Basic Background Notes on Hindu History

Hindus call their faith sanatana dharma or the eternal law.

The Vedas are only one background to contemporary Hinduism. It was brought by Aryan speakers around 1700 BCE and then 800 BCE from the Caucasus in a migration which spread far wider. They formed a superior class and fought the Dravidians, with their cults, and Deccan neolithic peoples.

Vedic religion had a priestly class but no temples or images. The local popular religion also entered into the complexity of Hinduism.

Thus Indian religion has ancestor worship, goddesses, deified heroes, deified animals, spirits, gods, ghosts, God in complex contradictions, and these are all represented in many and vast stories, poems and songs, written and orally transmitted.

Hinduism declined under the impact of first Islam and then the British Empire, but has undergone a rejuvenation since with modern reform and spreading under different guises to the West.

The Veda is knowledge, particularly divine knowledge.
They are sruti , or revealed.

The Rig Veda, Sama Veda and Yajur Veda are threefold knowledge.

Added were Brahmanas, Aranyanas, Upanishads.

Stretches through many phases of history