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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Introduction...

Sandwiched between fifteen hundred miles of Himilayan mountains, the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal, the residents of India had plenty of time to come up with their beliefs and engineering genius pretty much undisturbed - it wasn't an easy place to get to back in the day! The ancient towns of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro had an organised system of government around 3000 bc, and baked brick multi storey buildings which made the Egyptians green with envy. They wore lipstick too!

1000 bc saw the arrival of the Aryans from Iran, bringing with them a religion fronted by Indra which would come to be known as Hinduism. This religion originally operated on a three tier class system. Unsurprisingly the priest's class were already closer to heaven, sitting pretty right at the top of the tree with the poor old tradesman sitting right at the bottom with a mind boggling 82,000 rebirths to deal with before they were even considered worthy of making it to the promised land.

Buddhism and Jainism arrived in the 6th century bringing hope for a better deal as far as reincarnation goes, preaching that you didn't have to live as a self righteous obsessive religious mentalist to achieve total creaminess and you could easily skip a few dozen thousand steps of rebirth if you kept your nose clean.

The religion, beliefs and therefor Pantheon of India has been constantly changing for centuries as bits and bobs were taken from here and there, with deities given new roles or makeovers but never completely discarded as religions jostled for popularity. Unsurprisingly, Buddhism became the religion of choice for the common man, at one point threatening to completely eclipse Hinduism. But whats this? The Brahmans are shaking things up. They've introduced humans into the religion claiming the Gods couldn't function without them. Sages were elevated to superstar status and a new group of Gods were about to take the country by storm.

The emergance of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as the new breed of Indian superGods sent the Vedic originals tumbling from their perches and into religions equivalent of burger flippers by comparison... or the dole queue.

For a live religion, Hindu is confusing. I once asked a Hindu 'expert' to explain it to me and he said make it what you want it to be. So i have.


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'INDEX' - Indian entry : 06 May 2007
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