A Short History Hinduism

  • Item #: 0547
A Short History Hinduism What is Hindusim? Hinduism is unlike any of the other major historic religions. It does not claim an identifiable human founder or a specific origin in history—some Hindus derive their tradition from a primeval revelation of the Supreme, others consider it the beginningless sanatana dharma,the eternal law that governs everything, independently of any divine or human agent- nor has it ever rejected a parent tradition from impose their own which it separated as a rebel child, as all others have done. Hindus had not found it necessary to define “the essentials of Hinduism” or prove it different from other religions until challenged by break-away spiritual movements like Buddhism or invaders from outside, who wanted to impose their own religions, such as Islam and Christianity. Traditional Hinduism has preserved surprisingly much of the character of autochthonous native traditions, maintaining the holistic, all-embracing approach typical of these: there is no hard and fast distinction between the sacred and the secular, no strict separation of religious ritual from essential daily activities, no real difference or tension between religion and culture. The various branches of what became known as “Hinduism” do not have a common creed and they do not demand from their followers any declaration of a “Hindu” faith. Until recently one could not become a Hindu unless one was born into a Hindu family; and one could not cease to be a Hindu if one was born a Hindu. As far as one’s membership in the Hindu community was concerned, it did not matter what one thought or believed as long as one participated in the traditional rituals, which were also part and parcel of traditional Indian culture.
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