Hinduism is a term that covers a vast array of beliefs, customs and religious practices in different regions of the Indian sub-continent and beyond in the diaspora. The study of Hinduism presents a unique opportunity to Western students of religion in that the tradition is distinguished by many features which offer a distinct understanding of the notion of a religious tradition. For instance, one cannot point to a starting point of Hinduism in history, it does not have a founder, and has no central authority. The sages who shaped the Hindu tradition attribute their spiritual insight to a heightened intuitive vision in which they were able to compose a number of poetic verses/hymns which are known as the Vedas. Throughout Hinduism's history other sacred texts, saint traditions, and so on, have been important in shaping Hindu lives on a local, regional, and pan-Hindu level.
In the Department of Religion at Concordia University, the study of Hinduism not only includes general research on customs, rituals, beliefs, and practices in Hindu daily life, but also an entry into the vast philosophical thought that encompasses an understanding of Hinduism itself. The six central philosophical schools have, over the centuries, engaged in rigorous and exacting dialogues concerning the central issues of human meaning and understanding. Hinduism is a rich and rewarding study, well suited to the student interested in developing the art of inter-religious dialogue and insight.
At the undergraduate level, students have the opportunity to study Hinduism through the Major, Minor, or Honours Programmes in Religion, with concentrations in Asian Religions or Women and Religion. The Department also offers a Major and Minor in Southern Asia Studies. The Hinduism and Asian Religions curricula cover a wide variety of subjects, including philosophy, religious practice, social history, and the arts.