Vedic period

VedicVedic timesVedic culture
History of India. Historical Vedic religion. Indus Valley Civilisation. Vedanga. Indigenous Aryans. Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, The Arctic Home in the Vedas, Messrs Tilak Bros., 1903. R. C. Majumdar and A. D. Pusalker, eds. The History and Culture of the Indian People. Volume I, The Vedic age. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay 1951. R. C. Majumdar et al. An Advanced History of India, MacMillan, 1967.


As Bhakti movement ideas spread in the south India, Shaivite devotionalism became a potent movement in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Shaivism was adopted by several ruling Hindu dynasties as the state religion (though other Hindu traditions, Buddhism and Jainism continued in parallel), including the Chola and the Rajputs. A similar trend was witnessed in early medieval Indonesia with the Majapahit empire and pre-Islamic Malaya. In the Himalayan Hindu kingdom of Nepal, Shaivism remained a popular form of Hinduism and co-evolved with Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. The goddess tradition of Hinduism called Shaktism is closely related to Shaivism.

Indian religions

religionDharmic religionsIndian
The Harappan people of the Indus Valley Civilisation, which lasted from 3300 to 1300 BCE (mature period, 2600–1900 BCE), had an early urbanized culture which predates the Vedic religion. The documented history of Indian religions begins with the historical Vedic religion, the religious practices of the early Indo-Iranians, which were collected and later redacted into the Vedas. The period of the composition, redaction and commentary of these texts is known as the Vedic period, which lasted from roughly 1750–500 BCE.


SivaLord ShivaMahadev
Shiva is considered the Great Yogi who is totally absorbed in himself – the transcendental reality. He is the Lord of Yogis, and the teacher of Yoga to sages. As Shiva Dakshinamurthi, states Stella Kramrisch, he is the supreme guru who "teaches in silence the oneness of one's innermost self (atman) with the ultimate reality (brahman)." The theory and practice of Yoga, in different styles, has been a part of all major traditions of Hinduism, and Shiva has been the patron or spokesperson in numerous Hindu Yoga texts. These contain the philosophy and techniques for Yoga.


VedicvedaVedic literature
The Vedas (Sanskrit: वेद, "knowledge") are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. Hindus consider the Vedas to be apauruṣeya, which means "not of a man, superhuman" and "impersonal, authorless". Vedas are also called ' ("what is heard") literature, distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called ' ("what is remembered"). The Veda, for orthodox Indian theologians, are considered revelations seen by ancient sages after intense meditation, and texts that have been more carefully preserved since ancient times.


RigvedicRig VedaRig Vedic
However, the contemporary Hindu beliefs are distant from the precepts in the ancient layer of Rigveda samhitas: "The social history and context of the Vedic texts are extremely distant from contemporary Hindu religious beliefs and practice, a reverence for the Vedas as an exemplar of Hindu heritage continues to inform a contemporary understanding of Hinduism.


The śramaṇa tradition includes Jainism, Buddhism, and others such as the Ājīvikas, Ajñanas and Cārvākas. The śramaṇa movements arose in the same circles of mendicants in ancient India that led to the development of yogic practices, as well as the popular concepts in all major Indian religions such as saṃsāra (the cycle of birth and death) and moksha (liberation from that cycle).

History of Hinduism

HinduHindu historyHinduism
Among its roots are the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age northern India itself already the product of "a composite of the Indo-Aryan and Harappan cultures and civilizations", but also the Sramana or renouncer traditions of northeast India, and mesolithic and neolithic cultures of India, such as the religions of the Indus Valley Civilisation, Dravidian traditions, and the local traditions and tribal religions. After the Vedic period, between 500-200 BCE and c. 300 CE, at the beginning of the "Epic and Puranic" c.q.


PanjabPunjabiSouth Punjab
Called "The Granary of India" or "The Bread Basket of India", Indian Punjab produces 1% of the world's rice, 2% of its wheat, and 2% of its cotton. In 2001, it was recorded that farmers made up 39% of Indian Punjab's workforce.

Gautama Buddha

Buddhathe BuddhaShaka
He left Rajagaha and practised under two hermit teachers of yogic meditation. After mastering the teachings of Alara Kalama (Skr. Ārāḍa Kālāma), he was asked by Kalama to succeed him. However, Gautama felt unsatisfied by the practice, and moved on to become a student of yoga with Udaka Ramaputta (Skr. Udraka Rāmaputra). With him, he achieved high levels of meditative consciousness and was again asked to succeed his teacher. But, once more, he was not satisfied, and again moved on.

History of India

ancient IndiaIndiaIndian
The history of India includes the prehistoric settlements and societies in the Indian subcontinent; the Indus Valley Civilisation; the eventual blending of the Indo-Aryan culture to form the Vedic Civilisation; the rise of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism; the onset of a succession of powerful dynasties and empires for more than three millennia throughout various geographic areas of the Indian subcontinent, including the growth of Muslim dominions during the Medieval period intertwined with Hindu powers; the advent of European traders and privateers, resulting in the establishment of British India; and the subsequent independence movement that led to the Partition of India and the creation of

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South Asia

Southsouthern AsiaSouthern
These texts began to ask the meaning of a ritual, adding increasing levels of philosophical and metaphysical speculation, or "Hindu synthesis". Increasing urbanisation of India between 800 and 400 BCE, and possibly the spread of urban diseases, contributed to the rise of ascetic movements and of new ideas which challenged the orthodox Brahmanism. These ideas led to Sramana movements, of which Mahavira (c. 549–477 BCE), proponent of Jainism, and Buddha (c. 563-483), founder of Buddhism, were the most prominent icons. The Greek army led by Alexander the Great stayed in the Hindu Kush region of South Asia for several years and then later moved into the Indus valley region.

Religion in India

IndiaIndian religionsreligion
The Harappan people of the Indus Valley Civilisation, which lasted from 3300 to 1400 BCE and was centered on the Indus and Ghaggar-Hakra river valleys, may have worshiped an important mother goddess symbolising fertility. Excavations of Indus Valley Civilisation sites show seals with animals and "fire‑altars", indicating rituals associated with fire. A linga-yoni of a type similar to that which is now worshiped by Hindus has also been found. Hinduism is often regarded as the oldest religion in the world, with roots tracing back to prehistoric times, over 5,000 years ago. Hinduism spread through parts of Southeastern Asia, China, Korea, and Japan.

Tamil mythology

epicTamil legends
This body of mythology is a mix of elements from the Tamil culture, Dravidian culture and Indus Valley cultures along with the Hindu religious aspects. The Tamil literature in parallel with the Sanskrit literature formed a major source of information on Hindu culture. The ancient Tamil epics forms the source of various historical figures in Hindu scripture like Agastya, Iravan, Patanjali etc. Ancient Tamil literature is the source of Tamil deities like Murugan and Kotravai, Tamil literature forms the source of history of Nataraja, Meenakshi, Tirupati, Rameswaram. Other names: Arumugam, sanmugam, singara velan, kathireshan, Karikeyan, Senani, Subramani and Tamizh mupaten.

Indian art

Seals have been found at Mohenjo-Daro depicting a figure standing on its head, and another sitting cross-legged in what some call a yoga-like pose. This figure, sometimes known as a Pashupati, has been variously identified. Sir John Marshall identified a resemblance to the Hindu god, Shiva. After the end of the Indus Valley Civilization, there is a surprising absence of art of any great degree of sophistication until the Buddhist era. It is thought that this partly reflects the use of perishable organic materials such as wood.


Skt.classical SanskritSanskrit language
However, The Hindu tradition does not use the Gayatri metre to end a hymn or composition, possibly because it has enjoyed a special level of reverence in Hinduism. The early history of writing Sanskrit and other languages in ancient India is a problematic topic despite a century of scholarship, states Richard Salomon – an epigraphist and Indologist specializing in Sanskrit and Pali literature. The earliest script from the Indian subcontinent is from the Indus Valley Civilization (3rd/2nd millennium BCE), but this script remains undeciphered. Of the Vedic period that appeared after the Indus Valley Civilization, if any scripts for Vedic Sanskrit existed, they have not survived.

Indus River

IndusIndus ValleySindhu
The major cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation, such as Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, date back to around 3300 BC, and represent some of the largest human habitations of the ancient world. The Indus Valley Civilisation extended from across northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India, with an upward reach from east of Jhelum River to Ropar on the upper Sutlej. The coastal settlements extended from Sutkagan Dor at the Pakistan, Iran border to Kutch in modern Gujarat, India. There is an Indus site on the Amu Darya at Shortughai in northern Afghanistan, and the Indus site Alamgirpur at the Hindon River is located only 28 km from Delhi.


The Upanishads, a part of the Vedas, are ancient Sanskrit texts that contain some of the central philosophical concepts and ideas of Hinduism, some of which are shared with religious traditions like Buddhism and Jainism. Among the most important literature in the history of Indian religions and culture, the Upanishads played an important role in the development of spiritual ideas in ancient India, marking a transition from Vedic ritualism to new ideas and institutions. Of all Vedic literature, the Upanishads alone are widely known, and their central ideas are at the spiritual core of Hindus. The Upanishads are commonly referred to as Vedānta.


Both Sāmkhya and Yoga systems of religious thought are mokshaśāstras, suggests Knut Jacobsen, they are systems of salvific liberation and release. Sāmkhya is a system of interpretation, primarily a theory about the world. Yoga is both a theory and a practice. Yoga gained wide acceptance in ancient India, its ideas and practices became part of many religious schools in Hinduism, including those that were very different from Sāmkhya. The eight limbs of yoga can be interpreted as a way to liberation (moksha). In Sāmkhya literature, liberation is commonly referred to as kaivalya.

Hindu philosophy

Hindu philosopherdarsanasHindu
Hindu philosophy refers to a group of darśanas (philosophies, world views, teachings) that emerged in ancient India. These include six systems (ṣaḍdarśana) – Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa and Vedanta. These are also called the Astika (orthodox) philosophical traditions and are those that accept the Vedas as an authoritative, important source of knowledge. Ancient and medieval India was also the source of philosophies that share philosophical concepts but rejected the Vedas, and these have been called nāstika (heterodox or non-orthodox) Indian philosophies. Nāstika Indian philosophies include Buddhism, Jainism, Cārvāka, Ājīvika, and others.

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Yoga SutrasYoga SūtrasYogasutras
Three other teachings closely associated with Jainism also make an appearance in Yoga: the doctrine of "colors" in karma (lesya); the Telos of isolation (kevala in Jainism and Kaivalyam in Yoga); and the practice of nonviolence (ahimsa), though nonviolence (ahimsa) made its first appearance in Indian philosophy-cum-religion in the Hindu texts known as the Upanishads [the Chāndogya Upaniṣad, dated to the 8th or 7th century BCE, one of the oldest Upanishads, has the earliest evidence for the use of the word Ahimsa in the sense familiar in Hinduism (a code of conduct).