How old is Hinduism ?

Hinduism is one of the oldest religions of the world. It is undoubtedly the oldest of the living religions. Hidden in its layers are traces of many ancient practices that have been erased completely over time from the memories of the earth. Many scholars north of the equator may not agree with these statements because most of them read or believe that the history of the world began in Greece, meandered through medieval Europe and then moved on through the imperialism of Europe and the industrialization of the new world. For them the world beyond the Mediterranean in ancient times was mostly barbaric and where it was civilized was but a poor imitation of the Greek and Roman traditions. While ancient people believed that the earth was flat and lived in little worlds of their own, many educated people in the western world presently think and speak as if the world begins in Europe and ends in America! The European historians of early 20th century grudgingly accepted the period of Indian history as beginning around 2500 B.C. with the supposed origin of its predecessor, the Vedic religion. But this is not true. Hinduism is a much older religion, whose antiquity is difficult to fathom. It is a tradition that evolved out of the amalgamation of numerous cultures and practices, not just Vedic religion. Just as it is very difficult to trace the origin of mankind itself, it is difficult to measure the antiquity of Hinduism.

The Evidence

The antiquity of Hinduism can be better estimated from the astronomical evidence available in the Hindu Scriptures, the folk-traditions and anthropological studies peculiar to the Indian sub-continent, and some geographical and etymological references mentioned in the Vedic literature. These evidences suggest that what we understand as Hinduism today, has a long and checkered history of at least 6000 years or more.


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