Hinduism is a religion or philosophy that originated from India. Hinduism encompasses many religious rituals that widely vary in practice, beliefs, as well as many diverse sects and philosophies. Many Hindus, influenced by Advaita philosophy, venerate an array of deities, considering them manifestations of the one supreme monistic Cosmic Spirit, Brahman, while many others focus on a singular concept of Brahman (God), as in Vaishnavism, Saivism and Shaktism.

Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world, with approximately 900 million adherents. It is also the oldest known religion in the world today. Unlike many other religions, Hinduism has no main founder. It also has no single holy book — it has many, with all pointing to the same Truth - its original scriptures were the four Vedas, but as time has passed, many other scriptures have also emerged.

Core concepts

* The Eternal Way (Sanatana Dharma)
* Basic beliefs
* Nature of God (Prakriti)
* The many deities (Parts and Parcels of God)
* Practice (Yoga Dharma)
* The four pursuits of life
* The four stages of life (Varnashram Dharma)
* The four classes of society (further Varnashram Dharma)

Hindu Sacred Texts

* Shruti
* Bhagavad Gita
* Smriti

Origins & History

* Origins of Hinduism
* Vedic religion
* Temples
* Current geographic distribution

Hindu Philosophy

* Yoga
* Purva Mimamsa
* Uttara Mimamsa: The Three Schools of Vedanta
o Non duality: Advaita Vedanta
o Qualified non-dualism: Vishistadvaita Bhakti-Vedanta
o Dualism: Dvaita Vedanta

Important themes and symbols in Hinduism

* Tilaka (symbol on the forehead or between the eyebrows)
* Ahimsa (non-violence), vegetarian diet and the cow
* Hindu symbolism
* Murtis (icons)
* Mantra

The Vedas

The knowledge about the Supreme Being or Brahman and Dharma have been handed down from one generation to the next in the form of scriptures and are known as the Vedas. By virtue of his tapas in the previous kalpa, Rudra created a new Brahma for the Swetavaraha Kalpa (the present Kalpa) to create a new Universe. Brahma had forgotten the Order of creation and performed penance. Rudra appeared before him and taught him the technique and order of creation.

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