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Hinduism in India


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Hinduism in India

Hinduism is the most followed religion in India accounting for more than 80% of Indian population. The Hindu religion originated in Indian sub continent itself and the presence of this religion in the pre-historic era has been proved by the remains found during the excavations of Mohenjodaro. Find here the advent of history Hinduism in India through the different periods namely: pre-historic era, Vedic period, ancient India, middle ages, Islamic rule and modern India.

Pre-Historic Era

Evidences that throw light on the religious beliefs in pre-historic era mainly comes from the Mesolithic rock paintings, depicting dance and rituals of that time. Various burial sites traced to Indus Valley civilization reveal that there were beliefs of after life and black-magic. There are signs showing Swastika and Shiva Lingam as well. It is believed that the Harappans had faith in “Mother Goddess” ensuring fertility. There is a seal found in the Mohenjodaro region depicting a representation of “Yogi”.

Vedic Period

The earliest text of Hinduism is the Rig Veda, produced during the Vedic Period. The divine powers mentioned in the Rig Veda mainly fall in two categories: the Devas, who were Gods of nature and the King of the Gods, and on the other hand, the Asuras were the Gods of moral concepts. With the advent of Mahajanapads, the Brahmanic Hinduism was witnessed, where many Vedic mantras were fixed. Brahmanism showed a decline on advent of the Upanishads. The Vedic period is known as the Golden Age of thought.

Ancient India

In the Mauryan and Sangam Period Vishnu, Shiva and Murugan were mentioned Gods. Bhakti traditions were at their peak during these times and Sanskrit Sutras were majorly followed. The Pallava reign saw the first Sanskrit inscriptions in a script called Grantha and the period also saw some great poets like Kalidasa. The Gupta period saw the emergence of classical schools of Hindu Philosophy. Also, the practice of dedicating temples to particular deities started and the two most popular Hindu epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata were developed during this time.

Middle Ages

Adi Shankara in the 8th century managed to reconcile the antagonistic sects and to establish Hinduism as a single, if diverse, religious tradition. The Puranas proved to be the backdrop of Hindu Tradition for other tribal religions. Various reforms of the later Middle Ages, notably the Bhakti movement, besides new Yogic schools (Jnana yoga, Karma yoga, Hatha yoga, Bhakti yoga) gave Hinduism its classical form as described by the 18th to 19th century. Bhakti movement was a monotheistic movement that emphasized on the worship of Shiva, Vishnu or Shakti. The introduction of Advaita Vedanta by Adi Shankara led to the culmination of different religious sects into a common framework of Shanmata System.

Under Muslim Rule

Bhakti poetry of lasting greatness was composed in northern India under the rule of Muslim emperors. Saint Kabir composed devotional verses in Bhakti, while Tulsidas, Mira Bai and Surdas composed immortal Hindu devotional poetry

Modern Era

Although under the Mughal Rule there was never any forced religion, Hinduism emerged extremely strong during the reign of Shivaji. Under the British Raj, there were a number of movements that took birth. They were Swaminarayan Sampraday sect, Brahmo Samaj, Arya Samaj, Hinduism movement under Swami Vivekanand. During that time Indian religious beliefs had great impact on western school of thought.

Contemporary Hinduism

Modern Hinduism is the reflection of continuity and progressive changes that occurred in various traditions and institutions of Hinduism during the 19th and 20th centuries. Its main divisions are into Vaishnavism (largely influenced by Bhakti), Shaivism, Shaktism and Smartism (Advaita Vedanta).

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