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Indian Mythology

Introduction

What is Hinduism?

Hinduism is the religious system that has developed over the centuries in India and continues to develop. It is difficult to define the beliefs of Hinduism because they vary so significantly from one group to another. One person’s religion might center on one god, another’s on another god. So rather than speak of oneself as a Hindu, a given individual might establish his or her religious identity by calling himself a worshipper of Shiva, or of Vishnu, or of another deity. There are literally millions of deities or sub-deities in Hinduism with a particular few being the dominant foci of worship. There are several aspects which do unify Hindus more generally. Although Hindu narratives or myths have evolved over time, Hindus share common religious texts or scripture, such as the Vedas. They all recognize at least the major deities even if they tend to identify themselves in connection with particular ones. Hindus also share a general belief in certain ritual processes and an understanding of what can be called the cyclical nature of universal history.



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