Hinduism does not have a founder or a date for its origins. Hinduism is also called a way of life since it’s laden with many rituals in the everyday life of the people. The main gods in Hindu mythology are ‘Brahma’ the creator, ‘Vishnu’ the preserver and ‘Shiva’ the destroyer. Hindu religious texts, mostly talks about two main concepts first is the ‘Dharma’ which equals to ‘duty’ meaning doing ones duty in life. Secondly ‘Karma’ meaning ones actions has consequences in life and also used in relation to the belief of Karma in after life, in the cycle of birth and rebirth.
Hinduism is probably a very flexible religious system originating from India, and it’s also a lot subjective, in the way its practiced and it does have certain things in common with other religious faiths like fasting, looking at astrological charts for auspicious days. However the degree to which each household follows Hinduism is also greatly different. The texts called the ‘Vedas’ and ‘Upanishads’ are the main texts of Hinduism. Swami Vivekananda born in 1863 was instrumental in spreading Vedanta philosophy to the west with his speech at Parliament of World’s religions in 1893, from then on Vedanta Philosophy became very famous or fashionable thing for the elites in India and elsewhere.
For all the romanticism attached to Hinduism, it also sanctions inequality of people and acts as enforcer of class/caste system in India starting from the top most in hierarchy are the ‘Brahmins’ the priestly class, the ‘Kstriyas’ the warrior class, the ‘Vaisyas’ the merchant class and the ‘Sudras’ the peasants, the untouchables are those who are in the lowest ranking in the class/caste system in India. Social mobility has been restricted for many centuries by upper caste Brahmins who became the elite and held their control over knowledge and education, modern secular system of education and schooling has been able to break barriers for many backward class people.
Dr. Ambetkar who was instrumental in designing the constitution of India, was well ahead of his time when he analyzed how the caste system was a form of racism which disenfranchised the lower castes ever to pursue education or any social and economic mobility even if they wanted.
“You must have courage to tell the Hindus, that what is wrong with them is their religion— the religion which has produced in them this notion of the sacredness of Caste. Will you show that courage?” (Dr. Ambetkar in Annihilation of Caste, p. 43).
Another social reformer from Southern India called Periyar E V Ramasamy, a contemporary of Dr. Ambetkar also saw how the elite Brahmins through the religious sanctions kept most people from uplifting themselves from birth by imprisoning them in the caste system:
“The Brahmins are making you fools in the name of god. He makes you have faith in superstitions. He leads a very comfortable life condemning you as untouchable. He bargains with you to offer prayers to god on your behalf. I strongly condemn this brokerage business and warn you not to believe such Brahmins anymore” (From Veeramani’s, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 485).
Hinduism also has the earliest philosophy of Atheism, In India the religious traditions like Buddhism and Jainism are considered mainly atheistic in its core tenants.