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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 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 BCE 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 Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, 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

Swami Vivekananda, September, 1893, Chicago
Swami Vivekananda (Bengali: স্বামী বিবেকানন্দ, Hindi: स्वामी विवेकानन्द) (whose pre-monastic name was Narendranath Dutta (Bengali: নরেন্দ্রনাথ দত্ত, Hindi: नरेन्द्रनाथ दत्त; January 12, 1863 – July 4, 1902) is considered one of the most famous and influential spiritual leaders of the Hindu religion. He was the chief disciple of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and was the founder of Ramakrishna Math and Ramakrishna Mission. He is considered by many as an icon for his fearless courage, his positive exhortations to the youth, his broad outlook to social problems, and countless lectures and discourses on Vedanta philosophy.

Selected quote

Mark Twain
Land of religions, cradle of human race, birthplace of human speech, grandmother of legend, great grandmother of tradition. The land that all men desire to see and having seen once even by a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for the shows of the rest of the globe combined.
Mark Twain (1845-1910) American author

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