In the modern spiritual-religious world where Monotheism (or else Atheism) is a fad now, Hinduism still remains mainly a Polytheist faith.
So the Sea Goddess (Kadala amma), the spirit of the land and the house (Vastu Purush) is appeased, Planets (Griha Devatas) are worshipped for protection against bad planetary influences as per one’s astrological natal-chart (horoscope), Ganesha the elephant headed God is appeased before the commencement of any auspicious endevour, Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped for Wealth, the Snake God (Naga Devata) is worshipped for protection, apart from one’s own Guru who is acknowledged as a form of God too.
And through this worship of different Gods and Goddesses of the faith, the character of the Indians, which is truly Hindostani has developed through the ages.
An Indian can be one of the most superstitious among all the different races of the world. Majority of Indians still live in small towns and villages, which until recently had no access to electricity.
No wonder then, that communities living in total dependence on Nature, in wooded places, hot climate that could bring with it diseases and death; believed completely on different divine spirits which they worshipped- whether it was the spirit of a particular holy tree, a river, ancestors, or animals like snake and elephants.
Trust, thus comes very easily, to this culture. We can easily trust total strangers!
And even as the crores of gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon provide people with easy access to a particular god/goddess that suits their temperament or nature, it has also led to a distinct characteristic in-bred in most Indians – sycophancy.
Apart from this, Hindus had a very hierarchical society (the Caste system- Varnas). Due to this, there is always a respect for authority in personal or social life.
Lord Hanuman, widely worshipped in India, is a Monkey God, who called himself the “Dasa” (slave) of Ram, the divine incarnation of Lord Vishnu.
Hinduism lays a lot of emphasis on Bhakti, the nearest word is Greek ‘agape’ (In the original Greek, Jesus asks Simon, “Do you have agape for me?” Do you have unconditional love for me? Are you going to lay down your life for me?)
Hanuman had that unconditional love for his Master.
Most of the Hindus thus may place a high regard for people in authority, a sense of Bhakti that passes on for people in authority.
As the later part of the Vedas (the Vedanta) placed high importance on Karma (one’s duties), a person may feel very strongly obliged to be hard-working in his field of work.
Rituals are performed in elaborate fashion for the worship of gods and goddesses as laid down in the holy scriptures.
That explains the Indian love for Indianish courtesies like women covering their head in presence of her in-laws, touching the feet of elders, teachers or any person he/she holds in high-respect. Any true Hindu would touch the book to his forehead if he touches it by mistake with his leg.
Even monogamy (having only one wife), which is now a law for all Hindus in India, comes due to high regard for Lord Ram (one of the deities of Hinduism who promised his wife Sita total monogamy)
Hindus have a high regard for the law of the land, which springs from their inherent belief in a Higher law called the Universal law (Dharma) that punishes evildoers.
Taking care of elders, pilgrimage, daily bath (we taught the westerners the importance of taking bath and keeping oneself clean – Romeo and Juliet probably never brushed their teeth, even as we have had strong teeth as long back as 1500-2000 years, thanks to the branch of the Neem tree that is still used in villages to keep the teeth clean and healthy)
One last thing, I would like to mention here is the unique sense of holding things “sacred”, which comes naturally to a Hindu. So he holds the earth and nature sacred, as his/ her own mother; and regards relationship, things, all living beings etc as sacred.
Even as the Hindus have advanced beyond evil practices like Sati (self-immolation of a widow on the pyre of her husband), and old-fashioned ways of living like child-marriage, and are beginning to look at newer ways of living like widow-remarriage – there are certain characteristics that are inherently Indian which will survive for ages to come.
These are also the very characteristics that have contributed to the survival of the Indian Civilization even when Egyptian, Mayan, Roman civilizations bit the dust.