Category Archives: Hinduism

India – an abode of Religions

 

I intend here only to outline the great Indian religions, an infinitely rich theme that a whole library could not exhaust.

The Vedic religion is subject to much more detailed treatment in subsequent pages. The spiritual and mystical renewal of the Upanishads which, together with the previous one, is one of the roots of Hinduism is not found here but on the corresponding page. The destiny of the three great religions was linked, to a great extent, to their respect or criticism of traditional values. Hinduism was considered orthodox and, despite a slow development and a partial eclipse by Buddhism, it ended up predominating but without crossing the borders of India.

Respect for most of these values ​​for Jainism ensured their survival, but by the rigors and demands imposed on their faithful remained a minority though influential.

More heterodox, Buddhism after a great initial success gradually began to lose ground until it finally disappeared from the Indian soil, without having expanded through a good part of Asia, thanks to its greater universality. Divided into celestial, aerial and terrestrial, some embody the elements and forces of nature such as fire, wind, rain, storms, sun, sky and earth, but others symbolize the order of the universe, truth And respect for contracts. Indra, the leader of the pantheon, represents the warrior spirit, and the Soma is the personification of the euphoric drink used in certain rituals. Several of these gods assume creative functions, but in the oldest strata of this religion there is no single demiurge.

Only in the late book X of the Rig Veda are there speculative hymns about the origin of the cosmos and its possible maker.

A special position is that of Yama, the first man and the first dead, who rules the world of ancestors or “”fathers””, located in the highest heaven. Called usually king, its status is very close to that of a god. A cohort of semi-divine beings, sages and mythical priests endowed with supernatural powers accompany the gods who sometimes act as intermediaries between the latter and men.

The gods associated with the day are opposed to the asuras associated with the night, almost as powerful as they are, and a multitude of inferior demons, some of which possess monstrous bodies and repugnant habits.