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The Major Religions Of India Essay, Research Paper

India has a great number of different people from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. As a result of this, India s religions are just as numerous. Besides having nearly all the world s great religions represented, India was the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism(Finlay et al. 1993). The ratio of the religions in India are: five in six Indians practice Hinduism, one in nine practice Islam, one in forty practice Christianity, one in fifty practice Sikhism, one in one hundred forty five practice Buddhism, and one in two hundred fifty practice some other religion or cult(India 1998).

Hinduism was started from the Indo-Aryan invasion of India approximately 2,000 years before Christ(www.realtime.net 1998). Hinduism grew from Vedism, the religion of the ancient Indo-European people who settled India. Because it integrates a variety of heterogeneous elements, Hinduism constitutes a complex but largely continuous whole; and because it covers the whole life, it has religious, social, economic, literary, and artistic aspects. Hinduism thus resists a precise definition, but a common core of characteristics most Hindus share can be identified (Hinduism 1986). Hinduism is the oldest of our worlds religions, being over 3000 years old. Ninety percent of the world s Hindu population resides in India(Hinduism 1990). It is practiced by eighty percent of the population of India, over 670 million people(Finlay et al. 1993).

The early immigrants to India worshipped the powers of nature and gave personalities to each of them. They believe that all living things are a part of the same essence. In Hinduism, polytheism and idolatry are highly worshipped in. The number of gods worshipped is said to be more than 300,000,000. The average Hindu is unlimited in his polytheism(www.realtime.net 1998). Followers of Hinduism worship many gods but their belief stem from Brahman.

All other gods are an aspect of Brahman(Hinduism 1990). The main gods in Brahmanism are; Brahman the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the Destroyer and restorer, and Shiakti the mother goddess which can be beneficial or fierce. Each god had helpers, offspring, sacred animals and symbols. On a lower level are the nature gods – Usha the dawn, Surya the sun, Agni the fire, and so on with various gods below them. Lower still are abundance of local gods and demons. Hinduism is the religion that worships the most idols and is the most polytheistic(www.realtime.net 1998).

Most Westerners have a hard time understanding Hinduism and its many gods. It can be said that all of the many gods in Hinduism are pictorial representations of the many attributes of one god. All the gods are usually shown with four arms and Brahman also has four heads to represent his all seeing presence( Finlay et al. 1993).

Although Hinduism does have a number of holy books, there is no group of leaders to organize or set a formal structure. There are no set beliefs or creeds(McNair 1990). The most important of the holy books are the four Vedas or divine knowledge which make up the basis of Hindu philosophy(Finlay et al. 1993). There are rules to determine every aspect of daily life of strict Hindus(McNair 1990).

There are three main components of Hinduism which are Dharma, Karma, and reincarnation. What one does in this life will determine what you are reincarnated as in the next life. This belief comes from the law of Karma which is the law of cause and effect. The goal of the individual is to escape this cycle, or wheel of birth and rebirth, so that the individual soul, Atman, may eventually become part of the absolute soul, or Brahman (Hinduism 1990). Dharma is the natural law that defines the social, ethical, and spiritual harmony of ones life.

If a person follows his Dharma his Karma will be good and if his Karma is good then his reward will be rebirth in a better life(Schulberg 1968). Dharma is the controlling factor in casts and the relationships between them(Finlay et al. 1993).

Hinduism divides their followers into social groups or castes. Castes or Varna are ranked relative to the others in honor and degree of ritual purity, and each is largely associated with different kinds of occupations(Peoples and Baily 1997). There are four main castes which are divided into approximately 300 subcastes which in turn are subdivided into thousands of subdivisions(www.realtime.net).

Islam is the second largest religion is India. There are 75 million followers of the Islam religion which makes up ten percent of the Indian population. India is the largest Islam nation in the world. Muslims which are followers of the Islamic religion are India s largest religious minority(Finlay et al. 1993). There was Muslim rule in India for 550 years until the British took over.

Islam was founded by Mohammed(570 to 632 AD). He was born in Mecca, Arabia. Mohammed was troubled by the idolatry in Hinduism(www.realtime.net 1998). Mohammed had a vision of the angel Gabriel which told him to preach a new religion that taught equality, brotherhood, compassion, and mercy(McNair 1990).

The name of the Islamic god is Allah. Visions from Allah were put together into a Muslim holy book called the Koran(Finlay 1993). Every Muslim has to follow the rules that are stated in the Koran. The rules in the Koran are: profess faith to Allah, believe only in Allah, recite prayers five times a day, fast during the month of Ramadan, donate part of his wealth to charity, and go on a Haj or religious journey to Mecca at least once.

Many Hindus were forced into conversion. Some were offered escape from a lower cast and others were converted with the idea of universal brotherhood(Srinivasan 1990). Muslims are strongly monotheistic and believe it a sin to worship any other god. Their teachings closely follow the old testament of the Bible. Although Islam is not very popular, the effects of it are still strong in architecture, art and food(Finlay et al. 1993).

Sikhism was founded in the Punjab region of North India in the fifteenth century. Sikh means discipline in Punjabi(Sikh 1990). The Sikhs are one of the great minority groups of India. They grew out of an attempt by a Hindu holy man named Nanak, who wandered all over India preaching in bot temples and Moques, to bring an end to the religious wars that were devastating both Hindus and Muslims in the fifteenth century. Nanak saw religion as a bond to unite people not separate them.

What happened was that men of good will on both sides followed Nanak, and instead of healing the enmity between Hindu and Muslim, became a new religious movement-the Sikhs, or disciples. The Sikhs rejected both caste and racial pride, and rituals, pilgrimages, fasts, and what kinds of religious observances might lead to conflict. Now there are Sikhs all over India. They are intelligent, aggressive and hard-working(Rice 1971).

In the sixteenth century Guru Gobind Singh added a military element to the Sikh religion to deal with the persecution they were receiving. The military overtones are still present today. He made the Sikhs easily recognizable by five symbols. They are known as the five Kakkars and they are: Kesh or uncut hair, Kangha or wooden or ivory comb, Kachha or shorts, Kara or steel bracelet, Kirpan or sword. The Sikhs hid their hair in a long turban.

Sikhs have one holy book called the Granth Sahib which contains the works of ten Sikh Gurus and Hindu and Muslim writings. The Sikhs believe in one God, oppose idol worship, and believe their home is your home(Finlay et al.1993).

Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world. Today five million people in India practice Buddhism(Finlay et al. 1993). It was the first religion to become international(www.realtime.net 1998). Buddhism is a complex system of beliefs developed from the teachings of Siddhartha Guntama(560-480 B.C.). He went on a quest to find the solution for sin and suffering. He became Buddha the enlightened one while meditating under a bodhi tree in India. He preached the middle path or moderation in everything to reach enlightenment or nirvana, the place of freedom from reincarnation. He died at the age of eighty with 500 followers(www.realtime.net 1998). Buddhism relies on three basic principals which are Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. They are its founder, his teachings, and the order of monkshood respectively.

The followers of Buddhism believe in the four noble truths and the eight fold path (Srinivasan 1990). Knowledge of the four noble truths lead one to the middle path or salvation from rebirth. The first noble truth is existence entails suffering. The second is that suffering is caused by inherently insatiable desires.

The third noble truth is that desire must be suppressed in order to end suffering. The final noble truth describes the eight fold path, which forms the heart of the Buddha s teaching. It says the beliefs, intentions, speech, actions, lively-hood, self-discipline, self-mastery, and concentration or contemplation is the way to the middle path(www.realtime.net 1998). Buddha preached that all life is suffering and this suffering comes from our sensual desires and the false idea that they are important.

When one follows the eight fold path he will end the desires and enter a state of nirvana free from their delusions. Reincarnation is a part of the eight fold path and the process of rebirths will end after one s karma is perfect(Finlay 1993). In daily life the eight fold path says not to harm any creature. In Buddhism there is no creation and no heaven(Buddhism 1990). Although Buddhism never attracted a large number of the Indian population, its values of compassion and nonviolence became an important part of Indian culture. Basically Buddhism was integrated into Hinduism because Buddha was pronounced by the Hindus the ninth incarnation of Vishnu(McNair 1990).

Christianity is the third largest religion in India. It has 16 million followers but it is generally not considered a big success in India. Saint Francis Xavier was the first Christian missionary to India in 1542(McNair 1990). The major Christian converts came in the nineteenth century when the British took over in East India. In the suburbs and villages of India one can hardly distinguish between the Hindu and Christian neighbors(Srinivasan 1990).

Religion is so omnipresent in India, there are great religious overtones in every aspect of their culture. There is probably more diversity of religions, and sects in India than anywhere else on earth.

Finlay, Hugh; Crowther, Geoff; Thomas, Bryn; Wheeler, Tony

1993 India a Travel Survival Kit. Hawthorn, Australia: Lonely Planet

1990 India. Chicago: Children s Press.

Peoples, James and Bailey, Garrick

1997 Humanity: An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. New York:

Wadsworth Publishing Co.

Other articles

The Major Religions Of India Essay Research

The Major Religions Of India Essay Research

The Major Religions Of India Essay, Research Paper

India has a great number of different people from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. As a result of this, India s religions are just as numerous. Besides having nearly all the world s great religions represented, India was the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism(Finlay et al. 1993). The ratio of the religions in India are: five in six Indians practice Hinduism, one in nine practice Islam, one in forty practice Christianity, one in fifty practice Sikhism, one in one hundred forty five practice Buddhism, and one in two hundred fifty practice some other religion or cult(India 1998).

Hinduism was started from the Indo-Aryan invasion of India approximately 2,000 years before Christ(www.realtime.net 1998). Hinduism grew from Vedism, the religion of the ancient Indo-European people who settled India. Because it integrates a variety of heterogeneous elements, Hinduism constitutes a complex but largely continuous whole; and because it covers the whole life, it has religious, social, economic, literary, and artistic aspects. Hinduism thus resists a precise definition, but a common core of characteristics most Hindus share can be identified (Hinduism 1986). Hinduism is the oldest of our worlds religions, being over 3000 years old. Ninety percent of the world s Hindu population resides in India(Hinduism 1990). It is practiced by eighty percent of the population of India, over 670 million people(Finlay et al. 1993).

The early immigrants to India worshipped the powers of nature and gave personalities to each of them. They believe that all living things are a part of the same essence. In Hinduism, polytheism and idolatry are highly worshipped in. The number of gods worshipped is said to be more than 300,000,000. The average Hindu is unlimited in his polytheism(www.realtime.net 1998). Followers of Hinduism worship many gods but their belief stem from Brahman.

All other gods are an aspect of Brahman(Hinduism 1990). The main gods in Brahmanism are; Brahman the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the Destroyer and restorer, and Shiakti the mother goddess which can be beneficial or fierce. Each god had helpers, offspring, sacred animals and symbols. On a lower level are the nature gods – Usha the dawn, Surya the sun, Agni the fire, and so on with various gods below them. Lower still are abundance of local gods and demons. Hinduism is the religion that worships the most idols and is the most polytheistic(www.realtime.net 1998).

Most Westerners have a hard time understanding Hinduism and its many gods. It can be said that all of the many gods in Hinduism are pictorial representations of the many attributes of one god. All the gods are usually shown with four arms and Brahman also has four heads to represent his all seeing presence( Finlay et al. 1993).

Although Hinduism does have a number of holy books, there is no group of leaders to organize or set a formal structure. There are no set beliefs or creeds(McNair 1990). The most important of the holy books are the four Vedas or divine knowledge which make up the basis of Hindu philosophy(Finlay et al. 1993). There are rules to determine every aspect of daily life of strict Hindus(McNair 1990).

There are three main components of Hinduism which are Dharma, Karma, and reincarnation. What one does in this life will determine what you are reincarnated as in the next life. This belief comes from the law of Karma which is the law of cause and effect. The goal of the individual is to escape this cycle, or wheel of birth and rebirth, so that the individual soul, Atman, may eventually become part of the absolute soul, or Brahman (Hinduism 1990). Dharma is the natural law that defines the social, ethical, and spiritual harmony of ones life.

If a person follows his Dharma his Karma will be good and if his Karma is good then his reward will be rebirth in a better life(Schulberg 1968). Dharma is the controlling factor in casts and the relationships between them(Finlay et al. 1993).

Hinduism divides their followers into social groups or castes. Castes or Varna are ranked relative to the others in honor and degree of ritual purity, and each is largely associated with different kinds of occupations(Peoples and Baily 1997). There are four main castes which are divided into approximately 300 subcastes which in turn are subdivided into thousands of subdivisions(www.realtime.net).

Islam is the second largest religion is India. There are 75 million followers of the Islam religion which makes up ten percent of the Indian population. India is the largest Islam nation in the world. Muslims which are followers of the Islamic religion are India s largest religious minority(Finlay et al. 1993). There was Muslim rule in India for 550 years until the British took over.

Islam was founded by Mohammed(570 to 632 AD). He was born in Mecca, Arabia. Mohammed was troubled by the idolatry in Hinduism(www.realtime.net 1998). Mohammed had a vision of the angel Gabriel which told him to preach a new religion that taught equality, brotherhood, compassion, and mercy(McNair 1990).

The name of the Islamic god is Allah. Visions from Allah were put together into a Muslim holy book called the Koran(Finlay 1993). Every Muslim has to follow the rules that are stated in the Koran. The rules in the Koran are: profess faith to Allah, believe only in Allah, recite prayers five times a day, fast during the month of Ramadan, donate part of his wealth to charity, and go on a Haj or religious journey to Mecca at least once.

Many Hindus were forced into conversion. Some were offered escape from a lower cast and others were converted with the idea of universal brotherhood(Srinivasan 1990). Muslims are strongly monotheistic a

nd believe it a sin to worship any other god. Their teachings closely follow the old testament of the Bible. Although Islam is not very popular, the effects of it are still strong in architecture, art and food(Finlay et al. 1993).

Sikhism was founded in the Punjab region of North India in the fifteenth century. Sikh means discipline in Punjabi(Sikh 1990). The Sikhs are one of the great minority groups of India. They grew out of an attempt by a Hindu holy man named Nanak, who wandered all over India preaching in bot temples and Moques, to bring an end to the religious wars that were devastating both Hindus and Muslims in the fifteenth century. Nanak saw religion as a bond to unite people not separate them.

What happened was that men of good will on both sides followed Nanak, and instead of healing the enmity between Hindu and Muslim, became a new religious movement-the Sikhs, or disciples. The Sikhs rejected both caste and racial pride, and rituals, pilgrimages, fasts, and what kinds of religious observances might lead to conflict. Now there are Sikhs all over India. They are intelligent, aggressive and hard-working(Rice 1971).

In the sixteenth century Guru Gobind Singh added a military element to the Sikh religion to deal with the persecution they were receiving. The military overtones are still present today. He made the Sikhs easily recognizable by five symbols. They are known as the five Kakkars and they are: Kesh or uncut hair, Kangha or wooden or ivory comb, Kachha or shorts, Kara or steel bracelet, Kirpan or sword. The Sikhs hid their hair in a long turban.

Sikhs have one holy book called the Granth Sahib which contains the works of ten Sikh Gurus and Hindu and Muslim writings. The Sikhs believe in one God, oppose idol worship, and believe their home is your home(Finlay et al.1993).

Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world. Today five million people in India practice Buddhism(Finlay et al. 1993). It was the first religion to become international(www.realtime.net 1998). Buddhism is a complex system of beliefs developed from the teachings of Siddhartha Guntama(560-480 B.C.). He went on a quest to find the solution for sin and suffering. He became Buddha the enlightened one while meditating under a bodhi tree in India. He preached the middle path or moderation in everything to reach enlightenment or nirvana, the place of freedom from reincarnation. He died at the age of eighty with 500 followers(www.realtime.net 1998). Buddhism relies on three basic principals which are Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. They are its founder, his teachings, and the order of monkshood respectively.

The followers of Buddhism believe in the four noble truths and the eight fold path (Srinivasan 1990). Knowledge of the four noble truths lead one to the middle path or salvation from rebirth. The first noble truth is existence entails suffering. The second is that suffering is caused by inherently insatiable desires.

The third noble truth is that desire must be suppressed in order to end suffering. The final noble truth describes the eight fold path, which forms the heart of the Buddha s teaching. It says the beliefs, intentions, speech, actions, lively-hood, self-discipline, self-mastery, and concentration or contemplation is the way to the middle path(www.realtime.net 1998). Buddha preached that all life is suffering and this suffering comes from our sensual desires and the false idea that they are important.

When one follows the eight fold path he will end the desires and enter a state of nirvana free from their delusions. Reincarnation is a part of the eight fold path and the process of rebirths will end after one s karma is perfect(Finlay 1993). In daily life the eight fold path says not to harm any creature. In Buddhism there is no creation and no heaven(Buddhism 1990). Although Buddhism never attracted a large number of the Indian population, its values of compassion and nonviolence became an important part of Indian culture. Basically Buddhism was integrated into Hinduism because Buddha was pronounced by the Hindus the ninth incarnation of Vishnu(McNair 1990).

Christianity is the third largest religion in India. It has 16 million followers but it is generally not considered a big success in India. Saint Francis Xavier was the first Christian missionary to India in 1542(McNair 1990). The major Christian converts came in the nineteenth century when the British took over in East India. In the suburbs and villages of India one can hardly distinguish between the Hindu and Christian neighbors(Srinivasan 1990).

Religion is so omnipresent in India, there are great religious overtones in every aspect of their culture. There is probably more diversity of religions, and sects in India than anywhere else on earth.

Finlay, Hugh; Crowther, Geoff; Thomas, Bryn; Wheeler, Tony

1993 India a Travel Survival Kit. Hawthorn, Australia: Lonely Planet

The Major Religions Of India Essay, Research

The Major Religions Of India Essay, Research Paper

India has a great number of different people from a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds. As a result of this, India s religions are just as numerous. Besides having nearly all the world s great religions represented, India was the birthplace of Hinduism and Buddhism(Finlay et al. 1993). The ratio of the religions in India are: five in six Indians practice Hinduism, one in nine practice Islam, one in forty practice Christianity, one in fifty practice Sikhism, one in one hundred forty five practice Buddhism, and one in two hundred fifty practice some other religion or cult(India 1998).

Hinduism was started from the Indo-Aryan invasion of India approximately 2,000 years before Christ(www.realtime.net 1998). Hinduism grew from Vedism, the religion of the ancient Indo-European people who settled India. Because it integrates a variety of heterogeneous elements, Hinduism constitutes a complex but largely continuous whole; and because it covers the whole life, it has religious, social, economic, literary, and artistic aspects. Hinduism thus resists a precise definition, but a common core of characteristics most Hindus share can be identified (Hinduism 1986). Hinduism is the oldest of our worlds religions, being over 3000 years old. Ninety percent of the world s Hindu population resides in India(Hinduism 1990). It is practiced by eighty percent of the population of India, over 670 million people(Finlay et al. 1993).

The early immigrants to India worshipped the powers of nature and gave personalities to each of them. They believe that all living things are a part of the same essence. In Hinduism, polytheism and idolatry are highly worshipped in. The number of gods worshipped is said to be more than 300,000,000. The average Hindu is unlimited in his polytheism(www.realtime.net 1998). Followers of Hinduism worship many gods but their belief stem from Brahman.

All other gods are an aspect of Brahman(Hinduism 1990). The main gods in Brahmanism are; Brahman the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the Destroyer and restorer, and Shiakti the mother goddess which can be beneficial or fierce. Each god had helpers, offspring, sacred animals and symbols. On a lower level are the nature gods – Usha the dawn, Surya the sun, Agni the fire, and so on with various gods below them. Lower still are abundance of local gods and demons. Hinduism is the religion that worships the most idols and is the most polytheistic(www.realtime.net 1998).

Most Westerners have a hard time understanding Hinduism and its many gods. It can be said that all of the many gods in Hinduism are pictorial representations of the many attributes of one god. All the gods are usually shown with four arms and Brahman also has four heads to represent his all seeing presence( Finlay et al. 1993).

Although Hinduism does have a number of holy books, there is no group of leaders to organize or set a formal structure. There are no set beliefs or creeds(McNair 1990). The most important of the holy books are the four Vedas or divine knowledge which make up the basis of Hindu philosophy(Finlay et al. 1993). There are rules to determine every aspect of daily life of strict Hindus(McNair 1990).

There are three main components of Hinduism which are Dharma, Karma, and reincarnation. What one does in this life will determine what you are reincarnated as in the next life. This belief comes from the law of Karma which is the law of cause and effect. The goal of the individual is to escape this cycle, or wheel of birth and rebirth, so that the individual soul, Atman, may eventually become part of the absolute soul, or Brahman (Hinduism 1990). Dharma is the natural law that defines the social, ethical, and spiritual harmony of ones life.

If a person follows his Dharma his Karma will be good and if his Karma is good then his reward will be rebirth in a better life(Schulberg 1968). Dharma is the controlling factor in casts and the relationships between them(Finlay et al. 1993).

Hinduism divides their followers into social groups or castes. Castes or Varna are ranked relative to the others in honor and degree of ritual purity, and each is largely associated with different kinds of occupations(Peoples and Baily 1997). There are four main castes which are divided into approximately 300 subcastes which in turn are subdivided into thousands of subdivisions(www.realtime.net).

Islam is the second largest religion is India. There are 75 million followers of the Islam religion which makes up ten percent of the Indian population. India is the largest Islam nation in the world. Muslims which are followers of the Islamic religion are India s largest religious minority(Finlay et al. 1993). There was Muslim rule in India for 550 years until the British took over.

Islam was founded by Mohammed(570 to 632 AD). He was born in Mecca, Arabia. Mohammed was troubled by the idolatry in Hinduism(www.realtime.net 1998). Mohammed had a vision of the angel Gabriel which told him to preach a new religion that taught equality, brotherhood, compassion, and mercy(McNair 1990).

The name of the Islamic god is Allah. Visions from Allah were put together into a Muslim holy book called the Koran(Finlay 1993). Every Muslim has to follow the rules that are stated in the Koran. The rules in the Koran are: profess faith to Allah, believe only in Allah, recite prayers five times a day, fast during the month of Ramadan, donate part of his wealth to charity, and go on a Haj or religious journey to Mecca at least once.

Many Hindus were forced into conversion. Some were offered escape from a lower cast and others were converted with the idea of universal brotherhood(Srinivasan 1990). Muslims are strongly monotheistic and believe it a sin to worship any other god. Their teachings closely follow the old testament of the Bible. Although Islam is not very popular, the effects of it are still strong in architecture, art and food(Finlay et al. 1993).

Sikhism was founded in the Punjab region of North India in the fifteenth century. Sikh means discipline in Punjabi(Sikh 1990). The Sikhs are one of the great minority groups of India. They grew out of an attempt by a Hindu holy man named Nanak, who wandered all over India preaching in bot temples and Moques, to bring an end to the religious wars that were devastating both Hindus and Muslims in the fifteenth century. Nanak saw religion as a bond to unite people not separate them.

What happened was that men of good will on both sides followed Nanak, and instead of healing the enmity between Hindu and Muslim, became a new religious movement-the Sikhs, or disciples. The Sikhs rejected both caste and racial pride, and rituals, pilgrimages, fasts, and what kinds of religious observances might lead to conflict. Now there are Sikhs all over India. They are intelligent, aggressive and hard-working(Rice 1971).

In the sixteenth century Guru Gobind Singh added a military element to the Sikh religion to deal with the persecution they were receiving. The military overtones are still present today. He made the Sikhs easily recognizable by five symbols. They are known as the five Kakkars and they are: Kesh or uncut hair, Kangha or wooden or ivory comb, Kachha or shorts, Kara or steel bracelet, Kirpan or sword. The Sikhs hid their hair in a long turban.

Sikhs have one holy book called the Granth Sahib which contains the works of ten Sikh Gurus and Hindu and Muslim writings. The Sikhs believe in one God, oppose idol worship, and believe their home is your home(Finlay et al.1993).

Buddhism is the fourth largest religion in the world. Today five million people in India practice Buddhism(Finlay et al. 1993). It was the first religion to become international(www.realtime.net 1998). Buddhism is a complex system of beliefs developed from the teachings of Siddhartha Guntama(560-480 B.C.). He went on a quest to find the solution for sin and suffering. He became Buddha the enlightened one while meditating under a bodhi tree in India. He preached the middle path or moderation in everything to reach enlightenment or nirvana, the place of freedom from reincarnation. He died at the age of eighty with 500 followers(www.realtime.net 1998). Buddhism relies on three basic principals which are Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. They are its founder, his teachings, and the order of monkshood respectively.

The followers of Buddhism believe in the four noble truths and the eight fold path (Srinivasan 1990). Knowledge of the four noble truths lead one to the middle path or salvation from rebirth. The first noble truth is existence entails suffering. The second is that suffering is caused by inherently insatiable desires.

The third noble truth is that desire must be suppressed in order to end suffering. The final noble truth describes the eight fold path, which forms the heart of the Buddha s teaching. It says the beliefs, intentions, speech, actions, lively-hood, self-discipline, self-mastery, and concentration or contemplation is the way to the middle path(www.realtime.net 1998). Buddha preached that all life is suffering and this suffering comes from our sensual desires and the false idea that they are important.

When one follows the eight fold path he will end the desires and enter a state of nirvana free from their delusions. Reincarnation is a part of the eight fold path and the process of rebirths will end after one s karma is perfect(Finlay 1993). In daily life the eight fold path says not to harm any creature. In Buddhism there is no creation and no heaven(Buddhism 1990). Although Buddhism never attracted a large number of the Indian population, its values of compassion and nonviolence became an important part of Indian culture. Basically Buddhism was integrated into Hinduism because Buddha was pronounced by the Hindus the ninth incarnation of Vishnu(McNair 1990).

Christianity is the third largest religion in India. It has 16 million followers but it is generally not considered a big success in India. Saint Francis Xavier was the first Christian missionary to India in 1542(McNair 1990). The major Christian converts came in the nineteenth century when the British took over in East India. In the suburbs and villages of India one can hardly distinguish between the Hindu and Christian neighbors(Srinivasan 1990).

Religion is so omnipresent in India, there are great religious overtones in every aspect of their culture. There is probably more diversity of religions, and sects in India than anywhere else on earth.

Finlay, Hugh; Crowther, Geoff; Thomas, Bryn; Wheeler, Tony

1993 India a Travel Survival Kit. Hawthorn, Australia: Lonely Planet

1990 India. Chicago: Children s Press.

Peoples, James and Bailey, Garrick

1997 Humanity: An Introduction to Cultural Anthropology. New York:

Wadsworth Publishing Co.

Tribes Of India

The essays are ideal for those taking examinations in English Literature.

Tribes Of India

Sample essay topic, essay writing: Tribes Of India - 1444 words

Indian Tribes. Among the 68 million citizens of India who are members of tribal groups, the Indian tribal religious concepts, terminologies, and practices are as varied as the hundreds of tribes, but members of these groups have one thing in common: they are under constant pressure from the major organized religions. Some of this pressure is intentional, as outside missionaries work among tribal groups to gain converts. Most of the pressure, however, comes from the process of integration within a national political and economic system that brings tribes into increasing contact with other groups and different, prestigious belief systems. In general, those tribes that remain geographically isolated in desert, hill, and forest regions or on islands are able to retain their traditional cultures and religions longer. Those tribes that make the transition away from hunting and gathering and toward sedentary agriculture, usually as low-status laborers, find their ancient religious forms in decay and their place filled by practices of Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, or Buddhism. One of the most studied tribal religions is that of the Santal of Orissa, Bihar, and West Bengal, one of the largest tribes in India, having a population estimated at 4.2 million.

According to the 1991 census, however, only 23,645 people listed Santal as their religious belief. According to the Santal religion, the supreme deity, who ultimately controls the entire universe, is Thakurji. The weight of belief, however, falls on a court of spirits (bonga ), who handle different aspects of the world and who must be placated with prayers and offerings in order to ward off evil influences. These spirits operate at the village, household, ancestor, and subclan level, along with evil spirits that cause disease, and can inhabit village boundaries, mountains, water, tigers, and the forest. A characteristic feature of the Santal village is a sacred grove on the edge of the settlement where many spirits live and where a series of annual festivals take place. The most important spirit is Maran Buru (Great Mountain), who is invoked whenever offerings are made and who instructed the first Santals in sex and brewing of rice beer. Maran Buru's consort is the benevolent Jaher Era (Lady of the Grove).A yearly round of rituals connected with the agricultural cycle, along with life-cycle rituals for birth, marriage and burial at death, involves petitions to the spirits and offerings that include the sacrifice of animals, usually birds

Religious leaders are male specialists in medical cures who practice divination and witchcraft. Similar beliefs are common among other tribes of northeast and central India such as the Kharia, Munda, and Oraon. Smaller and more isolated tribes often demonstrate less articulated classification systems of the spiritual hierarchy, described as animism or a generalized worship of spiritual energies connected with locations, activities, and social groups. Indian Religions Tribal concepts are intricately entwined with ideas about nature and interaction with local ecological systems. As in Santal religion, religious specialists are drawn from the village or family and serve a wide range of spiritual functions that focus on placating potentially dangerous spirits and coordinating rituals. Unlike the Santal, who have a large population long accustomed to agriculture and a distinguished history of resistance to outsiders, many smaller tribal groups are quite sensitive to ecological degradation caused by modernization, and their unique religious beliefs are under constant threat. Even among the Santal, there are 300,000 Christians who are alienated from traditional festivals, although even among converts the belief in the spirits remains strong. Among the Munda and Oraon in Bihar, about 25 percent of the population are Christians.

Among the Kharia of Bihar (population about 130,000), about 60 percent are Christians, but all are heavily influenced by Hindu concepts of major deities and the annual Hindu cycle of festivals. Tribal groups in the Himalayas were similarly affected by both Hinduism and Buddhism in the late twentieth century. Even the small hunting-and-gathering groups in the union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands have been under severe pressure because of immigration to this area and the resulting reduction of their hunting area. Northeast region of India is a pristine territory, completely unexplored. The valley is adorned with lush green vegetation, majestic mountains and untamed rivers. It is also abode of exquisite range of flora and fauna and the magnificent tribal life. The states of Northeast India's natural splendor welcome the tourist browsing for something different.

North East of India is comprises of Sikkim where orchids bloom on the hillside. Assam - famous for its tea gardens, Arunchal Pradesh - the first part of India to welcome the morning sun. Tripura - explore the princely traditions of, Nagaland - famous for the tribal crafts and culture, Mizoram - enjoy the exquisite bamboo and cane souvenirs, Manipur - luxuriate in the marionette dance, Meghalaya - recline in the picturesque vista of the abode of the clouds. All is adding to its charisma. A varied number of tribes and tribal groups each with its own distinct culture inhabit the region of northeast India.

Many tribal languages are spoken throughout these seven states. The northeastern states have the highest percentage of Christians. The region also has its state importance as it is bordering the territories of China, Tibet, Bhutan, Myanmar and Bangladesh. Tai-Khamtis tribe hold to their Buddhist faith and got settled in the Lohit district of Arunachal Pradesh, thus the area became the central platform for intermixing of varying cultures and religions, the main ones being Hinduism and Buddhism. Tribal society tends to be considerate of humankind, its leadership being based on ties of kinship and temper rather than on hereditary status.

A major portion of the tribal habitat is hilly and forested. Tribal villages are generally found in areas away from the alluvial plains close to rivers. Tribal groups hold such cultural features, which indicate an ancient level in social - cultural standard. The native people of Arunachal Pradesh are tribes with gratifying heritage of arts and crafts and entertaining folksongs. The state has 26 major tribes and a number of sub-tribes having their own lingo and cultural identities.

Apatanis is the main tribal group of Arunachal Pradesh. Each tribe has its own lively folk songs and kaleidoscopic traditional dances that depict a unique outline of unity in diversity. Though the tribes have their own dialect but Hindi and Assamese are also widely spoken and used in communication with non tribal people. There are 62 different tribes prevailing in Orissa. The total strength of tribal population is about 7 million, which comprises of 22.21% of the total population of the State.

Tribal economy is a subsistence economy is mainly based on collecting, hunting and fishing. The most primitive tribes are Bondas, Gadabas, Koyas, Kondhas and Sauras. 16 major tribes along with other sub-tribes inhabit Nagaland. Each tribe has its own customs, languages, dress and can easily be marked by the brilliant designed attires, jewelry and bead strings that they wear. The present generation of Nagas has turned into fashion designing in a big way, reproducing fabrics that represent the ancestral motifs blended with modern appeal.

The traditional ceremonial attire of each tribe is an interesting sight to see. Main tribal groups in Assam are Khamti, Phakial, Khamyang, Aitonia, Nara, Gurung and Shyam. Populations of these tribes have been gradually decreasing in the last one-decade. It is interesting to note that the Government of India has not recognized these tribal groups as the tribal people. A common feature of the tribal population in north east region is weaving that is being practiced by all tribal groups in Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur and in the valley of Assam.

There are only a few exceptions, such as the Nokteys of Tirap in Arunachal Pradesh and the Khasis of Meghalaya who do not weave. It is the women who are the real sartor of northeastern region - whether it be the Monpas and Sherdukpens of Kameng, the Mishmis and Khamtis of Lohit or the wives of the Wanchoo chieftains of Tirap in Arunachal Pradesh, or any of the Naga tribes, or even the Assamese in the plains, it is the women who weave unlike the rest of India, where men surpass the weaving skill. Tribal population is mainly dominating in the thinly populated hill areas almost comprising of 20 percent of the total region population. In the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland, upward of 90 percent of the population is tribal. However, in the remaining northeast states of Assam, Manipur, Sikkim, and Tripura, tribal peoples form between 20 and 30 percent of the population.

Often they practice farming by clearing a field by slash or burn methods, planting it for a number of seasons, and then abandoning it for a lengthy fallow period, rather than the intensive farming typical of most of rural India.

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15 August 2014. Author: Criticism