These orientalists included all Indian religions such as Buddhism as a subgroup of Hinduism in the 18th century. The text, by the early 19th century, began dividing Hindus into separate groups, for chronology studies of the various beliefs. Among the earliest terms to emerge were Seeks and their College later spelled Sikhs by Charles Wilkins , Boudhism later spelled Buddhism , and in the 9th volume of Asiatick Researches report on religions in India, the term Jainism received notice.
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According to Pennington, the terms Hindu and Hinduism were thus constructed for colonial studies of India. The various sub-divisions and separation of subgroup terms were assumed to be result of "communal conflict", and Hindu was constructed by these orientalists to imply people who adhered to "ancient default oppressive religious substratum of India", states Pennington. However, these midth-century reports offered no indication of doctrinal or ritual differences between Hindu and Buddhist, or other newly constructed religious identities.
In contemporary era, the term Hindus are individuals who identify with one or more aspects of Hinduism , whether they are practising or non-practicing or Laissez-faire. Hindus subscribe to a diversity of ideas on spirituality and traditions, but have no ecclesiastical order, no unquestionable religious authorities, no governing body, nor a single founding prophet; Hindus can choose to be polytheistic, pantheistic, monotheistic, monistic, agnostic, atheistic or humanist.
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In , Chief Justice P. Gajendragadkar was quoted in an Indian Supreme Court ruling:  . Although Hinduism contains a broad range of philosophies, Hindus share philosophical concepts, such as but not limiting to dharma , karma , kama , artha , moksha and samsara , even if each subscribes to a diversity of views.
In the Constitution of India , the word "Hindu" has been used in some places to denote persons professing any of these religions: Hinduism , Jainism , Buddhism or Sikhism. The Republic of India is in the peculiar situation that the Supreme Court of India has repeatedly been called upon to define "Hinduism" because the Constitution of India , while it prohibits "discrimination of any citizen" on grounds of religion in article 15, article 30 foresees special rights for "All minorities, whether based on religion or language".
As a consequence, religious groups have an interest in being recognised as distinct from the Hindu majority in order to qualify as a "religious minority". Thus, the Supreme Court was forced to consider the question whether Jainism is part of Hinduism in and Starting after the 10th century and particularly after the 12th century Islamic invasion, states Sheldon Pollock, the political response fused with the Indic religious culture and doctrines. The Yadava king of Devagiri named Ramacandra , for example states Pollock, is described in a 13th-century record as, "How is this Rama to be described..
Brajadulal Chattopadhyaya has questioned the Pollock theory and presented textual and inscriptional evidence. These wars were described not just using the mythical story of Rama from Ramayana, states Chattopadhyaya, the medieval records used a wide range of religious symbolism and myths that are now considered as part of Hindu literature. The 14th-century Sanskrit text, Madhuravijayam , a memoir written by Gangadevi , the wife of Vijayanagara prince, for example describes the consequences of war using religious terms, . The historiographic writings in Telugu language from the 13th- and 14th-century Kakatiya dynasty period presents a similar "alien other Turk " and "self-identity Hindu " contrast.
Andrew Nicholson, in his review of scholarship on Hindu identity history, states that the vernacular literature of Bhakti movement sants from 15th to 17th century, such as Kabir , Anantadas, Eknath, Vidyapati, suggests that distinct religious identities, between Hindus and Turks Muslims , had formed during these centuries. Scholars state that Hindu, Buddhist and Jain identities are retrospectively-introduced modern constructions. Overlaps in Jain-Hindu identities have included Jains worshipping Hindu deities, intermarriages between Jains and Hindus, and medieval era Jain temples featuring Hindu religious icons and sculpture.
Julius Lipner states that the custom of distinguishing between Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs is a modern phenomena, but one that is a convenient abstraction. Scholars such as Fleming and Eck state that the post-Epic era literature from the 1st millennium CE amply demonstrate that there was a historic concept of the Indian subcontinent as a sacred geography, where the sacredness was a shared set of religious ideas.
For example, the twelve Jyotirlingas of Shaivism and fifty-one Shaktipithas of Shaktism are described in the early medieval era Puranas as pilgrimage sites around a theme. Varanasi as a sacred pilgrimage site is documented in the Varanasimahatmya text embedded inside the Skanda Purana , and the oldest versions of this text are dated to 6th to 8th-century CE.
The idea of twelve sacred sites in Shiva Hindu tradition spread across the Indian subcontinent appears not only in the medieval era temples but also in copper plate inscriptions and temple seals discovered in different sites. According to Fleming, those who question whether the term Hindu and Hinduism are a modern construction in a religious context present their arguments based on some texts that have survived into the modern era, either of Islamic courts or of literature published by Western missionaries or colonial-era Indologists aiming for a reasonable construction of history.
However, the existence of non-textual evidence such as cave temples separated by thousands of kilometers, as well as lists of medieval era pilgrimage sites, is evidence of a shared sacred geography and existence of a community that was self-aware of shared religious premises and landscape. This, states Fleming, is apparent given the sophistication of the architecture and the sacred sites along with the variance in the versions of the Puranic literature.
These sites became a target of their serial attacks in the centuries that followed. The Hindus have been persecuted during the medieval and modern era. The medieval persecution included waves of plunder, killing, destruction of temples and enslavement by Turk-Mongol Muslim armies from central Asia. This is documented in Islamic literature such as those relating to 8th century Muhammad bin-Qasim ,  11th century Mahmud of Ghazni ,   the Persian traveler Al Biruni,  the 14th century Islamic army invasion led by Timur,  and various Sunni Islamic rulers of the Delhi Sultanate and Mughal Empire.
Other recorded persecution of Hindus include those under the reign of 18th century Tipu Sultan in south India,  and during the colonial era. Christophe Jaffrelot states that modern Hindu nationalism was born in Maharashtra , in the s, as a reaction to the Islamic Khilafat Movement wherein Indian Muslims championed and took the cause of the Turkish Ottoman sultan as the Caliph of all Muslims, at the end of the World War I. Chris Bayly traces the roots of Hindu nationalism to the Hindu identity and political independence achieved by the Maratha confederacy , that overthrew the Islamic Mughal empire in large parts of India, allowing Hindus the freedom to pursue any of their diverse religious beliefs and restored Hindu holy places such as Varanasi.
The colonial era Hindu revivalism and mobilisation, along with Hindu nationalism, states Peter van der Veer, was primarily a reaction to and competition with Muslim separatism and Muslim nationalism. The Hindu nationalism movement has sought to reform Indian laws, that critics say attempts to impose Hindu values on India's Islamic minority. Gerald Larson states, for example, that Hindu nationalists have sought a uniform civil code, where all citizens are subject to the same laws, everyone has equal civil rights, and individual rights do not depend on the individual's religion. Muslim clerics consider this proposal as unacceptable because under the shariah-derived personal law, a Muslim girl can be married at any age after she reaches puberty.
Hindu nationalism in India, states Katharine Adeney, is a controversial political subject, with no consensus about what it means or implies in terms of the form of government and religious rights of the minorities. Most Hindus are found in Asian countries. The fertility rate, that is children per woman, for Hindus is 2. In more ancient times, Hindu kingdoms arose and spread the religion and traditions across Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand , Nepal , Burma , Malaysia , Indonesia , Cambodia ,  Laos ,  Philippines ,  and what is now central Vietnam. Over 3 million Hindus are found in Bali Indonesia, a culture whose origins trace back to ideas brought by Tamil Hindu traders to Indonesian islands in the 1st millennium CE.
Their sacred texts are also the Vedas and the Upanishads. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the racehorse, see Hindus horse. For other uses, see Hindoo disambiguation and Hindu disambiguation. Not to be confused with Hindi. Main traditions. Vaishnavism Shaivism Shaktism Smartism.
Rites of passage. Philosophical schools. Gurus, saints, philosophers. Other texts. Text classification. Other topics. North America. Canada Mexico Panama United States. South America. Adherent of Hinduism. Further information: Hinduism. Hindu culture in Bali, Indonesia. The distribution of Indian religions in British India The upper map shows distribution of Hindus, the lower of Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs. Hindus celebrating their major festivals, Holi top and Diwali. Main article: Persecution of Hindus.
Main articles: Hindu nationalism and Hindutva. Main article: Hinduism by country. 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 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".
But when, from AD onwards, Muslims began to settle permanently in the Indus valley and to make converts among low-caste Hindus, Persian authors distinguished between Hindus and Muslims in India: Hindus were Indians other than Muslim. We know that Persian scholars were able to distinguish a number of religions among the Hindus. But when Europeans started to use the term Hindoo, they applied it to the non-Muslim masses of India without those scholarly differentiations.
The rebellion was put down and all the collaborators executed. Pashaura Singh, , pp. Although al-Biruni's original Arabic text only uses a term equivalent to the religion of the people of India, his description of Hindu religion is in fact remarkably similar to those of nineteenth-century European orientalists. For his part Vidyapati, in his Apabhransha text Kirtilata, makes use of the phrase 'Hindu and Turk dharmas' in a clearly religious sense and highlights the local conflicts between the two communities.
In the early sixteenth century texts attributed to Kabir, the references to 'Hindus' and to 'Turks' or 'Muslims' musalamans in a clearly religious context are numerous and unambiguous. It was formed by adding the English suffix -ism, of Greek origin, to the word Hindu , of Persian origin; it was about the same time that the word Hindu , without the suffix -ism, came to be used mainly as a religious term. The name Hindu was first a geographical name, not a religious one, and it originated in the languages of Iran, not of India. They referred to the non-Muslim majority, together with their culture, as 'Hindu'.
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Since the people called Hindu differed from Muslims most notably in religion, the word came to have religious implications, and to denote a group of people who were identifiable by their Hindu religion. However, it is a religious term that the word Hindu is now used in English, and Hinduism is the name of a religion, although, as we have seen, we should beware of any false impression of uniformity that this might give us.
July—September Journal of the American Oriental Society. Hindu is used today for an adherent of Hinduism, the common religion of India. Hindoo is listed in dictionaries as a variant spelling, but it is one that may lend itself to derogatory use. Nevertheless, there is a sort of visual onomatopoeia; a Hindu has dignity, while a Hindoo seems slightly ridiculous. Retrieved 17 April Marty 1 July University of Chicago Press.
Essay on Hindu Religious Traditions
One may be polytheistic or monotheistic, monistic or pantheistic, even an agnostic, humanist or atheist, and still be considered a Hindu. Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University press. The Continuum companion to Hindu studies.
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London: Continuum. The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism. This classic work helped to establish the major classification systems as we know them today. A Sourcebook in Indian Philosophy. This work gives an overview of many different subsets of the three main religious groups in India. Sachiv, U. Basic Shiksha Parishad, Allahabad, U.
Comparative Studies in Society and History. Jacobsen Pilgrimage in the Hindu Tradition: Salvific Space. Pilgrimage: From the Ganges to Graceland; an Encyclopedia.
India: A Sacred Geography. Bhardwaj University of California Press. Afghan Frontier: At the Crossroads of Conflict. Alberuni's India, Vol. Cambridge Economic History of India Vol Cambridge University Press. Even a pious saint had gathered together fifteen slaves. This collection of verses and hymns was written in Sanskrit and contains revelations received by ancient saints and sages.
Most scholars believe Hinduism started somewhere between B. But many Hindus argue that their faith is timeless and has always existed.
source site Around B. Rituals, such as sacrifices and chanting, were common in the Vedic Period. Hindus began to emphasize the worship of deities, especially Vishnu, Shiva and Devi. The concept of dharma was introduced in new texts, and other faiths, such as Buddhism and Jainism, spread rapidly. Hinduism and Buddhism have many similarities. Buddhism, in fact, arose out of Hinduism, and both believe in reincarnation, karma and that a life of devotion and honor is a path to salvation and enlightenment.
The Medieval Period of Hinduism lasted from about to A. New texts emerged, and poet-saints recorded their spiritual sentiments during this time. In the 7th century, Muslim Arabs began invading areas in India. During parts of the Muslim Period, which lasted from about to , Islamic rulers prevented Hindus from worshipping their deities, and some temples were destroyed. Indian statesman and activist Mahatma Gandhi, Between and , the British controlled India. At first, the new rulers allowed Hindus to practice their religion without interference.
But later, Christian missionaries sought to convert and westernize the people. Many reformers emerged during the British Period. The partition of India occurred in , and Gandhi was assassinated in British India was split into what are now the independent nations of India and Pakistan , and Hinduism became the major religion of India.
Starting in the s, many Hindus migrated to North America and Britain, spreading their faith and philosophies to the western world. An early 18th century depiction of Devi revered by Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Hindus worship many gods and goddesses in addition to Brahman, who is believed to be the supreme God force present in all things. Followers of Hinduism can visit the Mandir any time they please. Hindus can also worship at home, and many have a special shrine dedicated to certain gods and goddesses. The giving of offerings is an important part of Hindu worship. Others believe that all the deities are a manifestation of one.
The caste system is a social hierarchy in India that divides Hindus based on their karma and dharma. Many scholars believe the system dates back more than 3, years. Many subcategories also exist within each caste. Today, the caste system still exists in India but is loosely followed. Many of the old customs are overlooked, but some traditions, such as only marrying within a specific caste, are still embraced. A Pakistani Hindu family offers prayers and light candles as they mark Diwali, the Festival of Lights, in Lahore, History of Hinduism, BBC.
But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Subscribe for fascinating stories connecting the past to the present. Zoroastrianism is an ancient Persian religion that may have originated as early as 4, years ago.