Before proceeding to the discussion of Hindu theism, it should be noted that there has been a great deal of controversy about the very terms “Hindu” and “Hinduism.” We can steer clear of these controversies by using the terms to refer to a broad stream of religious and philosophical cultures that developed primarily in South Asia, but have spread throughout the world, and which can be distinguished from other groupings of cultures such as Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism (on problems of definition, see Flood 1996: 5-22; Lipner 1998: 1-21).