Hinduism is the religion of no beginnings; it has no single founder or
revelation, it is regarded by believers as having
existed forever. Scholars believe that the faith originated in the Indus
Valley (modern day Pakistan) roughly five thousand years
ago as a merging of the practices of the native peoples and invading Aryans.
The center of Hindu faith holds that there is something divine within the human heart and all of creation- this is Brahman. Brahman is the energy that sustains the universe, an eternal and absolute reality. Atman is the inner soul, the unchanging essence of an individual. The aim of Hinduism is to unite the Brahman and Atman through realization they are the same. In doing this one reaches moshka and is released from the cycle of reincarnation. As long as a person believes that the Brahman and the Atman are separate, the cycles of death and rebirth continues.
The law of Karma ensures accountability for every thought, action and word. Each has an effect on this and future lives.
Hindus believe in one ultimate supreme being, Brahma, who has unlimited manifestations. The many deities of Hinduism are understood as symbols of the single reality of Brahman. Some of the most prominent manifestations include:
There are four collections of Hindu scripture called the Vedas. The earliest of the four is the Rig Veda, a collection of hymns. The Rig Veda primarily details early Hindu rituals and gods. The Upanishads shift emphasis from sacrificial rituals to a more personal style of religious practice. In the Upanishads, the idea of a human soul searching for spiritual perfection through reincarnation is developed. The Puranas shifts emphasis from the philosophical ideas in the Upanishads to a focus of devotion to personal gods. The Ramayana Veda sets forth a model of the ideal Hindu life and is a source of inspiration for many Hindus.
There are 4 main yogas (disciplines) that are pathways of spiritual life:
Hinduism encompasses a huge variety of beliefs and rituals. Temple or private worship is important in some disciplines; whereas, others practice no external worship. There is no sabbath day so expressions of group devotion are rare.