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From what I've seen, Hinduism isn't a religion like most of the other modern ones with many "rules" that you have to follow, it's more of a "pick-your-own-rules" way of doing it. (See: Is there an Orthodox Hinduism?)

Additionally, it changes much as time passes1

The question is, are there any invariant "core" tenets/rules to Hinduism; i.e. rules that have not changed since Vedic times and are still a part of the religion.

Some candidates:

  • The no-conversions rule (one must be born a Hindu). This seems to be changing now.
  • Restrictions against beef

1. So do other religions, really.

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    The freedom to seek your truth or God or form is the invariant. This freedom was not denied to Arjuna by Krishna. – User 1565623 Jun 19 '14 at 9:07
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    " Hinduism isn't a religion like most of the other modern ones with many "rules" that you have to follow, it's more of a "pick-your-own-rules" way of doing it" - Incorrect. " it changes much as time passes" - Also incorrect. Good Q though. – user1195 Dec 29 '16 at 3:22
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    no-conversion rule is myth. I have added "many details" about devalasmriti scripture in my answer at hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/26319/13287 . see "argument 3" in my answer . You may check "argument 1" also – zaxebo1 Apr 4 '18 at 13:37
5

Some core invariants IMHO,

  1. Belief in Veda/Shruti (this is summarily rejected by Cārvāka and other materialistic and atheistic school of Hinduism).
  2. Belief in Re-incarnation
  3. Belief in Atman
  4. Belief in One universal Brahman which pervades all beings, animate as well as inanimate.
  5. Belief in Karma and the role it play
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    Not just first, but all of the first three are rejected by materialistic school of Hinduism. I'm not sure about 4 and 5. – user13107 Oct 12 '17 at 5:42
  • Nastika schools aren't really "Hinduism" though. Also, I believe point 5 is cultural rather than religious (that is, it is taken as given and Astika philosophies are a response to this presumption), but perhaps I am wrong – Rubellite Yakṣī Apr 30 '18 at 23:56
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At some stage a wise Hindu (probably a Shankara Charya) was asked by a Christian if the wise man could please convert him to Hinduism. The wise man said that he cannot, because every human being is a Hindu, in the sense that "Sanaatana Dharma" means "natural law".

Hinduism stays the same. The perceived difference comes in because every human being 1) differs from another, and 2) got himself into a different hole that he must get out of. Therefore: if two people ask a wise man what he must do to get out of the trouble he is in, the answer will differ.

That is why Adi Shankara said you need to get a guru that "understands the Veda perfectly".

However: the advice that you will get from a wise man will most probably be based directly on ancient scriptures.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

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    Welcome To Hinduism SE! Provide some source for your answer. Answer on this site should be backed by citing from authentic Hindu scripture etc. – SwiftPushkar Oct 17 '16 at 15:40

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