Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world. Hinduism is world's third largest religion after Christianity and Islam. Hinduism is the dominant religion in India, where Hindus form about 84 per cent of the total population. Hinduism is also known as "Sanatan Dharma" or the everlasting religion. Hindu religion is based on the concept that human and animal spirits come back to earth to live many times in different forms. The Hindus believe that a soul moves up and down hierarchy on the basis of behavior.
Hinduism is the federation of a number of faiths (a group of sub-religions or sects (Sampradaya) joined together, which have evolved from people who lived in the Indian subcontinent (land near the Indian Ocean). One group accepts the varna system, another does not accept it. One group accepts vedas, another does not accept it. One group accepts god, another does not believe in god. But they are all called Hindus. The Indian constitution says that, by law, a Hindu is whoever who lives in India and is not a Muslim or a Christian.
The main Hindu scriptures are Sruti (what is heard), Smriti (what is remembered) the Vedas, the Brahmanas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and epics. The Sruti include deeply religious things communicated to a seer and recorded. The Vedas, the religious writings, include mantras (hymns of praise), brahmanas (sacrificial rituals) and Upanishads (108 sacred teachings). The Smriti include the law (books of laws), puranas (myths, stories, legends) and epics (sets of holy myths including Ramayana and Mahabharata).
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