"...Hinduism (known as Hindu Dharma Hindi) in some modern Indian languages is a religion that originated on the Indian subcontinent. In contemporary usage Hinduism is also referred to as Sanatana Dharma, a Sanskrit phrase meaning "eternal law". With its origins in the Indus Valley Civilization and Vedic civilization, it has no known founder, being itself a conglomerate of diverse beliefs and traditions. It is considered the world's oldest extant religion, and has approximately a billion adherents, of whom about 890 million live in India, placing it as the world's third largest religion after Christianity and Islam. Other countries with large Hindu populations include Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Fiji, Suriname, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago. Hinduism provides a vast body of scriptures. Divided as revealed and remembered and developed over millennia, these scriptures expound on a broad of range of theology, philosophy and mythology, providing spiritual insights and guidance on the practice of dharma (religious living). Among such texts, Hindus revere the Vedas and the Upanishads and consider these as being among the foremost in authority, importance and antiquity. Other major scriptures include..." Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hinduism "...Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism share traits with Hinduism, because these religions originated in India and focus on self-improvement with the general aim of attaining personal (first hand), spiritual experiences. They along with Hinduism are collectively known as Dharmic religions...." There are different schools of Hinduism. "...Hinduism is sometimes considered to be a polytheistic religion, but such a view tends to oversimplify a diverse system of thought with beliefs spanning monotheism, polytheism, pantheism, monism and even atheism. For instance, the Advaita Vedanta school holds that there is only one causal entity (Brahman), which manifests itself to humans in multiple forms while many scholars consider the Samkhya school of thought to have had atheistic leanings...." There are different paths to "enlightenment". "...Yoga: multiple paths to the goal Hatha Yoga is traditionally a part of a practice that included meditation, pranayama, and right action—unlike the popular modern approach that emphasizes the physical aspect. Hatha Yoga is traditionally a part of a practice that included meditation, pranayama, and right action—unlike the popular modern approach that emphasizes the physical aspect. In whatever way a Hindu defines the goal of life, there are several methods (yogas) that sages have taught for reaching that goal. Someone who practices yoga is called a yogi. The chief texts dedicated to Yoga are the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and, as their philosophical and historical basis, the Upanishads. Paths one can follow to achieve the spiritual goal of life (moksha, samadhi, or nirvana) include: * Bhakti Yoga (the path of love and devotion), * Karma Yoga (the path of right action), * Raja Yoga (the path of meditation) and * Jñana Yoga (the path of wisdom). An individual may prefer one yoga over others according to his or her inclination and understanding. For instance some followers of the Dvaita school hold that Bhakti ("devotion") is the only practical path to achieve spiritual perfection for the majority of people, based on..." "...Truth is one, the wise call it in many different ways —Rig Veda 1.164.46 This openness means that there is little theological quarrel between Hindu denominations, although these denominations may view God in a different form or sense..."
The “desire for liberation from earthly existence” that is often associated with Hinduism stems, in part, from the common conditions in the geographic areas where Hinduism and Buddhism originated. One of the tenets of Buddhism is that suffering arises from the human condition of “desiring”. The four Four Noble Truths relate to how there is suffering in life, and what can be done about it. Birth is suffering, aging is suffering, life itself involves suffering. The cause of suffering is craving and wanting. Cease to crave and want and you will cease to suffer. The Eightfold Path will show you how.
As an historical aside, it can be seen that Buddhism and Hinduism attempt to teach acceptance, the cessation of struggle. From the standpoint of human history, whatever peace that approach might deliver to a practitioner, there is little to advance the progress of human knowledge of science, natural history, agriculture, medicine, or anything else useful to civilized life. On the other hand, neither of these religions went out of their way to burn people at the stake, wipe out entire countries in the process of spreading their own way of thought, or stifle scientific inquiry into the true nature of things. Perhaps that alone is sufficient to qualify the “peaceful acceptance” inherent in both religions, after all. Thus, it is somewhat misleading to think of the different paths towards the one truth as "many Hinduisms" rather than one. As dogmatic and inflexible as many other religions are, Hinduism has room within itself for a wide range of practitioners and practices.