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The origin of Hinduism can be traced back 4000 years ago. According to scholars, the word Hindu was derived from the name of a river that flowed through the northern part of India, this river is the Indus. Back when the Persians began to migrate into India, the river was called Sindhu and the Persians would pronounce the name as Hindu, the land they call it Hindustan, and the people who inhabited the land were called Hindus. This is how the religion of the Hindus has become known as Hinduism. This region was the home of the Dravidians, a dark skinned and highly superstitious people group. Scholars believe that they held to a form of natural and sexual worship, mixing a desire for abundant harvests and personal fertilities. The Aryans conquered the Dravidians around 2000 B.C., bringing their lighter skinned warriors over the Caucasus Mountains. The Aryans, a polytheistic group, incorporated the gods of the Dravidians into their religion. The four books that contain the doctrines and hymns of the Aryans are Vedas, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads. These four books are considered sacred to Vedic Hindus; they also contain the central belief of their system: pantheism. The Hindu system wants people to believe that god did not create the world; God is the world. According to the Vedic system, humans are all part of God, and this God is part of everything. In the Hindu religion, God is not necessarily a personal, intimate, or even intelligent god. God is Brahma, the impersonal highest being. In this belief system, God is somewhat like a molecular fingerprint. Wherever life exists, this “God stuff” is in it. Because all living things, including humans, are part of God, they are divine. Therefore, basic problems for humankind are not sin but ignorance of our divinity.
Hinduism is divided into five different sects: Upanishadic, Vishnu, Shivaite, Populist, and the newest Western Hinduism. The Upanishadic...
References: "History of Hinduism." Encyclopedia Britannica (Encyclopedia Britannica Premium
"Indian Religions and the Hindu Tradition" The Cambridge Illustrated History of
Religions (Cambridge University Press, 2002).
Living Religions, Sixth Edition, by Mary Pat Fisher. Published by Prentice-Hall.
Copyright © 2005 by Pearson Education, Inc.
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