Historically, Buddhism and Jainism were just some of the many sects or philosophical schools in ancient times. When was the separation of religions happened and when were all vedic and non-vedic sects clubbed under Hinduism?

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    It's a tricky question mainly because otherwise how to define Hinduism. One common accepted definition is acceptance of Veda, but then there are so many Hindu sects like Chavarka which is left out. But if Veda is the criteria, then Jainism and Buddhism easily can be ruled out to be separate from Hinduism because they by design reject the authority of Veda. Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 12:22
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    There is no real definition of Hindu. The modern meaning refers to followers of the vedas and a more accurate name is vedantist. Yes, Jainism does not accept the Veda, and by definition a Vedantist is one who accepts the Vedas. Buddhism is another matter and best not to lump the two together. Buddha was a reformer. Even today, if Buddhists cannot find adequate reference in the Buddhist scriptures, they will sometimes quote the vedas as a source. Additionally, many mandirs that only allow Hindus in, will allow Buddhists. Commented Oct 18, 2015 at 10:36
  • According to this answer (hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/75/290): Hindu was the name given by Islamic invaders to everyone living beyond the river Sindhu. If the Vedic schools started to call themselves Hindu, why was that? Why did they choose to refer to themselves by a name given by invaders? What was the stance of non-vedic schools at that time?
    – user13107
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 6:23
  • @user13107 Answer to Your bounty Q's "Looking for an answer drawing from credible and/or official sources. Historical references to when did Jains and Bauddhas started regarding themselves as belonging to a different religion. (Or the other way, when did "Hindus" told them that you dont belong to "our religion"." - From the time these religions were founded. The period in which each was founded can be referred to in middle school text books or Wikipedia.
    – user1195
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 10:17
  • Vedas are Pure Science in Poetry. When you take the science and logic away from Vedas some souls tend to do their own research on truth. All religions have basically happened when Kali infected the Brahman and through him the Vedas. Karl Anderson in his book "Astrology of the old testament" says that Abrahm and Sara were a Brahmin couple who came from the east. He says Abrahm name was latter changed by the Egyptians to Abraham. Sara connects with Saraswati.
    – Rama27
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 6:52

2 Answers 2


Your starting premise that Jainism and Buddhism were just sects of Hinduism is incorrect. Any non-vedic philosophy is not a Hindu philosophy by definition. Therefore Buddhism and Jainism are not and were not sects of Hinduism or branches of Hindu philosophy.

Your confusion arises from the fact that they were founded by those born into the Hindu religion and borrowed heavily from Hinduism. Buddhism for e.g., has tantric portions taken from Hindu practices. Even their tantric deities mimic Hindu deities. Another reason for the confusion is from the style in which these religions chose to propogate themselves vis-a-vis abrahamic religions. The latter were historically more militant in their propaganda. You can look up crusades, and several citations in the Wikipedia page of Islam, one of them quoted below.

The expansion of the Muslim world involved various caliphates and empires, traders and conversion to Islam by missionary activities.[28]

So the softer propagation of these religions and their advocacy of ahimsa which is a Hindu concept, could lead to confusing the religions are sects of Hinduism. They never were.

In conclusion, the Q is ill-considered and, therefore, incorrect and beside the point.

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    @user13107 1. Hinduism= veda is an age-old definition.It existed at least from the times of the darsanas.2.Jewish philosophy, Xtian philosophy are all schools. Doesnt make them Hindu.Similarly sect or philosophy -Buddhism and Jainism are not Hindu. 1/2
    – user1195
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 6:43
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    @user13107 3. "If the Vedic schools started to call themselves Hindu, why was that? " Traditional vedic schools always called themselves vedic or sanatana dharma. The appellation of "hindu" is used by modern day philosophers for convenience. "What was the stance of non-vedic schools at that time? " - stance towards what? Other religions' stance is irrelevant. Your Q's are all confused. 2/2
    – user1195
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 6:43
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    @ChinmaySarupria Read the answer properly and you will understand it better. The answer states the reasons why the Q is inapplicable and possible reasons for why the OP originally may have thought that it is a relevant Q. The answer dismisses the incorrect assumption which led to the Q. Jainism being founded by an avatara of Shiva is nice to hear and know but Jainism is not Hindu. I added a couple of sentences which should make it clear.
    – user1195
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 6:51
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    @ChinmaySarupria Just because you say so, does not make them Hindus. Jainism is a separate religion.
    – user1195
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 10:14
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    @ChinmaySarupria Jainism is a religion. If Jains worship Hindu gods, that does not make Jainism= Hinduism. Jain gods are their tirthankaras. Tirthankaras are born human. Hinduism talks about supreme nirguna bramhan. Jainism was founded by a person born human. Later generations of jains (later than mahavira) introduced religious complexities (which were removed by mahavira) which gave the religion and their tirthankaras closer status to hindu deities. Repeating that jains are hindus does not make it true. Read history.
    – user1195
    Commented Oct 13, 2017 at 14:55

First you should understand that Hindu is not a religion. Hindu is a culture which followed by people from ancient India to few years back.
People write religion as Hindu in certificates and so on but it is false.
Hindu is a mixture of many religions like Vaishno, Shaiva, sastha, etc. Each religion has it's own god for example, shaiva has lord Shiva, vaishno has lord Vishnu, sastha has Lord Ayyappa, and so on.
It is a culture or a way of life. Buddha, Sikh, Jain, all are part of the Hindu Culture. The Muslim, Christian, etc., who follows the Indian culture is a part of Hinduism.

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    Welcome to Hinduism SE! OP wants to know when exacty the division happened.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 18:19
  • Thanks for the warm welcome and As far as I know, Still Buddhas work together with Hindus and we can't consider both are different. After Gouthama Buddha, his followers slowly started to changing from Hinduism and formed Buddhism. Till that point, Buddhism was considered as a branch of Hinduism. The same happens in case of Jainism by Rishabanandha
    – i--
    Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 18:25
  • What do you mean by " Still Buddhas work together with Hindus" . Do cite sources.! Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 18:49
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    @SagarV As per site policies, one must cite sources so that user can verify it. It also makes answers more authentic. Hope you understand :) You can visit this question to know more details.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Feb 28, 2017 at 7:46

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