History of Hindu

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The earliest evidence for prehistoric religion in India date back to the late Neolithic in the early Harappan period (5500–2600 BCE).[21][22] The beliefs and practices of the pre-classical era (1500–500 BCE) are called the "historical Vedic religion". Modern Hinduism grew out of the Vedas, the oldest of which is the Rigveda, dated to 1700–1100 BCE.[23] The Vedas center on worship of deities such as Indra, Varuna and Agni, and on the Soma ritual. Fire-sacrifices, called yajña were performed, and Vedic mantras chanted but no temples or icons were built.[24] The oldest Vedic traditions exhibit strong similarities to Zoroastrianism and other Indo-European religions.[25]

The major Sanskrit epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, were compiled over a protracted period during the late centuries BCE and the early centuries CE[citation needed]. They contain mythological stories about the rulers and wars of ancient India, and are interspersed with religious and philosophical treatises. The later Puranas recount tales about devas and devis, their interactions with humans and their battles against demons.

Three major movements underpinned the naissance of a new epoch of Hindu thought: the advent and spread of Upanishadic, Jaina, and Buddhist philosophico-religious thought throughout the broader Indian landmass.[26] Mahavira (24th Tirthankar of Jains) and Buddha (founder of Buddhism) taught that to achieve moksha or nirvana, one did not have to accept the authority of the Vedas or the caste system. Buddha went a step further and claimed that the existence of a Self/soul or God was unnecessary.[27] Buddhism peaked during the reign of Asoka the Great of the Mauryan Empire, who unified the Indian subcontinent in the 3rd century BCE. After 200 CE several schools of thought were formally codified in Indian philosophy, including Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Purva-Mimamsa and…...

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