Thousands of years ago, two major religions—Hinduism and Buddhism—emerged in ancient India. The ethical and spiritual messages of these religions profoundly shaped Indian civilization.
Visvamitra visits Vasishtha in ancient India. Both men wrote parts of the Vedas, the sacred texts about Hindu beliefs. How does the artist convey respect between the authors?
Unlike most major religions, Hinduism has no single founder and no single sacred text. It evolved over 3,500 years and grew out of the overlapping beliefs of the diverse groups who settled India. Later people who migrated into South Asia brought other gods, beliefs, and practices.
As a result, Hinduism became one of the world's most complex religions, with countless gods and goddesses and many forms of worship existing side by side. Despite this diversity, all Hindus share certain basic beliefs.
“God is one, but wise people know it by many names.” This ancient proverb reflects the Hindu belief that everything in the universe is part of the unchanging, all-powerful spiritual force called Brahman. In Hinduism, Brahman is too complex an idea for most people to understand. So Hindus worship a variety of gods who give concrete form to Brahman.