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Introduction to Hinduism - 01.0 - Origin of the Hindu World View

The Hindu World View, hereafter referred to as Hinduism for the sake of simplicity, is vast, Most Ancient and encompasses a lot of different practices and sects.

How old is Hinduism?

Hinduism is very ancient ancient - ask any average Hindu and he will say the same. Great men like Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Dr B R Ambedkar have also said the same.

But during the period 1800 to 1900, Indologists like Max Muller, who were primarily driven by Christian missionary zeal, arbitrarily insisted that Hinduism started in 1200 BC - approximately 300 years after the Central Asian/ European barbarian tribesmen whom they dubbed as "Aryans" conquered the Indian sub-continent on horses and destroyed the "Indus Valley Civilization".

This so called "Aryan Invasion Theory" has since been disproved although "Aryan Migration Theory", a linguistic hypothesis has found acceptance (and also non-acceptance).

Modern Hinduism had its root in the ancient Vedic religion.Below is a broad-based key-timeline of the development of Hinduism

1. Earliest Times BC - Roots of the Vedic religion, in the early-Indus people, Rise of Tantra orientation and Nature worship in Eastern India, Rise of Village Gods, Animism, Nature worship in South India
2. ~3500 BC to 2000 BC - Rk Veda - earliest portions to later parts and compositions
3. ~2500 to 1500 - Brahmanas
4. 1500 BC to 1100 C.E -    Rise of modern Hindusim after the admixture of these 3 practices,              Separation of Buddhism as a separate religion, Separation of Jainism as a separate religion
5. ~1000 B.C.E - Bharata War

The dates may or may not be entirely accurate - but gives a broad idea of timelines.

Modern Hinduism encompasses a wide variety of sects and practices. Although its exact origin details is open to debate, what cannot be denied is that it is far more ancient than most of the other world religions.

Subhodeep Mukhopadhyay (2011)


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