religions, it does not have a single founder, no single scripture, and no single set of teachings: its teachings vary and are based off of many different philosophies and holy books. Hinduism is a polytheistic religion. The religion carries a various amount of beliefs, which only some may be practiced. With the large number of teachings, holy books, and beliefs, Hinduism is seen as a way of life rather than a religion (BBC, 2009a).
As mentioned above, Hinduism is a way of life rather than a religion. Hinduism is a guide to life, with an ultimate goal to reach union with Brahman (A History of World Societies, 2012). While there may be millions of gods, many followers believe that there is only one supreme being. Brahman may be seen as the supreme being or as god, but beliefs vary from person to person. While beliefs may vary, Brahman is usually regarded as the power that supports everything. Unlike other religions, Hindus do not worship Brahman, or their supreme being. Many believe that god is unlimited and may exist in many different forms and expressions (Flood, Hindu Concepts, 2009) .
The ultimate goal of Hinduism is to reach moksha, the release of a person’s soul from samsara, or reincarnation. Samsara is a never ending cycle of life, death, and reincarnation (Berkely Center for Peace, Religion, and World Affairs, n.d.). After death, Hindus believe that the soul survives and may be placed into a physical body, which could be animal or human. To Hindus, the body is only a physical form that exists temporarily- the soul exists forever.
While Hinduism is not a religion with set beliefs, teachings, or gods, many Hindus follow the same book. The Vedas is one of the most common scriptures follow in the religion. The Vedas is an ancient religious text said to have been received by scholars directly from god and passed on to the next generations by word of mouth (BBC, 2009e). For hundreds of years the scripture was not written down- rather it was passed on through the word of mouth (United Religion Initiatives Kids, 2002). Teachings in the book are in the form of poems or literatures, with stories wrote to teach a lesson or idea. The Vedas is often called the book of knowledge and has 4 sections within it, all in the order they were written. The oldest section of the book is the Samhitas, which contains hymnes to praise god. The second is the Brahmanas, which has rituals and prayers to guide priests. The Aranyakas guides worship and meditation. Lastly the Upanishads contains the philosophical teachings of Hinduism (BBC, 2009e).
Hindus also have many different beliefs they must uphold to reach the ultimate...