Resources on Faith, Ethics and Public Life


Hinduism is an Indian religion encompassing diverse ritualistic Vedic traditions stressing the importance of karma and societal norms. The vast field of Hindu scriptures includes the Vedas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanishads, Puranas, and the epics known as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the latter of which contains the important Bhagavad Gīta. Hinduism is roughly divided into four major sects: Vaishnavism (devotion to Vishnu), Shaivism (devotion of Shiva), Shaktism (devotion to Shakti), and Smartism (nonsectarian devotion to Brahman). As the world's third largest religion, Hinduism has almost one billion followers, 90 percent of whom live in India. Hinduism is deeply ingrained in Indian society. The religiously based caste system is illegal but remains widely socially enforced. Calls for the recognition of India as a specifically Hindu nation have increased, and Hindu groups often seek to maintain the tradition's cultural hegemony.
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