Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life, widely practised in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, and some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal tradition", or the "eternal way", beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder. This "Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE, after the end of the Vedic period (1500 BCE to 500 BCE), and flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of Buddhism in India.
Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, it is linked by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, cosmology, shared textual resources, and pilgrimage to sacred sites. Hindu texts are classified into Śruti ("heard") and Smṛti ("remembered"). These texts discuss theology, philosophy, mythology, Vedic yajna, Yoga, agamic rituals, and temple building, among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas and Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Āgamas. Sources of authority and eternal truths in its texts play an important role, but there is also a strong Hindu tradition of questioning authority in order to deepen the understanding of these truths and to further develop the tradition.
A Ganesha-centric Panchayatana ("five deities", from the Smarta tradition): Ganesha (centre) with Shiva (top left), Parvati (top right), Vishnu (bottom left) and Surya (bottom right). All these deities also have separate sects dedicated to them.
The festival of lights, Diwali, is celebrated by Hindus all over the world.
A statue of Shiva in yogic meditation
A wedding is the most extensive personal ritual an adult Hindu undertakes in his or her life. A typical Hindu wedding is solemnized before Vedic fire ritual (shown).
Basic Hindu symbols: Shatkona, Padma, and Swastika.
The Hindu deity Ganesha is sometimes linked to the symbol Om.
AUM, a stylised letter of Devanagari script, used as a religious symbol in Hinduism
Swami Vivekananda was a key figure in introducing Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and the United States, raising interfaith awareness and making Hinduism a world religion.
Hinduism – Percentage by country
Babur visits a Hindu temple.
A goshala or cow shelter at Guntur
: শ্রী অরবিন্দ
; August 15, 1872–December 5, 1950) was an Indian
nationalist, scholar, poet, Hindu mystic
, evolutionary philosopher
. His followers further believe that he was an avatar
, an incarnation of the supreme being
Sri Aurobindo spent his life—through his vast writings and through his own development—working for the freedom of India, the path to the further evolution of life on earth, and to bring down what he called the Supramental Truth Consciousness Force to enable such progress. Aurobindo rejected the materialistic tendencies of both Darwinism and Samkhya, and proposed an evolution of spirit rather than matter.
agnim īļe purohitam|
yajñasya devam ŗtvijam|
English: "I praise Agni, the priest of the house, the divine ministrant of sacrifice, the invoker, the best bestower of treasure.
— Rig Veda
The first words of the first hymn.
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