Copyright © 2007 Dorling Kindersley
Hinduism is one of the world’s oldest religions and the main religious tradition of India. More a way of life than a set of beliefs, it has no individual founder. It developed slowly over a long period of time out of a variety of local religions.
Many Hindus believe that beneath this variety there is one unchanging reality known as Brahman, the eternal creative force that made the Universe and to which all things return. Hindus believe that human souls are reborn in cycles of REINCARNATION.
Images are powerful symbols of the presence of a god and offerings are often made before them. The most popular gods include the elephant-headed Ganesh, symbol of wealth and success, and the monkey god Hanuman, symbol of heroism and loyalty.
Hindus believe that living things do not have just one life but are trapped in a cycle of death and rebirth, known as samsara. People are reborn into higher or lower social positions depending on their actions in their current life.