(Last Updated on : 12/01/2011)
A religion is a set of symbols, beliefs and practices, often combined with a supernatural quality. A religion can rightly termed as an abstract set of ideas, values, or experiences developed as part of a cultural milieu. The word religion is derived from a term called "Religioun". However, it may have been originally derived from the Latin word "Religo" which means "good faith", "ritual" and other similar meanings. Religion can be said to be a social coherence based on a common group of beliefs or attitudes concerning an object, person, unseen or imaginary being or system of thought which is considered to be sacred, a code of ethics and a philosophy of life.
The development of religion has taken many forms in various cultures. It considers psychological and social roots, along with origins and historical development. Religion in India is the most prominent feature and it has found its expression in various art forms, literature and other activities. India is land of diversified religion. Indian religion is considered to form a subgroup of the larger class of "Eastern religions". History of Indian Religion
is very extensive and quite interesting. The ancient culture of South Asia, about 4,500 years ago, had come down to India primarily in the form of religious texts. Moreover, the artistic heritage, as well as intellectual and philosophical contributions, has always owed much to the religious thought and symbolism.
Religion plays a central and definitive role in the life of India. The country is one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world, with some of the most deeply religious societies and cultures. India has been an important part of three major world religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. Apart from these varied Types of Religion in India
, the country is also the cradle of Jainism and Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Baha`ism. Indian religions are also called the `Dharmic religion.` Indian religions have similarities in core beliefs, modes of worship, and associated practices, mainly due to their common history of origin and mutual influence.
The multitude of faiths which are prevalent in India gives augment to Indian Religious Festivals
. Religious festivals are widely observed with great importance by the people of the subcontinent. India is a secular country, thus, this character enables the land to celebrate each of the religious festivals with much prominence. Hindus are engaged in celebrating festivals such as Diwali, Ganesh Chaturthi, Holi, Durga puja, Ugadi, Dussehra, and Sankranthi and Pongal. Among Islamic festivals, Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha have gained popularity. Notable Sikh festivals, among the other Indian religious festivals include birthdays of Gurus, Vaisakhi, Bandi Chorr Divas and Hola Maholla. Christmas, Buddha Jayanti are the major festivals of the Christians and the Buddhists respectively. Moreover, a number of festivals are common to most parts of India with a variety in regions depending on prevalent religious and linguistic approach.
India has been home to a large number of religious thinkers and spiritualists. Religious Thinkers in India
plays vital role in shaping the religions in the country by and large. A majority of the religious thinkers have also advocated themselves as reformers. The great religious figures in India include Buddha, Mahavira and Guru Nanak Dev. All of them have influenced the Indian religion in their own way. The religious thinkers have propagated new horizon and added unique religious significance.
Religion plays a major role in the Indian way of life. A wide variety of Indian Religious Customs and Rituals
are performed in the country. These customs and rituals organise the social life of the people in the country. The vast majority of Indians engage in religious rituals on a daily basis. A notable feature in religious ritual is the division between purity and pollution.
However, Indian religions can only be understood after understanding its religious beliefs and practices. Contacts between India and other cultures have led to the spread of Indian religions throughout the world, resulting in the extensive influence of Indian thought and practices. Religion helps us to transmit our values from one generation to another, and influences the way we interact with the natural environment. It gives purpose and meaning to life. Thus, giving the people of India, a scope to prosper together in peace.