Some scholars suggest that Hinduism can be seen as a category with «fuzzy edges» rather than a clearly defined and rigid entity. Some forms of religious expression are central to Hinduism and others, although less central, still remain in the category. Based on this idea, Gabriella Eichinger Ferro-Luzzi developed a «prototype theoretical approach» to define Hinduism.  The study of India and its cultures and religions, as well as the definition of «Hinduism,» have been shaped by the interests of colonialism and Western conceptions of religion.   Since the 1990s, these influences and their results have been debated among scholars of Hinduism,[note 15] and have also been adopted by critics of the Western view of India.  [Note 16] The ancient scriptures of Hinduism are in Sanskrit. These texts are divided into two: Shruti and Smriti. The «One Truth» of Vedic literature has been interpreted in modern science as monotheism, monism, as well as the hidden principles deified behind the great events and processes of nature.  Part of the problem with a single definition of Hinduism is the fact that Hinduism has no founder.  It is a synthesis of different traditions, of «Brahmin orthopraxy, traditions of renunciation, and popular or local traditions.»  The partition of India took place in 1947 and Gandhi was assassinated in 1948. British India was divided into nations now independent of India and Pakistan, and Hinduism became India`s main religion. Due to the wide range of traditions and ideas covered by the term Hinduism, it is difficult to arrive at a complete definition.
 Religion «opposes our desire to define and categorize it.»  Hinduism has been variously defined as a religion, a religious tradition, a set of religious beliefs, and «a way of life.»  [Note 1] From a Western lexical point of view, Hinduism, like other religions, is rightly referred to as a religion. In India, the term Dharma is preferred, which is broader than the Western term religion.  Regardless of how a Hindu defines the purpose of life, there are several methods (yogas) that have taught ways to achieve that goal. Yoga is a Hindu discipline that trains the body, mind and consciousness for health, calmness and spiritual insight.  Yoga texts include the Yoga Sutras, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the Bhagavad Gita, and, as a philosophical and historical basis, the Upanishads. Yoga is a means, and the four main marga (paths) of Hinduism are: Bhakti Yoga (the way of love and devotion), Karma Yoga (the way of right action), Rāja Yoga (the path of meditation) and Jñāna Yoga (the way of wisdom). An individual may prefer one or more yoga to others, according to his inclination and understanding. The practice of yoga does not exclude others. The modern practice of yoga as an exercise (traditionally Hatha Yoga) has a controversial relationship with Hinduism.  According to Indologist Alexis Sanderson, before the arrival of Islam in India, Sanskrit sources distinguished «Sanskrit springs from the traditions of Vaidika, Vaiṣṇava, Śaiva, Śākta, Saura, Buddhist and Jaina, but they did not have a name that referred to the first five of them as a collective entity against and against Buddhism and Jainism.» This lack of a formal name, according to Sanderson, does not mean that the corresponding concept of Hinduism did not exist.
By the end of the 1st millennium AD, the concept of a distinct belief and tradition from Buddhism and Jainism had emerged. [WEB 5] This complex tradition has accepted in its identity almost everything that is Hinduism today, with the exception of some contradictory tantric movements. [WEB 5] Some conservative thinkers of the time questioned whether certain Shaiva, Vaishnava and Shakta texts or practices were compatible with the Vedas or invalid in their entirety. Moderate scholars and later most orthoprax agreed that, although there were some variations, the basis of their belief, ritual grammar, spiritual premises, and soteriology were the same. «This feeling of greater unity,» says Sanderson, «was called Hinduism. [WEB 5] Authority and eternal truths play an important role in Hinduism.  It is believed that religious traditions and truths are contained in its sacred texts, which are recovered and taught by sages, gurus, saints or avatars.  But there is also a strong tradition of questioning authority, internal debate, and questioning religious texts in Hinduism.
Hindus believe that this deepens the understanding of eternal truths and develops tradition. Many Hindus do not have a copy of the Vedas, and they have never personally seen or read a part of a Veda, such as a Christian who might refer to the Bible or a Muslim power to the Quran. Nevertheless, according to Lipner, «this does not mean that the orientation of their entire [Hindu] life cannot be traced back to the Vedas, or that it does not derive from them in any way.»  The concept of the common denominator for several religions and traditions of India continued to develop from the 12th century AD.  Lorenzen traces the emergence of a «family resemblance» and what he calls the «beginnings of medieval and modern Hinduism» around 300-600 AD, with the development of the early Puranas and continuities with earlier Vedic religion.  Lorenzen notes that the establishment of a Hindu identity occurred «through a process of mutual self-definition with another opposing Muslim.»  According to Lorenzen, this «presence of the other» is necessary to recognize the «loose family resemblance» between different traditions and schools.  Inden notes that the attempt to classify Hinduism by typology began in imperial times, when missionary missionaries and colonial officials tried to understand and present Hinduism from their interests.  Hinduism has been interpreted in such a way that it did not emerge from a reason of the mind, but from imagination and creative imagination, not conceptually but symbolically, not ethically but emotionally, not rationally or spiritually, but from cognitive mysticism.