Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world. Hinduism is world's third largest religion after Christianity and Islam. Hinduism is the dominant religion in India, where Hindus form about 84 per cent of the total population. Hinduism is also known as "Sanatan Dharma" or the everlasting religion. Hindu religion is based on the concept that human and animal spirits come back to earth to live many times in different forms. The Hindus believe that a soul moves up and down hierarchy on the basis of behavior.
According to Hinduism a person is born into the higher class because he/she must have done good deeds in past life whereas a person is born into poverty and shame because of misdeeds in past life. Central to Hinduism are the concepts of reincarnation, the caste system, merging with Brahman, finding morality, and reaching Nirvana (the peaceful escape from the cycle of reincarnation). According to Hinduism the paths to salvation include rituals, devotion and the way of knowledge (realization of reality and self-reflection). If the practitioner follows the paths of these ways, salvation can be achieved.
The main Hindu scriptures are Sruti (what is heard), Smriti (what is remembered) the Vedas, the Brahmanas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and epics. The Sruti include deeply religious things communicated to a seer and recorded. The Vedas, the religious writings, include mantras (hymns of praise), brahmanas (sacrificial rituals) and Upanishads (108 sacred teachings). The Smriti include the law (books of laws), puranas (myths, stories, legends) and epics (sets of holy myths including Ramayana and Mahabharata).