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Some Leading Religions
Some Leading Religions:
In man's way of life has been guided and moulded by one religion or another. In his search for truth and a meaning in life, man has founded not one religion but several religions. Some of the leading religions of the world that i have given below:
It is considered to be one of the oldest religions of the world. It is a way of life more than mere rituals. It began with the worship of Nature and natural objects. Its on the practice of virtues in order to obtain liberation.
Hinduism propagates among other things sacrifice, hospitality and tolerance. According to the Hindu belief, liberation can take place only through purification of the heart. There are several gods and goddesses who guide man's destiny. Some of them are Brahma, Shiva, Krishna, Kali, Saraswati, etc.
The Vedas are the sacred books containing the Hindu philosophy. Some of the leading Hindu festivals are Krishna Jayanti, Ram Navami, Diwali, Durga Puja and Holi.
You know that Jesus Christ is the founder of this leading religion. He was born in a stable in Bethlehem. He is the son of god who took upon himself the hard task of redeeming mankind. He taught about the Heavenly Father, lived a simple life an died a terrible death on the cross.
According to Christianity, there is only one God, who is the father of all mankind. It teaches about a life after death. It insists on a life filled with faith, hope and charity.
The term Heaven and Hell are associated with Christianity. The Bible is the holy book of the Christians. The main festivals are Christmas(the birth of Christ)and Easter which recalls the resurrection of Jesus Christ after death. Christians also celebrate the feast days of Saints.
The term Islam means submission to the will of god. This world religion was founded by Mohammad who is called the Prophet. He was born in 571 AD. Islam is the result of Prophet Mohammad's search for truth.
According to him, there is only one god who cannot be described. The Muslims, as the followers of Islam are called, do not believe in idolatry. God is called Allah. The Quran is the holy book of the Muslims.
The leading festivals are Muharram, Idul Fitr, and Milad-i-Sheriff.
It was founded by Confucius, a leading scholar, teacher and saint of China. He was born in 551 B.C. The followers of Confucianism do not believe in formal prayers nor in separate rites and rituals. Confucius was a teacher of morality and taught the concept of harmonious living.
It was founded by Gautam or Siddhartha who was born in 567 B.C. in Lumbini at Kapilavastu. At the age of 29 he gave up all comforts and luxuries of life in order to search for Truth. This event was known as the Great Renunciation. He became Buddha after attaining enlightenment. The religion founded by him came to be known as Buddhism.
He taught the four noble truths. They are:
1. The world is full of misery.
2. Misery is caused by human desires.
3. Control of desires leads to salvation.
4. Nirvana can be achieved through the eight-fold path.
Buddha insisted on the "middle path" and the avoidance of extremes. Buddhists believe in the transmigration of the soul. All teachings of Buddha are contained in the Jatakas and the Tripitakas. Buddha Purnima is the most sacred day in the Buddhist calender.
It is the day on which the Buddha was born, attained enlightenment and Nirvana.
Zoroaster is the founder of this religion. The Zoroastrians belonged to Iran. To avoid religious persecution, they fled from their homeland. A group of them settled in India. They are called Parsis. They worship the sun and the fire. Their holy book is the Zend Avesta.
The most important festival they celebrate is Navroze and they worship in the Fire Temple.
Mahavira is considered to be the founder of Jainism although there were 23 thirthankaras or spiritual gurus before him. Mahavira was born in 599 B.C. Like Buddha, he too was not interested in worldly life. With desire for a spiritual life, he wandered about in search of knowledge.
He obtained supreme knowledge and became 'Jina' or the conqueror of the self. This is how his followers came to be called Jains. His teachings were contained in 14 books called Purvas. Later on these were transformed into 12 books called 'Angas'. Mahavira did not believe in rituals nor in caste.
Ahimsa and penance are the methods to obtain salvation which is the aim of life. Right intention, right knowledge and right conduct are the three jewels of Jainism. Mahavira Jayanti is the biggest festival of the Jains.
This religion was founded by Guru Nanak, a social and religious reformer, Sikhism resulted from Guru Nanak's efforts to bridge the gap between Hindus and Muslims. After getting enlightenment, he travelled far and wide. He visted the holy places of the Hindus and of the Muslims. He thought about the one and all powerful God called 'Satnam'. He attached great importance to the guru in the realization of God. Guru Granth Sahib is the sacred book of the Sikhs. They pray in the gurudwara and their greatest festivals is the Guru Parav.
These are the some of the leading religions of the world. Undoubtedly there are others in different parts of the world. It would be difficult to make a complete list of all the existing religions.
Some of the religions discussed above have divided and subdivided themselves and formed into separate entities. We are not aware of the fact that there are several religions. This clearly indicates that man needs some kind of religion.
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