HOME

TheInfoList




Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the
religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and whether the exchange is voluntary/involuntary. Etymology ...

religion
s that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, ...

Hinduism
,
Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion. It is one of the oldest Indian religions. The three main pillars of Jainism are ''Ahimsa in Jainism, ahiṃsā'' (non-violence), ''anekāntavāda'' (non-absolut ...

Jainism
,
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
, and
Sikhism Sikhism () or Sikhi ( pa, ਸਿੱਖੀ ', , from pa, ਸਿੱਖ, lit=disciple', 'seeker', or 'learner, translit=Sikh, label=none)''Sikhism'' (indigenously known as ''Sikhī'') originated from the word ''Sikh'', which comes from the Sanskr ...
,Adams, C. J.
Classification of religions: Geographical
Encyclopædia Britannica The (Latin for "British Encyclopaedia") is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia which is now published exclusively as an online encyclopedia, online encyclopaedia. It was formerly published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., ...
, 2007. Accessed: 15 July 2010
are also classified as
Eastern religions The Eastern religions are the religion Religion is a social system, social-cultural system of designated religious behaviour, behaviors and practices, morality, morals, beliefs, worldviews, religious text, texts, shrine, sanctified places, ...
. Although Indian religions are connected through the
history of India According to consensus in modern genetics, anatomically modern humans Early modern human (EMH) or anatomically modern human (AMH) are terms used to distinguish ''Homo sapiens Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and wi ...
, they constitute a wide range of religious communities, and are not confined to the Indian subcontinent. Evidence attesting to
prehistoric religion Prehistoric religions are the religious beliefs and practices of prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's pa ...
in the Indian subcontinent derives from scattered
Mesolithic The Mesolithic (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

Mesolithic
rock paintings. The
Harappa Harappa (; Urdu Urdu (; ur, , ALA-LC: ) is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in South Asia South Asia is the southern region of Asia, which is defined in both geography, geographical and culture, ethno-cultural terms. The regi ...

Harappa
n people of the
Indus Valley Civilisation , c. 2500 BCE. Terracotta Terracotta, terra cotta, or terra-cotta (; Italian language, Italian: "baked earth", from the Latin ''terra cocta''), a type of earthenware, is a clay-based ceramic glaze, unglazed or glazed ceramic, where the ...
, which lasted from 3300 to 1300 BCE (mature period 2600–1900 BCE), had an early urbanized culture which predates the Vedic religion. The documented history of Indian religions begins with the
historical Vedic religion The historical Vedic religion (also known as Vedicism, Vedism or ancient Hinduism), and subsequently Brahmanism (also spelled as Brahminism), constituted the religious ideas and practices among some of the Indo-Aryan peoples Indo-Aryan ...
, the religious practices of the early
Indo-Iranians Indo-Iranian peoples, also known as Indo-Iranic peoples by scholars, and sometimes as Arya or Aryans from their self-designation, were a group of Indo-European peoples who brought the Indo-Iranian languagesIndo-Iranian may refer to: * Indo-Irani ...
, which were collected and later redacted into the ''
Vedas upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (, , ) are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the o ...

Vedas
''. The period of the composition, redaction, and commentary of these texts is known as the Vedic period, which lasted from roughly 1750 to 500 BCE. The philosophical portions of the Vedas were summarized in
Upanishads The Upanishads (; sa, उपनिषद् ) are Vedic period, late Vedic Sanskrit texts of Hindu philosophy which supplied the basis of later Hindu philosophy.Wendy Doniger (1990), ''Textual Sources for the Study of Hinduism'', 1st Edition ...
, which are commonly referred to as ''
Vedānta Vedanta (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language ...
'', variously interpreted to mean either the "last chapters, parts of the
Veda upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical la ...

Veda
" or "the object, the highest purpose of the Veda". The early Upanishads all predate the Common Era, five of the eleven
principal Upanishads Mukhya Upanishads, also known as Principal Upanishads, are the most ancient and widely studied Upanishad The Upanishads (; sa, उपनिषद् ) are late Vedic Sanskrit texts of religious teachings which form the foundations of Hin ...
were composed in all likelihood before 6th century BCE, and contain the earliest mentions of ''
Yoga Yoga (; sa, योग, lit=yoke' or 'union ) is a group of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Phy ...

Yoga
'' and
Moksha ''Moksha'' (; sa, मोक्ष, '; Tamil language, Tamil: ''vīdupēru''), also called ''vimoksha'', ''vimukti'' and ''mukti'', is a term in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism for various forms of emancipation, enlightenment, liberat ...

Moksha
. The Shramanic Period between 800 and 200 BCE marks a "turning point between the Vedic Hinduism and Puranic Hinduism". The Shramana movement, an ancient Indian religious movement parallel to but separate from Vedic tradition, often defied many of the Vedic and Upanishadic concepts of soul (Atman) and the ultimate reality (Brahman). In 6th century BCE, the Shramnic movement matured into
Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion. It is one of the oldest Indian religions. The three main pillars of Jainism are ''Ahimsa in Jainism, ahiṃsā'' (non-violence), ''anekāntavāda'' (non-absolut ...

Jainism
and
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
and was responsible for the schism of Indian religions into two main philosophical branches of astika, which venerates Veda (e.g., six orthodox schools of Hinduism) and nastika (e.g., Buddhism, Jainism, Charvaka, etc.). However, both branches shared the related concepts of
Yoga Yoga (; sa, योग, lit=yoke' or 'union ) is a group of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Phy ...

Yoga
, ''
saṃsāra ''Saṃsāra'' is a Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European ...

saṃsāra
'' (the cycle of birth and death) and ''
moksha ''Moksha'' (; sa, मोक्ष, '; Tamil language, Tamil: ''vīdupēru''), also called ''vimoksha'', ''vimukti'' and ''mukti'', is a term in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism for various forms of emancipation, enlightenment, liberat ...

moksha
'' (liberation from that cycle). The Puranic Period (200 BCE – 500 CE) and Early Medieval period (500–1100 CE) gave rise to new configurations of Hinduism, especially
bhakti ''Bhakti'' ( sa, ) literally means "attachment, state of mind where the devotees surrender himself or herself unquestioningly to God. The union of the human soul with a supreme God, man's love and devotion for God are some of the concepts wh ...

bhakti
and
Shaivism Shaivism (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; , , ) is a of that belongs to the branch of the . It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had there from the northwest in the late . Sanskrit is the of , the langua ...
,
Shaktism Shaktism ( sa, शाक्त, , ) is one of several major Hindu denominations Hindu denominations are traditions within Hinduism centered on one or more gods or goddesses, such as Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti and Brahma. Sometimes the term i ...
,
Vaishnavism Vaishnavism (: वैष्णवसम्प्रदायः, Vaiṣṇāsmpradāyaḥ) is one of the major along with , , and . According to a 2010 estimate by Johnson and Grim, the Vaishnava tradition is the largest group within Hinduism ...

Vaishnavism
,
Smarta ''Smarta'' Tradition (: स्मार्त) is a major . It reflects a Hindu synthesis of four philosophical strands: , , , and . The Smarta tradition rejects theistic sectarianism, and it is notable for the domestic worship of five shrine ...
, and smaller groups like the conservative Shrauta. The early Islamic period (1100–1500 CE) also gave rise to new movements.
Sikhism Sikhism () or Sikhi ( pa, ਸਿੱਖੀ ', , from pa, ਸਿੱਖ, lit=disciple', 'seeker', or 'learner, translit=Sikh, label=none)''Sikhism'' (indigenously known as ''Sikhī'') originated from the word ''Sikh'', which comes from the Sanskr ...
was founded in the 15th century on the teachings of
Guru Nanak Gurū Nānak (Punjabi language, Punjabi pronunciation: , ; born as Nānak on 15 April 1469 – 22 September 1539), also referred to as ('father Nānak'), was the founder of Sikhism and is the first of the ten Sikh gurus, Sikh Gurus. His birt ...

Guru Nanak
and the nine successive
Sikh Gurus The Sikh Gurus (Punjabi Panjābī (pʌnˈdʒɑːbi) (ਪੰਜਾਬੀ) (پنجابی) Punjabi or Panjabi most often refers to: * Something of, from, or related to Punjab Punjab ( Gurmukhi: ; Shahmukhi: ; , ; , ; ; also romanised as P ...

Sikh Gurus
in
Northern India North India is a loosely defined region consisting of the northern part of India India, officially the Republic of India (: ), is a country in . It is the by area, the country, and the most populous in the world. Bounded by the on ...
. The vast majority of its adherents originate in the
Punjab region Punjab (; ; ; ; also romanised Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and m ...

Punjab region
. During the period of
British rule in India The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, ...

British rule in India
, a reinterpretation and synthesis of Hinduism arose, which aided the
Indian independence movement The Indian independence movement was a series of historic events with the ultimate aim of ending British rule in India The British Raj (; from ''rāj'', literally, "rule" in Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', ...
.


History


Periodisation

Scottish historian
James Mill James Mill (born James Milne; 6 April 1773 – 23 June 1836) was a Scottish historian ( 484– 425 BC) was a Greek historian who lived in the 5th century BC and one of the earliest historians whose work survives. A historian is a person who stu ...

James Mill
, in his seminal work '' The History of British India'' (1817), distinguished three phases in the history of India, namely the Hindu, Muslim, and British periods. This periodisation has been criticised, for the misconceptions it has given rise to. Another periodisation is the division into "ancient, classical, medieval, and modern periods", although this periodization has also received criticism.
Romila Thapar Romila Thapar (born 30 November 1931) is an Indian historian. Her principal area of study is ancient India According to consensus in modern genetics, anatomically modern humans first arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa between ...

Romila Thapar
notes that the division of Hindu-Muslim-British periods of Indian history gives too much weight to "ruling dynasties and foreign invasions", neglecting the social-economic history which often showed a strong continuity. The division in Ancient-Medieval-Modern overlooks the fact that the Muslim-conquests took place between the eight and the fourteenth century, while the south was never completely conquered. According to Thapar, a periodisation could also be based on "significant social and economic changes", which are not strictly related to a change of ruling powers. Smart and Michaels seem to follow Mill's periodisation, while Flood and Muesse follow the "ancient, classical, mediaeval and modern periods" periodisation. An elaborate periodisation may be as follows: * Indian pre-history including
Indus Valley Civilisation , c. 2500 BCE. Terracotta Terracotta, terra cotta, or terra-cotta (; Italian language, Italian: "baked earth", from the Latin ''terra cocta''), a type of earthenware, is a clay-based ceramic glaze, unglazed or glazed ceramic, where the ...
(until c. 1750 BCE); * Iron Age including Vedic period (c. 1750–600 BCE); * "Second Urbanisation" (c. 600–200 BCE); * Classical period (c. 200 BCE-1200 CE); :* Pre-Classical period (c. 200 BCE-320 CE); :* "Golden Age" (Gupta Empire) (c. 320–650 CE); :* Late-Classical period (c. 650–1200 CE); * Medieval period (c. 1200–1500 CE); * Early Modern (c. 1500–1850); * Modern period (British Raj and independence) (from c. 1850).


Prevedic religions (before c. 1750 BCE)


Prehistory

Evidence attesting to
prehistoric religion Prehistoric religions are the religious beliefs and practices of prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is the description of humanity's pa ...
in the Indian subcontinent derives from scattered
Mesolithic The Mesolithic (Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

Mesolithic
rock paintings such as at
Bhimbetka The Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site in central India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populo ...

Bhimbetka
, depicting dances and rituals.
Neolithic The Neolithic period is the final division of the Stone Age The Stone Age was a broad prehistoric Prehistory, also known as pre-literary history, is the period of human history Human history, also known as world history, is t ...
agriculturalists inhabiting the
Indus River The Indus ( ) is a transboundary river A transboundary river is a river that crosses at least one political border, either a border within a nation or an international boundary. Bangladesh has the highest number of these rivers, including t ...

Indus River
Valley buried their dead in a manner suggestive of spiritual practices that incorporated notions of an afterlife and belief in magic. Other
South Asian Stone Age The South Asian Stone Age covers the Palaeolithic The Paleolithic or Palaeolithic or Palæolithic (), also called the Old Stone Age (from Greek wikt:παλαιός, palaios - old, lithos - stone), is a period in prehistory Prehistory, a ...
sites, such as the
Bhimbetka rock shelters The Bhimbetka rock shelters are an archaeological site in central India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populo ...

Bhimbetka rock shelters
in central
Madhya Pradesh Madhya Pradesh (, ; meaning ''Central Province'') is a state in central India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most ...

Madhya Pradesh
and the Kupgal petroglyphs of eastern Karnataka, contain rock art portraying religious rites and evidence of possible ritualised music.


Indus Valley civilisation

The religion and belief system of the
Indus valley The Indus ( ) is a transboundary river A transboundary river is a river that crosses at least one political border, either a border within a nation or an international boundary. Bangladesh has the highest number of these rivers, including tw ...

Indus valley
people have received considerable attention, especially from the view of identifying precursors to deities and religious practices of Indian religions that later developed in the area. However, due to the sparsity of evidence, which is open to varying interpretations, and the fact that the
Indus script The Indus script (also known as the Harappan script) is a corpus of symbols produced by the . Most inscriptions containing these symbols are extremely short, making it difficult to judge whether or not these symbols constituted a used to recor ...

Indus script
remains undeciphered, the conclusions are partly speculative and largely based on a retrospective view from a much later Hindu perspective. An early and influential work in the area that set the trend for Hindu interpretations of archaeological evidence from the Harrapan sites was that of
John Marshall John Marshall (September 24, 1755July 6, 1835) was an American politician and lawyer who served as the fourth chief justice of the United States The chief justice of the United States is the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United Stat ...
, who in 1931 identified the following as prominent features of the Indus religion: a Great Male God and a Mother Goddess; deification or veneration of animals and plants; symbolic representation of the phallus (
linga A lingam ( sa, लिङ्ग , lit. "sign, symbol or mark"), sometimes referred to as linga or Shiva linga, is an abstract or aniconic Aniconism is the absence of material representations of both the natural and supernatural worlds in various ...

linga
) and vulva (
yoni ''Yoni'' (; sometimes also ), sometimes referred to as ''pindika'', is an abstract or aniconic Aniconism is the absence of material representations of both the natural and supernatural worlds in various cultures, particularly in the Monotheism, ...
); and, use of baths and water in religious practice. Marshall's interpretations have been much debated, and sometimes disputed over the following decades. One Indus valley seal shows a seated, possibly
ithyphallic Ithyphallic Shiva, 3rd century AD A phallus is a penis A penis (plural ''penises'' or ''penes'' ) is the primary sexual organ that male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can ...
and tricephalic, figure with a horned headdress, surrounded by animals. Marshall identified the figure as an early form of the Hindu god
Shiva Shiva (; sa, शिव, lit=The Auspicious One, Śiva ), also known as Mahadeva (; ɐɦaːd̪eːʋɐ, is one of the Hindu deities, principal deities of Hinduism. He is the God, Supreme Being in Shaivism, one of the major traditions wit ...

Shiva
(or
Rudra Rudra (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; , , ) is a of that belongs to the branch of the . It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had there from the northwest in the late . Sanskrit is the of , the languag ...

Rudra
), who is associated with asceticism,
yoga Yoga (; sa, योग, lit=yoke' or 'union ) is a group of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Phy ...

yoga
, and linga; regarded as a lord of animals; and often depicted as having three eyes. The seal has hence come to be known as the
Pashupati Seal The Pashupati Seal is a steatite seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, ...
, after ''
Pashupati Pashupati (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. ...

Pashupati
'' (lord of all animals), an epithet of Shiva. While Marshall's work has earned some support, many critics and even supporters have raised several objections. Doris Srinivasan has argued that the figure does not have three faces, or yogic posture, and that in
Vedic literature upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the '' Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical la ...

Vedic literature
Rudra was not a protector of wild animals. Herbert Sullivan and
Alf HiltebeitelAlfred John Hiltebeitel is Columbian Professor of Religion, History, and Human Sciences at George Washington University in Washington DC, USA. His academic specialism is in ancient Sanskrit epics such as the ''Mahabharata'' and ''Ramayana'', together ...
also rejected Marshall's conclusions, with the former claiming that the figure was female, while the latter associated the figure with ''Mahisha'', the Buffalo God and the surrounding animals with
vahana ''Vahana'' ( sa, वाहन, or animal vehicle, literally "that which carries, that which pulls") denotes the being, typically an animal or mythical entity, a particular Hindu deity is said to use as a vehicle. In this capacity, the vahana ...
s (vehicles) of deities for the four cardinal directions. Writing in 2002, Gregory L. Possehl concluded that while it would be appropriate to recognise the figure as a deity, its association with the water buffalo, and its posture as one of ritual discipline, regarding it as a proto-Shiva would be going too far. Despite the criticisms of Marshall's association of the seal with a proto-Shiva icon, it has been interpreted as the
Tirthankara In Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion and the method of acquiring perfect knowledge of self and universe and perfect joy through Extrasensory perception, extrasensory means as em ...
Rishabha Rishabhanatha, also ( hi, ऋषभदेव), Rishabhadeva, or Ikshvaku is the first () of Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dha ...
by Jains and Dr. Vilas Sangave or an early
Buddha Gautama Buddha, popularly known as the Buddha (also known as Siddhattha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama or Buddha Shakyamuni), was an ascetic Asceticism (; from the el, ἄσκησις ''áskesis'', "exercise, training") is a lifestyle ...

Buddha
by Buddhists. Historians like
Heinrich Zimmer Heinrich Robert Zimmer (6 December 1890 – 20 March 1943) was a German Indologist and linguist, as well as a historian of South Asian art, most known for his works, ''Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization'' and ''Philosophies of India'' ...
,
Thomas McEvilley Thomas McEvilley (; July 13, 1939 – March 2, 2013) was an American art critic An art critic is a person who is specialized in analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating art. Their written critiques or reviews contribute to art criticism and the ...
are of the opinion that there exists some link between first
Jain Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religion ...

Jain
Tirthankara Rishabha and Indus Valley civilisation. Marshall hypothesized the existence of a cult of Mother Goddess worship based upon excavation of several female figurines, and thought that this was a precursor of the Hindu sect of
Shaktism Shaktism ( sa, शाक्त, , ) is one of several major Hindu denominations Hindu denominations are traditions within Hinduism centered on one or more gods or goddesses, such as Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti and Brahma. Sometimes the term i ...
. However the function of the female figurines in the life of Indus Valley people remains unclear, and Possehl does not regard the evidence for Marshall's hypothesis to be "terribly robust". Some of the baetyls interpreted by Marshall to be sacred phallic representations are now thought to have been used as pestles or game counters instead, while the ring stones that were thought to symbolise ''yoni'' were determined to be architectural features used to stand pillars, although the possibility of their religious symbolism cannot be eliminated. Many Indus Valley seals show animals, with some depicting them being carried in processions, while others show chimeric creations. One seal from Mohen-jodaro shows a half-human, half-buffalo monster attacking a tiger, which may be a reference to the
Sumerian myth Sumerian or Sumerians may refer to: *Sumer, an ancient civilization **Sumerian language, their language **Sumerian art **Sumerian architecture **Sumerian literature **Cuneiform script, used in Sumerian writing *Sumerian Records, an American record ...
of such a monster created by goddess Aruru to fight
Gilgamesh Gilgamesh ( akk, 𒀭𒄑𒉋𒂵𒈨𒌋𒌋𒌋, translit=Gilgameš; originally sux, 𒀭𒉋𒂵𒈩, translit=Bilgames or ''Pabilga-mes'')). His name translates roughly as "The Ancestor is a Young-man", from ''Bil.ga'' "Ancestor", Elder and ...

Gilgamesh
. In contrast to contemporary
Egyptian Egyptian describes something of, from, or related to Egypt. Egyptian or Egyptians may refer to: Nations and ethnic groups * Egyptians, a national group in North Africa ** Egyptian culture, a complex and stable culture with thousands of years of r ...

Egyptian
and
Mesopotamian Mesopotamia ( grc, Μεσοποταμία ''Mesopotamíā''; ar, بِلَاد ٱلرَّافِدَيْن ; syc, ܐܪܡ ܢܗܪ̈ܝܢ, or , ) is a of situated within the , in the northern part of the . Mesopotamia occupies most of presen ...
civilisations, Indus valley lacks any monumental palaces, even though excavated cities indicate that the society possessed the requisite engineering knowledge. This may suggest that religious ceremonies, if any, may have been largely confined to individual homes, small temples, or the open air. Several sites have been proposed by Marshall and later scholars as possibly devoted to religious purpose, but at present only the at Mohenjo-daro is widely thought to have been so used, as a place for ritual purification. The funerary practices of the Harappan civilisation is marked by its diversity with evidence of supine burial; fractional burial in which the body is reduced to skeletal remains by exposure to the elements before final interment; and even cremation.


Dravidian culture

The early Dravidian religion constituted of non-
Vedic FIle:Atharva-Veda samhita page 471 illustration.png, upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the ''Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (, , ) are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Com ...
form of
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, ...

Hinduism
in that they were either historically or are at present Āgamic. The Agamas are non-
vedic FIle:Atharva-Veda samhita page 471 illustration.png, upright=1.2, The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. Above: A page from the ''Atharvaveda''. The Vedas (, , ) are a large body of religious texts originating in ancient India. Com ...

vedic
in origin and have been dated either as post-vedic texts. or as pre-vedic oral compositions. The ''Agamas'' are a collection of
Tamil Tamil may refer to: * Tamils, an ethnic group native to India, Sri Lanka and some other parts of Asia **Sri Lankan Tamils, Tamil people native to Sri Lanka **Tamil Malaysians, Tamil people native to Malaysia * Tamil language, a Dravidian languages, ...

Tamil
and later
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
scriptures Religious texts are texts related to a religious tradition. They differ from literary texts by being a compilation or discussion of beliefs, mythologies, ritual practices, commandments or laws, ethical conduct, spiritual aspirations, and for c ...
chiefly constituting the methods of temple construction and creation of ''
murti ''Murti'' (Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; , , ) is a of that belongs to the branch of the . It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had there from the northwest in the late . Sanskrit is the of , the langua ...

murti
'', worship means of deities, philosophical doctrines, meditative practices, attainment of sixfold desires and four kinds of yoga. The worship of
tutelary deity A tutelary () (also tutelar) is a deity or a Nature spirit, spirit who is a guardian, patron, or protector of a particular place, geographic feature, person, lineage, nation, culture, or occupation. The etymology of "tutelary" expresses the concep ...
, sacred flora and fauna in Hinduism is also recognized as a survival of the pre-Vedic Dravidian religion. Ancient Tamil grammatical works Tolkappiyam, the ten anthologies
Pattuppāṭṭu The Ten Idylls, known as Pattuppāṭṭu ( ta, பத்துப்பாட்டு) or Ten Lays, is an anthology of ten longer poems in the Sangam literature – the earliest known Tamil literature. They range between about 100 and 800 line ...
, the eight anthologies Eṭṭuttokai also sheds light on early religion of ancient Dravidians. '''' was glorified as ''the red god seated on the blue peacock, who is ever young and resplendent,'' as ''the favored god of the Tamils.''Kanchan Sinha, Kartikeya in Indian art and literature, Delhi: Sundeep Prakashan (1979).
Sivan ''Sivan'' (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ...

Sivan
was also seen as the supreme God. Early iconography of and
Sivan ''Sivan'' (Hebrew Hebrew (, , or ) is a Northwest Semitic languages, Northwest Semitic language of the Afroasiatic languages, Afroasiatic language family. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites, Judeans and their ...

Sivan
and their association with native flora and fauna goes back to Indus Valley Civilization. The
Sangam landscape The Sangam landscape (Tamil: அகத்திணை "inner classification") is the name given to a poetic device that was characteristic of love poetry in classical Tamil Sangam literature. The core of the device was the categorisation of poems ...
was classified into five categories, ''thinais'', based on the mood, the season and the land. Tolkappiyam, mentions that each of these ''thinai'' had an associated deity such in ''Kurinji''-the hills, in ''Mullai''-the forests, and in ''Marutham''-the plains, and in the ''Neithal''-the coasts and the seas. Other gods mentioned were and who were all assimilated into Hinduism over time. Dravidian linguistic influenceJ.P. Mallory and D. Q. Adams, ''Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture'' (1997), p.308. on early Vedic religion is evident, many of these features are already present in the oldest known
Indo-Aryan language The Indo-Aryan or Indic languages form a major language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages h ...
, the language of the ''
Rigveda The ''Rigveda'' or ''Rig Veda'' ( ', from ' "praise" and ' "knowledge") is an ancient Indian collection Collection or Collections may refer to: * Cash collection, the function of an accounts receivable department * Collection agency, ag ...
'' (c. 1500 BCE), which also includes over a dozen words borrowed from Dravidian. This represents an early religious and cultural fusion or synthesis between ancient Dravidians and Indo-Aryans, which became more evident over time with sacred iconography, traditions, philosophy, flora, and fauna that went on to influence Hinduism, Buddhism, Charvaka, Sramana, and Jainism. Throughout
Tamilakam Tamilakam (: ''tamiḻakam'') refers to the geographical region inhabited by the ancient . Tamilakam covered today's , , , and southern parts of and . Traditional accounts and ' referred these territories as a single cultural area, where was ...
, a king was considered to be divine by nature and possessed religious significance. The king was 'the representative of God on earth' and lived in a "koyil", which means the "residence of a god". The Modern Tamil word for temple is
koil ''Koil'' or ''Koyil'' or ''Kovil'', (meaning: residence of GodThe modern Tamil word for Hindu temple is ''kōvil'' ( ta, கோவில்) meaning "the residence of God". In ancient Tamil Nadu, the king (, ''Kō'') was considered to be a ...
. Titual worship was also given to kings. Modern words for god like "kō" ("king"), "iṟai" ("emperor"), and "āṇḍavar" ("conqueror") now primarily refer to gods. These elements were incorporated later into
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, ...

Hinduism
like the legendary marriage of
Shiva Shiva (; sa, शिव, lit=The Auspicious One, Śiva ), also known as Mahadeva (; ɐɦaːd̪eːʋɐ, is one of the Hindu deities, principal deities of Hinduism. He is the God, Supreme Being in Shaivism, one of the major traditions wit ...

Shiva
to Queen Mīnātchi who ruled
Madurai Madurai ( , also ) is a major city in the Indian state India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most populo ...

Madurai
or Wanji-ko, a god who later merged into
Indra Indra (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. ...

Indra
. Tolkappiyar refers to the Three Crowned Kings as the "Three Glorified by Heaven". In the Dravidian-speaking South, the concept of divine kingship led to the assumption of major roles by state and temple. The cult of the mother goddess is treated as an indication of a society which venerated femininity. This mother goddess was conceived as a virgin, one who has given birth to all and one, typically associated with history of Shaktism, Shaktism. The temples of the Sangam days, mainly of Madurai, seem to have had priestesses to the deity, which also appear predominantly a goddess. In the Sangam literature, there is an elaborate description of the rites performed by the Kurava priestess in the shrine Palamutircholai. Among the early Dravidians the practice of erecting memorial stones Hero stone , ''Natukal'' or ''Hero Stone'' had appeared, and it continued for quite a long time after the Sangam age, down to about 16th century. It was customary for people who sought victory in war to worship these hero stones to bless them with victory.


Vedic period (1750–800 BCE)

The documented history of Indian religions begins with the
historical Vedic religion The historical Vedic religion (also known as Vedicism, Vedism or ancient Hinduism), and subsequently Brahmanism (also spelled as Brahminism), constituted the religious ideas and practices among some of the Indo-Aryan peoples Indo-Aryan ...
, the religious practices of the early Indo-Aryans, which were collected and later redacted into the ''Vedas, Samhitas'' (usually known as the Vedas), four canonical collections of hymns or mantras composed in archaic Vedic Sanskrit, Sanskrit. These texts are the central ''shruti'' (revealed) texts of
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, ...

Hinduism
. The period of the composition, redaction, and commentary of these texts is known as the Vedic period, which lasted from roughly 1750 to 500 BCE. The Vedic Period is most significant for the composition of the four Vedas, Brahmanas and the older Upanishads (both presented as discussions on the rituals, mantras and concepts found in the four Vedas), which today are some of the most important Sacred texts, canonical texts of Hinduism, and are the codification of much of what developed into the core beliefs of Hinduism.Stephanie W. Jamison and Michael Witzel in Arvind Sharma, editor, ''The Study of Hinduism.'' University of South Carolina Press, 2003, page 65 Some modern Hindu scholars use the "Vedic religion" synonymously with "Hinduism." According to Sundararajan, Hinduism is also known as the Vedic religion. Other authors state that the Vedas contain "the fundamental truths about Hindu Dharma" which is called "the modern version of the ancient Vedic Dharma" The Arya Samaj is recognize the Vedic religion as true Hinduism. Nevertheless, according to Jamison and Witzel,


Early Vedic period – early Vedic compositions (c. 1750–1200 BCE)

The rishis, the composers of the hymns of the
Rigveda The ''Rigveda'' or ''Rig Veda'' ( ', from ' "praise" and ' "knowledge") is an ancient Indian collection Collection or Collections may refer to: * Cash collection, the function of an accounts receivable department * Collection agency, ag ...
, were considered inspired poets and seers. The mode of worship was the performance of Yajna, sacrifices which involved sacrifice and sublimation of the havana sámagri (herbal preparations) in the fire, accompanied by the singing of Samagana, Samans and 'mumbling' of Yajus, the sacrificial mantras. The sublime meaning of the word yajna is derived from the Sanskrit verb yaj, which has a three-fold meaning of worship of deities (devapujana), unity (saògatikaraña), and charity (dána). An essential element was the sacrificial fire – the divine Agni – into which oblations were poured, as everything offered into the fire was believed to reach God. Central concepts in the Vedas are Satya and Rta. ''Satya'' is derived from Sat (Sanskrit), Sat, the present participle of the verbal root ''as'', "to be, to exist, to live". ''Sat'' means "that which really exists [...] the really existent truth; the Good", and ''Sat-ya'' means "is-ness". ''Rta'', "that which is properly joined; order, rule; truth", is the principle of natural order which regulates and coordinates the operation of the universe and everything within it. "Satya (truth as being) and rita (truth as law) are the primary principles of Reality and its manifestation is the background of the canons of dharma, or a life of righteousness." "Satya is the principle of integration rooted in the Absolute, rita is its application and function as the rule and order operating in the universe." Conformity with Ṛta would enable progress whereas its violation would lead to punishment. Panikkar remarks: The term rta is inherited from the Proto-Indo-Iranian religion, the religion of the Indo-Iranians, Indo-Iranian peoples prior to the earliest Vedas, Vedic (Indo-Aryan) and Zoroastrianism, Zoroastrian (Iranian) scriptures. "Asha" is the Avestan language term (corresponding to Vedic language ṛta) for a concept of cardinal importance. to Zoroastrianism, Zoroastrian theology and doctrine. The term "dharma" was already used in Brahmanical thought, where it was conceived as an aspect of Rta. Major philosophers of this era were Rishis Narayana, Kanva, Rishabha (hindu sage), Rishaba, Vamadeva, and Angiras (sage), Angiras.


Middle Vedic period (c. 1200–850 BCE)

During the Middle Vedic period Rgveda X, the mantras of the Yajurveda and the older Brahmana texts were composed. The Brahmans became powerful intermediairies. Historical roots of Jainism in India is traced back to 9th-century BC with the rise of Parshvanatha and his non-violent philosophy.


Late Vedic period (from 850 BCE)

The Vedic religion evolved into
Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, ...

Hinduism
and Vedanta, a religious path considering itself the 'essence' of the Vedas, interpreting the Vedic pantheon as a unitary view of the universe with 'God' (Brahman) seen as immanent and transcendent in the forms of Ishvara and Brahman. This post-Vedic systems of thought, along with the
Upanishads The Upanishads (; sa, उपनिषद् ) are Vedic period, late Vedic Sanskrit texts of Hindu philosophy which supplied the basis of later Hindu philosophy.Wendy Doniger (1990), ''Textual Sources for the Study of Hinduism'', 1st Edition ...
and later texts like epics (namely Gita of Mahabharat), is a major component of modern Hinduism. The ritualistic traditions of Vedic religion are preserved in the conservative Śrauta tradition.


Sanskritization

Since Vedic times, "people from many strata of society throughout the subcontinent tended to adapt their religious and social life to Brahmanic norms", a process sometimes called Sanskritization.Encyclopædia Britannica, ''Other sources: the process of "Sanskritization"''.
/ref> It is reflected in the tendency to identify local deities with the gods of the Sanskrit texts.


Shramanic period (c. 800–200 BCE)

During the time of the shramanic reform movements "many elements of the Vedic religion were lost". According to Michaels, "it is justified to see a turning point between the Vedic religion and Hindu religions".


Late Vedic period – Brahmanas and Upanishads – Vedanta (850–500 BCE)

The late Vedic period (9th to 6th centuries BCE) marks the beginning of the Upanisadic or Vedantic period.Indiana University "India Studies Program"
''Passage to India, Module 10''.
, ''āzvārkaḷ'' , those immersed in god) were Tamil people, Tamil poet-saints of south India who lived between the 6th and 9th centuries CE and espoused "emotional devotion" or
bhakti ''Bhakti'' ( sa, ) literally means "attachment, state of mind where the devotees surrender himself or herself unquestioningly to God. The union of the human soul with a supreme God, man's love and devotion for God are some of the concepts wh ...

bhakti
to Visnu-Krishna in their songs of longing, ecstasy and service. The most popular Vaishnava teacher of the south was Ramanuja, while of the north it was Ramananda. Several important icons were women. For example, within the Mahanubhava sect, the women outnumbered the men, and administration was many times composed mainly of women. Mirabai is the most popular female saint in India. Vallabha, Sri Vallabha Acharya (1479–1531) is a very important figure from this era. He founded the Shuddhadvaita, Shuddha Advaita (''Pure Non-dualism'') school of Vedanta thought. According to ''The Centre for Cultural Resources and Training'',


Early Islamic rule (c. 1100–1500 CE)

In the 12th and 13th centuries, Turkic people, Turks and Afghanistan, Afghans invaded parts of northern India and established the Delhi Sultanate in the former Rajput holdings. The subsequent Mamluk Sultanate (Delhi), Slave dynasty of Delhi managed to conquer large areas of northern India, approximately equal in extent to the ancient Gupta Empire, while the Khalji dynasty conquered most of central India but were ultimately unsuccessful in conquering and uniting the subcontinent. The Sultanate ushered in a period of Indian cultural renaissance. The resulting "Indo-Muslim" fusion of cultures left lasting syncretic monuments in architecture, music, literature, religion, and clothing.


=Bhakti movement

= During the 14th to 17th centuries, a great ''Bhakti'' movement swept through central and northern India, initiated by a loosely associated group of teachers or ''Sant (religion), Sants''. Ramananda, Ravidas, Srimanta Sankardeva, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Vallabha Acharya, Sur (poet), Sur, Meera, Kabir, Tulsidas, Namdev, Dnyaneshwar, Tukaram, and other mystics spearheaded the Bhakti movement in the North while Annamacharya, Kancherla Gopanna, Bhadrachala Ramadas, Tyagaraja, and others propagated Bhakti in the South. They taught that people could cast aside the heavy burdens of ritual and caste, and the subtle complexities of philosophy, and simply express their overwhelming love for God. This period was also characterized by a spate of devotional literature in vernacular prose and poetry in the ethnic languages of the various Indian states or provinces.


=Lingayatism

= Lingayatism is a distinct Shaivite tradition in India, established in the 12th century by the philosopher and social reformer Basavanna. The adherents of this tradition are known as Lingayats. The term is derived from Lingavantha in Kannada, meaning "one who wears ''Ishtalinga'' on their body" (''Ishtalinga'' is the representation of the God). In Lingayat theology, ''Ishtalinga'' is an oval-shaped emblem symbolising Parasiva, the absolute reality. Contemporary Lingayatism follows a progressive reform–based theology propounded, which has great influence in South India, especially in the state of Karnataka.


=Unifying Hinduism

= According to Nicholson, already between the 12th and 16th century, The tendency of "a blurring of philosophical distinctions" has also been noted by Burley. Lorenzen locates the origins of a distinct Hindu identity in the interaction between Muslims and Hindus, and a process of "mutual self-definition with a contrasting Muslim other", which started well before 1800. Both the Indian and the European thinkers who developed the term "Hinduism" in the 19th century were influenced by these philosophers.


=Sikhism (15th century)

= Sikhism originated in 15th-century Punjab (region), Punjab, Delhi Sultanate (present-day India and Pakistan) with the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev, Nanak and nine successive Sikh Gurus, gurus. The principal belief in Sikhism is faith in ''Waheguru, Vāhigurū''— represented by the sacred symbol of ''Ek Onkar, ēk ōaṅkār'' [meaning one god]. Sikhism's traditions and teachings are distinctly associated with the history, society and culture of the Punjab region, Punjab. Adherents of Sikhism are known as Sikhs (''students'' or ''disciples'') and number over 27 million across the world.


Modern period (1500–present)


Early modern period

According to Gavin Flood, the modern period in India begins with the first contacts with western nations around 1500. The period of Mughal rule in India saw the rise of new forms of religiosity.


Modern India (after 1800)


=Hinduism

= In the 19th century, under influence of the colonial forces, a synthetic vision of Hinduism was formulated by Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Mahatma Gandhi. These thinkers have tended to take an inclusive view of India's religious history, emphasising the similarities between the various Indian religions. The modern era has given rise to dozens of Hindu saints with international influence. For example, Brahma Baba established the Brahma Kumaris, one of the largest new Hindu religious movements which teaches the discipline of Raja Yoga to millions. Representing traditional Gaudiya Vaishnavism, Prabhupada founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, Hare Krishna movement, another organisation with a global reach. In late 18th-century India, Swaminarayan founded the Swaminarayan Sampraday. Anandamurti, founder of the Ananda Marga, has also influenced many worldwide. Through the international influence of all of these new Hindu denominations, many Hindu practices such as yoga, meditation, mantra, divination, and vegetarianism have been adopted by new converts.


=Jainism

= Jainism continues to be an influential religion and Jain communities live in Indian states Gujarat, Rajasthan,
Madhya Pradesh Madhya Pradesh (, ; meaning ''Central Province'') is a state in central India India (Hindi: ), officially the Republic of India (Hindi: ), is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, second-most ...

Madhya Pradesh
, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. Jains authored several classical books in different Indian languages for a considerable period of time.


=Buddhism

= The Dalit Buddhist movement also referred to as NavayanaOmvedt, Gail. Buddhism in India : Challenging Brahmanism and Caste. 3rd ed. London/New Delhi/Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2003. pages: 2, 3–7, 8, 14–15, 19, 240, 266, 271 is a 19th- and 20th-century Buddhist revival movement in India. It received its most substantial impetus from B. R. Ambedkar's call for the conversion of Dalits to
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
in 1956 and the opportunity to escape the caste-based society that considered them to be the lowest in the hierarchy.


Similarities and differences

According to Tilak, the religions of India can be interpreted "differentially" or "integrally", that is by either highlighting the differences or the similarities. According to Sherma and Sarma, western Indologists have tended to emphasise the differences, while Indian Indologists have tended to emphasise the similarities.


Similarities

Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent. These religions, which include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, ...

Hinduism
,
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
,
Jainism Jainism (), traditionally known as ''Jain Dharma'', is an ancient Indian religion. It is one of the oldest Indian religions. The three main pillars of Jainism are ''Ahimsa in Jainism, ahiṃsā'' (non-violence), ''anekāntavāda'' (non-absolut ...

Jainism
, and
Sikhism Sikhism () or Sikhi ( pa, ਸਿੱਖੀ ', , from pa, ਸਿੱਖ, lit=disciple', 'seeker', or 'learner, translit=Sikh, label=none)''Sikhism'' (indigenously known as ''Sikhī'') originated from the word ''Sikh'', which comes from the Sanskr ...
share certain key concepts, which are interpreted differently by different groups and individuals. Until the 19th century, adherents of those various religions did not tend to label themselves as in opposition to each other, but "perceived themselves as belonging to the same extended cultural family."


Dharma

The spectrum of these religions are called Dharmic religions because of their overlap over the core concept of Dharma. It has various meanings depending on the context. For example it could mean duty, righteousness, spiritual teachings, conduct, etc.


Soteriology

Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism share the concept of
moksha ''Moksha'' (; sa, मोक्ष, '; Tamil language, Tamil: ''vīdupēru''), also called ''vimoksha'', ''vimukti'' and ''mukti'', is a term in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism for various forms of emancipation, enlightenment, liberat ...

moksha
, liberation from the cycle of rebirth. They differ however on the exact nature of this liberation.


Ritual

Common traits can also be observed in ritual. The head-anointing ritual of ''abhiseka'' is of importance in three of these distinct traditions, excluding Sikhism (in Buddhism it is found within Vajrayana). Other noteworthy rituals are the cremation of the dead, the wearing of vermilion on the head by married women, and various marital rituals. In literature, many classical narratives and purana have Hindu, Buddhist or Jain versions.c.f.
Encyclopædia Britannica The (Latin for "British Encyclopaedia") is a general knowledge English-language encyclopaedia which is now published exclusively as an online encyclopedia, online encyclopaedia. It was formerly published by Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., ...
, s.v. "Jainism > Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism"
All four traditions have notions of ''karma'', ''dharma'', ''samsara'', ''
moksha ''Moksha'' (; sa, मोक्ष, '; Tamil language, Tamil: ''vīdupēru''), also called ''vimoksha'', ''vimukti'' and ''mukti'', is a term in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism for various forms of emancipation, enlightenment, liberat ...

moksha
'' and various ''forms of
Yoga Yoga (; sa, योग, lit=yoke' or 'union ) is a group of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Phy ...

Yoga
''.


Mythology

Rama is a heroic figure in all of these religions. In Hinduism he is the God-incarnate in the form of a princely king; in Buddhism, he is a Bodhisattva-incarnate; in Jainism, he is the perfect human being. Among the Buddhist Ramayanas are: ''Vessantarajataka'', Reamker, Ramakien, Phra Lak Phra Lam, Hikayat Seri Rama, etc. There also exists the ''Khamti Ramayana'' among the Khamti tribe of Asom wherein Rama is an Avatar of a Bodhisattva who incarnates to punish the demon king Ravana (B.Datta 1993). The ''Tai Ramayana'' is another book retelling the divine story in Asom.


Differences

Critics point out that there exist vast differences between and even within the various Indian religions. All major religions are composed of innumerable sects and subsects.


Mythology

Indian mythology also reflects the competition between the various Indian religions. A popular story tells how Vajrapani kills Maheśvara (Buddhism), Mahesvara, a manifestation of Shiva depicted as an evil being. The story occurs in several scriptures, most notably the ''Sarvatathagatatattvasamgraha'' and the ''Vajrapany-abhiseka-mahatantra''. According to Kalupahana, the story "echoes" the story of the conversion of Ambattha. It is to be understood in the context of the competition between Buddhist institutions and
Shaivism Shaivism (; Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; , , ) is a of that belongs to the branch of the . It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had there from the northwest in the late . Sanskrit is the of , the langua ...
.


''Āstika'' and ''nāstika'' categorisation

''Āstika'' and ''nāstika'' are variously defined terms sometimes used to categorise Indian religions. The traditional definition, followed by Adi Shankara, classifies religions and persons as ''āstika'' and ''nāstika'' according to whether they accept the authority of the main Hindu texts, the Vedas, as supreme revealed scriptures, or not. By this definition, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya,
Yoga Yoga (; sa, योग, lit=yoke' or 'union ) is a group of physical Physical may refer to: *Physical examination, a regular overall check-up with a doctor *Physical (album), ''Physical'' (album), a 1981 album by Olivia Newton-John **Phy ...

Yoga
, Mimamsa, Purva Mimamsa and Vedanta are classified as ''āstika'' schools, while Charvaka is classified as a ''nāstika'' school. Buddhism and Jainism are also thus classified as ''nāstika'' religions since they do not accept the authority of the Vedas. Another set of definitions—notably distinct from the usage of Hindu philosophy—loosely characterise ''āstika'' as "theist" and ''nāstika'' as "atheist". By these definitions, ''Sāṃkhya'' can be considered a ''nāstika'' philosophy, though it is traditionally classed among the Vedic ''āstika'' schools. From this point of view, Buddhism and Jainism remain ''nāstika'' religions. Buddhists and Jains have disagreed that they are nastika and have redefined the phrases āstika and nāstika in their own view. Jains assign the term nastika to one who is ignorant of the meaning of the religious texts, or those who deny the existence of the soul was well known to the Jainas.


Use of term "Dharmic religions"

Frawley and Malhotra use the term "Dharmic traditions" to highlight the similarities between the various Indian religions. According to Frawley, "all religions in India have been called the Dharma", and can be According to Paul Hacker, as described by Halbfass, the term "dharma" The emphasis on the similarities and integral unity of the dharmic faiths has been criticised for neglecting the vast differences between and even within the various Indian religions and traditions. According to Richard E. King it is typical of the "inclusivist appropriation of other traditions" of Neo-Vedanta: The "Council of Dharmic Faiths" (UK) regards Zoroastrianism, while not originating in the Indian subcontinent, also as a Dharmic religion.


Status of non-Hindus in the Republic of India

The inclusion of Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs within Hinduism is part of the Indian legal system. The 1955 Hindu Marriage Act "[defines] as Hindus all Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and anyone who is not a Christian, Muslim, Parsee (Zoroastrianism, Zoroastrian) or Jew". And the Indian Constitution says that "reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion". In a judicial reminder, the Indian Supreme Court observed Sikhism and Jainism to be sub-sects or ''special'' faiths within the larger Hindu fold, and that Jainism is a denomination within the Hindu fold. Although the government of British India counted Jains in India as a major religious community right from the first Census conducted in 1873, after independence in 1947 Sikhs and Jains were not treated as national minorities. In 2005 the Supreme Court of India declined to issue a writ of Mandamus granting Jains the status of a religious minority throughout India. The Court however left it to the respective States and territories of India, states to decide on the minority status of Jain religion. However, some individual states have over the past few decades differed on whether Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs are religious minorities or not, by either pronouncing judgments or passing legislation. One example is the judgment passed by the Supreme Court in 2006, in a case pertaining to the state of Uttar Pradesh, which declared Jainism to be indisputably distinct from Hinduism, but mentioned that, "The question as to whether the Jains are part of the Hindu religion is open to debate.(para 25, Committee of Management Kanya Junior High School Bal Vidya Mandir, Etah, U.P. v. Sachiv, U.P. Basic Shiksha Parishad, Allahabad, U.P. and Ors., Per Dalveer Bhandari J., Civil Appeal No. 9595 of 2003, decided On: 21 August 2006, Supreme Court of India) However, the Supreme Court also noted various court cases that have held legal Status of Jainism as a Distinct Religion#Chronological order of various court judgments on Jainism as a separate religion, Jainism to be a distinct religion. Another example is the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Bill, that is an amendment to a legislation that sought to define Jains and Buddhists as denominations within Hinduism.Gujarat Freedom of religions Act, 2003
/ref> Ultimately on 31 July 2007, finding it not in conformity with the concept of freedom of religion as embodied in Article 25 (1) of the Constitution, Governor of Gujarat, Governor Naval Kishore Sharma returned the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill, 2006 citing the widespread protests by the Jains as well as Supreme Court's extrajudicial observation that Jainism is a "special religion formed on the basis of quintessence of Hindu religion by the Supreme Court".The Times of India, 11 Mar, 2008
In his letter dated 27 July 2007 he had said Jainism has been regarded as "special religion formed on the basis of quintessence of Hindu religion by the Supreme Court".


See also

* Abrahamic religions, a similar term used to refer Judaism, Christianity, and Islam * Ayyavazhi and Hinduism * Buddhism in India * Christianity in India * Demographics of India * Hinduism in India * Indology * Iranian religions * Islam in India * Jainism in India * Kalasha (religion) * Proto-Indo-European mythology * Proto-Indo-Iranian religion * Sikhism in India * Tribal religions in India * Zoroastrianism in India


Notes


References


Sources


Printed sources

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Web sources


External links

;Statistics * ;Constitution and law * ;Reports * {{Authority control Indian religions, Religion in South Asia