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Brahmanical Hinduism

Brahmanical Hinduism represents the elite, lettered, and Pan-Indian religious culture of the Sanskrit language that bases its religious authority on the Vedas (“knowledge”)—a body of revealed Sanskrit scripture—as well as the authority of those who preserve such scripture—the Brahman priesthood. Nevertheless, the term Brahmanical Hinduism is a scholarly construct and is/was not the label of a self-described group of religious practitioners either now or in India's ancient past. Rather, the term is a convenient scholarly label for a collection of religious ideas, extrapolated by scholars, from a body of Indian religious and socio-normative texts.


One can begin by understanding the Vedas, the foundational element of Brahmanical Hinduism, as consisting of four main traditions, the Rig, Sama, Yajur, and Atharva Vedas, which are then each divided into ...

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