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The Origin of Hinduism

Updated on March 9, 2016
Om: a symbol of Hinduism
Om: a symbol of Hinduism

What is Hinduism?

Hinduism is a prominent religion from India. There is no specific definition of this religion, as in actual this is not a religion, but a community of the people from Indian subcontinent who do not follow Islam, Christianity, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Zorastrian or Jewish religion etc.

In fact, there is no mention of the word Hindu in any of their sacred text. Veds, Upanishids, Mhabharat, Ramayan, Purans are considered as holy books of Hindus, but none of them mentions this word. This word is not indigenous and ancient, and none of ancient Indian language knows the word Hindu.

The word Hindu is of Arabian and Persian origin, and they used it for the people living in the region east to Indus river. In the beginning, the word was never used for religion, or the followers of a specific religion, but for the people of specific region.

When British came to India and established here as the rulers, they started the Census of India. The word Hindu was first used as followers of religion in the first Census.

Then Who is a Hindu?

As I have written above that there is no specific definition of Hinduism, it is not easy to decide who is Hindu and who is not. The easiest definition could be as such:

One, who calls himself or herself as a Hindu, he/she is a Hindu.

But it is not a scientific definition of the follower of Hinduism.

I think that a Hindu is:

1. One, who believes in all or one of the Gods Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh

and / or

2. One, who's priests are Brahmins

and / or

3. One who follows one of the following religious sects: Vedic, Shaivism, Vaishnavism or subsects of these sects.

Origin of Hinduism

Now let us see what is the origin of Hinduism.

In ancient India, there were three important religions, i.e. Jainism, Buddhism and Vedic religion. First two were indigenous, while the last one was invention of Aryans, who came from west.

Most of the Hindus today are non-vedic. The Vedic religion exists prominently in Brahmins.

When we examine the traditions, rituals and food habits of Hindus, we find that Hinduism is nothing but an amalgamation of Jainism, Buddhism and Vedic religion.

As we know, a large number of Hindus are vegetarians. Another thing we know that Vedics were meat eaters and beef eaters in ancient time. So the vegetarianism in Hinduism came there from Jainism.

Animal sacrifice was one of the most important rituals in Vedic religion. Vedics stopped this ritual because of strong opposition by Jains and Buddhist. Compassion for animals in Hinduism came from Jainism and Buddhism, and sacrificing animals came from Vedic religion.

Vedics were not idol worshipers. Idol worshiping in Hinduism came from Jainism.

The saffron color is considered as holy in Hinduism. But it came there from Buddhism. On the other hand, importance of white color in Hinduism came from Jainism.

The importance of 4 rainy months (Chaturmas) in Hinduism came from Jainism and Buddhism. The importance of fasting came from Jainism.

Thus, we can see many Jain and Buddhist elements in present day Hinduism, followed by some Vedic elements.

-Mahavir Sanglikar


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  • hubmuffins profile image

    Siddharth 4 years ago from Jaipur

    Your Hub is truly is very great one. I had been aware of the facts that you stated but it was just a superficial knowledge. You have given me a food for thought and I am now inclined towards searching these facts more deeply.

    To all the people who are saying that Vedas do not support meat eating, Please first go and read the whole Vedas and then come ans argue. Lack of knowledge leads to clash of opinions.

    Even Vivekananda has told that before Buddhism came, Indians freely ate meat including beef.

  • jainismus profile image

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 5 years ago from Pune, India

    Thanks rajattoronto for reading the Hub and expressing your views.

  • profile image

    rajattoronto 5 years ago

    Totally amazed by the facts you put in front, never though something like this before.

    @amithak50 - even Indian history also mention that there is no real proof stating aryan invasion but it also says about what people said the reason of Aryans in India was from 4 different ways- 1 they migrated, 2 some fire originated (weird and i don't believe), 3 it so said that they were already in India and 4 sorry i can't recall but you can google it.

    * If anyone knows more about it I would love to know about that as well.

    Question- very controversial topic - many people says Buddhism is originated(directly or indirectly) from Jainism? If you put some facts about it that will be appreciated. I am sorry its kind a hard to find these stuff online and local in Toronto.

    Once again thanks for tell, sharing a great knowledge. Thumbs up.

  • Angelme566 profile image

    Angelme566 5 years ago

    Hinduism , a very broad religion , one reading i didn't absorb everything , so i did 3 times reading..finally i understand it already..But how does hinduism differ from Buddhism . Why some Indians are both a practices Hinduism and Buddhism ?

    Very broad hub. Voted Up , useful and interesting !

  • amithak50 profile image

    amithak50 5 years ago from India

    But the recent discovery done by carbon dating,existence of Dwarka city under sea (believed to be existed around 32000 yrs ago)..There is no any Aryans involved in our culture ..Aryan invasion is a myth that is not true at all(recent study said and even the west and Discovery channel believe that No aryan invasion at all ..not in our culture not in Genes of Indian people..Aryan invasion is a fake ) ..Aryan invasion is the work of done by Christian missionaries ..I think you should remove the Aryan invasion from this Hub ...Sanatan Dharma Rocks !!!..It is not religion's a way of life

  • jainismus profile image

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 5 years ago from Pune, India

    CR Rookwood,

    Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • jainismus profile image

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 5 years ago from Pune, India

    CR Rookwood,

    Thank you for reading and commenting.

  • CR Rookwood profile image

    Pamela Hutson 5 years ago from Moonlight Maine

    I learned a lot from your hub. I'm glad you are here writing about this, since most Americans know very little about Hinduism. Thank you! Voted up.

  • jainismus profile image

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 5 years ago from Pune, India

    Judi Bee,

    Thanks for reading and commenting.

  • Judi Bee profile image

    Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

    I am nearly completely ignorant on Hinduism, so appreciate your introduction - thank you!

    Voted up etc.

  • William Haloupek profile image

    William Haloupek 6 years ago from New Jersey

    This is a very interesting introduction to Hinduism. I started reading about the Rigveda for superficial reasons - just looking for cool names to use in my next science fiction novel. Now I am finding all this history very fascinating!

  • jainismus profile image

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 6 years ago from Pune, India

    Thank you all of you for reading this Hub and commenting on it.

  • jainismus profile image

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 6 years ago from Pune, India

    Thank you Sir, for the appreciation. I like your Hubs on history.

  • James A Watkins profile image

    James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago

    Your article is truly fascinating. I learned much from you in a short time and I enjoyed it. The Hub is perfectly done. Thank you for this pleasure.

  • profile image

    Dr. A. K. Merchant 6 years ago

    Dear Friends,

    This is, indeed, an interesting presentation on "Hindu belief system" and the contribution of Jainism and Buddhism. In my humble view these days people are so confused and dogmatic in protecting their belief systems and preserving identities that they have forgotten the true purpose of "religion". Living in the 21st century humanity must move away from these narrow and prejudiced notions. "Religion" as a system of knowledge must move hand in hand with "science" which is the other system of knowledge for the betterment of the world and for enabling and empowering every man, woman, youth and child to contribute meaningfully for the advancement of civilization, as we know it. As a member of the Baha'i Faith I have benefited a lot in my understanding of the true purpose of religion and spirituality as well as the positive role of science and technology.

    With kind regards.

    Dr. A. K. Merchant, National Trustee, Lotus Temple & Baha'i Community of India, General Secretary, The Temple of Understanding--India; Chairperson, Sarvodaya International Trust--Delhi Chapter

  • Faceless39 profile image

    Faceless39 6 years ago from The North Woods, USA

    From my understanding the word "Hindu" came from the Arab mispronunciation of the word "Sindhu," which appeared in the Rig Veda and was a noted River (the River Sindhu) in the North.

    My understanding is that both Jainism and Buddhism were established long, long after Hinduism, and are considered to be offshoots of Hinduism. While Hinduism is not necessarily a religion, you could describe it as both religion and culture together. Its roots in India are ancient, dating back to Sanskrit texts, and actually long before text even existed. 10,000+ years.

    From what I've read, Vedic literature does not promote a meat-eating diet, at least that I've come across. It would be very interesting for you to post examples of this. It's not something I'm aware of and definitely seems to clash with the Vedas.

    All in all, this is an extremely interesting hub and has made me more aware of my own beliefs and understanding of my "religion!" Thank you for this! :)

  • rai2722 profile image

    rai2722 6 years ago

    Very interesting facts about Hinduism. I didn't really know what Hinduism history was, because unlike other religion, there's no clear prophet of Hinduism. Thanks for sharing.

  • profile image

    D.D.Raut 6 years ago

    Hindu Religion was in existence in some form in India as seen from Haraapa and Mohanjodo excavation.Leaving name a side the religion was separate from Brahmin religion as the people entry is later. We cannot say Hindu religion was not existing before Muslim / Christian/ Parsi entry. Similarly we cannot say Hindu religion was not existing before Brahmin religion.However the Hindu Religion which we accept as named was mixed up with the filth of Brahmin Religion and due to this Mahavir, Buddha, Kabir and Nanak felt it necessary to find out what is the real Dharma.Followers of Mahavir, Buddha, Nanak reject Brahmin Religion and tell Hindu people what is their real Dharma. These three religion are separate from Brahmin dirt full Hindu Religion .Similarly Dharmatma Kabir filtered the the dirtfull Brahmin-Hindu mixed religion and freed Hindus from Brahmin Religion rejecting all Brahmincal so calle religious bOok long ago. The followers of Dharmatma Kabir follow Holy Bijak and are Hindus by Religion since then. Why enlightened Hindus should accept the foolish definitions, origin and other unworthy arguments which tie up with the same dirtful/ filthy Brahmin religion?. We are not calling Jainism as Hiduism, Buddhism as Hinduism , Sikhism as Hinduism and also expect from them to call filtered Hinduism as Hinduism and and mix up again with filth of Brahmanism.

    Nativist D.D.Raut, President, Native People's Party

    Massage to Nation : Janeu Chdo Bharat Jodo