Child : Mom, can you tell me about the Hindu religion and how it differs from the other religions of the world
Mother : Yes, dear, that's a very good question. First of all, let me start with some basics. Hinduism is not a religion in the strict sense of the word. It is recommendation for living a disciplined, pure and blissful life needed for God realization. The word religion comes from the Latin "religio" which means binding the soul back to God. Other religions have strict laws and back to God. Other religions have strict laws and beliefs to attain this God realization. Hindus, however, do not believe in such strict laws. The desire to free one's self from worldly bondage and to obtain a better present and next life through proper karma (actions) in the present life is the basis of the Hindu way of life. Your karma (good or bad actions) returns to you with results and act as your teacher to guide you in the right directions in the life. The guidelines for better living to achieve such a liberation (moksha) was revealed directly by God to our ancient sages who used to meditate constantly for the welfare of all human beings. These revelations are the contents of the Vedas, our fundamental scripture. It is also called sanatana dharma, an eternal discipline of life or Vedic dharma, the proper way of living based on Vedas. Hindus believe that every human being is divine by nature and the purpose of life is to expose that divinity to the fullest possible extent. Based on the Vedic recommendations, Hindus believe in one formless and all pervading God called Brahma who is the creator of the universe and represents the supreme truth.
For all practical purposes, in the modern times the Hindu way of life is called Hinduism. It is the oldest living religion on earth. Because of its basic philosophies the Hindu religion can be considered a universal religion.
The main difference between Hinduism and other religions is that Hinduism did not evolve out of the teachings of any one saint, prophet or messiah. Instead, the vedic thoughts were obtained by various sages over the centuries. A very big difference is that Hinduism teaches reincarnation, or rebirth of soul. Moreover, Hinduism is a very accommodating and compassionate religion. Coexistence with other religions with respect and humbleness is the core of the Hindu way of life. Hindus not only love their neighbors but they also love and pray for everyone. A Hindu life is meant for humanity and is achieved through uplifting of one's morality. Unlike people of other religious faiths Hindus regard the mother, the father, the teacher and all their guests as God.