An account of the different religions deliberately confounded by the followers of the 6 `astika' schools of Brahmanism under `Sanatana Dharma'. Also, showing that these are Separate Religions.

The Different Hindu Religions

Chapter 2
Myth of One Hindu Religion Exploded
Hadwa Dom

2.1 Monotheism, Polytheism and Pantheism

`Hinduism' as a term is such a confused jumble of different religions that there does not even exist a standard concept of God. It is sometimes incorrectly asserted that Hinduism is polytheism, but that is not correct. Pure Vaishnavism is monotheist, as are pure Shaktism and Shaivism. Atheism in the form of Sankhya Vedanta is also a part of Hinduism; indeed, this is one of the 6 astika (orthodox) schools of Brahmanism. Thus, Swami Dharma Anand Theertha has written :
"Frankly speaking, it is not possible to say definitely who is a Hindu and what is Hinduism. These questions have been considered again and again by eminent scholars, and so far no satisfactory answer has been given. Hinduism has within itself all types of religions such as theism, atheism, polytheism, Adwitism, Dwaitism, Saivism, Vaishnavism, and so forth. (emphasis added). It contains nature worship, ancestor worship, animal worship, idol worship, demon worship, symbol worship, self worship, and the highest god worship. Its conflicting philosophies will confound any ordinary person. From barbarious practices and dark superstitions, up to the most mystic rites and sublime philosophies, there is place for all gradations and varieties in Hinduism. Similarly, among the Hindu population are found half barbarian wild tribes, and depressed classes and untouchables, along with small numbers of cultured, gentle natures and highly evolved souls."
-- [ Tirtha ] [ cf also Fame ]
This book shall later on prove that `Hinduism' includes the 6 orthodox schools of Brahmanism, as well as anti-Vedic religions such as Shaivism (followed by Sudras), Tantrism, Shaktism, Buddhism and Jainism. Indeed, `Hinduism' is actually Brahmanism, and the other faiths have been mistakenly classified as `Hinduism' due to Brahminist-Vaishnava propaganda. Thus, `Hinduism' includes atheism, pantheim, monotheism and all forms of religion :
"Hinduism is not a religion established by a single person. It is a growth of ideas, rituals and beliefs so comprehensive as to include anything between atheism and pantheism. (emphasis added). Having grown out of the practices and speculations of various communities that were admitted into the Hindu fold at different times, Hinduism, as it stands at present, has very few set of dogmas. A formal recognition of the Vedas as revealed wisdom is all that is required for a Hindu to be known as such. But the latitude permitted in interpreting the Vedas is so wide that the atheistic Sankhya philosophy of Kapila and the polytheism of the Puranas are both recognized as Orthodox."
-- [ Thomas, p.21 ][ cf also Fame ]

In the words of S.V. Kelkar, "There is in fact no system of doctrines, no teacher, or school of teaching, no single god that is accepted by all the Hindus." [ ERE 6:712 ] Hence, it is a natural conclusion `Hinduism' is not one religion, but a collection of several distinct religions. There are several distinct religions that are wrongly confounded under the name Hinduism (a more detailed list follows below) -

  • Brahmanism (6 schools considered `astik')
    • Vedanta
      • Vaishnavism
      • Smarta Pantheism
    • Samkhya
    • Yoga
    • Mimamsa
    • Vaiseshika
    • Nyaya
  • Sudra Shaivism
    • Dravidian Shaivism
    • Chandalla (Dalit & Adivasi) Shaivism
    • Kolarian Shaivism
  • Sramanic Religions
    • Buddhism
    • Jainism
    • Carvaks
  • Rajput Solar Religion
  • Tibetic Tantric Religions

It is often asserted that " Nevertheless, it is possible to discern among the myriad forms of Hinduism several common characteristics of belief in practice. Authority of the Veda and the Brahman class ... Doctrine of atman-brahman .. Ahimsa or non-injury .. Doctrines of transmigration and karma .. Concepts of istadevata and Trimurti .. Ashramas: the 4 stages of life " [ EB.20 `Hinduism' 519-520 ]. These are all false statements, as shall be shown later on. There is not one single theological doctrine in common.

2.2 Indian, or Hindu Religions

The relative importance of the various religions of India is summarised by the Manorama Yearbook, 1997 thus : " As for Hindus, almost all of thm (99%) are in Asia. 70 % Vaishnavites, 25 % Shaivites, 2 % neo-Hindus." [ Mano.334 ]. The other `nastikas' comprising Jains, Tantriks, Shaktas, etc. comprised, after centuries of persecution, hence merely 3 % of the population. The following table shows the relative importance of the `Hindu' religions, with the approximate percentage of `Hindus' following those faiths given :

Religion % Region
Vaisnavism 70 % Aryavarta
Saivism 25 % Dravidia
Shaktism < 1 % Bengal
Tantrism < 1 % Bengal
Saura < 1 % Rajastan
Jainism 0.5 % Aryavarta
Buddhism 1 % Magadha
Total 100 % India

Table: Indian Religions and Importance

The following is an accurate list of Indian religions often wrongly confounded under the term `Hinduism'. The colloquial English term is first in bold letters, with the technically correct English term in round brackets, followed by the colloquial Sanskrit terminology in italics in triangular brackets, and the technically correst Sanskrit term in square brackets at the end.

Shankaracharya the Smarta
According to Smarta propaganda, Shankaracharya reinstated `Hinduism' as the common religion in Bharat after supposedly defeating the Buddhists in `brilliant debates'. However, this is another false `Hindu Unity' myth of the Brahmin Nazis : Ramaite and Krishnaite Vaishnavas
The Ramaite and Krishnaite sects of Vaishnavites are also at loggerheads. The Krishnaites are not that intolerant of Shiva, but the Ramaites allow no mention of his name. The Krishnaites also generally allow worship of Radha, which is condemned by the Ramaites. It hence follows that sectarianism is rampant within astika Vaishnava Brahmanism.

The Indus Valley peoples practiced two religions : the Dravidian Religion (`Shaivism') and the Mother-Goddess Cult. The latter was mainly of Mediterranean origin (cf. the Cretan snake-goddess), whilst some influence of Mon-Khmer peoples can also be traced.

It is hence evident that Hinduism consists of different religions. The fallacious concept of `One Hindu Religion' is entirely baseless and arises from ulterior motives desiring to suppress non-Vaishnava faiths.

< Previous Chapter ] [ Table of Contents ] [ Next Chapter >