Religious harmony in India

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Religious harmony in India is a concept that indicates that there is love, affection in between different religions in India. The Indian constitution supports and encourages religious harmony.[1] In India, every citizen has a right to choose and practice any religion.[2] There are examples of Muslims and Sikhs building temples.[3] In India, different religious traditions "live harmoniously. Seers of religions call for religious harmony in India.[4] For popular film stars in India like Salman Khan, festivals of Hindus and Muslims are equal.[5] According to Dalai Lama, India is a model for religious harmony. He mentions that "In the last 2000-3000 years, different religious traditions, including Buddhism, Jainism, flourished here."[6][7]

Historical Tradition[edit]

The ancient Indian scripture Rigveda endeavours plurality of religious thought with its mention "ekaM sadvipraa bahudhaa vadanti " (Sanskrit: एकं सद्विप्रा बहुधा वदन्ति)– meaning wise people explain the same truth in different manners.[8]

Ashoka (304–232 BCE), in his 12th edict stated:[9]

"The beloved of the gods, king Piyadasi, honors both ascetics and the householders of all religions, and he honors them with gifts and honors of various kinds. . Whoever praises his own religion, due to excessive devotion, and condemns others with the thought "Let me glorify my own religion," only harms his own religion. Therefore contact between religions is good. One should listen to and respect the doctrines professed by others. The beloved of the gods, king Piyadasi, desires that all should be well-learned in the good doctrines of other religions. "

Kharavela (193 BCE – after 170 BCE) was the third and greatest emperor of the Mahameghavahana dynasty of Kaḷinga (present-day Odisha). The main source of information about Khārabeḷa is his famous seventeen line rock-cut Hātigumphā inscription in a cave in the Udayagiri hills near Bhubaneswar, Odisha.The inscription states that the Emperor Kharavela had a liberal religious spirit. Kharavela describes himself as:[10] “ सव पासंड पूजको सवदेवायतन संकार कारको ” (Prakrit Language, Devanagari script) Translation: The worshiper of all religious orders, the restorer of shrines of all gods.

The Grahapati Kokkala inscription dated to 1000-1001 CE equates[11] in Verse 3 equates Shiva with Parama Brahma, Buddha, Vaman and Jina.

Dharmasthala Temple[edit]

Main article: Dharmasthala Temple

Dharmasthala Temple is a great example of religious harmony in India, as the priests of the temple are Shivalli Brahmins, who are Vaishnava, and the administration is run by a Jain Bunt family.[12]


The late 19th century and early 20th century Indian guru and yogi Sai Baba of Shirdi preached religious harmony through his teaching. To practise and promote it he combined the celebration of the Hindu festival of Rama Navami with a Muslim Urs.[13][14] Lokmanya Tilak conceptualized the programmes like Ganesh Chaturthi and Shivjayanti to unite people. In Ganesh Chaturthi, Muslims used to beat the dhol during the visarjan of the Ganesha idol.[citation needed] The Lalbaugcha Raja of Mumbai, an annually set up Ganesha idol, is also worshipped by Muslims.[15][16]

Political, Military and Business leaders[edit]

Even though India is predominantly Hindu, its leaders have often included Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Zoroastrians etc.

  • Presidents of India: Dr. Zakir Hussain, Mohammad Hidayatullah, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam were Muslim and Giani Zail Singh was a Sikh.
  • Army Chief: Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw was a Zoroastrian. Sunith Francis Rodrigues was a Christian, Joginder Jaswant Singh and Bikram Singh were Sikh.
  • India's Richest: Indian's richest Billionaires[17] include Dilip Shanghavi, a Jain, in the third position, Azim Premji, a Muslim, in the 4th position, and Pallonji Mistri, a Zoroastrian, in the 5th position.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Indian Culture". Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  3. ^ William, Raju (12 July 2003). "Muslim couple, Sikhs build temple for Hindus". Ludhiana: Times of India. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  4. ^ "Seer calls for religious harmony". Times of India. 23 April 2002. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Ahmed, Afsana; Sharma, Smrity (14 November 2004). "'Diwali and Eid are equally special'". Times of India. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  6. ^ "India is a model for religious harmony: Dalai Lama". 2012-11-25. Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  7. ^ "Dalai Lama wants China to learn religious harmony from India - India - DNA". Retrieved 2013-06-24. 
  8. ^ Rigveda 1.64.46
  9. ^ Edicts of Ashoka, Trans. Ven. Dhammika,
  10. ^ Agrawal, Sadananda (2000): Śrī Khāravela, Sri Digambar Jain Samaj, Cuttack, Orissa
  11. ^ Khajuraho, Kanhiayalal Agrawal, The McMillan Company of India, 1980, p. 141-146
  12. ^ Dharmasthala Temple
  13. ^ Pal, Amitabh (2011). Islam Means Peace: Understanding the Muslim Principle of Nonviolence Today. ABC-CLIO. p. 71. ISBN 0313382913. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  14. ^ Desai, Sonavi (2003). Spiritual Masters: Sai Baba. Indus Source. p. 52. ISBN 8187967641. Retrieved 17 June 2013. 
  15. ^ Rajendra, Ranjani (15 September 2008). "Lalbaugcha Raja breaks religious barriers". Times of India. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  16. ^ Desai, Shweta (15 September 2008). "At Agripada, a lasting Ganpati tradition continues in sensitive times". Indian Express. Mumbai. Retrieved 21 June 2013. 
  17. ^ India's Wealthiest Eke Out 3% Gain, Naazneen Karmali 10.28.13,