Ancient History of Hinduism Essay

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Ancient History of Hinduism

In ancient India, after the Vedic came Brahmanic era. This Brahmanic era could be divided in two different periods. The first period was from 4th century B.C. to 3rd century A.D. The second part started from Gupta pe­riod. In the first period the influence of Buddhism, Jainism and non-Aryan religious practices were there. Indra, Prajapati and like gods were forgotten then and Shiva, Vishnu etc. got the place as gods. The Brahmanism of this new type became known as Hinduism. But the Arabs in the 8th century first used the word ‘Hindu’. Hence from very old days various practices, life styles, philosophies and other things changed constantly and formed present concept of Hinduism.

In present day five main streams of Hinduism are Vaishnava, Shaiva, Shakta, Soura, and Ganapatya. They are called Panchopasana. The religion propagated through Bhagavata-Gita is basically a monotheistic religion. That is known also as Bhagavat religion. This name became associated with Vaishnava religion. But in practice the other branches like Shakta, Shaiva are also a part of that Bhagavata religion. The five principal gods of the Panchopasana are Bishnu, Shiva, Shakti, Surya and Ganapati Side by side Brahma, Kartikeya, Saraswati were also worshipped. Yaksha, Nag, Gandharbha got the place as minor gods. One most important factor was that though there were differences in the way of the worship they were based on the cult of devotion. To surrender before the almighty was the main point of cult devotion.

From the writings and coins of the Sakas the Satavahanas, the Kushanas we come to know about Vaishnavism based on the Bhagavad. In 4th century the Vaisnavism became popular. The Gupta kings, Pallava king Vishnugope, Maukhari king Anantavarman were the supporters of this cult. The worship of Shiva also started in pre-Vedic age. In Harappan age the sitting image was accepted as the oldest image of Shiva. Shakta religious cult came from the blending of Tantra and Shiva worship. Deity of Shakti, Kali, Tara, Dhumavati, Durga, and Uma were just the different names. The worship of sun as god came from Iran. Lord Ganesh became one of the most popular Hindu God after Gupta era.

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