Lecture 1: vedic hinduism and ritual in ancient india. Ancient and medieval indian people didn"t describe their religion as hinduism because their religion wasn"t considered as one religion polytheistic religion. In persian language hindu meant people who lived south of indus river. Islam came into the land and called everyone who were not sikh (jian, christian, or muslim) hindu (so hindus were culturally, historically, and theologically so diverse) Common religion: brahmanism (brahman: center of time and space) Veda means knowledge, to know , wisdom or idea . Vedas was originally an oral composition (because sanskrit wasn"t developed yet) Written after 1000 c. e. (even if writing was invented during the 3rd century b. c. e. For 2,000 years it was orally handed down (it is still practiced orally) Earliest vedas contain mantras (hymns, spells, prayers, song, etc) used when they perform ritual sacrifices (yajna). Today (starting from ancient india) the vedas are learned, memorized, taught by a class of.