INDIAN RELIGION

In India, religion is a way of life. It is an integral part of the entire Indian tradition. For the majority of Indians, religion permeates every aspect of life, from commonplace daily chores to education and politics. Secular India is home to Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and other innumerable religious traditions. Hinduism is the dominant faith, practiced by over 80% of the population.


From times immemorial India has always witnessed onslaught from foreigners. People from different civilization and races have come to India and settled here. India has proved to be a safe haven for people all races. There are different faiths professed in India. One can find all major religions of the world. Consequently, India today is a mixture of different races, religions, castes, and creeds.


All religious festivals are celebrated with zeal and vigor in India. People spend a lot to celebrate religious festivals. There is a common practice of charity and alms giving on festival days. Though religious practices of religious communities vary from each other, yet there are certain elements that are common to all religions in India.


Hinduism

As against other religions, Hinduism is not a monotheistic religion. It believes in pantheon worship and has thousands of god and goddesses. There is no single founder or single sacred book of Hindus. However, Rig Veda, Upanishad and Bhagvat Gita are the scarred books of Hindus.


It is hard to define the basic tenets of Hinduism, as there is no single philosophy that governs Hinduism. The theoretical and practical expressions are so diverse that is difficult to attribute fixed characteristics to Hinduism.


Sikhism

Founded by Guru Nanak Dev, Sikhism has taken from both Hinduism and Islam. The aim of Sikhism was to unite Islam and Hinduism. The teachings of Guru Nanak Dev were incorporated in Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs.


Jainism

Jainism is an offshoot of Hinduism and was established in India about the same time as Buddhism. Jainism was a reaction to the casteism and other social evils prevalent at that time. It believes in total abstinence and asceticism. The main thrust is on renunciation of worldly-desires and self-conquest to attain perfect wisdom.


Buddhism

Siddhartha, later Gautam Buddha was the founder of Buddhism. The religion is based on the law of impermanence and law of causation. Though an offshoot of Hinduism, it commanded universal appeal and became popular in countries like Japan, Japan, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia. Buddhism advocates casteless, classless society.


Islam

The Arab traders brought Islam with them to India in the 8th century. Unlike Hinduism, Islam is a monotheistic religion and preaches universal brotherhood. It also believes in total submission or surrender to Allah (God, the Almighty).


Christianity

Most Christians in India are Catholic (over 60 percent) and a majority of them are found in the south, particularly Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. By tradition, Christianity is said to have arrived in India with Saint Thomas, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ, who spent some years in South India and possibly left his moral body there. However, others believe that the first missionary to arrive in the country was Saint Bartholomew.


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