Beliefs and Religions in India

Indian Beliefs and religions abound. Hinduism, one of the ancient religions of the world, has given rise to many other faiths. Buddhism is one of the most famous religions.

The Sikhs attempted a fusion between Islam and Hinduism. Jainism, at the crossroads between Hinduism and Buddhism, is characterized by its strict respect for all animal life.

Everyone  has its own religion

The latest figures, drawn up in 2011, show the following distribution within the population:

  • Hinduism : 79,8%
  • Islam       : 14,2%
  • Christians: 2,3%
  • Sikhs : 1,7 %
  • Buddhists: 0,7%
  • Jains : 0,4%

Hinduism

Considered to be very important religion in India, it structures the whole of society. Very lively, it is characterized by many colorful festivals that represent the Indian life. The belief in reincarnation induces behaviors different from those observed in the West. Current life originates from actions, good or bad, accomplished in previous lives. For the West, one must grasp its destiny in the course of one life. For an Indian, it is better to try to improve (on a spiritual level) for the next life, with the ultimate goal of reaching Nirvana to get out of the cycle of reincarnations.

There are millions of gods in India. Three dominate all the others:

  • Brahma the creator
  • Shiva the Destroyer
  • Vishnu the Protector

Islam

The majority of Indian Muslims are Sunni Muslims (10%). They occupy mainly northern India: Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir and Assam. In southern India, only Karnataka has a high proportion of Muslims.

Castes

Although abolished by the Indian constitution, society is divided into several castes and they continue to play a major role in contemporary society. Quotas in the administration are reserved for low castes.

A subject that is difficult to understand for many Westerners, it is the source of many inequalities, deemed natural by the Indians: each occupies the place he deserves in his present life. It is necessary to improve to obtain a “better status” at the next reincarnation.

Religious monuments

Few countries in the world offer as many religious monuments as India. Their architectural diversity also reflects a number of spiritual faiths. Buddhist monasteries Lamaists the fearsome deities, ashrams (hermitage) Hindus, remotest, plethora of shapes and colors in south India, serenity of white marble Jain temples, large mosques decorated with elegant arabesques, erotic sculptures of Khajuraho will leave you spellbound.  Amateur of art and history would have access to architectural treasure of incredible India.