Essay on Hinduism

Essay on Hinduism
Becky Smith
August 29, 2010
William Lehman

Essay on Hinduism
The term Hinduism is derived from a name that was given to the people who lived in the Indus River region. The more common term used to describe the religion of the people of the Indus River region is Santana Dharma. Santana Dharma means Eternal Truth. Santana Dharma is focused around the belief that there are many worldly things that keep us from finding our true inner self and also keep us from reaching our inner self’s true potential. In Santana Dharma the way to finding your true inner self is through the achievement of moksha or liberation and peace within yourself (Fisher, 2005).
Santana Dharma is composed of the Samhitas, the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas, and the Upanishads. The Samhitas are the sacred hymns that are used to worship the deities. The Brahmanas are the directions that teach how to perform ritual sacrifices. The Aranyakas are the writings from recluses who went to the forest to meditate. The Upanishads are the teachings of the spiritual masters. All four of these together are referred to as the Vedas. Veda means knowledge. The Vedas are the foundation of Santana Dharma. It is believed that the Vedas are the breath of the eternal as heard by the ancient sages or rishis and they were later written down by Vyasa (the Collector). However, scholars believe that the Vedas were written by many different people. The Vedas are the oldest Hindu scriptures, they were written in 1500 B.C. Santana Dharma also includes belief in reincarnation, karma, yoga, and that every living thing has a soul (Fisher, 2005).
Overtime Santana Dharma has affected society and culture, Santana Dharma is based on a caste system, just as much of society is based on a kind of caste system today. In Santana Dharma when you are reincarnated your karma from your previous life determines your caste in your new life. There are four levels to the caste system. The highest level is that of...