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Basic Beliefs Of Hindus, Caste System, Hinduism And The Family, Household Religious Practice, Major Hindu Family Rituals

The word Hinduism is used to denote the religious beliefs, practices, and social views of people who form the religious majority (approximately 80%) of India. Approximately 90 percent of Hindus live in India, and almost 70 percent of Indians live in its villages. The earliest stages of religious life in India date as far back as between 3000 and 1500 B.C.E.as it was practiced in the Indus Valley civilization. The Aryans, a people who spoke an Indo-European language, invaded India around 1500 B.C.E., conquering and subduing the indigenous inhabitants, and assimilating some elements of the latter's religious worldview into their own. Subsequently, the Vedic religion of the Aryans gained prominence as they settled and spread throughout India. Since then, orthodox Hinduism has evolved for almost 3500 years and has undergone numerous changes in the face of challenges from within (Buddhism and Jainism) and without (Islam and Christianity). These extensive evolutionary developments have kept Hinduism from becoming a homogeneous religious system. Hinduism is complex, and the beliefs and practices of the various traditions within Hinduism are diverse to the extent that they may seem contradictory. However, there are some beliefs that are commonly held by almost all Hindus.

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