The origins of the Hindu religion can be traced back to the year 5000 BCE. The word Hindu is a very old word. In ancient times, the river Indus was called Hindu by the Persians who had migrated there. They also called the land Hindustan and its inhabitants, Hindus. After that, the religion that followed was called Hinduism. Hinduism is also referred to by practitioners as Sanatana Dharma. This means the eternal faith. Hinduism is not strictly a religion. More than a religion, it is a way of life. Hinduism has no founder, Anyone who practices Dharma can call himself a Hindu.

Hinduism is based on the practice of Dharma, which is the code of life. Hinduism has been their way of life for many years. Scholars are confused, it seems to be that Hinduism has no founder. Has been traced to about the year 5000 BCE to the Indus Valley civilization. Development of Hinduism influenced throughout the years by many invasions. Biggest invasion is believed to be the Aryan invasion, circa 1500 BCE. Aryans were light-skinned nomadic people from the steppes of Russia and Central Asia. When they invaded India, they brought with them religion of Vedism.

Beliefs mixed with more advanced beliefs of the Indians, creating Hinduism. Early Vedism was the early earth and life changing belief that the battle loving tribes needed. lso believed that Hinduism is derived from Animism. Animism is the belief that every thing and person has a powerful spirit in them or a soul. This spirit is supposed to be capable of helping or harming human beings. This faith is very popular. In fact, if an animist were to want to cut down a tree, he would first explain to the tree how it will be used and then asks for permission to cut it down.

That is why many people like the North American Indians used every part of the animal that they killed. During the tTime of the invasions many things changed. The Rig-Veda was composed during the early beginnings of the Hindu religion. The Rig-Veda is a collection of 1, 280 hymns to the gods. There are also three other collections, which were added later. They are called the Samaveda, the Yajurveda and the Atharvaveda. Between the years 800 and 600 BC, a body of style writings called the Brahmanans was attached the Vedas. These writings contain explanations of the ceremonies mentioned in the Vedas.

There are more additions, such as the Aranyakas and the Upanishads, which were written along the years 600 and 300 BC. All of these books, along with a few other, became part of the sacred scriptures of Hinduism. Out of all of them, the Rig Veda is honored the most even though most of todays Hindus do not know the contents of this revered book. Two types of sacred writings constitute the Hindu scriptures: sruti (heard) and smriti (memorized). Hindu Dharma can be analogized as a fruit tree. The roots (see 1), represent the Vedas and the Upanishads.

The thick trunk (2) symbolizes the many spiritual experiences of countless saints and gods. Its branches (3) represent various theological traditions and customs. The fruit itself, because it is in many different shapes and sizes (4), stands for the various sects and sub sects that make up the Hindu religion. There are two parts to sruti literature. They are the Vedas and the Upanishads. The four Vedas that make up the Hindu scriptures are the following: The Rig Veda: Royal Knowledge The Sama Veda: Knowledge of Chants The Yajur Veda: Knowledge of Sacrificial Rituals

The Atharva Veda: Knowledge of Incarnations There are 108 existing Upanishads, from which 10 are the most important. The ten are the following: Isa, Kena, Katha, Prashna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taitiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya and Brihadaranyaka. When Hindus talk about Sruti literature, they are referring to memorized or remembered poetry or epics. They are more popular with Hindus because they are easier to comprehend, explain the universal truths through symbolism and mythology and also contain some of the most charming and exhilarating stories in the olden times of world religion.

The three most important of all Smriti literature are: The Bhagavad-Gita – This is the most famous of the Hindu scriptures. It is also called the Song of The Adorable One . It contains some of the most inspired theological lessons about the nature of God and of life, ever written. The Mahabharata – The worlds longest epic poem. It deals with the power struggle between the Pandava and the Kaurava families with a link of plentiful occurrences that make up life. The Ramayana – The most popular of Hindu epics, composed by Valmiki around 4 or 5 BC. Later additions were made until 300 CE.

It tells the story of the royal couple of Ayodha – Ram and Sita and a swarm of other characters and their heroic acts. Hinduism is a very interesting a big religion. To try and pare it down to a few facts was very challenging. It ranges in so many different things. It was a very interesting religion to study and I am glas I got to learn more about the origins, roots and founders of the religion. It was a very fun project to learn about and to think about other peoples religion. Many people are centered on their own religion being the right one but learning about others religions helps you learn more about the person.

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