There nevertheless remained a substantial Buddhist community living in the Indus basin until the Islamic conquest. Later Hindu scriptures, such as the Bhagavata purana, describe the Buddha as an incarnation of Vishnu.
- Further information: Gupta Empire
- Further information: Hindu philosophy, Mimamsa, and Samkhya
The Gupta period (4th to 6th centuries) saw a flowering of scholarship, the emergence of the classical schools of Hindu philosophy, and of classical Sanskrit literature in general on topics ranging from medicine, veterinary science, mathematics, to astrology and astronomy and astrophysics. The famous Aryabhata and Varahamihira belong to this age. The Gupta established a strong central government which also allowed a degree of local control. Gupta society was ordered in accordance with Hindu beliefs. This included a strict caste system, or class system. The peace and prosperity created under Gupta leadership enabled the pursuit of scientific and artistic endeavors.
The practice of dedicating temples to different deities came into vogue followed by fine artistic temple architecture and sculpture (se Vastu Shastra).
Expansion in South-East Asia
- Further information: Indianized kingdom
Expansion of Hinduism in Southeast Asia.
From about the 1st century, India started to strongly influence Southeast Asian countries. Trade routes linked India with southern Burma, central and southern Siam, lower Cambodia and southern Vietnam and numerous urbanized coastal settlements were established there.
For more than a thousand years, Indian Hindu/Buddhist influence was therefore the major factor that brought a certain level of cultural unity to the various countries of the region. The Pali and SanskritTheravada and Mahayana Buddhism, BrahmanismHinduism, were transmitted from direct contact as well as through sacred texts and Indian literature, such as the Ramayana and the Mahabharata epics. languages and the Indian script, together with and
From the 5th to the 13th century, South-East Asia had very powerful Indian colonial empires and became extremely active in Buddhist architectural and artistic creation. The Sri Vijaya Empire to the south and the Khmer Empire to the north competed for influence.
Langkasuka (-langkha Sanskrit for "resplendent land" -sukkha of "bliss") was a ancient Hindu kingdom located in the Malay Peninsula. The kingdom, along with Old Kedah settlement, are probably the earliest territorial footholds founded on the Malay Peninsula. According to tradition, the founding of the kingdom happened in the 2nd century; Malay legends claim that Langkasuka was founded at Kedah, and later moved to Pattani.
From the 5th-15th centuries Sri Vijayan empire, a maritime empire centered on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, had adopted Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism under a line of rulers named the Sailendras. The Empire of Sri Vijaya declined due to conflicts with the Chola rulers of India. The Majapahit Empire succeeded the Singhasari empire. It was one of the last and greatest Hindu empires in the Malay Archipelago.
Funan was a pre-Angkor Cambodian kingdom, located around the Mekong delta, probably established by Mon-Khmer settlers speaking an Austro-Asiatic language. According to reports by two Chinese envoys, K'ang T'ai and Chu Ying, the state was established by an Indian BrahminKaundinya, who in the first century C.E. was given instruction in a dream to take a magic bow from a temple and defeat a Khmer queen, Soma. Soma, the daughter of the king of the Nagas, married Kaundinya and their lineage became the royal dynasty of Funan. The myth had the advantage of providing the legitimacy of both an Indian Brahmin and the divinity of the cobras, who at that time were held in religious regard by the inhabitants of the region. named
The kingdom of Champa (or Lin-yi in Chinese records) controlled what is now south and central Vietnam from approximately 192 through 1697. The dominant religion of the Cham people was Hinduism and the culture was heavily influenced by India.
Later, from the 9th to the 13th century, the Mahayana Buddhist and Hindu Khmer Empire dominated much of the South-East Asian peninsula. Under the Khmer, more than 900 temples were built in Cambodia and in neighboring Thailand. Angkor was at the center of this development, with a temple complex and urban organization able to support around one million urban dwellers. The largest temple complex of the world , Angkor Wat , stands here; built by the king Vishnuvardhan , a king of the dynasty that believed themselves to be incarnations of Vishnu.
By the 8th century, the "Hindu golden age" of the past millennium was over. The formerly rich philosophic literature tended to be reduced to scholastic quarreling and infighting between innumerable sects, notably between emerging traditions of Vaishnavism and Shaivism. Adi Shankara in the 8th century managed to reconcile the antagonistic sects and to establish Hinduism as a single, if diverse, religious tradition. The compilation of the Puranas provided a mythical backdrop for this tradition, and served as a means of acculturation of the various pre-literate tribal societies to the new religious mainstream. Various reforms of the later Middle Ages, notably the Bhakti movement, besides new Yogic schools (Jnana yoga, Karma yoga, Hatha yoga, Bhakti yoga) gave Hinduism its classical form as described by the 18th to 19th century pioneers of Indology.
The introduction of Advaita Vedanta by Adi Shankara unified the theistic sects into a common framework of Shanmata system. Shankara stressed the importance of the Vedas, introducing the concept of apaurusheyatva, and his efforts helped Hinduism regain strength and popularity. He is the main figure in the tradition of Advaita Vedanta. He is the founder of the Dashanami Sampradaya of Hindu monasticism and Shanmata tradition of worship. He travelled all over India (Kerala to Kashmir and Nepal) three times over and was a major cause in the revival and integration of Sanatana Dharma. Shankara's reform essentially eclipsed all earlier schools of Hindu philosophy and became the nucleus of the medieval traditions, including Smartism and Sant Mat that lead up to the current religion. lineages,
Adi Shankara, along with Madhva and Ramanuja, were instrumental in the revival of Hinduism. In their writings and debates, they provided polemics against the non-Vedantic schools of Sankhya, Vaisheshika etc. Thus, they paved the way for Vedanta to be the dominant and most widely followed tradition among the schools of Hindu philosophy.
- Further information: Puranas
Brahmanic Hinduism evolves out of Vedism during Iron Age India, and in turn contributes to the development of Vedantic and eventually classical Pauranic Hinduism. The transformation of Brahmanism into Pauranic Hinduism in post-Gupta India was due to a process of acculturation. The Puranas helped establish a religious mainstream among the pre-literate tribal societies undergoing acculturation. The tenets of Brahmanic Hinduism and of the Dharmashastras underwent a radical transformation at the hands of the Purana composers, resulting in the rise of a mainstream "Hinduism" that overshadowed all earlier traditions.