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Hinduism
Hinduism
Axia College of University of Phoenix

Hinduism is a very unique religion that is quite different from most religions practiced throughout the world. Although Hindus do believe in one all powering god or goddess, this god or goddess may take on a variety of names and/or forms. This is one of the elements that make Hinduism different from many other religions. It has been said that Hinduism is like a compilation of a number of religions since there are so many varieties of Hinduism. Many tend to argue that Hinduism is not even an actual religion, instead just a way of life. Since Hindus tend to believe in many different gods, Hinduism cannot be placed into particular belief system like monotheism or henotheism. It can be described as both monotheistic and henotheistic. It could be described as monotheistic since all Hindus do believe in one supreme god. On the other hand, it could be described as henotheistic since Hindus do not deny the fact that other gods exist even though they worship one supreme god. Another unique aspect of Hinduism is that unlike other religions that have an authoritative book such as the Bible or the Quran, Hinduism consists of a number of different scriptures. There are a number of different writings which were passed down orally for many generations including the Vedas, Agamas, and the Upanishads. Thought there are many different variations of Hinduism, there are some aspects that are followed by all Hindus. Rituals, life stages, prayer, caste system, pilgrimages, and religious festivals are part of every Hinduís life. Rituals are part of Hindu life from the time they are born until they die. There are many different rituals which almost like checkpoints that are reached at different stages of life. The life of a Hindu is thought to be broken down into four separate stages. Each stage of life is approximately 25 years each. The caste system was implemented back in the early days of Hinduism and still exists somewhat today. The caste system is a ranking system which is based on four occupational groupings. At top were the priests, followed by law makers and enforcers, then business people, and finally the workers. Below these four caste groups was a group that were the outcastes, known as the untouchables. The untouchables were thought to be the lowest of the low and were not even treated as if they were human beings. Something I thought to be interesting about Hindus believing in the caste system is the fact that they believe in karma. If karma is truly the law of cause and effect, would their terrible treatment of the untouchables guarantee that bad things lie ahead for those mistreating them? It just seems strange that if they were such believers in karma that they would not have done them as awful as they did. There are many trees and rivers that are thought to be sacred by Hindus. Many species of trees are considered to be so sacred that they cannot be cut down regardless of where it may grow. Rivers are also thought to be very sacred to Hindus. Most rivers in India are even thought to be goddesses. Being that there are many holy places and rivers that are thought to be extremely sacred to the Hindu, many of them make annual pilgrimages to these places. Some of these pilgrimages are many miles away and even thousands of feet up in the mountains, but there have been Hindus making the trek to these holy places for thousands of years. Attaining spiritual realization is the ultimate goal of Hindus which may take many lifetimes. As it may take many lifetimes to finally reach this goal, Hindus believe in reincarnation. Reincarnation is the belief that the soul is immortal and will carry on in other physical bodies in a cycle of life and death. Hindus almost see earthly existence as suffering; therefore their ultimate goal is to end the cycle of life and death by liberation. Once the soul has been liberated it can escape earthly existence and join the divine. Hinduism is practiced by over 80% of the population in India, making it the most dominant faith in the country. Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world with over one billion followers. Although there are many varieties of the Hindu religion, the same set of core values is constant through all of its followers.

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