The Indian Religions Explained
India is one of the countries where I’ve never been to which I would to visit the most. The awesome dance moves, the colorful sarees, the henna tattoos, the spicy dishes, the magic of Holi and the beauty of Diwali are just some of my reasons, but maybe the biggest and most important is the diversity that can be found there, including the religious diversity.
In fact, India is known as one of the most religiouly diverse countries on earth. According to the 2011 census, the most popular religion in India is Hinduism (79.8%), which is followed by Islam (14.2%), Christianism (2.3%), Sikhism (1.7%), Buddhism (0.7%) and Jainism (0.4%). All those religion, with the exception of Islam and Christianism, are commonly named the indian religions because of they were actually created in India. However, maybe because of the fact that they are not very popular in the western world, we use to get wrong many things about them. So that, I decided to summarize Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism on four small paragraphs to help you understand them better and to clarify some misconceptions you might have about them.
Hindus believe in the existence of only one supreme being, Brahman, whose many aspects are personified in different deities. From the 330 million existing deities, the three most important are Brama, the creator, Vishnu, the preserver, and Shiva, the destroyer, often called the hindu trinity. As hindus believe that time is cyclical, according to them, souls are immortal. So that, after death, the soul is reborn on other body, which is determined by karma (the universal law of cause and effect).
Sikhs believe in one god only and equality among all. So that, according to Sikhism, women, for example, have the same status and rights than men. Sikhs, who usually have vegetarian diets, have always to use the five k’s: kesh (uncut hair), kangha (a comb), kara (a bracelet), kirpan (a sword) and kachehra (shorts). Their purpose of life is to purify themselves, meditate on God and eventually become one with him.
Buddhism is a religion and a philosophy created and taught by Buddha, who found out that life is full of suffering, which is caused by craving and aversion. However, it can be overcome by developing compassion, wisdom and morality and by enjoying every single moment of life, not being attached to the past and worried about the future. This process is called Enlightment, which highest peak is the Nirvana. Just like hindus, Buddhists believe that, after death, the soul is reborn on other body defined by karma.
The same is also believed by the jains, who think that non-injury and self-control are the only ways of obtaining liberation from this cycle. The souls that obtain this liberation by reaching perfection, which are called Jinas, are then worshipped as gods, despite the fact that jains don’t really believe in the existence of any god. The main teachings of Jainism are non-attachment (jains try to live with as less possession as they can), non-absolutism (jains respect every point of view and belief) and non-violence (jains try to cause as less harm as they can to other living beings).
Do you subscribe to any of those religions? How is it? Is there any important information I missed? Join the conversation in the comment section bellow.