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Hinduism, which is actually known as the Sanatana Dharma or Eternal Truth, has many uniting belief systems. These include the conviction that Truth is knowable and can be directly experienced.
Hinduism is an umbrella term for many different traditions. Each of these traditions employ different means for enlightenment and views things a bit differently. What practically all Hindu sects accept however, is the famous statement of the Rig Veda: Truth is One, the sages call it by different names.
There is therefore an underlying unity to the Hindu belief system. I don't now why this text is inaccurate on this point.
It also has a deeply shared sense of morality and ethics. The teaching of ahimsa or non-violence is one such conviction. The belief in transmigration is another as is the belief in karma (actions and reaction), dharma (Truth) and marga (destiny). These teachings show how all life is interconnected and are "part and parcel" of the Whole.
Hinduism is the oldest religion on the planet. Its culture and traditions date back far into antiquity. Those who grow up in Hindu families are steeped in ancient traditions and beliefs from infancy on and they are much more alike than dissimilar. It therefore has a profound influence on cultural Hindus as well as on those who convert into it.
Those Hindus who enter into serious discussions with other religionists, as well as those of us from other cultures who are drawn to the Hindu Dharma, soon discover that Hinduism is an extremely logical and inspirational religious system that offers experiential results to those who practice its various forms. In all ways the Hindu Dharma is at least comparable to any other religion on earth.
So then, what "makes up" the Hindu religion is the fact that it works and that it is able to exist within such internal and external diversity.
People of every religion seek liberation from earthly existence. The reasons are as many as the people.
* Escape from sufferings of every kind
* Continuation of life/existence
* Spiritual blessings...
Ask yourself these questions and your answers will apply to Hindus. All people of faith regardless of the religion are seeking this. Why do you want to survive death and enter a better afterlife?
There are lots of possible answers to the cultural and societal influences that have made Hinduism vital to the region in which it originated question.
The people of the Indian Subcontinent were racially, religiously, ethnically, and culturally diverse. The acceptance of the umbrella faith called Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) created a unifying influence and philosophy that established peace and cooperation. This by the way is why I dislike the first question. Hinduism, as a unifying belief system, is vital to the people of India.
The adoption of vegetarianism, especially cow protection, assured that the people would be well fed instead of utilizing their limited resources on meat production.
Although it became discredited later, in ancient India the Caste System (varnashram dharma) established social order, defined authority. This was vital in ancient India. The holiness of the various waterways (Ganges, Yamuna etc) kept access to fresh water available.
The teaching of ahimsa or non-violence minimized warfare and greed and assured the existence of dairy cows, plowing bulls, cow dung for fires and medicines, etc. etc.
These are but a few.
Here's what I'd probably do...
Tell about the desire for liberation from earthly existence... I'd do a web search on facts about India and work with them. For instance,
"India has always had a problem supplying food for its people. Today ---- percentage of the population are considered malnourished by the UN. Many Hindus hope to achieve a life where there is plenty of food and their children are well fed. This historic poverty has fostered the Hindu dream of a better future."
You'll need to do a bit more research in stats, how many people are malnourished on the Indian sub-continent (remember Pakistan was part of India until relatively recently), how many people live in India? How many die annually, weekly, daily (and hence how many Hindus are we talking about here?), and so on. This should get you a better grade and you'll also learn more as well. I think you'll find that 700 words are not nearly enough.
You can also explain HOW most Hindus believe they will find this desired liberation. For instance:
Hinduism has two basic views about this liberation (which is known as moksa, pronounced moksha). Some Hindus believe that when they achieve liberation, after that death, they will merge with what we might call the collective unconsciousness, i.e. that they as individuals will merge into the totality of existence in a state sometime called Neti-neti or Not this-not that (the same basic belief as Buddhism with nirvana, which of course arose from Hinduism). In this sense, some say Hindus believe they "become God," but this isn't accurate... they believe they transcend such concepts as gods and goddesses. Other Hindus believe they will enter into heavenly realms of bliss, sometimes known as Goloka Vrndavana (pronounced Brindaban) where they will live as eternal beings in a state of bliss and joy, enjoying the Presence of God in various ways (in the form of their family deity or ista devata). This state is similar to the Christian Heaven, but has no material likeness (streets of gold etc).
In either state, the sufferings, wars, trials and tribulations and so on will be over and the Hindu and her/his family will live on in "eternity, knowledge and bliss" (or sat chit ananda). In Hinduism the family is extremely important. As one of the holy books, the Srimad Bhagavatam says:
"In that transcendental state of labdhopaśānti, there is no supremacy of devastating time, which controls even the celestial demigods who are empowered to rule over mundane creatures. (And what to speak of the demigods themselves?) Nor is there the mode of material goodness, nor passion, nor ignorance, nor even the false ego, nor the material Causal Ocean, nor the material nature" (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.2.17).
Om Santi (Praise peace and pursue it),