Hindu Religion

Hindu Religion paper
Throughout the course of this paper, it will be taking a closer look at what elements characterize Hindu religious traditions, as well as take a look at their significance and meaning. About 80 percent of India's population regard themselves as Hindus and 30 million more Hindus live outside of India. There are a total of 900 million Hindus worldwide, making Hinduism the third largest religion in the world after Christianity and Islam.
Hindu Background
“Hinduism, from the Persian hindu (Sanskrit sindhu), literally "river." Means "of the Indus Valley" or simply "Indian." Hindus call their religion sanatama dharma,"eternal religion" or "eternal truth." (Religion Facts, 2009).”
The religion was founded in India, there is no solid evidence for when Hinduism was founded, and the earliest forms date back to 1500 B.C. The original language that was used was Sanskrit. Hindus spiritual leaders are called Guru or Sage. They worship in a temple or with an at home shrine. They believe that human nature is bondage to ignorance and illusion that they are able to escape. Their purpose in life is to attain liberation from the cycle of reincarnation. They live their lives according to Dharma. Hindus believe that afterlife can go one of two ways if karma is unresolved the soul is born into a new body. If the Karma is resolved then they attain moksa or liberation (Religion Facts, 2009).

Major Sects
There are four major devotional sects that are involved in Hinduism; Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Shaktism and Smartism.   Vaishnavism and Shaivism are generally regarded as monotheistic sects: each believes in one supreme God, who is identified as Vishnu in Vaishnavism and Shiva in Shaivism (Religion Facts, 2009). Vaishnavism is the largest of the four sects and has many subdivisions below it. The devotional sects do not regard one another as a threat and borrow beliefs and practices from the others.

Sacred Text
Vedas are considered to be the...