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Roots of Hinduism
The ideas that shape Hinduism come from a variety of sources from popular beliefs, texts, and other sorts of historical artifacts. Hinduism has roots that tie back into ancient India; this religion has well developed from prehistoric cultures in this country. In the article “Roots of Hinduism,” the author stresses, “Hinduism developed over many centuries from a variety of sources: cultural practices, sacred texts, and philosophical movements, as well as local popular beliefs. The combination of these factors is what accounts for the varied and diverse nature of Hindu practices and beliefs. Hinduism developed from several sources: Prehistoric and Neolithic culture, which left material evidence including abundant rock and cave paintings of bulls and cows, indicating an early interest in the sacred nature of these animals" ("Roots of Hinduism"). This information can be used to determine the idea that Hinduism truly has been shaped by ancient practices of India. With the help of the culture in the surrounding area, Hinduism was able to take ideas and use them as a foundation for their original religion.
Distinctiveness of Hinduism
Hindus practice many basic and common practices that are unusually unique to their religion. Some of these ideas, and things that they practice, have actually helped to influence ideas that other religions today practice. The author of “Roots of Hinduism,” begins to explain to his readers, “...a belief in the universal law of cause and effect (karma) and reincarnation … a belief in the possibility of liberation and release (moksha) by which the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth (samsara) can be resolved…” (“Roots of Hinduism”). Hindus actually believe in the idea that how they act in their life will determine the social status that they are put into in their next life. This idea is unique to their specific religion, because they were the first to start believing in this.
Hinduism at Large
A vast majority of Hindus live in India. Other religions are typically spread out around the world in a majority of continents; nearly 100% of all Hindus are located in Asia. The author of this next article includes the statistic, “There are about 1 billion Hindus in the world, representing 15% of the global population" (Bell 1). Knowing that about ⅛ of the world population are Hindus, it can be inferred that Hinduism must be one of the most practiced religions. This makes sense because of how old the religion is; people have had the opportunity to learn and adapt to it. Another thing that this same author tells the reader is, “An overwhelming majority of Hindus (94%) live in one country, India..." (Bell 1). With nearly all Hindus in one country, it leads to the belief that this religion did not spread from its original roots.
Hinduism Over Time
Hinduism has changed and developed over time since this religion came to be. It first started as an optimistic faith, believing in “positive” gods of fire, the sky, storms, and others. They then developed the ideas of reincarnation and karma in their next phase, as well as priests that preached their religion. Finally, in their newest form, each face of Brahman came to be. Whalen, the author of the next article, begins explaining, “... Hinduism, which began to develop more than 4500 years ago when Aryan tribes invaded the subcontinent and brought with them their sacred writings known as the Vedas. Since then Hinduism has passed through a number of stages” (Whalen 1). Hinduism, being so old, has adapted to popular beliefs of the area around it as time went on.
Other Religions That Have Derived From Hinduism
Multiple religions have derived from Hinduism itself. They are not direct copies but they take many of the same characteristics and ideas. There are differences that oppose ideas of Hinduism, but they still derived originally from Hinduism. This same idea happens with tons of other religions that are known. From the author Whalen again, she explains that, “... the religion has given birth to several other religions that could not be confined to Hinduism's parameters” (Whalen 1). Hinduism has influenced other religions and the ideas that they practice. Sikhism is one religion that grew from Hinduism, but it actually developed opposite ideas from Hinduism. Christianity has behaved similarly; they took the idea of reincarnation and bashed it to make it a bad thing, and something people should not believe in. Another piece of evidence from this same author reads, “Two much smaller religions- Jainism and Sikhism-also grew out of Hinduism” (Whalen 1). Knowing that Hinduism is the oldest religion, it is obvious that other religions were going to have ideas sparked from them.
"Hindus." Pew Research Center Religion and Public Life, James Bell (vice president), Dec. 2012, www.pewforum.org/2012/12/18/global-religious-landscape-hindu/. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.
"Roots of Hinduism." Khan Academy, 2021, www.khanacademy.org/humanities/art-asia/beginners-guide-asian-culture/hindu-art-culture/a/roots-of-hinduism. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.
Whalen, William J. "Hinduism: What Do You Know about the World's Oldest Religion?" Hinduism: What Do You Know about the World's Oldest Religion?, by Whalen, vol. 58, U.S. Catholic, 1993. EBSCOhost. Accessed 4 Mar. 2021.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.