Courtesy of the Hindu American Foundation. Hindu Americans protest proposed changes to the social studies curriculum in California's public schools. The distrust and even disdain with which many practicing Hindus view the scholars who study their religion would likely surprise many outside the confines of the field.
An Introduction It has been pointed out by Dr. Toynbee, in A Study of History, that the principal civilizations of the world lay different degrees of emphasis on specific lines of activity. Hellenic civilization, for instance, displays a manifest tendency towards a prominently aesthetic outlook on life as a whole.
Indian civilization, on the other hand, shows an equally manifest tendency towards a predominantly religious outlook. Toynbee's remark sums up what has been observed by many other scholars. Indeed, the study of Hinduism has to be, in a large measure, a study of the general Hindu outlook on life.
Receptivity and all-comprehensiveness, it has been aptly stated, are the main characteristics of Hinduism.
Since it has had no difficulty in bringing diverse faiths within its ever-widening fold, it has something to offer to almost all minds. Monier-Williams in his notable work Brahmanism and Hinduism dwelt on This aspect about a hundred years ago.
The strength of Hinduism, he emphasized, lies in its infinite adaptability to the infinite diversity of human character and human tendencies.
It has its highly spiritual and abstract side suited to the philosopher; its practical and concrete side congenial to the man of the world; its aesthetic and ceremonial side attuned to the man of the poetic feeling and imagination; and its quiescent contemplative aspect that has its appeal for the man of peace and the lover of seclusion.
The Hindus, according to him, were Spinozists more than 2, years before the advent of Spinoza, Darwinians many centuries before Darwin. No civilization anywhere in the world, with the probable exception of China, has been as continuous as that of India.
While the civilizations of Egypt, Babylon and Assyria have disappeared, in India the ideas emanating from the Vedic times continue to be a living force. European scholars of Sanskrit like Sir William Jones noted similarities in the languages, terminology and substances of Indian scriptures with those of Greece and Rome.
Even a superficial study convinced them that, while the language of the Vedas is a great critical instrument in the construction of the science of philology, the Vedic hymns constitute a compilation of most Indo-European myths in their primitive form. Max Muller went so far as to say that the Vedas are the real theogony of the Aryan races, Homer and Hesiod having given a distorted picture of the original image.
The excavations at Harappa and Mohenjo-daro and those in Saurashtra have disclosed the existence of a highly evolved culture long before the Aryan immigration, perhaps dating back to B. Among the remains discovered are a three-faced prototype of Siva seated in a yogic posture, representations of the Linga, and a horned goddess associated with the pipal tree.
These symbols, evolved by a very ancient civilization, were assimilated by the Aryan immigrants in slow stages-their earliest literary work, the.
Rg-Veda, almost overlooks these aspects. The Vedic Aryans, it has been suggested, partly assimilated and partly destroyed the earlier culture. Vedic Aryans and Zoroastrianism It seems clear from the hymns of the.
The languages in which Zoroaster preached and the Rsis sang their hymns are almost identical, and Vedic meters are re-produced in the Avesta. Evidently, the two groups of Aryans separated after a violent quarrel, so that several deities of one group - Indra or Jindra, Sarva and Nasatya - were transformed in the other into evil spirits.
It is, however, to be noticed that Mitra, Aryama, Vayu and Vrtraghna are divine in both the systems. A period of unity was probably followed by civil war, as envisaged in the fight between Asuras and Devas. The Vedic Aryans were warlike, while the Avesta reflects an abhorrence of war. In the period when the ancestors of the Iranians and the Hindus had lived together, Asura had been a term of honour; and the Zoroastrian Ahura Mazda was Asura Mahat, the great Asura.
Varuna, Mitra and several other gods were called Asuras.India's Religion and Philosophy. With the origins of Hinduism and Buddhism in India, religion is considered to be extremely important.
Of the two religions, Hinduism is infinitely more popular, with an incredible 82 percent of the population practicing it. With this brief summary of Hinduism in ancient India, we now turn our attention to Buddhism. its ancestor of sorts, continues to be India's main religion. Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago and a leading figure in the humanities, is the author of the book-length study The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence and India’s Future (Harvard University Press, ) and co-editor, with Doniger, of Pluralism and Democracy in India: Debating the Hindu Right (Oxford University Press, .
Video: Early Religion in India: With this brief summary of Hinduism in ancient India, we now turn our attention to Buddhism. its ancestor of sorts, continues to be India's main religion.
Such inclusivity and universalism espoused by Haṭhayoga texts, allowed its techniques to be adopted by a large number of religious groups in pre-modern India, including Śaivas, Vaiṣṇavas, Advaita Vedāntins, Buddhists, Jains, Muslim Sūfīs, Sikhs, and even Christians.
Indian civilization, on the other hand, shows an equally manifest tendency towards a predominantly religious outlook. Dr. Toynbee's remark sums up what has been observed by many other scholars.
Indeed, the study of Hinduism has to be, in a large measure, a study of the general Hindu outlook on life.