Indo-Aryan Migration Theory
In terms of its religious
development there are now two basic theories that attempt
to explain how Hinduism first developed within India, and
they both draw on the famous ekam sat
viprah bahudha vadanti verse for their effectiveness. One
suggests that at some time towards the end of the Indus Valley
Civilization (circa 1700 BCE) a group of nomadic people called the
Aryans moved into northern India from the steppes of central
Europe or even Asia Minor. This is called the "Indo-Aryan Migration
Theory" and it was first posited after the
relationship between Sanskrit, Greek and Latin was discovered
along with other archeological evidence that emerged in the
late 18th century. According to this view, these Aryans mixed with
the indigenous Dravidian and other peoples of the Indian sub-continent,
and in time the Aryan religious stream combined with the indigenous
streams and became what today we call Hinduism.
The other theory
suggests that Hinduism emerged out of India itself.
This is the "Out of India Theory" and it says that
Aryan culture is a development from the Indus valley civilization
and not one introduced by outside invaders or migrants. It
says that the religious development of Hinduism has been wholly
indigenous. It also suggests that the linguistic similarities
between Sanskrit, Greek and Latin are the result of Aryan
migrations in the opposite direction, out of India and into
Europe. Aryan tribes from within India spread throughout Europe
bringing their culture, language and religion. Passages from the Mahabharata and other Hindu texts are quoted in support of this theory.
Whether the Aryans came from outside the subcontinent or whether Aryan culture developed within India, matters little for our purposes here. Hinduism should be regarded as a development of at least 3,000 years of Aryan culture working within the Indian subcontinent according to the rule of ekam sat
viprah bahudha vadanti. The unifying force of this sublime verse is what has created the Hinduism of today.