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.
: संत मत
) was a loosely associated group of teachers that became prominent in the northern part of the Indian sub-continent from about the 13th century. Theologically, their teachings are distinguished by an inward, loving devotion to a divine principle, and socially by an egalitarianism
opposed to the qualitative distinctions of the Hindu caste
system, and to those between Hindus
The sant lineage can be divided into two main groups: The northern group of Sants from the provinces of Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, who expressed themselves mainly in vernacular Hindi, and the southern group, whose language is archaic Marathi, represented by Namdev and other Sants of Maharashtra.
Guru Nanak pronunciation (help·info)
: ਗੁਰੂ ਨਾਨਕ
: गुरु नानक
[ˈɡʊɾu ˈnɑnək] Gurū Nānak
) (15 April 1469 – 22 September 1539) is the founder of the religion of Sikhism
and is the first of the ten Sikh Gurus
, the eleventh guru being the living Guru
, Guru Granth Sahib
. His birth is celebrated world-wide on Kartik Puranmashi, the full-moon day which falls on different dates each year in the month of Katak
Guru Nanak travelled to places far and wide teaching people the message of one God who dwells in every one of God's creations and constitutes the eternal Truth.
It is part of Sikh religious belief that the spirit of Guru Nanak's sanctity, divinity and religious authority descended upon each of the nine subsequent Gurus when the Guruship was devolved on to them.