Religions In India : RAS Art And Culture
Baljit Dhaka

Religions In India : RAS Art And Culture

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Religions In India : RAS Art And Culture


  • Biggest religion in the country and has various sects within it.
  • The word is originated from ‘Hindu’ which is a term about the people living in the area around Indus river.
  • The principles of Hinduism are borrowed from philosophies of pre-vedic and vedic religions.
  • Hinduism is closely related to four vedas- Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. 
  • The religious sacrifices and offerings are said in these vedas and are primarily done in air.
  • Later, the form of worship was changed to ‘puja’ and then temples were originated.
  • With the assimilation of various ideas in holy books, Hinduism became a proper religion with some areas of worship and priests who act as mediators to God.
  • Hindu traditions say that Kama, Artha and Moksha are the goals to achieve in one’s life.
  • Other literature related to this religion are Upanishads and Aryankas.
  • Stages of life as per Upanishads:
    • Brahmachari (Celibacy)
    • Grihasta (Householder)
    • Vanaprastha (Hermit)
    • Sanyasi (Ascetic)
  • A person has to achieve for moksha after becoming ascetic. 
  • Bhakti movement originated from this religion in North India.
  • Saints of this movement translated Hindu holy books into various local languages to take Bhakti message to the people.
  • Vaishnavite movement in South India in 13th century led to the emergence of ‘Alwar saints’ who are devotees of Vishnu.
  • Similar group called ‘Shaivites’ emerged in south and the saints are called ‘Nayanars’.

Dark side of Hinduism: Sati, domination of brahmins, child marriage, caste discrimination. 

  • Later, British ideals of equality made several thinkers to change these situations with some movements-Brahmo movement, Ramakrishna Mission and Arya Samaj movement.

The Brahmo Movement:

  • Started by Raja Rammohan Roy to question some problems in Hinduism. 
  • He started Brahmo Samaj in 1828 to solve these issues.
  • He rejected worship of idols and stood against sati practice.
  • He established two schools to promote education among masses.
  • Devendranath Tagore took over this mission after the death of Raja Rammohan Roy in 1843. 
  • Another member of this movement, Keshab chandra Sen advocated against polygamy, child marriage and caste system. 
  • He was very radical which led to the division of Brahmo samaj into ‘Adi Brahmo Samaj’ and ‘Sadharan Brahmo Samaj’.

Ramakrishna Mission:

  • Started by Swami Vivekananda or Narendranath Dutta in 1897 to change the philosophies of Hinduism.
  • He preached that the purpose of man is to find God which is called ‘Neo-Hinduism’.
  • Three fold philosophy: 
    • Spread vedantic spirituality
    • Harmonious existence of all religions in the world
    • Service to mankind as service to God

Arya Samaj 

  • Founded by Swami Dayanand Saraswati to revive Hinduism from within.
  • He propounded the concept of ‘Go back to vedas’.
  • The main policy was to work for the mankind and their welfare.
  • Established many schools and opposed idolatry.
  • Started ‘Suddhi movement’ to reconvert non-Hindus into Hinduism.

Split in Arya Samaj:

  • Arya Samaj was splitted into two groups after the death of Dayanand Saraswati.
  • ‘Gurukul’ (conservative ideas) which was led by Swami Shraddananda.
  • ‘College’ (radical  ideas) which was led by Lala hansraj.
  • The main reason for the split is ideological differences.
  • Swami Shraddananda founded Gurukul at Haridwar.
  • Lala Hansraj founded DAV college at Lahore.


  • The word ‘Jain’ is originated from ‘Jina’ which means conqueror. 
  • The followers believe that they have ability to conquer their desires. 
  • ‘Mahavira’ is not the founder of Jainism as thought by everyone because Jainism is not founded by one person.
  • He was the last Tirthankar out of 24 ‘Tirthankars’
  • As per Jains, Tirthankars show the way of truth in times of need. 
  • Tirthankars teach the followers to get liberation or moksha. 
  • They usually get moksha through penance and meditation

About Tirthankar:

  • He was born to Queen Trishala and King Siddhartha in 6th century BCE and belongs to Ikshvaku Dynasty.
  • Left his home at the age of 30 to live ascetic life.
  • He found the truth of life on 10th day of Vaishaka in Pava near Patna.
  • In his journey to find truth, he achieved ‘kaivalya/Kevalnyam’ or enlightenment and got the title ‘Mahavira’
  • Some other titles given to him are ‘Jitendriya’ or ‘Jaina’ who conquers all the senses and ‘nigrantha’, who frees from all relations.

Mahavira’s teachings to Jains:

    1. Right path or dharma
    2. Strict asceticism
    3. Moral cultivation
    4. Renunciation of the world
  • Jains do not harm any living creature.
  • Believe in three-jewel path
    1. Right knowledge (samyak jnana)
    2. Right belief (samyak darshana)
    3. Right conduct (samyak charita)
  • Jains want to get themselves out from cycle of rebirth to attain salvation.
  • Five principles of Jains:
    1. Satya (truthfulness)
    2. Ahimsa (Non-violence)
    3. Aparigraha (non-acquisition)
    4. Brahmacharya (chaste living)
    5. Asteya (not stealing)
  • Eight auspicious symbols of Jainism are:
    1. Nandyavarta: Large swastika with nine endpoints.
    2. Swastika: peace of human beings.
    3. Darpana: mirror that reflects oneself.
    4. Bhadrasana: A throne that is sanctified by the feet of Jaina.
    5. Minayugala: A pair of fish that depicts the control over sexual urge. 
    6. Kalasha: A pot with water is considered auspicious.
    7. Shrivasta: A mark on Jain’s chest to signify pure soul.
    8. Vardhamanaka: A dish used as lamp that indicates increase in due, health and merit.
      • Jainism divided into two groups due to ideological differences- Svetambara and Digambara.



Believe that women are unfit to become Tirthankaras.

Both men or women can be Tirthankaras.

Doesn’t wear any clothes

Wear white cloth with a begging bowl and a brush to remove miniature creatures from their path.

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