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Theories About the Origin

of Hinduism
A Brief History of Hinduism



Ancient Hindu Scriptures




BC India


History of India

Hinduism originated on the banks of River Indus in northern India. joSon

By Subhamoy Das
Hinduism Expert


Updated March 30, 2016.

According to historians, the origin of Hinduism dates back to 5,000 or

more years. The word "Hindu" is derived from the name of River Indus,
which flows through northern India. In ancient times the river was called
the 'Sindhu', but the Persians who migrated to India called the river
'Hindu', the land 'Hindustan' and its inhabitants 'Hindus'. Thus the
religion followed by the Hindus came to be known as 'Hinduism'.
It was earlier believed that the basic tenets of Hinduism were brought to
India by the Aryans who invaded the Indus Valley Civilization and settled
along the banks of the Indus river about 1600 BC. However, this theory
has now been proved to be a flawed one and is considered nothing more
than a myth.

The Various Periods of the Evolution of Hinduism

According to scholars, the evolution of Hinduism may be divided into
three periods: The ancient (3000 BCE-1000 AD), the medieval (10001800 AD), and the modern (1800 AD to present). Hinduism is commonly
thought to be the oldest religion in the history of human civilization.
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Ancient Hindu Scriptures

Timeline: History of Hinduism

2500-1600 BCE: The earliest of Hindu practices form

roots with the rise of the Indus Valley civilization in
northern Indian sub-continent around 2500 BCE.
1600-1200 BCE: The Aryans are said to invade
southern Asia in c. 1600 BCE., which would have a
lasting influence on Hinduism.
1500-1200 BCE: The earliest Vedas, the oldest of all
scriptures, are compiled in c. 1500 BCE.
1200-900 BCE: The early Vedic period, during which
the main tenets of Hinduism were developed. The
earliest Upanishads were written in c. 1200 BCE.
900-600 BCE: The late Vedic period, during which the
Brahminical religion, which emphasized ritual worship
and social obligations, came into being. During this
time, the latter Upanishads are believed to have
emerged, giving birth to concepts of karma,
reincarnation and moksha.
500 BCE-1000 CE: The Puranas were written during
this time giving rise to the concepts of deities such as
trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, and their female forms
or Devis. The germ of the great epics of the Ramayana
& Mahabharata started to form during this time.
5th Century BCE: Buddhism and Jainism become
established religious offshoots of Hinduism in India.
4th Century BCE: Alexander invades western India;
Mauryan dynasty founded by Chandragupta Maurya;
Composition of Artha Shastra.
3rd Century BCE: Ashoka, the Great conquers most of
South Asia
2nd Century BCE: Sunga dynasty founded
1st Century BCE: Vikrama Era named after
Vikramaditya Maurya begins
1st Century CE: Composition of the Manava Dharma
Sashtra or Laws of Manu (?)
2nd Century CE: Composition of
the Ramayana completed

3rd Century CE: Hinduism spreads to Southeast Asia

4th Century CE: Composition of
the Mahabharata completed
India: Past & Present
The Death of Traditional Hinduism