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Hinduism as it is commonly known can be subdivided into a number of major currents.
Of the historical division into six darsanas (philosophies), two schools, Vedanta and Yoga, are currently the most prominent.
Thapar states that the word Hindu is found as heptahindu in Avesta – equivalent to Rigvedic sapta sindhu, while hndstn (pronounced Hindustan) is found in a Sasanian inscription from the 3rd century CE, both of which refer to parts of northwestern South Asia.
This Arabic term was itself taken from the pre-Islamic Persian term Hindū, which refers to all Indians.
Hinduism, according to Inden, has been neither what imperial religionists stereotyped it to be, nor is it appropriate to equate Hinduism to be merely monist pantheism and philosophical idealism of Advaita Vedanta.
In recent years, the term has been used by Hindu leaders, reformers, and nationalists to refer to Hinduism.Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include the four Puruṣārthas, the proper goals or aims of human life, namely Dharma (ethics/duties), Artha (prosperity/work), Kama (desires/passions) and Moksha (liberation/freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth/salvation); Hindu practices include rituals such as puja (worship) and recitations, japa, meditation, family-oriented rites of passage, annual festivals, and occasional pilgrimages.Some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions, then engage in lifelong Sannyasa (monastic practices) to achieve Moksha.In India the term dharma is preferred, which is broader than the Western term religion.The study of India and its cultures and religions, and the definition of "Hinduism", has been shaped by the interests of colonialism and by Western notions of religion.
By the 13th century, Hindustan emerged as a popular alternative name of India, meaning the "land of Hindus".