Introduction to Hinduism

Giovanni Lapis. Ca' Foscari University of Venice (Italy)

Hinduism is a major world religion originating on the Indian subcontinent and comprising several and varied systems of philosophy, belief, and ritual. Hindus accept and indeed celebrate pluralistic nature of their traditions. This expansiveness is made possible by the widely shared Hindu view that truth or reality cannot be encapsulated in one formulation. Thus, Hinduism maintains that truth must be sought in multiple sources, not dogmatically proclaimed.

The core of the Hindus faith is the belief in an Absolute, called Brahman, the eternal ground of reality, which is behind a world in cyclical flux of birth, development and destruction. Its counterpart is the Atman, the equivalent of the Brahman concealed in every individual, a sparkle of eternity inside every human being. The recognition of this equivalence of the Atman and the Brahman, that is, the recognition of the eternity of the innermost part of the individual, represents the ideal goal for all Hindus religious traditions.