What is the origins of Hinduism?

I know a few. Some still practice all the devotions, for social and psychological reasons but don’t believe in the deity or any god

does Hinduism have an identifiable founder, such as Abraham, or mohammed or Jesus?

it has been my understanding that Hinduism grew organically from ancient communal experiences.

No. I have read that Hindus identify themselves as followers of Shiva, Vishnu, etc. but that traditionally at least they didn’t think of their religion as a single entity known as “Hinduism” - this was a conceptual framework imposed on them by outsiders.

Hindus usually follow and worship one God (like Shiva or Vishnu) as their main chosen one, but they also believe in the other Gods and participate in their festivals too - so most can be considered polytheistic.

And there is no one founder - the religion just evolved from the teachings/revelations of many different teachers over several thousand years.

I’m certainly not an expert on Hinduism, and I’m not looking any of this up fresh, but going on my memory of what I’ve read.

Hi again Hasantas!

My understanding of Hinduism is that it has the oldest religious scriptures in the world, and dates back to at least 1500-1800 BC (the Indo-European invasion of India–although Indian nationalists are debating this, although I don’t know why. Everyone came from somewhere.). And of course since Greeks and Romans also spoke an Indo-European language, many of the same ideas should be similar. Even some of the same words are used–devi – deus, etc. But certainly a lot of similarities are there–Greek gods were similar to men in many respects and had some of the same emotions. They came down to earth and interacted with men, and even had children who were half-gods (Hercules, Achilles, etc.) I think you see the same thing in Hinduism with heroes like Krishna.

There is not as much formal theology written on Hinduism as Islam and Christianity, as far as I know. The Brahmins, as a religious class, were the keepers of the prayers and such, and handed them down by memorizing them, but I think more effort went into memorizing prayers and rituals than into what we would now consider theology.

Having said that, I think Hinduism is more consistent with monotheistic religions than previously thought. For example, I have heard expressions like “There are 30,000 gods…and there are 3,000 gods, and there are 30 million gods, but there is one god…” The idea being that there are many manifestations or aspects of the one ultimate god, Atman. Muslims and Christians would say that God is ultimately unknowable because he is a different kind of being. All that we can know of him is what he tells us–revelation. This is not so different from Hinduism, where atman is ultimately unknowable. Also in Islam there is the idea (which I like) that you can’t say one thing about God unless you say the opposite; again, the idea being the limitations of human ideas and language cannot limit God. So that fits with the Hindu idea of a sort of indefinite number of manifestations of god.

I don’t see much difference between karma and the idea of sin leading to punishment and good works leading to reward. In any case, a Hindu who is honestly trying to be a good person would end up doing pretty much the same things as a Muslim or Christian.

And of course Catholics believe that there is some truth in all religions, so I certainly think there is room for common ground between Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism.

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