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Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma is considered to be one of the oldest religions. (Christianity came after Christ's birth more than 2000 years ago, and Islam came mostly after Paigambar).

What could be the reason that such an old religion's spread was limited to India, Nepal, Indonesia, Cambodia, and a few other countries? What was the reason that Hinduism did not grow or spread exponentially? At least it could have spread to other countries. But it didn't, so why not?

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    Ganesha is popular and worshiped literally all over the world. Vedas , Upanishads ,Gita , Ramayan and Mahabharata is known to the world .Since from long people migrated to other counties from India and took Hindu thoughts and deities over there.So Hinduism does propagated in the world.Only thing is Hindu's never used force to convert people to Hinduism.But in the modern times its clear that Hinduism & Hindu thoughts reached in entire world.Swami Vivekananda is excellent example. Apr 22, 2017 at 6:01
  • And if you mean why all people of the world haven't converted to Hindu's or Hinduism then that's because other religions were also simultaneously spreading.And spreading of religion means spreading of principles thoughts and believes of the religion rather than the deities or gods. Apr 22, 2017 at 6:07
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    Christianity and Islam are aggressive proselytizing religions whose aim is to bring the entire world into their fold. Hinduism does not have any such aims. Hence the difference in spread. Buddhism in its young days was an aggressive proselytizing dharma but has lost its zeal in recent times. Apr 22, 2017 at 12:13
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    There are large number of hindus in other countries too like Indonesia, Malaysia,SIngapore, Sri Lanka. Nepal had been a hindu state before ut changed to secualr state.very recently. But abrahamic religions spread due to some reasons. We can't say there are no hindus or no hinduism in other countries besides India. Apr 23, 2017 at 6:27
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    Because hinduism does not believe in converting people. Jul 6, 2017 at 18:51

2 Answers 2

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Hinduism does not have a start date.
In olden days, there was no religion called 'Hinduism', it was just Veda (vaidika) or Sanatana Dharma, and it was prevalent all over the world.
But only people in Bharata desh followed it strictly. Other tribes who followed it a little bit or not at all were the Mlecchas, Yavanas (Greeks), Turushkas (Turks) etc.

In past few hundred years, Western explorers called people who live across Sindh river (now in Pakistan) as Sindhus, which over time became Hindus.

Let's look at the 2 core concepts in the 2 most prevalent religions today - Surrender in Christianity and Namaz in Islam.

  1. Surrender is equivalent to Sharanagathi in Hinduism. Even etymologically, it sounds the same.

  2. Namaz is equivalent to Namaste in Hinduism. Again etymologically, the word was derived from it.

If you look at ancient texts in any religion, they have words and concepts which ultimately derive from Sanskrit/Vedas.
e.g. The word 'Brahma' is related to word 'Abraham' and Judaism/Islam/Christianity are all Abrahamic religions.

When some Christians say the earth is 6000 years old, they probably unknowingly refer to the fact that the present Yuga - Kali Yuga, started around 5000 years back. Their story of Noah's ark is the same as Manu's during great flood of Matsya avatara.

There are Hindu temples in Burma & Indonesia.
Kandahar in Afghanistan was the Gandhara desh in Mahabharata where Gandhari & Sakuni came from.
Kazhakistan was probably Kaikeya desham because in Ramayana, Bharata's wife was from Russia.
California in USA was probably originally called 'Kapilaranyam' - which was Kapila muni's ashram which Sagara kumaras found when searching for the sacrificial horse. The path they dug is now covered with water, hence it's called Sagar (or sea).

There are many more examples to show Sanatana Dharma was prevalent all over the world. Over time, in Kali Yuga, religion deteriorates, so new religions have to pop up to cater to the needs and characteristics of those who are unable/unwilling to follow tenets of Vedas.

ANSWER - Hinduism/Sanatana Dharma used to be prevalent all over world once. It is not prevalent nowadays, because people's minds have deteriorated and they're unable to follow its rules, while other religions have lesser/easier rules.

Source - http://www.kamakoti.org/hindudharma/part2/chap2.htm

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  • Who told you this? Who was the first to make these claims? Dec 27, 2022 at 18:19
  • source is mentioned right in the answer @TerjijKassal
    – ram
    Dec 28, 2022 at 0:15
  • Did anyone before 1900 believe in this? Dec 29, 2022 at 19:01
  • These claims are hypotheses there is no proof that Hinduism was a starting point for other religions or have influenced other religions.
    – Wikash_
    Apr 15, 2023 at 6:59
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As per purANas, varNashrama existed in other dvipas as well at the start of satyayuga. Excerpt from vishNupurana book 2 ch.4 :

The castes are called Áryaka, Kuru, Vivása, and Bháví, corresponding severally with Brahman, Kshetriya, Vaiśya, and Śúdra...Such, Maitreya, is a brief description of Plaksha-dwípa.

The Brahmans, Kshetriyas, Vaiśyas, and Śúdras of this Dwípa, called severally Kapilas, Arunas, Pítas, and Rohitas (or tawny, purple, yellow, and red), worship the imperishable soul of all things, Vishńu, in the form of Váyu (wind), with pious rites, and enjoy frequent association with the gods... A large Śálmalí (silk-cotton) tree grows in this Dwípa, and gives it its name.

The four castes, assiduously devoted to their respective duties, are termed Dámís, Śushmis, Snehas, and Mandehas, who, in order to be relieved of the obligations imposed upon them in the discharge of their several functions, worship Janárddana, in the form of Brahmá, and thus get rid of the unpleasant duties which lead to temporal rewards... Kuśa-dwípa is so named from a clump of Kuśa grass (Poa) growing there.

The sea of Ghrita is encompassed by Krauncha-dwípa, which is twice as large as Kuśa-dwípa... Brahmans are called Pushkaras; the Kshetriyas, Pushkalas: the Vaiśyas are termed Dhanyas; and the Śúdras, Tishyas.

The caste of Mriga is that of the Brahman; the Mágadha, of the Kshetriya; the Mánasa, of the Vaiśya; and the Mandaga of the Śúdra: and by these Vishńu is devoutly worshipped as the sun, with appropriate ceremonies... Śáka-dwípa

mahAbhArata-bhiShmaparva-XI, however, mentions four varNas only in sakadvipa indicating that by the time of bharata war (dvapara-->kali) varNashrama survived only in sakadvipa other than bhAratavarsha :

As heard by all men there, in that island of Saka, are four sacred provinces. They are the Mrigas, the Masakas, the Manasas, and the Mandagas. The Mrigas for the most part are Brahmanas devoted to the occupations of their order. Amongst the Masakas are virtuous Kshatriyas granting (unto Brahmanas) every wish (entertained by them).The Manasas, O king, live by following the duties of the Vaisya order. Having every wish of theirs gratified, they are also brave and firmly devoted to virtue and profit. The Mandagas are all brave Sudras of virtuous behaviour.

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