History of Hinduism

devi-with-shiva-hinduism-800x600The history of Hinduism is closely tied to the background and history of the Hindi people (the people native to the Indian subcontinent, mostly Nepal, Bangladesh, and India). There are rumors that this is indeed the oldest religion in the whole of human history, with traces that stretch all the way back to the Iron Age. Because of this, it is difficult to clearly establish its roots or founders and a specific time period.

However, Hinduism and its history can be split into different periods in which many significant changes occurred. In the early Puranic period, which was initiated around 200 BC and lasted for about 700 years, many important changes and reforms took place and is therefore regarded as Hinduism’s Golden Age. Hinduism fell under Islamic control between the years 1100 and 1750. In colonial times,under which India was invaded and controlled by the British Empire, various reforms and changes took place thanks to the influence exerted by the European invaders and their beliefs and standards. Examples of these movements are Unitarianism or Theosophy.

The interesting thing about Hinduism is that a diversity of beliefs is generally accepted. However, there is a common belief (Maia) that all different kinds of alternative groups that are associated with this religion share, which is that behind the visible universe, to which different cycles are attributed (like creation, destruction, etc.), there is a general principle, force or deity that keeps the balance in the universe, referred to as Brahman. This being or group of beliefs would be the equivalent to God in other religions. Another remarkable characteristic of this religion is that people believe in a long cycle of reincarnation and rebirth etc. known as Samsara. Being able to get out of this cycle and achieve a state of divinity is the goal of people who profess Hinduism.