Hinduism is an Indian religion and dharma, or way of life,[note 1] widely practised in the Indian subcontinent and parts of Southeast Asia. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world,[note 2] and some practitioners and scholars refer to it as Sanātana Dharma, "the eternal tradition", or the "eternal way", beyond human history.[4][5] Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion[note 3] or synthesis[6][note 4] of various Indian cultures and traditions,[7][note 5] with diverse roots[8][note 6] and no founder.[9] This "Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE,[10] after the end of the Vedic period (1500 BCE to 500 BCE),[10][11] and flourished in the medieval period, with the decline of Buddhism in India.[12]

Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, it is linked by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, cosmology, shared textual resources, and pilgrimage to sacred sites. Hindu texts are classified into Śruti ("heard") and Smṛti ("remembered"). These texts discuss theology, philosophy, mythology, Vedic yajna, Yoga, agamic rituals, and temple building, among other topics.[13] Major scriptures include the Vedas and Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Āgamas.[14][15] Sources of authority and eternal truths in its texts play an important role, but there is also a strong Hindu tradition of questioning authority in order to deepen the understanding of these truths and to further develop the tradition.[16]

Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include the four Puruṣārthas, the proper goals or aims of human life, namely Dharma (ethics/duties), Artha (prosperity/work), Kama (desires/passions) and Moksha (liberation/freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth/salvation);[17][18] karma (action, intent and consequences), Saṃsāra (cycle of death and rebirth), and the various Yogas (paths or practices to attain moksha).[15][19] Hindu practices include rituals such as puja (worship) and recitations, japa, meditation, family-oriented rites of passage, annual festivals, and occasional pilgrimages. Some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions, then engage in lifelong Sannyasa (monastic practices) to achieve Moksha.[20] Hinduism prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings (ahimsa), patience, forbearance, self-restraint, and compassion, among others.[web 1][21] The four largest denominations of Hinduism are the Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism and Smartism.[22]

Hinduism is the world's third largest religion; its followers, known as Hindus, constitute about 1.15 billion, or 15–16% of the global population.[web 2][23] Hinduism is the most widely professed faith in India, Nepal and Mauritius. It is also the predominant religion in Bali, Indonesia.[24] Significant Hindu communities are also found in the Caribbean, Africa, North America, and other countries.[25][26]


The word Hindū is derived from Indo-Aryan[27]/Sanskrit[28] root Sindhu.[28][29] The Proto-Iranian sound change *s > h occurred between 850–600 BCE, according to Asko Parpola.[30]

It is believed that Hindu was used as the name for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent (modern day Pakistan and Northern India).[28][note 7] According to Gavin Flood, "The actual term Hindu first occurs as a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus (Sanskrit: Sindhu)",[28] more specifically in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I (550–486 BCE).[31] The term Hindu in these ancient records is a geographical term and did not refer to a religion.[28] Among the earliest known records of 'Hindu' with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text Record of the Western Regions by Xuanzang,[31] and 14th-century Persian text Futuhu's-salatin by 'Abd al-Malik Isami.[note 8]

Thapar states that the word Hindu is found as heptahindu in Avesta – equivalent to Rigvedic sapta sindhu, while hndstn (pronounced Hindustan) is found in a Sasanian inscription from the 3rd century CE, both of which refer to parts of northwestern South Asia.[39] The Arabic term al-Hind referred to the people who live across the River Indus.[40] This Arabic term was itself taken from the pre-Islamic Persian term Hindū, which refers to all Indians. By the 13th century, Hindustan emerged as a popular alternative name of India, meaning the "land of Hindus".[41][note 9]

The term Hindu was later used occasionally in some Sanskrit texts such as the later Rajataranginis of Kashmir (Hinduka, c. 1450) and some 16th- to 18th-century Bengali Gaudiya Vaishnava texts including Chaitanya Charitamrita and Chaitanya Bhagavata. These texts used it to distinguish Hindus from Muslims who are called Yavanas (foreigners) or Mlecchas (barbarians), with the 16th-century Chaitanya Charitamrita text and the 17th-century Bhakta Mala text using the phrase "Hindu dharma".[42] It was only towards the end of the 18th century that European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus.

The term Hinduism, then spelled Hindooism, was introduced into the English language in the 18th century to denote the religious, philosophical, and cultural traditions native to India.[43]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Hindoeïsme
Alemannisch: Hinduismus
Ænglisc: Hinduismus
العربية: هندوسية
aragonés: Hinduismo
arpetan: Hindôismo
অসমীয়া: হিন্দু ধৰ্ম
asturianu: Hinduismu
Avañe'ẽ: Indu jerovia
azərbaycanca: Hinduizm
تۆرکجه: هندوئیسم
Bahasa Banjar: Hindu
Bân-lâm-gú: Ìn-tō͘-kàu
Basa Banyumasan: Hindu
башҡортса: Индуизм
беларуская: Індуізм
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Індуізм
भोजपुरी: हिंदू धर्म
Bikol Central: Hinduismo
български: Индуизъм
Boarisch: Hinduismus
bosanski: Hinduizam
brezhoneg: Hindouegezh
català: Hinduisme
Cebuano: Induwismo
čeština: Hinduismus
corsu: Induisimu
Cymraeg: Hindŵaeth
dansk: Hinduisme
davvisámegiella: Hindulašvuohta
Deutsch: Hinduismus
ދިވެހިބަސް: ހިންދޫދީން
eesti: Hinduism
Ελληνικά: Ινδουισμός
español: Hinduismo
Esperanto: Hinduismo
estremeñu: Induismu
euskara: Hinduismo
فارسی: هندوئیسم
Fiji Hindi: Hinduism
føroyskt: Hinduisma
français: Hindouisme
furlan: Induisim
Gàidhlig: Hionduthachd
galego: Hinduísmo
ГӀалгӀай: ХIиндий ди
贛語: 印度教
ગુજરાતી: હિંદુ
गोंयची कोंकणी / Gõychi Konknni: हिंदू धर्म
한국어: 힌두교
հայերեն: Հինդուիզմ
hrvatski: Hinduizam
Ilokano: Hinduismo
বিষ্ণুপ্রিয়া মণিপুরী: হিন্দু লিচেত
Bahasa Indonesia: Agama Hindu
interlingua: Hinduismo
Interlingue: Hinduisme
íslenska: Hindúismi
italiano: Induismo
עברית: הינדואיזם
Basa Jawa: Hindhu
Kabɩyɛ: Ɛnduuyisim
ქართული: ინდუიზმი
कॉशुर / کٲشُر: ہِندوُ مَت
қазақша: Индуизм
kernowek: Hindoueth
Kiswahili: Uhindu
Kreyòl ayisyen: Endouyis
kurdî: Hinduîzm
Кыргызча: Индуизм
Ladino: Induizmo
لۊری شومالی: آیین هئندوٙ
Latina: Hinduismus
latviešu: Hinduisms
Lëtzebuergesch: Hinduismus
лезги: Индуизм
lietuvių: Hinduizmas
Ligure: Induiximo
Limburgs: Hindoeïsme
Lingua Franca Nova: Induisme
lumbaart: Induism
magyar: Hinduizmus
македонски: Хиндуизам
Malagasy: Hindoisma
മലയാളം: ഹിന്ദുയിസം
მარგალური: ინდუიზმი
مصرى: هندوسيه
Bahasa Melayu: Hinduisme
Baso Minangkabau: Agamo Hindu
Mirandés: Hinduísmo
монгол: Хиндү шашин
မြန်မာဘာသာ: ဟိန္ဒူဘာသာ
Nederlands: Hindoeïsme
Nedersaksies: Hindoeïsme
नेपाल भाषा: हिन्दू धर्म
нохчийн: ХӀиндуизм
Norfuk / Pitkern: Hinduism
norsk: Hinduisme
norsk nynorsk: Hinduismen
Nouormand: Hîndouïsme
occitan: Indoïsme
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Hinduiylik
ਪੰਜਾਬੀ: ਹਿੰਦੂ ਧਰਮ
پنجابی: ھندو مت
Papiamentu: Hinduismo
پښتو: هندويزم
Patois: Induizim
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ហិណ្ឌូសាសនា
Piemontèis: Induism
Plattdüütsch: Hinduismus
polski: Hinduizm
português: Hinduísmo
română: Hinduism
rumantsch: Hinduissem
Runa Simi: Inriya iñiy
русиньскый: Індуїзм
русский: Индуизм
саха тыла: Индуизм
ᱥᱟᱱᱛᱟᱲᱤ: ᱦᱤᱱᱫᱩ ᱫᱷᱚᱨᱚᱢ
Gagana Samoa: Hindu
संस्कृतम्: हिन्दूधर्मः
Scots: Hinduism
shqip: Hinduizmi
sicilianu: Innuismu
Simple English: Hinduism
سنڌي: هندو مت
slovenčina: Hinduizmus
slovenščina: Hinduizem
Soomaaliga: Hindusam
کوردی: ھیندوویزم
српски / srpski: Хиндуизам
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Hinduizam
Basa Sunda: Hindu
svenska: Hinduism
Tagalog: Hinduismo
татарча/tatarça: Һинд дине
తెలుగు: హిందూమతము
тоҷикӣ: Ҳиндуия
Türkçe: Hinduizm
Türkmençe: Induizm
українська: Індуїзм
اردو: ہندومت
ئۇيغۇرچە / Uyghurche: ھىندى دىنى
vepsän kel’: Induizm
Tiếng Việt: Ấn Độ giáo
Võro: Hinduism
walon: Indouwisse
Winaray: Hinduismo
吴语: 印度教
Xitsonga: Vuhindu
ייִדיש: הינדואיזם
粵語: 印度教
Zazaki: Hinduizm
žemaitėška: Indoėzmos
中文: 印度教