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The History of Hinduism
The term Hindu was traditionally used by
outsiders to describe the people of South
Asia, now it has come to describe their
A “Hindu” is someone who accepts the
authority of the Vedas
Hinduism is the largest religion in India
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.

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