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BY: Kassandra Chapa What is Hinduism? One of the oldest religions of humanity The religion of the Indian people Hinduism has neither a specific moment of origin nor a specific founder. Hinduism is a synthesis of the religion brought into India by the Aryans (1500 B.C.) The vast majority of Hindus live in India and Nepal. Sacred Texts The most ancient sacred texts of the Hindu religion are written in Sanskrit and called the Vedas . There are four Vedic books, of which the Rig-Veda is the oldest. It discusses multiple gods, the universe, and creation. GODS Brahma Shiva Vishnu Reincarnation Reincarnation is the belief that the soul repeatedly goes through a cycle of being born into a body, dying, and being reborn again in a new body. Karma & Dharma Dharama : A Hindu's dharma is played out in all areas of life: religious, social, and familial. If a person makes a promise, the promise must be kept at all costs. Likewise, the faithful maintain their religious rituals while attending to their family's needs. Karma: karma stands for the belief that a person experiences the affects of his or her actions that every act or thought has consequences Four Stages of Life In Hinduism, human life is believed to comprise four stages. These are called “ashramas" and every man should ideally go through each of these stages: First stage: Student Second stage: householder Third stage: Retired Fourth stage: renounced Symbol Symbols One of the most common symbols in Hinduism is the Sanskrit letter The first embodies the three worlds: The earth, atmosphere, and heaven :The second embodies the three great gods: Brahama, Vishnu, and shiva. Festivals and Holy Days Diwali. Known as the festival of lights, this commemorates the return of Lord Rama from His exile in the forest. It is, for many traditions, a new-year celebration. It takes place between late October and the middle of November. Dussehra. A celebration of good conquering evil, this festival lasts ten days and takes place between late September and the middle of October. Holi. A spring festival to celebrate creation and renewal, linked with Lord Krishna. Navaratri. A nine day festival which celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Janmastami. A celebration marking the appearance on earth of Lord Krishna.