Hinduism is believed to have begun, approximately 4,000 years ago, in the region of the Indus Valley located mainly in what today is Pakistan. Hinduism originated when the Aryan people, who came from Central Asia, developed settlements in the Indus Valley and assimilated the deities of the Indus Valley region’s indigenous peoples into their own religion. Hinduism emerged as a highly polytheistic religion and a religion involving deities that could embody universal dualities. For example, some of the deities were considered to be both male and female.
During the first millennium A.D., Hindus, throughout India, began worshipping Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu as their 3 primarily deities. This evolution in Indian Hinduism sometimes involved deities being abandoned (they were no longer worshipped). Other deities, that had previously been worshipped as primarily deities, became minor deities (deities that were worshipped as incarnations of Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu). Today, many Indians still worship Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu as their 3 primary deities. Brahma is commonly worshipped as being the creator of the world and Vishnu is worshipped as being the ruler of the world. As the ruler of the world, Vishnu is also believed to sustain life. Shiva represents the god of paradoxes or dualities.
Today, within Indian Hinduism, many people worship Brahman (not to be confused with Brahma) as a supreme deity. However, some scholars argue that Indian Hinduism has not evolved to the point that it is primarily a monotheistic religion. One reason for this is that ,within Indian Hinduism, many people still worship a number of Gods and Goddesses as incarnations of Brahman (including Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu). Other scholars argue that Indian Hinduism has evolved to the point that it is primarily a monotheistic religion because the majority of India’s Hindus, despite the fact that they might worship one or more incarnations of Brahman, ultimately believe that Brahman is the embodiment of everything in the universe. Finally, it is possible that Indian Hinduism is both a monotheistic and polytheistic religion because, within Indian Hinduism, Brahman represents both “one” and “many” deities (as a duality).