Although some disagree that Hinduism is the oldest living religion in the world, none can argue the enormity of the impact it has had, and still continues to have on India's society. India's history is greatly influenced by Hinduism in its beliefs and customs. Hindu spiritual texts such as the Vedas, and other orthodox beliefs and practices of Hinduism have had a strong influence on the foundations of India's ancient and modern civilisation. Hinduism has contributed towards the implementation of many of the distinguishable aspects of Indian society such as India's well-known caste system, its inferior status of women and cultural enrichments such as philosophy and its high position on ethical conduct.
The caste system is certainly the most prominent mark of the influence of Hinduism on Indian culture. The Indian caste system is a closed system of social stratification where people in Indian are differentiated through class, religion, region, tribe, gender and language (Desphande, 2011). Esteemed author, David Simmonds asserts the notion in "Believers All" that people are systematically divided into organized social "castes" based on where one ranks according to these dimensions. According to the ancient text "Rigveda", the division of Indian society traces its origins back to Braham's divine manifestation of four groups. This view is corroborated by the secondary source "Religions of Man" by Roger Whiting. "Religions of Man" recounts the legend of Purusha from expressing how Brahma made the first man, Purusha and from his body four different groups or castes were taken; each caste for a different purpose. The fundamental principle is that one is assigned to a caste based on the quality of one's karma and can only advance up to a higher position through good dharma (Simmonds, 1984). This story developed the notion that because of one's dharma and karma in past life, it is acceptable to be treated differently or have different sets of rules for different people; and has since been incorporated and regarded as central in India's societal beliefs.