By: Veena Suthendran, Coleman Wylie, Elbio Guedilla, Sung Na

Origins of the Religion

Origin of Hinduism

Hinduism, an ethnic religion, does not have a specific founder or date of origin since the religion has evolved as time and culture impacted its religious ideas. The religion itself believes itself as timeless, meaning that it seems as if it has always existed.

Classification of Religion

Hinduism is an ethnic religion because it has not diffused far outside of its origin in India.

Basic Religious Beliefs

Hinduism lacks a unified religious doctrine and believes that each individual can find their path to worship their deity.
There are a series of paths to follow including the path of knowledge, the path of renunciation, the path of devotion and the path of action.
There is the belief in Karma, which is the belief that if you have good actions you will be rewarded and with bad actions you are punished.
There are a series of deities that an individual can worship, some people believe that all of these deities are manifestation of one central deity. Some of these deities are: Vishnu (the preserver and protector of all creation), Shiva (the destroyer of the world), and Brahma (the creator of the world). There are many more deities that a Hindu can worship and many believe them all to be manifestations of one central, all-powerful deity.

Branches or Divisions

There are two main divisions in Hinduism. Each focus on a specific God within the religion. However they still worship all the Gods. The Vaishnavites focus on Vishnu, while the Shaivites focus on Siva.
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Geographic Distribution

How the religion diffused:

Hindusism, an ethnic religon, was not diffused farther than the south Asian region. The diffusion of the Islam religion sprung into popularity spreading into some regions of southern Asia setting back the diffusion of Hinduism.

Holy Places:

Practiced today:

Hinduism is significantly practiced in southern India, although there are many Hindus living in other countries it is not the main religion in other countries other than India.
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Number of followers:

6.677 billion people in the world follow the Hinduism religion globally.

Distribution of Followers:

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Unique Features

Key figures and important people:

Sri Sankaracharya and Sri Madhavacharya are the gurus (teachers) in Hinduism. These gurus have all meditated and went on a journey to find God and shared it with the rest of Hinduism and they all preach their findings so that everyone may attain salvation. They are very important in the Hinduism religion because they have taught and shared their knowledge.

Holy texts:

Vedas, Bhaghavad Gita, Maha Bharatha, Ramayana, and Upanishads are the main holy texts of Hinduism. While the Vedas and the Upanishads are the rules that Hindus live by the Bhaghavad Gita, Maha Bharatha, and Ramayana are all stories of God when he was on Earth that teach morals.

Religious symbols:

The main religious symbol that is strongly common in the Hinduism religion is the "Om" symbol that may resemble the letter three. It stands to represent Brahman the omnipresent God and creator of human life in the Hinduism religion. The symbol is also the way a Hindu may lead his/her life, because in the morning a Hindu may utter "om" as a meditation before starting the day.

Place of worship:

There are no uniform places of worship, as people can worship their deity from their home or in any way they choose although there are several "temples" built for the Hindu religion. There are temples that contain a larger scale shrine than a home one, which are used to let many gather and worship, however there is not a group praying secession but rather where individuals may worship at whatever time and place they please.
The Hindu Temple

Impact on social and family structures:

In the Hinduism religion many believe in joint families, where more than one family live together. Another aspect is that many Hindus strongly think that elderly people such as grandpas, grandmas, or great aunts should be cared for by the family. A Hindu family may contain a brother and his family and his sister's family and his mom and dad. Hinduism also contains many celebration or holidays that are celebrated with friends and family of the Hinduism community.

Impact on cultural beliefs and expectations:

The Hindu religion has a strong taboo against the consumption of cow which was the lifeblood of Ancient India.Hinduism has a strong quality in which many people with different religious beliefs can coexist together without conflict because of Hinduism’s flexibility. There are no certain places, events, or activities that a Hindu must do because it is always religious okay however the Hindu wants to pray or worship God.The word Hinduism refers to the people living in what is now India. Their is a caste system in which a Hindu was assigned into a class according to religious law.