History – The beginning of Hinduism

History – The beginning of Hinduism

The beginning of Hinduism

In this article we will see: “The beginning of Hinduism”, history, the chronicle of human civilization, serves as a window to the past, illuminating the triumphs, struggles, and evolution of societies over millennia. Through the study of historical events, we unravel the complexities of our collective heritage and gain insight into the forces shaping our present and future.

Summary : History – The beginning of Hinduism

The origins of Hinduism trace back to ancient times, shaping the cultural, social, and religious landscape of India. Rooted in diverse traditions and philosophies, Hinduism evolved over millennia, influencing the lives and beliefs of countless individuals. Exploring the genesis of Hinduism offers insights into its profound impact on Indian society and beyond, illuminating its rich tapestry of rituals, scriptures, and spiritual practices.

History – The beginning of Hinduism

By 1000 BC, pre-Aryan and Aryan cultures had begun to merge. This fusion gave rise to what could be called the classical civilization of India. The Aryans continued to hold the pre-Aryan populations in subjugation, but over time, the victors adopted some of the customs of the defeated.

The legends of both peoples merged to give rise to the great Indian epic poems. One of the most famous Indian epics is the Ramayana, composed by the poet Valmiki around 550 BC… Written in Sanskrit, it tells the story of Prince Rama, exiled by his jealous stepmother. Along with his wife Sita, the prince experienced many adventures. At one point, he even had to form an alliance with Sugriva, the king of the monkeys. Ultimately, he shared the throne with his half-brother.

This poem soon became widely known. Indians came to regard Prince Rama almost as a god: certainly as an ideal man, a kind of superman, the savior of humankind. The other great Indian epic poem was the Mahabharata, which constitutes a gigantic encyclopedia… of morality. One of its fragments, the Bhagavad Gita or “Song of the Lord,” is a magnificent piece with profound philosophical significance.

This poem preaches total union with the Supreme Being, known by countless changing names. Like the Ramayana, the Mahabharata offers a blend of imaginative narratives, legends, myths, and history. The verses of the Ramayana, as well as those of the Mahabharata, were passed down orally through the ages. Even after being written down, they were revised and underwent changes and additions, as they were not sacred texts.

The priests, in particular, were eager to introduce concepts of Hindu religion. Indeed, in the ten centuries preceding our era, Hinduism emerged as the religion of India. It can be said that this religion was born from that of the early Aryans. The ancient Aryan gods, related to the forces of nature, were idealized over time to give way to the more subtle deities of the Hindus. Vishnu, for example, was one of the names borne by the sun god of the early Aryans.

In Hindu religion, he became one of the principal gods: Vishnu, the Preserver, is indeed part of the Indian trimurti or trinity, which also includes Brahma the Creator and Shiva the Destroyer. By 600 BC, Hinduism had pervaded the thoughts and daily life of Indians. The priests of the primitive Aryans presided over ceremonies and chanted hymns. By renouncing the pleasures of this world to devote themselves to their religion, the Brahmins gained the respect of the masses.

They took charge of spreading the sacred texts and, over the centuries, dictated rules of conduct to Hindus. The Brahmins, therefore, were not only servants of their faith. They were also spiritual masters, instructors, and lawmakers. They soon formed an upper class. Social classes, moreover, became increasingly important in the eyes of Indians. Previously, in the early Indus Valley, there already existed a social hierarchy. When the Aryans arrived, they hastened to proclaim that they belonged to the ruling class. Under their domination, people became even more compartmentalized.

There were well-defined varnas or classes. Ultimately, the hierarchy stabilized. At the top were the Brahmins, the pious and learned class. Next came the warriors and rulers. In third position were merchants, farmers, and artisans. Below them toiled the mass of ordinary workers. Finally, squeezed pitifully onto the lowest rung, were the “untouchables,” comprising half-savage tribes, Dravidians from the South, and workers assigned to menial tasks, such as waste disposal, for example.

From the class system came the caste system. A caste consisted of a group of families sharing the same code of conduct or dharma. Thus, these people celebrated the same ceremonies and followed the same dietary regimen. The Brahmins were strong advocates of this compartmentalization system, which helped maintain order in the Indian community and was closely linked to Hinduism. One of the fundamental beliefs of this religion was (and still is today) the law of karma.

According to it, a person’s future life partly depends on their behavior in the present. Hindus believe in the cycle of rebirths; for them, the soul reincarnates after death. Therefore, their present life is the consequence of their past lives. It is made up of both determinism and free will. Determinism in the sense that a person cannot avoid suffering the consequences of their past misdeeds. And free will in that they still have the choice to behave well or poorly in the present. As can be seen, Hinduism negates any notion of injustice.

It is a religion of kindness and equity. Thus, thanks to Hinduism, the poor and the suffering more easily accepted their fate. Each one thought only of fulfilling their duty with maximum consciousness and found their personal happiness in it. But Hinduism did more than help people bear their burden. It also taught them to disdain the material goods of this world. Perhaps this is one of the most important things.

The spiritual ideal of the Brahmins elevated believers above materialism. It was an absolutely pure ideal, which soared far above vulgar contingencies and brought serenity to the soul. The teaching of the Brahmins, however, was difficult to understand. Holy men therefore relied on the caste system to get Hindus to accept their fate. However, many people did not immediately adopt the established religion.

Some found fault with the complicated ceremonies and animal sacrifices that existed at the time, whereas today, Hinduism respects the lives of animals as well as those of people. Others preferred to stick to the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita, whose sacred texts seemed to speak directly to the gods. A man, around this time, tried to reform Hinduism.

This was Mahavira Jina, the “Great Hero.” Born around 540 BC, Mahavira became a monk. And then, finding monastic life unsuitable, he began to travel. And while traveling, he preached. He taught that everyone should be good to their neighbor and practice “non-violence” or ahimsa by respecting life in all its forms.

Consequently, since everything in this world (including plants, minerals, air, and fire) has a soul, great care must be taken not to harm anything. For example, it was recommended not to walk at night, for fear of accidentally stepping on an unseen worm. Obviously, such a belief required great self-control. Nevertheless, when Mahavira Jina died around 470 BC, he left behind thousands of followers known as Jains, devoted to their common religion, Jainism.

Last word about : History – The beginning of Hinduism

The exploration of the beginnings of Hinduism unveils its complex and dynamic nature, reflecting the diverse experiences and perspectives of its adherents. From its ancient roots to its modern expressions, Hinduism continues to thrive as a vibrant and enduring faith, embodying the timeless quest for spiritual understanding and enlightenment. Through its teachings and traditions, Hinduism remains a cornerstone of Indian culture and identity, inspiring countless souls on their journey of self-discovery and divine connection.

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