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Religions in India

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India is the land of religions. The Indian religions are so diverse and so widespread, that it is difficult to club India under one religion. There are many religions in India that co-exist peacefully and in harmony. The religious festivals are celebrated by all, as Indians, irrespective of caste and religion. On one hand you will find Muslims celebrating Diwali and on the other, Hindus enjoying Id. Read on further to know the diverse religious conviction of India and the major religions.

Hinduism

It is believed that Hinduism was the oldest religion to come into existence in India. Almost 80% of the population follows the Hindu religion in India. Hinduism is a way of living according to the one's understanding of principles of Vedas and Upanishads. Veda is revealed knowledge. Just as the knowledge of gravity was revealed to Newton, similarly, in India, many Rishis or Seers were awakened to certain transcendental Eternal Truths. These Rishis realized that their real nature was not concerned with or linked with 'body or mind', nor was it dependent on sense perceptions, but was in fact identical with the Universal Consciousness

Islam

The second most dominant religion after Hinduism is Islam. In India, almost 14% of the population follows the Islam religion. Islam is a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the teachings of the Qur’an, a religious book considered by its adherents to be the verbatim word of God, and the Islamic prophet Muhammad's personally demonstrated examples (collected through narration of his companions in the volumes of Hadith) for implementing them. The word Islam is a homograph, having multiple meanings, and a triliteral of the word salam, which directly translates as peace. Other meanings include submission, or the total surrender of oneself to God An adherent of Islam is a Muslim, meaning "one who submits (to God)".The word Muslim is the participle of the same verb of which Islām is the infinitive. Muslims regard Islam as the completed and universal version of an original monotheistic faith revealed to peoples before, including to Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. Islamic tradition holds that previous messages have changed and the revelations were distorted.
Religious practices include the Five Pillars of Islam, which are five duties that unite Muslims into a community. Islamic law touches on virtually every aspect of life and society, encompassing everything from dietary laws and banking to warfare and welfare. Almost all Muslims belong to one of two major denominations, the Sunni (85%) and Shi'a (15%). Islam is the predominant religion in much of Africa, the Middle East, as well as in major parts of Asia.Large communities are also found in China, Russia and the Balkans. Converts and immigrant communities are found in almost every part of the world. About 20% of Muslims live in Arab countries, 30% in the Indian Subcontinent, and 15.6% in Indonesia alone, the largest Muslim country in absolute numbers.With 1.3 billion to 1.8 billion Muslims, Islam is the second-largest religion in the world and the fastest growing religion in the world.[10][11]

Christianity

Christianity is the third most dominant religion in India with almost 4% of the population consisting of Christians.Christianity is a monotheistic religion centered on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as presented in the New Testament.The Christian faith is essentially faith in Jesus as the Christ (or Messiah), the Son of God, the Savior, the manifestation of God to humankind (Immanuel), and God (Yahweh or the "Lord") himself.
Adherents of the Christian faith, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Bible (the part of scripture common to Christianity and Judaism). Christian theology, as expressed in the early Christian ecumenical creeds claims and predominantly accepted by followers of the Christian faith,holds that Jesus suffered, died from crucifixion, buried, and was resurrected from the dead to open heaven to those who believe in him and trust him for the remission of their sins (salvation).They further maintain that Jesus bodily ascended into heaven where he rules and reigns with God the Father. Most denominations teach that Jesus will return to judge all humans, living and dead, and grant eternal life to his followers. He is considered the model of a virtuous life, and both the revealer and physical incarnation of God.[7] Christians call the message of Jesus Christ the Gospel ("good news") and hence refer to the earliest written accounts of his ministry as gospels.
Christianity began as a Jewish sect and is classified as an Abrahamic religion. Originating in the eastern Mediterranean, it quickly grew in size and influence over a few decades, and by the 4th century had become the dominant religion within the Roman Empire. During the Middle Ages, most of the remainder of Europe was Christianized, with Christians also being a (sometimes large) religious minority in the Middle East, North Africa, and parts of India. Following the Age of Discovery, through missionary work and colonization, Christianity spread to the Americas and the rest of the world.
Christianity has played a prominent role in the shaping of Western civilization at least since the 4th century. However, the first nation to adopt Christianity as its official religion was Armenia in establishing the Armenian Orthodox Church in AD 301.
As of the early 21st century, Christianity has between 1.5 billion[ and 2.1 billion adherents,representing about a quarter to a third of the world's population and is the world's largest religion.In addition, Christianity, is the state religion of several countries.

Sikhism

About 2% of the total population of India comprises of people who follow the Sikh religion also known as Sikhism.Sikhism, founded on the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev and ten successive Sikh Gurus (the last one being the sacred text Guru Granth Sahib) in fifteenth century Punjab, is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world. This system of religious philosophy and expression has been traditionally known as the Gurmat (literally the counsel of the gurus) or the Sikh Dharma. Sikhism originated from the word Sikh, which in turn comes from the Sanskrit root “Sishya” meaning "disciple" or "learner", or Sikh meaning "instruction".
The principal belief of Sikhism is faith in waheguru—represented using the sacred symbol of, the Universal God. Sikhism advocates the pursuit of salvation through disciplined, personal meditation on the name and message of God. A key distinctive feature of Sikhism is a non-anthropomorphic concept of God, to the extent that one can interpret God as the Universe itself. The followers of Sikhism are ordained to follow the teachings of the ten Sikh gurus, or enlightened leaders, as well as the holy scripture entitled the Gurū Granth Sāhib, which, along with the writings of six of the ten Sikh Gurus, includes selected works of many devotees from diverse socio-economic and religious backgrounds. The text was decreed by Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth guru, as the final guru of the Khalsa Panth. Sikhism's traditions and teachings are distinctively associated with the history, society and culture of the Punjab. Adherents of Sikhism are known as Sikhs (students or disciples) and number over 23 million across the world. Most Sikhs live in Punjab in India and, until India's partition, millions of Sikhs lived in what is now Pakistani Punjab.[5]

Other Religions

Rest of India consists of Buddhists, Jains, Parsis, Zoroastrians and Jews. These religious groups are less than 2%.

 

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