Indian Religions: Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism

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In India, religion is deemed to be extremely significant. It is not only faith, convictions, and moral values, but also the way of living and old-established tradition. There are three popular Eastern denominations: Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. In hard numbers, 82 % of the population practice Hinduism, which means that it is a dominant faith in India.

The leading creed, which is Hinduism, does not support the worship of the Deity, the Supreme Being. It proclaims respect to a wide range of gods or goddesses, although everyone can believe in his or her own Soul or reverence Shiva, Vishnu, Rama, or Krishna. Hinduism is also called “the museum of religions”. It has not got a well-defined theoretical and practical basis. The Hindus have different holy books that can be considered as sacred texts of this religion, but the Vedas is the most meaningful part of Hinduism since its laws regulate legal, social, and religious traditions of the Hindus. The Vedic ritual is the basis of Hindu customs and important duties, namely birth, marriage, and funeral. The most thought-provoking question regarding this religion is what the purpose of being a faithful Hindu is. There are four reasons: Dharma (destiny), Artha (affluence), Kama (pleasure), and Moksha (enlightenment). The concluding point of every Hindu’s being is Moksha, which is comprehended in a plenty of ways: self-realization, unification with God, or enlightenment. Although only few can reach it in one lifetime, there are lots of means to achieve it.

Jainism is the second most considerable religion in India. It supports the idea of peaceful means towards every living being.  The highest point that a Jain can strive for is Kevala Jnana. It means attaining the absolute of perfection and pure knowledge. The adherents of Jainism are inclined to have faith in 24 great teachers. They are called ‘Tirthan-karas’ (‘those Jains who have found and shown the path to eternal salvation’). They are taught the way of living in harmony with our world. Then spiritual liberation will be attained and salvation will come in life. The sacred texts of Jainism are the major point of arguments between their sects. The Jains do not dismiss the authority and power of the Vedas, although they accept some ideas from it. They have to follow five main vows in order to be faithful adherents of Jainism: Ahimsa (non-violence), Aparigraha (refusal of material possessions), Satya (telling truth), Asteya (no stealage), and Brahmacarya (sexual demureness). As far as reincarnation is concerned, it is worth saying that enlightenment is thought to be a far-fetched aim for Jains. This faith is not focused on God; its main aspect is Soul in every living creature.

Buddhism itself is a branch of Hinduism, but soon it has become more popular in Asia, not only in India. The first Buddhism’s principal law is the concept of impermanence. In brief, everything is changing, but something can last longer. The second one is causation, which means that nothing happens without a reason. In other words, it is karma where all events are crossed, sometimes even eventually. There are lots of bans taken for getting salvation and then reaching Nirvana: do not gossip, lie, kill, steal, harm anyone, etc. Buddhists do not reject the idea of true origin and sanctity of the Vedas, but unlike Hinduism, they do not use its laws as their significant ones.

Thus, the philosophy of Indian religions is quite sophisticated. Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism altogether construct a powerful foothold for their adherents who seek salvation and enlightenment due to faithful lives and religious beliefs. Each of these denominations has its specific aspects, so that everyone may choose the most appealing one to her or him.

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