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What does it mean to be a Hindu essentially?
Currently, Hinduism is the world's third largest religion. Also, it is the world's oldest known religion with its literature called 'Vedic literature' dating back to 7000 BC as per a write-up titled "Most Interesting Facts about Hinduism You May Not Know" at Detechter.

About Hinduism, it is often said that it is a religion with no founder and it cannot be fully described individually. A Hindu can be an atheist, polytheist, monotheist or henotheistic. Moreover, Hinduism can also be considered 'monist', i.e. the belief that all the seemingly disparate elements in this universe can be reduced to one single unity. So, it is held that Hinduism is a natural way of living in harmony with self and others respecting diversity.

Another distinguishing feature of Hinduism is that it does not consider the pursuit of wealth as a sin and celebrates wealth in the form of many gods such as Lakshmi and Kubera. Hinduism is more a way of living and does not believe in conversion, it believes in acceptance of a way of life as human.

However, scriptures say that Hinduism has a four levels of human developmental hierarchy - Dharma (pursuit of a philosophy or ideology and doing duties to society ethically), Artha (pursuit of livelihood, wealth and power ethically), Kama (pursuit of pleasures including sexual-sensual during Grihasthashram) and Moksha (salvation).

Thus, Hinduism as a way of life holds that human developments and progress starts with an ethically-based philosophy of life and ends with liberation from the worldly and mental bondages by look at every one as part of the same cosmic soul.

According to Mahatma Gandhi, Hinduism differs from other religions in two ways: first, it does not believe in any dogma and rejects the exclusive claim of any individual, however highly evolved, to the monopoly of Truth, and secondly, it believes that the Supreme Being may be approached through several paths such as Knowledge (Dnyana), Devotion (Bhakti), Action (Karma), and Yoga (Psychical Control).

Gandhiji was of the view that Hinduism abhors stagnation and deems knowledge and its application limitless. However, the basic precepts are the doctrine of rebirth and transmigration and striving for liberation by living an ethical life and aiming at purity of mind either through developmental rise toward spiritualism or through one of four paths to liberation.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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