For hundreds of years, efforts have been on to search the founder of Hinduism, but no results been successfully attained. Even one has not been able to ascertain the founder of its sacred texts. It consists of innumerable paths to wisdom based on human reasoning rather than on divine authority. Naturally, there is no specific founder unlike in the case of other religions.
The earliest form of the term Hindu comes from Indus Valley and Punjab in India. The culture that prevailed there in the third millennium BC, which is evident by the excavation of two cities, Harappa and Mohenja-daro reflects the existing religious practices. Those who lived there, despite their religious practices, were known as Hindus or Hindu- Muslims.
The culture was river based and water of the Indus river was used to irrigate lands. The river was not only meant for bathing but people used it for ritual bathing as well. The waters were sacred. Hindus held the view that religion is another part of the body like breathing.
There was no primary god in the temples. Several “god” and “goddesses” were worshiped and they symbolized creativity and the flow of life in general. Each village had its own statue to worship. Politics was mixed with religion and the ruler was looked up to as the son of God.
The religion was open to new philosophies and changed with time. There is no single authority of the religion and there happens to be no defined beginning of the religion.
Majority of Hindus live in India. Hinduism is the oldest of the religions. It has many Rishis and saints who revived and developed the existing religious traditions and culture. It is innovative in nature. Hinduism is always open to interpretation.
The word “Hindu” has originated from Persian. The Persians had cultural affinity with the Indus Valley civilization and called the Indus river as Sindhu. The ancient Greeks also began calling the people residing in the Indus Valley civilization as Hindus. The medieval rulers of India called India “Hindustan” and people living there as Hindus. The British used the term to separately identify the Hindus from people practicing other religions such as the Muslims, Christians.etc.
Thus Hinduism is definitely a very ancient religion. So far its founder has not been able to be established. It took shape over a period of time and continues to be flexible to change and new ideas.