Portal:Indian religions

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Indian religions

Indian religions are the religions that originated in the Indian subcontinent; namely Hinduism, Jainism, Early Buddhism and Sikhism. These religions are also 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 documented history of Indian religions begins with the historical Vedic religion, the religious practices of the early Indo-Aryans, 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 2000 to 1500 BCE.

Jainism and Buddhism belong to the sramana tradition, which arose in 700-500 BCE.

Hinduism is divided into numerous denominations, primarily Shaivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism, Smarta and much smaller groups like the conservative Shrauta. Hindu reform movements are more recent.

Sikhism was founded in the 15th century on the teachings of Guru Nanak and the nine successive Sikh Gurus in Northern India.

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Valmiki, a contemporary of Rama, composes the Ramayana.
Hinduism is the predominant and indigenous religion of the Indian subcontinent. Hinduism includes Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Śrauta among numerous other traditions. Among other practices and philosophies, Hinduism includes a wide spectrum of laws and prescriptions of "daily morality" based on karma, dharma, and societal norms. Hinduism is a conglomeration of distinct intellectual or philosophical points of view, rather than a rigid, common set of beliefs.

Hinduism is formed of diverse traditions and has no single founder. Among its direct roots is the historical Vedic religion of Iron Age India and, as such, Hinduism is often called the "oldest living religion" or the "oldest living major religion" in the world.

One orthodox classification of Hindu texts is to divide into Śruti ("revealed") and Smriti ("remembered") texts. These texts discuss theology, philosophy, mythology, rituals and temple building among other topics. Major scriptures include the Vedas, Upanishads, Purāṇas, Mahābhārata, Rāmāyaṇa, Manusmriti, Bhagavad Gītā and Āgamas.

Hinduism, with about one billion followers (950 million estimated in India), is the world's third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam.

Selected biography

Ramana Maharshi
Ramana Maharshi (1879–1950) is widely acknowledged as one of the outstanding Indian gurus of modern times.[1] He was born as Venkataraman Iyer, in Tiruchuli, Tamil Nadu (South India).

At the age of sixteen, Venkataraman lost his sense of individual selfhood, an awakening which he later recognised as enlightenment. A few weeks thereafter he traveled to the holy mountain Arunachala, at Tiruvannamalai, where he remained for the rest of his life.

His first years were spent in solitude, but his stillness and his appearance as a sanyassin soon attracted devotees. In later years, he responded to questions, but always insisted that silence was the purest teaching. His verbal teachings flowed from his own understanding of Reality. In later years, a community grew up around him, where he was available twenty-four hours a day to visitors. Though worshipped by thousands, he never allowed anyone to treat him as special, or receive private gifts. He treated all with equal respect. Since the 1930s, his teachings have also been popularised in the west.

Venkataraman was renamed Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi by one of his earliest followers, Ganapati Muni. This was the name he became known by to the world.

In response to questions on self-liberation and the classic texts on Yoga and Vedanta, Ramana recommended self-enquiry as the principal way to awaken to the "I-I", realizing the Self and attaining liberation. He also recommended Bhakti, and gave his approval to a variety of paths and practices.

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