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Portal:Hinduism

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Introduction

Hinduism is the world's third largest religion. It is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life, widely practised in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, and some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal tradition", or the "eternal way", beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder. This "Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE, after the end of the Vedic period (1500 to 500 BCE), and flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of Buddhism in India.

Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, it is linked by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, cosmology, shared textual resources, and pilgrimage to sacred sites. Hindu texts are classified into Śruti ("heard") and Smṛti ("remembered"). These texts discuss theology, philosophy, mythology, Vedic yajna, Yoga, agamic rituals, and temple building, among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas and the Upanishads, the Puranas, the Mahabharata, the Ramayana, and the Āgamas. Sources of authority and eternal truths in its texts play an important role, but there is also a strong Hindu tradition of questioning authority in order to deepen the understanding of these truths and to further develop the tradition.

Selected article

Saraswati - goddess of knowledge, learning and arts in Hinduism
Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and learning. She is a part of the trinity of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati in Hinduism. They are the partners of the trinity of Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva respectively.

Saraswati as a goddess is mentioned in the most ancient layer of Sanskrit texts of Hinduism, namely the Rigveda. She has remained significant as a goddess from the Vedic age through modern times of Hindu traditions. She is generally shown to have four arms, but sometimes just two. When shown with four hands, those hands hold a pustaka (book or script), a mala (rosary, garland), a water pot and a musical instrument. Each of these items have symbolic meaning in Hinduism.

Some Hindus celebrate the festival of Vasant Panchami (the fifth day of spring) celebrating goddess Saraswati, and mark the day by helping young children learn how to write alphabets on that day. Saraswati as a goddess of knowledge, music and arts is also found outside India, such as in Japan, Vietnam, Bali (Indonesia) and Myanmar.

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Selected biography

Painting of Rama
Rama (sometimes referred to as Ramachandra and also as Shri Rama) was a king of Ancient India whose grand story is portrayed in the epic Ramayana, one of the two great epics of India. In Hinduism, he is also considered to be the Seventh Avatara of Vishnu and one of the most important manifestations of God. He is one of the most popular heroes of Hindu mythology and folktales in South and Southeast Asia. Born as the eldest son of Kaushalya and Dasharatha, king of Kosala, he is the embodiment of Dharma. He is the hero of the ancient Hindu epic poem, The Ramayana (The Journey of Rama). Rama is the husband of Sita, who is also considered the Avatara of Lakshmi and the embodiment of perfect womanhood.

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George Bernard Shaw
The apparent multiplication of gods is bewildering at the first glance, but you soon discover that they are the same GOD. There is always one uttermost God who defies personification. This makes Hinduism the most tolerant religion in the world, because its one transcendent God includes all possible gods. In fact Hinduism is so elastic and so subtle that the most profound Methodist, and crudest idolater, are equally at home with it.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) Nobel Laureate in Literature

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