Patheos Watermark

You are running a very outdated version of Internet Explorer. Patheos and most other websites will not display properly on this version. To better enjoy Patheos and your overall web experience, consider upgrading to the current version of Internet Explorer. Find more information HERE.


Early Developments

The religious tradition that we call "Hinduism" has constantly changed over its 3,500 year history, absorbing a myriad of cultural influences.

Schisms and Sects

The Hindu tradition encompasses four major sects—Shaiva, Vaishnava, Shakta, and Smarta—and dozens of minor subsects.

Exploration and Conquest

Hindus have not, generally, engaged in colonial conquest or empire building outside of India, although Hindu kingdoms were established in some parts of South and Southeast Asia.

Missions and Expansion

Hinduism has historically been a non-missionizing religious tradition. It has, however, spread to many parts of South and Southeast Asia, and to the West, and in the process has adapted to the cultural of these regions.

Modern Age

Two major developments in the modern era have posed significant challenges to Hinduism and have led to substantial internal changes: the British colonization of India beginning in the 18th century, and rising tensions between Hindus and Muslims in India.