The Info List - Hinduism

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HINDUISM is a religion, or a way of life, widely practiced in the Indian subcontinent . Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, and some practitioners and scholars refer to it as _Sanātana Dharma _, "the eternal tradition," or the "eternal way," beyond human history. Scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions, with diverse roots and no founder. This " Hindu synthesis" started to develop between 500 BCE and 300 CE following the Vedic period (1500 BCE to 500 BCE).

Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, it is linked by shared concepts, recognisable rituals, cosmology , shared textual resources , and pilgrimage to sacred sites . Hindu texts are classified into Shruti ("heard") and Smriti ("remembered"). These texts discuss theology , philosophy , mythology , Vedic yajna , Yoga , agamic rituals , and temple building , among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas and Upanishads , the Bhagavad Gita , and the Agamas . Sources of authority and eternal truths in its texts play an important role, but there is also a strong Hindu tradition of the questioning of this authority, to deepen the understanding of these truths and to further develop the tradition.

Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include the four Puruṣārthas , the proper goals or aims of human life, namely Dharma (ethics/duties), Artha (prosperity/work), Kama (desires/passions) and Moksha (liberation/freedom/salvation); karma (action, intent and consequences), samsara (cycle of rebirth), and the various Yogas (paths or practices to attain moksha). Hindu practices include rituals such as puja (worship) and recitations, meditation, family-oriented rites of passage , annual festivals, and occasional pilgrimages. Some Hindus leave their social world and material possessions, then engage in lifelong Sannyasa (monastic practices) to achieve Moksha. Hinduism prescribes the eternal duties, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings (ahimsa ), patience, forbearance, self-restraint, and compassion, among others.

Hinduism is the world\'s third largest religion , with over one billion followers or 15% of the global population, known as Hindus . Hindus form the majority of the population in India , Nepal , Mauritius and the island of Bali in Indonesia . Significant Hindu communities are also found in many other countries .


* 1 Etymology

* 2 Definitions

* 2.1 Typology

* 2.2 Indigenous understanding

* 2.2.1 Sanātana Dharma * 2.2.2 Hindu modernism

* 2.3 Western understanding

* 3 Diversity and unity

* 3.1 Diversity

* 3.2 Sense of unity

* 3.2.1 Indigenous developments * 3.2.2 Colonial influences

* 4 Beliefs

* 4.1 Purusharthas (objectives of human life)

* 4.1.1 Dharma (righteousness, ethics) * 4.1.2 Artha (livelihood, wealth) * 4.1.3 Kāma (sensual pleasure) * 4.1.4 Mokṣa (liberation, freedom from samsara)

* 4.2 Karma and samsara * 4.3 Moksha * 4.4 Concept of God * 4.5 Authority

* 5 Main traditions * 6 Scriptures

* 7 Practices

* 7.1 Rituals * 7.2 Life-cycle rites of passage * 7.3 Bhakti (worship) * 7.4 Festivals * 7.5 Pilgrimage

* 8 Person and society

* 8.1 Varnas * 8.2 Yoga * 8.3 Symbolism * 8.4 Ahimsa, vegetarianism and other food customs * 8.5 Education

* 9 Institutions

* 9.1 Temple * 9.2 Ashrama * 9.3 Monasticism

* 10 History

* 10.1 Periodisation * 10.2 Origins * 10.3 Prevedic religions (until c. 1500 BCE)

* 10.4 Vedic period (c. 1500–500 BCE)

* 10.4.1 Origins and development * 10.4.2 Vedic religion

* 10.5 "Second Urbanisation" (c. 500–200 BCE) * 10.6 Classical Hinduism (c. 200 BCE – 1100 CE) * 10.7 Islamic rule and Bhakti movement of Hinduism (c. 1200–1750 CE)

* 10.8 Modern Hinduism (from circa 1800)

* 10.8.1 Hindu revivalism * 10.8.2 Popularity in the west * 10.8.3 Hindutva

* 11 Demographics

* 11.1 Conversion debate

* 12 See also * 13 Notes * 14 References

* 15 Sources

* 15.1 Printed sources * 15.2 Web-sources

* 16 Further reading * 17 External links


Further information: Hindu

The word _Hindu_ is derived from the Indo-Aryan / Sanskrit word _Sindhu_, the Indo-Aryan name for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent (modern day Pakistan and Northern India ). According to Gavin Flood , "The actual term 'Hindu' first occurs as a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus (Sanskrit: _Sindhu_)", more specifically in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I (550–486 BCE). The term _Hindu_ in these ancient records is a geographical term and did not refer to a religion. Among the earliest known records of 'Hindu' with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text _Record of the Western Regions_ by Xuanzang , and 14th-century Persian text _Futuhu's-salatin_ by 'Abd al-Malik Isami.

Thapar states that the word _Hindu_ is found as _heptahindu_ in Avesta – equivalent to Rigvedic _sapta sindhu_, while _hndstn_ (pronounced _Hindustan_) is found in a Sasanian inscription from the 3rd century CE, both of which refer to parts of northwestern South Asia. The Arabic term _al-Hind_ referred to the people who live across the River Indus. This Arabic term was itself taken from the pre-Islamic Persian term _Hindū_, which refers to all Indians. By the 13th century, _ Hindustan _ emerged as a popular alternative name of India , meaning the "land of Hindus".

The term _Hindu_ was later used occasionally in some Sanskrit texts such as the later _Rajataranginis _ of Kashmir (Hinduka, c. 1450) and some 16th- to 18th-century Bengali Gaudiya Vaishnava texts including _ Chaitanya Charitamrita _ and _ Chaitanya Bhagavata _. These texts used it to distinguish Hindus from Muslims who are called Yavanas (foreigners) or Mlecchas (barbarians), with the 16th-century _Chaitanya Charitamrita_ text and the 17th century _Bhakta Mala_ text using the phrase "_ Hindu dharma_". It was only towards the end of the 18th century that European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as _Hindus_. The term _Hinduism_, then spelled _Hindooism_, was introduced into the English language in the 18th-century to denote the religious, philosophical, and cultural traditions native to India.


Hinduism includes a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, but has no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, no prophet(s) nor any binding holy book; Hindus can choose to be polytheistic, pantheistic, monotheistic, monistic, agnostic, atheistic or humanist. Because of the wide range of traditions and ideas covered by the term Hinduism, arriving at a comprehensive definition is difficult. The religion "defies 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." From a Western lexical standpoint, Hinduism like other faiths is appropriately referred to as a religion. In India the term _dharma_ is preferred, which is broader than the western term _religion_.

The study of India and its cultures and religions, and the definition of "Hinduism", has been shaped by the interests of colonialism and by Western notions of religion. Since the 1990s, those influences and its outcomes have been the topic of debate among scholars of Hinduism, and have also been taken over by critics of the Western view on India.


Main article: Hindu denominations AUM , a stylised letter of Devanagari script, used as a religious symbol in Hinduism

Hinduism as it is commonly known can be subdivided into a number of major currents. Of the historical division into six darsanas (philosophies), two schools, Vedanta and Yoga , are currently the most prominent. Classified by primary deity or deities, four major Hinduism modern currents are Vaishnavism (Vishnu), Shaivism (Shiva), Shaktism (Devi) and Smartism (five deities treated as same). Hinduism also accepts numerous divine beings, with many Hindus considering the deities to be aspects or manifestations of a single impersonal absolute or ultimate reality or God, while some Hindus maintain that a specific deity represents the supreme and various deities are lower manifestations of this supreme. Other notable characteristics include a belief in existence of ātman (soul, self), reincarnation of one's ātman, and karma as well as a belief in dharma (duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and right way of living).

McDaniel (2007) classifies Hinduism into six major kinds and numerous minor kinds, in order to understand expression of emotions among the Hindus. The major kinds, according to McDaniel are, Folk Hinduism , based on local traditions and cults of local deities and is the oldest, non-literate system; Vedic Hinduism based on the earliest layers of the Vedas traceable to 2nd millennium BCE; Vedantic Hinduism based on the philosophy of the Upanishads , including Advaita Vedanta , emphasizing knowledge and wisdom; Yogic Hinduism, following the text of Yoga Sutras of Patanjali emphasizing introspective awareness; Dharmic Hinduism or "daily morality", which McDaniel states is stereotyped in some books as the "only form of Hindu religion with a belief in karma, cows and caste"; and Bhakti or devotional Hinduism, where intense emotions are elaborately incorporated in the pursuit of the spiritual.

Michaels distinguishes three Hindu religions and four forms of Hindu religiosity. The three Hindu religions are "Brahmanic-Sanskritic Hinduism,", "folk religions and tribal religions," and "founded religions. The four forms of Hindu religiosity are the classical "karma-marga", jnana-marga , bhakti-marga , and "heroism," which is rooted in militaristic traditions , such as Ramaism and parts of political Hinduism. This is also called virya-marga . According to Michaels, one out of nine Hindu belongs by birth to one or both of the Brahmanic-Sanskritic Hinduism and Folk religion typology, whether practicing or non-practicing. He classifies most Hindus as belonging by choice to one of the "founded religions" such as Vaishnavism and Shaivism that are salvation-focussed and often de-emphasize Brahman priestly authority yet incorporate ritual grammar of Brahmanic-Sanskritic Hinduism. He includes among "founded religions" Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism that are now distinct religions, syncretic movements such as Brahmo Samaj and the Theosophical Society , as well as various "Guru-isms" and new religious movements such as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and ISKCON .

Inden states that the attempt to classify Hinduism by typology started in the imperial times, when proselytizing missionaries and colonial officials sought to understand and portray Hinduism from their interests. Hinduism was construed as emanating not from a reason of spirit but fantasy and creative imagination, not conceptual but symbolical, not ethical but emotive, not rational or spiritual but of cognitive mysticism. This stereotype followed and fit, states Inden, with the imperial imperatives of the era, providing the moral justification for the colonial project. From tribal Animism to Buddhism, everything was subsumed as part of Hinduism. The early reports set the tradition and scholarly premises for typology of Hinduism, as well as the major assumptions and flawed presuppositions that has been at the foundation of Indology. Hinduism, according to Inden, has been neither what imperial religionists stereotyped it to be, nor is it appropriate to equate Hinduism to be merely monist pantheism and philosophical idealism of Advaita Vedanta.


Sanātana Dharma

See also: Sanātanī

To its adherents, Hinduism is a traditional way of life. Many practitioners refer to the "orthodox" form of Hinduism as _Sanātana Dharma _, "the eternal law" or the "eternal way". The Sanskrit word _dharma_ has a much deeper meaning than _religion _ and is not its equivalent. All aspects of a Hindu life, namely acquiring wealth (artha), fulfillment of desires (kama), and attaining liberation (moksha) are part of dharma which encapsulates the "right way of living" and eternal harmonious principles in their fulfillment.

_Sanātana Dharma_ refers to the "eternal" duties all Hindus have to follow, regardless of class, caste, or sect, such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings, purity, goodwill, mercy, patience, forbearance, self-restraint, generosity, and asceticism. This is contrasted with svadharma , one's "own duty", the duties to be followed by members of a specific varna and jāti . According to Knott, this also

... refers to the idea that its origins lie beyond human history, and its truths have been divinely revealed (Shruti) and passed down through the ages to the present day in the most ancient of the world's scriptures, the Veda. (Knott 1998 , p. 5)

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica,

The term has also more recently been used by Hindu leaders, reformers, and nationalists to refer to Hinduism as a unified world religion. Sanatana dharma has thus become a synonym for the "eternal" truth and teachings of Hinduism, the latter conceived of as not only transcendent of history and unchanging but also as indivisible and ultimately nonsectarian.

Hindu Modernism

Swami Vivekananda was a key figure in introducing Vedanta and Yoga in Europe and the United States, raising interfaith awareness and making Hinduism a world religion. See also: Hindu reform movements

Beginning in the 19th century, Indian modernists re-asserted Hinduism as a major asset of Indian civilisation, meanwhile "purifying" Hinduism from its Tantric elements and elevating the Vedic elements. Western stereotypes were reversed, emphasizing the universal aspects, and introducing modern approaches of social problems. This approach had a great appeal, not only in India, but also in the west. Major representatives of " Hindu modernism" are Raja Rammohan Roy , Vivekananda , Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Mahatma Gandhi .

Raja Rammohan Roy is known as the father of the Hindu Renaissance . He was a major influence on Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902), who, according to Flood, was "a figure of great importance in the development of a modern Hindu self-understanding and in formulating the West's view of Hinduism." Central to his philosophy is the idea that the divine exists in all beings, that all human beings can achieve union with this "innate divinity", and that seeing this divine as the essence of others will further love and social harmony. According to Vivekananda, there is an essential unity to Hinduism, which underlies the diversity of its many forms. According to Flood, Vivekananda's vision of Hinduism "is one generally accepted by most English-speaking middle-class Hindus today." Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan sought to reconcile western rationalism with Hinduism, "presenting Hinduism as an essentially rationalistic and humanistic religious experience."

This "Global Hinduism" has a worldwide appeal, transcending national boundaries and, according to Flood, "becoming a world religion alongside Christianity, Islam and Buddhism", both for the Hindu diaspora communities and for westerners who are attracted to non-western cultures and religions. It emphasizes universal spiritual values such as social justice, peace and "the spiritual transformation of humanity." It has developed partly due to "re-enculturation", or the Pizza effect , in which elements of Hindu culture have been exported to the West, gaining popularity there, and as a consequence also gained greater popularity in India. This globalization of Hindu culture brought "to the West teachings which have become an important cultural force in western societies, and which in turn have become an important cultural force in India, their place of origin."


Western scholars regard Hinduism as a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions. which emerged after the Vedic period, between 500 -200 BCE and c. 300 CE, the beginning of the "Epic and Puranic" c.q. "Preclassical" period.

Hinduism's tolerance to variations in belief and its broad range of traditions make it difficult to define as a religion according to traditional Western conceptions.

Some academics suggest that Hinduism can be seen as a category with "fuzzy edges" rather than as a well-defined and rigid entity. Some forms of religious expression are central to Hinduism and others, while not as central, still remain within the category. Based on this idea Ferro-Luzzi has developed a 'Prototype Theory approach' to the definition of Hinduism.



See also: Hindu denominations

Hinduism has been described as a tradition having a "complex, organic, multileveled and sometimes internally inconsistent nature." Hinduism does not have a "unified system of belief encoded in a declaration of faith or a creed ", but is rather an umbrella term comprising the plurality of religious phenomena of India. According to the Supreme Court of India,

Unlike other religions in the World, the Hindu religion does not claim any one Prophet, it does not worship any one God, it does not believe in any one philosophic concept, it does not follow any one act of religious rites or performances; in fact, it does not satisfy the traditional features of a religion or creed. It is a way of life and nothing more".

Part of the problem with a single definition of the term _Hinduism_ is the fact that Hinduism does not have a founder. It is a synthesis of various traditions, the "Brahmanical orthopraxy, the renouncer traditions and popular or local traditions."

Some Hindu philosophies postulate a theistic ontology of creation, of sustenance, and of the destruction of the universe, yet some Hindus are atheists , as they view Hinduism more as philosophy than religion.


Despite the differences, there is also a sense of unity. Most Hindu traditions revere a body of religious or sacred literature , the Vedas, although there are exceptions. These texts are a reminder of the ancient cultural heritage and point of pride for Hindus, with Louis Renou stating that "even in the most orthodox domains, the reverence to the Vedas has come to be a simple raising of the hat".

Halbfass states that, although Shaivism and Vaishaism may be regarded as "self-contained religious constellations", there is a degree of interaction and reference between the "theoreticians and literary representatives" of each tradition which indicates the presence of "a wider sense of identity, a sense of coherence in a shared context and of inclusion in a common framework and horizon".

Indigenous Developments

The notion of common denominators for several religions and traditions of India was already noted from the 12th century CE on. Lorenzen traces the emergence of a "family resemblance", and what he calls as "beginnings of medieval and modern Hinduism" taking shape, at c. 300-600 CE, with the development of the early Puranas, and continuities with the earlier Vedic religion. Lorenzen states that the establishment of a Hindu self-identity took place "through a process of mutual self-definition with a contrasting Muslim Other." According to Lorenzen, this "presence of the Other" is necessary to recognise the "loose family resemblance" among the various traditions and schools,

According to Nicholson, already between the 12th and the 16th centuries "certain thinkers began to treat as a single whole the diverse philosophical teachings of the Upanishads, epics, Puranas, and the schools known retrospectively as the "six systems" (_saddarsana_) of mainstream Hindu philosophy." The tendency of "a blurring of philosophical distinctions" has also been noted by Burley. Hacker called this "inclusivism" and Michaels speaks of "the identificatory habit". 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. Michaels notes:

As a counteraction to Islamic supremacy and as part of the continuing process of regionalization, two religious innovations developed in the Hindu religions: the formation of sects and a historicization which preceded later nationalism aints and sometimes militant sect leaders, such as the Marathi poet Tukaram (1609-1649) and Ramdas (1608-1681), articulated ideas in which they glorified Hinduism and the past. The Brahmins also produced increasingly historical texts, especially eulogies and chronicles of sacred sites (Mahatmyas), or developed a reflexive passion for collecting and compiling extensive collections of quotations on various subjects.

This inclusivism was further developed in the 19th and 20th centuries by Hindu reform movements and Neo- Vedanta , and has become characteristic of modern Hinduism.

Colonial Influences

See also: Orientalism

The notion and reports on "Hinduism" as a "single world religious tradition" was popularised by 19th-century proselytizing missionaries and European Indologists, roles sometimes served by the same person, who relied on texts preserved by Brahmins (priests) for their information of Indian religions, and animist observations which the missionary Orientalists presumed was Hinduism. These reports influenced perceptions about Hinduism. Some scholars state that the colonial polemical reports led to fabricated stereotypes where Hinduism was mere mystic paganism devoted to the service of devils, while other scholars state that the colonial constructions influenced the belief that the _Vedas_, _Bhagavad Gita_, _Manusmriti_ and such texts were the essence of Hindu religiosity, and in the modern association of ' Hindu doctrine' with the schools of Vedanta (in particular Advaita Vedanta) as paradigmatic example of Hinduism's mystical nature". Pennington, while concurring that the study of Hinduism as a world religion began in the colonial era, disagrees that Hinduism is a colonial European era invention. He states that the shared theology, common ritual grammar and way of life of those who identify themselves as Hindus is traceable to ancient times.


Temple wall panel relief sculpture at the Hoysaleswara temple in Halebidu , representing the Trimurti : Brahma , Shiva and Vishnu .

Prominent themes in Hindu beliefs include (but are not restricted to) Dharma (ethics/duties), Samsāra (the continuing cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth), Karma (action, intent and consequences), Moksha (liberation from samsara or liberation in this life), and the various Yogas (paths or practices).


Main article: Purusharthas See also: Initiation , Dharma , Artha , Kāma , and Mokṣa

Classical Hindu thought accepts four proper goals or aims of human life: Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha. These are known as the Puruṣārthas :

Dharma (righteousness, Ethics)

Dharma is considered the foremost goal of a human being in Hinduism. The concept Dharma includes behaviors that are considered to be in accord with rta , the order that makes life and universe possible, and includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and "right way of living". Hindu Dharma includes the religious duties, moral rights and duties of each individual, as well as behaviors that enable social order, right conduct, and those that are virtuous. Dharma, according to Van Buitenen , is that which all existing beings must accept and respect to sustain harmony and order in the world. It is, states Van Buitenen, the pursuit and execution of one's nature and true calling, thus playing one's role in cosmic concert. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad states it as:

Nothing is higher than Dharma. The weak overcomes the stronger by Dharma, as over a king. Truly that Dharma is the Truth (_Satya_); Therefore, when a man speaks the Truth, they say, "He speaks the Dharma"; and if he speaks Dharma, they say, "He speaks the Truth!" For both are one. —  Brihadaranyaka Upanishad , 1.4.xiv

In the Mahabharata , Krishna defines dharma as upholding both this-worldly and other-worldly affairs. (Mbh 12.110.11). The word _Sanātana_ means _eternal_, _perennial_, or _forever_; thus, _Sanātana Dharma_ signifies that it is the dharma that has neither beginning nor end.

Artha (livelihood, Wealth)

Main article: Artha

Artha is objective and virtuous pursuit of wealth for livelihood, obligations and economic prosperity. It is inclusive of political life, diplomacy and material well-being. The Artha concept includes all "means of life", activities and resources that enables one to be in a state one wants to be in, wealth, career and financial security. The proper pursuit of artha is considered an important aim of human life in Hinduism.

Kāma (sensual Pleasure)

Main article: Kama

Kāma ( Sanskrit , Pali ; Devanagari : काम) means desire, wish, passion, longing, pleasure of the senses , the aesthetic enjoyment of life, affection, or love, with or without sexual connotations. In Hinduism, Kama is considered an essential and healthy goal of human life when pursued without sacrificing Dharma, Artha and Moksha.

Mokṣa (liberation, Freedom From Samsara)

Main article: Moksha

Moksha ( Sanskrit : मोक्ष _mokṣa_) or MUKTI ( Sanskrit : मुक्ति) is the ultimate, most important goal in Hinduism. In one sense, Moksha is a concept associated with liberation from sorrow, suffering and saṃsāra (birth-rebirth cycle). A release from this eschatological cycle, in after life, particularly in theistic schools of Hinduism is called moksha. In other schools of Hinduism, such as monistic, moksha is a goal achievable in current life, as a state of bliss through self-realization, of comprehending the nature of one's soul, of freedom and of "realizing the whole universe as the Self".


Main article: Karma

_Karma_ translates literally as _action_, _work_, or _deed_, and also refers to a Vedic theory of "moral law of cause and effect". The theory is a combination of (1) causality that may be ethical or non-ethical; (2) ethicization, that is good or bad actions have consequences; and (3) rebirth. Karma theory is interpreted as explaining the present circumstances of an individual with reference to his or her actions in past. These actions may be those in a person's current life, or, in some schools of Hinduism, possibly actions in their past lives; furthermore, the consequences may result in current life, or a person's future lives. This cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth is called _samsara_. Liberation from samsara through moksha is believed to ensure lasting happiness and peace. Hindu scriptures teach that the future is both a function of current human effort derived from free will and past human actions that set the circumstances.


The ultimate goal of life, referred to as _moksha_, _nirvana _ or _samadhi _, is understood in several different ways: as the realization of one's union with God; as the realization of one's eternal relationship with God; realization of the unity of all existence; perfect unselfishness and knowledge of the Self; as the attainment of perfect mental peace; and as detachment from worldly desires. Such realization liberates one from samsara, thereby ending the cycle of rebirth, sorrow and suffering. Due to belief in the indestructibility of the soul, death is deemed insignificant with respect to the cosmic self.

The meaning of _moksha_ differs among the various Hindu schools of thought. For example, Advaita Vedanta holds that after attaining moksha a person knows their "soul, self" and identifies it as one with Brahman and everyone in all respects. The followers of Dvaita (dualistic) schools, in moksha state, identify individual "soul, self" as distinct from Brahman but infinitesimally close, and after attaining moksha expect to spend eternity in a loka (heaven). To theistic schools of Hinduism, moksha is liberation from samsara, while for other schools such as the monistic school, moksha is possible in current life and is a psychological concept. According to Deutsche, moksha is transcendental consciousness to the latter, the perfect state of being, of self-realization, of freedom and of "realizing the whole universe as the Self". _Moksha_ in these schools of Hinduism, suggests Klaus Klostermaier , implies a setting free of hitherto fettered faculties, a removing of obstacles to an unrestricted life, permitting a person to be more truly a person in the full sense; the concept presumes an unused human potential of creativity, compassion and understanding which had been blocked and shut out. Moksha is more than liberation from life-rebirth cycle of suffering (samsara); Vedantic school separates this into two: jivanmukti (liberation in this life) and videhamukti (liberation after death).


Main articles: Ishvara and God in Hinduism

Hinduism is a diverse system of thought with beliefs spanning monotheism , polytheism , panentheism , pantheism , pandeism , monism , and atheism among others; and its concept of God is complex and depends upon each individual and the tradition and philosophy followed. It is sometimes referred to as henotheistic (i.e., involving devotion to a single god while accepting the existence of others), but any such term is an overgeneralization.

The _ Nasadiya Sukta _ (_Creation Hymn_) of the _ Rig Veda _ is one of the earliest texts which "demonstrates a sense of metaphysical speculation" about what created the universe, the concept of god(s) and The One, and whether even The One knows how the universe came into being. The _Rig Veda_ praises various deities, none superior nor inferior, in a henotheistic manner. The hymns repeatedly refer to One Truth and Reality. The "One Truth" of Vedic literature, in modern era scholarship, has been interpreted as monotheism, monism, as well as a deified Hidden Principles behind the great happenings and processes of nature.

Gods and Goddesses in Hinduism

Hindus believe that all living creatures have a soul. This soul – the spirit or true "self" of every person, is called the _ātman _. The soul is believed to be eternal. According to the monistic/pantheistic (non-dualist ) theologies of Hinduism (such as Advaita Vedanta school), this Atman is indistinct from Brahman , the supreme spirit. The goal of life, according to the Advaita school, is to realise that one's soul is identical to supreme soul, that the supreme soul is present in everything and everyone, all life is interconnected and there is oneness in all life. Dualistic schools (see Dvaita and Bhakti ) understand Brahman as a Supreme Being separate from individual souls. They worship the Supreme Being variously as Vishnu , Brahma , Shiva , or Shakti , depending upon the sect. God is called _ Ishvara _, _ Bhagavan _, _Parameshwara _, _Deva _ or _ Devi _, and these terms have different meanings in different schools of Hinduism.

Hindu texts accept a polytheistic framework, but this is generally conceptualized as the divine essence or luminosity that gives vitality and animation to the inanimate natural substances. There is a divine in everything, human beings, animals, trees and rivers. It is observable in offerings to rivers, trees, tools of one's work, animals and birds, rising sun, friends and guests, teachers and parents. It is the divine in these that makes each sacred and worthy of reverence. This seeing divinity in everything, state Buttimer and Wallin, makes the Vedic foundations of Hinduism quite distinct from Animism . The animistic premise sees multiplicity, power differences and competition between man and man, man and animal, as well as man and nature. The Vedic view does not see this competition, rather sees a unifying divinity that connects everyone and everything.

The Hindu scriptures refer to celestial entities called _Devas _ (or _devī _ in feminine form; _devatā_ used synonymously for _Deva_ in Hindi), which may be translated into English as _gods_ or _heavenly beings_. The devas are an integral part of Hindu culture and are depicted in art, architecture and through icons , and stories about them are related in the scriptures, particularly in Indian epic poetry and the Puranas . They are, however, often distinguished from Ishvara , a personal god, with many Hindus worshipping Ishvara in one of its particular manifestations as their _iṣṭa devatā _, or chosen ideal. The choice is a matter of individual preference, and of regional and family traditions. The multitude of Devas are considered as manifestations of Brahman.

The word _avatar _ does not appear in the Vedic literature, but appears in verb forms in post- Vedic literature, and as a noun particularly in the Puranic literature after the 6th century CE. Theologically, the reincarnation idea is most often associated with the _avatars_ of Hindu god Vishnu , though the idea has been applied to other deities. Varying lists of avatars of Vishnu appear in Hindu scriptures, including the ten Dashavatara of the _ Garuda Purana _ and the twenty-two avatars in the _ Bhagavata Purana _, though the latter adds that the incarnations of Vishnu are innumerable. The avatars of Vishnu are important in Vaishnavism theology. In the goddess-based Shaktism tradition of Hinduism, avatars of the Devi are found and all goddesses are considered to be different aspects of the same metaphysical Brahman and Shakti (energy). While avatars of other deities such as Ganesha and Shiva are also mentioned in medieval Hindu texts, this is minor and occasional.

Both theistic and atheistic ideas, for epistemological and metaphysical reasons, are profuse in different schools of Hinduism. The early Nyaya school of Hinduism, for example, was non-theist/atheist, but later Nyaya school scholars argued that God exists and offered proofs using its theory of logic. Other schools disagreed with Nyaya scholars. Samkhya , Mimamsa and Carvaka schools of Hinduism, were non-theist/atheist, arguing that " God was an unnecessary metaphysical assumption". Its Vaisheshika school started as another non-theistic tradition relying on naturalism and that all matter is eternal, but it later introduced the concept of a non-creator God. The Yoga school of Hinduism accepted the concept of a "personal god" and left it to the Hindu to define his or her god. Advaita Vedanta taught a monistic, abstract Self and Oneness in everything, with no room for gods or deity, a perspective that Mohanty calls, "spiritual, not religious". Bhakti sub-schools of Vedanta taught a creator God that is distinct from each human being.

According to Graham Schweig , Hinduism has the strongest presence of the divine feminine in world religion from ancient times to the present. The goddess is viewed as the heart of the most esoteric Saiva traditions.


Authority and eternal truths play an important role in Hinduism. Religious traditions and truths are believed to be contained in its sacred texts, which are accessed and taught by sages, gurus , saints or avatars . But there is also a strong tradition of the questioning of authority, internal debate and challenging of religious texts in Hinduism. The Hindus believe that this deepens the understanding of the eternal truths and further develops the tradition. Authority "was mediated through an intellectual culture that tended to develop ideas collaboratively, and according to the shared logic of natural reason." Narratives in the Upanishads present characters questioning persons of authority. The Kena Upanishad repeatedly asks _kena_, 'by what' power something is the case. The Katha Upanishad and Bhagavad Gita present narratives where the student criticizes the teacher's inferior answers. In the Shiva Purana , Shiva questions Vishnu and Brahma. Doubt plays a repeated role in the Mahabharata . Jayadeva\'s Gita Govinda presents criticism via the character of Radha .


Main article: Hindu denominations A Ganesha-centric Panchayatana ("five deities", from the Smarta tradition): Ganesha (centre) with Shiva (top left), Devi (top right), Vishnu (bottom left) and Surya (bottom right). All these deities also have separate sects dedicated to them.

Hinduism has no central doctrinal authority and many practising Hindus do not claim to belong to any particular denomination or tradition. Four major denominations are, however, used in scholarly studies: _Vaishnavism_, _Shaivism_, _Shaktism_ and _Smartism_. These denominations differ primarily in the central deity worshipped, the traditions and the soteriological outlook. The denominations of Hinduism, states Lipner, are unlike those found in major religions of the world, because Hindu denominations are fuzzy with individuals practicing more than one, and he suggests the term "Hindu polycentrism".

Vaishnavism is the devotional religious tradition that worships Vishnu and his avatars, particularly Krishna and Rama . The adherents of this sect are generally non-ascetic, monastic, oriented towards community events and devotionalism practices inspired by "intimate loving, joyous, playful" _Krishna_ and other Vishnu avatars. These practices sometimes include community dancing, singing of Kirtans and Bhajans , with sound and music believed by some to have meditative and spiritual powers. Temple worship and festivals are typically elaborate in Vaishnavism. The Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana, along with Vishnu-oriented Puranas provide its theistic foundations. Philosophically, their beliefs are rooted in the dualism sub-schools of Vedantic Hinduism.

Shaivism is the tradition that focuses on Shiva . Shaivas are more attracted to ascetic individualism, and it has several sub-schools. Their practices include Bhakti-style devotionalism, yet their beliefs lean towards nondual, monistic schools of Hinduism such as Advaita and Yoga . Some Shaivas worship in temples, while others emphasize yoga, striving to be one with Shiva within. Avatars are uncommon, and some Shaivas visualize god as half male, half female, as a fusion of the male and female principles ( Ardhanarishvara ). Shaivism is related to Shaktism, wherein Shakti is seen as spouse of Shiva. Community celebrations include festivals, and participation, with Vaishnavas, in pilgrimages such as the Kumbh Mela . Shaivism has been more commonly practiced in the Himalayan north from Kashmir to Nepal, and in south India.

Shaktism focuses on goddess worship of Shakti or Devi as cosmic mother, and it is particularly common in northeastern and eastern states of India such as Assam and Bengal . Devi is depicted as in gentler forms like Parvati , the consort of Shiva; or, as fierce warrior goddesses like Kali and Durga . Followers of Shaktism recognize Shakti as the power that underlies the male principle. Shaktism is also associated with Tantra practices. Community celebrations include festivals, some of which include processions and idol immersion into sea or other water bodies.

Smartism centers its worship simultaneously on all the major Hindu deities: Shiva, Vishnu, Shakti, Ganesha , Surya and Skanda . The Smarta tradition developed during the (early) Classical Period of Hinduism around the beginning of the Common Era, when Hinduism emerged from the interaction between Brahmanism and local traditions. The Smarta tradition is aligned with Advaita Vedanta , and regards Adi Shankara as its founder or reformer, who considered worship of God-with-attributes (saguna Brahman) as a journey towards ultimately realizing God-without-attributes (nirguna Brahman, Atman, Self-knowledge). The term _Smartism_ is derived from Smriti texts of Hinduism, meaning those who remember the traditions in the texts. This Hindu sect practices a philosophical Jnana yoga , scriptural studies, reflection, meditative path seeking an understanding of Self's oneness with God.


_ The Rigveda _ is the first and most important Veda and is one of the oldest religious texts . This Rigveda manuscript is in Devanagari . Main articles: Shruti , Smriti , and List of Hindu scriptures

The ancient scriptures of Hinduism are in Sanskrit. These texts are classified into two: Shruti and Smriti. Hindu scriptures were composed, memorized and transmitted verbally, across generations, for many centuries before they were written down. Over many centuries, sages refined the teachings and expanded the Shruti and Smriti, as well as developed Shastras with epistemological and metaphysical theories of six classical schools of Hinduism.

_Shruti_ (lit. that which is heard) primarily refers to the _Vedas_, which form the earliest record of the Hindu scriptures, and are regarded as eternal truths revealed to the ancient sages (_rishis _). There are four _Vedas_ - _ Rigveda _, _ Samaveda _, _ Yajurveda _ and _ Atharvaveda _. Each Veda has been subclassified into four major text types – the Samhitas (mantras and benedictions), the Aranyakas (text on rituals, ceremonies, sacrifices and symbolic-sacrifices), the Brahmanas (commentaries on rituals, ceremonies and sacrifices), and the Upanishads (text discussing meditation, philosophy and spiritual knowledge). The first two parts of the Vedas were subsequently called the _Karmakāṇḍa_ (ritualistic portion), while the last two form the _Jñānakāṇḍa_ (knowledge portion, discussing spiritual insight and philosophical teachings).

The Upanishads are the foundation of Hindu philosophical thought, and have profoundly influenced diverse traditions. Of the Shrutis (Vedic corpus), they alone are widely influential among Hindus, considered scriptures par excellence of Hinduism, and their central ideas have continued to influence its thoughts and traditions. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan states that the Upanishads have played a dominating role ever since their appearance. There are 108 Muktikā Upanishads in Hinduism, of which between 10 and 13 are variously counted by scholars as Principal Upanishads .

The most notable of the Smritis ("remembered") are the Hindu epics and the _Puranas_. The epics consist of the _ Mahabharata _ and the _ Ramayana _. The _ Bhagavad Gita _ is an integral part of the _Mahabharata_ and one of the most popular sacred texts of Hinduism. It is sometimes called _Gitopanishad_, then placed in the Shruti ("heard") category, being Upanishadic in content. The _Puranas_, which started to be composed from c. 300 CE onward, contain extensive mythologies, and are central in the distribution of common themes of Hinduism through vivid narratives. The _ Yoga Sutras _ is a classical text for the Hindu Yoga tradition, which gained a renewed popularity in the 20th century.

Since the 19th century Indian modernists have re-asserted the 'Aryan origins' of Hinduism, "purifying" Hinduism from its Tantric elements and elevating the Vedic elements. Hindu modernists like Vivekananda see the Vedas as the laws of the spiritual world, which would still exist even if they were not revealed to the sages. In Tantric tradition, the _Agamas _ refer to authoritative scriptures or the teachings of Shiva to Shakti, while _Nigamas_ refers to the Vedas and the teachings of Shakti to Shiva. In Agamic schools of Hinduism, the Vedic literature and the Agamas are equally authoritative.



Main articles: Yajna and Hindu wedding A wedding is the most extensive personal ritual an adult Hindu undertakes in his or her life. A typical Hindu wedding is solemnized before Vedic fire ritual (shown).

Most Hindus observe religious rituals at home. The rituals vary greatly among regions, villages, and individuals. They are not mandatory in Hinduism. The nature and place of rituals is an individual's choice. Some devout Hindus perform daily rituals such as worshiping at dawn after bathing (usually at a family shrine, and typically includes lighting a lamp and offering foodstuffs before the images of deities), recitation from religious scripts, singing devotional hymns , yoga, meditation , chanting mantras and others.

Vedic rituals of fire-oblation (_yajna _) and chanting of Vedic hymns are observed on special occasions, such as a Hindu wedding. Other major life-stage events, such as rituals after death, include the _yajña_ and chanting of Vedic mantras .


Main article: Saṃskāra

Major life stage milestones are celebrated as _sanskara_ (_saṃskāra_, rites of passage ) in Hinduism. The rites of passage are not mandatory, and vary in details by gender, community and regionally. Gautama Dharmasutras composed in about the middle of 1st millennium BCE lists 48 sanskaras, while Gryhasutra and other texts composed centuries later list between 12 and 16 sanskaras. The list of sanskaras in Hinduism include both external rituals such as those marking a baby's birth and a baby's name giving ceremony, as well as inner rites of resolutions and ethics such as compassion towards all living beings and positive attitude.

The major traditional rites of passage in Hinduism include Garbhadhana (pregnancy), Pumsavana (rite before the fetus begins moving and kicking in womb), Simantonnayana (parting of pregnant woman's hair, baby shower), _Jatakarman_ (rite celebrating the new born baby), _Namakarana_ (naming the child), _Nishkramana_ (baby's first outing from home into the world), _Annaprashana_ (baby's first feeding of solid food), _Chudakarana_ (baby's first haircut, tonsure), _Karnavedha_ (ear piercing), _Vidyarambha_ (baby's start with knowledge), Upanayana (entry into a school rite), _Keshanta_ and _Ritusuddhi_ (first shave for boys, menarche for girls), Samavartana (graduation ceremony), Vivaha (wedding), _Vratas_ (fasting, spiritual studies) and Antyeshti (cremation for an adult, burial for a child). In contemporary times, there is regional variation among Hindus as to which of these sanskaras are observed; in some cases, additional regional rites of passage such as _ Śrāddha _ (ritual of feeding people after cremation) are practiced.


Main articles: Puja (Hinduism) , Japa , Mantra , and Bhajan A home shrine with offerings at a regional Vishu festival (left); a priest in a temple (right).

_Bhakti_ refers to devotion, participation in and the love of a personal god or a representational god by a devotee. _ Bhakti marga_ is considered in Hinduism as one of many possible paths of spirituality and alternate means to moksha. The other paths, left to the choice of a Hindu, are _Jnana marga_ (path of knowledge), _Karma marga_ (path of works), _Rāja marga_ (path of contemplation and meditation).

Bhakti is practiced in a number of ways, ranging from reciting mantras , japas (incantations), to individual private prayers within one's home or in a temple or near a river bank, sometimes in the presence of an idol or image of a deity. Bhakti is sometimes practiced as a community, such as a Puja , Aarti , musical Kirtan or singing Bhajan , where devotional verses and hymns are read or poems are sung by a group of devotees. While the choice of the deity is at the discretion of the Hindu, the most observed traditions of Hindu devotionalism include Vaishnavism (Vishnu), Shaivism (Shiva) and Shaktism (Shakti). A Hindu may worship multiple deities, all as henotheistic manifestations of the same ultimate reality, cosmic spirit and absolute spiritual concept called Brahman in Hinduism.

Bhakti marga, states Pechelis, is more than ritual devotionalism, it includes practices and spiritual activities aimed at refining one's state of mind, knowing god, participating in god, and internalizing god. While Bhakti practices are popular and easily observable aspect of Hinduism, not all Hindus practice Bhakti, or believe in god-with-attributes (_saguna Brahman_). Concurrent Hindu practices include a belief in god-without-attributes, and god within oneself.


Main article: Hindu festivals The festival of lights- Diwali , is celebrated by Hindus all over the world.

Hindu festivals ( Sanskrit : _Utsava_; literally: "to lift higher") are ceremonies that weave individual and social life to dharma. Hinduism has many festivals throughout the year, where the dates are set by the lunisolar Hindu calendar , many coinciding with either the full moon (_Holi_) or the new moon (_Diwali_), often with seasonal changes. Some festivals are found only regionally and they celebrate local traditions, while a few such as _Holi_ and _Diwali_ are pan-Hindu.

The festivals typically celebrate events from Hinduism, connoting spiritual themes and celebrating aspects of human relationships such as the Sister-Brother bond over the _Raksha Bandhan_ (or Bhai Dooj ) festival. The same festival sometimes marks different stories depending on the Hindu denomination, and the celebrations incorporate regional themes, traditional agriculture, local arts, family get togethers, Puja rituals and feasts.

Some major regional or pan- Hindu festivals include:

* Makar Sankranti * Pongal * Thaipusam * Vasant Panchami * Maha Shivaratri * Shigmo * Holi * Gudi Padwa * Ugadi * Bihu * Vishu * Ram Navami * Guru Purnima * Raksha Bandhan * Krishna Janmastami * Gowri Habba * Ganesh Chaturthi * Onam * Navaratri * Dussera * Durga Puja or Durga Ashtami * Diwali * Chhath * Bonalu * Rath Yatra


See also: Tirtha (Hinduism) , Tirtha locations , and Yatra Pilgrimage to Kedarnath

Pilgrimage sites are called _Tirtha _, _Kshetra_, _Gopitha_ or _Mahalaya_ in Hinduism. The process or journey associated with _Tirtha_ is called _Tirtha-yatra_. According to the Hindu text _ Skanda Purana _, Tirtha are of three kinds: Jangam Tirtha is to a place movable of a sadhu , a rishi , a guru ; Sthawar Tirtha is to a place immovable, like Benaras, Hardwar, Mount Kailash, holy rivers; while Manas Tirtha is to a place of mind of truth, charity, patience, compassion, soft speech, soul. _Tīrtha-yatra_ is, states Knut A. Jacobsen, anything that has a salvific value to a Hindu, and includes pilgrimage sites such as mountains or forests or seashore or rivers or ponds, as well as virtues, actions, studies or state of mind.

Pilgrimage sites of Hinduism are mentioned in the epic Mahabharata and the Puranas . Most Puranas include large sections on _Tirtha Mahatmya_ along with tourist guides, which describe sacred sites and places to visit. In these texts, Varanasi (Benares, Kashi), Rameshwaram , Kanchipuram , Dwarka , Puri , Haridwar , Sri Rangam , Vrindavan , Ayodhya , Tirupati , Mayapur , Nathdwara , twelve Jyotirlinga and Shakti Peetha have been mentioned as particularly holy sites, along with geographies where major rivers meet (_sangam_) or join the sea. The Kumbhamela , which rotates at a gap of three years, between Prayaga (renamed to Allahabad in the late medieval era), Hardwar, Ujjain and Nasik, is popular with tens of millions of Hindu pilgrims participating.

Some pilgrimage are a part of a _Vrata_ (vow), which a Hindu may make for a number of reasons. It may mark a special occasion, such as the birth of a baby, or as part of a rite of passage such as a baby's first haircut, or after healing from a sickness. It may, states Eck, also be the result of prayers answered. An alternate reason for Tirtha, for some Hindus, is to respect wishes or in memory of a beloved person after his or her death. This may include dispersing their cremation ashes in a Tirtha region in a forest, mountain, river or sea to honor the wishes of the dead. The journey to a Tirtha, assert some Hindu texts, helps one overcome the sorrow of the loss.

Other reasons for a Tirtha in Hinduism is to rejuvenate or gain spiritual merit by traveling to famed temples or bathe in rivers such as the Ganges. Tirtha has been one of the recommended means of addressing remorse and to perform penance, for unintentional errors and intentional sins, in the Hindu tradition. The proper procedure for a pilgrimage is widely discussed in Hindu texts. The most accepted view is that the greatest austerity comes from traveling on foot, or part of the journey is on foot, and that the use of a conveyance is only acceptable if the pilgrimage is otherwise impossible. Pilgrimage is not mandatory in Hinduism, though many adherents undertake them.



Main article: Varna (Hinduism)

Hindu society has been categorised into four classes, called _varnas_. They are the _Brahmins _: Vedic teachers and priests; the _Kshatriyas _: warriors and kings; the _Vaishyas _: farmers and merchants; and the _Shudras _: servants and labourers.

The _Bhagavad Gītā _ links the _varna_ to an individual's duty (_svadharma_), inborn nature (_svabhāva_), and natural tendencies (_guṇa _). The _Manusmṛiti _ categorises the different castes.

Some mobility and flexibility within the varnas challenge allegations of social discrimination in the caste system, as has been pointed out by several sociologists, although some other scholars disagree. Scholars debate whether the so-called _caste system _ is part of Hinduism sanctioned by the scriptures or social custom. And various contemporary scholars have argued that the caste system was constructed by the British colonial regime .

A renunciant man of knowledge is usually called _Varnatita_ or "beyond all varnas" in Vedantic works. The bhiksu is advised to not bother about the caste of the family from which he begs his food. Scholars like Adi Sankara affirm that not only is Brahman beyond all varnas, the man who is identified with Him also transcends the distinctions and limitations of caste.


A statue of Shiva in yogic meditation. Main article: Yoga

In whatever way a Hindu defines the goal of life, there are several methods (yogas) that sages have taught for reaching that goal. Yoga is a Hindu discipline which trains the body, mind and consciousness for health, tranquility and spiritual insight. This is done through a system of postures and exercises to practise control of the body and mind. Texts dedicated to Yoga include the Yoga Sutras , the Hatha Yoga Pradipika , the Bhagavad Gita and, as their philosophical and historical basis, the Upanishads. Yoga is means, and the four major _marga_ (paths) discussed in Hinduism are: Bhakti Yoga (the path of love and devotion), Karma Yoga (the path of right action), Rāja Yoga (the path of meditation), Jñāna Yoga (the path of wisdom) An individual may prefer one or some yogas over others, according to his or her inclination and understanding. Practice of one yoga does not exclude others.


_ The Hindu deity Ganesha is sometimes linked to the symbol Om _.

Hinduism has a developed system of symbolism and iconography to represent the sacred in art, architecture, literature and worship. These symbols gain their meaning from the scriptures or cultural traditions. The syllable _Om _ (which represents the _ Brahman _ and Atman ) has grown to represent Hinduism itself, while other markings such as the Swastika sign represent auspiciousness, and _ Tilaka _ (literally, seed) on forehead – considered to be the location of spiritual third eye, marks ceremonious welcome, blessing or one's participation in a ritual or rite of passage. Elaborate _Tilaka_ with lines may also identify a devotee of a particular denomination. Flowers, birds, animals, instruments, symmetric mandala drawings, objects, idols are all part of symbolic iconography in Hinduism.


Main articles: Ahimsa , Diet in Hinduism , Sattvic diet , and Mitahara

Hindus advocate the practice of ahiṃsā (non-violence) and respect for all life because divinity is believed to permeate all beings, including plants and non-human animals. The term _ahiṃsā_ appears in the Upanishads , the epic Mahabharata and ahiṃsā is the first of the five Yamas (vows of self-restraint) in Patanjali\'s Yoga Sutras . _ A goshala_ or cow shelter at Guntur

In accordance with ahiṃsā, many Hindus embrace vegetarianism to respect higher forms of life. Estimates of strict lacto vegetarians in India (includes adherents of all religions) who never eat any meat, fish or eggs vary between 20% and 42%, while others are either less strict vegetarians or non-vegetarians. Those who eat meat seek Jhatka (quick death) method of meat production, and dislike Halal (slow bled death) method, believing that quick death method reduces suffering to the animal. The food habits vary with region, with Bengali Hindus and Hindus living in Himalayan regions, or river delta regions, regularly eating meat and fish. Some avoid meat on specific festivals or occasions. Observant Hindus who do eat meat almost always abstain from beef. The cow in Hindu society is traditionally identified as a caretaker and a maternal figure, and Hindu society honours the cow as a symbol of unselfish giving.

There are many Hindu groups that have continued to abide by a strict vegetarian diet in modern times. Some adhere to a diet that is devoid of meat, eggs, and seafood. Food affects body, mind and spirit in Hindu beliefs. Hindu texts such as Śāṇḍilya Upanishad and Svātmārāma recommend Mitahara (eating in moderation) as one of the Yamas (virtuous self restraints). The Bhagavad Gita links body and mind to food one consumes in verses 17.8 through 17.10.

Some Hindus such as those belonging to the Shaktism tradition, and Hindus in regions such as Bali and Nepal practise animal sacrifice . The sacrificed animal is eaten as ritual food. In contrast, the Vaishnava Hindus abhor and vigorously oppose animal sacrifice. The principle of non-violence to animals has been so thoroughly adopted in Hinduism that animal sacrifice is uncommon and historically reduced to a vestigial marginal practice.


According to a study by Pew Research Centre , Hindus are among the religious groups having least years of formal education. It further claims that they are among the fastest improving communities too.



Illustration of Hindu temples

Main articles: Hindu temple , Murti , and Hindu iconography

A Hindu temple is a house of god(s). It is a space and structure designed to bring human beings and gods together, infused with symbolism to express the ideas and beliefs of Hinduism. A temple incorporates all elements of Hindu cosmology, the highest spire or dome representing Mount Meru – reminder of the abode of Brahma and the center of spiritual universe, the carvings and iconography symbolically presenting dharma, kama, artha, moksha and karma. The layout, the motifs, the plan and the building process recite ancient rituals, geometric symbolisms, and reflect beliefs and values innate within various schools of Hinduism. A Hindu temple is a spiritual destination for many Hindus (not all), as well as landmarks for arts, annual festivals, rite of passage rituals, and community celebrations.

Hindu temples come in many styles, diverse locations, deploy different construction methods and are adapted to different deities and regional beliefs. Two major styles of Hindu temples include the Gopuram-style found in south India, and Nagara-style found in north India. Other styles include cave, forest and mountain temples. Yet, despite their differences, almost all Hindu temples share certain common architectural principles, core ideas, symbolism and themes.

Many temples feature one or more idols (murtis ). The idol and Grabhgriya in the Brahma-pada (the center of the temple), under the main spire, serves as a focal point (_darsana_, a sight) in a Hindu temple. In larger temples, the central space typically is surrounded by an ambulatory for the devotee to walk around and ritually circumambulate the Purusa (Brahman), the universal essence.


Main article: Ashrama (stage)

Traditionally the life of a Hindu is divided into four Āśramas (phases or life stages; another meaning includes monastery). The four ashramas are: Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (retired) and Sannyasa (renunciation).

Brahmacharya represents the bachelor student stage of life. Grihastha refers to the individual's married life, with the duties of maintaining a household, raising a family, educating one's children, and leading a family-centred and a dharmic social life. Grihastha stage starts with Hindu wedding, and has been considered as the most important of all stages in sociological context, as Hindus in this stage not only pursued a virtuous life, they produced food and wealth that sustained people in other stages of life, as well as the offsprings that continued mankind. Vanaprastha is the retirement stage, where a person hands over household responsibilities to the next generation, took an advisory role, and gradually withdrew from the world. The Sannyasa stage marks renunciation and a state of disinterest and detachment from material life, generally without any meaningful property or home (ascetic state), and focussed on Moksha, peace and simple spiritual life.

The Ashramas system has been one facet of the Dharma concept in Hinduism. Combined with four proper goals of human life (Purusartha ), the Ashramas system traditionally aimed at providing a Hindu with fulfilling life and spiritual liberation. While these stages are typically sequential, any person can enter Sannyasa (ascetic) stage and become an Ascetic at any time after the Brahmacharya stage. Sannyasa is not religiously mandatory in Hinduism, and elderly people are free to live with their families.


Main article: Sannyasa A sadhu in Madurai , India.

Some Hindus choose to live a monastic life (Sannyāsa) in pursuit of liberation (moksha) or another form of spiritual perfection. Monastics commit themselves to a simple and celibate life, detached from material pursuits, of meditation and spiritual contemplation. A Hindu monk is called a _Sanyāsī _, _Sādhu_, or _Swāmi_. A female renunciate is called a _Sanyāsini_. Renunciates receive high respect in Hindu society because of their simple ahimsa -driven lifestyle and dedication to spiritual liberation (moksha) – believed to be the ultimate goal of life in Hinduism. Some monastics live in monasteries, while others wander from place to place, depending on donated food and charity for their needs.


Main article: History of Hinduism



Palaeolithic (2,500,000–250,000 BCE)

Madrasian Culture (2,500,000 BCE)

Riwatian Culture (1,900,000 BCE)

Soanian Culture (500,000–250,000 BCE)

Neolithic (10,800–3300 BCE)

Bhirrana Culture (7570–6200 BCE)

Mehrgarh Culture (7000–3300 BCE)

Chalcolithic (3500–1500 BCE)

Jorwe Culture (3500–2000 BCE)

Ahar-Banas Culture (3000–1500 BCE)

Pandu Culture (1600–1500 BCE)

Bronze Age (3000–1300 BCE)

Indus Valley Civilisation (3300–1300 BCE)

– Early Harappan Culture (3300–2600 BCE)

– Mature Harappan Culture (2600–1900 BCE)

– Late Harappan Culture (1900–1300 BCE)

Vedic Civilisation (2000–500 BCE)

Ochre Coloured Pottery culture (2000–1600 BCE)

– Swat culture (1600–500 BCE)

Iron Age (1300–230 BCE)

Vedic Civilisation (2000–500 BCE)

– Janapadas (1500–600 BCE)

– Black and Red ware culture (1300–1000 BCE)

Painted Grey Ware culture (1200–600 BCE)

Northern Black Polished Ware (700–200 BCE)

Pradyota Dynasty (799–684 BCE)

Haryanka Dynasty (684–424 BCE)

Three Crowned Kingdoms (c. 600 BCE–1600 CE)

Maha Janapadas (c. 600–300 BCE)

Achaemenid Empire (550–330 BCE)

Ror Dynasty (450 BCE–489 CE)

Shishunaga Dynasty (424–345 BCE)

Nanda Empire (380–321 BCE)

Macedonian Empire (330–323 BCE)

Maurya Empire (321–184 BCE)

Seleucid Empire (312–63 BCE)

Pandya Empire (c. 300 BCE–1345 CE)

Chera Kingdom (c. 300 BCE–1102 CE)

Chola Empire (c. 300 BCE–1279 CE)

Pallava Empire (c. 250 BCE–800 CE)

Maha-Megha-Vahana Empire (c. 250 BCE–c. 500 CE)

Parthian Empire (247 BCE–224 CE)

Classical Period (230 BCE–1206 CE)

Satavahana Empire (230 BCE–220 CE)

Kuninda Kingdom (200 BCE–300 CE)

Indo-Scythian Kingdom (200 BCE–400 CE)

Mitra Dynasty (c. 150 BCE–c. 50 BCE)

Shunga Empire (185–73 BCE)

Indo-Greek Kingdom (180 BCE–10 CE)

Kanva Empire (75–26 BCE)

Indo-Parthian Kingdom (21–c. 130 CE)

Western Satrap Empire (35–405 CE)

Kushan Empire (60–240 CE)

Bharshiva Dynasty (170–350 CE)

Nagas of Padmavati (210–340 CE)

Sasanian Empire (224–651 CE)

Indo-Sassanid Kingdom (230–360 CE)

Vakataka Empire (c. 250–c. 500 CE)

Kalabhras Empire (c. 250–c. 600 CE)

Gupta Empire (280–550 CE)

Kadamba Empire (345–525 CE)

Western Ganga Kingdom (350–1000 CE)

Kamarupa Kingdom (350–1100 CE)

Vishnukundina Empire (420–624 CE)

Maitraka Empire (475–767 CE)

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James Mill (1773–1836), in his _The History of British India _ (1817), distinguished three phases in the history of India, namely Hindu, Muslim and British civilisations. This periodisation has been criticised for the misconceptions it has given rise to. Another periodisation is the division into "ancient, classical, mediaeval and modern periods". An elaborate periodisation may be as follows:

* Prevedic religions (pre-history and Indus Valley Civilisation; until c. 1500 BCE); * Vedic period (c. 1500–500 BCE); * "Second Urbanisation" (c. 500–200 BCE); * Classical Hinduism (c. 200 BCE-1100 CE);

* Pre-classical Hinduism (c. 200 BCE-300 CE); * "Golden Age" (Gupta Empire) (c. 320–650 CE); * Late-Classical Hinduism - Puranic Hinduism (c. 650–1100 CE);

* Islam and sects of Hinduism (c. 1200–1700 CE); * Modern Hinduism (from c. 1800).


Hinduism is a fusion or synthesis of various Indian cultures and traditions. Among the roots of Hinduism are the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age India , itself already the product of "a composite of the indo-Aryan and Harappan cultures and civilizations", but also the Sramana or renouncer traditions of northeast India , and mesolithic and neolithic cultures of India, such as the religions of the Indus Valley Civilisation , Dravidian traditions, and the local traditions and tribal religions .

This " Hindu synthesis" emerged after the Vedic period, between 500 -200 BCE and c. 300 CE, the beginning of the "Epic and Puranic" c.q. "Preclassical" period, and incorporated śramaṇic and Buddhist influences and the emerging bhakti tradition into the Brahmanical fold via the Smriti literature. From northern India this "Hindu synthesis", and its societal divisions, spread to southern India and parts of Southeast Asia .


See also: History of Hinduism _ The Pashupati _ seal, Indus Valley civilization .

The earliest prehistoric religion in India that may have left its traces in Hinduism comes from mesolithic as observed in the sites such as the rock paintings of Bhimbetka rock shelters dating to a period of 30,000 BCE or older, as well as neolithic times. Some of the religious practices can be considered to have originated in 4000 BCE. Several tribal religions still exist, though their practices may not resemble those of prehistoric religions.

According to anthropologist Possehl , the Indus Valley Civilization "provides a logical, if somewhat arbitrary, starting point for some aspects of the later Hindu tradition". The religion of this period included worship of a Great male god, which is compared to a proto-Shiva, and probably a Mother Goddess, that may prefigure Shakti . However these links of deities and practices of the Indus religion to later-day Hinduism are subject to both political contention and scholarly dispute.

VEDIC PERIOD (C. 1500–500 BCE)

Main article: Vedic period

Origins And Development


_ Scheme of Indo-European migrations from ca. 4000 to 1000 BCE according to the Kurgan hypothesis . The magenta area corresponds to the assumed Urheimat _ ( Samara culture , Sredny Stog culture ). The red area corresponds to the area which may have been settled by Indo-European-speaking peoples up to c. 2500 BCE; the orange area to 1000 BCE. (Christopher I. Beckwith (2009), _Empires of the Silk Road_, Oxford University Press, p.30) Map of the approximate maximal extent of the Andronovo culture. The formative Sintashta-Petrovka culture is shown in darker red. The location of the earliest spoke -wheeled chariot finds is indicated in purple. Adjacent and overlapping cultures ( Afanasevo culture , Srubna culture , BMAC ) are shown in green. Archaeological cultures associated with Indo-Iranian migrations (after EIEC ). The Andronovo , BMAC and Yaz cultures have often been associated with Indo-Iranian migrations. The GGC , Cemetery H , Copper Hoard and PGW cultures are candidates for cultures associated with Indo-Aryan movements. Early Vedic Period. Late Vedic Period.

Main articles: Indo-Aryans and Indo-Aryan migration

The Vedic period, named after the Vedic religion of the Indo-Aryans , lasted from c. 1500 to 500 BCE. The Indo-Aryans were pastoralists who migrated into north-western India after the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization.

During the early Vedic period (c. 1500–1100 BCE ) Vedic tribes were pastoralists, wandering around in north-west India. After 1100 BCE the Vedic tribes moved into the western Ganges Plain, adapting an agrarical lifestyle. Rudimentary state-forms appeared, of which the Kuru -Pañcāla union was the most influential. It was a tribal union, which developed into the first recorded state-level society in South Asia around 1000 BCE. This, according to Witzel, decisively changed the Vedic heritage of the early Vedic period, collecting the Vedic hymns into collections, and shifting ritual exchange within a tribe to social exchange within the larger Kuru realm through complicated Srauta rituals. In this period, states Samuel, emerged the Brahmana and Aranyaka layers of Vedic texts, which merged into the earliest Upanishads. These texts began to ask the meaning of a ritual, adding increasing levels of philosophical and metaphysical speculation, or " Hindu synthesis" .

Vedic Religion

Main article: Historical Vedic religion

The Indo-Aryans brought with them their language and religion. The Vedic beliefs and practices of the pre-classical era were closely related to the hypothesised Proto-Indo-European religion , and the Indo-Iranian religion .

The Vedic religion history is unclear and "heavily contested", states Samuel. In the later Vedic period, it co-existed with local religions, such as the mother goddess worshipping Yaksha cults. The Vedic was itself likely the product of "a composite of the indo-Aryan and Harappan cultures and civilizations". David Gordon White cites three other mainstream scholars who "have emphatically demonstrated" that Vedic religion is partially derived from the Indus Valley Civilizations . Their religion was further developed when they migrated into the Ganges Plain after c. 1100 BCE and became settled farmers, further syncretising with the native cultures of northern India.

The composition of the Vedic literature began in the 2nd millennium BCE. The oldest of these Vedic texts is the Rigveda , composed between c. 1500-1200 BCE, though a wider approximation of c. 1700–1100 BCE has also been given.

The first half of the 1st millennium BCE was a period of great intellectual and social-cultural ferment in ancient India. New ideas developed both in the Vedic tradition in the form of the Upanishads, and outside of the Vedic tradition through the Śramaṇa movements. For example, prior to the birth of the Buddha and the Mahavira, and related Sramana movements, the Brahmanical tradition had questioned the meaning and efficacy of Vedic rituals, then internalized and variously reinterpreted the Vedic fire rituals as ethical concepts such as Truth, Rite, Tranquility or Restraint . The 9th and 8th centuries BCE witnessed the composition of the earliest Upanishads with such ideas. :183 Other ancient Principal Upanishads were composed in the centuries that followed, forming the foundation of classical Hinduism and the Vedanta (conclusion of the Veda) literature.


Main article: Sramana

Increasing urbanisation of India between 800 and 400 BCE, and possibly the spread of urban diseases, contributed to the rise of ascetic movements and of new ideas which challenged the orthodox Brahmanism . These ideas led to Sramana movements, of which Mahavira (c. 549–477 BCE), proponent of Jainism , and Buddha (c. 563-483), founder of Buddhism , were the most prominent icons. :184

The ascetic tradition of Vedic period in part created the foundational theories of samsara and of moksha (liberation from samsara), which became characteristic for Hinduism, along with Buddhism and Jainism.

These ascetic concepts were adopted by schools of Hinduism as well as other major Indian religions, but key differences between their premises defined their further development. Hinduism, for example, developed its ideas with the premise that every human being has a soul (_atman_, self), while Buddhism developed with the premise that there is no soul or self.

The chronology of these religious concepts is unclear, and scholars contest which religion affected the other as well as the chronological sequence of the ancient texts. Pratt notes that Oldenberg (1854–1920), Neumann (1865–1915) and Radhakrishnan (1888–1975) believed that the Buddhist canon had been influenced by Upanishads, while la Vallee Poussin thinks the influence was nihil, and "Eliot and several others insist that on some points such as the existence of soul or self the Buddha was directly antithetical to the Upanishads".


From about 500 BCE through about 300 CE, the Vedic-Brahmanic synthesis or " Hindu synthesis" continued. Classical Hindu and Sramanic (particularly Buddhist) ideas spread within Indian subcontinent, as well outside India such as in Central Asia , and the parts of Southeast Asia (coasts of Indonesia and peninsular Thailand). Pre-classical Hinduism (c. 200 BCE – 300 CE)

The " Hindu synthesis" or "Brahmanical synthesis" incorporated Sramanic and Buddhist influences into the "Brahmanical fold" via the Smriti ("remembered") literature. According to Embree, several other religious traditions had existed side by side with the Vedic religion. These indigenous religions "eventually found a place under the broad mantle of the Vedic religion". The Smriti texts of the period between 200 BCE-100 CE affirmed the authority of the Vedas. The acceptance of the ideas in the Vedas and Upanishads became a central criterium for defining Hinduism, while the heterodox movements rejected those ideas.

The major Sanskrit epics, _ Ramayana _ and _ Mahabharata _, which belong to the Smriti, were compiled over a protracted period during the late centuries BCE and the early centuries CE. These are legendary dialogues interspersed with philosophical treatises. The Bhagavad Gita was composed in this period and consolidated diverse philosophies and soteriological ideas.

During this period, the foundational texts of several schools of Hindu philosophy were formally written down, including Samkhya , Yoga, Nyaya , Vaisheshika , Purva- Mimamsa and Vedanta. The Smriti literature of Hinduism, particularly the Sutras , as well as other Hindu texts such as the Arthashastra and Sushruta Samhita were also written or expanded during this period.

Many influential Yoga Upanishads, states Gavin Flood, were composed before 3rd century CE. Seven Sannyasa Upanishads of Hinduism were composed between the last centuries of the 1st millennium BCE and before the 3rd century CE. All these texts describe Hindu renunciation and monastic values, and express strongly Advaita Vedanta tradition ideas. This, state Patrick Olivelle and other scholars, is likely because the monasteries of Advaita tradition of Hinduism had become well established in ancient times. The first version of Natyasastra – a Hindu text on performance arts that integrates Vedic ideology – was also completed before the 2nd century CE. "Golden Age" (Gupta Empire) (c. 320–650 CE)

During the Gupta period , the first stone and cave Hindu temples dedicated to Hindu deities were built, some of which have survived into the modern era. Numerous monasteries and universities were also built during the Gupta dynasty era, which supported Vedic and non- Vedic studies, including the famed Nalanda .

The first version of early Puranas, likely composed between 250 and 500 CE, show continuities with the Vedic religion, but also an expanded mythology of Vishnu, Shiva and Devi (goddess). The Puranas were living texts that were revised over time, and Lorenzen suggests these texts may reflect the beginnings of "medieval Hinduism". Late-Classical Hinduism - Puranic Hinduism (c. 650–1100 CE)

After the end of the Gupta Empire, power became decentralised in India. The disintegration of central power also led to regionalisation of religiosity, and religious rivalry. Rural and devotional movements arose within Hinduism, along with Shaivism , Vaisnavism , Bhakti and Tantra, that competed with each other, as well as with numerous sects of Buddhism and Jainism . Buddhism declined , though many of its ideas, and even the Buddha himself, were absorbed into certain Brahmanical traditions.

Srauta rituals declined in India and were replaced with Buddhist and Hindu initiatory rituals for royal courts. Over time, some Buddhist practices were integrated into Hinduism, monumental Hindu temples were built in South Asia and Southeast Asia, while Vajrayana Buddhism literature developed as a result of royal courts sponsoring both Buddhism and Saivism .

The first edition of many Puranas were composed in this period. Examples include Bhagavata Purana and Vishnu Purana with legends of Krishna, while Padma Purana and Kurma Purana expressed reverence for Vishnu, Shiva and Shakti with equal enthusiasm; all of them included topics such as Yoga practice and pilgrimage tour guides to Hindu holy sites. Early colonial era orientalists proposed that the Puranas were religious texts of medieval Hinduism. However, modern era scholars, such as Urs App, Ronald Inden and Ludo Rocher state that this is highly misleading because these texts were continuously revised, exist in numerous very different versions and are too inconsistent to be religious texts.

Bhakti ideas centered around loving devotion to Vishnu and Shiva with songs and music, were pioneered in this period by the Alvars and Nayanars of South India. Major Hinduism scholars of this period included Adi Shankara , Maṇḍana-Miśra, Padmapada and Sureśvara of the Advaita schools; Sabara, Vatsyayana and Samkarasvamin of Nyaya -Vaisesika schools; Mathara and _Yuktidipika_ (author unknown) of Samkhya - Yoga ; Bhartrhari, Vasugupta and Abhinavagupta of Kashmir Shaivism, and Ramanuja of Vishishtadvaita school of Hinduism (Sri Vaishnavism).


Main articles: Islam in India and Bhakti movement Babur visits a Hindu temple.

The Islamic rule period witnessed Hindu- Muslim confrontation and violence, but "violence did not normally characterize the relations of Muslim and Hindu." Enslavement of non-Muslims, especially Hindus in India , was part of the Muslim raids and conquests, but after the 14th century slavery become less common, and in 1562 " Akbar abolished the practice of enslaving the families of war captives." Akbar recognized Hinduism, protected Hindu temples, and abolished discriminatory Jizya (head taxes) against Hindus, but occasionally, Muslim rulers of the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire , before and after Akbar, from 12th century to 18th century, destroyed Hindu temples and persecuted non-Muslims .

Though Islam came to Indian subcontinent in the early 7th century with the advent of Arab traders, it started impacting Indian religions after the 10th century, and particularly after the 12th century with the establishment and then expansion of Islamic rule . During this period Buddhism declined rapidly, and a distinct Indo-Islamic culture emerged. Under Akbar an "intriguing blend of Perso-Islamic and Rajput- Hindu traditions became manifest." Nevertheless, many orthodox _ulamas_ ("learned Islamic jurists") opposed the rapprochement of Hinduism and Islam, and the two merely co-existed, although there was more accommodation at the peasantry level of Indian society.

According to Hardy, the Muslim rulers were not concerned with the number of converts, since the stability and continuity of their regime did not depend on the number of Muslims. In general, religious conversion was a gradual process, with some converts attracted to pious Muslim saints, while others converted to Islam to gain tax relief, land grant, marriage partners, social and economic advancement, or freedom from slavery. In border regions such as the Punjab and eastern Bengal, the share of Muslims grew as large as 70% to 90% of the population, whereas in the heartland of Muslim rule, the upper Gangetic Plain, the Muslims constituted only 10 to 15% of the population.

Between the 14th and 18th century, Hinduism was revived in certain provinces of India under two powerful states, viz. _Vijayanagar _ and _Maratha _. The 14th and 15th century Southern India saw the rise of the Hindu Vijayanagar Empire , which served as a barrier against invasion by the Muslim sultanates of the north, and it fostered the reconstruction of Hindu life and administration. Vidyaranya , also known as Madhava, who was the 12th Jagadguru of the Śringeri Śarada Pītham from 1380-6, and a minister in the Vijayanagara Empire, helped establish Shankara as a rallying symbol of values, and helped spread historical and cultural influence of Shankara's Vedanta philosophies. The Hindu Maratha Confederacy rose to power in the 18th century and ended up overthrowing Muslim power in India

Hinduism underwent profound changes, aided in part by teachers such as Ramanuja , Madhva , and Chaitanya . Tantra disappeared in northern India, partly due to Muslim rule, while the Bhakti movement grew, with followers engaging in emotional, passionate and community-oriented devotional worship, participating in _saguna_ or _nirguna Brahman _ ideologies. According to Nicholson, already between the 12th and the 16th century, "certain thinkers began to treat as a single whole the diverse philosophical teachings of the Upanishads, epics, Puranas, and the schools known retrospectively as the "six systems" (_saddarsana_) of mainstream Hindu philosophy." Michaels notes that a historicization emerged which preceded later nationalism, articulating ideas which glorified Hinduism and the past.


Russian Krishnaites celebrating Ratha Yatra . In the late 20th century forms of Hinduism have grown indigenous roots in parts of Russia, significantly in Altay where Hinduism is now the religion of 2% of the population.

Hindu Revivalism

With the onset of the British Raj , the colonization of India by the British, there also started a Hindu renaissance in the 19th century, which profoundly changed the understanding of Hinduism in both India and the west. Indology as an academic discipline of studying Indian culture from a European perspective was established in the 19th century, led by scholars such as Max Müller and John Woodroffe . They brought Vedic, Puranic and Tantric literature and philosophy to Europe and the United States. Western orientalist searched for the "essence" of the Indian religions, discerning this in the Vedas, and meanwhile creating the notion of "Hinduism" as a unified body of religious praxis and the popular picture of 'mystical India'. This idea of a Vedic essence was taken over by Hindu reform movements as the Brahmo Samaj , which was supported for a while by the Unitarian Church , together with the ideas of Universalism and Perennialism , the idea that all religions share a common mystic ground. This "Hindu modernism" , with proponents like Vivekananda , Aurobindo and Radhakrishnan , became central in the popular understanding of Hinduism.

Popularity In The West

Influential 20th-century Hindus were Ramana Maharshi , B.K.S. Iyengar , Paramahansa Yogananda , Maharishi Mahesh Yogi , Prabhupada (founder of ISKCON ), Sri Chinmoy , Swami Rama and others who translated, reformulated and presented Hinduism's foundational texts for contemporary audiences in new iterations, raising the profiles of Yoga and Vedanta in the West and attracting followers and attention in India and abroad.

Hindu practices such as Yoga, Ayurvedic health, Tantric sexuality through Neotantra and the _ Kama Sutra _ have spread beyond Hindu communities and have been accepted by several non-Hindus:

Hinduism is attracting Western adherents through the affiliated practice of yoga. Yoga centers in the West—which generally advocate vegetarianism—attract young, well-educated Westerners who are drawn by yoga's benefits for the physical and emotional health; there they are introduced to the Hindu philosophical system taught by most yoga teachers, known as Vedanta.

It is estimated that around 30 million Americans and 5 million Europeans regularly practice some form of Hatha Yoga. In Australia, the number of practitioners is about 300,000. In New Zealand the number is also around 300,000.


In the 20th century, Hinduism also gained prominence as a political force and a source for national identity in India. With origins traced back to the establishment of the Hindu Mahasabha in the 1910s, the movement grew with the formulation and development of the Hindutva ideology in the following decades; the establishment of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1925; and the entry, and later success, of RSS offshoots Jana Sangha and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in electoral politics in post-independence India. Hindu religiosity plays an important role in the nationalist movement.


Main article: Hinduism by country HINDUISM - PERCENTAGE BY COUNTRY The Mother Temple of Besakih , one of the most significant Hindu temples in Bali , Indonesia .



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Hinduism is a major religion in India. Hinduism was followed by around 79.8% of the country's population of 1.21 billion (2011 census) (960 million adherents). Other significant populations are found in Nepal (23 million), Bangladesh (15 million) and the Indonesian island of Bali (3.9 million). The majority of the Vietnamese Cham people also follow Hinduism.

Countries with the greatest proportion of Hindus (as of 2008 ):

* Nepal 81.3% * India 79.8% * Mauritius 51.9% * Guyana 28.4% * Fiji 27.9% * Bhutan 25% * Suriname 20% * Trinidad and Tobago 18.2% * Sri Lanka 12.6% * Bangladesh 9.6% * Qatar 7.2% * Réunion 6.7% * Malaysia 6.3% * Bahrain 6.25% * Kuwait 6% * Singapore 5.1% * United Arab Emirates 5% * Oman 3% * Belize 2.3% * Seychelles 2.1%

Demographically, Hinduism is the world\'s third largest religion , after Christianity and Islam .


In the modern era, religious conversion from and to Hinduism has been a controversial subject. Some state the concept of missionary conversion, either way, is anathema to the precepts of Hinduism.

Religious conversion to Hinduism has a long history outside India. Merchants and traders of India, particularly from the Indian peninsula, carried their religious ideas, which led to religious conversions to Hinduism in southeast Asia. Within India, archeological and textual evidence such as the 2nd century BCE Heliodorus pillar suggest that Greeks and other foreigners converted to Hinduism. The debate on proselytization and religious conversion between Christianity, Islam and Hinduism is more recent, and started in the 19th century.

Religious leaders of some Hindu reform movements such as the Arya Samaj launched _Shuddhi_ movement to proselytize and reconvert Muslims and Christians back to Hinduism, while those such as the Brahmo Samaj suggested Hinduism to be a non-missionary religion. All these sects of Hinduism have welcomed new members to their group, while other leaders of Hinduism's diverse schools have stated that given the intensive proselytization activities from missionary Islam and Christianity, this "there is no such thing as proselytism in Hinduism" view must be re-examined.

The appropriateness of conversion from major religions to Hinduism, and vice versa, has been and remains an actively debated topic in India, and in Indonesia.



* Hinduism in Southeast Asia * Balinese Hinduism * Atheism in Hinduism * Criticism of Hinduism * Hindu * Hindu calendar * Hindu deities * Hindu denominations * Hindu mythology * Hindu reform movements * Hinduism by country * Jagran * Ethics of Hinduism * Rulership in Hinduism * Vedic-Puranic chronology * List of Hindu temples * List of notable Hindus * List of converts to Hinduism * List of related articles

Related systems and religions

* Ayyavazhi * Buddhism * Christianity and Hinduism * Eastern philosophy * Hindu philosophy * Indian religions * Islam and Hinduism * Jainism * Hinduism and Judaism * Proto-Indo-European religion * Proto-Indo-Iranian religion * Sikhism * Zoroastrianism

* Book: Hinduism


* ^ _A_ _B_ Hinduism is variously defined as a "religion", "set of religious beliefs and practices", "religious tradition", "a way of life" (Sharma 2003 , pp. 12–13) etc. For a discussion on the topic, see: "Establishing the boundaries" in Flood 2008 , pp. 1–17

* ^ See:

* Fowler: "probably the oldest religion in the world" (Fowler 1997 , p. 1) * Klostermaier: The "oldest living major religion" in the world (Klostermaier 2007 , p. 1) * Kurien: "There are almost a billion Hindus living on Earth. They practice the world's oldest religion..." * Bakker: "it is the oldest religion". * Noble: "Hinduism, the world's oldest surviving religion, continues to provide the framework for daily life in much of South Asia."

* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Lockard 2007 , p. 50: "The encounters that resulted from Aryan migration brought together several very different peoples and cultures, reconfiguring Indian society. Over many centuries a fusion of Aryan and Dravidian occurred, a complex process that historians have labeled the Indo-Aryan synthesis." Lockard 2007 , p. 52: " Hinduism can be seen historically as a synthesis of Aryan beliefs with Harappan and other Dravidian traditions that developed over many centuries." * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Hiltebeitel 2007 , p. 12: "A period of consolidation, sometimes identified as one of " Hindu synthesis," Brahmanic synthesis," or "orthodox synthesis," takes place between the time of the late Vedic Upanishads (c. 500 BCE) and the period of Gupta imperial ascendency" (c. 320-467 CE)."

* ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ See also:

* J.H. Hutton (1931), in Ghurye, Govind Sadashiv (1980), _The Scheduled Tribes of India_, Transaction Publishers, pp. 3–4 * Zimmer, Heinrich (1951), _Philosophies of India_, Princeton University Press, pp. 218–219 * Tyler (1973), _India: An Anthropological Perspective_, Goodyear Publishing Company. In: Sjoberg 1990 , p. 43 * Sjoberg, Andree F. (1990), "The Dravidian Contribution To The Development Of Indian Civilization: A Call For A Reassesment", _Comparative Civilizations Review_, 23: 40–74 * * Nath, Vijay (2001), "From 'Brahmanism' to 'Hinduism': Negotiating the Myth of the Great Tradition", _Social Scientist_: 19–50 * Werner, Karel (1998), _ Yoga And Indian Philosophy (1977, Reprinted in 1998)_, Motilal Banarsidass Publ, ISBN 81-208-1609-9 * Werner, karel (2005), _A Popular Dictionary of Hinduism_, Routledge, pp. 8–9 * Lockard, Craig A. (2007), _Societies, Networks, and Transitions. Volume I: to 1500_, Cengage Learning, p. 50 * * Hopfe, Lewis M.; Woodward, Mark R. (2008), _Religions of the World_, Pearson Education, p. 79 * Samuel, Geoffrey (2010), _The Origins of Yoga and Tantra. Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century_, Cambridge University Press

* ^ Among its roots are the Vedic religion of the late Vedic period (Flood 1996 , p. 16) and its emphasis on the status of Brahmans (Samuel 2010 , pp. 48–53), but also the religions of the Indus Valley Civilisation (Narayanan 2009 , p. 11; Lockard 2007 , p. 52; Hiltebeitel 2007 , p. 3; Jones Gomez 2013 , p. 42) and "popular or local traditions " (Flood 1996 , p. 16). * ^ The Indo-Aryan word _Sindhu_ means "river", "ocean". It is frequently being used in the Rigveda . The Sindhu-area is part of Āryāvarta , "the land of the Aryans".

* ^ There are several views on the earliest mention of 'Hindu' in the context of religion:

* Gavin Flood (1996) states: "In Arabic texts, Al-Hind is a term used for the people of modern-day India and 'Hindu', or 'Hindoo', was used towards the end of the eighteenth century by the British to refer to the people of 'Hindustan', the people of northwest India. Eventually 'Hindu' became virtually equivalent to an 'Indian' who was not a Muslim, Sikh, Jain or Christian, thereby encompassing a range of religious beliefs and practices. The '-ism' was added to Hindu in around 1830 to denote the culture and religion of the high-caste Brahmans in contrast to other religions, and the term was soon appropriated by Indians themselves in the context of building a national identity opposed to colonialism, though the term 'Hindu' was used in Sanskrit and Bengali hagiographic texts in contrast to 'Yavana' or Muslim as early as the sixteenth century".(Flood 1996 , p. 6) * Arvind Sharma (2002) and other scholars state that the 7th-century Chinese scholar Xuanzang , whose 17 year travel to India and interactions with its people and religions were recorded and preserved in Chinese language, uses the transliterated term _In-tu_ whose "connotation overflows in the religious". Xuanzang describes Hindu Deva-temples of early 7th century CE, worship of Sun deity and Shiva , his debates with scholars of Samkhya and Vaisheshika schools of Hindu philosophies, monks and monasteries of Hindus, Jains and Buddhists (both Mahayana and Theravada), and the study of the Vedas along with Buddhist texts at Nalanda . * Arvind Sharma (2002) also mentions the use of word _Hindu_ in Islamic texts such those relating to 8th-century Arab invasion of Sindh by Muhammad ibn Qasim, Al Biruni's 11th-century text _Tarikh Al-Hind_, and those of the Delhi Sultanate period, where the term _Hindu_ retains the ambiguities of including all non-Islamic people such as Buddhists and of being "a region or a religion". * David Lorenzen (2006) states, citing Richard Eaton: "one of the earliest occurrences of the word 'Hindu' in Islamic literature appears in 'Abd al-Malik Isami's Persian work, _Futuhu's-salatin_, composed in the Deccan in 1350. In this text, 'Isami uses the word 'hindi' to mean Indian in the ethno-geographical sense and the word 'hindu' to mean 'Hindu' in the sense of a follower of the Hindu religion". * David Lorenzen (2006) also mentions other non-Persian texts such as _Prithvíráj Ráso_ by ~12th century Canda Baradai, and epigraphical inscription evidence from Andhra Pradesh kingdoms who battled military expansion of Muslim dynasties in 14th century, where the word 'Hindu' partly implies a religious identity in contrast to 'Turks' or Islamic religious identity. One of the earliest uses of word 'Hindu' in religious context, in a European language (Spanish), was the publication in 1649 by Sebastiao Manrique.

* ^ In ancient literature the name _Bharata_ or _Bharata Vrasa_ was being used.(Garg 1992 , p. 3)

* ^ Sweetman mentions:

* Wilhelm Halbfass (1988), _ India and Europe_ * IXth European Conference on Modern Asian Studies in Heidelberg (1989), _ Hinduism Reconsidered_ * Ronald Inden , _Imagining India_ * Carol Breckenridge and Peter van der Veer , _ Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament_ * Vasudha Dalmia and Heinrich von Stietencron , _Representing Hinduism_ * S.N. Balagangadhara , _The Heathen in his Blindness..._ * Thomas Trautmann , _Aryans and British India_ * Richard King (1989), _ Orientalism and religion_

* ^ See Rajiv Malhotra and Being Different for a critic who gained widespread attention outside the academia, Invading the Sacred , and Hindu studies . * ^ See also Arvind Sharma (2002), _On Hindu, Hindustān, Hinduism and Hindutva_. Numen Vol. 49, Fasc. 1 (2002), pp. 1-36. * ^ Pennington describes the circumstances in which early impressions of Hinduism were reported by colonial era missionaries: " Missionary reports from India also reflected the experience of foreigners in a land whose native inhabitants and British rulers often resented their presence. Their accounts of Hinduism were forged in physically, politically and spiritually hostile surroundings . Plagued with anxieties and fears about their own health, regularly reminded of colleagues who had lost their lives or reason, uncertain of their own social location, and preaching to crowds whose reactions ranged from indifference to amusement to hostility, missionaries found expression for their darker misgivings in their production of what is surely part of their speckled legacy: a fabricated Hinduism crazed by blood-lust and devoted to the service of devils."

* ^ Sweetman identifies several areas in which "there is substantial, if not universal, agreement that colonialism influenced the study of Hinduism, even if the degree of this influence is debated":

* The wish of European Orientalists "to establish a textual basis for Hinduism," akin to the Protestant culture, which was also driven by a preference among the colonial powers for "written authority" rather than "oral authority." * The influence of Brahmins on European conceptions of Hinduism.

* he identification of Vedanta, more specifically Advaita Vedanta , as 'the paradigmatic example of the mystical nature of the Hindu religion'. Several factors led to the favouring of Vedanta as the "central philosophy of the Hindus":

* According to Niranjan Dhar's theory that Vedanta was favored because British feared French influence, especially the impact of the French Revolution ; and Ronald Inden's theory that Advaita Vedanta was portrayed as 'illusionist pantheism' reinforcing the colonial stereotypical construction of Hinduism as indifferent to ethics and life-negating. * "The amenability of Vedantic thought to both Christian and Hindu critics of 'idolatry' in other forms of Hinduism".

* The colonial constructions of caste as being part of Hinduism. According to Nicholas Dirks' theory that, "Caste was refigured as a religious system, organising society in a context where politics and religion had never before been distinct domains of social action. * "he construction of Hinduism in the image of Christianity" * Anti-colonial Hindus "looking toward the systematisation of disparate practices as a means of recovering a precolonial, national identity".

* ^ Many scholars have presented pre-colonial common denominators and asserted the importance of ancient Hindu textual sources in medieval and pre-colonial times:

* Klaus Witz states that Hindu Bhakti movement ideas in the medieval era grew on the foundation of Upanishadic knowledge and Vedanta philosophies. * John Henderson states that "Hindus, both in medieval and in modern times, have been particularly drawn to those canonical texts and philosophical schools such as the Bhagavad Gita and Vedanta, which seem to synthesize or reconcile most successfully diverse philosophical teachings and sectarian points of view. Thus, this widely recognized attribute of Indian culture may be traced to the exegetical orientation of medieval Hindu commentarial traditions, especially Vedanta. * Patrick Olivelle and others state that the central ideas of the Upanishads in the Vedic corpus are at the spiritual core of Hindus.

* ^ For translation of _deva_ in singular noun form as "a deity, god", and in plural form as "the gods" or "the heavenly or shining ones", see: Monier-Williams 2001 , p. 492. For translation of _devatā_ as "godhead, divinity", see: Monier-Williams 2001 , p. 495. * ^ Among some regional Hindus, such as Rajputs, these are called _Kuldevis_ or _Kuldevata_.

* ^ _A_ _B_

* Lisa Hark, Lisa Hark, R.D., Horace DeLisser, MD (7 September 2011). _Achieving Cultural Competency_. John Wiley & Sons. Three gods, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, and other deities are considered manifestations of and are worshipped as incarnations of Brahman. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link ) * Toropov James B. Nickoloff (2007). _An Introductory Dictionary of Theology and Religious Studies_. Liturgical Press. The devas are powerful spiritual beings, somewhat like angels in the West, who have certain functions in the cosmos and live immensely long lives. Certain devas, such as Ganesha, are regularly worshiped by the Hindu faithful. Note that, while Hindus believe in many devas, many are monotheistic to the extent that they will recognise only one Supreme Being, a God or Goddess who is the source and ruler of the devas.

* ^ Venkataraman and Deshpande: "Caste-based discrimination does exist in many parts of India today.... Caste-based discrimination fundamentally contradicts the essential teaching of Hindu sacred texts that divinity is inherent in all beings."

* ^ Different periods are designated as "classical Hinduism":

* Smart calls the period between 1000 BCE and 100 CE "pre-classical". It is the formative period for the Upanishads and Brahmanism Jainism and Buddhism. For Smart, the "classical period" lasts from 100 to 1000 CE, and coincides with the flowering of "classical Hinduism" and the flowering and deterioration of Mahayana-buddhism in India. * For Michaels, the period between 500 BCE and 200 BCE is a time of "Ascetic reformism", whereas the period between 200 BCE and 1100 CE is the time of "classical Hinduism", since there is "a turning point between the Vedic religion and Hindu religions". * Muesse discerns a longer period of change, namely between 800 BCE and 200 BCE, which he calls the "Classical Period". According to Muesse, some of the fundamental concepts of Hinduism, namely karma, reincarnation and "personal enlightenment and transformation", which did not exist in the Vedic religion, developed in this time.

* ^ _A_ _B_ See:

* David Gordon White: "he religion of the Vedas was already a composite of the indo-Aryan and Harappan cultures and civilizations." * Richard Gombrich: "It is important to bear in mind that the Indo-Aryans did not enter an unhabitated land. For nearly two millennia they and their culture gradually penetrated India, moving east and south from their original seat in the Punjab. They mixed with people who spoke Munda or Dravidian languages, who have left no traces of their culture beyond some archaeological remains; we know as little about them as we would about the Indo-Aryans if they had left no texts. (...) We can also assume that many - perhaps most - of the indigenous population came to be assimilated into Indo-Aryan culture.

* ^ Tiwari mentions the Austric and Mongoloid people. See also Peopling of India for the variety of Indian people. * ^ Doniger 2010 , p. 66: "Much of what we now call Hinduism may have had roots in cultures that thrived in South Asia long before the creation of textual evidence that we can decipher with any confidence. Remarkable cave paintings have been preserved from Mesolithic sites dating from c. 30,000 BCE in Bhimbetka , near present-day Bhopal, in the Vindhya Mountains in the province of Madhya Pradesh." * ^ Jones moksa/nirvana - the goal of human existence."

* ^ According to Richard King, Radhakrishnan was a representative of Neo- Vedanta , which had a specific understanding of Indian religions: "The inclusivist appropriation of other traditions, so characteristic of neo- Vedanta ideology, appears on three basic levels. First, it is apparent in the suggestion that the (Advaita) Vedanta philosophy of Sankara (c. eighth century CE) constitutes the central philosophy of Hinduism. Second, in an Indian context, neo-Vedanta philosophy subsumes Buddhist philosophies in terms of its own Vedantic ideology. The Buddha becomes a member of the Vedanta tradition, merely attempting to reform it from within. Finally, at a global level, neo- Vedanta colonises the religious traditions of the world by arguing for the centrality of a non-dualistic position as the _philosophia perennis_ underlying all cultural differences."; see Anatta for further discussion on "no-self" doctrine of Buddhism and its disagreements with the Upanishads. * ^ Samuel 2010 , pp. 193–228, 339–353, specifically pp. 76–79 and 194–199 * ^ Axel Michaels mentions the Durga temple in Aihole and the Visnu Temple in Deogarh . George Michell notes that earlier temples were built of timber, brick and plaster, while the first stone temples appeared during the period of Gupta rule. * ^ See also "Aurangzeb, as he was according to Mughal Records"; more links at the bottom of that page. For Muslim historian's record on major Hindu temple destruction campaigns, from 1193 to 1729 AD, see Richard Eaton (2000), Temple Desecration and Indo- Muslim States, Journal of Islamic Studies, Vol. 11, Issue 3, pages 283-319

* ^ According to Eaton (1993 , Chapter 5), "in the subcontinent as a whole there is an inverse relationship between the degree of Muslim political penetration and the degree of Islamization." These numbers rule out the possibility of "conversion of the sword." It was the areas which had been least exposed to the Brahmanical fold which showed the largest numbers of Muslims.

Forced conversion did happen, though. According to Malik (2008 , p. 186) forced conversion of tribes occurred between the 10th and the 14th century, and "orced conversions occurred on an even larger scale at the end of the eighteenth century in the context of increased communal conflicts as well as during the Mappila Rebellion (1921/1922)," and according to Esposito (2003 , p. 303) the orthodox Sufi Islam group Suhrawardiyya "supported the forced conversion of Hindus and Buddhists." * ^ Burley (2007 , p. 34): notes the tendency of "a blurring of philosophical distinctions." Lorenzen (2006 , pp. 24–33) 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" (p. 27), which started well before 1800 (pp. 26-27). Nicholson (2010 , p. 2) states that both the Indian and the European thinkers who developed the term _Hinduism_ in the 19th century were influenced by these philosophers. * ^ This conjunction of nationalism and religion is not unique to India. The complexities of Asian nationalism are to be seen and understood in the context of colonialism, modernization and nation-building . See, for example, Anagarika Dharmapala , for the role of Theravada Buddhism in Sri Lankese struggle for independence, and D.T. Suzuki , who conjuncted Zen to Japanese nationalism and militarism , in defense against both western hegemony _and_ the pressure on Japanese Zen during the Meiji Restoration to conform to Shinbutsu Bunri . * ^ Neo- Vedanta also contributed to Hindutva ideology, Hindu politics and communalism . Yet, Rinehart emphasises that it is "clear that there isn't a neat line of causation that leads from the philosophies of Rammohan Roy, Vivekananda and Radhakrishnan to the agenda of militant Hindus." * ^ The controversy started as an intense polemic battle between Christian missionaries and Muslim organizations in the first half of the 19th century, where missionaries such as Karl Gottlieb Pfander tried to convert Muslims and Hindus, by criticizing Qur'an and Hindu scriptures. Muslim leaders responded by publishing in Muslim-owned newspapers of Bengal, and through rural campaign, polemics against Christians and Hindus, and by launching "purification and reform movements" within Islam. Hindu leaders joined the proselytization debate, criticized Christianity and Islam, and asserted Hinduism to be a universal, secular religion.


* ^ Ghurye: He considers modern Hinduism to be the result of an amalgam between pre-Aryan Indian beliefs of Mediterranean inspiration and the religion of the Rigveda. "The Tribal religions present, as it were, surplus material not yet built into the temple of Hinduism".(Ghurye 1980 , p. 4) * ^ Tyler, in _India: An Anthropological Perspective_(1973), page 68, as quoted by Sjoberg, calls Hinduism a "synthesis" in which the Dravidian elements prevail: "The Hindu synthesis was less the dialectical reduction of orthodoxy and heterodoxy than the resurgence of the ancient, aboriginal Indus civilization. In this process the rude, barbaric Aryan tribes were gradually civilised and eventually merged with the autochthonous Dravidians. Although elements of their domestic cult and ritualism were jealously preserved by Brahman priests, the body of their culture survived only in fragmentary tales and allegories embedded in vast, syncretistic compendia. On the whole, the Aryan contribution to Indian culture is insignificant. The essential pattern of Indian culture was already established in the third millennium B.C., and ... the form of Indian civilization perdured and eventually reasserted itself. (Sjoberg 1990 , p. 43) * ^ Hopfe -webkit-column-width: 20em; column-width: 20em; list-style-type: decimal;">

* ^ Kurien, Prema (2006). "Multiculturalism and American Religion: The Case of Hindu Indian Americans". _Social Forces_. Johns Hopkins University Press. 85 (2): 723–741. doi :10.1353/sof.2007.0015 . * ^ FL Bakker (1997). "Balinese Hinduism and the Indonesian State: Recent Developments". _Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde_. Brill. Deel 153, 1ste Afl.: 15–41. JSTOR 27864809 . * ^ Noble, Allen (1998). "South Asian Sacred Places". _Journal of Cultural Geography_. Routledge. 17 (2): 1–3. doi :10.1080/08873639809478317 . * ^ Knott 1998 , pp. 5, Quote: "Many describe Hinduism as _sanatana dharma_, the eternal tradition or religion. This refers to the idea that its orgins lie beyond human history". * ^ Bowker 2000 ; Harvey 2001 , p. xiii; * ^ _A_ _B_ Samuel 2010 , p. 193. * ^ _A_ _B_ Hiltebeitel 2007 , p. 12; Flood 1996 , p. 16; Lockard 2007 , p. 50 * ^ Narayanan 2009 , p. 11. * ^ Fowler 1997 , pp. 1, 7. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ _I_ _J_ _K_ _L_ _M_ Hiltebeitel 2007 , p. 12. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ _I_ _J_ _K_ Larson 2009 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Michaels 2004 . * ^ Zaehner, R. C. (1992). _ Hindu Scriptures_. Penguin Random House. pp. 1–7. ISBN 978-0679410782 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Klostermaier, Klaus (2007). _A Survey of Hinduism_ (3rd ed.). State University of New York Press. pp. 46–52, 76–77. ISBN 978-0791470824 . * ^ Frazier, Jessica (2011). _The Continuum companion to Hindu studies_. London: Continuum. pp. 1–15. ISBN 978-0-8264-9966-0 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Bilimoria; et al., eds. (2007). _Indian Ethics: Classical Traditions and Contemporary Challenges_. p. 103. CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link ) See also Koller, John (1968). " Puruṣārtha as Human Aims". _Philosophy East and West_. 18 (4): 315–319. JSTOR 1398408 . doi :10.2307/1398408 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Flood, Gavin (1997). "The Meaning and Context of the Puruṣārthas". In Lipner, Julius J. _The Bhagavadgītā for Our Times_. Oxford University Press. pp. 11–27. ISBN 978-0195650396 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Brodd 2003 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Herbert Ellinger (1996). _Hinduism_. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 69–70. ISBN 978-1-56338-161-4 . * ^ Dharma, Samanya; Kane, P. V. _History of Dharmasastra_. 2. pp. 4–5. See also Widgery, Alban (1930). "The Priniciples of Hindu Ethics". _International Journal of Ethics_. 40 (2): 232–245. doi :10.1086/intejethi.40.2.2377977 . * ^ " Christianity 2015: Religious Diversity and Personal Contact" (PDF). gordonconwell.edu. January 2015. Retrieved 2015-05-29. * ^ Steven Vertovec (2013). _The Hindu Diaspora: Comparative Patterns_. Routledge. pp. 1–4, 7–8, 63–64, 87–88, 141–143. ISBN 978-1-136-36705-2 .

* ^ "Hindus". _Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project_. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2015. ; "Table: Religious Composition by Country, in Numbers (2010)". _Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project_. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2015. * ^ _A_ _B_ Flood 2008 , p. 3. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ Flood 1996 , p. 6. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Arvind Sharma (2002), On Hindu, Hindustān, Hinduism and Hindutva Numen, Vol. 49, Fasc. 1, pages 2-3 * ^ Stephen Gosch and Peter Stearns (2007), Premodern Travel in World History, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415229418 , pages 88-99 * ^ Arvind Sharma (2011), Hinduism as a Missionary Religion, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-1438432113 , pages 5-12 * ^ Bonnie Smith et al (2012), Crossroads and Cultures, Combined Volume: A History of the World's Peoples, Macmillan, ISBN 978-0312410179 , pages 321-324 * ^ Arvind Sharma (2002), On Hindu, Hindustān, Hinduism and Hindutva Numen, Vol. 49, Fasc. 1, pages 5-9 * ^ David Lorenzen (2006), Who Invented Hinduism: Essays on Religion in History, Yoda Press, ISBN 978-8190227261 , page 33 * ^ David Lorenzen (2006), Who Invented Hinduism: Essays on Religion in History, Yoda Press, ISBN 978-8190227261 , pages 32-33 * ^ David Lorenzen (2006), Who Invented Hinduism: Essays on Religion in History, Yoda Press, ISBN 978-8190227261 , page 15 * ^ Romila Thapar (2004), Early India: From the Origins to A.D. 1300, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520242258 , page 38 * ^ Thapar 1993 , p. 77. * ^ Thompson Platts 1884 . * ^ O'Conell, Joseph T. (1973). "The Word 'Hindu' in Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Texts". _Journal of the American Oriental Society_. 93 (3). pp. 340–344. doi :10.2307/599467 . * ^ Will Sweetman (2003), Mapping Hinduism: 'Hinduism' and the Study of Indian Religions, 1600-1776, Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 3-931479498 , pages 163, 154-168 * ^ Julius J. Lipner (2009), Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, 2nd Edition, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-45677-7 , page 8; Quote: "(...) one need not be religious in the minimal sense described to be accepted as a Hindu by Hindus, or describe oneself perfectly validly as Hindu. One may be polytheistic or monotheistic, monistic or pantheistic, even an agnostic, humanist or atheist, and still be considered a Hindu." * ^ Lester Kurtz (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict, ISBN 978-0123695031 , Academic Press, 2008 * ^ MK Gandhi, The Essence of Hinduism, Editor: VB Kher, Navajivan Publishing, see page 3; According to Gandhi, "a man may not believe in God and still call himself a Hindu." * ^ Knott, Kim (1998). _Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction_. Oxford: Oxford University press. p. 117. ISBN 978-0-19-285387-5 . * ^ Sharma 2003 , p. 12-13. * ^ Sweetman 2004 ; King 1999 * ^ Sweetman 2004 . * ^ Nussbaum 2009 . * ^ Matthew Clarke (2011). _Development and Religion: Theology and Practice_. Edward Elgar Publishing. p. 28. 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Pennington (2005), Was Hinduism Invented?: Britons, Indians, and the Colonial Construction, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195166552 , pages 76-77 * ^ King 1999 , p. 169. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ Sweetman 2004 , p. 13. * ^ _A_ _B_ Sweetman 2004 , p. 13-14. * ^ Sweetman 2004 , p. 14. * ^ Sweetman 2004 , pp. 14-16. * ^ _A_ _B_ Sweetman 2004 , p. 15. * ^ Sweetman 2004 , pp. 15-16. * ^ _A_ _B_ Brian K. Pennington (2005), Was Hinduism Invented?: Britons, Indians, and the Colonial Construction, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195166552 , pages 4-5 and Chapter 6 * ^ Klaus G Witz (1998), The Supreme Wisdom of the Upaniṣads: An Introduction, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120815735 , pages 10-11 * ^ John Henderson (2014), Scripture, Canon and Commentary, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691601724 , page 120 * ^ Patrick Olivelle (2014), The Early Upanisads, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195352429 , page 3; QUOTE: "Even though theoretically the whole of Vedic corpus is accepted as revealed truth , in reality it is the Upanishads that have continued to influence the life and thought of the various religious traditions that we have come to call Hindu. Upanishads are the scriptures par excellence of Hinduism". * ^ Wendy Doniger (1990), Textual Sources for the Study of Hinduism, 1st Edition, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0226618470 , pages 2-3; QUOTE: "The Upanishads supply the basis of later Hindu philosophy; they alone of the Vedic corpus are widely known and quoted by most well-educated Hindus, and their central ideas have also become a part of the spiritual arsenal of rank-and-file Hindus." * ^ Michael McDowell and Nathan Brown (2009), World Religions, Penguin, ISBN 978-1592578467 , pages 208-210 * ^ Wiman Dissanayake (1993), Self as Body in Asian Theory and Practice (Editors: Thomas P. Kasulis et al), State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791410806 , page 39 * ^ Gavin Flood (1996), The meaning and context of the Purusarthas, in Julius Lipner (Editor) - The Fruits of Our Desiring, ISBN 978-1896209302 , pp 16-21 * ^ The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, _Dharma_, The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions : "In Hinduism, dharma is a fundamental concept, referring to the order and custom which make life and a universe possible, and thus to the behaviours appropriate to the maintenance of that order." * ^ _A_ _B_ Dharma, The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed. (2013), Columbia University Press, Gale, ISBN 978-0787650155 * ^ _A_ _B_ J. A. B. Van Buitenen, Dharma and Moksa, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 7, No. 1/2 (Apr. - Jul., 1957), pp 33-40 * ^ Charles Johnston , The Mukhya Upanishads: Books of Hidden Wisdom, Kshetra, ISBN 978-1495946530 , page 481, for discussion: pages 478-505 * ^ Paul Horsch (Translated by Jarrod Whitaker), _From Creation Myth to World Law: The early history of Dharma_, Journal of Indian Philosophy, Vol 32, pages 423–448, (2004) * ^ Swami Prabhupādā, A. C. Bhaktivedanta (1986), _Bhagavad-gītā as it is_, The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, p. 16, ISBN 9780892132683 * ^ John Koller, Puruṣārtha as Human Aims, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 18, No. 4 (Oct., 1968), pp. 315-319 * ^ James Lochtefeld (2002), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Rosen Publishing, New York, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1 , pp 55-56 * ^ Bruce Sullivan (1997), Historical Dictionary of Hinduism, ISBN 978-0810833272 , pp 29-30 * ^ Macy, Joanna (1975). "The Dialectics of Desire". _Numen_. BRILL. 22 (2): 145–60. JSTOR 3269765 . doi :10.2307/3269765 . * ^ Monier Williams, काम, kāma Monier-Williams Sanskrit English Dictionary, pp 271, see 3rd column

* ^ See:

* The Hindu Kama Shastra Society (1925), The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana, University of Toronto Archives, pp. 8; * A. Sharma (1982), The Puruṣārthas: a study in Hindu axiology, Michigan State University, ISBN 9789993624318 , pp 9-12; See review by Frank Whaling in Numen, Vol. 31, 1 (Jul., 1984), pp. 140-142; * A. Sharma (1999), The Puruṣārthas: An Axiological Exploration of Hinduism, The Journal of Religious Ethics, Vol. 27, No. 2 (Summer, 1999), pp. 223-256; * Chris Bartley (2001), Encyclopedia of Asian Philosophy, Editor: Oliver Learman, ISBN 0-415-17281-0 , Routledge, Article on Purushartha, pp 443

* ^ R.C. Mishra, Moksha and the Hindu Worldview, Psychology * Klaus Klostermaier, Mokṣa and Critical Theory, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Jan., 1985), pp. 61-71

* ^ * Apte, Vaman S (1997), _The Student's English-Sanskrit Dictionary_ (New ed.), Delhi: Motilal Banarsidas, ISBN 81-208-0300-0 * ^ Smith 1991 , p. 64 * ^ Karl Potter (1964), The Naturalistic Principle of Karma, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Apr., 1964), pp. 39-49 * ^ _A_ _B_ Wendy D. O'Flaherty (1980), Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520039230 , pp xi-xxv (Introduction) and 3-37 * ^ Karl Potter (1980), in Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions (O'Flaherty, Editor), University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520039230 , pp 241-267 * ^ Radhakrishnan 1996 , p. 254 * ^ See Vivekananda, Swami (2005), _Jnana Yoga_, Kessinger Publishing, ISBN 1-4254-8288-0 pages 301-302 (8th Printing 1993) * ^ Christopher Chapple (1986), Karma and creativity, State University of New York Press, ISBN 0-88706-251-2 ; pp 60-64 * ^ Rinehart 2004 , pp. 19–21 * ^ J. Bruce Long (1980), The concepts of human action and rebirth in the Mahabharata, in Wendy D. O'Flaherty, Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520039230 , Chapter 2 * ^ Europa Publications Staff (2003), _The Far East and Australasia, 2003 - Regional surveys of the world_, Routledge , p. 39, ISBN 978-1-85743-133-9 * ^ _ Hindu spirituality - Volume 25 of Documenta missionalia_, Editrice Pontificia Università Gregoriana, 1999, p. 1, ISBN 978-88-7652-818-7

* ^ _A_ _B_ see:

* Karl Potter, Dharma and Mokṣa from a Conversational Point of View, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 8, No. 1/2 (Apr. - Jul., 1958), pp. 49-63 * Daniel H. H. Ingalls, Dharma and Moksha, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 7, No. 1/2 (Apr. - Jul., 1957), pp. 41-48

* ^ _A_ _B_ Klaus Klostermaier, Mokṣa and Critical Theory, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Jan., 1985), pp. 61-71

* ^ see:

* M. von Brück (1986), Imitation or Identification?, Indian Theological Studies, Vol. 23, Issue 2, pp 95-105 * Klaus Klostermaier, Mokṣa and Critical Theory, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Jan., 1985), pp. 61-71

* ^ Andrew Fort (1998), Jivanmukti in Transformation, State University of New York Press, ISBN 0-7914-3904-6 * ^ Julius J. Lipner (2010), Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, 2nd Edition, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-45677-7 , page 8; Quote: "(...) one need not be religious in the minimal sense described to be accepted as a Hindu by Hindus, or describe oneself perfectly validly as Hindu. One may be polytheistic or monotheistic, monistic or pantheistic, even an agnostic, humanist or atheist, and still be considered a Hindu." * ^ Chakravarti, Sitansu (1991), _Hinduism, a way of life_, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., p. 71, ISBN 978-81-208-0899-7 * ^ See Michaels 2004 , p. xiv and Gill, N.S. "Henotheism". About, Inc . Retrieved 5 July 2007. * ^ Flood 1996 , p. 226. * ^ Flood 1996 , p. 226; Kramer 1986 , pp. 20–21

* ^

* Original Sanskrit: Rigveda 10.129 Wikisource; * TRANSLATION 1: Max Muller (1859). _A History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature_. Williams and Norgate, London. pp. 559–565. * TRANSLATION 2: Kenneth Kramer (1986). _World Scriptures: An Introduction to Comparative Religions_. Paulist Press. p. 21. ISBN 0-8091-2781-4 . * TRANSLATION 3: David Christian (2011). _Maps of Time: An Introduction to Big History_. University of California Press. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-0-520-95067-2 .

* ^ Max Muller (1878), Lectures on the Origins and Growth of Religions: As Illustrated by the Religions of India, Longmans Green WILLIAM JOSEPH WILKINS, _ Hindu Mythology: Vedic and Purānic_, p. 8, at Google Books , London Missionary Society, Calcutta * ^ HN RAGHAVENDRACHAR (1944), Monism in the Vedas, The half-yearly journal of the Mysore University: Section A - Arts, Volume 4, Issue 2, pages 137-152; K WERNER (1982), Men, gods and powers in the Vedic outlook, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain H COWARD (1995), Book Review:" The Limits of Scripture: Vivekananda's Reinterpretation of the Vedas", Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies, Volume 8, Issue 1, pages 45-47, QUOTE: "There is little doubt that the theo-monistic category is an appropriate one for viewing a wide variety of experiences in the Hindu tradition". * ^ Monier-Williams 1974 , pp. 20–37 * ^ L. Wallin (1999). _Nature and Identity in Cross-Cultural Perspective_. Springer. pp. 64–68. ISBN 978-0-7923-5651-6 . * ^ Maxine Berntsen (1988). _The Experience of Hinduism: Essays on Religion in Maharashtra_. State University of New York Press. pp. 18–19. ISBN 978-0-88706-662-7 .

* ^ Taittiriya Upanishad Thirteen Principal Upanishads, Robert Hume (Translator), pages 281-282; Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684 , pages 229-231 * ^ John R. Mabry (2006). _Noticing the Divine: An Introduction to Interfaith Spiritual Guidance_. New York: Morehouse. pp. 32–33. ISBN 978-0-8192-2238-1 . * ^ Larry A. Samovar; Richard E. Porter; Edwin R. McDaniel; et al. (2016). _Communication Between Cultures_. Cengage. pp. 140–144. ISBN 978-1-305-88806-7 . CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link ) * ^ Werner 2005 , pp. 9, 15, 49, 54, 86. * ^ Renou 1964 , p. 55 * ^ _A_ _B_ Harman 2004 , pp. 104–106 * ^ Lindsey Harlan (1992). _ Religion and Rajput Women: The Ethic of Protection in Contemporary Narratives_. University of California Press. pp. 19–20, 48 with footnotes. ISBN 978-0-520-07339-5 . * ^ Daniel E Bassuk (1987). _Incarnation in Hinduism and Christianity: The Myth of the God-Man_. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 2–4. ISBN 978-1-349-08642-9 . * ^ Paul Hacker 1978 , pp. 424, also 405–409, 414–417. * ^ Kinsley, David (2005). Lindsay Jones, ed. _Gale's Encyclopedia of Religion_. 2 (Second ed.). Thomson Gale. pp. 707–708. ISBN 0-02-865735-7 . * ^ Bryant, Edwin Francis (2007). _Krishna: A Sourcebook_. Oxford University Press. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-19-514891-6 . * ^ McDaniel, June (2004). _Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls : Popular Goddess Worship in West Bengal: Popular Goddess Worship in West Bengal_. Oxford University Press, USA. pp. 90–91. ISBN 978-0-19-534713-5 . * ^ Hawley, John Stratton; Vasudha Narayanan (2006). _The life of Hinduism_. University of California Press. p. 174. ISBN 978-0-520-24914-1 . * ^ David R. Kinsley (1998). _Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine: The Ten Mahāvidyās_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 115–119. ISBN 978-81-208-1522-3 . * ^ James Lochtefeld (2002), "Shiva" in The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 2: N-Z, Rosen Publishing, ISBN 0-8239-2287-1 , page 635 * ^ John Clayton (2010), Religions, Reasons and Gods: Essays in Cross-cultural Philosophy of Religion, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521126274 , page 150 * ^ Sharma, C. (1997). A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0365-5 , pages 209-10 * ^ Reichenbach, Bruce R. (April 1989), "Karma, causation, and divine intervention", _Philosophy East and West_, Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press, 39 (2): 135–149 , doi :10.2307/1399374 , retrieved 29 December 2009. * ^ Rajadhyaksha (1959), _The six systems of Indian philosophy_, p. 95, Under the circumstances God becomes an unnecessary metaphysical assumption. Naturally the Sankhyakarikas do not mention God, Vachaspati interprets this as rank atheism. * ^ Coward, Harold (February 2008). _The perfectibility of human nature in eastern and western thought_. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-7914-7336-8 . For the Mimamsa the ultimate reality is nothing other than the eternal words of the Vedas. They did not accept the existence of a single supreme creator god, who might have composed the Veda. According to the Mimamsa, gods named in the Vedas have no existence apart from the mantras that speak their names. The power of the gods, then, is nothing other than the power of the mantras that name them. * ^ Sen Gupta 1986 , p. viii * ^ Neville, Robert (2001), _Religious truth_, p. 51, ISBN 978-0-7914-4778-9 , Mimamsa theorists (theistic and atheistic) decided that the evidence allegedly proving the existence of God was insufficient. They also thought there was no need to postulate a maker for the world, just as there was no need for an author to compose the Veda or an independent God to validate the Vedic rituals.

* ^ A Goel (1984), Indian philosophy: Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika and modern science, Sterling, ISBN 978-0865902787 , pages 149-151; R Collins (2000), The sociology of philosophies, Harvard University Press, ISBN 978-0674001879 , page 836 * ^ Klaus Klostermaier (2007), A Survey of Hinduism, Third Edition, State University of New York, ISBN 978-0791470824 , pages 337-338

* ^ MIKE BURLEY (2012), Classical Samkhya and Yoga - An Indian Metaphysics of Experience, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415648875 , page 39-41; LLOYD PFLUEGER, Person Purity and Power in Yogasutra, in Theory and Practice of Yoga (Editor: Knut Jacobsen), Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120832329 , pages 38-39; KOVOOR T. BEHANAN (2002), Yoga: Its Scientific Basis, Dover, ISBN 978-0486417929 , pages 56-58 * ^ Knut Jacobsen (2008), Theory and Practice of Yoga : 'Essays in Honour of Gerald James Larson, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120832329 , pages 77-78 * ^ Bryant 2007 , p. 441. * ^ Flood, Gavin, ed. (2003), The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism, Blackwell Publishing Ltd., ISBN 1-4051-3251-5 , pages 200-203 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ _H_ _I_ Frazier, Jessica (2011). _The Continuum companion to Hindu studies_. London: Continuum. pp. 14–15, 321–325. ISBN 978-0-8264-9966-0 . * ^ Werner 2005 , pp. 13, 45 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ Lance Nelson (2007), An Introductory Dictionary of Theology and Religious Studies (Editors: Orlando O. Espín, James B. Nickoloff), Liturgical Press, ISBN 978-0814658567 , pages 562-563 * ^ Flood 1996 , p. 113, 134, 155-161, 167-168. * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ SS Kumar (2010), Bhakti - the Yoga of Love, LIT Verlag Münster, ISBN 978-3643501301 , pages 35-36 * ^ Julius J. Lipner (2009), Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices, 2nd Edition, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-45677-7 , pages 371-375 * ^ sometimes with Lakshmi , the spouse of Vishnu; or, as Narayana and Sri; see: Guy Beck (2006), Alternative Krishnas: Regional and Vernacular Variations on a Hindu Deity, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791464168 , page 65 and Chapter 5 * ^ Edwin Francis Bryant; Maria Ekstrand (2013). _The Hare Krishna Movement: The Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant_. Columbia University Press. pp. 15–17. ISBN 978-0231508438 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Edwin Bryant and Maria Ekstrand (2004), The Hare Krishna Movement, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231122566 , pages 38-43 * ^ Bruno Nettl; Ruth M. Stone; James Porter; Timothy Rice (1998). _The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: South Asia : the Indian subcontinent_. Routledge. pp. 246–247. ISBN 978-0824049461 . * ^ Lance Nelson (2007), An Introductory Dictionary of Theology and Religious Studies (Editors: Orlando O. Espín, James B. Nickoloff), Liturgical Press, ISBN 978-0814658567 , pages 1441, 376 * ^ Edwin Francis Bryant; Maria Ekstrand (2013). _The Hare Krishna Movement: The Postcharismatic Fate of a Religious Transplant_. Columbia University Press. pp. 40–43. ISBN 978-0231508438 . * ^ Deepak Sarma (2007). _Krishna: A Sourcebook (Editor: Edwin Francis Bryant)_. Oxford University Press. pp. 357–358. ISBN 978-0-19-803400-1 . * ^ Roshen Dalal (2010). _The Religions of India: A Concise Guide to Nine Major Faiths_. Penguin Books. p. 209. ISBN 978-0-14-341517-6 .

* ^ James Lochtefeld (2010), God's Gateway: Identity and Meaning in a Hindu Pilgrimage Place, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195386141

* ^ Natalia Isaeva (1995), From Early Vedanta to Kashmir Shaivism, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791424490 , pages 141-145 * ^ Massimo Scaligero (1955), The Tantra and the Spirit of the West, East and West, Vol. 5, No. 4, pages 291-296

* ^ HISTORY: Hans Koester (1929), The Indian Religion of the Goddess Shakti, Journal of the Siam Society, Vol 23, Part 1, pages 1-18; MODERN PRACTICES: June McDaniel (2010), Goddesses in World Culture, Volume 1 (Editor: Patricia Monaghan), ISBN 978-0313354656 , Chapter 2 * ^ Flood 1996 , p. 113. * ^ Hiltebeitel 2013 . * ^ Flood 1996 . * ^ William Wainwright (2012), Concepts of God, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, (Accessed on: June 17, 2015) * ^ U Murthy (1979), Samskara, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195610796 , page 150 * ^ L Williamson (2010), Transcendent in America: Hindu-inspired Meditation Movements as New Religion, New York University Press, ISBN 978-0814794500 , page 89 * ^ Murray Milner (1994), Status and Sacredness, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195084894 , pages 194-197 * ^ Rigveda is not only the oldest among the vedas, but is one of the earliest Indo-European texts. * ^ Flood, Gavin, ed. (2003), The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism, Blackwell Publishing Ltd., ISBN 1-4051-3251-5 , see Michael Witzel quote on pages 68-69 * ^ Sargeant George M. Williams (2003), Handbook of Hindu Mythology, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195332612 , page 285 * ^ Jan Gonda (1975), Vedic Literature: (Saṃhitās and Brāhmaṇas), Otto Harrassowitz Verlag, ISBN 978-3447016032 * ^ Edward Roer (Translator), _Shankara\'s Introduction_ at Google Books to _Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad_ at pages 1-5; QUOTE - "The Vedas are divided in two parts, the first is the karma-kanda, the ceremonial part, also (called) purva-kanda, and treats on ceremonies; the second part is the jnana kanda, the part which contains knowledge, also named uttara-kanda or posterior part, and unfolds the knowledge of Brahma or the universal soul." * ^ Werner 2005 , pp. 10, 58, 66 * ^ Monier-Williams 1974 , pp. 25–41 * ^ Olivelle, Patrick (1998), Upaniṣads, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-282292-6 , Introduction chapter * ^ _A_ _B_ Wendy Doniger (1990), Textual Sources for the Study of Hinduism, 1st Edition, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 978-0226618470 , pages 2-3; QUOTE: "The Upanishads supply the BASIS OF LATER HINDU PHILOSOPHY; they alone of the Vedic corpus are widely known and quoted by most well-educated Hindus, and their central ideas have also become a part of the spiritual arsenal of rank-and-file Hindus."

* ^ Wiman Dissanayake (1993), Self as Body in Asian Theory and Practice (Editors: Thomas P. Kasulis et al), State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791410806 , page 39; QUOTE: "The Upanishads form the FOUNDATIONS OF HINDU PHILOSOPHICAL THOUGHT and the central theme of the Upanishads is the identity of Atman and Brahman, or the inner self and the cosmic self."; Michael McDowell and Nathan Brown (2009), World Religions, Penguin, ISBN 978-1592578467 , pages 208-210 * ^ Patrick Olivelle (2014), The Early Upanisads, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195352429 , page 3; QUOTE: "Even though theoretically the whole of vedic corpus is accepted as revealed truth , in reality it is the Upanishads that have continued to influence the life and thought of the various religious traditions that we have come to call Hindu. Upanishads are the scriptures par excellence of Hinduism". * ^ S Radhakrishnan, The Principal Upanishads George Allen & Co., 1951, pages 17-19, Reprinted as ISBN 978-8172231248 * ^ Patrick Olivelle (1998), Upaniṣhads. Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199540259 , see Introduction * ^ Thirteen Principal Upanishads, Robert Hume (Translator) * ^ _Sarvopaniṣado gāvo_, etc. (_Gītā Māhātmya_ 6). _Gītā Dhyānam_, _cited in_ Introduction to Bhagavad-gītā As It Is. Archived 1 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine . * ^ Thomas B. Coburn, _Scripture" in India: Towards a Typology of the Word in Hindu Life_, Journal of the American Academy of Religion , Vol. 52, No. 3 (September, 1984), pp. 435-459 * ^ Lorenzen 1999 , p. 655. * ^ Michelis 2005 . * ^ Vivekananda 1987 , Vol I, pp. 6–7 * ^ Harshananda 1989 * ^ _A_ _B_ Jones & Ryan 2006 , p. 13. * ^ Mariasusai Dhavamony (1999), Hindu Spirituality, Gregorian University and Biblical Press, ISBN 978-8876528187 , pages 31-34 with footnotes * ^ David Smith (1996), The Dance of Siva: Religion, Art and Poetry in South India, Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0521482349 , page 116 * ^ James G. Lochtefeld (2001), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism: A-M, ISBN 978-0-8239-3179-8 , Page 427 * ^ Muesse, Mark W. (2011). _The Hindu Traditions: A Concise Introduction_. Fortress Press. p. 216. ISBN 9780800697907 . * ^ "Domestic Worship". _Country Studies_. The Library of Congress. September 1995. Retrieved 19 April 2007. * ^ A Sharma (1985), Marriage in the Hindu religious tradition. Journal Of Ecumenical Studies, 22(1), pages 69-80 * ^ _A_ _B_ R Pandey (1969), Hindu Saṁskāras: Socio-Religious Study of the Hindu Sacraments (2nd Ed.), Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-0434-1 * ^ David Knipe (2015), Vedic Voices: Intimate Narratives of a Living Andhra Tradition, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199397693 , page 52 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ PV Kane, Samskara, Chapter VI, History of Dharmasastras, Vol II, Part I, Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, pages 190-417 * ^ _A_ _B_ Patrick Olivelle (2009), Dharmasutras - The Law Codes of Ancient India, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199555376 , pages 90-91 * ^ Carl Olson (2007), The Many Colors of Hinduism: A Thematic-historical Introduction, Rutgers University Press, ISBN 978-0813540689 , pages 93-94 * ^ For Vedic school, see: Brian Smith (1986), Ritual, Knowledge, and Being: Initiation and Veda Study in Ancient India, Numen, Vol. 33, Fasc. 1, pages 65-89 * ^ For music school, see: Alison Arnold et al (1999), The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music: South Asia, Vol 5, Routledge, ISBN 978-0824049461 , page 459; For sculpture, crafts and other professions, see: Heather Elgood (2000), Hinduism and the religious arts, ISBN 978-0304707393 , Bloomsbury Academic, pages 32-134 * ^ Thomas N. Siqueira, _The Vedic Sacraments_, Thought, Volume 9, Issue 4, March 1935, pages 598-609, doi :10.5840/thought1935945 * ^ Bhakti, Encyclopædia Britannica (2009) * ^ Karen Pechelis (2011), Bhakti Traditions, in The Continuum Companion to Hindu Studies (Editors: Jessica Frazier, Gavin Flood), Bloomsbury, ISBN 978-0826499660 , pages 107-121 * ^ John Lochtefeld (2014), The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Rosen Publishing New York, ISBN 978-0823922871 , pages 98-100, also see articles on karmamārga and jnanamārga * ^ John Martin Sahajananda (2014), Fully Human Fully Divine, Partridge India, ISBN 978-1482819557 , page 60 * ^ KN Tiwari (2009), Comparative Religion, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120802933 , page 31 * ^ Jan Gonda (1963), The Indian Mantra, Oriens, Vol. 16, pages 244-297 * ^ Fowler 1997 , pp. 41-50. * ^ Puja Encyclopædia Britannica (2015) * ^ Antoinette DeNapoli (2014), Real Sadhus Sing to God, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199940035 , pages 19-24 * ^ Robin Reinhart, Contemporary Hinduism: ritual, culture, and practice, ISBN 978-1-57607-905-8 , pages 35-47 * ^ Karen Pechilis Prentiss (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903 * ^ Arvind Sharma (2000), Classical Hindu Thought: An Introduction, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195644418 , pages 72-75 * ^ Karen Pechilis Prentiss (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903 , pages 22-29 * ^ Lindsay Jones, ed. (2005). _Gale Encyclopedia of Religion_. Volume 2. Thompson Gale. pp. 856–857. ISBN 0-02-865735-7 .

* ^ Bob Robinson (2011), Hindus meeting Christians, OCMS, ISBN 978-1870345392 , pages 288-295; Hendrick Vroom (1996), No Other Gods, Cambridge: Eerdmans Publishing, ISBN 978-0802840974 , pages 68-69 * ^ Ninian Smart (2012), The Yogi and the Devotee, Routledge, ISBN 978-0415684996 , pages 52-80

* ^ Jane Ardley (2015), Spirituality and Politics: Gandhian and Tibetan cases, in The Tibetan Independence Movement, Routledge, ISBN 978-1138862647 , pages 98-99, also ix, 112-113; Helen Mitchell (2014), Roots of Wisdom: A Tapestry of Philosophical Traditions, ISBN 978-1285197128 , pages 188-189 * ^ SN Bhavasar (2004), in Hindu Spirituality: Postclassical and Modern (Editors: K. R. Sundararajan and Bithika Mukerji), Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120819375 , pages 28-29 * ^ _A_ _B_ Sandra Robinson (2007), Encyclopedia of Hinduism (Editors: Denise Cush et al), Routledge, ISBN 978-0700712670 , pages 908-912 * ^ _A_ _B_ Karen-Marie Yust (2005), Sacred Celebrations, in Nurturing Child and Adolescent Spirituality (Editor: Karen-Marie Yust), Rowman Anil Kishore Sinha; Bijon Gopal Banerjee (2009). _Anthropological Dimensions of Pilgrimage_. Northern Book Centre. pp. 3–5. ISBN 978-81-89091-09-5 . * ^ Geoffrey Waring Maw (1997). _Pilgrims in Hindu Holy Land: Sacred Shrines of the Indian Himalayas_. Sessions Book Trust. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-85072-190-1 . * ^ Knut A. Jacobsen 2013 , pp. 157-158. * ^ Axel Michaels & Barbara Harshav (Transl) 2004 , pp. 288-289. * ^ Kane 1953 , p. 561. * ^ _A_ _B_ Diana L. Eck 2012 , pp. 7-9. * ^ Ariel Glucklich (2008). _The Strides of Vishnu : Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective: Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective_. Oxford University Press. p. 146. ISBN 978-0-19-971825-2 . QUOTE: The earliest promotional works aimed at tourists from that era were called _mahatmyas_ . * ^ Kane 1953 , pp. 559-560. * ^ Jean Holm; John Bowker (1998). _Sacred Place_. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 68. ISBN 978-0-8264-5303-7 . * ^ Rocher, Ludo (1986). _The Puranas_. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. ISBN 978-3447025225 . * ^ Kane 1953 , pp. 553-556, 560-561. * ^ Klaus K. Klostermaier 2010 , p. 553 note 55. * ^ Diana L. 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JSTOR 4201209 . doi :10.1177/000169930004300304 . * ^ P. 143 _Aspects of Hindu Morality_ By Saral Jhingran * ^ Encyclopaedia of Hindu Gods and Goddesses - Page 178, Suresh Chandra - 1998 * ^ Bhaskarananda 1994 * ^ Stephen Alter (2004), Elephas Maximus, Penguin, ISBN 978-0143031741 , page 95 * ^ Doniger 2000 , p. 1041. * ^ A David Napier (1987), Masks, Transformation, and Paradox, University of California Press, ISBN 978-0520045330 , page 186-187 * ^ SD Sharma (2010), Rice: Origin, Antiquity and History, CRC Press, ISBN 978-1578086801 , pages 68-70 * ^ TA Gopinath Rao (1998), Elements of Hindu iconography, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120808782 , pages 1-8 * ^ JN Banerjea, The Development Of Hindu Iconography, Kessinger, ISBN 978-1417950089 , pages 247-248, 472-508 * ^ Monier-Williams, _Religious Thought and Life in India_ (New Delhi, 1974 edition) * ^ Radhakrishnan, S (1929), _Indian Philosophy, Volume 1_, Muirhead library of philosophy (2nd ed.), London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd., p. 148 * ^ For _ahiṃsā_ as one of the "emerging ethical and religious issues" in the Mahābhārata see: Brockington, John, "The Sanskrit Epics", in Flood (2003), p. 125. * ^ For text of Y.S. 2.29 and translation of _yama_ as "vow of self-restraint", see: Taimni, I. K. (1961), _The Science of Yoga_, Adyar, India: The Theosophical Publishing House, p. 206, ISBN 81-7059-212-7 * ^ Surveys studying food habits of Indians include: "Diary and poultry sector growth in India", Quote:"AN ANALYSIS OF CONSUMPTION DATA ORIGINATING FROM NATIONAL SAMPLE SURVEY (NSS) SHOWS THAT 42 PERCENT OF HOUSEHOLDS ARE VEGETARIAN, IN THAT THEY NEVER EAT FISH, MEAT OR EGGS. THE REMAINING 58 PERCENT OF HOUSEHOLDS ARE LESS STRICT VEGETARIANS OR NON-VEGETARIANS." "Indian consumer patterns" and "Agri reform in India" Archived 28 December 2006 at the Wayback Machine .. Results indicate that Indians who eat meat do so infrequently with less than 30% consuming non-vegetarian foods regularly, although the reasons may be economical. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 28 December 2006. 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In this province, like nearly all Bengalis, they celebrate Durga Puja, but their ceremonies are bloodless". * ^ Fuller 2004 , pp. 101-102, Quote: "Blood sacrifice was a clear case in point, (,,,) sacrifice was a barbarity inconsistent with Hinduism's central tenet of non-violence. (...) Contemporary opposition to animal sacrifice rests on an old foundation, although it also stems from the very widespread influence of reformism, whose antipathy to ritual killing has spread well beyond the self-consciously nationalist political classes".. * ^ Andrew J. Nicholson (2010). _Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History_. Columbia University Press. p. 169. 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Woodard (18 August 2006). _Indo-European Sacred Space: Vedic and Roman Cult_. University of Illinois Press. pp. 242–. ISBN 978-0-252-09295-4 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Beckwith 2009 , p. 32. * ^ _A_ _B_ Anthony 2007 , p. 462. * ^ Anthony 2007 , p. 454-455. * ^ _A_ _B_ Anthony 2007 , p. 49. * ^ Anthony 2007 , p. 50. * ^ Flood 2008 , p. 68. * ^ Melton & Baumann 2010 , p. 1412. * ^ Samuel 2010 , pp. 26-27, Quote: "In fact the whole question of the early history of the Indo-Aryan and Indo-Iranian speaking peoples is both heavily contested and, at least at this point in time, largely undecidable.". * ^ Basham 1989 , p. 74-75. * ^ White, David Gordon (2003). _Kiss of the Yogini_. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 28. ISBN 0-226-89483-5 . * ^ Gombrich 1996 , p. 35-36. * ^ Samuel 2010 , p. 48-51, 61-93. * ^ Hiltebeitel 2007 , p. 8-10. * ^ Samuel 2010 . * ^ Samuel 2010 , pp. 27-31. * ^ Stephen Phillips (2009). _Yoga, Karma, and Rebirth: A Brief History and Philosophy_. Columbia University Press. pp. 28–30. ISBN 978-0-231-14485-8 . * ^ Flood 1996 , p. 37. * ^ Witzel 1995 , p. 4. * ^ Anthony 2007 , p. 454. * ^ Oberlies 1998 , p. 158. * ^ Lucas F. Johnston; Whitney Bauman (2014). _Science and Religion: One Planet, Many Possibilities_. Routledge. p. 179. * ^ Abraham Eraly (2011). _The First Spring: The Golden Age of India_. Penguin Books. pp. 538, 571. ISBN 978-0-670-08478-4 . * ^ Gombrich 1988 , pp. 26-41. * ^ Christopher S. Queen; Sallie B. King (1996). _Engaged Buddhism: Buddhist Liberation Movements in Asia_. State University of New York Press. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-0-7914-2844-3 . * ^ Hajime Nakamura (1983). _A History of Early Vedānta Philosophy_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 102–104, 264–269, 294–295. ISBN 978-81-208-0651-1 . ; Quote: "But the Upanishadic ultimate meaning of the Vedas, was, from the viewpoint of the Vedic canon in general, clearly a new idea.."; p.95: The Upanishads in particular were part of the Vedic corpus (...) When these various new ideas were brought together and edited, they were added on to the already existing Vedic..."; p.294: "When early Jainism came into existence, various ideas mentioned in the extant older Upanishads were current,....". * ^ Klaus G. Witz (1998). _The Supreme Wisdom of the Upaniṣads: An Introduction_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 23, 1–2. ISBN 978-81-208-1573-5 . ;QUOTE: "In the Aranyakas therefore, thought and inner spiritual awareness started to separate subtler, deeper aspects from the context of ritual performance and myth with which they had been united up to then. This process was then carried further and brought to completion in the Upanishads. (...) The knowledge and attainment of the Highest Goal had been there from the Vedic times. But in the Upanishads inner awareness, aided by major intellectual breakthroughs, arrived at a language in which Highest Goal could be dealt with directly, independent of ritual and sacred lore". * ^ Christoph Wulf (2016). _Exploring Alterity in a Globalized World_. Routledge. pp. 125–126. ISBN 978-1-317-33113-1 . ; Quote: "(...) the simultaneous emergence of a Vedic and a non-Vedic asceticism. (...) Thus, the challenge for old Vedic views consisted of a new theology, written down in the early Upanishads like the Brhadaranyaka and the Mundaka Upanishad. The new set of ideas contained the...." * ^ Jonathan H. X. Lee; Fumitaka Matsuoka; Edmond Yee, Ronald Y. Nakasone (2015). _Asian American Religious Cultures_. ABC-CLIO. pp. 433–434. ISBN 978-1-59884-331-6 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Shults 2014 , p. 125-129. * ^ _A_ _B_ Neusner, Jacob (2009), _World Religions in America: An Introduction_, Westminster John Knox Press, ISBN 978-0-664-23320-4 * ^ Melton, J. Gordon; Baumann, Martin (2010), _Religions of the World, Second Edition: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices_, ABC-CLIO, p. 1324, ISBN 978-1-59884-204-3 * ^ Flood 1996 , pp. 81-82. * ^ Raju 1992 , p. 42.

* ^ KN Jayatilleke (2010), Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, ISBN 978-8120806191 , pages 246-249, from note 385 onwards; Steven Collins (1994), Religion and Practical Reason (Editors: Frank Reynolds, David Tracy), State Univ of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791422175 , page 64; Quote: "Central to Buddhist soteriology is the doctrine of not-self (Pali: anattā, Sanskrit: anātman, the opposed doctrine of ātman is central to Brahmanical thought). Put very briefly, this is the doctrine that human beings have no soul, no self, no unchanging essence."; Edward Roer (Translator), _Shankara\'s Introduction_, p. 2, at Google Books , pages 2-4 Katie Javanaud (2013), Is The Buddhist \'No-Self\' Doctrine Compatible With Pursuing Nirvana?, Philosophy Now * ^ John C. Plott et al (2000), Global History of Philosophy: The Axial Age, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120801585 , page 63, Quote: "The Buddhist schools reject any Ātman concept. As we have already observed, this is the basic and ineradicable distinction between Hinduism and Buddhism". * ^ For the impact of "soul exists" concept in later Hinduism, see Edward Roer (Translator), _Shankara\'s Introduction_, p. 3, at Google Books to _Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad_ at pages 3-4; Quote - "(...) Lokayatikas and Bauddhas who assert that the soul does not exist. There are four sects among the followers of Buddha: 1. Madhyamicas who maintain all is void; 2. Yogacharas, who assert except sensation and intelligence all else is void; 3. Sautranticas, who affirm actual existence of external objects no less than of internal sensations; 4. Vaibhashikas, who agree with later (Sautranticas) except that they contend for immediate apprehension of exterior objects through images or forms represented to the intellect." * ^ Richard King (1995), Ācārya, Gauḍapāda - Early Advaita Vedānta and Buddhism: the Mahāyāna context of the Gauḍapādīya-kārikā, SUNY Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-2513-8 , pages 51-58 * ^ Stephen Phillips (2009), Yoga, Karma, and Rebirth: A Brief History and Philosophy, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0231144858 , Chapter 1 * ^ Pratt, James Bissett (1996), _The Pilgrimage of Buddhism and a Buddhist Pilgrimage_, Asian Educational Services, p. 90, ISBN 978-81-206-1196-2 * ^ Eliot 2003 , p. Chapter 11: Rebirth and the Nature of the Soul. * ^ HJ Klimkeit; R Meserve; EE Karimov; et al. (2000). _History of Civilizations of Central Asia_. UNESCO. pp. 79–80. ISBN 978-92-3-103654-5 . CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link ) * ^ John Guy; Pierre Baptiste; Lawrence Becker, Bérénice Bellina, Robert L. Brown, Federico Carò (2014). _Lost Kingdoms: Hindu-Buddhist Sculpture of Early Southeast Asia_. Yale University Press. pp. 10–11. ISBN 978-0-300-20437-7 . CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link ) * ^ Embree 1988 , p. 277. * ^ Hiltebeitel 2007 , p. 14. * ^ Hiltebeitel 2007 , p. 20. * ^ Radhakrishnan & Moore 1967 , p. xviii–xxi * ^ Meulenbeld, Gerrit Jan (1999). _A History of Indian Medical Literature_. Groningen: Brill (Volume 1A). pp. 203–205. ISBN 978-9069801247 . * ^ Flood 1996 , p. 96. * ^ Mircea Eliade (1970), Yoga: Immortality and Freedom, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691017646 , pages 128–129 * ^ Olivelle, Patrick (1992). _The Samnyasa Upanisads_. Oxford University Press. pp. x–xi, 8–18. ISBN 978-0195070453 . * ^ Sprockhoff, Joachim F (1976). _Samnyasa: Quellenstudien zur Askese im Hinduismus_ (in German). Wiesbaden: Kommissionsverlag Franz Steiner. pp. 277–294, 319–322. ISBN 978-3515019057 . * ^ Olivelle, Patrick (1992). _The Samnyasa Upanisads_. Oxford University Press. pp. 17–18. ISBN 978-0195070453 . * ^ Antonio Rigopoulos (1998), Dattatreya: The Immortal Guru, Yogin, and Avatara, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791436967 , page 81 note 27 * ^ Stephen H Phillips (1995), Classical Indian Metaphysics, Columbia University Press, ISBN 978-0812692983 , page 332 with note 68 * ^ Natalia Lidova (2014). "Natyashastra". Oxford University Press. doi :10.1093/obo/9780195399318-0071 . * ^ Tarla Mehta (1995). _ Sanskrit Play Production in Ancient India_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. xxiv, 19–20. ISBN 978-81-208-1057-0 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Michaels 2004 , p. 40. * ^ Michell 1977 , p. 18. * ^ Hartmut Scharfe (2002). _Handbook of Oriental Studies_. BRILL Academic. pp. 144–153. ISBN 90-04-12556-6 . * ^ Craig Lockard (2007). _Societies, Networks, and Transitions: Volume I: A Global History_. Houghton Mifflin. p. 188. ISBN 978-0618386123 . * ^ Collins, Charles Dillard (1988). _The Iconography and Ritual of Śiva at Elephanta_. State University of New York Press. p. 36. ISBN 978-0-88706-773-0 . * ^ Thomas Colburn (2002), Devī-māhātmya: The Crystallization of the Goddess Tradition, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120805576 , page 27 * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ Michaels 2004 , p. 42. * ^ Inden 1978 , p. 67. * ^ Vinay Lal, _Buddhism\'s Disappearance from India_ * ^ Sanderson, Alexis (2009), "The Śaiva Age: The Rise and Dominance of Śaivism during the Early Medieval Period." In: Genesis and Development of Tantrism, edited by Shingo Einoo, Tokyo: Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo, 2009. Institute of Oriental Culture Special Series, 23, pages 41-43. * ^ George Michell (1977). _The Hindu Temple: An Introduction to Its Meaning and Forms_. University of Chicago Press. pp. 100, 127, 143–144, 159–176. ISBN 978-0-226-53230-1 . * ^ Sanderson, Alexis. "The Śaiva Age: The Rise and Dominance of Śaivism during the Early Medieval Period." In: Genesis and Development of Tantrism, edited by Shingo Einoo. Tokyo: Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo, 2009. Institute of Oriental Culture Special Series, 23, pp. 124. * ^ Rocher 1986 , p. 138-151. * ^ Rocher 1986 , p. 185. * ^ Rocher 1986 , p. 158-160. * ^ Ariel Glucklich (2008). _The Strides of Vishnu : Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective: Hindu Culture in Historical Perspective_. Oxford University Press. pp. 145–162. ISBN 978-0-19-971825-2 . Quote (p. 146): The earliest promotional works aimed at tourists from that era were called _mahatmyas_. * ^ _A_ _B_ Urs App (2010), The Birth of Orientalism, University of Pennsylvania Press, ISBN 978-0812242614 , pages 331, 323-334 * ^ Rocher 1986 , p. 104-106 with footnotes, Quote: "I want to stress the fact that it would be irresponsible and highly misleading to speak of or pretend to describe the religion of the Puranas.". * ^ Ronald Inden (2000), Querying the Medieval : Texts and the History of Practices in South Asia, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195124309 , pages 95-96 * ^ Olson, Carl (2007). _The many colors of Hinduism: a thematic-historical introduction_. Rutgers University Press . p. 231. ISBN 978-0-8135-4068-9 . * ^ Karen Pechilis Prentiss (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903 , pages 17-18 * ^ Comans 2000 .

* ^ Isaeva, Natalia (1993). _Shankara and Indian Philosophy_. State University of New York Press. pp. 79–80. ISBN 978-0-7914-1281-7 . ; Natalia Isaeva (1995). _From Early Vedanta to Kashmir Shaivism: Gaudapada, Bhartrhari, and Abhinavagupta_. State University of New York Press. pp. 137, 163, 171–178. ISBN 978-1-4384-0761-6 . ; C. J. Bartley (2013). _The Theology of Ramanuja: Realism and Religion_. Routledge. pp. 1–4, 52–53, 79. ISBN 978-1-136-85306-7 . * ^ Texts his son Jahangir banned sending of slaves from Bengal as tribute in lieu of cash, which had been the custom since the 14th century. These measures notwithstanding, the Mughals actively participated in slave trade with Central Asia, deporting rebels and subjects who had defaulted on revenue payments, following precedents inherited from Delhi Sultanate". * ^ Grapperhaus 2009 , p. 118. * ^ Ayalon 1986 , p. 271. * ^ Abraham Eraly (2000), Emperors of the Peacock Throne: The Saga of the Great Mughals, Penguin Books, ISBN 978-0141001432 , pages 398-399

* ^ Avari 2013 , p. 115: citing a 2000 study, writes " Aurangzeb was perhaps no more culpable than most of the sultans before him; they desecrated the temples associated with Hindu power, not all temples. It is worth noting that, in contrast to the traditional claim of hundreds of Hindu temples having been destroyed by Aurangzeb, a recent study suggests a modest figure of just fifteen destructions."

In contrast to Avari, the historian Abraham Eraly estimates Aurangzeb era destruction to be significantly higher; "in 1670, all temples around Ujjain were destroyed"; and later, "300 temples were destroyed in and around Chitor, Udaipur and Jaipur " among other Hindu temples destroyed elsewhere in campaigns through 1705.

The persecution during the Islamic period targeted non-Hindus as well. Avari writes, "Aurangzeb's religious policy caused friction between him and the ninth Sikh guru, Tegh Bahadur. In both Punjab and Kashmir the Sikh leader was roused to action by Aurangzeb's excessively zealous Islamic policies. Seized and taken to Delhi, he was called upon by Aurangzeb to embrace Islam and, on refusal, was tortured for five days and then beheaded in November 1675. Two of the ten Sikh gurus thus died as martyrs at the hands of the Mughals . (Avari (2013), page 155) * ^ Basham 1999 . * ^ Smith 1999 , p. 381-384. * ^ Larson 1995 , p. 109. * ^ _A_ _B_ Larson 1995 , p. 111. * ^ _A_ _B_ Larson 1995 , p. 112. * ^ Hardy 1977 . * ^ Malik 2008 , p. 183-187. * ^ Avari 2013 , pp. 66-70: "Many Hindu slaves converted to Islam and gained their liberty." * ^ Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Mādhava Āchārya". Encyclopædia Britannica. * ^ Cynthia Talbot (2001), Precolonial India in Practice: Society, Region, and Identity in Medieval Andhra, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195136616 , pages 185–187, 199–201 * ^ Halbfass 1995 , pp. 29-30. * ^ R. Blake Michael (1992), The Origins of Vīraśaiva Sects, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120807761 , pages 60–62 with notes 6, 7 and 8 * ^ "Bal Gangadhar Tilak". _Encyclopædia Britannica_. * ^ http://www.britannica.com/place/India/Political-and-economic-decentralization-during-the-Mughal-decline#toc46985 * ^ Basham 1999 * ^ Flood 2006 , p. 34. * ^ Karen Pechelis (2014), The Embodiment of Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903 , pages 3-4, 15-28 * ^ J.T.F. Jordens, "Medieval Hindu Devotionalism" in & Basham 1999

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* Fowler, Jeaneane D. (1997). _Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices_. Sussex Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-898723-60-8 . * Flood, Gavin D. (1996), _An Introduction to Hinduism_, Cambridge University Press


* Parpola, Asko (2015). _The Roots of Hinduism. The Early Aryans and the Indus Civilization_. Oxford University Press. * Samuel, Geoffrey (2010), _The Origins of Yoga and Tantra. Indic Religions to the Thirteenth Century_, Cambridge University Press


* Klostermaier, Klaus K. (2007). _A Survey of Hinduism: Third Edition_. State University of New York Press. ISBN 9780791470824 . * Flood, Gavin (Ed) (2003). _Blackwell companion to Hinduism_. Blackwell Publishing . ISBN 0-631-21535-2 . CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link ) * Richards, Glyn, ed. (1985). _A Sourcebook of Modern Hinduism_. London: Curzon Press. x, 212 p. ISBN 0-7007-0173-7


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