Indian Religions

Indian religions, sometimes also termed as Dharmic faiths or Dharmic religions (Dharma), are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduism (2 schools Vedanta and Yoga, and 7 denominations Ayyavazhi, Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism, Smartism, and Śrauta), Jainism (Digambara, Śvētāmbara), Buddhism (Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana) and Sikhism. These religions are also all classified as Eastern religions. Although Indian religions are connected through the history of India, 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 of the Indus Valley Civilisation, which lasted from 3300 to 1300 BCE (mature period, 2600–1900 BCE), had an early urbanized culture which predates the Vedic religion.

 

The documented history of Indian religions begins with the historical Vedic religion, the religious practices of the early Indo-Iranians, which were collected and later redacted into the Vedas. The period of the composition, redaction and commentary of these texts is known as the Vedic period, which lasted from roughly 1750–500 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 mentions of Yoga and Moksha.

Yoga (here Hanumanasana) is permitted in Malaysia as long as it does not contain religious elements

Yoga (here Hanumanasana) is permitted in Malaysia as long as it does not contain religious elements.

Common concepts in Indian religions

Reincarnation is a central tenet of Indian religions (Indian Philosophy).

Articles of Indian religions

Hinduism

Essence of Hinduism

Concept of God

Hindu texts

Worship (rituals)

Other terms and concepts

Hindu philosophy

Schools of Hinduism

Hindu mythology

History of Hinduism

Hindu Culture

Hinduism and other religions

 

Jain god

Jain god

Jainism

Beliefs and philosophy

Main principles

 

Buddhism

The Buddha

Branches of Buddhism

Buddhism Worldwide

Buddhist scriptures

Theravada texts

Mahayana texts

Vajrayana texts

Doctrines of Buddhism

Buddhist practices

Moral discipline and precepts 

Buddhist meditation

Enlightenment

Buddhist cosmology

Buddhist philosophy

Buddhist culture

Comparative Buddhism

Topics related to Buddhism

Sikhism

Beliefs and philosophy

Practices

Main principles

Scriptures and texts

A wallpainting in a Laotian temple, depicting the Bodhisattva Gautama (Buddha-to-be) undertaking extreme ascetic practices before his enlightenment. A god is overseeing his striving, and providing some spiritual protection.

Buddhist Mythology

Buddhist Mythology Buddhist mythology is centered around the life of the Buddha. This is told in relatively realistic terms in the earliest texts, and was soon elaborated into a complex literary mythology. The chief motif of this story, and the most distinctive feature of Buddhist myth, is the Buddha’s renunciation: leaving his home...

Bathing the dieties - 'Abhisheka' at Krishna Janmashtami

Abhisheka

Abhisheka Abhiṣeka or abhisheka in Sanskrit means “bathing of the divinity to whom worship is offered.” It is a religious rite or method of prayer in which a devotee pours a liquid offering on an image or murti of a God or Goddess. Abhiṣeka is common to Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Hinduism An abhiṣeka...

Kesi Ghat in vrindavan in the Yamuna River.

Yatra

Yatra Yatra (Yātrā, यात्रा, ‘journey’, ‘procession’), in Hinduism and other Indian religions, generally means a pilgrimage to holy places such as confluences of sacred rivers, places associated with Hindu epics such as the Mahabharata and Ramayana, and other sacred pilgrimage sites. Tīrtha-yātrā refers to a pilgrimage to a holy site and is generally undertaken in...

Lake Manasarovar

Tirtha in Hinduism

Tirtha in Hinduism Tirtha (तीर्थ, Tīrtha) is a Sanskrit word that means “crossing place, ford”, and refers to any place, text or person that is holy. It particularly refers to pilgrimage sites and holy places in Hinduism as well as Jainism. The process or journey associated with Tirtha is called Tirtha-yatra, while alternate terms such as Kshetra, Gopitha and...

Pooja Aarti India Ganesh Ganesha Religious

Aarti

Aarti Aarti also spelled arti, arati, arathi, aarati, aarthi, aarthy, arthy (आरती ārtī) is a Hindu religious ritual of worship, a part of puja, in which light (usually from a flame) is offered to one or more deities. Aarati(s) also refers to the songs sung in praise of the deity, when the light is being offered. Origin Aarati is derived from the...

Satguru Bodhinatha gives samaya diksha, initiation into the sacred Aum Nama Sivaya mantra, to a devotee at Tirunnavamalai in 2008.

Diksha

Diksha Diksha (दीक्ष, dīkṣā) also spelled deeksha or deeksa in common usage, translated as a “preparation or consecration for a religious ceremony”, is giving of a mantra or an initiation by the guru (in Guru–shishya tradition) of Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Diksa is given in a one-to-one ceremony, and typically includes the taking on...

Left: 19th century roundel of four-headed Brahma as a red-complexioned aged man, holding manuscript (Vedas), a ladle and a lotus; Right: 6th century Brahma in Badami cave temples holding a writing equipment, ladle, and mala.

Sanātanī

Sanātanī Sanātanī (सनातनी) is a term used to describe Hindu movements that includes the ideas from the Vedas and the Upanishads while also incorporating the teachings of sacred hindu texts such as Ramayana and Bhagavad Gita which itself is often being described as a concise guide to Hindu philosophy and a practical, self-contained guide to life. Sanatana Dharma denotes duties...

the Varna system

Varna in Hinduism

Varna in Hinduism Varṇa (वर्ण, varṇa), a Sanskrit word with several meanings including type, order, colour or class, was used to refer to social classes in Hindu texts like the Manusmriti. These and other Hindu texts classified the society in principle into four varnas:  Brahmins: priests, scholars and teachers. Kshatriyas: rulers,...

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Artha

Artha Artha (अर्थ) is one of the four aims of human life in Indian philosophy. The word artha literally translates as “meaning, sense, goal, purpose or essence” depending on the context. Artha is also a broader concept in the scriptures of Hinduism. As a concept, it has multiple meanings, all of...

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Purusartha

Purusartha Puruṣārtha (Purusartha or पुरुषार्थ) literally means an “object of human pursuit”. It is a key concept in Hinduism, and refers to the four proper goals or aims of a human life. The four puruṣārthas are Dharma (righteousness, moral values), Artha (prosperity, economic values), Kama (pleasure, love, psychological values) and Moksha (liberation, spiritual values). All four Purusarthas are important, but in cases...

Roti with Baigan (Brinjal) subji and curd

Mitahara

Mitahara Mitahara (मिताहार, Mitāhāra) literally means the habit of moderate food. Mitahara is also a concept in Indian philosophy, particularly Yoga, that integrates awareness about food, drink, balanced diet and consumption habits and its effect on one’s body and mind. It is one of the ten yamas in ancient Indian texts. Definition...

Illustrative Hindu meals

Diet in Hinduism

Diet in Hinduism Diet in Hinduism varies with its diverse traditions. The ancient and medieval Hindu texts recommend ahimsa (non-violence) against all life forms including animals because they believe that it minimizes animal deaths. Many Hindus follow a vegetarian or lacto-vegetarian diet that are in sync with nature, compassionate, respectful of other life forms....

Food Healthy Dried Fruits Nuts Nut Almonds Dates

Sattvic Diet

Sattvic Diet Sattvic diet is a diet based on foods in ayurvedic and yogic literature that contain the quality (guna) sattva. In this system of dietary classification, foods that decrease the energy of the body are considered tamasic, while those that increase the energy of the body are considered rajasic. A sattvic diet is meant to include foods...

Konark Sun Temple panoramic view

Hindu Temple

Hindu Temple A Hindu temple is a symbolic house, seat and body of divinity. It is a structure designed to bring human beings and gods together, using symbolism to express the ideas and beliefs of Hinduism. The symbolism and structure of a Hindu temple are rooted in Vedic traditions, deploying circles and...

Holi Celebrations People Culture Festival

Hindu Festivals

Hindu Festivals There are a great number of Hindu religious festivals held throughout the world. The festivals typically celebrate events from Hindu mythology, often coinciding with seasonal changes. There are many festivals which are primarily celebrated by specific sects or in certain regions of the Indian subcontinent. The festive season is widely celebrated. These events...

A fancy Indian wedding taking place in Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, India

Hindu Wedding

Hindu Wedding A Hindu wedding is Vivaha (विवाह) and the wedding ceremony is called Vivaah Sanskar in North India and Kalyanam (generally) in Tamil Nadu. The wedding ceremonies are very colourful, and celebrations may extend for several days. The bride’s and groom’s home—entrance, doors, wall, floor, roof—are sometimes decorated with colors, balloons, and other decorations. The rituals and...

Grihasta Ashrama

Ashrama in Hinduism

Ashrama in Hinduism Ashrama in Hinduism is one of four age-based life stages discussed in Indian texts of the ancient and medieval eras. The four ashramas are: Brahmacharya (student), Grihastha (householder), Vanaprastha (retired) and Sannyasa (renunciate). The Ashrama system is one facet of the Dharma concept in Hinduism. It is also a component of the ethical theories in Indian philosophy, where it is...

Hindus at Har Ki Pauri, Haridwar near river Ganges in Uttarakhand state of India.

Hindus

Hindus Hindus are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism. Historically, the term has also been used as a geographical, cultural, and later religious identifier for people living in the Indian subcontinent. The historical meaning of the term Hindu has evolved with time. Starting with the Persian...

A Hindu monk walking during sunrise in a mango garden in Dinajpur, Bangladesh

Sannyasa

Sannyasa Sannyasa (saṃnyāsa) is the life stage of renunciation within the Hindu philosophy of four age-based life stages known as ashramas, with the first three being Brahmacharya (bachelor student), Grihastha (householder) and Vanaprastha (forest dweller, retired). Sannyasa is traditionally conceptualized for men or women in late years of their life, but young brahmacharis have had...

India Temple Religion Travel Building Hindu

Hindu Reform Movements

Hindu Reform Movements Several contemporary groups, collectively termed Hindu reform movements or Hindu revivalism, strive to introduce regeneration and reform to Hinduism, both in a religious or spiritual and in a societal sense. The movements started appearing during the Bengali Renaissance. The religious aspect mostly emphasizes Vedanta tradition and mystical interpretations of Hinduism (“Neo-Vedanta“), and the societal...

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