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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.

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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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