Essay by heapsapeopleHigh School, 11th gradeB, May 2008

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The earliest evidence of Hinduism dates back to 5500-2600 BCE.

Hinduism has a wide range of beliefs spanning from Monotheism, when man may accept the existence of many gods and goddesses, but strongly emphasizes the superiority of the Supreme Deity, a God above all other gods and goddesses. Polytheism in which the worship of multiple gods is bound by related mythology and rituals. Pantheism the belief that god and the material world are one and the same thing and that God is present in everything. Monism which is the theory that reality is one as a whole, based on a single principle.

The different Gods and Goddesses of Hinduism represent various functions, aspects or attributes of one supreme divinity, they are not valid gods but they are valid to worship.

Most Hindus believe that the spirit or soul (the true spirit of every person) called the Atman is ultimately the supreme spirit.

Hinduism develops numerous practices which help Hindus think of divinity in the midst of everyday life. Hindus can engage in their worship at home or at a temple. It is not compulsory for Hindus to go to a temple. Temples are usually used for meaningful meditations, prayers and during religious festivals. Footwear must be removed before entering a temple. At home Hindus create a place for special worships or devotions (also know as a shrine) with icons dedicated to the individual form of god. However, rituals vary from regions, individuals and villages. Hindus who are dedicated to their religion perform daily chores such as worships at dawn after bathing, singing devotional hymns, recitation from religious scripts, meditation, chanting mantras an and reciting scripts.

Respect for elders is a keystone of Hindu culture, sitting to the left of elders, not sitting while they are standing, not yawning or...