Indian religions as a percentage of world population
Jainism (0.06%) Other (77.49%)
INDIAN RELIGIONS, sometimes also termed as DHARMIC faiths or
religions, are the religions that originated in the Indian
subcontinent ; namely
These religions are also all classified as
Eastern religions .
Indian religions are connected through the history of
they constitute a wide range of religious communities, and are not
confined to the Indian subcontinent.
Evidence attesting to prehistoric religion in the Indian subcontinent
derives from scattered
Mesolithic rock paintings. The Harappan people
Indus Valley Civilisation , which lasted from 3300 to 1300 BCE
(mature period, 2600–1900 BCE), had an early urbanized culture which
The documented history of
Indian religions begins with the historical
Vedic religion , the religious practices of the early
which were collected and later redacted into the
Vedas . The period of
the composition, redaction and commentary of these texts is known as
Vedic period , which lasted from roughly 1750 to 500 BCE. The
philosophical portions of the
Vedas were summarized in upanishads ,
which are commonly referred to as
Vedānta , variously interpreted to
mean either the "last chapters, parts of the Veda " or "the object,
the highest purpose of the Veda". The early
Upanishads all predate
the Common Era, five of the eleven principal
Upanishads were composed
in all likelihood before 6th century BCE, and contain the earliest
The Reform or
Shramanic Period between 800–200 BCE marks a "turning
point between the
Hinduism and Puranic Hinduism". The Shramana
movement, an ancient Indian religious movement parallel to but
Vedic tradition, which often defied many of the Vedic
and Upanishadic concepts of soul (Atman) and the ultimate reality
(Brahman). In 6th century BCE, the Shramnic movement matured into
Buddhism and was responsible for the schism of Indian
religions into two main philosophical branches of astika, which
venerates Veda (e.g., six orthodox schools of Hinduism) and nastika
(e.g., Buddhism, Jainism, Charvaka, etc.). However, both branches
shared the related concepts of
Yoga , saṃsāra (the cycle of birth
and death) and moksha (liberation from that cycle) .
The Puranic Period (200 BCE – 500 CE) and Early Medieval period
(500–1100 CE) gave rise to new configurations of Hinduism,
especially bhakti and
much smaller groups like the conservative
The early Islamic period (1100–1500 CE) also gave rise to new
Sikhism was founded in the 15th century on the teachings of
Guru Nanak and the nine successive
Sikh Gurus in
Northern India . The
vast majority of its adherents originate in the
Punjab region .
With the colonial dominance of the British a reinterpretation and
Hinduism arose, which aided the Indian independence
Major religious groups as a percentage of world
* 1 History
* 1.1 Periodisation
* 1.2 Prevedic religions (before c. 1750 BCE)
* 1.2.1 Prehistory
* 1.2.2 Indus Valley civilisation
* 1.2.3 Dravidian culture
Vedic period (1750-800 BCE)
* 1.3.1 Early
Vedic period – early
Vedic compositions (c.
* 1.3.2 Middle
Vedic period (c. 1200–850 BCE)
* 1.3.3 Late
Vedic period (from 850 BCE)
Shramanic period (c. 800–200 BCE)
* 1.5.1 Late
Vedic period –
Upanishads – Vedanta
* 1.5.2 Rise of
Shramanic tradition (7th to 5th centuries BCE)
* 1.5.3 Spread of
Buddhism (500–200 BCE)
* 1.6 Epic and Early Puranic Period (200 BCE – 500 CE)
* 1.6.1 Smriti
Vedanta – Brahma sutras (200 BCE)
* 1.7 Medieval and Late Puranic Period (500–1500 CE)
* 1.7.1 Late-Classical Period (c. 650–1100 CE)
* 1.7.2 Early Islamic rule (c. 1100–1500 CE)
* 18.104.22.168 Unifying
Sikhism (15th century)
* 1.8 Modern period (1500 – present)
* 1.8.1 Early modern period
* 1.8.2 Modern
India (after 1800)
* 2 Similarities and differences
* 2.1 Similarities
* 2.1.1 Soteriology
* 2.1.3 Mythology
* 2.2 Differences
* 2.2.2 Mythology
Āstika and nāstika categorisation
* 4 "Dharmic religions"
* 5 Status of non-Hindus in the Republic of
* 6 See also
* 7 Notes
* 8 References
* 9 Sources
* 9.1 Printed sources
* 9.2 Web sources
* 10 Further reading
* 11 External links
Outline of South Asian history ,
History of India , History
Hinduism , and History of
OUTLINE OF SOUTH ASIAN HISTORY
Palaeolithic (2,500,000–250,000 BCE)
Neolithic (10,800–3300 BCE)
Chalcolithic (3500–1500 BCE)
Bronze Age (3300–1300 BCE)
Indus Valley Civilisation
– Early Harappan Culture
– Mature Harappan Culture
– Late Harappan Culture
Ochre Coloured Pottery culture
Ochre Coloured Pottery culture
– Swat culture
Iron Age (1300–230 BCE)
– Black and Red ware culture
Painted Grey Ware culture
Northern Black Polished Ware
Three Crowned Kingdoms
(c. 600 BCE–1600 CE)
(c. 600–300 BCE)
(450 BCE–489 CE)
(c. 300 BCE–1345 CE)
(c. 300 BCE–1102 CE)
(c. 300 BCE–1279 CE)
(c. 250 BCE–800 CE)
(c. 250 BCE–c. 500 CE)
(247 BCE–224 CE)
Middle Kingdoms (230 BCE–1206 CE)
(230 BCE–220 CE)
(200 BCE–300 CE)
(200 BCE–400 CE)
(c. 150 BCE–c. 50 BCE)
(180 BCE–10 CE)
(21–c. 130 CE)
Western Satrap Empire
Nagas of Padmavati
(c. 250–c. 500)
(c. 250–c. 600)
Western Ganga Kingdom
Kabul Shahi Empire
(c. 550–c. 700)
Eastern Chalukya Kingdom
Western Chalukya Empire
Eastern Ganga Empire
Karnatas of Mithila
Kalachuris of Tripuri
Kalachuris of Kalyani
(c. 1200–c. 1300)
Medieval Period (1206–1600 CE)
– Mamluk Sultanate
– Khilji Sultanate
– Tughlaq Sultanate
– Sayyid Sultanate
– Lodi Sultanate
Early Modern Period (1526–1858)
Colonial States (1510–1961)
Sri Lankan Kingdoms (544 BCE–1948 CE)
Kingdom of Tambapanni
Kingdom of Upatissa Nuwara
(377 BCE–1017 CE)
Kingdom of Ruhuna
Kingdom of Polonnaruwa
Kingdom of Dambadeniya
Kingdom of Raigama
Kingdom of Kotte
Kingdom of Sitawaka
Kingdom of Kandy
Kingdom of Kandy
* Himachal Pradesh
* Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
* Uttar Pradesh
Partition of India
Partition of India
* Science font-size:115%;padding-top: 0.6em;">
Main article: Periodisation of
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, medieval and
modern periods", although this periodization has also received
Romila Thapar notes that the division of Hindu-Muslim-British periods
of Indian history gives too much weight to "ruling dynasties and
foreign invasions," neglecting the social-economic history which
often showed a strong continuity. The division in
Ancient-Medieval-Modern overlooks the fact that the Muslim-conquests
took place between the eight and the fourteenth century, while the
south was never completely conquered. According to Thapar, a
periodisation could also be based on "significant social and economic
changes," which are not strictly related to a change of ruling powers.
Smart and Michaels seem to follow Mill's periodisation, while Flood
and Muesse follow the "ancient, classical, mediaeval and modern
periods" periodisation. An elaborate periodisation may be as follows:
* Pre-history and
Indus Valley Civilisation (until c. 1750 BCE);
Vedic period (c. 1750-500 BCE);
* "Second Urbanisation" (c. 500-200 BCE);
* Classical period (c. 200 BCE-1100 CE);
* Pre-classical period (c. 200 BCE-300 CE);
* "Golden Age" (Gupta Empire) (c. 320-650 CE);
* Late-Classical period (c. 650-1100 CE);
* Islamic period (c. 1100-1850 CE) and beginning of western
colonialism (c. 1500-1850);
* Modern period (
British Raj and independence) (from c. 1850).
PREVEDIC RELIGIONS (BEFORE C. 1750 BCE)
"Priest King" of
Indus Valley Civilisation
Evidence attesting to prehistoric religion in the Indian subcontinent
derives from scattered
Mesolithic rock paintings such as at Bhimbetka
, depicting dances and rituals.
Neolithic agriculturalists inhabiting
Indus River Valley buried their dead in a manner suggestive of
spiritual practices that incorporated notions of an afterlife and
belief in magic. Other
South Asian Stone Age sites, such as the
Bhimbetka rock shelters in central
Madhya Pradesh and the Kupgal
petroglyphs of eastern Karnataka, contain rock art portraying
religious rites and evidence of possible ritualised music.
Indus Valley Civilisation
Pashupati seal, showing a seated and possibly
ithyphallic figure, surrounded by animals Further information:
The religion and belief system of the Indus valley people have
received considerable attention, especially from the view of
identifying precursors to deities and religious practices of Indian
religions that later developed in the area. However, due to the
sparsity of evidence, which is open to varying interpretations, and
the fact that the Indus script remains undeciphered, the conclusions
are partly speculative and largely based on a retrospective view from
a much later
Hindu perspective. An early and influential work in the
area that set the trend for
Hindu interpretations of archaeological
evidence from the Harrapan sites was that of John Marshall , who in
1931 identified the following as prominent features of the Indus
religion: a Great Male
God and a Mother Goddess; deification or
veneration of animals and plants; symbolic representation of the
phallus (linga ) and vulva (yoni ); and, use of baths and water in
religious practice. Marshall's interpretations have been much debated,
and sometimes disputed over the following decades.
One Indus valley seal shows a seated, possibly ithyphallic and
tricephalic, figure with a horned headdress, surrounded by animals.
Marshall identified the figure as an early form of the
Hindu god Shiva
Rudra ), who is associated with asceticism, yoga , and linga;
regarded as a lord of animals; and often depicted as having three
eyes. The seal has hence come to be known as the
Pashupati Seal ,
Pashupati (lord of all animals), an epithet of Shiva. While
Marshall's work has earned some support, many critics and even
supporters have raised several objections. Doris Srinivasan has argued
that the figure does not have three faces, or yogic posture, and that
Rudra was not a protector of wild animals.
Herbert Sullivan and
Alf Hiltebeitel also rejected Marshall's
conclusions, with the former claiming that the figure was female,
while the latter associated the figure with Mahisha, the Buffalo God
and the surrounding animals with vahanas (vehicles) of deities for the
four cardinal directions. Writing in 2002, Gregory L. Possehl
concluded that while it would be appropriate to recognise the figure
as a deity, its association with the water buffalo, and its posture as
one of ritual discipline, regarding it as a proto-
Shiva would be going
too far. Despite the criticisms of Marshall's association of the seal
with a proto-
Shiva icon, it has been interpreted as the Tirthankara
Rishabha by Jains and Dr. Vilas Sangave or an early
Buddhists. Historians like
Heinrich Zimmer ,
Thomas McEvilley are of
the opinion that there exists some link between first
Rishabha and Indus Valley civilisation.
Marshall hypothesized the existence of a cult of Mother Goddess
worship based upon excavation of several female figurines, and thought
that this was a precursor of the
Hindu sect of
Shaktism . However the
function of the female figurines in the life of Indus Valley people
remains unclear, and Possehl does not regard the evidence for
Marshall's hypothesis to be "terribly robust". Some of the baetyls
interpreted by Marshall to be sacred phallic representations are now
thought to have been used as pestles or game counters instead, while
the ring stones that were thought to symbolise yoni were determined to
be architectural features used to stand pillars, although the
possibility of their religious symbolism cannot be eliminated. Many
Indus Valley seals show animals, with some depicting them being
carried in processions, while others show chimeric creations . One
seal from Mohen-jodaro shows a half-human, half-buffalo monster
attacking a tiger, which may be a reference to the Sumerian myth of
such a monster created by goddess Aruru to fight
In contrast to contemporary Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilisations,
Indus valley lacks any monumental palaces, even though excavated
cities indicate that the society possessed the requisite engineering
knowledge. This may suggest that religious ceremonies, if any, may
have been largely confined to individual homes, small temples, or the
open air. Several sites have been proposed by Marshall and later
scholars as possibly devoted to religious purpose, but at present only
Great Bath at Mohenjo-daro is widely thought to have been so used,
as a place for ritual purification. The funerary practices of the
Harappan civilisation is marked by its diversity with evidence of
supine burial; fractional burial in which the body is reduced to
skeletal remains by exposure to the elements before final interment;
and even cremation.
South India ,
Dravidian peoples , Native Dravidian religion
The early Dravidian religion constituted of non-
Vedic form of
Hinduism in that they were either historically or are at present
Āgamic . The Agamas are non-vedic in origin and have been dated
either as post-vedic texts. or as pre-vedic oral compositions. The
Agamas are a collection of Tamil and later
Sanskrit scriptures chiefly
constituting the methods of temple construction and creation of murti
, worship means of deities, philosophical doctrines, meditative
practices, attainment of sixfold desires and four kinds of yoga. The
worship of tutelary deity , sacred flora and fauna in
Hinduism is also
recognized as a survival of the pre-
Vedic Dravidian religion.
Saga Agastya, father of Tamil literature
Ancient Tamil grammatical works
Tolkappiyam , the ten anthologies
Pattuppāṭṭu , the eight anthologies
Eṭṭuttokai also sheds
light on early religion of ancient Dravidians. Seyon was glorified as
the red god seated on the blue peacock, who is ever young and
resplendent, as the favored god of the Tamils. Sivan was also seen as
the supreme God. Early iconography of Seyyon and Sivan and
their association with native flora and fauna goes back to Indus
Valley Civilization. The
Sangam landscape was classified into
five categories, thinais, based on the mood, the season and the land.
Tolkappiyam , mentions that each of these thinai had an associated
deity such Seyyon in Kurinji-the hills, Thirumaal in Mullai-the
forests, and Kotravai in Marutham-the plains, and Wanji-ko in the
Neithal-the coasts and the seas. Other gods mentioned were Mayyon and
Vaali who were all assimilated into
Hinduism over time. Dravidian
linguistic influence on early
Vedic religion is evident, many of
these features are already present in the oldest known Indo-Aryan
language , the language of the
Rigveda (c. 1500 BCE), which also
includes over a dozen words borrowed from Dravidian. This
represents an early religious and cultural fusion or synthesis
between ancient Dravidians and Indo-Aryans, which became more evident
over time with sacred iconography, traditions, philosophy, flora and
fauna that went on to influence Hinduism, Buddhism, Charvaka, Sramana
Jainism Typical layout of Dravidian architecture which
evolved from koyil as king's residence
Tamilakam , a king was considered to be divine by nature
and possessed religious significance. The king was 'the
God on earth’ and lived in a “koyil”, which
means the “residence of a god”. The Modern Tamil word for temple
is koil . Titual worship was also given to kings. Modern words for
god like “kō” (“king”), “iṟai” (“emperor”) and
“āṇḍavar” ( “conqueror”) now primarily refer to gods.
These elements were incorporated later into
Hinduism like the
legendary marriage of
Shiva to Queen Mīnātchi who ruled
Wanji-ko , a god who later merged into
Tolkappiyar refers to
Three Crowned Kings as the “Three Glorified by Heaven”. In
the Dravidian-speaking South, the concept of divine kingship led to
the assumption of major roles by state and temple.
The cult of the mother goddess is treated as an indication of a
society which venerated femininity. This mother goddess was conceived
as a virgin, one who has given birth to all and one, typically
Shaktism . The temples of the Sangam days, mainly of
Madurai, seem to have had priestesses to the deity, which also appear
predominantly a goddess. In the Sangam literature, there is an
elaborate description of the rites performed by the Kurava priestess
in the shrine Palamutircholai. Among the early Dravidians the
practice of erecting memorial stones “Natukal or
Hero Stone had
appeared, and it continued for quite a long time after the Sangam age,
down to about 16th century. It was customary for people who sought
victory in war to worship these hero stones to bless them with
VEDIC PERIOD (1750-800 BCE)
Vedic period and
Historical Vedic religion See also:
Proto-Indo-European religion and
The documented history of
Indian religions begins with the historical
Vedic religion , the religious practices of the early
which were collected and later redacted into the
known as the Vedas), four canonical collections of hymns or mantras
composed in archaic
Sanskrit . These texts are the central shruti
(revealed) texts of
Hinduism . The period of the composition,
redaction and commentary of these texts is known as the
Vedic period ,
which lasted from roughly 1750 to 500 BCE.
Vedic Period is most significant for the composition of the four
Brahmanas and the older
Upanishads (both presented as
discussions on the rituals, mantras and concepts found in the four
Vedas), which today are some of the most important canonical texts of
Hinduism, and are the codification of much of what developed into the
core beliefs of Hinduism.
Hindu scholars use the "
Vedic religion" synonymously with
"Hinduism." According to Sundararajan,
Hinduism is also known as the
Vedic religion. Other authors state that the
Vedas contain "the
fundamental truths about
Hindu Dharma" which is called "the modern
version of the ancient
Vedic Dharma" The Arya Samajis recognize the
Vedic religion as true Hinduism. Nevertheless, according to Jamison
... to call this period
Hinduism is a contradiction in terms
Vedic religion is very different from what we generally call
Hindu religion – at least as much as Old Hebrew religion is from
medieval and modern Christian religion. However,
Vedic religion is
treatable as a predecessor of Hinduism."
Vedic Period – Early
Vedic Compositions (c. 1750–1200 BCE)
The rishis , the composers of the hymns of the
Rigveda , were
considered inspired poets and seers.
The mode of worship was the performance of
Yajna , sacrifices which
involved sacrifice and sublimation of the havana sámagri (herbal
preparations) in the fire, accompanied by the singing of Samans and
Yajus , the sacrificial mantras. The sublime meaning of
the word yajna is derived from the
Sanskrit verb yaj, which has a
three-fold meaning of worship of deities (devapujana), unity
(saògatikaraña) and charity (dána). An essential element was the
sacrificial fire – the divine
Agni – into which oblations were
poured, as everything offered into the fire was believed to reach God.
Central concepts in the
Satya is derived
from Sat , the present participle of the verbal root as, "to be, to
exist, to live". Sat means "that which really exists the really
existent truth; the Good", and Sat-ya means "is-ness". Rta, "that
which is properly joined; order, rule; truth", is the principle of
natural order which regulates and coordinates the operation of the
universe and everything within it. "
Satya (truth as being) and rita
(truth as law) are the primary principles of Reality and its
manifestation is the background of the canons of dharma, or a life of
Satya is the principle of integration rooted in the
Absolute, rita is its application and function as the rule and order
operating in the universe." Conformity with
Ṛta would enable
progress whereas its violation would lead to punishment. Panikkar
Ṛta is the ultimate foundation of everything; it is "the supreme",
although this is not to be understood in a static sense. It is the
expression of the primordial dynamism that is inherent in
The term rta is inherited from the
Proto-Indo-Iranian religion , the
religion of the Indo-Iranian peoples prior to the earliest Vedic
(Indo-Aryan) and Zoroastrian (Iranian) scriptures. "
Asha " is the
Avestan language term (corresponding to
Vedic language ṛta ) for a
concept of cardinal importance to Zoroastrian theology and doctrine.
The term "dharma" was already used in Brahmanical thought, where it
was conceived as an aspect of
Major philosophers of this era were Rishis Narayana, Kanva, Rishaba ,
Vamadeva , and Angiras .
Vedic Period (c. 1200–850 BCE)
Painted Grey Ware culture
During the Middle
Vedic period Rgveda X, the mantras of the Yajurveda
and the older
Brahmana texts were composed. The
Historical roots of
India is traced back to 9th-century BC
with the rise of
Parshvanatha and his non-violent philosophy.
Vedic Period (from 850 BCE)
Vedic religion evolved into
Vedanta , a religious
path considering itself the 'essence' of the Vedas, interpreting the
Vedic pantheon as a unitary view of the universe with 'God' (Brahman)
seen as immanent and transcendent in the forms of
Ishvara and Brahman
. This post-
Vedic systems of thought, along with the
later texts like epics (namely
Mahabharat ), is a major
component of modern Hinduism. The ritualistic traditions of Vedic
religion are preserved in the conservative
Vedic times, "people from many strata of society throughout the
subcontinent tended to adapt their religious and social life to
Brahmanic norms", a process sometimes called
Sanskritization . It is
reflected in the tendency to identify local deities with the gods of
SHRAMANIC PERIOD (C. 800–200 BCE)
Statue of a standing
Bodhisattva A statue of
During the time of the shramanic reform movements "many elements of
Vedic religion were lost". According to Michaels, "it is
justified to see a turning point between the
Vedic religion and Hindu
Vedic Period –
Swastika Main articles:
Upanishads , and
Vedic period (9th to 6th centuries BCE) marks the beginning
of the Upanisadic or
Vedantic period. This period heralded the
beginning of much of what became classical Hinduism, with the
composition of the
Upanishads , :183 later the
Sanskrit epics , still
later followed by the
Upanishads form the speculative-philosophical basis of classical
Hinduism and are known as
Vedanta (conclusion of the
Vedas ). The
Upanishads launched attacks of increasing intensity on the
ritual. Anyone who worships a divinity other than the Self is called a
domestic animal of the gods in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. The
Mundaka launches the most scathing attack on the ritual by comparing
those who value sacrifice with an unsafe boat that is endlessly
overtaken by old age and death.
Scholars believe that
Parsva , the 23rd
Jain tirthankara lived during
this period in the 9th century BCE.
Shramanic Tradition (7th To 5th Centuries BCE)
Buddhism belong to the sramana tradition. These religions
rose into prominence in 700–500 BCE in the
reflecting "the cosmology and anthropology of a much older, pre-Aryan
upper class of northeastern India", and were responsible for the
related concepts of saṃsāra (the cycle of birth and death) and
moksha (liberation from that cycle).
The shramana movements challenged the orthodoxy of the rituals. The
shramanas were wandering ascetics distinct from Vedism.
Mahavira, proponent of
Jainism , and
Buddha (c. 563-483), founder of
Buddhism were the most prominent icons of this movement.
Shramana gave rise to the concept of the cycle of birth and death,
the concept of samsara , and the concept of liberation. The
Buddhism has been a subject of debate among
scholars. While Radhakrishnan , Oldenberg and Neumann were convinced
of Upanishadic influence on the
Buddhist canon, Eliot and Thomas
highlighted the points where
Buddhism was opposed to Upanishads.
Buddhism may have been influenced by some Upanishadic ideas, it
however discarded their orthodox tendencies. In
Buddhist texts Buddha
is presented as rejecting avenues of salvation as "pernicious views".
Jainism , Timeline of
Jainism , and Jain
Jainism was established by a lineage of 24 enlightened beings
Parsva (9th century BCE) and
Mahavira (6th century
Mahavira , stressed five vows,
including ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya
(non-stealing) and aparigraha (non-attachment).
believes the teachings of the Tirthankaras predates all known time and
Parshva , accorded status as the 23rd Tirthankara,
was a historical figure. The
Vedas are believed to have documented a
few Tirthankaras and an ascetic order similar to the shramana
Main articles: Gautama
Buddhism , Early
Buddhism , History of
Buddhism , and History of Buddhism
Buddhism was historically founded by Siddhartha Gautama , a Kshatriya
prince-turned-ascetic, and was spread beyond
missionaries. It later experienced a decline in India, but survived in
Sri Lanka , and remains more widespread in Southeast and
East Asia .
Buddha , who was called an "awakened one" (
Buddha ), was born
Shakya clan living at Kapilavastu and Lumbini in what is now
southern Nepal. The
Buddha was born at Lumbini, as emperor
Lumbini pillar records, just before the kingdom of
traditionally is said to have lasted from c. 546–324 BCE) rose to
power. The Shakyas claimed Angirasa and
Gautama Maharishi lineage,
via descent from the royal lineage of Ayodhya.
Buddhism emphasises enlightenment (nibbana, nirvana) and liberation
from the rounds of rebirth. This objective is pursued through two
schools, Theravada, the Way of the Elders (practised in Sri Lanka,
Burma, Thailand, SE Asia, etc.) and Mahayana, the Greater Way
(practised in Tibet, China, Japan etc.). There may be some differences
in the practice between the two schools in reaching the objective. In
Theravada practice this is pursued in seven stages of purification
(visuddhi); viz. physical purification by taking precepts (sila
visiddhi), mental purification by insight meditation (citta visuddhi),
followed by purification of views and concepts (ditthi visuddhi),
purification by overcoming of doubts (kinkha vitarana vishuddhi),
purification by acquiring knowledge and wisdom of the right path
(maggarmagga-nanadasana visuddhi), attaining knowledge and wisdom
through the course of practice (patipada-nanadasana visuddhi), and
purification by attaining knowledge and insight wisdom (nanadasana
visuddhi) (ref: The Progress of Insight Visuddhinana katha. Ven Mahasi
sayadaw, translated by Nyanaponika Thera. 1994. ISBN 955-24-0090-2 )
Buddhism (500–200 BCE)
Mahabodhi Temple ,
Bodh Gaya ,
Maurya Empire and Silk Road transmission of
Buddhism spread throughout
India during the period
Magadha empire .
India spread during the reign of
Ashoka of the Maurya
Empire , who patronised
Buddhist teachings and unified the Indian
subcontinent in the 3rd century BCE. He sent missionaries abroad,
Buddhism to spread across Asia.
Jainism began its golden
period during the reign of Emperor
Kharavela of Kalinga in the 2nd
EPIC AND EARLY PURANIC PERIOD (200 BCE – 500 CE)
A statue of Lord
Krishna Sri Ranganatha Swamy Temple in
Tamil Nadu , India, is the largest functioning
in the world. Akshardham Tirumala Venkateswara Temple
, the most visited and richest
Hindu temple in the world Main
Pala Empire and
Flood and Muesse take the period between 200 BCE and 500 BCE as a
separate period, in which the epics and the first puranas were being
written. Michaels takes a greater timespan, namely the period between
200 BCE and 1100 CE, which saw the rise of so-called "Classical
Hinduism", with its "golden age" during the Gupta Empire.
Alf Hiltebeitel , a period of consolidation in the
Hinduism took place between the time of the late Vedic
Upanishad (c. 500 BCE) and the period of the rise of the Guptas (c.
320–467 CE), which he calls the "Hindus synthesis", "Brahmanic
synthesis", or "orthodox synthesis". It develops in interaction with
other religions and peoples:
The emerging self-definitions of
Hinduism were forged in the context
of continuous interaction with heterodox religions (Buddhists, Jains,
Ajivikas) throughout this whole period, and with foreign people
(Yavanas, or Greeks; Sakas, or Scythians; Pahlavas, or Parthians; and
Kusanas, or Kushans) from the third phase on .
The end of the
Vedantic period around the 2nd century CE spawned a
number of branches that furthered
Vedantic philosophy, and which ended
up being seminaries in their own right. Prominent amongst these
Advaita and the medieval Bhakti
The smriti texts of the period between 200 BCE-100 CE proclaim the
authority of the Vedas, and "nonrejection of the
Vedas comes to be one
of the most important touchstones for defining
Hinduism over and
against the heterodoxies, which rejected the Vedas." Of the six Hindu
Mimamsa and the
Vedanta "are rooted primarily in the
Vedic sruti tradition and are sometimes called smarta schools in the
sense that they develop smarta orthodox current of thoughts that are
based, like smriti, directly on sruti." According to Hiltebeitel,
"the consolidation of
Hinduism takes place under the sign of bhakti."
It is the Bhagavadgita that seals this achievement. The result is a
universal achievement that may be called smarta . It views
Vishnu as "complementary in their functions but ontologically
Brahma Sutras (200 BCE)
In earlier writings,
Sanskrit 'Vedānta' simply referred to the
Upanishads , the most speculative and philosophical of the Vedic
texts. However, in the medieval period of Hinduism, the word Vedānta
came to mean the school of philosophy that interpreted the Upanishads.
Vedānta considers scriptural evidence, or shabda pramāna
, as the most authentic means of knowledge, while perception, or
pratyaksa , and logical inference, or anumana , are considered to be
subordinate (but valid).
The systematisation of
Vedantic ideas into one coherent treatise was
undertaken by Badarāyana in the
Brahma Sutras which was composed
around 200 BCE. The cryptic aphorisms of the
Brahma Sutras are open
to a variety of interpretations. This resulted in the formation of
Vedanta schools, each interpreting the texts in its own way
and producing its own sub-commentaries.
After 200 CE several schools of thought were formally codified in
Indian philosophy, including
Vedanta . Hinduism, otherwise a highly
polytheistic, pantheistic or monotheistic religion, also tolerated
atheistic schools . The thoroughly materialistic and anti-religious
Cārvāka school that originated around the 6th century
BCE is the most explicitly atheistic school of Indian philosophy.
Cārvāka is classified as a nāstika ("heterodox") system; it is not
included among the six schools of
Hinduism generally regarded as
orthodox. It is noteworthy as evidence of a materialistic movement
within Hinduism. Our understanding of
Cārvāka philosophy is
fragmentary, based largely on criticism of the ideas by other schools,
and it is no longer a living tradition. Other Indian philosophies
generally regarded as atheistic include
Samkhya and Mimāṃsā.
The Golden Temple of
Vellore Main articles:
Ramayana , and
Two of Hinduism's most revered epics, the
Mahabharata and Ramayana
were compositions of this period. Devotion to particular deities was
reflected from the composition of texts composed to their worship. For
example, the Ganapati Purana was written for devotion to Ganapati (or
Ganesh ). Popular deities of this era were
Surya , Skanda , and
Ganesh (including the forms/incarnations of these
In the latter
Vedantic period, several texts were also composed as
summaries/attachments to the Upanishads. These texts collectively
Puranas allowed for a divine and mythical interpretation of
the world, not unlike the ancient Hellenic or Roman religions. Legends
and epics with a multitude of gods and goddesses with human-like
characteristics were composed.
Jainism And Buddhism
Main article: Decline of
Gupta period marked a watershed of Indian culture: the Guptas
Vedic sacrifices to legitimize their rule, but they also
Buddhism , which continued to provide an alternative to
Buddhism continued to have a significant
presence in some regions of
India until the 12th century.
There were several Buddhistic kings who worshiped
Vishnu , such as
Gupta Empire ,
Pala Empire , Malla Empire ,
Somavanshi , and
Buddhism survived followed by Hindus. National
Tantrism originated in the early centuries CE and developed into a
fully articulated tradition by the end of the
Gupta period . According
to Michaels this was the "Golden Age of Hinduism" (c. 320–650 CE ),
which flourished during the
Gupta Empire (320 to 550 CE) until the
fall of the
Harsha Empire (606 to 647 CE). During this period, power
was centralised, along with a growth of far distance trade,
standardizarion of legal procedures, and general spread of literacy.
Buddhism flourished, but the orthodox
Brahmana culture began
to be rejuvenated by the patronage of the Gupta Dynasty. The position
Brahmans was reinforced, and the first
Hindu temples emerged
during the late Gupta age.
MEDIEVAL AND LATE PURANIC PERIOD (500–1500 CE)
Late-Classical Period (c. 650–1100 CE)
See also Late-Classical Age and
Hinduism Middle Ages
After the end of the
Gupta Empire and the collapse of the Harsha
Empire, power became decentralised in India. Several larger kingdoms
emerged, with "countless vasal states". The kingdoms were ruled via
a feudal system. Smaller kingdoms were dependent on the protection of
the larger kingdoms. "The great king was remote, was exalted and
deified", as reflected in the Tantric
Mandala , which could also
depict the king as the centre of the mandala.
The disintegration of central power also lead to regionalisation of
religiosity, and religious rivalry. Local cults and languages were
enhanced, and the influence of "Brahmanic ritualistic Hinduism" was
diminished. Rural and devotional movements arose, along with Shaivism
Bhakti and Tantra, though "sectarian groupings were
only at the beginning of their development". Religious movements had
to compete for recognition by the local lords.
Buddhism lost its
position, and began to disappear in India.
In the same period
Vedanta changed, incorporating
and its emphasis on consciousness and the working of the mind.
Buddhism, which was supported by the ancient Indian urban civilisation
lost influence to the traditional religions, which were rooted in the
countryside. In Bengal,
Buddhism was even prosecuted. But at the same
Buddhism was incorporated into Hinduism, when Gaudapada used
Buddhist philosophy to reinterpret the Upanishads. This also marked a
shift from Atman and
Brahman as a "living substance" to "maya-vada" ,
where Atman and
Brahman are seen as "pure knowledge-consciousness".
According to Scheepers, it is this "maya-vada" view which has come to
dominate Indian thought.
Main article: Decline of
Between 400 and 1000 CE
Hinduism expanded as the decline of Buddhism
Buddhism subsequently became effectively extinct
India but survived in
Nepal and Sri Lanka.
Bhakti movement ,
Alwars , and
Bhakti movement began with the emphasis on the worship of God,
regardless of one's status – whether priestly or laypeople, men or
women, higher social status or lower social status. The movements were
mainly centered on the forms of
Krishna ) and Shiva.
There were however popular devotees of this era of
Durga . The
best-known devotees are the
Nayanars from southern India. The most
popular Shaiva teacher of the south was
Basava , while of the north it
Gorakhnath . Female saints include figures like Akkamadevi ,
Lalleshvari and Molla .
The "alwar" or "azhwars" (Tamil : ஆழ்வார்கள்,
āzvārkaḷ , those immersed in god) were Tamil poet-saints of south
India who lived between the 6th and 9th centuries CE and espoused
"emotional devotion" or bhakti to Visnu-
Krishna in their songs of
longing, ecstasy and service. The most popular Vaishnava teacher of
the south was
Ramanuja , while of the north it was
Several important icons were women. For example, within the
Mahanubhava sect, the women outnumbered the men, and administration
was many times composed mainly of women. Mirabai is the most popular
female saint in India.
Vallabha Acharya (1479–1531) is a very important figure from
this era. He founded the Shuddha
Advaita (Pure Non-dualism) school of
According to The Centre for Cultural Resources and Training,
Vaishanava bhakti literature was an all-
India phenomenon, which
started in the 6th–7th century A.D. in the Tamil -speaking region of
South India, with twelve
Alvar (one immersed in God) saint-poets, who
wrote devotional songs. The religion of
Alvar poets, which included a
woman poet, Andal, was devotion to
God through love (bhakti), and in
the ecstasy of such devotions they sang hundreds of songs which
embodied both depth of feeling and felicity of expressions
Early Islamic Rule (c. 1100–1500 CE)
Muslim conquest of India ,
Islamic Empires in India ,
Bahmani Sultanate ,
Deccan Sultanates ,
Delhi Sultanate , and Sufism
In the 12th and 13th centuries, Turks and Afghans invaded parts of
India and established the
Delhi Sultanate in the former
Rajput holdings. The subsequent Slave dynasty of
Delhi managed to
conquer large areas of northern India, approximately equal in extent
to the ancient
Gupta Empire , while the
Khilji dynasty conquered most
India but were ultimately unsuccessful in conquering and
uniting the subcontinent. The Sultanate ushered in a period of Indian
cultural renaissance. The resulting "Indo-Muslim" fusion of cultures
left lasting syncretic monuments in architecture, music, literature,
religion, and clothing.
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During the 14th to 17th centuries, a great
Bhakti movement swept
through central and northern India, initiated by a loosely associated
group of teachers or Sants .
Ravidas , Srimanta Sankardeva
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu ,
Vallabha Acharya , Sur ,
Tukaram and other mystics
Bhakti movement in the North while
Bhadrachala Ramadas ,
Tyagaraja among others propagated
Bhakti in the
South. They taught that people could cast aside the heavy burdens of
ritual and caste, and the subtle complexities of philosophy, and
simply express their overwhelming love for God. This period was also
characterized by a spate of devotional literature in vernacular prose
and poetry in the ethnic languages of the various Indian states or
Lingayatism is a distinct Shaivite tradition in India, established in
the 12th century by the philosopher and social reformer Basavanna. The
adherents of this tradition are known as Lingayats. The term is
derived from Lingavantha in Kannada, meaning 'one who wears Ishtalinga
on their body' (Ishtalinga is the representation of the God). In
Lingayat theology, Ishtalinga is an oval-shaped emblem symbolising
Parasiva, the absolute reality. Contemporary
Lingayatism follows a
progressive reform–based theology propounded, which has great
influence in South India, especially in the state of Karnataka.
Main article: Unifying
According to Nicholson, already between the 12th and 16th century,
... certain thinkers began to treat as a single whole the diverse
philosophival teachings of the Upanishads, epics, Puranas, and the
schools known retrospectively as the "six systems" (saddarsana) of
The tendency of "a blurring of philosophical distinctions" has also
been noted by Burley. Lorenzen locates the origins of a distinct
Hindu identity in the interaction between Muslims and Hindus, and a
process of "mutual self-definition with a contrasting Muslim other",
which started well before 1800. Both the Indian and the European
thinkers who developed the term "Hinduism" in the 19th century were
influenced by these philosophers.
Sikhism (15th Century)
Harmandir Sahib or the Golden Temple of the
Sikhism See also: History of
Hinduism , and
Sikhism originated in 15th-century Punjab ,
Delhi Sultanate (present
Pakistan ) with the teachings of Nanak and nine
successive gurus . The principal belief in
Sikhism is faith in
Vāhigurū — represented by the sacred symbol of ēk ōaṅkār .
Sikhism's traditions and teachings are distinctly associated with the
history, society and culture of the Punjab . Adherents of
Sikhs (students or disciples) and number over 27 million
across the world.
MODERN PERIOD (1500 – PRESENT)
Early Modern Period
Mughal period and
Gavin Flood , the modern period in
India begins with the
first contacts with western nations around 1500. The period of
Mughal rule in
India saw the rise of new forms of religiosity.
India (after 1800)
Mahamagam Festival is a holy festival celebrated once in twelve
Tamil Nadu . Mahamagam Festival, which is held at Kumbakonam
. This festival is also called as Kumbamela of South. The
largest religious gathering ever held on Earth, the 2001 Maha Kumbh
Mela held in
Prayag attracted around 70 million Hindus from around the
Hindu reform movements ,
Hindutva , and
Communalism (South Asia)
In the 19th century, under influence of the colonial forces, a
synthetic vision of
Hinduism was formulated by
Raja Ram Mohan Roy
Raja Ram Mohan Roy ,
Swami Vivekananda ,
Sri Aurobindo ,
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and
Mahatma Gandhi . These thinkers have tended to take an inclusive view
of India's religious history, emphasising the similarities between the
various Indian religions.
The modern era has given rise to dozens of
Hindu saints with
international influence. For example,
Brahma Baba established the
Brahma Kumaris, one of the largest new
Hindu religious movements which
teaches the discipline of Raja
Yoga to millions. Representing
Prabhupada founded the Hare Krishna
movement, another organisation with a global reach. In late
Swaminarayan founded the
Swaminarayan Sampraday .
Anandamurti , founder of the
Ananda Marga , has also influenced many
worldwide. Through the international influence of all of these new
Hindu denominations, many
Hindu practices such as yoga, meditation,
mantra, divination, and vegetarianism have been adopted by new
Jainism continues to be an influential religion and
live in Indian states
Madhya Pradesh ,
Tamil Nadu . Jains authored several
classical books in different Indian languages for a considerable
period of time.
Buddhist movement also referred to as
Navayana is a 19th-
Buddhist revival movement in India. It received its
most substantial impetus from
B. R. Ambedkar 's call for the
conversion of Dalits to
Buddhism in 1956 and the opportunity to escape
the caste -based society that considered them to be the lowest in the
SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES
Map showing the prevalence of Abrahamic (pink) and Indian
religions (yellow) in each country
According to Tilak, the religions of
India can be interpreted
"differentially" or "integrally", that is by either highlighting the
differences or the similarities. According to Sherma and Sarma,
western Indologists have tended to emphasise the differences, while
Indian Indologists have tended to emphasise the similarities.
Sikhism share certain key concepts,
which are interpreted differently by different groups and individuals.
Until the 19th century, adherents of those various religions did not
tend to label themselves as in opposition to each other, but
"perceived themselves as belonging to the same extended cultural
Sikhism share the concept of moksha ,
liberation from the cycle of rebirth. They differ however on the
exact nature of this liberation.
Common traits can also be observed in ritual. The head-anointing
ritual of abhiseka is of importance in three of these distinct
Buddhism it is found within
Vajrayana ). Other noteworthy rituals are the cremation of the dead,
the wearing of vermilion on the head by married women, and various
marital rituals. In literature, many classical narratives and purana
Jain versions. All four traditions have
notions of karma , dharma , samsara , moksha and various forms of Yoga
Rama is a heroic figure in all of these religions. In
Hinduism he is
the God-incarnate in the form of a princely king; in Buddhism, he is a
Bodhisattva -incarnate; in Jainism, he is the perfect human being.
Buddhist Ramayanas are: Vessantarajataka,
Phra Lak Phra Lam , Hikayat Seri
Rama etc. There also
exists the Khamti
Ramayana among the Khamti tribe of Asom wherein Rama
Avatar of a
Bodhisattva who incarnates to punish the demon king
Ravana (B.Datta 1993). The Tai
Ramayana is another book retelling the
divine story in Asom.
Critics point out that there exist vast differences between and even
within the various Indian religions. All major religions are
composed of innumerable sects and subsects.
For a Hindu, dharma is his duty. For a Jain, dharma is righteousness,
his conduct. For a Buddhist, dharma is usually taken to be the
Indian mythology also reflects the competition between the various
Indian religions. A popular story tells how
Vajrapani kills Mahesvara,
a manifestation of
Shiva depicted as an evil being. The story occurs
in several scriptures, most notably the Sarvatathagatatattvasamgraha
and the Vajrapany-abhiseka-mahatantra. According to Kalupahana, the
story "echoes" the story of the conversion of Ambattha. It is to be
understood in the context of the competition between Buddhist
ĀSTIKA AND NāSTIKA CATEGORISATION
Āstika and nāstika ,
Hindu philosophy , and Buddhism
Hinduism See also:
Adi Shankara and
Āstika and nāstika are variously defined terms sometimes used to
categorise Indian religions. The traditional definition, followed by
Adi Shankara , classifies religions and persons as āstika and
nāstika according to whether they accept the authority of the main
Hindu texts, the Vedas, as supreme revealed scriptures, or not. By
Yoga , Purva Mimamsa
Vedanta are classified as āstika schools, while
classified as a nāstika school.
Jainism are also thus
classified as nāstika religions since they do not accept the
authority of the Vedas.
Another set of definitions—notably distinct from the usage of Hindu
philosophy—loosely characterise āstika as "theist " and nāstika as
"atheist ". By these definitions, Sāṃkhya can be considered a
nāstika philosophy, though it is traditionally classed among the
Vedic āstika schools. From this point of view,
Buddhism and Jainism
remain nāstika religions.
Buddhists and Jains have disagreed that they are nastika and have
redefined the phrases āstika and nāstika in their own view. Jains
assign the term nastika to one who is ignorant of the meaning of the
religious texts, or those who deny the existence of the soul was well
known to the Jainas.
Frawley and Malhotra use the term "Dharmic traditions" to highlight
the similarities between the various Indian religions. According to
Frawley, "all religions in
India have been called the Dharma", and
...put under the greater umbrella of "Dharmic traditions" which we
can see as
Hinduism or the spiritual traditions of
India in the
According to Paul Hacker, as described by Halbfass, the term "dharma"
...assumed a fundamentally new meaning and function in modern Indian
thought, beginning with Bankim Chandra Chatterjee in the nineteenth
century. This process, in which dharma was presented as an equivalent
of, but also a response to, the western notion of "religion", reflects
a fundamental change in the
Hindu sense of identity and in the
attitude toward other religious and cultural traditions. The foreign
tools of "religion" and "nation" became tools of self-definition, and
a new and precarious sense of the "unity of Hinduism" and of national
as well as religious identity took root.
The emphasis on the similarities and integral unity of the dharmic
faiths has been criticised for neglecting the vast differences between
and even within the various
Indian religions and traditions.
Richard E. King it is typical of the "inclusivist
appropriation of other traditions" of
The inclusivist appropriation of other traditions, so characteristic
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-
Buddhist philosophies in terms of its own
Buddha becomes a member of the
Vedanta tradition, merely
attempting to reform it from within. Finally, at a global level,
Vedanta colonizes the religious traditions of the world by arguing
for the centrality of a non-dualistic position as the philosophia
perennis underlying all cultural differences.
The "Council of Dharmic Faiths" (UK) regards
Zoroastrianism , whilst
not originating in the Indian subcontinent, also as a Dharmic
STATUS OF NON-HINDUS IN THE REPUBLIC OF INDIA
Religion in India See also: Legal Status of
The inclusion of Buddhists, Jains and
Hinduism is part
of the Indian legal system. The 1955
Hindu Marriage Act " as Hindus
all Buddhists, Jains,
Sikhs and anyone who is not a Christian, Muslim,
Parsee (Zoroastrian ) or Jew". And the Indian Constitution says that
"reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to
persons professing the Sikh, Jaina or
In a judicial reminder, the Indian Supreme Court observed
Jainism to be sub-sects or special faiths within the larger Hindu
fold, and that
Jainism is a denomination within the
Although the government of British
India counted Jains in
India as a
major religious community right from the first Census conducted in
1873, after independence in 1947
Sikhs and Jains were not treated as
national minorities. In 2005 the Supreme Court of
India declined to
issue a writ of Mandamus granting Jains the status of a religious
minority throughout India. The Court however left it to the respective
states to decide on the minority status of
However, some individual states have over the past few decades
differed on whether Jains, Buddhists and
Sikhs are religious
minorities or not, by either pronouncing judgments or passing
legislation. One example is the judgment passed by the Supreme Court
in 2006, in a case pertaining to the state of Uttar Pradesh, which
Jainism to be indisputably distinct from Hinduism, but
mentioned that, "The question as to whether the Jains are part of the
Hindu religion is open to debate. However, the Supreme Court also
noted various court cases that have held
Jainism to be a distinct
Another example is the
Gujarat Freedom of
Religion Bill , that is an
amendment to a legislation that sought to define Jains and Buddhists
as denominations within Hinduism. Ultimately on 31 July 2007, finding
it not in conformity with the concept of freedom of religion as
embodied in Article 25 (1) of the Constitution, Governor Naval Kishore
Sharma returned the
Gujarat Freedom of
Religion (Amendment) Bill, 2006
citing the widespread protests by the Jains as well as Supreme
Court's extrajudicial observation that
Jainism is a "special religion
formed on the basis of quintessence of
Hindu religion by the Supreme
* Demographics of
Religion in India
* ^ Adams: "Indian religions, including early Buddhism, Hinduism,
Jainism, and Sikhism, and sometimes also Theravāda
Buddhism and the
Hindu- and Buddhist-inspired religions of South and Southeast Asia".
* ^ The pre-
Upanishads are: Brihadaranyaka, Chandogya,
Kaushitaki, Aitareya, and Taittiriya Upanishads.
* ^ The shared concepts include rebirth, samsara, karma,
meditation, renunciation and moksha.
* ^ The Upanishadic,
Jain renunciation traditions form
parallel traditions, which share some common concepts and interests.
While Kuru -
Panchala , at the central Ganges Plain, formed the center
of the early Upanishadic tradition,
Magadha at the central
Ganges Plain formed the center of the other shramanic traditions.
* ^ See also Tanvir Anjum, Temporal Divides: A Critical Review of
the Major Schemes of Periodization in Indian History.
* ^ Different periods are designated as "classical Hinduism":
* Smart calls the period between 1000 BCE and 100 CE
"pre-classical". It's the formative period for the
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
Vedic religion and
* 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.
* ^ Lockard: "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: "
Hinduism can be seen
historically as a synthesis of Aryan beliefs with Harappan and other
Dravidian traditions that developed over many centuries."
Richard E. King notes: "Consequently, it remains an anachronism
to project the notion of "Hinduism" as it is commonly understood into
* ^ In post-
Vedic times understood as "hearers" of an eternally
Śrauta means "what is heard"
* ^ "
Upanishads came to be composed already in the ninth and eighth
century B.C.E. and continued to be composed well into the first
centuries of the Common Era. The
Brahmanas and Aranyakas are somewhat
older, reaching back to the eleventh and even twelfth century BCE."
* ^ Deussen: "these treatises are not the work of a single genius,
but the total philosophical product of an entire epoch which extends
approximately 1000 or 800 BC, to c.500 BCE, but which is prolonged in
its offshoots far beyond this last limit of time." p. 51
Gavin Flood and
Patrick Olivelle : "The second half of the
first millennium BCE was the period that created many of the
ideological and institutional elements that characterize later Indian
religions. The renouncer tradition played a central role during this
formative period of Indian religious history....Some of the
fundamental values and beliefs that we generally associate with Indian
religions in general and
Hinduism in particular were in part the
creation of the renouncer tradition. These include the two pillars of
Indian theologies: samsara – the belief that life in this world is
one of suffering and subject to repeated deaths and births (rebirth);
moksa/nirvana – the goal of human existence....."
* ^ Cromwell Crwaford: "Alongside Brahmanism was the non-Aryan
Shramanic (self reliant) culture with its roots going back to
* ^ Masih: "There is no evidence to show that
Jainism and Buddhism
ever subscribed to vedic sacrifices, vedic deities or caste. They are
parallel or native religions of
India and have contributed to much to
the growth of even classical
Hinduism of the present times."
* ^ Jaini: "Jainas themselves have no memory of a time when they
fell within the
Vedic fold. Any theory that attempts to link the two
traditions, moreover fails to appreciate rather distinctive and very
non-vedic character of Jaina cosmology, soul theory, karmic doctrine
* ^ Flood: "The second half of the first millennium BCE was the
period that created many of the ideological and institutional elements
that characterise later Indian religions. The renouncer tradition
played a central role during this formative period of Indian religious
history....Some of the fundamental values and beliefs that we
generally associate with
Indian religions in general and
particular were in part the creation of the renouncer tradition. These
include the two pillars of Indian theologies: samsara – the belief
that life in this world is one of suffering and subject to repeated
deaths and births (rebirth); moksa/nirvana – the goal of human
* ^ Flood: "The origin and doctrine of
obscure. These concepts were certainly circulating amongst sramanas,
Buddhism developed specific and sophisticated ideas
about the process of transmigration. It is very possible that the
karmas and reincarnation entered the mainstream brahaminical thought
from the sramana or the renouncer traditions." Page 86.
* ^ Padmanabh: "Yajnavalkya’s reluctance and manner in expounding
the doctrine of karma in the assembly of Janaka (a reluctance not
shown on any other occasion) can perhaps be explained by the
assumption that it was, like that of the transmigration of soul, of
non-brahmanical origin. In view of the fact that this doctrine is
emblazoned on almost every page of sramana scriptures, it is highly
probable that it was derived from them." Page 51.
* ^ Jeffrey Brodd and Gregory Sobolewski: "
Jainism shares many of
the basic doctrines of
Hinduism and Buddhism."
* ^ Oldmeadow: "Over time, apparent misunderstandings have arisen
over the origins of
Jainism and relationship with its sister religions
Hinduism and Buddhism. There has been an ongoing debate between
Hinduism as to which revelation preceded the other.
What is historically known is that there was a tradition along with
Hinduism known as
Dharma . Essentially, the sramana
tradition included it its fold, the
which disagreed with the eternality of the Vedas, the needs for ritual
sacrifices and the supremacy of the Brahmins." Page 141
* ^ Fisher: "The extreme antiquity of
Jainism as a non-vedic,
indigenous Indian religion is well documented. Ancient
Buddhist scriptures refer to
Jainism as an existing tradition which
began long before Mahavira." Page 115
* ^ edition reads, "The flow between faiths was such that for
hundreds of years, almost all
Buddhist temples, including the ones at
Ajanta , were built under the rule and patronage of
* ^ In the east the
Pala Empire (770–1125 CE ), in the west and
Gurjara-Pratihara (7th–10th century ), in the southwest
Rashtrakuta Dynasty (752–973 ), in the Dekkhan the Chalukya
dynasty (7th–8th century ), and in the south the
(7th–9th century ) and the
Chola dynasty (9th century ).
* ^ This resembles the development of
Chinese Chán during the An
Lu-shan rebellion and the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period
(907–960/979) , during which power became decentralised end new
* ^ The term "maya-vada" is primarily being used by non-Advaitins.
* ^ The story begins with the transformation of the Bodhisattva
Vajrapani by Vairocana, the cosmic Buddha,
receiving a vajra and the name "Vajrapani". Vairocana then requests
Vajrapani to generate his adamantine family, to establish a mandala .
Vajrapani refuses, because Mahesvara (Shiva) "is deluding beings with
his deceitfull religious doctrines and engaging in all kinds of
violent criminal conduct". Mahesvara and his entourage are dragged to
Mount Sumeru , and all but Mahesvara submit.
Vajrapani and Mahesvara
engage in a magical combat, which is won by Vajrapani. Mahesvara's
retinue become part of Vairocana's mandala, except for Mahesvara, who
is killed, and his life transferred to another realm where he becomes
a buddha named Bhasmesvara-nirghosa, the "Soundless Lord of Ashes".
* ^ Occasionally the term is also being used by other authors.
David Westerlund: "...may provide some possibilities for co-operation
with Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists, who like Hindus are regarded as
adherents of 'dharmic' religions."
* ^ In various codified customary laws like
Hindu Marriage Act,
Hindu Succession Act,
Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act and other
laws of pre and post-Constitution period, the definition of 'Hindu'
included all sects and sub-sects of
Hindu religions including Sikhs
* ^ The Supreme Court observed in a judgment pertaining to case of
Bal Patil vs. Union of India: "Thus, 'Hinduism' can be called a
general religion and common faith of
India whereas 'Jainism' is a
special religion formed on the basis of quintessence of Hindu
Jainism places greater emphasis on non-violence ('Ahimsa')
and compassion ('Karuna'). Their only difference from Hindus is that
Jains do not believe in any creator like
God but worship only the
perfect human-being whom they called Tirathankar."
* ^ The so-called minority communities like
Sikhs and Jains were
not treated as national minorities at the time of framing the
* ^ In an extra-judicial observation not forming part of the
judgment the court observed :"Thus, 'Hinduism' can be called a general
religion and common faith of
India whereas 'Jainism' is a special
religion formed on the basis of quintessence of
Jainism places greater emphasis on non-violence ('Ahimsa') and
compassion ('Karuna'). Their only difference from Hindus is that Jains
do not believe in any creator like
God but worship only the perfect
human-being whom they called Tirathankar."
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India 2001: Data on religion". Government of India
(Office of the Registrar General). Archived from the original on 14
May 2007. Retrieved 28 May 2007.
Constitution and law
* "Constitution of India". Government of
India (Ministry of Law and
Justice). Retrieved 28 May 2007.
* "International Religious Freedom Report 2006: India". United
States Department of State. Retrieved 28 May 2007.
MAJOR RELIGIOUS GROUPS AND RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS