Hinduism

Hinduism is first and foremost, not one single homogenous religion. It is an umbrella term to describe many religions and sects, many of which are not even closed, but initiation based(a ceremony called a “shudhi”), or just open. For this reason, the topic of Hinduism is complex and its history too vast to cover in any single page, so know that the religion and practices vary greatly based on many factors such as location, date, and personal attachment to the practices. Hinduism is over 12 thousand years old, finding its beginnings in India, with around 80 percent of the country still identifying as such. There are many gods and goddesses worshiped within Hinduism, and each is from their own region and timeline, some originating from the early roots and others being co opted from other religions over time(such as certain practices in Northern India being influenced by Muslim practices during the time of Mughal rule around 1500 AD).  Some worship even furthered organizations and movements. (Ramachandran, 2018)

“The worship of Vettaikkaran and Karupparayar represents grass root religions of a local nature; the worship of Murugan has wider regional significance. The regional Gods, if not some aspects of their worship, were absorbed in the Puranic religion and mythology. This has happened throughout India. The local Gods, however, remained untouched by the pan-Indian culture of the Puranas. (Ramachandran, p. 15)”

Hinduism faced reforms after The British invaded in the 1800’s, with Christianity challenging the caste system present in Hindu culture, believing the religion to be evil and oppressive while they enslaved the, mostly Hindu, Indian people for cheap labor, calling it indentured servitude. This isn’t where colonialism ended. In 1862, and in the early 1900’s, new laws went into place in India which allowed the British to pass any laws they pleased, banning Indian people from trying British colonizers in court, collective punishment for the whole town should one Indian “commit a crime”, banning homosexuality, banning the right to gather, punishment of any anti-British sentiment, and many more inhuman and culturally devastating laws that still plague India today. Combined with slavery, this caused many Indian people to flee, and later the promise of education reaped the same result, sending Hinduism all over the world(Rahman, 2018).

One examples of the things that was banned in India by the British and are still relevant today are the basic Hindu practice such as what we in America call “yoga”. “Yoga” was banned for over one hundred years in India, and yet the United States has billion dollar industries based in “yoga.” “Yoga” also refers to the Hindu practice of spirituality, with only the physical portion of yoga being called “asana.” Companies make billions of dollars in the US, while also knowing nothing about the culture that their asana comes from. This, along with the appropriation, demonization, and sexualization of Hindu deities in Hollywood are just a fraction of how the US misrepresents Hinduism(Deva, 2020).

Link to Chakras page

Deva, Sanskriti. “The Modern Appropriation and White-Washing of Hinduism.” Sanskriti Deva, 2020, sanskriti-deva.medium.com/the-modern-appropriation-and-white-washing-of-hinduism-6566f31dec55.

Rahman, Aziz; Ali, Mohsin; and Kahn, Saad (2018) “The British Art of Colonialism in India: Subjugation and Division,” Peace and Conflict Studies: Vol. 25 : No. 1 , Article 5. Available at: https://nsuworks.nova.edu/pcs/vol25/iss1/5

R. Ramachandran (retd). A History of Hinduism : The Past, Present, and Future. Sage Publications Pvt. Ltd, 2018. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=e000xna&AN=1739148&site=ehost-live.