Hinduism. A) Describe the sacred stories and writings. B) Four principal beliefs, nature of God, significance of life after death. C) Hinduism in Australia

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A) The Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayama, Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, Puranas, Dharmashastras, Manusmrti are some of the most important sacred writings in Hinduism. The original language was in Sanskrit, meaning cultured or refined.

The sacred literature of Hinduism can be divided up into two distinct categories: sruti and smrti. Sruti texts are those that are heard or divinely revealed, such as the Vedas and the Upanishads. The Vedas are the primary texts of Hinduism. The oldest is called the Rig Veda (hymns praising a number of gods), with the other three being the Yajur Veda (rituals for sacrifices), the Sama Veda (chants for ritual worship), and the Athara Veda (spells and charms for healing the sick). The Rig Veda, the oldest of the four Vedas, was composed around 1500 B.C. Vedas are ancient oral traditions that reflect the customs, belief and practices of the ancient Aryan people. It contains hymns, chants, incarnations and rituals from ancient India.

Later additions to the Vedas were the Upanishads, which elaborates on how the soul (Atman) can be united with the ultimate truth (Brahman) through meditation. It was written around 700BC.

The other type of Hindu literature is smrti, which is remembered or handed down texts. One of the most famous stories is the Ramayana. Written more than two thousand years ago, the Ramayana is a love story about Rama and Sita. The demonic king of Lanka, Ravana, captures Sita, who was eventually rescued with the help of Hanuman, the monkey king. Sita had to proved her fidelity by leaping into flames. Agni, the fire God, rescues Sita, telling Rama that Sita was indeed pure.

The Ramayana has been a perennial source of spiritual, cultural and artistic inspiration, not only to the people of India but also to the people all over the world. It has...