Hinduism is the strongest religious tradition of South Asia. It is the third largest religion in the world, and is considered to be the oldest living major religion or tradition. While it is more often called a religion, its structure is such that Hinduism is considered more of a way of life than an actual religious or spiritual belief system. This can be seen in the phrase Sanātana Dharma, which, in Sanskrit, is translated to “the eternal law (Bowker, 2000).” Hinduism also includes a variety of yoga and meditation traditions, as well as morality based on the concepts of karma and reincarnation.
Within Hinduism are a variety of schools and branches. The two schools that survived through the ages are Yoga and Vedanta. The surviving divisions are Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Smartism and Shaktism (Wilhelm, 1991). These numerous schools and branches have been formed to accommodate a variety of beliefs and views of the Hindu system. Each of the aforementioned schools and branches deal with different methods in which to enlighten the mind and lead a life of fulfillment.

Brief History
As aforementioned, Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion, as well as its oldest. In fact, many Hindu documents and artifacts have been dated to the pre-Christ era. While there is no single founder of Hinduism, the roots of other religions and important eras in time can be seen within it, such as Vedic and the beliefs during Iron Age India. Buddhist philosophico-religious thought also influenced many of the Hindu traditions and beliefs (Eliot, 2007), especially in regard to using yoga and meditation as ways in which to reach internal peace and happiness, as well as external enlightenment.

Hinduism - Not a religion
Hinduism, though listed as being a religion, is anything but a religion. Hinduism consists of “thousands of different religious groups that have evolved in India since 1500 BCE (Levinson, 1998).” Hinduism is a way of life, consisting of...