Essay by dpwinc1College, UndergraduateA+, June 2009

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Hinduism, also known as Hindû Dharma or Sanâtana Dharma is said to be the oldest existing religion making it the third largest religion in the world. Hinduism thrives in the countries of India and Nepal but also has large practicing populations in other countries, which include Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mauritius, Fiji, Suriname, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago.

After reading several articles and text about Hinduism it has come to my understanding that it is not only a religion but also a way of life. The religion teaches many aspects of philosophy, theology, mythology, etc. With no known founder, Hinduism is made up of diverse beliefs and traditions including ethics and duties also known as Dharma, rebirth or reincarnation called Samsara, cause and effect mostly referred to as Karma and liberation from earthly existence known as the Moksha. Believers practice truth, honesty, non-violence, celibacy, cleanliness, contentment, prayers, austerity, perseverance, and pious company.

Originating from South Asia and the inhabitants living around the Indus River Hinduism has played a huge role in building up its existing culture to what it is today. Because of strong beliefs and Hindu practices, people have been able to maintain economic and agricultural development. The caste system of the Hindu religion still guides the lives of people in modern India. The working of society included a clear division of labor among four major occupational groups. Priests (Brahmins) and philosophers known as the specialists of the life of the spirit, Kshatriyas made up nobility (kings, warriors, and vassals). Kshatriyas job was to guard and preserve the society, Vaishyas were the economic specialists (farmers and merchants), and lastly the shudra (laborers). Modern example of the caste system is the Swadhyaya Movement, which occurred in the 1950's. The caste system teaches realization of the divine within oneself...