Running Head: Hinduism
According to the Religion Tolerance website, (2008) Hinduism is the oldest living religion and the third largest practiced religion in the world (para. 1). Hinduism began in the Indian Subcontinent. The word “Hinduism” refers to many traditions and philosophies that can vary greatly depending upon the individual follower. The different approaches grouped as if they were a single religion are known as Hinduism. Today the preferred name is Sanatana Dharma or eternal religion (University of Phoenix, 2005)
Hinduism does not have a known founder or a single holy book. Hindus do not believe in a single life, single set of teachings, or a single deity. In fact, Hinduism consists of many religious practices that have evolved since approximately 1500BC (University of Phoenix, 2005) “The spiritual expressions of Sanatana Dharma range from extreme asceticism to extreme sensuality, from the heights of personal devotion to a deity to the heights of abstract philosophy, from metaphysical proclamations of the oneness behind the material world to worship of images representing a multiplicity of deities” (University of Phoenix, 2005, p.69).
The term Hinduism was the name foreigners labeled the people living in the villages along the Indus River in the nineteenth century. According to western historians, Aryans invaded the villages around the Indus River. The Aryan people, according to historians, introduced the books of literature call Vedas, the foundation of Hinduisms beliefs (University of Phoenix, 2005). Scholars and Hindu followers debate the Aryan Invasion Theory because the Vedas consist of a collection of praises to the Indian subcontinent and refer to no other areas the Aryan people came from. Although the exact origin and evolution are unknown the Vedas themselves stand testimony to the beliefs Hindus recognized. The Vedas have four parts. Although Vedas are the foundation for Brahmanic Hinduism, it is not necessarily...