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Principles and Practice of Hindu Dharma

What is the basic faith in the Hindu Religion? H induism is unique among the great Religions of the world in that it had no single foun...

Principles and Practice of Hindu Dharma

What is the basic faith in the Hindu Religion?
Hinduism is unique among the great Religions of the world in that it had no single founder or Messiah nor a single book as a source but grew gradually over a period of several thousand years. Hindu society is the product of many races and many cultures with several forms of practice. It evolved out of the varying faiths in different groups of the ancient community as it was absorbing and assimilating all the diversified social movements and cultural practices of India. Consequently, it does not have a single Holy book as a source to guide all, like a Bible or Koran. Most of their beliefs and practices are based on the teachings of the Vedas, Agamas, Upanishads and several books written, based on these texts. Large portions of these texts are lost.

Hindus believe that their religion is without beginning, even preceding the creation of the human race and the creation of the universe. They believe that the creation of the universe and its lives are without beginning or end and is a continuous process, a cycle of creation and dissolution. The Vedas are the very breath of this process with which Lord Brahma, the creator, creates the universe and all its lives.

The name "Hindu" is said to have been derived from the name given by the Western and Persian scholars to the people settled on the River Sindhu. Some believe the name has a much older origin in the scriptures. Scholars often referred to this as the Brahmanical faith. Hindus called it "Vaideeha Dharma" or "Sanathana Dharma". Philosophers often do not want to refer to it as a mere religion, as that will narrow it down to blind faith of prayers to God. It permits free thinking, questioning, and reasoning. It allows both philosophy and rituals. It accepts even atheists and agnostics as much as it accepts various forms of worship of the Divine.

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