It could be said that Hinduism has many gods but only one supreme God, Brahman. Brahman is visualized as a triad, he is three gods that make up one being. He is Brahma, the Creator, who continually creates new realities; He is Vishnu, the Preserver, who is to protect the creations of Brahma; and he is Shiva, the Destroyer, who is the more chaotic force that though sometimes is compassionate, often brings death and destruction. There are two main sects of Hinduism, Vaishnavaism and Shivaism. In Vaishnavaism they believe the Vishnu is the ultimate deity. In Shivaism they believe that Shiva is the ultimate deity.
But is some rural areas a village god or an earth goddess is worshiped. Hindus are very tolerant of other faiths. The have a saying for it “The truth is One, but different Sages call it by Different Names.” Hindus believe in transmigration of the soul, the transfer of one’s soul after death into another body to live another life. This closes the cycle of life and death. This whole concept follows the Hindus’ belief that the whole world is cyclic. While you live your life you collect Karma, the sum of a person’s good and bad deeds.
Karma determines how you will live in your next life. If you live a bad life you could be born into a low social cast or be made to suffer in your next life. It also works the other way around, if you do pure acts and have devotion to God, you can be born into a higher level in your next life, or can even achieve enlightenment. The Hindus have many holy text. The most important of the sacred text are the Vedas, which is made up of many different volumes of text. They contain hymns, incantations, and rituals from ancient India.
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The oldest volume is the Rig Veda that was composed around 1500 BC. Another important group of books is the Upanishad as. They are about Vedic philosophy, and were written between 800 and 400 B. C. They are about how the soul can be united with the ultimate truth through contemplation and mediation. Hinduism is said to be one of the longest practiced religions in the world.
Its roots can be traced back to the civilization in the Indus valley, some time for 4, 000 BC to around 2, 000 BC. It was shaped by many invasions to the area over a span of thousands of years. Hinduism was greatly affected by the invasion of the Aryan people from what is now Russia and part of central Asia around 1500 BC. They brought the religion, Verism, and it mingled with the more advanced native religion of the area. Although the caste system was outlawed in 1949, it remains very significant in Indian culture. All of the Hindus in an area are a member of a Jat, or community.
Each Jat is decided into four Varna, or social castes. A person’s Jat determined what jobs they could have and determined who they could marry. The Jat and Varna were passed down to their children forever trapping them in one way of life. There were four different levels of social castes. The top was the Brahmins, who were the priest and academics. The second level was the Kshatriyas, who were the rulers and members of the military.
The third was the Vaisyas, who were the merchants, land owners, and farming class. The fourth and final level were the Sudras, who were the servants, general laborers and peasants.