Dating back to 8000 BCE, Hinduism (also referred to as Sanathana Dharma) is the
world’s oldest organized religion and the third largest. The Hindu religion is not a religion in the
traditional sense, but is based on traditions and beliefs that have progressed over an extended
amount of time. Hinduism, based on idol worship, associates various icons and symbols with
different scriptures, cultural traditions, and mythology (YGo Hinduism, 2005).
not have a noted founder, nor does it have a single core doctrine. The beginning of Hinduism
cannot be traced to an exact date. Lacking definitive ideas or beliefs, Hinduism can be viewed as
an accumulation of religions (YGo Hinduism, 2005).
The Hindu belief system consists of three debts: God, saints and sages, and ancestors.
Three believed paths to be followed: Karmamarga (work and action), Jnanamarga (knowledge),
and Bhaktimarga (devotion to God).
Four stages of life: Brahmacharya (grow and learn [during
education]), Grhastha (maintenance of family, marriage, and career), Vanaprastha (when they
begin to pursue spiritual things), and Sanryasa (when they abandon the world to pursue spiritual
things). Four purposes of life: Dharma (fulfilling moral, social, and religious obligations), Artha
(achieving worldly and financial accomplishment), Kama (satisfying the desires of God), and
Moksha (achieving freedom from reincarnation).
According to Hindu religious and theoretical perceptions, each person consists of two
essential principles. One principle is spiritual (the soul/
), and the other is material (the
). The soul is not born therefore it cannot be destroyed and is eternal, whereas the
body is created and is indeed capable of destruction. The body that the soul is united with
ultimately depends on karma. Karma is defined as the belief of every action producing its own