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The word Hindu is derived from the Indo-Aryan /Sanskrit word Sindhu, the Indo-Aryan name for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent (modern day Pakistan and Northern India)

Hinduism is the dominant religion, or way of life in South Asia, most notably in India and Nepal. Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, it is a family of linked religious cultures bound by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, cosmology, shared textual resources, pilgrimage to sacred sites and the questioning of authority It includes Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism among others, each with an interwoven diversity of beliefs and practices.With approximately one billion followers Hinduism is the world's third largest religion by population, after Christianity and Islam

The name is a morphophonological form of Veda-anta = "Veda-end" = "the appendix to the Vedic hymns". It is also said that "Vedānta" means "the purpose or goal [end] of the Vedas". Vedanta can also be used as a noun to describe one who has mastered all four of the original Vedas. Vedanta represents the philosophical portion of the ancient scriptures of India, the Vedas. Specifically, it refers to the final portion of the Vedic literature, the Upanishads, but it also includes the Bhagavad Gita, the great epics of India, as well as the Puranas, as well as many other texts, hymns, and writings. The basic teaching concerns the ultimate identity of the individual soul with the Supreme Soul. The goal of Vedanta is for the seeker to have the direct experience of his or her true nature, and it is held that each and every one of us is qualified to have that highest illumination, if we are willing to put forth sincere and intense effort. From the very earliest period, Vedanta has preached the harmony of religions.

This is the path of devotion, wherein the devotee approaches God through a particular relationship and with a particular attitude. It emphasizes practices such as prayer, chanting the names and glories of God, and meditation on God as a loving reality, ever present within our hearts. Through this practice, one intensifies the feeling of intimacy and love for God, and ultimately reaches the state of union or oneness with God.

This is the path of knowledge or philosophical discrimination, wherein the seeker strives, through the power of reason, to discover the Self within by casting off the false superimposition of the body, mind, senses, intellect, and personality. As a result of this practice, the seeker realizes the Supreme Reality to be present within as his own higher Self, and knows himself to be the birthless, deathless, Reality, the One without a Second.

This is the path of selfless work. For the devotee, it means to do all ones work as an offering to God and to expect nothing personal in return. For the philosopher, it means to see that all action is the interplay between the mind and senses, on the one hand, and sense objects, on the other, and to realize that the higher Self is merely the witness. It is to feel that one is not the agent of action. In either case, it means to practice detachment and equanimity with regard to work, and to realize that the results of all actions are not in our hands. Through such a practice, the mind becomes purified, and the seeker comes to realize his or her true nature.

This is the “Royal Path” of meditation and is one of the main spiritual practices for all seekers of God or Self, regardless of their spiritual attitude. Through the practice of meditation, one can experience higher and higher spiritual states, culminating in the direct vision of the one reality that remains when the mind no longer functions in its usual way. There are various techniques available for the practice of meditatio . For example, the one emphasized by Sri Ramakrishna, Holy Mother and Swami Vivekananda involves the use of a mantra and some concrete or symbolic image of the divine.

To live in God, to commune with God is 'Yoga'. Life in God brings eternal bliss. Yoga shows you the way, unites you with God and makes you perfect and immortal.

Yoga is a system of integral education, education not only of the body and the mind or the intellect, but also of the inner spirit. Yoga shows you the right method of rising from evil to good, and from goodness to holiness and then to eternal divine splendour. Yoga is the art of right living. The Yogi who has learned the art of right living is happy, harmonious, peaceful and free from tension.

Yoga is for all and is universal. It is not a sectarian affair, but a way to God and not a creed. The practice of Yoga is not opposed to any religion or any sacred church. It is purely spiritual and does not contradict anyone's sincere faith.

Yoga is not a religion, but an aid to the practice of the basic spiritual truths in all religions. Yoga is union with God, union with all. God dwells in all. Moral purity and spiritual aspiration are the first steps in the path of Yoga. One who has calm mind, faith in the words of his preceptor and the scriptures, who is moderate in eating, drinking and sleeping and who has intense longing for deliverance from the wheel of births and deaths is a qualified person for the practice of Yoga.

The four paths for God-realization are Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga. Karma Yoga is suitable for a man of active temperament, Bhakti Yoga for a man of devotional temperament, Raja Yoga for a man of mystical temperament and Jnana Yoga for a man of rational and philosophical temperament.

Life today is full of stress and strain, of tension and nervous irritability, of passion and hurry. If man puts in few of the elementary principles of Yoga, he would be far better equipped to cope with his complex existence.

Yoga brings perfection, peace and lasting happiness. You can have calmness of mind at all times by practice of Yoga. You can have restful sleep and increased energy, vigour, vitality, longevity and high standard of health. You can turn out efficient work within a short space of time and have success in every walk of life. Yoga will infuse new strength, confidence and self-reliance in you. The body and mind will be at your beck and call.

It is within the power of everybody to attain success in Yoga. What is wanted is sincere devotion, constant and steady practice. Spiritual growth is gradual. There is progressive evolution. You should not be in feverish hurry to accomplish great Yogic feats or enter into superconscious state in two or three months.

Do not stop the practice when you get a few glimpses and experiences. Continue the practice until you get perfection.

That which truly is not, but appears to be, is Maya. That which causes infatuation or Moha is Maya.

Maya is an appearance. It is semblance. It is the illusory power of God.

Maya is the illusory power of God. She is the creatrix of this universe. She projects this world for His Lila (sport). Mind, intellect, body, and senses are her forms. She is the energy or mother-aspect of the Lord.

Just as heat is inseparable from fire, coldness from ice, Maya is inseparable from Brahman (God). It is dependent on Brahman.

Maya has countless potencies. Solidity of stone is a power of Maya. Fluidity of water is another power of Maya. Fire is a third burning power. Air is the moving power of Maya. Ether is the void or space power of Maya.

You know you will die, and yet you think you will live forever. This is Maya. You know that the world is full of miseries, and yet you take delight in the perishable objects and will not leave them. This is Maya. You know that the human body is made up of all sorts of impurities, flesh, bone, urine and faecal matter, and yet you rejoice in embracing it under the sway of lust. This is Maya.

Maya causes false glittering and entraps the deluded Jivas (individual souls). She does a little electroplating work. Man is entrapped. He is caught in the wheel of birth and death.

Maya is neither true nor false. It is truly false and falsely true. It is neither real nor unreal. It is not real like Brahman, because it disappears when one gets Knowledge. It is not unreal like a barren woman's son or the horn of hare, because its presence is felt.