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What makes up the Hindu religion?

I'm stuck, don't understand. Please provide some ideas and guidance for each question, so I can write the paper successfully. Thank you kindly.

TASK:

I need to submit a 700-1000 word paper that has to have the following questions answered.
1. Considering that Hinduism lacks a uniting belief system, what makes up the Hindu religion?
2. What are the cultural and societal influences that have made Hinduism vital to the region in which it originated?
3. Explain the desire for liberation from earthly existence.

Solution Preview

Please see response attached (also presented below), including one supporting article. I hope this helps and take care.

RESPONSE:

I need to submit a 700-1000 word paper that has to have the following questions answered.

Background:

Though there are some core beliefs common to virtually all Hindus, there really is no "Hindu orthodoxy"--no hard and fast dogma that all Hindus must believe. It's actually a family of gradually developing beliefs and practices. Hinduism has its roots in the interrelationship of two basic religious systems: that of the ancient civilization residing in the Indus River Valley from the third millennium B.C., and the religious beliefs brought to India by the Aryan people (possibly from the Baltic region) who began infiltrating the Indus Valley sometime after 2000 B.C.

The religion of the Aryans is described in the writings of "holy men" contained in the Vedas (meaning "knowledge" or "wisdom"). The Vedas are four collections of writings composed between about 1500 and 500 B.C., which form the basis for Hindu beliefs, and which reveal a gradual development of religious ideas. The later sections of the Vedas are known as the Upanishads. These Vedic writings are considered inspired. Later Hindu writings, including the renowned Bhagavad Gita, are of lesser authority, but widely popular. http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/hindu.html

1. Considering that Hinduism lacks a uniting belief system, what makes up the Hindu religion?

So, although there is not a uniting belief system, there are common traditions and beliefs that make up the Hindu religion, which evolved and changed over time. Although there is one truth, there are many paths to that truth. Hindu people are given the freedom to find this truth in many different ways. This freedom is indeed the real unity behind the diversity of Hinduism and the key to its many sides. Therefore, Hindu pluralism is not the denial of unity, but the affirmation of real unity, which transcends outer differences. Thus, true unity is built upon freedom, not conformity, and is a state of the heart or inner consciousness, not an outer condition of labels and slogans. http://hinduwebsite.com/hinduintrod1.htm

? For example, when India became independent in 1947, the new government had decided correctly to make independent India a secular country. This decision is a great honor to Hinduism because it is very much in tune with the spirit of Hinduism. Hinduism accepts religious tolerance as an undisputed fact of human life and a divine truth that cannot be compromised. Hinduism recognizes the many paths that lead to God and embraces them all with an open heart. In this regard it is incomparable with any other religion. http://www.hinduwebsite.com/history/hinduhistory3.asp

? A Hindu discipline aims at training the consciousness for a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquility. It is a system of exercises practiced to promote control of the body and mind. What matters most for Hindus is not what people believe and how they express it, but rather that they believe in an order greater than the human mind can fathom or spirit can dominate? Hindus also find release from life from being devoted to more than one God. Hopfe and Woodward (2005) state, "Hinduism offers its devotees many paths" (Hopfe & Woodward 92). Hindus believe in a supreme spirit, called Brahman. However, Hindus do not pray to Brahman, as Christians pray to God. Instead, their belief is that hundreds of gods and goddesses represent different aspects of Brahman. Although most Hindu worship is private and personal, Hindus believe in the immersion of water, and that it is an important ritual. "Millions of Hindus make pilgrimages to the holy Ganges River each year to bathe in its waters and to fulfill their vows" (Hopfe & Woodward 105). The water is believed to be the most sacred river in India. It is believed that the River has spiritually cleansing powers, as all sins fall away from being in it. http://hinduwebsite.com/hinduintrod1.htm

? Today, a Hindu can be polytheistic (more than one god), monotheistic (one god), pantheistic (god and the universe are one), agnostic (unsure if god exists), or atheistic (no god) and still claim to be Hindu. This open theology makes it difficult to discuss basic beliefs, since there are many ideas ...

Solution Summary

Considering that Hinduism lacks a uniting belief system, this soltuion discusses what makes up the Hindu religion. It also discusses the cultural and societal influences that have made Hinduism vital to the region in which it originated and also explains the desire for liberation from earthly existence. Supplemented with an article on Hinduism.

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