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"Truth is one; sages call it by different names."

The cosmos is mysterious, but ultimate reality is "the One," or God, or Brahman. The human soul, or Atman, can be united with Brahman. All Hindus share the ultimate goal of release from the cycle of rebirth, the realization of nirvana. The human soul exists prior to this life and after it, transmigrating from one body to another at death. The law of karma governs a person's destiny in this life and also in the next. Hinduism incorporates a variety of beliefs and practices, even beliefs and practices corresponding to those in other religions that would be regarded as fundamental.

The key scriptures are the Vedas, and these were continued in the Upanishads. The most important sacred text for most Hindus, however, is the Bhagavad Gita, a Sanskrit poem consisting of 700 verses divided into 18 chapters. The text is part of a larger collection, the sixth book of the Mahabharata, an ancient and sweeping epic depicting the cosmos and humanity, and constituting the primary historical influence on Hindu culture. The other major epic is the Ramayana.

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