Hinduism in Historical Outline

Outline of Hinduism
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Hindus normally cremate their dead ones, so that the soul of the dead would go to heaven, except in a few cases of Hindu saints, who are believed to have attained 'Moksha'.

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The main Hindu books are the four Vedas. The concluding portions of the Vedas are called Upanisads. There are also other holy books like Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharta etc. The different Gods and Goddesses in the Hindu mythology are derived from these books.

Ramayana and Mahabharta are the most popular Hindu books. The main story of Ramayana is the story of Lord Rama. Rama was born in a royal family and was suppose to be the king, but because of his step- mother, he was forced to exile from his kingdom for fourteen years.

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During this period his consort Sita was kidnapped by a demon called Ravan, who was king of Lanka. Rama with the help of his brother, Lakshman, and an army of monkeys under the leadership of Hanuman, rescued Sita. Many Indians believe that the present day Sri Lanka was then the kingdom of Lanka. Mahabharta is a family epic. In this epic the Pandva family and the Kaurav family who are cousins fight with each other for the control over a kingdom. Kaurav family, which consisted of brothers rule an empire.

The five Pandva brothers ask for a small kingdom which belongs to them. The Kauravs refuse to give the Pandvas the kingdom so there is a war between the Pandvas and the Kauravs in which it is believed that all the kingdoms of that period in India took part. In this war the Pandvas, with the help of Lord Krishna win the war. Before the commencement of the war, while the two armies are facing each other, one of the Pandva brothers Arjun gets depressed.

Arjun is depressed because he has to fight against people whom he knows, loves and respects. At this point Krishna, who was also a king of a kingdom, and participated in this war only as the chariot driver for Arjun convinces Arjun to fight. Krishna lectures Arjun about life, human beings and their religious duties.

He explains to Arjun that he belongs to a warrior caste and he has to fight for that's his destination in this incarnation. Those chapters in the Mahabharta which are Krishna's discourses on religious philosophy are called Bhagvad Gita. Because of it's importance the Bhagvad Gita is considered as a separate holy book.

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In the wars that occur in the holy books, as in Mahabharta, the different sides had different war weapons which had characters similar to modern day war weapons. In some stories the traveling vehicles were normally birds and animals. But these animals and birds had features similar to modern day aircrafts. There were even aircrafts with over velocity of light.

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History of Hinduism denotes a wide variety of related religious traditions native to the Indian . Periodisation[edit]. See also: Outline of South Asian history. The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Hinduism : Hinduism Among its direct roots is the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age India and, as such, Hinduism is often called the "oldest living religion" or the " oldest.

The main war weapons were bows and arrows. But these arrows were more like modern missiles than simple arrows. These arrows were capable of carrying bombs with destructive power similar to modern day chemical, biological or even atom bombs. Other arrows could be targeted on specific human beings. There were even arrows capable of neutralizing other arrows, similar to modern day anti-missiles. Hindus have many holy places. Badrinath, Puri, Dwarkha and Rameshwaram are four holiest places for the Hindus.

Some rivers are also holy to them. Another holy river is Sarasvati and it is invisible. Hindus also worship and respect some animals and birds like cobra, apes, peacocks and cow.

History of Hinduism

Hindus also respect some trees and bush trees. The famous and the most respected bush tree is Tulsi. Some of the Hindu customs, which exist or existed, do not have their bearing in Hindu scriptures but became part of Hinduism in different ways and fashion. For example, the Hindus see in cow a sacred animal. Religiously there is no reason to see cow as sacred and it is believed that cows were made 'sacred' to prevent their slaughter during periods of droughts and hunger. Cobra worship also is not found in Hindu scripts. This custom became part of Hinduism when some Indian tribes who use to worship cobra adopted Hinduism.

Burning of the widow on the dead husband's pyre also has no religious justification. This custom, outlawed in , was probably brought to India by the Scythians invaders of India.

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Among the Scythians it was a custom to bury the dead king with his mistresses or wives, servants and other things so that they could continue to serve him in the next world. When these Scythians arrived in India, they adopted the Indian system of funeral, which was cremating the dead. And so instead of burying their kings and his servers they started cremating their dead with his surviving lovers. The Scythians were warrior tribes and they were given a status of warrior castes in Hindu religious hierarchy.

The different castes who claimed warrior status or higher also adopted this custom. There are four castes in Hindu religion arranged in a hierarchy.

Summary of Hinduism

The highest caste is Brahman, and they are the priest caste of Hinduism. After them are the Kshatria, who are the warrior castes. After them are the Vaishya caste , who are business people. And after them are the Sudra, who are the common peasants and workers. Below these four castes there are casteless, the untouchables. The four castes were not allowed to have any physical contact with the untouchables.

Each caste is divided into many sub-castes. The religious word for caste is Varna and for sub-caste Jat or Jati. But sometimes in English the term caste is used in both cases. Religiously, people are born in a caste and it cannot be changed. Each caste has some compulsory duties, which its members must do. Each caste has professional limits which decides what profession each caste can follow.

Each caste members can have social relations only with its caste members. Religiously this includes marraige and even eating only with caste members. Please note that socially the caste system is different from the religious form of caste system. How did Hinduism originated is a difficult question. The accepted theory is that Hinduism was evolved after the historical meeting between the Aryans and Dravidians. Some claim that Hinduism is mainly an Aryan culture whereas the others claim that it is mainly a Dravidian culture.

Religiously the Vedas were given by Brahma. Before Hinduism there existed another religion in India called Brahmanism and its followers were called Brahmans.

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Introduction to Hinduism. Dualistic schools believe Brahman to be a Supreme Being who possesses personality, and they worship him or her thus, as Vishnu, Brahma, Shiva, or Shakti, depending on their sect. Citation Dehejia, Vidya. How did Hinduism originated is a difficult question. The Indian artist found this a simple and an effective means of expressing the omnipresence and omnipotence of a deity. Karma and Hinduism.

The Brahmans were the spiritual and moral guides of the Indian society. The members of this religion were a close sect and others could not join it. The Brahmans slowly started accepting others into their religion and so was created Hinduism which included in it the customs which aren't the part of the Vedas. One of the reasons the Brahmans accepted others to their religion was the fear to loose their status as moral guides to priests of a new religion that started in India, namely Buddhism.

The Brahmans even accepted Buddha as a Hindu God and part of his teachings and philosophy like non-violence into their religion. Introduction Hinduism , religion that originated in India and is still practiced by most of its inhabitants, as well as by those whose families have migrated from India to other parts of the world chiefly East Africa, South Africa, Southeast Asia, the East Indies, and England. The corresponding influence of these various religions on Hinduism it has an extraordinary tendency to absorb foreign elements has greatly contributed to the religion's syncretism—the wide variety of beliefs and practices that it encompasses.

Moreover, the geographic, rather than ideological, basis of the religion the fact that it comprises whatever all the people of India have believed and done has given Hinduism the character of a social and doctrinal system that extends to every aspect of human life. Fundamental Principles The canon of Hinduism is basically defined by what people do rather than what they think. Consequently, far more uniformity of behavior than of belief is found among Hindus, although very few practices or beliefs are shared by all.

A few usages are observed by almost all Hindus: reverence for Brahmans and cows; abstention from meat especially beef ; and marriage within the caste jati , in the hope of producing male heirs. Most Hindus chant the gayatri hymn to the sun at dawn, but little agreement exists as to what other prayers should be chanted.

Most Hindus worship Shiva , Vishnu , or the Goddess Devi , but they also worship hundreds of additional minor deities peculiar to a particular village or even to a particular family. Although Hindus believe and do many apparently contradictory things—contradictory not merely from one Hindu to the next, but also within the daily religious life of a single Hindu—each individual perceives an orderly pattern that gives form and meaning to his or her own life. No doctrinal or ecclesiastical hierarchy exists in Hinduism, but the intricate hierarchy of the social system which is inseparable from the religion gives each person a sense of place within the whole.

Texts The ultimate canonical authority for all Hindus is the Vedas. The oldest of the four Vedas is the Rig-Veda , which was composed in an ancient form of the Sanskrit language in northwest India.