is the adherence to codified beliefs
that generally involve a faith
in a spiritual nature
and a study of inherited ancestral traditions
related to understanding human life
. The term "religion" refers to both the personal practices related to faith as well as to the larger shared systems of belief.
In the larger sense, religion is a communal system for the coherence of belief—typically focused on a system of thought, unseen being, person, or object, that is considered to be supernatural, sacred, divine, or of the highest truth. Moral codes, practices, values, institutions, traditions, and rituals are often traditionally associated with the core belief, and these may have some overlap with concepts in secular philosophy. Religion can also be described as a way of life.
The development of religion has taken many forms in various cultures. "Organized religion" generally refers to an organization of people supporting the exercise of some religion with a prescribed set of beliefs, often taking the form of a legal entity (see religion-supporting organization). Other religions believe in personal revelation and responsibility. "Religion" is sometimes used interchangeably with "faith" or "belief system," but is more socially defined than that of personal convictions.
(literally, the Mass
) is a holiday
in the Christian calendar
, usually observed on December 25
, which celebrates the birth of Jesus
According to the Christian gospels, Jesus was born to Mary in Bethlehem, where she and her husband Joseph had travelled to register in the Roman census. Christ's birth, or nativity, was said by his followers to fulfill the prophecies of Judaism that a messiah would come, from the house of David, to redeem the world from sin. Early Christians celebrated more the subsequent Epiphany, when the baby Jesus was visited by the Magi. Efforts to assign a date for his birth began some centuries later. The precise chronology of Jesus' birth and death as well as the historicity of Jesus are still debated.
In predominantly Christian countries, Christmas has become the most economically significant holiday of the year, and it is also celebrated as a secular holiday in many countries with small Christian populations. It is largely characterized by exchanging gifts within families, and by gifts brought by Santa Claus or other mythical figures. Local and regional Christmas traditions are still rich and varied, despite the widespread influence of American and British Christmas motifs through literature, television, and other media.
Selected religious figure or deity
commonly known as Constantine the Great
, or (among Eastern Christians of Byzantine tradition) Saint Constantine
, was a Roman Emperor
Constantine is best remembered in modern times for the Edict of Milan in 313, which bestowed imperial favor on Christianity in the Empire, for the first time.
Constantine is also remembered for the Council of Nicaea in 325; these actions are considered major factors in the spreading of the Christian religion. His reputation as the "first Christian Emperor" has been promulgated by historians from Lactantius and Eusebius of Caesarea to the present day, although there has been debate over the veracity of his faith. This debate stems from his continued support for pagan deities and the fact that he was baptized very close to his death.
- ...that the Akilam is the longest Ballad form of literary work in the world?
- ...that Krishna (pictured) literally means "black" or "dark one" in Sanskrit?
- ...that cosmology is the study of the universe in its totality and by extension humanity's place in it?
The Bhagavad Gita
- Bhagavad Gītā
, "Song of God
" or "Divine Song
") is an ancient Sanskrit
text composed of 700 verses from the Mahabharata
chapters 25 – 42. Krishna
, as the speaker of the Bhagavad Gita is referred to within as Bhagavan
(the divine one), and the verses themselves, using the range and style of Sanskrit meter
) with similes and metaphors, are written in a poetic form that is traditionally chanted; hence the title, which translates to "the Song of the Divine One". The Bhagavad Gita is revered as sacred by the majority of Hindu
traditions, and especially so by followers of Krishna. In general speech it is commonly referred to as The Gita
The content of the text is a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna taking place on the battlefield of Kurukshetra just prior to the start of a climactic war. Responding to Arjuna's confusion and moral dilemma, Krishna explains to Arjuna his duties as a famous warrior and Prince and elaborates on a number of different Yogic and Vedantic philosophies, with examples and analogies. This has led to the Gita often being described as a concise guide to Hindu philosophy and also as a practical, self-contained guide to life. During the discourse, Krishna reveals his identity as the Supreme Being Himself (Bhagavan), blessing Arjuna with an awe-inspiring glimpse of His divine absolute form.
The Bhagavad Gita is also called Gītopaniṣad as well as Yogupaniṣad, implying its status as an 'Upanishad'. While technically it is considered a Smṛti text, it has singularly achieved a status comparable to that of śruti, or revealed knowledge.