Early History of Hinduism
Hinduism is derived from the Persian word for Indian. It differs from Christianity and other Western religions in that it does not have a single founder, a specific theological system, a single system of morality, or religious organization. Its roots are traceable to the Indus valley civilization circa 4000 to 2200 BCE. Its development was influenced by many invasions over thousands of years. One of the major influences occurred when Indo-Europeans invaded Northern India (circa 1500 to 500 BCE) from the steppes of Russia and Central Asia. They brought with them their religion of Vedism. These beliefs became mixed with the indigenous Indian native beliefs.
During the first few centuries CE, many sects were created, each dedicated to a specific deity. Typical among these were the Goddesses Shakti and Lakshmi, and the Gods Skanda and Surya.
Hinduism grew to become the world's third largest religion, claiming about 13% of the world's population. It is the dominant religion in India, and among the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Hindus totaled 157,015 in Canada's 1991 census.