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Religions: Hinduism & Islam

Religions in India

Hinduism

Madurai Meenakshi Temple

Hinduism is, perhaps, the only religion that is so diversified in its theoretical premises and practical expressions. Like other religions, one cannot trace this religion to a specific founder or a particular holy book as its scriptural guide. The 'Vedas', 'Upanishads', and the 'Bhagvath Gita' can all be described as the sacred text of Hindus..

Unlike other faiths, one may worship one or other deity or believe in the 'supreme spirit' and yet can be a good Hindu. There are numerous gods and goddesses worshiped by Hindus all over India. But the fundamental to Hinduism is the concept of trinity; the trinity of 'Brahma' (the Creator), 'Vishnu' (the Preserver) and 'Shiva' (the Destroyer). Brahma is the creator of life and the universe. Vishnu guides the cycle of life and protects the world. Shiva destroys all evil and looks after devotees.

There are festivals and ceremonies associated with gods, goddesses and other forms of worship. The popular Hindu festivals are 'Deepavali', 'Holi', 'Dussehra', 'Ganesh Chathurthi', 'Pongal', 'Janamastami', and 'Shiv Rathri'.

Islam

Tippu Sultan's Mosque, Kolkota

In the eighth century A.D, Arab traders brought Islam into India. Unlike Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, those emerged from Hinduism - the concept, customs and religious practices of Islam are unique. It professed universal brotherhood and submission only to 'Allah' - the God Almighty.

Muslim Invaders in the 12th century and Mughals in the 16th and 17th centuries helped Islam to spread in India. The mystics of Islam, the Sufi Saints, helped to spread the message of peace and universal love. Now over 12% of the population practices Islam. Eid Milan, Milad-e-Sherif etc. are celebrated Muslim festivals in India.