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Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharmaor way of life, [note 1] widely practised in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, it is linked by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, cosmologyshared textual resourcesand pilgrimage to sacred sites.
These texts discuss theology, philosophymythologyVedic yajnaYogaagamic ritualsand temple buildingamong other topics. Some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions, then engage in lifelong Sannyasa monastic practices to achieve Moksha. Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion ; its followers, known as Hindusconstitute about 1. It is also the predominant religion in BaliIndonesia. It is believed that Hindu was used as the name for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent modern day Pakistan and Northern India.
Thapar states that the word Hindu is found as heptahindu in Avesta — equivalent to Rigvedic sapta sindhuwhile hndstn pronounced Hindustan is found in a Sasanian inscription from the 3rd century CE, both of which refer to parts of northwestern South Asia.
By the 13th century, Hindustan emerged as a popular alternative name of Indiameaning the “land of Hindus”. The term Hindu was later used occasionally in some Sanskrit texts such as the later Rajataranginis of Kashmir Hinduka, c.
These texts used it to distinguish Hindus from Muslims who are called Yavanas foreigners or Mlecchas barbarianswith the 16th-century Chaitanya Charitamrita text and the 17th-century Bhakta Mala text using the phrase ” Hindu dharma “. The term Hinduismthen spelled Hindooismwas introduced into the English language in the 18th century to denote the religious, philosophical, and cultural traditions native to India. Hinduism includes a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, but has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet s nor any binding holy book; Hindus can choose to be polytheistic, pantheistic, monotheistic, monistic, agnostic, atheistic or humanist.
In India the term dharma is preferred, which is broader than the Western term religion. The study of India and its cultures and religions, and the definition of “Hinduism”, has been shaped by the interests of colonialism and by Western notions of religion. Hinduism as it is commonly known can be subdivided into a number of major currents.
Of the historical division into six darsanas philosophiestwo schools, Vedanta and Yogaare currently the most prominent. McDaniel classifies Hinduism into six major kinds and numerous minor kinds, in order to understand expression of emotions among the Hindus.
Michaels distinguishes three Hindu religions and four forms of Hindu religiosity. He classifies most Hindus as belonging by choice to one of the “founded religions” such as Vaishnavism and Shaivism that are salvation-focussed and often de-emphasize Brahman priestly authority yet incorporate ritual grammar of Brahmanic-Sanskritic Hinduism.
Inden states that the attempt to classify Hinduism by typology started in the imperial times, when proselytizing missionaries and colonial officials sought to understand and portray Hinduism from their interests. This stereotype followed and fit, states Inden, with the imperial imperatives of the era, providing the moral justification for the colonial project. The early reports set the tradition and scholarly premises for typology of Hinduism, as well as the major assumptions and flawed presuppositions that has been at the foundation of Indology.
Hinduism, according to Inden, has been neither what imperial religionists stereotyped it to be, nor is it appropriate to equate Hinduism to be merely monist pantheism and philosophical idealism of Advaita Vedanta.
To its adherents, Hinduism is a traditional way of life. All aspects of a Hindu life, namely acquiring wealth arthafulfillment of desires kamaand attaining liberation moksha are part of dharma which encapsulates the “right way of living” and eternal harmonious principles in their fulfillment. Sanatana dharma has become a synonym for the “eternal” truth and teachings of Wamayam, that transcend history and are “unchanging, indivisible and ultimately nonsectarian”.
It is viewed as thosee eternal truths and tradition with origins beyond human history, truths divinely revealed Shruti in the Vedas — the most ancient of the world’s scriptures.
Hinduism, to them, is a tradition that can be traced at least to the ancient Vedic era. Some ihndu referred to Hinduism as the Vaidika dharma. According to Klaus Klostermaier, the term Vaidika dharma is the earliest self-designation of Hinduism. Smith “[i]t is ‘debatable at the very least’ as to whether the term Vaidika Dharma cannot, with the proper concessions to historical, cultural and ideological specificity, be comparable to and translated as ‘Hinduism’ or ‘Hindu religion’.
However, the late 1st-millennium CE Indic consensus had “indeed come to conceptualize a complex entity corresponding to Hinduism as opposed to Buddhism and Jainism excluding only certain forms of antinomian Shakta-Shaiva” from its fold. Some Kashmiri scholars rejected the esoteric tantric traditions to be a part of Vaidika dharma.
The term Vaidika dharma means a code samayaam practice that is “based on the Vedas”, but it is unclear what “based on the Vedas” really implies, states Julius Lipner. Many Hindus do not have a copy of the Hindi nor have they ever seen or personally read parts of a Veda, like a Christian might relate to the Bible or a Muslim might to the Quran. Yet, states Lipner, “this does not mean that their [Hindus] whole life’s orientation cannot be traced to the Vedas or that it does not in some way derive from it”.
Many religious Hindus implicitly acknowledge the authority of the Vedas, this acknowledgment is often “no more than a declaration that someone considers himself [or herself] a Hindu. Beginning in the 19th century, Indian modernists re-asserted Hinduism as a major asset of Indian civilisation,  meanwhile “purifying” Hinduism from its Tantric elements  and elevating the Vedic elements. Western stereotypes were reversed, emphasizing the universal aspects, and introducing modern approaches of social problems.
Raja Rammohan Roy is known as the father of the Hindu Renaissance. This “Global Hinduism”  has a worldwide appeal, transcending national boundaries  and, according to Flood, “becoming a world religion alongside Christianity, Islam and Buddhism”,  both for the Hindu diaspora communities and szmayam westerners who are attracted to non-western cultures and religions.
The term Hinduism is coined in Western ethnography in the 18th century,   and refers to the fusion [note 3] or synthesis [note 4]  of various Indian cultures and traditions.
Hinduism’s tolerance to variations in belief and its broad range of traditions make it difficult to define as a religion according to traditional Western conceptions. Some academics suggest that Hinduism can be seen as a category with “fuzzy edges” rather than as a well-defined and rigid entity. Some forms of religious expression are central to Hinduism and others, while not as central, still remain within the category. Based on this idea Ferro-Luzzi has developed a ‘Prototype Theory approach’ to the definition of Hinduism.
Hinduism has been described as a tradition having a “complex, organic, multileveled and sometimes internally inconsistent nature”. Unlike other religions in the World, the Hindu religion does not claim any one Prophet, it does not worship any one God, it does not believe in any one philosophic concept, it does not follow any one act of religious rites or performances; in fact, it does not satisfy the traditional features of a religion or creed.
உலகே பிரம்மிக்கும் இந்து கோயில்கள்.! | world famous hindu temples – Samayam Tamil
It is a way of life and nothing more”. Part of the problem with a single definition of the term Hindi is the fact that Hinduism does not have a founder. Theism is also difficult to use as a unifying doctrine for Hinduism, because while some Hindu philosophies postulate a theistic ontology of creation, other Hindus are or have been atheists. Despite the differences, there is also a sense of unity. Halbfass states that, although Shaivism and Vaishaism may be regarded as “self-contained religious constellations”,  there is a degree of interaction and reference between the “theoreticians and literary representatives”  of each tradition which indicates the presence of “a wider sense of identity, a sense of coherence in a shared context and of inclusion in a common framework and horizon”.
The notion of common denominators for several religions and traditions of India further developed from the 12th century CE on. By late 1st-millennium CE, the concept of a belief and tradition distinct from Buddhism and Jainism had emerged. Moderates then, and most orthoprax scholars later, agreed that though there are some variations, the foundation of their beliefs, the ritual grammar, the spiritual premises and the soteriologies were same.
According to Nicholson, already between the 12th and the 16th centuries “certain thinkers began to treat as a single whole the diverse philosophical teachings of the Upanishads, epics, Puranas, and the schools known retrospectively as the ‘six systems’ saddarsana of mainstream Hindu philosophy.
As a counteraction to Islamic supremacy and as part of the continuing process of regionalization, two religious innovations developed in the Hindu religions: The Brahmins samaym produced increasingly samayxm texts, especially eulogies and chronicles of sacred sites Mahatmyasor developed a reflexive passion for collecting and compiling extensive collections of quotations on various subjects.
Hinduism – Wikipedia
This inclusivism  was further developed in the 19th and 20th centuries by Hindu reform movements and Neo-Vedanta and has become characteristic of modern Hinduism. The notion and reports on “Hinduism” as a “single world religious tradition”  was popularised by 19th-century proselytizing missionaries and European Indologists, roles sometimes served by the same person, who relied on texts preserved by Brahmins priests for their information of Indian religions, and animist observations which the missionary Orientalists presumed was Hinduism.
Classical Hindu thought accepts four proper goals or aims of human life: DharmaArthaKama and Moksha. Dharma is considered the foremost goal of a human being in Hinduism. It is, states Van Buitenen, the pursuit and execution of one’s nature and true calling, thus playing one’s role in cosmic concert.
Nothing is higher than Dharma. The weak overcomes the stronger by Dharma, as over a king. In the MahabharataKrishna defines dharma as upholding both this-worldly and other-worldly affairs. Artha is objective and virtuous pursuit of wealth for livelihood, obligations and economic prosperity. It is inclusive of political life, diplomacy and material well-being. The Artha concept includes all “means of life”, activities and resources that enables one to be in a state one wants to be in, wealth, career and financial security.
A release from this eschatological cycle, in after life, particularly in theistic schools of Hinduism is called moksha. Karma translates literally as actionworkor deed and also refers to a Vedic theory of “moral law of cause and effect”. These actions may be those in a person’s current life, or, in some schools of Hinduism, possibly actions in their past lives; furthermore, the consequences may result in current life, or a person’s future lives.
Hindu Samayam (Tamil)
Liberation from samsara through moksha is believed to ensure lasting happiness and peace. The ultimate goal of life, referred to as mokshanirvana or samadhiis understood in several different ways: Such realization liberates one from samsara, thereby ending the cycle of rebirth, sorrow and suffering. The meaning of moksha differs among the various Hindu schools of thought.
For example, Advaita Vedanta holds that saayam attaining moksha a person knows their “soul, self” and identifies it as one with Brahman and everyone in all respects. To theistic schools of Hinduism, moksha is liberation from samsara, while for other schools such as the monistic school, moksha is possible in current life and is a psychological concept. According to Deutsche, moksha is transcendental consciousness to the latter, the perfect state of being, of self-realization, of freedom and of “realizing the whole universe as the Self”.
Moksha is more than liberation from life-rebirth cycle of suffering samsara ; Vedantic samayan separates this into two: Hinduism is a diverse system of thought with beliefs spanning monotheism samayaj, polytheismpanentheismpantheismpandeismmonismand atheism among others;   [web 3] and its concept hinxu God is complex and depends upon each individual and the tradition and philosophy followed.
Sxmayam is sometimes referred to as henotheistic i. The Nasadiya Sukta Creation Hymn of the Rig Veda is one of the earliest texts  which “demonstrates a sense samayyam metaphysical speculation” about what created the universe, the concept of god s and The One, and whether even The One knows how the universe came into being.
The “One Truth” of Vedic literature, in modern era scholarship, has been interpreted as monotheism, monism, as well as a deified Hidden Principles behind the great happenings and processes of nature.
Hindus believe that all living creatures have a soul.
The soul is believed to be eternal. God is called IshvaraBhagavanParameshwaraDeva or Deviand these terms have different meanings in different schools of Hinduism. Hindu texts accept a polytheistic framework, but this is generally conceptualized as the divine essence or luminosity that gives vitality and animation to the inanimate natural substances. It is observable in offerings to rivers, trees, tools of one’s work, animals and birds, rising sun, friends and guests, teachers and parents.
This seeing divinity in everything, state Buttimer and Wallin, makes the Vedic foundations of Hinduism quite distinct from Animism.
The Vedic view does not see this competition, rather sees a unifying divinity that connects everyone and everything. The word avatar does not appear in the Vedic literature,  but appears in verb forms in post-Vedic literature, and as a noun particularly in the Puranic literature after the 6th century CE. In the goddess-based Shaktism tradition of Hinduism, avatars of the Devi are found and all goddesses are considered to be different aspects of the same metaphysical Brahman  and Shakti energy.
Both theistic and atheistic ideas, for epistemological and metaphysical reasons, are profuse in different schools of Hinduism.
According to Graham SchweigHinduism has the strongest presence of the divine feminine in world religion from ancient times to the present. Authority and eternal truths play an important role in Hinduism.
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