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Hinduism, significant world religion originating top top the Indian subcontinent and comprising several and also varied equipment of philosophy, belief, and ritual. Return the surname Hinduism is relatively new, having been coined by British writers in the very first decades the the 19th century, it refers to a affluent cumulative tradition of texts and also practices, several of which day to the 2nd millennium bce or maybe earlier. If the Indus valley people (3rd–2nd millennium bce) was the earliest resource of these traditions, as part scholars hold, climate Hinduism is the oldest living religious beliefs on Earth. Its plenty of sacred texts in Sanskrit and also vernacular languages served as a car for dispersing the religious beliefs to various other parts the the world, despite ritual and the visual and also performing arts additionally played a significant role in that transmission. From about the 4th century ce, Hinduism had actually a leading presence in south east Asia, one that would certainly last for much more than 1,000 years.

In the early 21st century, Hinduism had practically one exchange rate adherents an international and to be the religious beliefs of around 80 percent that India’s population. Regardless of its worldwide presence, however, that is finest understood v its plenty of distinctive regional manifestations.


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Overview

The hatchet Hinduism

The hatchet Hinduism came to be familiar as a designator of spiritual ideas and practices distinctive to India with the publication of publications such as Hinduism (1877) by teacher Monier Monier-Williams, the noteworthy Oxford scholar and also author of an prominent Sanskrit dictionary. Initially it to be an outsiders’ term, building on centuries-old usages of the word Hindu. Early travelers come the Indus valley, beginning with the Greeks and also Persians, speak of its residents as “Hindu” (Greek: ‘indoi), and, in the 16th century, residents of India us began very slowly to rental the hatchet to differentiate themselves native the Turks. Gradually the distinction became primarily religious rather than ethnic, geographic, or cultural.

Since the so late 19th century, Hindus have reacted come the hatchet Hinduism in number of ways. Some have actually rejected the in favour of aboriginal formulations. Rather have desired “Vedic religion,” using the ax Vedic come refer not only to the ancient spiritual texts well-known as the Vedas but also to a liquid corpus of spiritual works in multiple languages and also an orthoprax (traditionally sanctioned) method of life. Quiet others have actually chosen to speak to the religion sanatana dharma (“eternal law”), a formulation made popular in the 19th century and also emphasizing the timeless elements of the heritage that are perceived to transcend neighborhood interpretations and also practice. Finally, others, maybe the majority, have simply welcomed the ax Hinduism or its analogues, specifically hindu dharma (Hindu moral and spiritual law), in miscellaneous Indic languages.

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Since the at an early stage 20th century, textbooks top top Hinduism have actually been created by Hindus themselves, often under the rubric of sanatana dharma. These efforts at self-explanation add a new layer to sophisticated tradition of explaining practice and doctrine that days to the 1st millennium bce. The root of Hinduism have the right to be traced earlier much farther—both textually, come the colleges of commentary and debate kept in epic and Vedic writings from the 2nd millennium bce, and also visually, through artistic representations that yakshas (luminous spirits linked with particular locales and natural phenomena) and nagas (cobralike divinities), i beg your pardon were venerated from about 400 bce. The roots of the heritage are additionally sometimes traced back to the female terra-cotta figurines discovered ubiquitously in excavations that sites connected with the Indus valley civilization and also sometimes understood as goddesses.