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Hinduism Exhibit

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Hinduism Exhibit


Hinduism is the popular religion and philosophy of India, originating some 4,000 years ago. It is polytheistic, yet has the concept of a supreme spirit. The divine manifestations include the Trimurti, or triad of chief deities: Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Preserver), and Siva or Shiva (Destroyer). The supreme being is Brahman. This is an abstract world-soul into which each individual soul is absorbed when its cycle of rebirth ends, for Hinduism is based on reincarnation and karma (the totality of one's actions transferred from one life to the next, thus resulting in a better or worse fate).
The Hindus' sacred lore is contained in over 100 books or Vedas (Veda means in Sanskrit "divine knowledge"). The chief four of these contain, in turn, the oldest texts; the chants and hymns; prayers and spells; and various popular materials. Of varying age, the Vedas are believed to have come from Brahma or to have been revealed to the rishis (holy men). The oldest may date from as early as 2000 BCE, and they are distributed over a very long period of India's history.
(See Maria Leach, ed., Funk & Wagnall's Standard Dictionary of Folklore, New York: Harper & Row, 1984; Webster's New Universal Encyclopedia, New York: Barnes & Noble, 1997.)

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