Landmarks Of Hinduism

Landmarks of Hinduism

I. The Vedic Age

To understand the significance of the development of Hinduism, it is necessary to go back to the Veda, which can be regarded as the luminous seed of the huge banyan tree of what in course of time came to be known as Hinduism. (It may be noted that the ancient Indian Religion that was developed from the Veda was known as Sanatana Dharma or Arya Dharma. The word Hinduism came to be used at a later stage when foreigners referred to the religion practised by the people of India.)

In the eyes of the Rishis, who composed the Veda, the physical and the psychical worlds were a manifestation and twofold and diverse and yet connected and similar figures of cosmic godheads. The inner and outer life of man was a divine commerce with the gods, and behind it was the one Spirit or Being of which the gods were various names and personalities and powers, ekam sad viprā bahudhā vadanti.¹These godheads were not only masters of the physical Nature but were at the same time inward divine powers. Simultaneously, they were states and energies born in our psychic being. Godheads, devas, are declared to be the guardians of truth and immortality, the children of the Infinite, and each one of them to be in his origin and

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¹ RV 1.164.46

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