Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma (the preferred name) is not a religion in the typical sense. Those that practice believe that there is only one supreme called Brahman the Absolute the Supreme Reality; however, it does not push for the worship of one particular deity. Hindu worship three major groupings of deities; there are those that worship the Mother Goddess or Saktas, there are those that worship the god Siva called Saivites and then there is the group that worship the god Vishnu called Vaishnavites. Even though there are three major groupings the Hindu faith is based on one deity that believes in creating, preserving and the merciful act of destroying (Fisher, 2003).
The cultural and societal influences that have made Hinduism essential to the region in which it originated is that in the old days, the metaphysical beliefs in the Vedas (in about 8000 BCE) were elaborated into different schools of thought by philosophers. These beliefs were passed on by spiritual discipline.
There are many sacred teachings that thought Hinduism; the earliest is called Samhitas which were hymns of praise in the worship of deities. Then there was Brahmanas which were directions about performances of the ritual sacrifices to the deities, and the last one was the Upanishads which was the consisting of teachings from highly realized spiritual masters. This teaching explained the personal transformation that results from psychic participation in the ritual process (Fisher, 2003). The Upanishads have several doctines central to Sanatan Dharma one of which is reincarnation giving many the answer to what happens when we die. These teachings (also called the rishis) tells that our soul is re-born over and over again until we are able to become one with the Absolute Reality. A firm base in Hinduism that every action we make can shape our destiny, more commonly know as Karma. The ultimate goal is to be free of the karma run wheel of birth again to...