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This is my concluding post from the mini series on Indian Secular Structure. There are ofcourse many other minority religious groups in India like Jainism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism which I have not been able to cover but hope to do in the future. I have truly been overwhelmed by the positive reactions this series has evoked. Thanks Friends!

Hinduism in India has a long and varied history. Indeed, India is the birth-place of Hinduism and the history of Hinduism is as old as that of India herself. The word Hindu is derived from the word Sindhu and signifies a person coming from the land of the river Sindhu (also known as River Indus). India is the home to the largest number of Hindus. Presently there are 850 million Hindus (almost 80% of total population) living in India. The origin of Hinduism goes as far back as 2500 BC. The accepted theory is that Hinduism was evolved after the historical meeting between the Aryans and Dravidians. Some claim that Hinduism is mainly an Aryan culture whereas the others claim that it is mainly a Dravidian culture. Hinduism is a religion with various gods and goddesses. It is said that there are 330 million Gods and Goddesses in Hinduism though I seriously doubt if anyone can account for all of them. According to Hinduism, three Lords rule the world. Brahma: the creator; Vishnu: the preserver and Shiva: the destroyer. Lord Vishnu did his job of preserving the world by incarnating himself in different forms at times of crisis. The three Lords that rule the world have consorts and they are goddesses. Consort of Brahma is Sarasvati; goddess of learning. Vishnu's consort is Lakshmi; goddess of wealth and prosperity. Shiva's consort is Parvati who is worshipped as Kali or Durga.
Modern Hinduism has taken the form of a religion due to other religious influences. However, it is known as a "way of life" rather than a religion. It differs from other religions by the fact that it does not have a single founder, a specific theological system, a single system of morality, or a central religious organisation. Despite attacks and invasions by various Arab and Afghan empires followed by the European settlers, Hinduism has survived. The reason is said to be the in-built tolerance and inclusiveness in Hinduism and also, in part, the tolerance of some of the invading rulers, notably Akbar.
Hindus believe in reincarnation. The basic belief is that a person's fate is determined according to his deeds. These deeds in Hinduism are called 'Karma'. A soul who does good Karma in this life will be awarded with a better life in the next incarnation. Souls who do bad Karma will be punished for their sins. The main Hindu books are the four Vedas. They are Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda. The concluding portions of the Vedas are called Upanisads. There are also other holy books like Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharta etc. The different gods and goddesses in the Hindu mythology are derived from these books. Classical post-Vedic Hinduism in India has been characterized by the caste system known as the four Varnas. The highest caste is Brahman, and they are the priest caste of Hinduism. After them are the Kshatria, who are the warrior castes. After them are the Vaishya caste , who are business people. And after them are the Sudra, who are the common peasants and workers. Below these four castes there are casteless, the untouchables. The four castes were not allowed to have any physical contact with the untouchables. Since ancient times, this was a system to administrate society. However with time people started misusing it, because of which people belonging to lower castes faced discrimination and persecution at the hands of the upper classes.

Pictured here is an old Hindu priest inside one of the few surviving temples in Hampi. I have posted two Workshops to give you the inside and outside view of the temples.

The image has ofcourse been post-procesed to make the dark interiors of the temple even darker. I have noticed that few of my TE friends have reservations about my PP style. With all due respect, they are free to ignore this post and enjoy the WS which have not been 'adulterated' by Photoshop.

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Additional Photos by Sabyasachi Talukdar (sabyasachi1212) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3140 W: 281 N: 5210] (19779)
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