My answer to Why is there no protestant Hinduism?
Answer by Vijayendra Mohanty:
There are many protestant Hinduisms. They have been coming up all through the history of India. Historians refer to them as heterodox schools of thought of course, but the reasons for their origins resemble the ones that brought Protestantism into being.
Protestantism came into being because the Catholic Church was becoming too suffocating for some people who wanted to continue calling themselves Christian. So they broke away from the Church in “protest”. Hence the name Protestant.
In the history of India, many sects and cults have broken away from the dominant strain of religiosity that pervades the sub-continent’s culture. Some of these protestant Hinduisms are known by names such as Buddhism and Arya Samaj.
Buddhism wasn’t really a break-away movement, but it is believed that one of the major reasons behind its popularity was the people’s resentment with the caste-based structure of Hindu society.
Arya Samaj, established by Dayanand Saraswati, was a clear break-away from mainstream puranic Hinduism and sought to refashion the Hindu identity using the Vedas as a foundation. Dayanand Saraswati rejected the puranas and the epics as rank nonsense and asked Hindus to turn towards the Vedic truths that he believed had been corrupted over time.
These are just two examples. The Hindu religion has been fragmented time and time again into many such schools of thought. Some of these fragments became independent religions and some didn’t.