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Hinduism - Origin, Culture and Practices

            Hinduism, or "Sanatan Dharma"-which means eternal religion is the dominant religion in India. Also known as the oldest religion, Hinduism is said to begun about 4000 B.C. in the Indus Valley Region; Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. The first traceable roots of Hinduism are believed to lie with the invading Aryans, who move into the northwest of the Indian subcontinent. With them they brought their sacred symbol the Swastika. The Swastika is a symbol that generally takes the form of an equilateral cross, with its four legs bent at 90 degrees. It is considered to be a very sacred and auspicious symbol in Hinduism. It was known as a sign of good luck but is now most notability known as a sign for evil when it was adopted by the Nazi party.
             The sacred text of Hinduism is the oldest religious text- the Rg Veda. Hindus however believe in many other texts. The first is the Vedas-4, which are the four holiest books of Hinduism, which includes the earlier mentioned Rg Veda. The other three are the Yajur Veda, Sama Veda, and Atharva Veda. The second is the Ramayana on of India's best known tales. It tells the story of Prince Rama who was sent into exile in the forest with his wife, Sita, and his brother, Lakshamana. The third is the Bhagavad Gita, or "Song of the Lord" is part of the sixth book of the Mahabharata, the world's longest poem. Next of the texts is the Upanishads. The Upanishads were so called because they were taught to those who sat down beside their teachers (upa=near, ni=down, shad=sit). The fifth is the Mahabharat or Mahabharata is considered to be the world's longest and one of the most revered epics. Lastly, the Upanishads consist of the mystical and philosophical teachings of Hinduism.
             Hindus has many beliefs and practices. In Hinduism monotheism and polytheism are like two sides of the same reality and believed to be both. To begin, they worship the elements believing our bodies are made up of them.

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