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Hinduism is the world's oldest living religion. It is a rich collection of hundreds of spiritual, ethical and philosophical traditions followed throughout Asia for over 7000 years. Most traditions within Hinduism share certain distinctive core beliefs despite the absence of an identifiable beginning in history, single founder, religious establishment or sole authoritative scripture. Two of the core beliefs of Hinduism are tolerance and pluralism. While tolerance and pluralism are valued by some other religious traditions also these concepts are the very essence of Hinduism and are expressed through the diversity of Hindu practice and centuries of peaceful co-existence of various religious faiths in India. By accepting the divinity in all beings, Hinduism views the universe as a family or, in Sanskrit, Vasudeva Kutumbkam. All beings from the smallest organism to man are considered manifestations of God. Mankind carries a special responsibility, as it is believed to be the most spiritually evolved with the capacity to not only tolerance, but also honour the underlying equality and unity of all beings. The popularly recited Hindu invocation demonstrates this concern for universal kinship –  Om! sarve bhavantu sukhina.   Sarve santu niraamayaah. Sarve bhadraani pashayantu Maa kaschid dukhbhaag bhavet                          (Om ! May all beings be happy. May all beings be healthy.  May all beings experience prosperity  May none in the world suffers.)   The concept of pluralism within Hinduism is, in essence, tolerance taken one step further. For all matters of this universal family, Hinduism promotes not only tolerance and respect for differences in belief and religion, but also acknowledgement of more than one path to reality to Truth (God). Rig Veda affirms -     Ekam sat vipra bahuda vadanti (Truth is one, the wise call it by many names.) Thus, Hinduism asserts that it is a folly to insist that one's own path towards God is the only true and meaningful path. Based on this firm tolerant and pluralistic belief, Hinduism has never sanctioned proselytization. There is no concept of heresy or apostasy in Hinduism. Hinduism grants absolute freedom for an individual to leave or choose his or her faith on the Path to God. Hindus believe all sincere faiths ultimately lead to the same God.    Hinduism has a history of peaceful assimilation and co-habitation with different religious faiths, such as, Judaism. Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, among others. Because of its inherent resiliency and great strength, through changing times, regimes and practices, Hinduism was able to adapt and yet retain its unique character and after meeting challenges effectively always emerged stronger than before.  Hinduism has withstood the test of time admirably well. This inherent strength and vitality of Hinduism has been a matter of bewilderment for the rest of the world. The strength of Hinduism emanates from its thousands of years old philosophical and ethical principles which, since the 19th century, have generated considerable interest among the intelligentsia of other communities all over the world who have shown keen interest to know about its philosophy, ethics, scriptures and practices, especially in view of the fact that being the oldest religion in practice, it is still active, effective and vibrant.  Hinduism is a diverse religious and cultural phenomenon which contains several key teachings of value for the modern world. In the present milieu we find in every exchange between Hindus and non-Hindus other communities seem to observe in Hindus a certain form of commitment especially because of long-term co-existence with other faiths which is very conducive to the highly demanding kind of pluralistic discourse  in the context of modern world which is passing through a period of religious unsettlement and turmoil. Globalization is inevitable. Globalization is likely to lead to a new world order when people will rise above narrow parochial tendencies and would like a just social order, would feel compassion for fellow beings and there would be general generosity in human behaviour; new spiritual aspirations, and spiritual values will be established. In such circumstances, it is  obvious that Hinduism with its basic principles, with highly developed philosophy and ethics, which have withstood the test of time, will play an active and effective role. In spite of the fact that considerable literature has been produced on these subjects, ignorance of Hindu philosophy and ethics is profound. My purpose in writing this book is to acquaint my readers who are keen to know the fundamental basic principles of Hinduism, and provide them rudimentary knowledge of Hindu philosophy and ethics.  The survey of thought covered in this book ranges from the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Bhagavada Gita and some texts of theoretical and practical aspects of Hinduism. The book is not an exhaustive study on the subject but merely a general survey and attempts to give main features which may, perhaps, awaken some measure of interest in those who wish to be introduced to these subjects. All these matters have been discussed in some detail in four sections in this book and in the fifth sections I have added a few relevant essays. The approach taken in this book is one to understand the basic and fundamental philosophical and ethical principles of the oldest practising religion and how they can help modern seekers of spirituality and truth.  I shall consider myself amply rewarded if this humble attempt on my part can instil into the minds of readers the perspective life which is tolerant and pluralist as enshrined in Hindu philosophy and ethics and, I hope, this may also meet the requirements of the academicians, students and all those who are interested in this subject. I must confess that, not having adequate knowledge of Sanskrit, I have had to rely on translations and commentaries in English and vernaculars of scholars of the east as well as of the west from whom help has been sought in writing this book.       R.M. CHOPRA