History and Sources

Did Hinduism have a historical founder as Christianity and Islam did?

All but two of the major religious traditions trace their origins to a specific individual teacher or foundational figure. Only Hinduism and Shinto do not—keeping in mind that the individual founders of other religious traditions may be impossible to pin down historically. Some people regard historical concreteness and detail as an essential feature of a religious tradition’s credibility. From the Hindu perspective, it is the very uncertainty as to the tradition’s origins that enhances its attractiveness. The eternal truth that Hindus call sanatana dharma emerges from the mists of antiquity in an aura of perfect mystery, as befits a truth of divine origin.


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