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Knowing the essence of Hinduism
Hinduism, in its real essence, is a way of life in which cause of suffering is regarded as the spiritual ignorance or ‘avidya’ which in English means the ‘lack of self-knowledge’. According to the Hindu scriptures, one’s fate in the world is determined by one’s behaviour and deeds or ‘karmas’ in the previous life and bad karmas can be eliminated by performing good deeds in the present life, living an ethical life and shunning illusionary materialism.

The ultimate aim of a follower of Hinduism is the Moksha or liberation from karma bondage and endless cycle of birth-and-death through soul-realization. The most recommended paths for liberation are through Yoga and meditation that combine physical and mental disciplines for spiritual well-being and ethical life.

Besides four Vedas as the Holy Scriptures, the most essential scripture of Hindu philosophy is the Bhagavad Gita or the ‘Divine Song’ that works as spiritual guide for realising the supreme purpose of life or self-realization.

Hinduism is also referred to as Sanatana Dharma, or the "eternal way” of  life stressing the human values or duties called Swadharma consisting of the values such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings, purity of mind, goodwill, compassion, patience, forbearance, self-restraint, forgiveness, and asceticism.

Keeping in view the liberation as the ultimate purpose of life in Hinduism, there are four main ways of integrating the body, mind and soul or yoga that Hindu sages have taught for self-realization. The four main Yogas are the Bhakti Yoga or the path of self-less love and devotion; Karma Yoga or the path of right and detached action; Raja Yoga or the path of meditation; and Jnanana Yoga or the path of wisdom. There is individual freedom for choosing one or some yogas over others according one's inclination. In Hinduism, the cow is identified as a caretaker, a kind maternal figure and a symbol of unselfish giving.

In true Hinduism, the rituals and dogmas are considered as distortions that have crept into the religion. Many religious and social reformers have stressed to make Hinduism free from cultism, fadism, sectarianism, ritualism and materialism.

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