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INDIAN

RELIGIONS
By
Mr. AnilDev Kantepudi

PREFACE

Hindus do not call Hinduism as a religion. They prefer to use Dharma
instead. Dharma cannotes a way of life.

The study of Vedas is Dharma for Brahmins , even listening to them is
Adharma

for

Sudras.

Therefore

Hinduism

is

based

on

Kuladharma(Based on Caste rules).

For Hindus Kuladharma is more important than religious belief.

Infact they freely assimilate religious beliefs and practices of other
faiths.

The earliest migrants to India settled on the banks of river Sindhu
(Indus).

The Persians who ruled small provinces of North-west India have
corrupted the word Sindhu to Hindu.

PREFACE

Continued..

Hinduism shelters under its umbrella various concepts of Deity like
monotheism, polytheism, henotheism, pantheism and even atheism
.

It allows hero worship, worship of nature, worship of God and even
worship of Demons.

It encourages sublime intellectual pursuits as well as superstitious
beliefs.

As Dr. S. Radhakrishnan puts it, “The Hindu tradition by its very
breadth seems to be capable of accommodating varied religious
conceptions”.

Choudari says. Salvation is never the object of religious observance and worship of the Hindus.  The primary goal of Hinduism is not to encourage otherworldliness.PREFACE Continued. Greek religion.  As Nirad C. .  Hinduism went on changing with times assimilation various doctrines and ritual of various religions such as Zoroastrianism.  They made the possibility of leaving it for good even after many cycles of birth as remote and difficult as possible. Christianity and Islam since its eclectic character provided enough elasticity to absorb any new thing..

Hinduism claims the ancestry to the Vedas just like Christianity claims its ancestry to the Old Testament.  Besides Brahministic Hinduism. Jainism and Sikhism which challenged the very basis of Hinduism. modern religious movements. such as. Buddhism. .. the Bhakti movement.PREFACE  Continued.  In this seen Christianity and Islam are older than Hinduism. there are reactions and revolts against it. the Upanishadic movement. The popular Hinduism as it is practiced today hardly goes back to 800 years and the intellectual Hinduism to 1200 years.  But.

 These religions had profound impact on Hindu religion.  We cannot regard Vedic religion also as Indian as it originated in Central and West Asia. art.PREFACE  Continued. .. Christianity. literature and Sciences and thoroughly challenged Hindu culture and mindset. Jainism and Zoroastrianism are not recognized as Indian religions as they originated outside the Indian subcontinent.  India has always been a pluralistic and secular society. Islam.

THE INDUS RELIGION .

.

 In some parts.  It was contemporary Mesopotamian civilization and was completely wiped out by a devastating flood in around 2700 B. to 1500 B.C.THE INDUS RELIGION  The oldest civilization in India dates back to 3500 B. Pipal tree and Snakes. Indus practiced fertility rites and worshipped Mother Goddess. Worship of male and female reproductive organs (Linga and Yoni) was prevalent.C.  The second phase of the Harappan civilization One of Harappan existedSeals from 2600 B.C.C. .  It was on the banks of the river Indus and is called as Indus Valley civilization or Harappan civilization.  Bull worship too was popular.

and referred to in Sumerian documents..C. reached by sea from Sumer. was Indus Valley. have been found in Sumer.  Some archaeologists believe that ‘The land of Melukka. .THE INDUS RELIGION Continued.  The Indus people traded with Sumerians. Indus seals dating back to 2300 B.  Among the finds of Indus Valley is a bronze figure of a nude ‘dancing girl’ which suggests that the practice of temple prostitution (which is still practiced in some parts of India) was prevalent.

Sir John Marshall called it “Proto-Siva” since God Siva is described as Thrimukha (Three faced God) and Pasupathi (The Lord of Beasts).  Another seal of a hero fighting with tigers. seated in a Yogic posture and surrounded by an elephant. a buffalo and two deer. a rhinoceros. bears a striking similarity with Mesopotamian seal of a hero fighting with two lions. •The largest of the seals depicts a nude God with horns.  The head of this God has two protuberances on either side which suggests the second and third faces of the deity. a tiger.THE INDUS RELIGION Continued. ..

 Many nude statues of men without heir have been unearthed in Indus civilization.  These statues suggest Jainism might have had its beginning in Indus civilization. Jains Considered hair as symbol of evil. That’s why they pluck off hair with roots at time of initiation. in Rigveda . the first Theerthanakara of Jainism.. .THE INDUS RELIGION Continued. suggesting that Jainism was already in existence.  There is a reference to Risaba.

2700 B.THE INDUS RELIGION Continued.  Some fundamentalist Hindu historians argue that the Indus civilization was Aryan. Vedic literature is replete with horses where as horses are totally absent in Indus Valley.) was non-Aryan. Proto-Austroid and Mongoloid types. They have even renamed that civilization as Sarasvati civilization.  The people of the Indus civilization belonged to Mediterranean.C. .  But the archaeological and anthropological evidences suggest that first phase (3500 B. . Besides this..C.

Some point to View Triveni Sangamam (the confluence of three rivers) in Allahabad. they were written when the Aryan were living on the banks of the river Sarasvati. However. the Vedas speak of a literal river on whose banks the Aryans were living. . The Ganga and the Yamuna. According to the Vedas.  Samgamam Map The location of the river Sarasvati is still Triveni unknown. Sarasvati was invisible. at Triveni.  The Hindu poojaris say the third river. But there are only two rivers.THE EARLY VEDIC RELIGION • The original home of Aryans is still debated.

THE EARLY VEDIC RELIGION Continued. bears a striking resemblance to Yahweh of the Bible. The attributes of one of their Gods. a small group of Hittie-Aryans migrated to India with their Vedic faith. They were henotheists.  Basing on the astronomical data given in the Rig-Veda Balagangadhar Tilak concluded that the original home of the Aryans was the North Pole..  We have evidence in archaeology that around 1800 B.C.  In the Boghazkoy tablets written in proto-sanskrit language but Semitic(Akkadian) script several names of Vedic Gods are referred. Varuna.  Boghazkoy is in Turkey. .

 There was a tribe in India called ikshvaku which played an important role in ancient Indian history.THE EARLY VEDIC RELIGION Continued. Basham says that ‘It has been suggested that Varuna owes much of his character to Semitic influence. Abraham was a Semitic and Ketura was a Hittie Aryan. four Settled in West Asia and integrated into Arabian tribes.. Abraham with Family . L. The fifth son’s name was ishbak.India.  We read in the Bible that Abraham married Ketura after the death of sarah.  A.  The last two sons migrated “eastward to the east country”.  Of the six children Ketura bore to Abraham.

 God(Elohim) is the Creator of the Universe. for the righteous called the the righteous called the House of Fathers(also House called Fathers are and two the sections other..  The Lamb(Jesus Christ) was slain from the first cause of creation. ‘Paradise’) and another one for unrighteous called Miry Clay. the .  The basic ritual was sacrifice.  After death the souls of the dead would go to in of There  The basic ritual was yagna(sacrifice). Sheol. The voice of God.  Bhrama underwent the suffering of sacrifice at time of creation. There are two sections in Sheol: One. Hebrew Religion Vedic Religion  Brahma is the Creator of the Universe.  Sabda Brahma(OUM). is the  The word god is first cause of creation. After death the souls of the dead would go to Yamaloka.  foundation of the world. for the unrighteous called the House of the Clay. for Yamaloka : One.THE EARLY VEDIC RELIGION Continued.

 Soma drink was used both as liberation to the Godsand as a beverage for the worshipers.. . and chanting of mantras at the time of sacrifice would awaken in them a sense of the Higher reality.  Sacrifice was the summon bonum of the early Vedic Aryans.  Their religious life was interwoven by elaborate rituals.  At such times they claimed to have experienced a super natural power called Brahman.THE EARLY VEDIC RELIGION Continued.  They believed that drinking of soma juice.

 These Aryans were called Khurus(English : Horites). another group of Aryans migrated to India with their Indo-European Gods.  Both Pandavas and Kauravas belonged to Khuru Vamsa.  Their Gods were similar to the Greek Gods who lived on Mountains(Himalayas/Olumpus) and are moral character.C. .  According to Tel-el-Amarna.LATER VEDIC RELIGION  Around 1400 B. Khurus lived in Palestine when the spies send by Moses surveyed the land.

Savitr. were mediator Gods. Roman: Ju-piter).  These Gods represent different aspects of human psyche Fire God..  There were several Gods associated with the Sun(Surya.  Almost all their Gods were personified aspects of nature.. Vayu.Wind God. These were the Gods of the mid-air. Gods Agni and Vayu Respectively  These Aryans personified heavens as Dyaus (Greek: Zeus. Pusan and Vishnu).LATER VEDIC RELIGION Continued. Agni- . the chief of these later Aryan Gods was Indra whose weapon was Vajrayudha(Thunder-bolt). etc.  However.

 There were many other Gods like Rudra. the supreme creator God was impersonal and has no form.  Yama (The Aryan Adam) was first to die and became the Lord of Underworld. Tvastr.  Like the earlier Aryans.. etc. Aryaman etc. Gandharvas.. Apsaras.  He created the Universe with Sabda(Word of God). Rbhus. . and demigods like Visvedavas. Khuru Aryans also worshipped their Gods through the ritual of sacrifice.LATER VEDIC RELIGION Continued.  They believed that Brahma.

DEVELOPMENT OF CASTE SYSTEM  With the coming of Khuru Aryans race-wars prevailed for sometime. Thus Indians were first to introduce apartheid system. The earlier Hittie-Aryans had red complexion(Aruna Varna) whereas the Khuru Aryans were white people. There were some Mongoloid groups also with yellow tinge. They had black complexion.  These race wars ultimately resulted in stratifying the Indian society on the basis of Varna (colour) which is called as varna vyavasta (caste system). .  The earlier Indians were Proto-Australoids and Mediterranean.

DEVELOPMENT OF CASTE SYSTEM Continued. Aryan tradesmen. rituals and customs.  All artisans were grouped as Sudras.  The Hittie Aryans became the Brahmins who took the responsibility of preserving Vedic lore.  The Khuru Aryans formed the Kshtreeya caste who became the rulers of the land. They were the priestly class. some native Indians and Panins(a Semitic Group) were accommodated in this caste. .  Businessman were called Vysyas.. these four castes were eligible to live in main villages and towns.

DEVELOPMENT OF CASTE
SYSTEM
Continued..

Those who did not find a place in these ‘forward castes’ were called
Panchamas (outcastes) who were treated as untouchables and had
to live outside villages.

They were also called Dasus (slaves).

This discriminative caste system is supported by the Rig-Veda, the
Bhagavath Geetha and other religious literature.

According to Rig-Veda (X-90) at the time of creation Bhramins
evolved from the mouth of Bhrahma, the Kshatriyas from his
shoulders , The Vysyas from his Thighs and the Sudras from his
feet.

There is no mention of outcaste here who were not even
regarded as human beings.

DEVELOPMENT OF CASTE
SYSTEM
Continued..
Besides caste and belief in Karma (reincarnation) no other doctrine

unites all Hindus together.

Once caste is abolished Hinduism will disintegrated into hundreds of
religions and if caste system is adopted by other religions like
Christianity and Islam, They would perish and become part of
Hinduism.

Ironically Caste system which is an instrument of oppression is
strength of Hinduism.

SCRIPTURES OF THE VEDIC AGE

There are 4 Vedas.

For several years they have been handed down generation to
generation orally and were written down around 1500 B.C.

The term Veda signifies Knowledge.

The Rishis claim that Vedas are direct revelation from heaven (the
word Rishi derived from dris, to see, which implies that the Vedic
Knowledge is seen, not heard).

The Vedic literature is called Sruti (Canonical).

 It has 10 mandalas and 1028 hymns. . named also Black(Krishna) and White (Sukla). It has two sctionjs – the Taittiriya and Vajasaneyin. Most Madalas begin with praises to Agni(Fire God).  The Rig-Veda is the oldest and largest of the four Vedas.SCRIPTURES OF THE VEDIC AGE Continued.  The Vedas contain Mantras(liturgical texts if prayer and praise) to various Gods (or powers of nature) and Bhramas – The ritualistic formulae of sacrifice (Yagna)..  The yajurveda is to be used by Adhvaryu priests.   The Yajur Veda (Veda of sacrifice and Ritual). It is the ceremonial text book of the Hotri priests.

  Om burbhvahswah Tat Savitur varenyam bhargo dvasya dhimahi  Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat..  The Atharva Veda is a collection of hymns of worship of nature and popular magic.SCRIPTURES OF THE VEDIC AGE Continued. .  The Sama Veda is a compilation of liturgical hymns used by Udgatri priests in ceremonies connected with scared Soma plant.  Every Brahmin begins his daily prayers with the Gayatri manthra as recorded in Rig-Veda.

SCRIPTURES OF THE VEDIC AGE Continued. The 129th hymn speaks of eternally Existent One whose “Desire” caused the creation.  Yet Prajapathi who survived the slaughter retained his essential self. as soon as born.  Yet another hymn to the unknown God speaks of the Golden child. he alone was the Lord of all that is.  He established the earth and this heaven : Who is the God to Whom we shall offer sacrifice..  HYMNS OF CREATION  In the tenth book of Rig-Veda there is a hymn of Creation. .  Another hymn speaks of the God (Prajapati) who was slain by the Gods and the dismembered body of Prajapati became the cosmos.

SCRIPTURES OF THE VEDIC AGE Continued.  ETHICS OF VEDAS  Worship of the gods with sacrifice is given utmost importance but there is hardly any reference to ethical values in human society. except that they are exhorted to live in harmony one with another  ESCHATOLOGY  The Vedic Rishis tried to unlock the secrets of the past but grossly neglected the probe into the future. (The doctrine of reincarnation is not found in the Vedas).  The unrighteous dead were condemned to the “House of clay”.  The legends of Yama speak of the life after death in Yamaloka in which righteous dead lived in the “House of Fathers”.. .

goats and horses. power (defeat enemies) and male progeny.Reactions against the Vedic Religion Continued. curds.C. rice cakes besides animals. rams.  The usual sacrificial animals were buffaloes..  There were reactions and revolts against Vedic Brahminism during the 7th and 6th Centuries B.  The Vedic ritual of Yagna(sacrifice) included the offerings of ghee(melted butter). .  Sacrifices were performed to gain material benefits like wealth. Aswamedha ( sacrifice of a hundred horses) was considered the most powerful means to approach the Gods.  The Brahmins of Vedic age were accused of insisting on sacrifices since they were entitled to a portion of the sacrificial meat and other offerings. cows.

Reactions against the Vedic Religion Continued. REACTIONS AGAINST VEDIC BRAHMANISM  Orthodox Reaction Heterodox Reaction  Accepted the Vedas  Rejected the Vedas  Rejected Brahmanism  Rejected Brahmanism  Rejected Karmakaanda  Advocated ethical way of life and ahimsa (nonviolence)  Resulted in the formation of new religions  Jainism   Rejected Karmakaanda Advocated Gnanamaarga (Path to knowledge)  Resulted in Upanishadic Movement   Buddhism. Etc. The Ajivikas.. ..

.

UPANISHADIC MOVEMENT  Upanishad means sitting at the feet of the Guru. the Katha Upanishad as the person(Purusha) and Svethasvatara Upanishad as World Spirit in theistic terms. The important among them are: Brihadaranyaka. some thinkers like yagnavalka.  The Isa Upanishad refers to the Ultimate reality as Lord(Isa). Svethavatara and Isa .  There are 108 Upanishads. refer to the ultimate Reality in personal terms. katha. Upanishadic thinkers describe the Ultimate Reality in impersonal terms(Brahman is neuter gender). Upanishad Chandigya.  However.

hence it is evil.  The Three DAs – Datta(Charity).. Damyatha (Self.e.  Selfish desire stands in the way of self-realization.UPANISHADIC MOVEMENT Continued.control) and Dayadhvan(mercy).  Good and bad are relative terms.are considered highest virtues. salvation through knowledge or realization than by faith or works).  ETHICS OF UPANISHADS  The Upanishads advocate Gnanamaarga (i. .  Ascetism and honesty are highly extolled.

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a grove of sal trees. He was a Kshatriya.  He is also called Sakyamuni since he was chief of a Nepali Tribe called Sakyas. Nepal.  Gautama’s father was Suddhodhana. king of Sakyas and his mother. Some call him Tathagata (one who has reached the truth).  After his enlightenment he was called the Buddha (the enlightened one).THE BUDDISM  It was founded by Siddhartha of Gautama (Pali: Gotama) gotra.  Later on Ashoka the Great erected an inscribed pillar there. Mahamaya. in kapilavastu. .  Gautama Buddha was born in Lumbinivana.

 For another 49 days he sat under the bodhi tree (tree of wisdom) where he was enlightened.. Meditating on the great truths he had found. but he was unmoved.  When Gautama remained unmoved he was tempted by Desire.  On 49th day he claimed to have reached the truth.THE BUDDISM Continued.  THE TEMPTATION  While Gautama was in deep meditation for 49 days. This enlightenment brought him the name The Buddha. . Pleasure and Passion (the 3 daughters of Mara). Mara(the counterpart or the Devil in Buddhism) disguised as a messenger tempted Gautama that his father was overthrown and wife seized by wicked Devadatta. They offered him universal empire.

decay is suffering. thirst for prosperity. thirst that leads to new birth..  THE TEACHING OF THE BUDDHA  The whole teaching of Gautama Buddha may be summed up as follows:  There is suffering in the world: Birth is suffering.  The Cause of Suffering: Thirst (trishna) for pleasure. thirst for life. illness is suffering.  Cessation of Suffering: Destruction of desire and extinction of thirst will lead to cessation of suffering.THE BUDDISM Continued. death is suffering. .

 Right Speech: To abstain from lying.  Eight fold path (Ashtaanga Maarga) to be followed to overcome thirst:  Right Belief: The knowledge of four truths. abuse. to bear no malice and no harm to others.. harsh words and idle talk. slander. .  Right Aspiration: To renounce pleasures.THE BUDDISM Continued.  Right Action: To retain from talking what is not given and abstain from carnal excess.  Right livelihood: To abstain from any of the forbidden modes of living.

to eradicate existing evils.  This path leads one to eternal bliss (Nirvana).  Right Mindfulness: To look on the body and the spirit in such a way as to remain self-possessed and careful. . to simulate good conditions.  It is not extinction of spirit but it releases the cycle of births and deaths and leads to eternal state of bliss.  Right Effort: To suppress the raising evil conditions. Nirvana literally means “blowing out” or extinction of trishna (desire).   Right Meditation: To contemplate on the four basic truths. overcoming both hankering and dejection.THE BUDDISM Continued.. This eight fold path is also called as the middle path (Madhya Marga) since it rejects gross sensualism on one side and extreme asceticism on the other.

A man reaps what he sows.THE BUDDISM Continued. he permitted taking meat under certain conditions..  Though Buddha enjoined love and non-violence for all living beings.  Till a man attains Nirvana he is born again and again. .  Buddha was agnostic.  When asked about God he either maintained silence or remarked that God or Gods were also under the eternal law of Karma.  Gautama Buddha accepted the concept of the Law of Karma and transmigration of souls. He seldom preached about the God. His present state in life is a result of his deeds in the previous life.  Ahimsa is the spirit of love for all living creatures and it is considered more important than good deeds.

 BUDDHA’S CONTRIBUTION TO INDIAN SOCIETY  Buddha laid a lot of importance on Sangha (A Society of the faithful).  Buddhism was the first peoples movement which fought against caste system and treated all people as equals..Healthy men and women above the age of 15 were allowed to become the members of the Religious Order.  It is also adopted common peoples languages like Pali and other Prakrit dialects instead of elitist Sanskrit which the Brahmins preferred.  Those in the service of the King who were in debt and criminals were barred from membership. .THE BUDDISM Continued.

. Soon these monasteries became seminaries which trained missionaries.THE BUDDISM Continued.  Monks and nuns wore a three piece dress (chivara) – an upper robe and a lower one and a sort of cloak worn over the two. These garments were dyed in yellow color.  Monasteries were constructed to give suitable accommodation for monks and nuns.  They accepted food and robes offered by the followers of the Buddhism. .  Buddhism was the first missionary religion. about half the world’s population was Buddhists. Japan and other South Eastern countries.D. China.  Missionaries went from India to Sri Lanka.  THE SANGHA  By 10th century A.

..THE BUDDISM Continued.

 Some important resolutions(Jnapti) used to be taken by Ballot.  Members of the Sangha used to elect their Sanghathera (President).  Two speakers used to give lectures on Dharma and Vinaya. .  Buddhism was the first religion to use democracy for the conduct of religion.THE BUDDISM Continued.  The Sangha used to meet once a fort night on new-moon and fullmoon days..

 The initiation into the Sangha involved shaving off the candidate’s head.THE BUDDISM Continued. putting on yellow rose and taking the vow of fidelity to Buddha. Dharma and Sangha as followers:  Buddham Saranam Gachchami   Dharmam Saranam Gachchami   I take refuge in the Dharma Sangham Saranam Gachchami   I take refuge in the Buddha I take refuge in the Sangha After they examined him thoroughly before enrolling him as a full member of the Sangha. ..

C.  These Pitakas were written down in arround 90 B.  Sthaviras held the orthodox Vinaya and Mahasanghikas advocated reforms.  In this council Buddhism spilts into 2 sections.C.  BUDDHIST COUNCILS AND SCRIPTURES  In 1483 B.C. (shortly after the death of Buddha) a council was held in Sattapanni cave near Rajagriha to compile the Dharma(Doctrine) and the Vinaya (Monastic Code). another council was held at Vaisali which condemned 10 heresies.Sthaviras and Mahasanghikas. in Sri Lanka in Pali Language.THE BUDDISM Continued.  In 383 B. ..

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JAINISM  Vardhamana Mahaveera was not the founder of Jainism.  There was no continuous succession of these Teachers.  He was the last of the 24 Theethankaras (Teachers). the 23rd Theerthankara lived 246 years before Mahaveera.  In the late Indus Valley period. hence they pull off their hair with roots at the time of initiation).  Parsya. we see statues of nude men without hair( Jains regard hair as a sign of evil. .  There is a reference to Rishabha the first Theerthankara.  Vishnupuraana and Bhagvatpuraana too mention about him as the incarnation of Naaraayana. in the Rig Veda.

. Mahaveera’s contribution to Jainism is considerable.  Like many others who fought against Vedic(Brahmin) ritualism. Jamali later on became the first disciple.  According to Jain sources Mahaveera was born in 599 BC and died in 527 BC.JAINISM  continued.  He gave a new thrust to the faith by institutionalizing it. especially in the context of ‘misuse’ of the Vedic ritual of sacrifice. His son-in-law.  He descended from the royal clan of Jnatrikas(from his father’s side) and Lichchhavi(from his mother’s side).  He was related to the then leading emperor of Magadha. However. he too was a Kshatreeya. He was married to Yesodhara and had a daughter..

 From then on he was known as Jina [The conqueror(of passion and pleasure)] and Mahaveera (a great hero). C. it spread to South India. he decided to renounce the world.  He used vernacular (Prakrit) languages instead of Sanskrit. ..  Around 300 B.  At the age of 42 he claimed to have attained intuitive knowledge which delivered him pleasure and pain.  He practiced severe asceticism for 12 years.  His followers are called Nigranthas (free from fetters or bonds).JAINISM  continued.  Jainism spread rapidly in North India. After the death of his parents at the age of 30.

While the bodies are perishable the souls are eternal and evolutionary. and Vedic belief Jains hold to dualistic philosophy. that is sense of touch.  The Universe is full of Jeevas (souls).  There are 5 kinds of Sthavara Jivas (immobile life forms) embodied in earth. water. fire. air and vegetable substances. .  They are eternal and are empirically known through their attachment to different bodies.JAINISM  THE JAIN FAITH  Unlike Upanishadic continued..  These have only one sense developed in them.

 Karma leads the Jeeva to bondage..JAINISM continued.  There are 5 types of Ajeevas.  Along with Jeevas there are Ajeevas(Matter).  Dharma makes the movement of Jeeva and ajeeva possible. This prevents the Jeeva to obtain knowledge.  All mobile life forms like birds. animals and men have 5 sences.  Every Jeeva has some degree of knowledge(Kevalagnana). .  Adharma is the principle of rest(inactivity). Which provides space for other substances. This is the 4th Tattva.

D.  They divided food into 3 types:  Saatvika  Rajasa  Tamasa  By such subtle means Brahmanism staged a comeback.Vedic Religion Counter Reaction  Brahmins adopted vegetarianism as a virtue (not as a religious code). . but it soon found another challenges from Christianity in the first century A.

.  It deeply rooted on this soil and has influenced Hinduism. first came as a pioneer missionary. the disciple of Jesus.  It was to this region that St.  The North Western provinces of India were ruled by Medo-Persians for some time during the fourth century B. Thomas. Buddhism considerably.  This region was also called Parthia.  Christianity is one of the oldest religions of India.CHRISTIANITY IN INDIA Continued..  It has a long and continuous history nearly 2000 years.  Later on those provinces were taken over by Alexander the Great who introduced Koine Greek as the linguafranca.C.

 One of the reasons for St.  It is also recorded in Didascalia Apostorum(Teaching of the Apostles) written around 250 A.CHRISTIANITY IN INDIA Continued. Gundaphorus. Thomas went to Parthia.W.  According to The Acts of Thomas written around 250 A. India was perhaps. Thomas. Bartholomew.D.. Thomas choosing N. . visited India.  He also writes that St.  Eusebius attests to this fact by quoting Origin(185-254 AD) that St. in Pali Language. an Indo-Parthian King. too. Koine Greek was spoken in the region (with which he was familiar)along with the local Pali dialect. was converted through the ministry of St.D.

The reason for choosing this second destination could be the sizeable Jewish settlement in the region who could be handy in translating his message from Hebrew to Local dialects. This time to Malabar coast.  The Takt-i-Bahi stone. mentions his name.  The coins of Gundaphorus have the cross symbol.D.CHRISTIANITY IN INDIA Continued..  He landed at Muziris (Cragnore). .on one side of the coin in Greek and on the other in Pali scripts. too. Thomas returned to India in 52 A.  After his evangelistic work in Punjab he went to the Island of Socotra.  Historically Gundaphorus has been established with the discovery of numerous coins (since 1834) bearing his name .  St. The invasion of the Kushans reduced the influence of Christianity in North West region of India.

 Archaeologists discovered in 1957 a first century church in the forests of Nilackal in Kerala.  Only one bone remains in the tomb now. Thomas was martyred in Mylapore (Chennai) by a Brahmin’s lance. Thomas Christianity.CHRISTIANITY IN INDIA Continued. St.550 people belonging to all castes were converted to Christianity through the ministry of St. Thomas Christians of North India used Beatle leaf to commemorate the Eucharist. perhaps. This is.  Bhakti movement of Hinduism was profoundly influenced by St.  17. Thomas in South India alone. ..  St.  The rest were taken away by a Syrian merchant and buried in Urfa ( in modern Turkey). the oldest surviving church building in the world.

.  Later Armanian Christians were joined church.  St. a large delegation from Diviseema(Divos).  Some Greek Christians of Alexandria settled in Masula. in First century (Masula is the name of a Greek King).D. from here Christianity spread to the whole of Maharastra. Karnataka and parts of North west Andhrapradesh.CHRISTIANITY IN INDIA Continued.D. Andhra Pradesh represented India at the Council.  In 325 A. Andhra Pradesh. another disciples of Jesus came to kalian near Mumbai in the first century A. . Bartholomew. when a church council was held in Nicea.

 According to Portuguese records.D.. . the South Indian Christians were accorded the second highest rank after the Brahmins in the caste hierarchy. to the Indian Christians at their invitation in 180 A.  One of the earliest references to Christianity in India mentions the visit of. King Alfred sent an envoy to India with rich gifts for the tomb of St.  The development of Christianity could not bring people of other castes into its fold.  The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle states that in 884 A.CHRISTIANITY IN INDIA Continued.D. Pantaenues. Thomas. The early Kerala Christians used coconut for Eucharist.

 Abder.  The Catalon map dated 1375 refers to a Christian king. The Kerala church was under Persian priests supervised by a Persian Bishop at Kalliana. on his visit to India writes in his dairy that out of the 6 leading kings in India at that time. who ruled parts of Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.  According to Cosmas. Solomon. 3 were Christians. .Razzak..  He also refers to the tomb of St.CHRISTIANITY IN INDIA Continued.  Marco Polo. a Muslim traveler who visited India in 1442 mentions that the Vizier( Prime Minister ) of Vijayanagara was a Christian. Thomas which was venerated by both Christians and Muslim.