Friday, July 4, 2008

Early History

Hinduism today is the synthesis of various cultures . The oldest was the Indo Aryan religion of the worship of the powers of nature through fire sacrifices . This culture composed the Vedas which are the oldest scriptures in the world , and were composed approximately between 2000 BC to 200 BC . The vedas are known as the "Shruti " or "that which is heard" and were heard by the ancient Rishis or sages by divine revelation . The Vedas are "anadi" ie without beginning or end eternal .There are four Vedas- Rig , Sama, Yajur and Atharva. Each is further divided into 4 parts - the Mantra Samhitas or ( sacred verses ) , the brahmanas or ( ritual texts ) the Aranyakas or (meta physical dscussions in the isolation of forests ) and the Upanishads ( about philosophy and God).
When the indo aryans interacted with dravidian cultures and their local beliefs ,hinduism further changed ,absorbed and evolved .
Hinduism also was influenced by buddhism and Jainism during the period 400 BC to 200 AD.
Today hinduism is more about a way of life , and devotion or Bhakti towards personal deities , who in turn help one to progress spiritually, and achieve liberation and freedom from the cycle of birth and death , by a union with the supreme all encompassing spirit or Brahman .