Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world, after Christianity and Islam. With around 940 million followers worldwide, 80% of the population of India, regard themselves as Hindus.
Hinduism , commonly called Sanātana Dharma (Everlasting religion or eternal way), is essentially and Indian phenomena. Hinduism is also called Vaidika Dharma (Religion of the Vedas).
Being both a religion and a way of life , Hinduism is characterized by a multitude of belief systems, practices and scriptures. Therefore Hinduism includes a complete approach to life like: social classes, family, food/diet, politics, earning a living etc.
Having an origin in the ancient Indo-Aryan Vedic culture, Hinduism is among the oldest major world religions.
According to some historians the origins can be dated back to more than 3000 years BC (If is not 8000 years BC).
‘Hindu' is derived from the name of River Indus, which flows 1800 miles from Tibet through Kashmir and Pakistan to the sea.
In the old times the river Indus was called the ‘Sindhu'. The Persians who came to India called the river ‘Hindu', the population ‘Hindus' (Of Hindustan) and their religion ‘Hinduism'.
Hinduism is not a single unified religion and doesn't have a founder, one core doctrine neither prophets nor a single teacher. Being also very accommodating versus other cultures and religions, Hinduism is rather an approach to the universe, and a way of living in the universe. Hinduism is a spirit of tolerance as said in Rig Veda : “God is one, but men called it by different names”. Mahatma Gandhi the great Hindu of twenty century compares it to a tree: “Even as a tree has a single trunk, but many branches and leaves”.