Nitin Singhania: Summary of Religions in India Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

UPSC: Nitin Singhania: Summary of Religions in India Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

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Introduction

  • Swami Vivekananda said while addressing an audience at World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893:
    “I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. ”

HINDUISM
(i) One of the biggest religions in this country.
(ii) Hinduism- drawn from ‘Hindu’, a term to connote people who lived in geographical area around river Indus.
(iii) Hinduism borrows its basic principles from pre-Vedic & Vedic religious philosophies.
(iv) Srutis - were revealed to sages or rishis.
(v) Oldest Veda- Rig Veda, which has 1,000 hymns about various Gods like Agni, Indra, Vayu, Soma, etc.
(vi) Sama Veda- music & hymns
(vii) Yajur Veda- sacrificial hymns related to Rig Veda.
(viii) Atharva Veda- magic & medicine.
(ix) Vedas- have several commentaries attached, like Brahmanas, Arayankas (mystical teachings) & Upanishads (speculations on human being & his lived reality).
(x) Religious sacrifices & offerings in open air → ‘puja’ or worship of divine power’s image began → started to make temples  Hinduism became a proper religion with holy books, areas of worship & priests to mediate with God.
(xi) Hindu traditions say that after achieving kama (pleasure, sometimes sexual) & artha one should look towards Dharma (righteousness).
(xii) Upanishads specify four stages of life:    Brahmachari (celibate students) → Grihasta (a householder) → Vanaprastha (a hermit) → Sanyasi (an ascetic) → after this he strives for moksha or salvation.

Try yourself:Consider the following statements about Hinduism:
1. In Vedic age, the religious sacrifices and offerings were done in the open air.
2. Vanaprastha is the last stage in the life of a man as per Upanishads.
Which of the above is/are correct?
View Solution

FOUR SECTS UNDER HINDUISM
(i) Vaishnavism:
(a) Followers of Vishnu
(b) Can be traced from 1st millennium BCE, as Bhagavatism or Krishnaism.
(c) Has many sampradayas or sub-schools.

(ii) Shaivism:
(a) Followers of Shiva
(b) Origin traced before Vaishnaism in 2nd millennium BCE in the form of Vedic deity Rudra.

(iii) Shaktism:
(a) Followers of feminine and Devi or goddess as supreme
(b) Known for various subtraditions of Tantra.

(iv) Smartism:
(a) Based on teachings of Puranas.
(b)  Believe in domestic worship of five shrines with five deities, all treated as equals: Shiva, Shakti, Ganesh, Vishnu and Swya.
(c) Accepts two concepts of Brahman- Saguna Brahman - Brahman with attributes & Nirguna Brahman - Brahman without attributes.

PROMINENT SECTS UNDER HINDUISM
(i) Four major traditions under Hinduism: Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism & Smartism, which are further divided into sects or Sampradayas.
(ii) Sects- teach traditions with autonomous practices & monastic centers & a guru lineage.

1. Promient Sects under Vaishnavism
(i) Varkari Panth or Varkari Sampradaya:
(a) Followers of Vishnu, in his manifestation as Vithoba
(b) Worship in Vithoba’s temple at Pandharpur in Maharashtra.
(c) Strict avoidance towards alcohol and tobacco.
(d) Annual pilgrimage Vari, where Varkaris carry padukas of the saints in palkhis from Samadhi to Pandharpur.
(e) Events Ringan &Dhava held during pilgrimage.
(f) Ringan- sacred horse runs through rows of pilgrims, who try catching the dust particles kicked off & smear their head with the same.
(h) Prominent figures- Jnaneshvar (1275-1296), Namdev (1270-1350), Eknath (1533-1599), and Tukaram (1598-1650).

Try yourself:Consider the following stages of life:
1. Grihastha
2. Brahmachari
3. Vanaprastha
4. Sanyasi
Which is the order in which they occur in the life of a man?
View Solution

(ii) Ramanandi Sampradaya:
(a) Follow advaita scholar Ramananda.
(b) Largest monastic group within Hinduism in Asia Vaishnava monks are called- Ramanandis, Vairagis or Bairagis.
(c) They worship Rama, one of ten incarnations of Vishnu.
(d) Perform meditation & follow strict ascetic practices.
(e) Believe that grace of god is required to achieve liberation.
(f) Settled around Gangetic plains.
(g) Two sub-groups: Tyagi & Naga.

(iii) Brahma Sampradaya:
(a) Worship Vishnu, the Para- Brahma or Universal Creator (not to be confused with the Brahma deity).
(b)  Founder- Madhvacharya.
(c) Gaudiya Vaishnavism promoted by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is associated with it.
(d) ISKCON belongs to them.

(iv) Pushti marg Sampradaya:
(a) Vaishnav sect
(b) Founded by Vallabhacharya around 1500 AD.
(c) Philosophy- ultimate truth is one & only one Brahm.
(d) Devotion based on pure love for Krishna & all followers are expected to do Seva to their personal icon of Krishna.

(v) Nimbarka Sampradaya:
(a) Also called Hamsa Sampradaya & Kumara Sampradaya.
(b) Followers worship Radha& Krishna.

Try yourself:Consider the following statements:
1. Shaivites in North India are called Nayanars.
2. Vaishnavites in South India are called Alvars.
Which of the above is/are correct?
View Solution

2. Prominent Sects under Shaivism
(i) Siddhas:

(a) Broadly refer to siddhars, naths, ascetics, sadhus, or yogis.
(b) They all practice sadhana.
(c) Attain physical immortality through spiritual perfection.

(ii) Nathpanthi:
(a) Also known as Siddha Siddhanta
(b) Adhere to the teachings of Gorakhnath & Matsyendranath
(c) Worship Adinath, a form of Shiva.
(d) Use Hatha Yoga to transform one’s body into a state of awakened seifs identity with absolute reality.
(e) Monks are floating group of wanderers, wearing loin cloths & dhotis and also cover themselves with ashes, tie up their hair in dreadlocks, and keep a sacred fire called dhuni, when they stop walking.

(iii) Lingayatism:
(a) Also known as Veershaivism
(b) Distinct Shaivite tradition
(c) Believes in monotheism through worship centered on Lord Shiva in the form of linga.
(d) Rejects authority of Vedas & caste system.
(e) Established in 12th century AD by Basavanna.

(iv)  Dashanami Sanyasis:
(a) Associated with Advaita Vedanta tradition
(b) Disciples of Adi Shankaracharya.
(c) Also called “Dash Nam Sanyasi” as they are further divided into ten groups.

(v) Aghoris:
(a) Devotees of Shiva manifested as Bhairava
(b) Seek salvation from cycle of reincarnation through sadhana in cremation grounds and removal of bonds from their life.
(c) Indulge in extreme, tamasic ritual practices.

Try yourself:Brahmo Samaj was started by-
View Solution

(vi) Siddhars or Siddhas:

(a) Were saints, doctors, alchemists & mystics all in one from Tamil Nadu.

(b) Attain spiritual perfection through special secret rasayanas, in order to be able to sustain prolonged meditation along with pranayama which considerably reduces the number of breaths they take.

(c) Have special eight powers.

(d) Founders of Varmam - a medical treatment & a martial art for selfdefence.

3. Other Hindu Traditions
(i) Shrautism:
(a) Includes ultra-orthodox Nambudiri Brahmins of Kerala.

(b) Follow “Purva-Mimamsa” school of philosophy & not Vedanta like other Brahmins.

(c) Performance of Vedic Sacrifice (Yajna) is important.

(d) Famous for preservation of ancient Somayaagam, Agnicayana rituals which have vanished in other parts of India.

(e) During the medieval period;
North India → Bhakti movement, where saints translated Sanskrit texts into vernacular languages.
South India Vaishnavite movement reigned till end of 13th century. These saints, called Alvars, were devotees of Vishnu & they sang songs which were collected and made into prabhandas.
South India Shaivites (worshipped Shiva). Their saints were called ‘Nayanars’ & 63 major saints are known.

(f) In modern period: need to change the highly ritualistic nature of Hinduism and problems like domination of Brahmans, Sati, Child marriage, caste system infiltrated hinduism.

(g) After coming of the Britishers, several thinkers propelled to change the situation by starting     following movements:

Try yourself:Which of the following is not among the 24 Tirthankaras in Jainism?
View Solution

Brahmo Movements
(i) Began with Raja Rammohan Roy who started Brahmo Samaj in 1828.
(ii) It rejected iconography or worship of any kind of imagery & spoke against evil practices of Sati, which was abolished later after sustained campaigning.
(iii) He established two schools to bring education to the masses.
(iv) Mission was taken over by Devendranath Tagore in 1843, after his death.
(v) He was a fierce writer who criticised British & Christian missionaries who were converting poor people and urged Hinduism to bring large scale changes.
(vi) Another member Keshabchandra Sen- advocated against child marriage, polygamy & caste system → He & his followers were very radical and broke from Brahmo Samaj to form ‘Bharatiya Brahmo Samaj’.
(vi) This movement couldn’t sustain itself and led to another break into ‘Sadharan Brahmo Samaj’.
(vii) These splits didn’t let the movement survive.

Movements by Swami Vivekananda and Kamakrishna Mission
(i) Concentrated on changing the Hindu philosophies from within.
(ii) Advocated supreme devotion to god, who it said could be formless or in an object but the purpose of man is to find him.
(iii) It is sometimes called ‘neo-Hinduism’.
(iv) Major follower- Swami Vivekananda or Narendra Nath Dutta.
(v) They wanted man to combine his bodily strength with that of the mind and bring a change to Hinduism.
(vi) Ramakrishna Mission- established in 1897.
(vii) Its three-fold philosophy was: spread Vedantic spirituality; strive for a harmonious existence of all world religions & service to mankind is service to god.

The Arya Samaj
(i) Wanted to revive Hinduism from within
(ii) Founded by Swami Dayanand Saraswati.
(iii) Believed in supremacy of Vedas as they formed repository of all values & knowledge.
(iv) Major policy- work for welfare of mankind.
(v) Believed in good education & established many schools.
(vi) Followed iconoclasm & wanted to convert non-Hindus into this religion.
(vii) Started Suddhi or purification movement for conversion.

SHRAMANA SCHOOLS
(i) Shramana means one who performs acts of austerity and ascetic.
(ii) Refers to several Indian religious movements parallel to Vedic religion.
(iii) Various Shramana schools include:
(a) Jainism
(b) Buddhism
(c) Ajivikas
(d) Ajnanas
Charvakas ('All of the above five belong to Nastika or Heterodox school of philosophy).

Ajivikas:
(i) Founder- Makkhali Gosala in 5th century BC.
(ii) Revolves around Niyati (Fate) doctrine of absolute determinism.
(iii) No free will & everything is pre-ordained or pre-decided and based on cosmic principles.
(iv) No use of Karma.
(v) Based on theory of atoms & believes that everything is composed of atoms and various qualities emerge from the aggregates of atoms.
(vi) Ajivikas
(a) Led a simple ascetic life, without clothes and any material possession
(b) Opposed Buddhism & Jainism - Were atheists.
(c) Consider Karma a fallacy.
(d) Rejected the authority of Vedas
(e) Believed in the existence of soul (atman)in material form unlike Jainism, which propounds formless soul.
(f) Follower- Bindusara (4th Century BC) was one of its followers.
(g) Savathi (Sravasti), UP- centre of Ajivikas.
(h) Mentioned in Ashoka’s 7th pillar edicts
(i) Texts of Ajivika sect- non-existing at present.
(j) Has lost its glamour in the present era.

Ajnanas:
(i) Believed in radical scepticism and that it’s impossible to attain knowledge about nature. And even if it is possible, it is useless for attaining salvation.
(ii) Major rival of Jainism & Buddhism.
(iii) Specialized in refutation & were considered ignorant.
 Believed- “Ignorance is Best”.

ISLAM
(i) Origin- Arabian Peninsula (7th century AD)

(ii) Word ‘Islam’ connotes ‘submission’ to God. Those who submit to God and follow the preaching of Prophet Muhammad are called Muslims.

(iii) Prophet Muhammad - last in the long lines of messengers sent by God on earth like Abraham, Moses, etc.

(iv) Christians & Muslims- common ancestor- Abraham.

(v) Angel revealed the message of God to Prophet Muhammad on the mountains → faced many problems & left Mecca & migrated to Madina → came back to mecca after a successful coup → Travel back to Mecca is holy route that became Hajj (holy pilgrimage).

(vi) Every Muslim is ordered to go to Hajj once in their lifetime.

(vii) Teachings of Prophet- compiled by his followers after his death- Hadith (holy book of the Muslims).

(viii) Quran- compiled before his death & verified twice by him.
Quran & Sunnah- basis for Islamic laws or Sharia.

(vix) In India- four major schools of thought & law in Islam: Hanafi, Shafei, Maliki & Hambali.

(x) Basic tenants of Islam:
(a) Only one Allah (manifestation of god) who sent his messenger to help people on Earth.
(b) Prophet Muhammad: last Prophet.
(c) Believe in Day of Judgment when merits & bad deeds will be judged.
(d) Offer namaz or prayer five times a day.
(e) Friday Prayers: in community mosque (Juma Namaz).
(f) Necessary fasting from sunrise to sunset during Ramzan, which ends with Eid.
(g) A portion of their earnings given to needy & poor (Zakat or charity).

(xi) Two major sub-divisions:
(a) Shia (those who were partisans of Ali) & Sunni (those who follow Sunnah).
(b) Differences arose on deciding successor of the Prophet.
(c) Sunnis: believed that someone close to Prophet like Abu Bakr should be successor.
(d) Shia: believed that Prophet’s own flesh & blood like Ali his son-in law should be successor. Majority in India: Sunni.
(e) On Muharram: Shia reenact the uruesome death of Ali.

Try yourself:Consider the following statements about Jainism-
1. Digambaras believed that even women can become Tirthankara.
2. Shwetambara monks used a brush to remove insects from their path.
Which of the above is/are correct?
View Solution

Some of the major movements that shaped Islam:
Nitin Singhania: Summary of Religions in India Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

CHRISTIANITY
(i) One of the largest religions in the world.
(ii) Lots of followers in India.
(iii) Founded by Jesus Christ in Jerusalem & gained a lot of followers, three days after his prosecution &resurrection.
(iv) Became State religion of Roman Empire & started spreading rapidly.
(v) Basis of Roman Catholic Christianity- Vatican City.
(vi) Later several reform movements occurred & sects like Protestants, Methodists, etc, emerged.
(vii) Basic philosophy- existence of one God who created the Universe. He sends messengers or messiah(s) when necessary, to help his creation.
(viii) Jesus- a messenger who came to help people find God & become their ‘saviour’.
(ix) Believe that after Jesus left earth, God’s presence was retained on Earth in the form of the Holy ghost or Holy spirit.
(x) Worship Holy Trinity: the father (God), the son (Jesus) and the Holy ghost.
(xi) Sacred text- the Bible (comprises Old Testament of the Jews & New Testament, collection of new writings defined by Roman Catholic Church headed by a Pope).
(xii) Celebrate birth of Christ on Christmas & urge people to congregate in Church.
(xiii) Main practices- Baptism where a child or any individual enters church’s service.
(xiv) Eucharist or breaking bread & wine with God which signifies unity with the being.
(xv) Two stages of the spread of Christianity in India: first- medieval period & second- 18th century Missionary work under British.
(xvi) Some Historians say one of Jesus’s apostles, St. Thomas, reached India in 52 AD & worked in Kerela & Tamil Nadu, which led to a lot of conversions in Kerela. He is buried at Cathedral of St. Thomas, Mylapore, Chennai.
(xvii) Portuguese- brought missionaries & took permission from Akbar & Jahangir to preach.
(xviii) Turning point came (1557) when Jesuit, St. Francis Xavier, made Goa an Archbishopric.
(xix) Second phase- 18th century- missionaries reached Bengal- brought modem (English) education and gave medical assistance.
(xx) Today institutions like Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) & YWCA (for women) take the message of Christ to smaller tribal parts of India & provide them with education and medicines.
(xxi) Several denominations like Syrian Christians of Kerala, Protestant groups, etc. are active & flourishing.

SIKHISM
(i) Commenced with life of Gum Nanak (1469-1539), who was a non-conformist.
(ii) Gave an organised fight to Hindu religion & gave an alternative way of socio-religious organisation of his followers.
(iii) Regulated community life by bringing congregational worship in a dharamsala & dining together.
(iv) Condemn the social order & gave an alternative to it.
(v) Supreme purpose of human existence- salvation (getting relieved from cycles of birth & rebirth).
(vi) Believed that salvation could not be achieved by worshipping idols or books, but only by right belief, right worship & right conduct.
(vii) Developed new forms of worship- community kitchen (langar).
(viii) Very practical religion as it doesn’t ask for ascetism etc.
(ix) Asks people to live like an ideal man who runs his household on his own labour, attends sangat (community gatherings) & kirtan (community singing of songs for praising god) at gurudwara or dharamsala .
(x) His main couplet ‘they who eat the fruit of their labour, Nanak, recognise the right way’ this was major attractions to khattari traders & merchant class, major followers in initial phase.
(xi) Initially Mughal-Sikh relations- very cordial.
(xii) Execution of Guru Arjan Dev on Jahangir’s orders- caused dispute.
(xiii) Khushwant Singh called it ‘First martyrdom of the Sikhs’.
(xiv) Guru Hargobind (1606-44)- set a trend of militancy & organised army of his own at Ramdaspur for resistance.
(xv) Gum transformed Sikh CULT into Sikh CORPS where adherents act as ‘saint soldiers’ or ‘soldier saints’ who would attain heaven.
(xvi) Guru Hargobind- first one to gird two swords as symbol for Sikhs, which symbolised spiritual I(pin) & temporal {rniri) authority & represented combination of Bhakti & Shakti.
(xvii) He constmcted Akal Takht & Lohagarh fort- for temporal authority, to conduct daily business & defence.
(xviii) Next two Gums- Guru Har Rai & Guru Har Krishan- were in constant conflict & were detained by Aurangzeb.
(xix) Guru Teg Bahadur- wanted to establish sovereign authority of Sikhs- was also in conflict with Aurangzeb and executed in 1675 in Delhi.
(xx) Last physical gum- Guru Gobind Singh- whose death ended the system of ‘personal guruship’-death of all sons of Guru Gobind led to transfer of authority to Guru Granth/Guru Panth/Adi Granth, bani of the Sikh saints.
(xxi) Guru Granth- compiled in 1678.
(xxii) Gum Gobind Singh also started, KHALSA who were markedly different from non-Khalsa Sikhs, who came to be called Sahajdhari Sikhs & constituted Nanak- Panthis, Bhallas & Udasis.
(xxiii) These groups followed the authority of either words of Nanak or alternative authority holders in the Sikh religion apart from the gum tradition.
(xxiv) Panjpyare (first five initiates) - asked to initiate Gum Gobind Singh.
(xxv) Baptised Sikhs-‘Singh’ & women- ‘Kaur’.
(xxvi) Uniform external appearance brought uniformity.
(xxvii) Khalsa Sikhs- not allowed to cut their hair & possessed 5 k’s (kachcha, kesh, kangha, kirpan, kara).
(xxviii) Differentiation at physical level gave uniformity to the movement.

Try yourself:Consider the following statements about Buddhism-
1. Hinayana sect believed in the idol worship of Buddha.
2. Mahayana sect followed the Bodhisattva concept of salvation.
Which of the above is/are correct?
View Solution

ZOROASTRIANISM
(i) Origin- Persia
(ii) By Prophet Zarathustra around 6-7 BCE.
(iii) Monotheistic religion who believes in one eternal god called Ahura Mazda, epitome of just behaviour & goodness.
(iv) Spirit of malice & bad behaviour- Angra Mainyu.
(v) These two keep fighting with each other leading to an eternal struggle till the day good wins over evil.
(vi) First contact of Zoroastrians with India- 936 AD when they fleed from Iran because of Islamic invasions.
(vii) Commonly called Parsis & are amongst smallest (and rapidly shrinking) communities in India.
(viii) Mostly live in Mumbai, Goa & Ahmedabad.
(ix) Their fire temples called Atash Bahrain are rare & are only eight in entire country.
(x) Sacred text- Zend Avesta (written in Old Avestan & consists of 17 sacred songs (gathas) & Athuna Vairyo (sacred chant), written by Zarathustra himself.
(xi) Translations of these texts & compiled glossaries- Zend.
(xii) This collection- divided into five parts:

  • Yasna: Worship with ceremony and offerings Videvdat: Laws against the demons
  • Yashts: to worship through praise
  • Khordeh Avesta: Book on Daily prayers
  • Gathas: These are further divided into five parts called the
  • Ahunavaiti, Ushtavaiti, Spenta-Mainyu, Vohu-Khshathra and Vashishta-Ishti.

(xiii) Worship fire but also consider air, water & earth to be sacred.
(xiv) Believe dead matter to be a corrupting element & dead bodies in the open to be eaten by the vultures.
(xv) Open spaces are called ‘Dak/timi' & vultures that eat them- ‘Dakhma Nashini’.
(xvi) Only space known in India where they are left are ‘Towers of Silence’, Mumbai. Now, people have started cremation or burial.

Three major sects in Parsis:

 Shahenshai Calculate their Calendar from Last Sassanian king, Yasdegard III
 Kadmi Claim to have the oldest & the most accurate Calendar
 Fasli Follow the traditional Persian Calendar.


Qissa-i Sanjan
(i) It is an account of the migration of Zoroastrians (Parsis) and their settlement in the Indian Sub-continent.
(ii) Its first chapter ends with establishment of fire temple at Sanjan (Gujarat).

Try yourself:Which of the following is not among the three major treatises of Buddhism?
View Solution

JUDAISM
(i) One of the oldest religions.
(ii) Was prosecuted the most.
(iii) Followers- Jews and were targeted by several empires like Hitler who systematically killed & tortured several millions of Jews in Germany.
(iv) Monotheistic religion- one God.
(v) Predates Christianity & Islam, both have borrowed a lot from Judaic philosophies.
(vi) Believe in Yahweh or one true God who was instituted by Abraham.
(vii) Religious book- Torah (also first five books of Old Testament or Bible).
(viii) Compilations of legal & ethical writings & a brief history of Jewish- Talmud.
(ix) Have separate prayer halls & synagogues (place for worship).
(x) Follow Eliyahu-hanavi or thanksgiving to Elijah the Prophet.
(xi) Abraham- ancestor of all Jews & propounded that those who followed the injunctions of God would be blessed.
(xii) His son Isaac & grandson Jacob (who was also called Israel) were also blessed by God.
(xiii) God sent Moses to Earth & gave him Ten Commandments or Sefer Torah at Mt. Sinai, which clarified how Israelis should live.
(xiv) Jacob had 12 children who became the ancestors of the 12 tribes referred to as Bene Israel or the ‘Children of Israel’.
(xv) Sefer Torah- 613 percepts, which explain how to live a pious Jewish life & also forms the first five sections of the Old Testament.
(xvi) During prayers, amale Jews have to wear- tsisith or the thread of prayer shawls.
(xvii) Believe in Day of Judgment when Messiah would come to take pious to the heaven and the evi would be relegated to hell.
(xviii) Jews have three main sects:z

 Orthodox They adhere to all the ancient customs, religious practices and traditions.
 Conservative The follow a middle path, i.e. they are conservative about some traditional aspects but are more relaxed about other things.
 Reformists They have changed their religious ceremonies and rituals to adapt to the recent times.

(xix) First Jewish settlers- western coast of India
(xx) Five major Jewish communities in India:

  1. Malayalam-speaking Cochinis
  2. Marathi-speaking Bene Israel.
  3. Baghdadi Jews, came from West Asia as traders and settled in Mumbai, Pune and Kolkata.
  4. Bnei Menashe or Manipuri Jews.
    (a) Have created genealogies to Menashe or the Menasseh Tribe, which was one of 10 lost tribes of the Jews.
    (b) Live on border of India & Myanmar in Manipur & Mizoram.
    (c) Were enslaved & sold to Assyrians and managed to escape to China from where they came and settled on border of India.
    (d) Call themselves ‘Children of Menasseh’ or those who believe in Jesus Christ.
    (e) Comprise Mizo, Kuki & Chin tribes.
  5. Bene Ephraim, small group- Telugu-speaking Jews- converted to Judaism in 1980.

Try yourself:Consider the following principles:
1. Ahimsa
2. Satya
3. Asteya
4. Aparigraha
5. Brahmacharya
Which of the above are followed under Jainism?
View Solution

PROMINENT SYNAGOGUES IN INDIA
Nitin Singhania: Summary of Religions in India Notes | Study History for UPSC CSE - UPSC

OTHER PROMINENT RELIGIONS IN INDIA
1. Sanamahism -
(i) It is a religion followed mainly by the Meitei people who generally belong to Manipur.
(ii) Sanamahism involves shaman type worship of the ancestors, the all mighty god, the sky, the elements and the forest.
(iii) Under Sanamahism, people pray various deities and each deity is ascribed to a different aspect.
(iv) The sacred text of Sanamahism is Puya.
(v) Associated festival is Lai Haraoba, representing worship of traditional deities and ancestors.

2. Ayyavazhi -
(i) It is considered to be a part of Hindu religion and followed in South India (especially Tamil Nadu and Kerala).
(ii) The religion is centered on the life and preachings of Ayya Vaikundar and the related holy texts are Akilathirattu Ammanai and Arul Nool.
(iii) At the worship centres, instead of placing a deity at sanctum sanctorum, a compiled structure of flame shaped copper, a saffron cloth and separate garlands made of rudraksha and flowers are placed to signify a formless god and it is called Elunetru.

3. Sarnaism -
(i) It is an indigenous religion of the tribal community (Munda, Ho. Bhumii. Santal, Baiga and Khuruk) of Jharkhand. Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar. Madhya Pradesh. Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.
(ii) The religion is centered on the worship of nature represented by trees (Sal Tree). Sarna temples are called Jaher Than.
(iii) This religion is also known as Adi Dharam.

4. Bahai Faith -
(i) The initial growth of this religion can be traced from Persia in 19th century.
(ii) Its founder Bahaullah announced that God has sent him as the prophet.
(iii) As per the Bahai faith, God is considered single and all-powerful.
(iv) The religion emphasises on the goal of a unified world order to ensure prosperity of all nations, races, creeds, and classes.
(v) It revolves around three central principles : the unity of God, the unity of religion, and the unity of humanity.
(vi) Lotus Temple of Delhi belongs to the Bahai faith of worship.
(vii) Bahai is being considered as one of the fastest growing religion in the world.

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