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Write a short note on Hinduism

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Hinduism is an ancient religion. It is based on experiments and social traditions. According to Hinduism the good or bad deeds of human do not get wasted. A human being reborns after death in good or bad form. It is based on his or her good or bad acts.

Hinduism is a religion with various Gods and Goddesses. According to Hinduism, three Gods rule the world. Brahma: the creator; Vishnu: the preserver and Shiva: the destroyer. Lord Vishnu did his job of preserving the world by incarnating himself in different forms at times of crisis.

The three Lords that rule the world have consorts and they are goddesses too. Consort of Brahma is Sarasvati; goddess of learning. Vishnu's consort is Lakshmi; goddess of wealth and prosperity. Shiva's consort is Parvati who is worshipped as Kali or Durga.

Besides these Gods and Goddesses there are a number of other Gods and Goddesses. To name a few of them, there is Ganesh; who has an elephant's head and he is also a son of Shiva and Parvati, Hanuman; who is an ape, Surya; Lord of sun, Ganga Ma; Goddess of river Ganges; Samundra; Lord of the sea, Indra; king of the Gods ( but he isn't an important God), Prithvi; Goddess of earth, Shakti; Goddess of strength. The Hindus call their Goddesses 'Ma' meaning mother.

Some gods have more than one name. Shiva is also known as Shankar, Mahadev, Natraj, Mahesh and many other names. Ganesh is also called Ganpati. God Vishnu incarnated 9 times to do his job and in his every appearance he had a different form which are also worshipped as Gods. Among his appearances, he appeared as Rama, Krishna, Narsimha, Parsuram and Buddha. Krishna also has different names, Gopal; Kishan; Shyam and other names. He also has other titles with meanings like 'Basuri Wala' which means the flute musician and 'Makhan Chor' which means the butter stealer. There are also Gods who can change their forms, for example: Parvati can change into Kali or Durga.

Not all of these Gods are worshiped by all Hindus. Some Hindus worship only Vishnu. Others worship only Shiva. Others worship only the Goddesses and call these Goddesses collectively as Shakti meaning strength. Many of these Goddess worshipers worship Parvati in her images as Kali or Durga. People who worship Shiva or Vishnu also worship characters and images connected with these Gods. Vishnu worshipers (Vaishnaites) also worship his appearances. Shiva's worshipers (Shaivites) also worship images of bull called Nandi, who was Shiva's carrier and a unique stone design connected to Shiva. There are also Hindus who worship all the Gods. There are some Gods who are worshiped all over India like Rama and Krishna and other Gods who are worshiped more in one region than the other like Ganesh who is worshiped mainly in west India. Hindus also worship Gods according to their personal needs. People who engage in wrestling, body building and other physical sports worship Hanuman, who in Hindu legends was an ape with lot of physical strength. Businessmen worship Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth.

Though these Hindus worship different idols, there are many Hindus who believe in one God and perceive in these different Gods and Goddesses as different images of the same one God. According to their beliefs idolatry is the wrong interpretation of Hinduism.

Hindus believe in reincarnation. The basic belief is that a person's fate is determined according to his deeds. These deeds in Hinduism are called 'Karma'. A soul who does good Karma in this life will be awarded with a better life in the next incarnation. Souls who do bad Karma will be punished for their sins, if not in this incarnation then in the next incarnation and will continue to be born in this world again and again. The good souls will be liberated from the circle of rebirth and get redemption which is called 'Moksha' meaning freedom. Hindus normally cremate their dead ones, so that the soul of the dead would go to heaven, except in a few cases of Hindu saints, who are believed to have attained 'Moksha'.

The main Hindu books are the four Vedas. They are Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. The concluding portions of the Vedas are called Upanisads. There are also other holy books like Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharta etc. The different Gods and Goddesses in the Hindu mythology are derived from these books. Ramayana and Mahabharta are the most popular Hindu books.

The main story of Ramayana is the story of Lord Rama. Rama was born in a royal family and was suppose to be the king, but because of his step- mother, he was forced to exile from his kingdom for fourteen years. During this period his consort Sita was kidnapped by a demon called Ravan, who was king of Lanka. Rama with the help of his brother, Lakshman, and an army of monkeys under the leadership of Hanuman, rescued Sita. Many Indians believe that the present day Sri Lanka was then the kingdom of Lanka.

Mahabharta is a family epic. In this epic the Pandva family and the Kaurav family who are cousins fight with each other for the control over a kingdom. Kaurav family, which consisted of 100 brothers rule an empire. The five Pandva brothers ask for a small kingdom which belongs to them. The Kauravs refuse to give the Pandvas the kingdom so there is a war between the Pandvas and the Kauravs in which it is believed that all the kingdoms of that period in India took part. In this war the Pandvas, with the help of Lord Krishna win the war. Before the commencement of the war, while the two armies are facing each other, one of the Pandva brothers Arjun gets depressed. Arjun is depressed because he has to fight against people whom he knows, loves and respects. At this point Krishna, (who was also a king of a kingdom, and participated in this war only as the chariot driver for Arjun) convinces Arjun to fight. Krishna lectures Arjun about life, human beings and their religious duties. He explains to Arjun that he belongs to a warrior caste and he has to fight for that's his destination in this incarnation. Those chapters in the Mahabharta which are Krishna's discourses on religious philosophy are called Bhagvad Gita. Because of it's importance the Bhagvad Gita is considered as a separate holy book. Another Hindu holy book that deals with religious duties is 'Law of Manu' or the 'Dharma Shastra'.
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