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World's oldest Religion?
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Nibir Offline
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Post: #1
World's oldest Religion?

Is Hinduism really the world's oldest religion? Is it really the religion from which all other religions emerged? Was there no other religion prior to Hinduism?

I think there might have been other developed religions(like Paganism), which emerged prior to Hinduism. Does anybody here know of any religion which existed prior to Hinduism?

I am asking this question because most people accept this theory "Hinduism is oldest religion and the origin of all religions" as a fact and treat it as the ultimate truth.
(This post was last modified: 12-07-2012 12:43 AM by Nibir.)
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Why Offline
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Post: #2
RE: World's oldest Religion?

To make sense of such claims, we have to define our terms in an agreeable manner before getting into debate.

This recent thread might interest you, where the poster argues over the definitions and special pleads for Hinduism.

So what scriptures and people define Hinduism for you?
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Nibir Offline
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Post: #3
RE: World's oldest Religion?

(12-07-2012 12:28 PM)Why Wrote:  To make sense of such claims, we have to define our terms in an agreeable manner before getting into debate.

This recent thread might interest you, where the poster argues over the definitions and special pleads for Hinduism.

So what scriptures and people define Hinduism for you?

I meant Hinduism in simplistic terms. By Hinduism I mean the religion which the majority of Indians follow. The religion which includes-Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, Laxmi, Durga, Parvati and many other gods & goddesses. The religion in which cow is worshipped as a mother. The religon whose religious scriptures include Vedas, Upanishads, Ramayana, Mahabharatha etc. The religion earlier known as Sanatan dharma.
And the people who follow this religion could be termed as hindu?

Note : As per my limited knowledge of hinduism.
(This post was last modified: 12-07-2012 07:37 PM by Nibir.)
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arvindiyer Offline
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Post: #4
RE: World's oldest Religion?

While many beliefs and practices in what is commonly known as Hinduism do have a hoary past, exaggeration of antiquity is common apologist behavior. Mainstream estimates of the age of the Vedas, put the date of the core Samhita portion of the Vedas to the 10-12 centuries BCE, quite at odds with the revivalist boast of a 'five-thousand-year-old Vedic civilization'.

Another apologist-driven misconception is to treat contemporary Hinduism, whose pantheon is dominated more by Puranic than Vedic deities, as somehow a parent faith of Buddhism. This chronology is seriously challenged if we consider that the Dhammapada, a fundamental text in the Pali canon, dates back to the 3rd century BCE whereas the Bhagavad Gita, a text orthodox Hindus literally swear by, is dated between 2nd century BCE and the 2nd century CE. The Bhagavad Gita is itself a palimpsest of different and competing schools of thought, some of which were influenced by heterodox schools like Buddhism, and would in varying degree constitute what is Hinduism today.

As for the Puranas which supply the dominant leitmotifs of contemporary Hinduism, their origins date back largely to the 'post-Buddhist' Gupta era and their fairly recent origins are discussed in this thread.

Coming now to the favourite apologist peeve that it is only the term 'Hindu' that is a recent coinage and the faith it refers to is 'eternal' (sanAtana), here are some crucial facts it ignores. The term Sanatana Dharma isn't to be found in the Vedas. The most influential text in which the term is to be found, that too only cursorily and allusively, is the Bhagavad Gita (Verse 1:39 and Verse 11.18 ). Even in these verses, it is either strictures of clan preservation or a Vaishnavite conception of monotheism that the term 'Sanatana/Shashvata Dharma' is used to refer to, rather than a unified universalizing religion accommodating both the Vedas and Puranas as the apologists and revivalists claim. Therefore, the claim that the faith that is now Hinduism was always referred to as Sanatana Dharma by its adherents since deep antiquity, is perhaps one more revivalist myth.
(This post was last modified: 13-07-2012 07:05 AM by arvindiyer.)
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Nibir Offline
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Post: #5
RE: World's oldest Religion?

arvindiyer

Thanks a lot bro, that's a lot of interesting and precious information.

Coming to my next question, do you know of any religion which existed prior to Sanatan Dharma?
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arvindiyer Offline
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Post: #6
RE: World's oldest Religion?

The religion which would be the right answer to the question "What is the oldest religion?" perhaps is most probably one that hasn't been given a name by later anthropologists or even its own followers. A broad class of practices involving rites of passage and veneration with origins in primitive cultures only retrospectively came to identified as 'religion', just as the generic notion of 'art' would have come to be applied much later to activities such as painting and dance.

In fact, even more recent questions like "What was the religion of the Aryan settlers before the Vedas were composed?" or "What sort of religion did the inhabitants of the Indus valley cities follow?" evade clear answers in the terminology that is current today, let alone the overarching question of "What is the oldest religion?" Questions like what is the world's first organized religion, or first state religion or first scripture-based religion may lend themselves to a readier historical study but still one that is greatly limited by gaps in the historical record of deep antiquity. However it maybe said that 'Hinduism' is not a self-evident or satisfactory answer to any of those questions. Neither are 'Paganism' or 'Animism' or 'Shamanism' because those words aren't names of religions just like "Monotheism" is not the name of a religion. Each of those terms presupposes a realm besides Nature with which contact maybe established via sacred rituals and objects or chosen mystics, a set of beliefs of which even the 'three monotheisms' cannot be claim to be wholly sanitized, despite their vehement disdain and antipathy towards indigenous faiths. The lingering primitive influences of contemporary religion, and a chronicling of the shifting definitions of the very concept of religion are some of the themes explored in this documentary 'The Story of God' hosted by Robert Winston.
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Nibir Offline
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Post: #7
RE: World's oldest Religion?

Thanks a lot for the replies.

And to think I was beginning to question my own sanityLaugh Most of the people I've talked with (including Hindu atheists) are convinced that Hinduism is indeed the root of all religions.
I guess more research needs to be done regarding the exact origins of Hinduism.

P.s. I should mention that I'm not an anti-hindu. In fact I'm a hindu myself and I follow the hindu way of life(not because I believe in this religion, rather due to peer pressuresmile )
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dev
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Post: #8
RE: World's oldest Religion?

I hope you guys had balls to talk ot Islam in same fervour as Hinduism . Hinduism gives you the flexibility to apply a logical & scientific argument to start an intellectual discussion , while Islam would just screw you up for raising such valid doubts . which one do you think is the father of all religion ? whether you believe or not , Hindusim is the truth
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Lije Offline
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Post: #9
RE: World's oldest Religion?

(23-07-2012 12:20 AM)dev Wrote:  I hope you guys had balls to talk ot Islam in same fervour as Hinduism . Hinduism gives you the flexibility to apply a logical & scientific argument to start an intellectual discussion , while Islam would just screw you up for raising such valid doubts . which one do you think is the father of all religion ? whether you believe or not , Hindusim is the truth

dev, you are not the first Hindu apologist to have come up with that non-excuse. Ignorance does not make Hinduism worthy of anything.
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Nibir Offline
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Post: #10
RE: World's oldest Religion?

(23-07-2012 12:20 AM)dev Wrote:  I hope you guys had balls to talk ot Islam in same fervour as Hinduism . which one do you think is the father of all religion ? whether you believe or not , Hindusim is the truth

You don't need balls to talk of Islam in same fervour as Hinduism. Pointing a finger at others while overlooking our own mistakes doesn't require any ball set.
Instead it requires more guts to take a look at ourselves and find out the mistakes in our own religion. That's what we guys are doing.

(23-07-2012 12:20 AM)dev Wrote:  Hinduism gives you the flexibility to apply a logical & scientific argument to start an intellectual discussion.

That's a tall claim. But we could discuss about it in another thread.

(23-07-2012 12:20 AM)dev Wrote:  which one do you think is the father of all religion ? whether you believe or not , Hindusim is the truth
Never heard a certain religion was a father to other religions. In that case, which religion is the mother?Can you prove it?
(This post was last modified: 14-08-2012 12:51 PM by Nibir.)
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khongyang Offline
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Post: #11
RE: World's oldest Religion?

Sanamahism or Shamanism is World Oldest Religion.
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rabrav Offline
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Post: #12
RE: World's oldest Religion?

Hindu tradition has a schoolboy's scorn for dates.
- Will Durant (Our Oriental Heritage - Story of Civilization)

Chronology of Hinduism
http://i.imgur.com/U2m4jji.png


Quote:ca. 1500-1000 BCE
Rig Veda

ca. 1200-900 BCE
Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda

ca. 800-600 BCE
Brahmanas

ca. 600-500 BCE
Aranyakas

ca. 500 BCE
Shrauta Sutras

ca. 500 BCE
Yaska’s Nirukta

ca. 500-400 BCE
Early Upanishads

ca. 483/486 BCE
Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, dies

ca. 468 BCE
Vardhamana Mahavira, the Jina, founder of Jainism, dies

ca. 450 BCE
Shaunaka’s Brihaddevata

ca. 400-100 BCE
Later Upanishads

ca. 400 BCE
Jaimini’s Purva Mimamsa Sutras

ca. 400 BCE
Badarayana’s Vedanta Sutras (Brahma Sutras)

ca. 300 BCE
Grihya Sutras

ca. 300 BCE
Panini’s Ashtadhyayi

ca. 300-100 BCE
Dharma Sutras

ca. 300-200 BCE
Kanada founds the Vaisheshika school

ca. 300-200 BCE
Bharata’s Natyashastra

ca. 300 BCE-300 CE
Mahabharata

ca. 200 BCE-100 CE
Tolkappiyam

ca. 200-100 BCE
Gautama founds the Nyaya school

ca. 200 BCE-200 CE
Valmiki’s Ramayana

ca. 150 BCE
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras

ca. 100-300 CE
Cankam poetry composed in Tamil Nadu

ca. 100 CE
Bhagavad Gita

ca. 100 CE
Manu’s Manava Dharmashastra

ca. 150 CE
Monuments of Bharhut and Sanchi built

ca. 200 CE
Kautilya’s Arthashastra

ca. 250-550 CE
Markandeya Purana (the Devimahatmya portion is added later)

ca. 250-500 CE
Matsya Purana

ca. 300 CE
Vatsyayana Mallanaga’s Kamasutra

ca. 300 CE
Panchatantra

ca. 350-950 CE
Brahmanda Purana

ca. 400-477 CE
Kalidasa

ca. 400 CE
Hinduism spreads to Southeast Asia

ca. 400-500 CE
Ilanko Atikal’s Tamil epic Cilappatikaram

ca. 450 CE
Harivamsha

ca. 450 CE
Vishnu Purana

ca. 450-900 CE
Vamana Purana

ca. 500-800 CE
Nayanmar Shaiva Tamil poets, authors of the Tevaram

ca. 550-850 CE
Kurma Purana

ca. 600-750 CE
Padma Purana

ca. 600-1000 CE
Linga Purana

ca. 600-930 CE
Alvar Vaishnava Tamil poets

ca. 650-800 CE
Early Tantras

ca. 700-1100 CE
Skanda Purana

ca. 750-1350 CE
Shiva Purana

ca. 788-820 CE
Shankara

ca. 800 CE
Manikkavacar’s Tiruvacakam

880-930 CE
Nammalvar, author of Tiruvaymoli

ca. 900-1000 CE
Brahmayamala Tantra

ca. 900-1300 CE
Yogavasishtha

ca. 950 CE
Bhagavata Purana

ca. 1056-1137 CE
Ramanuja

1106-1167/8 CE
Basava, founder of Lingayatas/Virashaivas

1148 CE
Kalhana’s Rajatarangani in Kashmir

ca. 1100-1200 CE
Mahadeviyakka

ca. 1178 CE
Kamban’s Iramavataram (Tamil version of Ramayana)

ca. 1200 CE
Jayadeva’s Gitagovinda

ca. 1200 CE
Ramacharitam (Malayalam version of Ramayana)

ca. 1200 CE
Early Sufis in North India

ca. 1250 CE
Palkuriki Somanatha’s Basava Purana

ca. 1238-1317 CE
Madhava, dualist philosopher, in Karnataka

ca. 1300 CE
Shri Vaishnavas split into Cats and Monkeys
('marjara kishora nyaya' and 'markata kishora nyaaya')

ca. 1350 CE
Sayana’s commentary on the Rig Veda

ca. 1352-1448 CE
Vidyapati of Mithila

ca. 1375-1450 CE
Chandidas

ca. 1398-1518 CE
Kabir

ca. 1400 CE
Villiputtur Alvar’s Tamil version of the Mahabharata

ca. 1400 CE
Krittibas Ojha’s Bangla Ramayana

1408-1503 CE
Annamayya (Telegu poet)

1469-1539 CE
Guru Nanak, founder of Sikhism

1479-1531 CE
Vallabha (founder of sect devoted to Krishna)

1483-1563 CE
Surdas

1486-1533 CE
Chaitanya

ca. 1489-1565 CE
Rupa Goswami

ca. 1498-1547 CE
Mirabai

1532/43-1623 CE
Tulsidas

ca. 1574-1577 CE
Tulsidas’s Ramcharitmanas

ca. 1600 CE
Kashirama Das’s Mahabharata

1608-1649 CE
Tukaram

1622-1673 CE
Kshetrayya

ca. 1700 CE
Mahanirvana Tantra

ca. 1700 CE
Kalki Purana, last of the major Puranas

ca. 1700-1800 CE
Parthayana, Balinese Kakavin text

ca. 1720-1781 CE
Ramprasad Sen

1772/4-1833 CE
Rammohun Roy

1824-1883 CE
Dayananda Sarasvati

1828 CE
Rammohun Roy founds the Brahmo Samaj

1829 CE
Burning of widows banned

1834/6-1886 CE
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa

1843 CE
Debendranath Tagore revives Brahmo Samaj

1861 CE
Michael Madhusudan Datta’s Epic of Meghananda

1863-1902 CE
Vivekananda (founder of the Ramakrishna movement)

1869-1948 CE
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

1872-1948 CE
Aurobindo Ghose

1873-1924 CE
Mahakavi Kumaran Asan

1875 CE
Dayananda Sarasvati founds the Arya Samaj

1875 CE
Helena Blavatsky founds the Theosophical Society

1891-1956 CE
B.R. Ambedkar

1893 CE
Vivekananda attends World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago

1893 CE
Cow Protection issue ignites Hindu-Muslim hostility

1896-1977 CE
A.C. Bhaktivedanta, Swami Prabhupada (founder of ISKCON)

1897 CE
Vivekananda founds Ramakrishna Mission

1918-2008 CE
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

1919 CE
Gandhi’s Rowlatt satyagraha

1920-22 CE
Gandhi’s non-cooperation campaign

1923 CE
Vinayak Damodar Savarkar’s Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?

1927 CE
Ambedkar leads Dalit protest at Chavadar Lake

1931-1990 CE
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho)

1930 CE
Gandhi leads Salt satyagraha

1932 CE
Gandhi-Ambedkar pact reserves seats for Untouchables

1948 CE
(January 30) Gandhi assassinated

1956 CE
Ambedkar and many Dalit followers convert to Buddhism

1960’s CE
Hinduism and Yoga popularized in the West

1961 CE
Dowry Prohibition Act

1970 CE -
Diaspora Hindus come to the US and Europe

1971 CE
Tamil Nadu government decrees Sanskrit not sole language of liturgy

1992 CE (Dec. 6)
Destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya

1996 CE
Kancha Ilaiah’s Why I am Not a Hindu

2002 CE
Hindu-Muslim riots in Gujarat

2007 CE
Hindutva groups challenge construction of Sethusamudram shipping canal

2010 CE
Allahabad Court rules that the Ayodhya site should be divided in three

2011 CE
Indian Supreme court stays the Allahabad Court’s ruling on Ayodhya

from the book "On Hinduism" by Wendy Doniger
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