How old is Hinduism and its origin are two of the major questions around the globe? There are various theories for answering ‘How old is Hinduism. Yet no one is able to answer properly. Hinduism origin symbol is another issue. People think if Hinduism is a religion then why it doesn’t have things like Hinduism symbols. The country with the highest population following Hinduism is India. However, people are not much old to answer the question ‘How old is Hinduism?’. Some say it is 4.3 Billion years old and some say Hinduism is 3,500 Years old. Primary texts of Hinduism called Vedas came in the paper during that time. However, it is certain that it is the oldest religion in the world.
How old is the origin of Veda in Hinduism?
Vedas are primary texts in Hinduism, they came in the paper in around 1500-500 BC. However, there was an oral tradition before until someone gave it a try on paper. This oral tradition was probably not Hinduism like today. Generally, A Guru transfers the Vedas orally to Students in the Gurukul system. In this old system, a student learns only from a teacher. It is a symbol of a good education. It is because there is no societal impact on learning, unlike today’s Hinduism. In present, it focuses on stories rather than Vedas. There are four Vedas namely Rig, Yajur, Sama and, Atharva. Rig Veda is a collection of hymns for different deities or Devtas. Yajur Veda is a collection of hymns for sacrificial offerings. Sama Veda is for singing. Atharva Veda is for mystical methods like blessings, curses, medicine, etc.
How the origin of old Hinduism is not Religious?
There are various people who argue Hinduism has to be in the framework of religions. However, the Origin of Hinduism is not a religion like others. It is a collective identity of the people living below the ‘Sindhu’ river. It is also called Indus. These old people lived up-to-the Indian ocean. Observe the variations of usage of the tongue while saying the three words Hindu-Indus-India. These words are of the same origin. Also, the old people who lived on the other side of the Sindhu River couldn’t pronounce the word ‘S’. So they replaced it with ‘H’. Sindhu became Hindu. There are more variations in the usage of the tongue for other Hinduism related words too. Complete evidence is in the Zend Avesta book of the Zoroaster culture. They call the Saraswati River Haraxwati. Indians accepted the word Hindu but not Haraxwati. So, the question “How old is Hinduism?” can be tough.
Old Hinduism Origin is geographical and had Atheistic Ideas
Hinduism has no founder, this is the fact. It is the reason why Hinduism accepts Atheism. Logically, how religion and atheism can co-exist together? This cannot happen unless people have a similar interest. These old people should have known that something common binds things together in the Universe. So, Old Hinduism and their Atheism had a similar kind of idea. This makes it tougher to trace the exact origin because it is distinct from Religion. Every other Religion had founders, unlike old Hinduism. For the moment, we can name the founder as some sages from Sindhu Region.
Sages and Symbol in Hinduism.
The prominent sages are Angiras, Kashyapa, Vashistha, Vishwamitra, etc. It is for sure that they had someone greater as a guide. For the moment, let’s not assume that guides are the three major Gods of Hinduism. Brahma, who is old or the creator. Vishnu, the young as the preserver, and Mahesh, the destroyer. The founder has to be some earthly being having great thoughts. In reality, the idea of Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh are merely based on symbolism. Their images are a symbol of consciousness within the Universe or cosmic intelligence. Brahma Purana explains symbolism for major deities in great detail.
However, this book is new in the pantheon of books related to Hinduism. Other symbolisms are also representations of intelligence. These are nonliving symbols such as Swastika. It represents the motion of Ursa Major. OM represents cosmic vibration and states of mind. These states are namely Jagrit ( Wakefulness), Svapna ( Dreaming), Sushupti ( Sub-Conscious or dormant), and Turiya ( Stage of Union with God). In every book after the Vedas, sages had tried to create stories as symbolism. It was done to make people understand the original foundation principle of Hinduism.
The original principle of Hinduism.
The core foundational principle of Hinduism is ‘Brahman’. This is an idea where everything manifests through the same principle from which the universe manifests. This concept never becomes old, as the principle of ‘Whole’ never gets old. Call it multiverse or Universe, it is a ‘Whole’. You cannot change the ‘Whole’ because it is ever existing and infinite. Within this ‘Whole’, the thing called ‘Maya’ (illusion) creates other ‘Wholes’ in the image of ‘Whole’ itself. This is the core principle.
As per the Vedas, smaller ‘Wholes’ are Atman having characteristics of Brahman. . The relation between Atman and Brahman is through Rta. This is the Universal law that manifests as Dharma in beings. So, Rta is Universal law and Dharma is a human law that manifests from Brahman through Maya (Illusion). This is a complex idea but the sages wrote scriptures called Upanishads. This was for the explanation of the foundational principle. These Upanishads also have no proper date of origin and founder. They are one of the greatest metaphysical and philosophical texts ever made in history. Scientists like Heisenberg and Schrödinger and thousands of other scientists gave words of appreciation for Upanishads.
This is a myth that Old Hinduism had multiple Gods. This is a fake interpretation. The whole idea of Hinduism is to make Atman unite with Brahman. The major Deities like Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh are symbolism of Gunas or Characteristics. They are Rajas ( Enjoying nature and growing with it). Sattwa ( Acceptance), and Tamas ( Ignorance).
The king of Deities in Hinduism is Indra. The direct translation of Indra is ‘Senses’. Another major god is Agni or the fire. It nurtures by burning food in beings. The list goes on, many people say it’s 33 Million but modern research says it’s only 33 Gods. The idea of 33 gods is in Atharva Veda too. These thirty-three gods are forms of consciousness that a human being perceives. They are, gods of Dhyu Loka ( Plane of Mind), Bhu Loka ( Plane of physicality), and Antariksha ( Intermediate plane).
In recent times, the ideas of the Origin of Hinduism faces challenges by Religious influences. The philosophy based on geography changed to the idea of Religion itself. The challenges are because people within the same geographical area didn’t understand the idea of Unity. A rigid Caste system was there to strictly maintain the workforce in the Kingdoms. Brahmins were the Gurus who taught society about good and bad, they were teachers, scientists, etc. Kshatriyas were the Warriors and Kings. Vaishyas were the Business owners. They gave money to the Kingdom for its functioning. Shudras were the laborers. This division was based on the theory of reincarnation. However, in modern times lower caste people became vulnerable to upper caste. So, they were oppressed while scholars misinterpreted the scriptures.
How Hinduism considers Reincarnation and caste system and its origin?
The reincarnation is based on Rta or the Universal Law. Hinduism asserts Karma or the cause and effect principle decide what a person is going to become in the next birth. The person who has done good becomes Brahmin and a person who does bad becomes Shudra. Many scholars say this was probably structured within the kingdoms to maintain the workforce. The origin of the caste system is thought to be 3000 Years old. However, there is no proper evidence to justify but various scholars argue in its favor. A realized Hindu (Yogi), ignores the caste system.
So, What is Hinduism?
Coming from How old is Hinduism and origin of Hinduism, we reached what is Hinduism. In the whole article, I tried to differentiate the old Hinduism and New Hinduism. It is because, in ancient times, Hinduism was probably not a religion. It is in the present that the geopolitical conflicts made it turn into a religion. Let’s keep the time frame of 1500-500 BC where the transition of old Hinduism and new Hinduism happened. This is probably the period of Vyasa who presented Vedas in written form as per literary sources. The people who understand old Hinduism are ‘Yogis and Sadhus’, commonly seekers. Those who understand new Hinduism is ‘Hindu’. However, when a Hindu turns into Yogi, then only he/she can understand whole Hinduism. This is the enlightenment or psychological union of Atman and Brahman.
Who are ‘Yogis’?
In Hinduism Yoga means union so a Yogi is a seeker aspiring to become one with Brahman. There are various techniques from the worship of symbolism to understand them properly. Further, with yogic and tantric practices, people can understand with zeal. These practices are done to achieve the union. The origin of Yoga also cannot be traced but we can just say it’s very old so the old Hinduism is. This is the real idea of Hinduism which Swami Vivekananda wanted to convey. Very few people understood his ideas. However, most of the Yogis who know all prefer themselves to hide, so they live isolated in the Majestic Himalayas.
What are the Hinduism Beliefs?
Hinduism beliefs vary with ‘Hindus’ and Yogis’. Hindus believe that the creator of the Universe is God Brahma. Its savior is Vishnu and the destroyer is Mahesh ( Shiva). They believe in stories and accept the suggestions given by sages and Deities of scriptures. Suggestions are like commandments but not compulsions, so all scriptures have different ideas. All, the suggestions lead to the union. These suggestions and stories are in scriptures like Puranas and Smritis. Yogis or the Seekers of Hinduism have a belief in reality and Science. So in reality, the world is ‘Samsara’ for them. It is nothing but a reflection of our thoughts and actions because life is all about perceptions. The aim of life is to get rid of ‘Samsara’. And to get liberation known as ‘Moksha’. So, when a Hindu has mystical experiences of a union, he/she becomes a Yogi and gets enlightenment.
- Old Hinduism was not religion.
- Old Hinduism was geographic Identity.
- Founder of Old Hinduism is unknown.
- Origin of Old Hinduism cannot be traced.
- New Hinduism is mixture of stories found in Puranas
- Hindu and Yogi have different characteristics.