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This guide teaches you about the main varieties of Hinduism, and their rituals and practices; it also introduces you to Hindu news, music and art, points out some Hindu organizations, and helps you connect with the Hindu community online. Expand All Guide Sections. Rituals and Practices of Hinduism The Hindu tradition is filled with unique ceremonies and customs, from the multicolored, The Denominations of Hinduism There are innumerable forms of Hinduism, as was mentioned above.

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The newspapers mentioned below devote most of their attention to the current events of India, which often involve Hindu issues. Dating sites can ask for a lot of personal information. Most of the organizations offer memberships, which may or may not require payment.

Many of these organizations also offer newsletters; subscribe to stay updated with events or news. One of the themes in this guide has been the fact that Hinduism is the majority religion in India, shaped by Indian culture and values. However, many dating Web sites are not solely for Hindus, but for Indians in general.

Take note that you often have the option on these sites to restrict your search to Hindus, or even a specific denomination or sect of Hindus. Dulcinea's Picks For connecting with the Hindu community …. Beliefnet has an assortment of features related to Hinduism and unfortunately, plenty of advertisements, too. Each day spotlights a few Hinduism articles, holiday e-cards, polls, quizzes, or videos. The Hindu Universe has a large forum for discussion of Hindu beliefs, politics, defense, economy, foreign policy, terrorism, media, education, Indian history, and more.

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Expect plenty of activity on many of the threads. Hinduism Today is a publication that offers news and features related to the Hindu community around the globe. The Times of India is a major English-language newspaper in India. There are many pesky advertisements but the site is easy to navigate. The Hindu , founded in , is an independent paper based in India that boasts a readership of more than four million people.

Look for coverage of important people and events in India, or news from abroad that has a bearing on India. Hindu Blog tackles everyday issues related to Hinduism. Hindu Expressions is written by a chemical engineer turned writer and musician.

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Look for an emphasis on Hindu passages about Indian spirituality and Vedic culture, and their relation to daily life. As a musician, the author also frequently mentions music and its relationship to religion.

Mera Bharat Mahan is written by a Hindu woman living in Virginia. Find typical posts covering a recent issue in the news related to India or a book written by an expert on the area. Many local religions and traditions were assimilated into puranic Hinduism. The transformation of Brahmanism into Pauranic Hinduism in post- Gupta India was due to a process of acculturation. The Puranas helped establish a religious mainstream among the pre-literate tribal societies undergoing acculturation.

The tenets of Brahmanism and of the Dharmashastras underwent a radical transformation at the hands of the Purana composers, resulting in the rise of a mainstream "Hinduism" that overshadowed all earlier traditions. Rama and Krishna became the focus of a strong bhakti tradition, which found expression particularly in the Bhagavata Purana. The Krishna tradition subsumed numerous Naga, yaksa and hill and tree based cults. The first documented bhakti movement was founded by Karaikkal-ammaiyar.

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She wrote poems in Tamil about her love for Shiva and probably lived around the 6th century CE. The twelve Alvars who were Vaishnavite devotees and the sixty-three Nayanars who were Shaivite devotees nurtured the incipient bhakti movement in Tamil Nadu. During the 12th century CE in Karnataka, the Bhakti movement took the form of the Virashaiva movement. It was inspired by Basavanna , a Hindu reformer who created the sect of Lingayats or Shiva bhaktas.

During this time, a unique and native form of Kannada literature-poetry called Vachanas was born. Shankara 8th century CE is regarded as the greatest exponent of Advaita Vedanta. Shankara is the founder of the Dashanami Sampradaya of Hindu monasticism and Shanmata tradition of worship. Shankara is also regarded as the greatest teacher [] and reformer of the Smartha Tradition.


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Not all Brahmins specialized in this Smriti tradition. Some were influenced by Buddhism, Jainism or Charvaka tradition and philosophy. This did not mean that all these people rejected the authority of Vedas, but only that their tradition of worship and philosophy was based not on smriti texts. In time, Shankaracharya brought all the Vedic communities together. He tried to remove the non-smriti aspects that had crept into the Hindu communities.

He also endeavoured to unite them by arguing that any of the different Hindu gods could be worshipped, according to the prescriptions given in the smriti texts. He established that worship of various deities are compatible with Vedas and is not contradictory, since all are different manifestations of one nirguna Brahman. Shankaracharya was instrumental in reviving interest in the smritis. In modern times, due to the influence of western Orientalism and Perennialism on Indian Neo-Vedanta and Hindu nationalism , [] Advaita Vedanta has acquired a broad acceptance in Indian culture and beyond as the paradigmatic example of Hindu spirituality.

Hindu and also Buddhist religious and secular learning had first reached Persia in an organised manner in the 6th century, when the Sassanid Emperor Khosrau I — deputed Borzuya the physician as his envoy, to invite Indian and Chinese scholars to the Academy of Gundishapur. Burzoe had translated the Sanskrit Panchatantra.


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  8. Under the Abbasid caliphate, Baghdad had replaced Gundishapur as the most important centre of learning in the then vast Islamic Empire , wherein the traditions as well as scholars of the latter flourished. Hindu scholars were invited to the conferences on sciences and mathematics held in Baghdad. Though Islam came to Indian subcontinent in the early 7th century with the advent of Arab traders, it started impacting Indian religions after the 10th century, and particularly after the 12th century with the establishment and then expansion of Islamic rule.

    Akbar , for example, recognized Hinduism, banned enslavement of the families of Hindu war captives, protected Hindu temples, and abolished discriminatory Jizya head taxes against Hindus. From the time Muslims started arriving, around AD, the history of India becomes a long, monotonous series of murders, massacres, spoliations, and destructions.

    It is, as usual, in the name of 'a holy war' of their faith, of their sole God, that the barbarians have destroyed civilizations, wiped out entire races. Hinduism underwent profound changes, aided in part by teachers such as Ramanuja , Madhva , and Chaitanya. The fall of Vijayanagar Empire to Muslim rulers had marked the end of Hindu imperial assertions in the Deccan. But, taking advantage of an over-stretched Mughal Empire — , Hinduism once again rose to political prestige, under the Maratha Empire , from to According to one narrative, the empire's founders Harihara Raya I and Bukka Raya I were two brothers in the service of the Kampili chief.

    After Kampili fell to the Muslim invasion, they were taken to Delhi and converted to Islam. They were sent back to Kampili as the Delhi Sultan 's vassals. After gaining power in the region, they approached Vidyaranya , who converted them back to the Hindu faith. The Vijayanagara Emperors were tolerant of all religions and sects, as writings by foreign visitors show.

    Nobles from Central Asia's Timurid kingdoms also came to Vijayanagara. The Bhakti devotional movement was active during this time, and involved well known Haridasas devotee saints of that time. Like the Virashaiva movement of the 12th century, this movement presented another strong current of devotion, pervading the lives of millions. The haridasas represented two groups, the Vyasakuta and Dasakuta , the former being required to be proficient in the Vedas , Upanishads and other Darshanas , while the Dasakuta merely conveyed the message of Madhvacharya through the Kannada language to the people in the form of devotional songs Devaranamas and Kirthanas.

    The philosophy of Madhvacharya was spread by eminent disciples such as Naraharitirtha , Jayatirtha , Sripadaraya , Vyasatirtha , Vadirajatirtha and others. The Vijayanagara Empire created an epoch in South Indian history that transcended regionalism by promoting Hinduism as a unifying factor.

    12 Things You Need to Know About Hinduism

    The empire reached its peak during the rule of Sri Krishnadevaraya when Vijayanagara armies were consistently victorious. The empire annexed areas formerly under the Sultanates in the northern Deccan and the territories in the eastern Deccan, including Kalinga, while simultaneously maintaining control over all its subordinates in the south. Vijayanagara went into decline after the defeat in the Battle of Talikota After the death of Aliya Rama Raya in the Battle of Talikota, Tirumala Deva Raya started the Aravidu dynasty , moved and founded a new capital of Penukonda to replace the destroyed Hampi, and attempted to reconstitute the remains of Vijayanagara Empire.

    The Aravidu dynasty successors ruled the region but the empire collapsed in , and the final remains ended in , from continued wars with the Bijapur sultanate and others. The official state religion of Mughal India was Islam , with the preference to the jurisprudence of the Hanafi Madhhab Mazhab. Hinduism remained under strain during Babur and Humanyun's reigns. Hinduism came to fore during the three-year rule of Hindu ruler ' Hemu Vikramaditya ' during when he had defeated Akbar at Agra and Delhi and had taken up the reign from Delhi as a Hindu 'Vikramaditya' after his 'Rajyabhishake' or coronation at ' Purana Quila ' in Delhi.

    However, during Mughal history, at times, subjects had freedom to practise any religion of their choice, though non-Muslim able-bodied adult males with income were obliged to pay the Jizya , which signified their status as Dhimmis. It was proclaimed the state religion until his death. Akbar's abolition of poll-tax on non-Muslims, acceptance of ideas from other religious philosophies, toleration of public worship by all religions and his interest in other faiths showed an attitude of considerable religious tolerance, which, in the minds of his orthodox Muslim opponents, were tantamount to apostasy.

    Akbar's son, Jahangir , half Rajput, was also a religious moderate, his mother being Hindu. Religious orthodoxy would only play an important role during the reign of Shah Jahan's son and successor, Aurangzeb , a devout Sunni Muslim. Aurangzeb was comparatively less tolerant of other faiths than his predecessors had been; and has been subject to controversy and criticism for his policies that abandoned his predecessors' legacy of pluralism, citing his introduction of the Jizya tax, doubling of custom duties on Hindus while abolishing it for Muslims, destruction of Hindu temples , forbidding construction and repairs of some non-Muslim temples, and the executions of Maratha ruler Sambhaji [] [] and the ninth Sikh guru, Guru Tegh Bahadur , [] and his reign saw an increase in the number and importance of Islamic institutions and scholars.

    He led many military campaigns against the remaining non-Muslim powers of the Indian subcontinent — the Sikh states of Punjab, the last independent Hindu Rajputs and the Maratha rebels — as also against the Shia Muslim kingdoms of the Deccan. He also virtually stamped out, from his empire, open proselytisation of Hindus and Muslims by foreign Christian Missionaries , who remained successfully active, however, in the adjoining regions: The Hindu Marathas long had lived in the Desh region around Satara , in the western portion of the Deccan plateau, where the plateau meets the eastern slopes of the Western Ghats mountains.

    They had resisted incursions into the region by the Muslim Mughal rulers of northern India. Under their ambitious leader Shivaji , the Maratha freed themselves from the Muslim sultans of Bijapur to the southeast and, becoming much more aggressive, began to frequently raid Mughal territory, eventually sacking the wealthy Mughal port of Surat in After substantial territorial gains, Shivaji was proclaimed 'Chhatrapati' Emperor in ; the Marathas had spread and conquered much of central India by Shivaji's death in Subsequently, under the able leadership of Brahmin prime ministers Peshwas , the Maratha Empire reached its zenith; Pune , the seat of Peshwas, flowered as a centre of Hindu learning and traditions.

    The empire at its peak stretched from Tamil Nadu [] in the south, to Peshawar modern-day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa , Pakistan [] [note 41] in the north, and Bengal and Andaman Islands in the east. In a bid to effectively manage the large empire, he gave semi-autonomy to the strongest of the knights, which created a confederacy of Maratha states. Portuguese missionaries had reached the Malabar Coast in the late 15th century, made contact with the St Thomas Christians in Kerala and sought to introduce the Latin Rite among them.

    Since the priests for St Thomas Christians were served by the Eastern Christian Churches , they were following Eastern Christian practices at that time.

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