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An introduction to the origins and the history of hinduism

The Vedic Period c.

  • From this period we can recognise many elements in present day Hinduism, such as bhakti devotion and temple worship;
  • Some of the vedic rituals were very elaborate and continue to the present day;
  • The famous Bhagavad Gita is part of the Mahabharata;
  • On this view there were no Aryan migrations or invasion and the Indus valley culture was an Aryan or vedic culture;
  • These texts were composed in Sanskrit, which became the most important element in a shared culture;
  • These multiple perspectives enhance a broad view of religious truth rather than diminish it; hence, there is a strong tendency for contemporary Hindus to affirm that tolerance is the foremost religious virtue.

The Aryan migration thesis that the Indus Valley groups calling themselves 'Aryans' noble ones migrated into the sub-continent and became the dominant cultural force.

Hinduism, on this view, derives from their religion recorded in the Veda along with elements of the indigenous traditions they encountered. The cultural transformation thesis that Aryan culture is a development of the Indus Valley culture.

History of Hinduism

On this view there were no Aryan migrations or invasion and the Indus valley culture was an Aryan or vedic culture. There are two sources of knowledge about this ancient period - language and archaeology - and we can make two comments about them. Firstly, the language of vedic culture was vedic Sanskrit, which is related to other languages in the Indo-European language group. This suggests that Indo-European speakers had a common linguistic origin known by scholars as Proto-Indo-European.

  1. On the other hand, even cosmopolitan Hindus living in a global environment recognize and value the fact that their religion has developed in the specific context of the Indian subcontinent.
  2. Along the way, he touches on themes in Indian thought that al This book collects a series of lectures presented in the mid-eighties by the eminent Indologist A. The Sky contains the sky god Dyaus from the same root as Zeus , the Lord of cosmic law or rta Varuna, his friend the god of night Mitra, the nourisher Pushan, and the pervader Vishnu.
  3. The Laws of Manu adds 'what is pleasing to oneself'.

Page of the Rig Veda in Sanskrit: The history of this period is therefore complex. One of the key problems is that no horse remains have been found in the Indus Valley but in the Veda the horse sacrifice is central.

The debate is ongoing. Vedic religion If we take 'Vedic Period' to refer to the period when the Vedas were composed, we can say that early vedic religion centred around the sacrifice and sharing the sacrificial meal with each other and with the many gods devas.

The Origins and Development of Classical Hinduism

The term 'sacrifice' homa, yajna is not confined to offering animals but refers more widely to any offering into the sacred fire such as milk and clarified butter. Some of the vedic rituals were very elaborate and continue to the present day. Sacrifice was offered to different vedic gods devas who lived in different realms of a hierarchical universe divided into three broad realms: Earth contains the plant god Soma, the fire god Agni, and the god of priestly power, Brhaspati. The Atmosphere contains the warrior Indra, the wind Vayu, the storm gods or Maruts and the terrible Rudra.

  1. Basham's observations on the origins of asceticism and the evolution of the key interrelated concepts of karma,, samsara, and moksha are speculative but fascinating--his hypothesis is that this complex of doctrines was "discovered" nearly simultaneously by independent sages and only gradually spread into the broader Indian consciousness.
  2. There are two sources of knowledge about this ancient period - language and archaeology - and we can make two comments about them.
  3. This period saw the development of poetic literature.
  4. The debate is ongoing.
  5. General nature of Hinduism More strikingly than any other major religious community , Hindus accept—and indeed celebrate—the organic, multileveled, and sometimes pluralistic nature of their traditions. Why am I still writing?

The Sky contains the sky god Dyaus from the same root as Zeusthe Lord of cosmic law or rta Varuna, his friend the god of night Mitra, the nourisher Pushan, and the pervader Vishnu. Dasavatara Temple, Deogarh, 6th century.

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The famous Bhagavad Gita is part of the Mahabharata. The idea of dharma law, duty, truth which is central to Hinduism was expressed in a genre of texts known as Dharma Sutras and Shastras. The Dharma Sutras recognise three sources of dharma: The Laws of Manu adds 'what is pleasing to oneself'. During this period the vedic fire sacrifice became minimised with the development of devotional worship puja to images of deities in temples.

From this period we can recognise many elements in present day Hinduism, such as bhakti devotion and temple worship. This period saw the development of poetic literature. These texts were composed in Sanskrit, which became the most important element in a shared culture.