There are interesting similarities and differences in their foundational teachings that show some of the elements that unite people, and some of the ways in which cultural context informs religious development.
Hinduism traces its roots back to approximately 2500 B.C. It was not a religion that began with one particular historical event, but was rather a gradual development of beliefs by peoples in the Indus Valley (Zaehner, pg. 15). Its sacred literature has two categories: sruti and smriti. The sruti were heard, or divinely revealed, and include the Vedas (the most ancient Hindu scriptures), the Upanishads, the Brahmanas, and the Aranyakas. The Vedas contain the creation account, regulations for sacrifices, and prayers. According to Hindu tradition, these texts were secretly taught by a prophet to a disciple (David S. Noss, 55). The smriti are texts that were remembered or passed down orally. The difference is that these were written by humans rather than by the gods. The smriti consist of the epics, the Sutras and the Puranas. The epics are long poems about events in the lives of heroic warriors. The Sutras relate to such ideas as dharma, yoga, and Vedanta. ...Show more