History Of Hinduism
Hinduism is a term for a wide variety of related religious traditions native to India. Historically, it encompasses the development of Religion in India since the Iron Age traditions, which in turn stretch back to the prehistoric religions such as that of the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilization followed by the Iron Age Vedic religion.
By the early centuries CE, Indian philosophy was divided into Astika (orthodox) and Nastika (heterodox) depending on whether the authority of the Vedas was accepted. The Astika group was further divided into six branches, evolving from about the 2nd century BCE to the 6th century CE, viz. Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, and Vedanta. The Buddhist, Jain, Carvaka and some other schools were classified as Nastika. The different schools in this period competed for adherents and influenced each other. Meanwhile, Tantra and tantric practices emerged in both Astika and Nastika forms. Monotheistic religions like Shaivism, Shaktism and Vaishnavism developed during the same period through the Bhakti movement. Classical Hinduism emerges as a revival of Vedic traditions fused with local folk traditions, with the gradual decline of Buddhism in India starting from around the eighth century.
Hinduism under the Islamic Rulers saw the increasing prominence of the Bhakti movement, which remains influential today. The colonial period saw the emergence of various Hindu reform movements partly inspired by western culture, such as spiritism (Theosophy). The Partition of India in 1947 was along religious lines, with the Republic of India emerging as a secular nation with a Hindu majority.
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