Hinduism is regarded as one of the oldest organized religions in the world. It composes of different religious groups that evolved in India from 1500 BCE (Robinson par 1). Due to the variance in Hindu traditions, Hinduism has freedom of practice and belief. Besides, one can easily spot the differences between Hinduism and other religions, such as Christianity and Islam, especially owing to the sense that it lacks a single notable founder. Either, Hinduism does not have a specific theological system hence lacks a common holy text, a common religious authority, or a prophet (Robinson par 2). Hence, Hinduism has various gods and goddesses whom people worship in different ways. One common thing that all the Hindus have is a temple. The temple acts as a place of worship but to their different gods and goddesses.
The Vedic period began around 1500BC in India and continued to 6000 BCE (Vedic Age par 1). The Hindus described the Vedas as the source of knowledge for the Hindus. They were also known as Knowledge. The Aryans brought about the Vedic culture to India (Vedic Age par 2). They dispersed in the northern regions of India where they continued spreading the culture. Max Muller, a European settler, differs with the notion that Aryans are a race yet it is just a language. The relationship between the Europeans and Aryans began in 1816 by Bavarian Franz Bopp. The Vedic Culture composed of prayers, hymns, litanies, sacrificial formulae, and charms. There were four main Vedas; Sam Veda, Rig Veda, Atharva Veda and Yajur Veda (Vedic Age par 4).
The early Vedic religion was natural, as it did not compose of temples or idols. They prayed using mantras that they recited every time. They offered sacrifice for three things; Pasu (cattle), Praja (children) and Dhana (wealth) (Vedic Gods in Hinduism par 2). Spiritual fulfillment and misery were not part of the prayer items. The deities in Vedas had different roles to play in Hinduism. Some of them were manifestations of others. The deities present in today’s culture are Shiva, the Goddess, and Vishnu. People no longer worship the other deities. The deities were mainly personified nature forces. They include the Varuna, Soma, Indra and Agni (Vedic Gods in Hinduism par 4). The Indra was the chief deity and god of rain and war. He defeated the Vitra, a snake-dragon who represented obstacles and chaos. He later separated the earth and heavens. Agni was the sacrificial fire and meditated between gods and man. Soma was the hallucinogenic sacrifice drink. The two deities lacked further development and were left out. Varuna, the god of Rita, handled primary issues of morality, forgiveness, and guilt. He handled the faithfulness of allegiances between gods and humans, humans and gods and one another. Hence, Varuna petitioned for deliverance from evil, petitioned for forgiveness and protected people and gods (Vedic Gods in Hinduism par 6).
The caste system involves the various social classes present in Hinduism. The system defines that every Hindu has a specific role they need to play in their ecosystem (Society par 1). There are various ways to categories people using the caste system. The primary method is the skin color; white, black, brown or red. The immediate subsections include birth, rank, and life. The system helped the Hindus to preserve themselves against the Muslim rule and invasions (Society par 2). It hindered people from changing religions and their categories hence there is no option of becoming better or different in life. Due to its nature, the Hindus regarded the system as a social evil in recent years.
The caste system plays certain roles in an individual’s life. It guides an individual from the time of birth until death (Society par 4). It also influences the life of an individual even before they are born through the daily lives of their parents. Caste system gives a sense of directions towards acceptance, recognition, sacramental dedication and acceptance. One of the functions is determining the social status. The system determines how an individual status grows or develops. Their power, wealth, or poverty status cannot change their destiny. Hence, they are not tied to greed for a different life, which translates to the present age of malady. The individual concentrates on becoming better in his/her caste system without lust for power or wealth.
Another function of the caste system is the provision of mental security (Society par 6). An individual follows a fixed occupation that establishes important aspects of life like marriage and social life. Hence, one does not need to bother themselves with life’s courses since the system determines everything for them. Another function is the occupation (Society par 8). An individual does not have to worry about what they will do in future since the system determines it to them from birth. They concentrate on what life offers them and grows into it. Another function of the system is the choice of life partners. The system lays down rules of endogamy hence a person can only marry within their caste or sub-caste system. The fine selection of a partner depends on the caste rules. Lastly, the caste system controls an individual’s behavior. The system has its codes of conduct and rules that govern individuals and social behaviors. Therefore, the anarchy within human interaction has a central control.
Christianity is the second largest group of minority religions in India (Birodkar par 1). The other Religions include Muslim and Catholic. Apostle St. Thomas was the first person to introduce Christianity into India after the death of Christ. However, its origins remain unclear with history books Apostle St Thomas as the first Christian into India (Birodkar par 2). Christianity was officially established in India on 600AD with communities coming into life from Syriac. Currently, Christians are widespread in India from South India, Northeast, and the Konkan Coast. There are different Christian denominations present in India. The Saint Thomas community occupies the state of Keraia, where it originated from (Birodkar par 5). The other communities include Oriental Orthodox and independent churches from Saint Thomas community.
There was and still no common culture between Christians and Indians. Being where Christianity is not a major religion, there are a few things the host country would not allow to occur. However, the Christian were in a position to hold a few of their practices. The Christian communities get to celebrate patron saint days, while Christmas is one of the major events celebrated by Christians living in India (Birodkar par 7). Similarly, Good Friday is another practice observed in India. The government recognizes the day as a national holiday. Christians get to celebrate harvest festivals that occur between October and November. Christian weddings are similar to the traditional white weddings practiced by Indians. It is uncommon to see Christian brides wearing Sari, a traditional white wedding gown, instead of an actual gown.
These practices will help the modern Christian to have a better interaction with the Indians. Some Indians have come to embrace Christianity with time. Some converted to the religion despite the hindrances by family and community. However, they get to practice their traditions such as the Caste system and wear their traditional attire. With the wave of globalization spreading across the world, some cultural practices will end. However, the main point is to establish boundaries between foreign culture and ancient culture.
Birodkar, Sudheer. Christianity. 5 May 1998. Web. 27 July 2015. <http://www.hindubooks.org/sudheer_birodkar/hindu_history/christianity.html>
Robinson, B. A. Hinduism: The World's Third Largest Religion. 16 February 2012. Web. 27 July 2015. <http://www.religioustolerance.org/hinduism.htm>
Society, Puja Mondal. Functions of Caste System in India-Essay. 2015. Web. 27 July 2015. <http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/society/functions-of-caste-system-in-india-essay/4085/>
Vedic Age. 2012. Web. 27 July 2015. <http://www.facts-about-india.com/vedic-age.php>
Vedic Gods in Hinduism. 2015. Web. 27 July 2015. <http://www.religionfacts.com/hinduism/beings/vedic-gods>