The Hindu Religion Explained (History, Beliefs and Practices for Dummies)

A range of mountains known as the Vindhyas runs across the middle of India, cutting the country in half from east to west. The name of the nation that is located to the north of this chain is now Hindustan, and the name of the country that is located to the south of it is Deckan. There are four natural divisions that make up Hindustan. These include the basin of the Ganges, the valley of the Indus, which includes the Panjab, and Rajputana and Central India. Both Bengal and Guzerat are not part of the territory controlled by Hindustan. The months of June through October are known as the rainy season, and they coincide with the monsoon wind, which blows from the southwest.

The history of the Hindu religion should always start with the Menu code, which was most likely written down around the 9th century B.C. First thing that jumps out at us about the society that has been portrayed is the way that it is stratified into four different castes: the sacerdotal, the military, the industrial, and the servile. The Bramin is superior to everyone else, even rulers. In principle, he is cut off from the rest of the world during three distinct periods of his existence. In actuality, he serves as both the tutor of kings and the translator of the military class, which includes the monarch, his ministers, and the troops. The Veisyas, who are in charge of all agricultural and industrial work, come in third, followed by the Sudras, who are considered to be below the caste system.

The king is the most senior member of the government, while a Bramin serves as the principal Counsellor. The administration, taxes, foreign policy, and war are all governed by an extensive set of laws and regulations that are outlined in the code. Village groups may have owned land in common, although this cannot be established with absolute certainty.

The monarch either personally oversees the administration of justice or delegates that responsibility to Bramins. The criminal law is highly inconsiderate; there is no correlation between the offence and the punishment, and offences committed against Brahmans or religion are punished more harshly than they should be. In civil law, the standards of evidence are weakened because of the widespread acceptance of various justifications for lying on oath. There is no way to end a marriage. Both the legislation regarding this topic and those regarding inheritance are intricate and difficult to understand.

The Vedas are a collection of religious writings that were written in a very early version of Sanskrit. These books are the source of the religion. There is only one God, one ultimate spirit, who is said to have created everything in the cosmos, including all of the lesser gods. Periodically, the whole of creation undergoes a process of being reborn after being reabsorbed. The subsequent heroes of the Hindu Pantheon do not make an appearance here. There is an unlimited number of religious observances that are commanded, yet it is not forbidden to consume meat. However, at this point in time, moral obligations are still given more weight than ceremonial responsibilities.

Traditions that date back to the beginning of time deserve the utmost reverence since they are considered to be the source of all religiosity. The differentiation between the three superior classes, also known as the “Twice Born” classes, lends credence to the idea that this society was one of conquest, with the “servile” classes representing the conquered indigenous population. However, it is not yet shown beyond a reasonable doubt that the conquerors did not originate from the area. Without the possibility of an intervention from the outside, the system may have developed on its own as part of a natural process.

The Bramins claim that they are the only members of their family to have successfully maintained the integrity of their ancestry. The Rajputs, on the other hand, assert that they are true Cshatriyas. The majority of the Bramin norms for daily living have been substantially loosened. There is no longer a slave caste since the castes that are below the Cshatriyas have gotten exceedingly intermingled with one another and extremely numerous. When a man loses his caste, he is no longer eligible for any of the benefits that come with citizenship or the comforts that come with private life. However, as a general rule, the restoration of caste via the performance of expiation is a simple process. It is difficult to believe that monastic orders have been around for a thousand years already.

The administrative rules of Menu have, in a similar fashion, lost their homogeneity. The community of the township or village, on the other hand, has been preserved. It is a self-governing entity that is staffed by its own officials, the majority of whom have hereditary positions. In many regions of India, the land that makes up a community is considered to be the property of a collection of village landowners who together make up the township. The other residents of the community are considered to be their tenants. In popular use, renters are referred to as Ryots, regardless of whether they hold their leases from private landowners or from the government. A significant share of the output, or an amount that is equal to it, is obligated to be paid to the state. The Zenindars, who superficially resemble English landlords, were mostly government officials to whom these rents were farmed. Their similarities to English landowners are just cosmetic. The Rajput States had a system of tenure based on military service, which has some similarities to the feudal systems that existed in Europe. The code of Menu continues to serve as the foundation for Hindu legal doctrine.

There have been significant alterations made to religion. As a result of the perversion of symbolism, monotheism has been replaced by a crude kind of polytheism. Brahma, who is known as the Creator, Vishnu, who is known as the Preserver, and Siva, who is known as the Destroyer, make up the Triad. There are fourteen additional primary deities that may be included here. In addition to them, their female consorts are required. It is believed that Vishnu and Siva have taken the form of many gods throughout history. In addition, there is a huge variety of spirits and demons, which may be either benevolent or malevolent. The devotees of Devi, who is Siva’s spouse, make up the largest and most populous faction in the religion. Despite their significant divergences from Hinduism, the faiths of the Buddhists and the Jains seemed to have developed from the same source.

The five languages spoken in Hindustan all have their roots in Sanskrit and are classified as members of the Indo-European language family. Two of the Deckan languages have elements of Sanskrit, whereas the other three Deckan languages are completely independent of Sanskrit.

The information included in Menu’s code makes it abundantly evident that there was free commerce between the various regions of India. It seemed that evidence of a coasting commerce might be found in the references to the water. The Arabs most likely controlled the commerce that took place on the high seas. The folks who lived along the East Coast were known to be more daring sailors than their Western counterparts. There is no doubt that Hindus established colonies in Java. There are ten different nations that make up India, and much like the countries that make up Europe, these nations are just as distinct from one another as they are from one another in Europe. Their languages are as close in relation to one another and as mutually unintelligible as English and German, but in religion, in their ideas on government, and in very much of their way of life, they are indistinguishable from Europeans. The physical contrast between the Hindustanis and the Bengalis is complete; their languages are as close in relation to one another and as mutually unintelligible as English and German.

Widows in Indian culture often make the ultimate sacrifice by jumping on their deceased husband’s funeral pyre. Sati is the name given to this kind of victim. It is not known exactly when the practise was initially implemented, although it was clearly in use before the beginning of the Christian period.

It’s interesting to note that just as there are castes for every profession, there are also castes for hereditary thieves. On the basis of a premise that should be self-evident, hired watchmen often belong to these castes. The people who live in the mountains of Central India belong to a distinct race from those who live on the plains. It would indicate that these people were indigenous dwellers prior to the arrival of the Hindus. The mountaineers who live in the Himalayas are of a genetic makeup that is more similar to that of the Chinese.

The line of Magadha is the starting point for the established Hindu chronology. We have the ability to rectify the situation with King Ajata Satru, who reigned at the period of Gotama, in the middle of the sixth century B.C. After a few generations had passed, we reach Chandragupta, who was in all likelihood Diodorus’ Sandracottus. It would seem that the early tale began to give way to true history with Rama, who undoubtedly entered the Deckan territory. It is likely that he held the position of king in Oudh. The next significant event is believed to have taken place in the fourteenth century B.C. and was known as the Mahabharata War. Almost immediately after that, it looks as if the primary seat of government moved to Delhi. Next, the kingdom of Magadha rises to a dominant position, despite the fact that its previous kings, long before Chandragupta, were of a lower caste. Asoka, who ruled three generations after Chandragupta, is considered to be the greatest of these monarchs. At the time of Alexander the Great’s invasion, there was most likely not a lord supreme ruling over India. There is little evidence that any kind of functional universal Hindu Empire existed, despite the fact that such an empire was claimed by numerous monarchs at various times up to the start of the Muslim invasions.

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