Hindu Religious Traditions
Hinduism is one of our worlds oldest and most widely used religions. It was derived from the Indus Valley, now Pakistan, and through the years has grown and developed into a widely used religion in many parts of our world. Hinduism is a vast religion with 333 million gods and there are countless sacred elements which characterize the religion. Sacred text, social life, and rituals are three elements that can give a good look into what Hinduism really is and how its followers practice this religion.
The primary text of Hinduism is The Vedas. The Vedas contains four parts; Rig-Veda, Sama-Veda, Yajur-Veda, and Atharva-Veda. The Vedas contain hymns, incantation, and rituals used in Hindu religious practices. The Vedas is amongst the most ancient religious text still in exsistence, with the Rig Veda thought to have been composed around 1500 B.C. with the Atharva Veda being the latest composition, probably around 1000 B.C. (Hare, 2008).
All Hindu tradition rely on their own sets of scripture, however each revere the Vedas. The Rig-Veda defines the 33 gods of the Vedas pantheon mythology, most of them are personification of natural phenomenon. The 33 gods of the pantheon are not highly revered and mostly ignored in daily life of the Hindu; however there is one God who is very important. Agni is the God of Fire and is worshiped in daily rituals of each Hindu home (Dominguez, 2005). The other three parts of the Vedas covers things such as sacrifices to the gods, chants for worship, magic, and healing of sick.
Another part of the Vedas is the Upanishads. The Upanishads is later portion of the Vedas and shows the progression of Hinduism's concept of the divine. The Upanishads introduces Brahman which is an ultimate reality rather than multiple Gods. There are 1,180 Upanishads and they are the concluding portions of the Vedas and the source of Vedanta philosophy (Dominquez, 2005). Pantheism is a introduced through the...