Hinduism is probably the oldest religion known to man and is the third most popular religion in the world, following Islam and Christianity. While Hinduism isn’t commonly practiced and highly revered by most Hindus, its origins definitely trace back to prehistoric or ancient times, sometime around 5, centuries ago. This ancient religion has been a significant influence on the lives of Hindus and those who follow their teachings. It has inspired great writers like RK Narayan Murthy, Javeda Mankha and Swami Dayanand in literature, plays and films. It’s also an important part of India’s culture and heritage.
History Of Hinduism
The history of the concept of the sacred is vague. However it is thought that the idea of Hindu religion began during the period of Alexander the Great’s period. In fact, he was said to have created a void in the mind of some Indians by beating and torturing them over religious issues. This, according to some historians, may have been the birth of the concept of a ‘divine’ or ‘anta’ as we know it today. Another view is that this may have happened around the time of Buddha who supposedly converted from being a Hindu to being a Buddha. From this period, the followers of the ancient Hindu religion were forced to convert to Islam or pay the jizas or taxes (tribute) to the Muslim rulers.
As per many records, the religion came into existence during the period of Mahatma Gandhi. He is said to have created the concept of a ‘cradle of spirituality’ to which all other religions are derived from. This is probably the reason why we find a number of people from all religions claiming to be carrying the true message of God in their arms. But the truth behind the creation of this sacred doctrine remains a mystery to us today. The concept has led to the division of India into the predominantly Hindu religions like RSS, Jains and Buddhists and the Christian religions like Catholicism and Protestants. However, the influence of this ancient and spiritual faith has made its way into the lives of millions of people all over the world.
Are Religions Becoming Business In India?
Today, it is considered as a billion dollar business in India. This is evident by the rising graph of Christian organizations in recent years and the growing presence of a number of Bibles and other spiritual teachings in schools in India. The influence of the ancient teachings can be traced even to the modern day Indians who are deeply immersed in their Indian sub-continent culture. Bollywood is a perfect example of this, where almost all the films and movies are directed by someone or the other inspired by ancient Indian plays and stories.
So, we can say that history has given us many examples of the ancient Hindu religion. We can trace the influence of this ancient faith to its roots and see how it influenced people in various parts of the country. There are innumerable references to the religious stories of the Hindus in Sanskrit literature and in the ancient epics like the Mahabharata. The main aim of these ancient epics was to portray the glory of the Hindu kings and the great Hindu temples. It is evident from the story of Mahabharata that the Hindu kings did not accept the rule of the non-Hindus and fought against them.
Worshipping The Deceased
Another important aspect of the Hindu religion is the worship of the deceased. Through the ages, it became a ritualistic practice to offer prayers to the ancestors and gods in their form as memorials. In the past, people believed that the dead can offer certain rewards to their near and dear ones in the form of prayers and blessings. So, even today in India and in other parts of the world, people perform the funeral services for the deceased and pay respects to their ancestors and gods.
Christianity has had a profound impact on the ancient societies of the world. The scholars of today are still busy studying the bible and other documents related to the medieval period of Christianity. One of the biggest influence of this religion is its charismatic religious messages that have touched the conscience of every person. To understand fully the essence of these teachings, it is essential to read the books written by the scholars and the historians. However, the basic teachings of Christianity remains unchanged despite the changes that have occurred in its practice and outlook. These teachings have remained intact because they are inspired from the Holy Bible and the life of Jesus Christ.
These are just a few brief highlights of the various different forms of ancient religions in the world. Different religions have different ways of offering spiritual guidance to their followers. However, what remains constant is that, these religions have helped mankind out in more ways than we can ever imagine. We should always remember all these ancient religions have helped us in a big way and it is only due to these different forms of ancient religions that we are still able to appreciate our modern day civilization.