Today, the East is playing an increasingly important role. Although this role is felt primarily in the sphere of economy (control over strategic resources, especially oil) and politics (increasing influence of developing countries, non – aligned States), modern researchers pay much attention to the study and internal structure of the East, their national and cultural traditions, the specifics of their social development. Attention is all the more natural that almost all countries of the traditional East in our days are experiencing a painful process of internal transformation. During this process, the national cultural tradition is brought to the fore, whose protective and protective functions are based on religion as a symbol of national resistance.
India is one of the most multinational States in the world. It is inhabited by several hundred peoples, nationalities and tribal groups of different racial origins, speaking languages belonging to several linguistic families (modern Indian statistics identifies 1562 languages). In addition, more than a billion people of different religions are divided into tens of thousands of castes and podcasts. Religion has always played a huge role in Indian society. During the 2001 census, 828 million people (80.5 per cent) were identified as belonging to Hinduism (Hindus);138 million people (13.4 per cent) to Islam (Muslims); 24 million people (2.3 per cent) to Christianity (Christians); 19 million people (1.9 per cent) to Sikhism (Sikhs); 8 million people (0.8 per cent) to Buddhism (Buddhists); 4.2 million people (0.4 per cent) to Jainism (Jains); 6.6 million people determined their belonging to other religions and religions, including various tribal. About 0.7 million people have not identified their religious affiliation. The above percentages have changed little since the 1961 census. In spite of Hinduism's inherent pantheism, adherents often focus much of their devotion on a specific deity—such as Vaishnivites (those primarily devoted to Vishnu and related deities) and Shaivites (Shiva and related deities)—but these denominations rarely have notable social, economic, or political consequences. The Indian constitution confers religious freedom for individuals and prohibits religious discrimination, but in spite of this, there have been enduring tensions—and occasional conflict—among religious communities, most notably between Hindus and Muslims.
It is impossible to know India without understanding its religious beliefs and customs, which have a great influence on the privacy of most Indians and affect daily social life. Indian religions have deep historical roots that modern Indians remember. The ancient culture of South Asia, numbering at least 4,500 years, reached India primarily in the form of religious texts. Artistic heritage, as well as intellectual and philosophical contribution have always been largely due to religious thought and symbolism. Contacts between India and other cultures led to the spread of Indian religions around the world, which led to the widespread influence of Indian thought and practice in South-East and East Asia in ancient times and, more recently, to the spread of Indian religions in Europe and North America. In India, on a daily basis, the vast majority of people engage in ritual activities that are motivated by religious systems that owe much to the past but are constantly evolving. Religion is thus one of the most important aspects of Indian history and modern life. The richness of India's religious life is evident every morning in Delhi. The dawn is greeted with the singing of the Sikh guards, bells and prayers from Hindu temples, as well as the sound of a muezzin calling Muslim believers to prayer. Before the partition of India and Pakistan, and to a lesser extent today, the Indian subcontinent has traditionally seen a certain mix of religions-Hindus prayed at the tombs of Muslim saints; Muslims drove away the disease by offering coconuts to the Hindu goddess Shitale; Sikhs participated in the Hindu festival of lights. The poet-Saint Kabir is revered by Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs.
India is a secular state, as confirmed by the Constitution. Discrimination on religious grounds is prohibited. The separation of religion and politics is declared and generally observed, although there has been a departure from this principle in the 1990s. In the political practice of modern India, the religious factor is present in the activities of political parties (mainly Hindu and Muslim). Another manifestation of it is local clashes between representatives of different faiths, Islamist and Hindu terrorism. The state assumes the function of maintaining peace between religions and implements it quite consistently: India has experience of a split on religious grounds (division into Pakistan and India itself), as well as significant minorities. Therefore, the political dominance of one of the denominations in the country — Hindu, is now combined with the provision of significant autonomy for other denominations, their involvement in political life.
Hinduism in India
The most common national religion of the Indian subcontinent is Hinduism. This is the oldest world religion, originated in India and is the third in the world in the number of followers.
In Hinduism there is no single founder and single doctrine. It is a complex of religious and philosophical practices based on a mixture of monotheism, pantheism, atheism. However, there are many Scriptures divided into two large groups – Smriti and Shruti. Among the basic concepts of Hinduism stand out:
Karma. This is the basic concept of Hinduism. Most often, it is defined as a kind of universal cause-and-effect pattern by which a person's actions determine his future destiny. Different directions of Hinduism give their own interpretation of karma, slightly different from others.
Samsara is the "wheel" of birth and death, one of the basic concepts of Indian religions. Each person must go through an unknown number of rebirths before getting rid of the results of the actions (karma). During this cycle, a person can both evolve and devolution. He passes all known forms life-from minerals and microbes until Brahma, in matter, what quality he has acquired in past incarnations and what actions committed.
Maya-literally means "illusion". In Hinduism it is – a force or energy that hides the true shape of the world and simultaneously providing the plurality of worlds. The wrong idea of the world is also called Maya.
Moksha-liberation from the cycle of samsara. According to Hinduism, Moksha is a kind of transcendent state, when the illusion is space, time, matter, fate and other elements of traditional reality. This is not a posthumous retribution or reward, it is liberation from one's own self and awareness of one's own essence as a pure soul.
Yoga. This concept is widely known in the West due to the visible part-Hatha yoga. However, yoga is not only physical exercise, but also long – term mental and spiritual practices. The very concept of "yoga" is known since the time of writing Rigveda – the oldest monument of Indian culture.
Dharma is a set of rules and regulations that support the entire cosmic order. In India itself, about 80% of the population supports Hinduism – this is the answer to the question, what religion dominates in India.
Buddhism in India
Buddhism is one of the national religions of India. The term "Buddhism" appeared in Europe in the 19th century. Buddhists themselves call their religion Dharma or Buddhadharma. It is impossible to say with certainty what constitutes Buddhism. Different researchers at different times defined it as a religion, philosophical or ethical doctrine, cultural tradition. The current Dalai Lama says that Buddhism is"the science of consciousness". Today there are many Buddhist schools with various rites and practices. According to researchers, they have in common are just a few of the basic doctrines:
Noble truths: the existence of the dukha (suffering, dissatisfaction), the existence of the cause of the dukha, the possibility of neutralization of this cause and the eightfold path.
The doctrine of karma and cause-consequence.
Anatmavada, or the principle of non-essence.
Ksantovaya, or the doctrine of immediacy.
Almost all Buddhists claim that these principles are developed directly by the Buddha, however, the interpretation of the principles in different schools differ. The number of Buddhists in India is about 8 million, or 0.77 % of the population.
Jainism in India
According to Jainism, it has always existed. According to other sources, it was founded by Kshatriyas vardhaman in about the 6th century BC. Initially, he led quite a worldly life, in 30 years he went to wander. Gradually he attained knowledge, received the honorary title of Mahavir Gin, and preached a new religion for the rest of his life.
For several centuries there was only an oral tradition, then in the 3-4 century BC the jainists tried to create a written Canon. The attempt ended with the split of the unified doctrine of the Jains on Digambara and Svetambara.
Based on the teachings – the perfection of the soul required for Moksha. If the necessary conditions are met, a representative of any caste can come to this. For the final disposal of karma Jainist needs a number of conditions:
belief in the truth of teaching;
leading a righteous life;
the attainment of perfect knowledge.
Jainists are distinguished by strict adherence to the principle of Ahimsa - no harm to a living creature. Today, India has just over 4 million jainists, or 0.4% of the total population.
Sikhism in India
Sikhism is a relatively young religion, which appeared in the 15-16 centuries. Today, there are about 22 million Sikhs in the world, most of whom live in India. The Sikhs recognize the one God whose name is unknown. No other deities, spirits, etc. can be worshipped. Sikhs do not recognize posthumous retribution, karma, rebirth. They consider that after death of the person the soul dissolves in the nature, goes to the Creator and remains, like all things.
Islam in India
spread from the West throughout South Asia, from the early eighth century, to become the largest minority religion in India. In fact India has at least the fourth largest Muslim population in the world (after Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh). Some analysts put the number of Indian Muslims even higher, which would give India the second largest Muslim population in the world. Sikhism, which started in Punjab in the sixteenth century, has spread throughout India and the world since the mid-nineteenth century.
Christianity in India
Christianity, represented by almost all denominations, traces its history in India back to the time of the apostles and counted 19.6 million members in India in 1991. Judaism and Zoroastrianism, arriving originally with traders and exiles from the West, are represented by small populations, mostly concentrated on India's west coast. A variety of independent tribal religious groups also are lively carriers of unique ethnic traditions.
Горохов С.А. Религиозный фактор в политической жизни современной Индии // Вестник Адыгейского государственного университета. Серия 1: Регионоведение: философия, история, социология, юриспруденция, политология, культурология. 2011. №2. – С. 104-110.
Политические системы современных государств.- М.:МГИМО - Университет МИД России, Институт общественного проектирования, Журнал «Эксперт», 2009.
Религия и государство, роль религии в политике // Политический атлас современности URL: http://www.hyno.ru/tom2/335.html
Indian religion // Facts and details URL: http://factsanddetails.com/world/cat55/sub354/item1358.html