An Overview of the Religion of Hinduism: Hindu beliefs, including the concept of reincarnation, karma, and dharma, heavily influenced Indian culture.

Essay by songkingHigh School, 10th gradeA-, October 2008

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Hinduism was formed by multiple overlapping beliefs of the diverse people of India. It has neither sole founder nor a single text on which it was formed. It does not have a specific theological system, a single system or morality, or a central religious organization. It consists of "thousands of different religious groups that have evolved in India since 1500 BC." As a result of the unique process on which it was developed, Hinduism became one of the world's most complex religions. Despite the countless gods and multiple forms of worship, all Hindus share certain basic beliefs.

"God is one, but wise people know it by many names." This ancient proverb is the key feature of Hinduism. Hindus believe in an omnipotent spiritual force named Brahman. However, most Hindus find the concept of Brahman too complex to fully understand. Consequently, many of them are polytheistic, despite Hinduism being henotheistic.

The main gods in Hindu are Brahman, the Creator; Vishnu, the Preserver; and Shiva, the Destroyer. Interestingly, all these gods are simply different aspects of Brahman.

Another key principle in Hinduism is the belief in reincarnation. Hindus believe that the ultimate goal of existence is moksha, a union with Brahman. But since most people cannot achieve moksha in one lifetime, reincarnation allows people to continue working towards moksha through multiple lifetimes. Each existence comes closer to moksha by obeying the laws of karma. In fact, Hindus believe that every action taken in that existence determines the ranking of the succeeding existence-humans are closest to Brahman, followed by animals, plants, and objects such as water or rocks. People who earn good karma are born at a higher existence; people who achieve negative karma in their lifetime are born in a lower existence.

In order to escape...