Passing to later times, we can watch a theory of monotheism rising, and dying down again, during what our scholars distinguish as the Brahmanical period of Indian religion.
For many centuries the culture and development of the Hindus depended mainly on the interaction of the old Brahmanical religion and Buddhism.
The higher castes murmured, and many of them left him, for he taught that the Brahmanical threads must be broken; but the lower orders rejoiced and flocked in numbers to his standard.
400; his successor Hsiian Tsang, about 650, states that it then contained twenty Buddhist monasteries and five Brahmanical temples.
The origin of this kingdom, famous alike in the political and religious history of India, is lost in the mists of antiquity; and though the Brahmanical Puranas give lists of its rulers extending back to remote ages before the Christian era, the first authentic dynasty is that of the Saisunaga, founded by Sisunaga (c. 600 B.C.), whose capital was at Rajagaha (Rajgir) in the hills near Gaya; and the first king of this dynasty of whom anything is known was Bimbisara (c. 528 B.C.), who by conquests and matrimonial alliances laid the foundations of the greatness of the kingdom.
The Chinese traveller, Hsuan Tsang, in the 7th century, found 20 Buddhist temples with 3000 monks at Ajodhya among a large Brahmanical population.
On the other hand there are various offshoots from orthodox Hinduism, the distinguishing feature of which, in their earlier history at least, is the obliteration of caste distinctions and the rejection of the Brahmanical hierarchy.
HINDUISM, a term generally employed to comprehend the social institutions, past and present, of the Hindus who form the great majority of the people of India; as well as the multitudinous crop of their religious beliefs which has grown up, in the course of many centuries, on the foundation of the Brahmanical scriptures.
The actual proportion of the total population of India (294 millions) included under the name of "Hindus" has been computed in the census report for 1901 at something like 70% (206 millions); the remaining 30% being made up partly of the followers of foreign creeds, such as Mahommedans, Parsees, Christians and Jews, partly of the votaries of indigenous forms of belief which have at various times separated from the main stock, and developed into independent systems, such as Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism; and partly of isolated hill and jungle tribes, such as the Santals, Bhils (Bhilla) and Kols, whose crude animistic tendencies have hitherto kept them, either wholly or for the most part, outside the pale of the Brahmanical community.
Thus, so far from sectarianism being a mere modern development of Brahmanism, it actually goes back to beyond the formulation of the Brahmanical creed.
That the theory of the triple manifestation of the deity was indeed only a compromise between Brahmanical aspirations and popular worship, probably largely influenced by the traditional sanctity of the number three, is sufficiently clear from the fact that, whilst Brahma, the creator, and at the same time the very embodiment of Brahmanical class pride, has practically remained a mere figurehead in the actual worship of the people, Siva, on the other hand, so far from being merely the destroyer, is also the unmistakable representative of generative and reproductive power in nature.
The origin of this form of Hinduism is lost in antiquity, but it is probable that it represents a pre-Aryan religion, more or less modified in various parts of south India by Brahmanical influence.
Now, it was precisely in this part of India that mainly arose the body of literature which records the gradual rise of the Brahmanical hierarchy and the early development of the castesystem.
It would even seem to be necessarily and naturally implied in Brahmanical belief in metempsychosis; whilst in the doctrine of Buddha, who admits no soul, the theory of the net result or fruit of a man's actions serving hereafter to form or condition the existence of some new individual who will have no conscious identity with himself, seems of a peculiarly artificial and mystic character.
In their theory of a triple manifestation of an impersonal deity, the Brahmanical theologians, as we have seen, had indeed elaborated a doctrine which might have seemed to form a reasonable, authoritative creed for logy.
Under these conditions the religious practices of the lower race could hardly have failed in the long run to tell seriously upon the spiritual life of the lay body of the Brahmanical community.
But, on the other hand, the same process of racial intermixture also tended to gradually draw the lower race more or less under the influence of the Brahmanical forms of worship, and thus contributed towards the shaping of the religious system of modern Hinduism.
In the epic poems which may be assumed to have taken their final shape in the early centuries before and after the Christian era, their popular character, so strikingly illustrated by their inclusion in the Brahmanical triad, appears in full force; whilst their cult is likewise attested by the coins and inscriptions of the early centuries of our era.
In the midst of these conflicting tendencies, an attempt was made, about the latter part of the 8th century, by the distinguished Malabar theologian and philosopher Sankara Acharya to restore the Brahmanical creed to ?'
Whilst the Saiva philosophers do not approve of the notion of incarnations, as being derogatory to the dignity of the deity, the Brahmans have nevertheless thought fit to adopt it as apparently a convenient expedient for bringing certain tendencies of popular worship within the pale of their system, and probably also for counteracting the Buddhist doctrines; and for this purpose Vishnu would obviously offer himself as the most attractive figure in the Brahmanical trinity.
The theory of the god and his Sakti as cosmic principles is perhaps already foreshadowed in the Vedic couple of Heaven and Earth, whilst in the speculative treatises of the later Vedic period, as well as in the post-Vedic Brahmanical writings, the assumption of the self-existent being dividing himself into a male and a female half usually forms the starting-point of cosmic evolution.'
The " triple knowledge " was sometimes derived from the " Lord of Creatures " Prajapati - one of the unifying forms of Brahmanical theology - through Vac or " speech."
In 1808 Friedrich Schlegel had in his Language and Wisdom of the Old Hindus brought Brahmanical philosophy within the range of European literature.
Owing partly to the tribal system, and partly to the levelling effect of Islam, nothing similar to the Brahmanical system of social precedent is to be found in Baluchistan.
JAINS, the most numerous and influential sect of heretics, or nonconformists to the Brahmanical system of Hinduism, in India.
Unfortunately the account of the teachings of Nigantha Nata-putta given in the Buddhist scriptures are, like those of the Buddha's teachings given in the Brahmanical literature, very meagre.
Identifying himself with Brahmanical orthodoxy he bitterly opposed social reforms. His violent condemnation in 1897 of the plague prevention regulations was followed by the assassination of the local plague commissioner (Mr. Rand) and a young British officer driving with him at the time.