top of page


Hinduism is an Indian religion or dharma, a religious and universal order or way of life by which followers abide. Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world. It has also been described as sanātana dharma (Sanskrit: सनातन धर्म, lit. ''the eternal dharma''), a modern usage based on the belief that its origins lie beyond human history, as revealed in the Hindu texts. Another endonym for Hinduism is Vaidika dharma.


Hinduism entails diverse systems of thought, marked by a range of shared concepts that discuss theology and mythology, among other topics, in textual sources. The major Hindu denominations are Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, and the Smarta tradition. The six Āstika schools of Hindu philosophy, which recognize the authority of the Vedas, are Sānkhya, Yoga, Nyāya, Vaisheshika, Mimāmsā, and Vedānta. Hindu texts have been classified into Śruti ("heard") and Smṛti ("remembered"). The major Hindu scriptures are the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Purānas, the Mahābhārata, the Rāmāyana, and the Āgamas. Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include karma (action, intent, and consequences) and the four Puruṣārthas, proper goals or aims of human life, namely: dharma (ethics/duties), artha (prosperity/work), kama (desires/passions) and moksha (liberation/freedom from the passions and the cycle of death and rebirth).[8][9] Hindu religious practices include devotion (bhakti), worship (puja), sacrificial rites (yajña), and meditation (dhyāna) and yoga.


While the puranic chronology presents a genealogy of thousands of years, starting with the Vedic rishis, scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of Brahmanical orthopraxy with various Indian cultures, having diverse roots and no specific founder. This Hindu synthesis emerged after the Vedic period, between c. 500–200 BC and c. 300 AD, in the period of the second urbanization and the early classical period of Hinduism when the epics and the first Purānas were composed. It flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of Buddhism in India. Since the 19th century, modern Hinduism, influenced by Western culture, has also greatly appealed to the West, most notably in popularizing yoga and various sects such as Transcendental Meditation and the Hare Krishna movement.


Hinduism is the world's third-largest religion, with approximately 1.2 billion followers, or 15% of the global population, known as Hindus. It is the most widely professed faith in India, Nepal, Mauritius, and Bali, Indonesia. Significant numbers of Hindu communities are found in other South Asian countries, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, the Middle East, North America, Europe, Oceania, Africa, and other regions.

bottom of page