The History of Hinduism Hinduism The term Hindu was traditionally used by outsiders to describe the people of South Asia, now it has come to describe their religion A “Hindu” is someone who accepts the authority of the Vedas Hinduism is the largest religion in India today Hinduism began with the beliefs of the Aryan people and the Harappans and mixed as the two cultures collided. Hinduism is one of the oldest of the world religions of today, originating well before the Vedas were written down. Hinduism is incredibly tolerant of other religions, often incorporating their beliefs and practices to at least some degree. Vedas The Vedas are ancient books of Aryan poetry, songs, hymns, myths, stories, etc. that focus on gods, religion, and history. There are a total of four Vedas 0 Rig Veda (oldest) 0 Sama Veda 0 Yajur Veda 0 Atharva Veda Each Veda has four layers of text 0 Samhitas 0Original verses 0 Brahmanas 0Commentary by Brahmins on keeping cosmic balance (purity) 0 Aranyakas 0primarily concerned with the proper performance of ritual 0 Upanishads 0Philosophy- Scripture Brahman (Universal Spirit) According to Hinduism, everything that exists is a part of a single supreme force. Nothing exists separate from this force. Since Brahman can be difficult to understand, Hindus focus on aspects of Brahman which are incorporated into many gods Gods 0 Brahma: Creation God 0 Shiva: Destroyer god 0 Vishnu: Preserver god 0 These are only three of literally thousands of gods. Different sects worship different gods in different ways. Beliefs 0 Karma: Every deed affects a person’s fate in this and future lives. In other words the consequences of how a person lives their life. Good or Bad 0 Dharma: One’s duties and obligations in life 0 Caste: A result of Karma and Dharma, directly related Beliefs Samsara: The endless cycle of rebirths a person must endure before achieving Moksha (liberation) 0 Reincarnation: Hindus believe that a person’s Atman is reborn over and over again until all the lessons of life are learned. 0 Hindus want to achieve good Karma by fulfilling their Dharma and observing Caste so that they can reunite their Atman with Brahman in order to break free of Samsara.