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Portal:Hinduism

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Introduction

Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or a way of life, widely practised in the Indian subcontinent. 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, following the Vedic period (1500 BCE to 500 BCE).

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 Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Agamas. 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

M. C. Escher paintings such as the Waterfall – redrawn in this sketch – demonstrates the Hindu concept of Maya. The impression of water-world the sketch gives, in reality is not what it seems.
Maya (illusion) is a spiritual concept found in Hinduism. In earliest ancient Sanskrit texts, it literally implies extraordinary power and wisdom. In later Vedic texts and modern literature, Māyā connotes "an illusion where things appear to be present but are not what they seem". It is "that which exists, but is constantly changing and thus is spiritually unreal", and the "power or the principle that conceals the true character of spiritual reality".

The term Maya of Hinduism is sometimes translated as 'illusion', but Maya does not concern normal illusion. In Hinduism, Maya or 'illusion' does not mean that the world is not real and simply a figment of the human imagination. Maya means that the world is not as it seems; the world that one experiences is misleading as far as its true nature is concerned. The true is that which never changes asserts Hinduism, it is the hidden essence and the pristine principles that drive change yet remain unchanged. Maya concept in Hinduism is often discussed with the concept of Atman (soul, self) and Brahman (cosmic soul, eternal universal). Maya is born, changes, evolves, dies with time, from circumstances, due to invisible principles of nature. Atman-Brahman is eternal, unchanging, invisible principle, unaffected absolute and resplendent consciousness. The universe, time and all life is viewed as a holistic expression of Māyā and Ātman in Hinduism.

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Selected biography

Sri Aurobindo (Aurobindo Ghosh) in 1916
Sri Aurobindo (Bengali: শ্রী অরবিন্দ; August 15, 1872–December 5, 1950) was an Indian nationalist, scholar, poet, Hindu mystic, evolutionary philosopher, yogi and guru. His followers further believe that he was an avatar, an incarnation of the supreme being.

Sri Aurobindo spent his life—through his vast writings and through his own development—working for the freedom of India, the path to the further evolution of life on earth, and to bring down what he called the Supramental Truth Consciousness Force to enable such progress. Aurobindo rejected the materialistic tendencies of both Darwinism and Samkhya, and proposed an evolution of spirit rather than matter.

Selected quote

Ayam nijah parovetthi gananam laghu-chetasaam|
Udaar charitanam tu vasudhaiva kutumbakam||"

English: "Myself, this is mine, that is yours is a petty way of people in seeing reality; for those with noble consciousness, the whole world is a family.

Maha Upanishad, Verse 71

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