Religions In India Part II : RAS Art And Culture
Baljit Dhaka

Religions In India Part II : RAS Art And Culture

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Religions In India Part II : RAS Art And Culture


  • It is a major religion that originated in India and became extinct in India.
  • However, it was spread to many parts of South-east Asia. 
  • Buddhism has its link with the story of Siddarth, son of Queen Maya and King Suddhodhana of the Sakyan kingdom.
  • His birth place: Lumbini Gardens in Kapilavastu (near Nepal) on Vaishaki Purnima day.
  • Wife: Yashodhara; Son: Rahul
  • Siddarth left them at the age of 29 after seeing the poverty and poor living conditions of the people. 
  • Enlightened on the Vaishakhi Purnima day under a tree in Bodh Gaya, Bihar.
  • He was given titles, Sakyamuni, Thathagata or Buddha.
  • His first sermon as Buddha at Sarnath, a big shrine for the followers of Buddhism.
  • Death or Mahaparinirvana at Kusinara in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Buddha gave sermons in eastern India such as Kosala and Magadha.

Four Major Noble Truths about Buddhism:

  • Existence suffering
  • Trishna or desire that causes suffering
  • Suffering can be ceased
  • A path that directs to the annihilation of suffering

Noble Eight Fold Path shows a way to find nirvana or finish suffering:

  • Truthful, Kind and Right speech
  • Peaceful, Honest and Right Action
  • Right Mindfulness
  • Right meditation to concentrate on life
  • Right effort and cultivation of self-control
  • Right livelihood that harms no one.
  • Worth of Intelligent and sincere man through right thoughts.
  • Avoiding superstition and cultivating right understanding.

After the death of Buddha, four Buddhist councils were organised to compile his teachings. 

First Council:

  • Year: 483 BC; City: Rajagruha
  • President: Mahakashyapa
  • King: Ajatashatru
  • Purpose: To document preachings of Buddha and to compile Vinaya pitaka and Sutta pitaka

Second Council:

  • 383 BC in Vaishali city
  • President: Sabakami
  • King: Kalasoka
  • Purpose: To bridge the gulf between two groups of Buddhism- Mahasangika and Theravada or Staviravada

Third Council:

  • 250 BC in Pataliputra
  • President: Mogaliputta Tissa
  • King: Ashoka
  • Purpose: To write Abhadhamma pitaka, a book that deals with Buddhist philosophy and to form missionaries.

Note: All the three pitakas are collectively called Tripitaka and are written in Pali language.

Fourth Council:

  • 1st century A.D in Kundalavana (Kashmir)
  • President: Vasumitra
  • King: Kanishka
  • Purpose: To unite 18 sects of Buddhism to form two broader sects: Hinayana and Mahayana.
Hinayana Mahayana
Buddha is considered as mortal and is worshipped in formless.

Buddha is immortal and is like a God.

Individual Salvation (Theravada)

Salvation of all conscious individual (Boddhisattva).
Pali language is spoken Sanskrit language.
  • Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhism is the other small sect of Buddhism that combines Brahmanical rituals with Buddhist philosophies.
  • At present, Buddhism is a famous religion in Myanmar, Srilanka, Thailand, China, Laos and Cambodia.


  • One of the oldest religions and targeted my many empires.
  • Hitler killed millions of Jews in Germany.
  • Judaism believes in only one God.
  • Christianity and Islam borrowed many philosophies from this religion.
  • Jews believe in Yahweh (one God) who was instituted by Abraham.
  • The religious book of Jews is ‘Torah’ which is also the first of five books of Bible or Old Testament.
  • ‘Talmud’ is a compilation of ethical and legal writings and consists of Jewish history.
  • The religious services they follow are called ‘Eliyahoo-ha-Nabiori’ or thanksgiving to the prophet, Elijah.
  • Abraham was considered as the ancester of all the Jews and was blessed by God.
  • His son and Grandson Issac and and Jacob respectively were also blessed by God. 
  • Jacob has 12 children and they became ancestors of 12 tribes called as Bene Israel or Children of Israel.
  • ‘Israelis’ is a term used for Jews who were consdiered as children of Asrael or Jacob
  • Sefer Torahon or Ten Commandments clarified the life of Israelis. It also forms the first sections of old testament. 
  • All male Jews should wear tsisith or thread of prayer shawls during prayers. 
  • Jews believe that Messiah would one day take the pious to heaven and the evil to hell which is called the day of judgement.

Three main sects of Jews:

  • Orthodox: follows ancient practices, customs and traditions.
  • Conservative: follow middle path
  • Reform: changes the practices to the recent times.

Judaism in India:

  • First Jewish settlers in West Coast of India.

Five major Jewish communities in India:

  • Cochinis (Malayalam-speaking)
  • Marathi-speaking Bene Israel
  • Baghdadi Jews who settled around Pune, Mumbai and Kolkata
  • Manipuri Jews or Bene Menashe who belong to Menashe tribe, one of the lost 10 Jewish tribes. They live on India and Myanmar border. They call themselves as Children of Menmasseh who believe Jesus Christ.
  • Bene Ephraim, a group of telugu-speaking Jews who are converted to Judaism in 1980s.

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Click here to read Religion In India Part I