Hindu Denominations

Hindu Denominations

The term ‘Hindu’ came to include persons professing any Indian religion (i.e. Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism or Sikhism) after India became an independent country. Different religions of the Sub-Continent came to comprise sects or denominations within 'Hinduism'. Some main sects are Shaivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism, Sauram, and Smartism. These denominations may share rituals, beliefs, and traditions, but each denomination has a different philosophy on how to achieve life's ultimate goal, Atma Jnana (self-realization).

An established philosophical school within a denomination is called a sampradaya and a traditional lineage of teachers from any sampradaya is a parampara.

The presence of different denominations and schools within Hinduism should not be viewed as a schism, as there was no original unity. On the contrary, there is at present no great animosity between the different "religions" which constitute Hinduism, and among Hindu followers as a whole, there is a strong belief that there are many paths leading to the One God or the Source, whatever one chooses to call that ultimate Truth.

Instead, there is a healthy cross-pollination of ideas and logical debate that serves to refine each school's philosophy. It is not uncommon, or disallowed, for an individual to follow one school but take the point of view of another school for a certain issue.

Read more about Hindu DenominationsSmartism, Vaishnavism, Śaivism, Shaktism, Shrautaism, Bhakti Movement, Southeast Asia, Newer Movements

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