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Hinduism ( /ˈhɪnduɪzəm/) is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life. It is the world's third-largest religion, with over 1.2 billion followers, or 15–16% of the global population, known as Hindus. The word Hindu is an exonym, and while Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, many practitioners refer to their religion as Sanātana Dharma ( Sanskrit: सनातन धर्म, lit.''the Eternal way''), which refers to the idea that its origins lie beyond human history, as revealed in the Hindu texts. Another, though less fitting, self-designation is Vaidika dharma, the 'dharma related to the Vedas.'

Hinduism is a diverse system of thought marked by a range of philosophies and shared concepts, rituals, cosmological systems, pilgrimage sites and shared textual sources that discuss theology, metaphysics, mythology, Vedic yajna, yoga, agamic rituals, and temple building, among other topics. Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include the four Puruṣārthas, the proper goals or aims of human life; namely, dharma (ethics/duties), artha (prosperity/work), kama (desires/passions) and moksha (liberation/freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth/salvation), as well as karma (action, intent and consequences) and saṃsāra (cycle of death and rebirth). Hinduism prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings ( Ahiṃsā), patience, forbearance, self-restraint, virtue, and compassion, among others. Hindu practices include rituals such as puja (worship) and recitations, japa, meditation ( dhyāna), family-oriented rites of passage, annual festivals, and occasional pilgrimages. Along with the practice of various yogas, some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions and engage in lifelong Sannyasa (monasticism) in order to achieve Moksha. ( Full article...)

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Bhagvan Krishna
Bhagavān, in most contexts, is an epithet for God, particularly for Krishna and other avatars of Vishnu in Vaishnavism, as well as for Shiva in Shaivism tradition of Hinduism. Bhagavān also represents the concept of abstract God to Hindus who are religious but do not worship a specific deity. Bhagavan is male in Bhakti traditions, and female equivalent of Bhagavān is Bhagavatī.

The term Bhagavān does not appear in Vedas, nor in early or middle Upanishads. The oldest Sanskrit texts use the term Brahman to represent an abstract Supreme Soul, Absolute Reality, while using names of deities like Krishna, Vishnu, Shiva, Parvati, Lakshmi, Saraswati to represent gods and goddesses. The word Bhagavān is found in later post-Vedic era literature, such as the Bhagavad Gita and the Puranas. In Bhakti school literature, the term is typically used for any deity to whom prayers are offered; for example, Rama, Ganesha, Kartikeya, Krishna, Shiva or Vishnu. In other literature, the word Bhagavan also refers to a living person who is considered as spiritually enlightened or to one's spiritual teacher. In modern usage, Bhagavān is synonymous with Ishvara, Devatā, Hari or Prabhu, in some schools of Hinduism.

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A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (September 1, 1896–November 14, 1977) was born Abhay Charan De, in Kolkata, West Bengal. He studied at the Scottish Church College, Calcutta, which was then administered by the British. In his later years, as a Vaishnava sadhu, he became an influential communicator of Gaudiya Vaishnava Theology to India and specifically to the West.

He took sannyasa vows in 1959 from his Godbrother Sri Bhakti Prajnana Keshava Maharaja at Mathura, following which he singlehandedly published the first three volumes of his thirty volume translation of the 18,000 verse Bhagavata Purana and the commentary on it. He then left India to fulfill his master's spiritual mission. In his possession were a suitcase, an umbrella, a supply of dry cereal, about seven dollars worth of Indian currency, and several boxes of books.

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agnim īļe purohitam|
yajñasya devam ŗtvijam|
hotāraM ratnadhātamam.||"

English: "I praise Agni, the priest of the house, the divine ministrant of sacrifice, the invoker, the best bestower of treasure.

Rig Veda The first words of the first hymn.




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