Religion in India

India is home to all the major religions of the world, living in harmony since centuries. All predominant religions in the country are discussed here. Hinduism is the dominant religion in the subcontinent as Hindu’s comprise 80% of the population in India. 

Hinduism is, actually, called Sanatana Dharma or the eternal truth or tradition. It is a rich, complex and deeply symbolic religion, The Vedas are considered the Divine Revelations, which are believed to be the world’s most ancient scriptures, revealed to sages and seers in higher states of communion with the One. The Hindu scriptures depict God both as a personal and also as a principle. The Hindu recognizes the difference between belief and faith. A belief may or may not be true; but Faith is an assurance. Non-violence to all forms of life is a principle and this is the reason for vegetarianism amongst the Hindus. However, these days not all Hindus are vegetarians. Hinduism believes in moderation in everything. Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion, leading the individual to personally experience the Truth within, finally reaching the pinnacle of consciousness where man and God are one. There are about 900 million followers today.

Sikhism was founded over 500 years ago, Sikhism has a following of over 20 million people worldwide today, and is ranked as the world’s 5th largest religion. The founder of Sikhism was Shri Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1538) who was born in the Punjab area which is now in Pakistan.

Sikhism denounces blind rituals and superstitions. It teaches equality of all mankind. It is open to all those who wish to follow through the teachings of its 10 Gurus. These teachings are enshrined in the Sikh Holy Book and Living Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib. There is no consensus about the origin of this religion. According to historians, it is believed that it is a syncretistic religion, originally related to the Bhakti movement of Hinduism. While some Sikhs believe that their religion is a re-purification of Hinduism, others disagree and opine that it is a direct revelation from God - a religion that is not a branch of Hinduism.

Jainism teaches equality, democracy, and forgiveness as means to acquire spiritual perfection.

Mahavira established what are today considered to be the central tenets of Jainism. He was a contemporary of the Buddha, and the last Tirthankara or a human who achieves Enlightenment or Perfect Knowledge. A Tirthankar is the founder of a "Tirth," a Jain community which acts as a "ford" across the "river of human misery."    
Jainism recognises the fundamental natural phenomenon of symbiosis or mutual dependence, which forms the basis of the modern day science of ecology. Jains view life as a gift of togetherness, accommodation, and assistance. 
There are about 4 million Jains all over the world.

Gautam Siddharth, the first Buddha, was the founder of Buddhism. He used to be  a handsome prince before he renounced the world in search of the answer to the problems of birth, old age, pain, sickness, and death. At the age of 29, he came across what is now known as the Four Passing Sights: an old crippled man, a sick man, a decaying corpse, and finally a wandering holy man. These four sights led him to the realization that birth, old age, sickness and death come to everyone. After years of penance and trials, he attained Enlightenment. 
Buddhism believes that there is an endless cycle of birth and death owing to one’s own acts. According to Buddhists, there are Four Nobel Truths to all life:


Suffering. Birth, Aging, Illness, Death, Union with displeasing and Separation from what is pleasing is suffering.

The cause of suffering: Craving. This rebirth.

The cessation of suffering:  end of craving or desires.

The way leading to the cessation of suffering: The Eight-Fold path.


Today, there are about 370 million followers of Buddhism in the world.

A monotheistic religion centred on Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Christianity has about 2 billion followers in the world today. Today, it has several divisions based on the diversity of doctrines and practices. However, Roman Catholics are the predominant sect. There are Protestants that include Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans, Pentecostals, Anabaptists, et al. 
Christians consider Jesus as their Messiah, which literally means the anointed one. They believe that Jesus was anointed as ruler and savior of both the Jewish people specifically and of humanity in general. The Christian believes that salvation is possible through faith in Jesus since his sacrifice on the cross paid for the sins of mankind. For the Christians, the soul is eternal, and consciousness continues after death. Life after death continues in heaven or hell, as will be judged by Christ on the Day of Judgment. Christians regard the Bible as the final authority. The Bible lays emphasis on love in both attitude and action for the Christian and the non-Christian. 



Islam Literally means peace. Muslims believe that God revealed his direct word for humanity to Muhammad through the angel, Gabriel and earlier messengers, including Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Muslims believe that Muhammad is the last prophet. They assert that the main written record of revelation to humanity is the Koran or Quran, which is flawless, immutable. It is considered by the Muslims as the final revelation of God to humanity. Muslims must perform daily prayers at the specified five times. This is a practice that stands as a form of submission to Allah, or God. It is supposed to be a reminder of abstinence from shameful acts and harmful deeds. Another mandatory practice among the Muslims is that of fasting during the month of Ramazan or Ramadan. There are a number of Islamic religious sects or denominations, each of which has significant theological and legal differences from each other, even though they possess similar essential beliefs. The major schools of thought are the Shias and the Sunnis. Sunnis are the larger group. There are about 1 billion followers of Islam in the world today.