Hindus are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism. The term has been used as a geographical and religious identifier for people indigenous to the Indian subcontinent; the historical meaning of the term Hindu has evolved with time. Starting with the Persian and Greek references to the land of the Indus in the 1st millennium BCE through the texts of the medieval era, the term Hindu implied a geographic, ethnic or cultural identifier for people living in the Indian subcontinent around or beyond the Sindhu river. By the 16th century, the term began to refer to residents of the subcontinent who were not Turkic or Muslims; the historical development of Hindu self-identity within the local South Asian population, in a religious or cultural sense, is unclear. Competing theories state that Hindu identity developed in the British colonial era, or that it developed post-8th century CE after the Islamic invasion and medieval Hindu-Muslim wars.
A sense of Hindu identity and the term Hindu appears in some texts dated between the 13th and 18th century in Sanskrit and regional languages. The 14th- and 18th-century Indian poets such as Vidyapati and Eknath used the phrase Hindu dharma and contrasted it with Turaka dharma; the Christian friar Sebastiao Manrique used the term'Hindu' in religious context in 1649. In the 18th century, the European merchants and colonists began to refer to the followers of Indian religions collectively as Hindus, in contrast to Mohamedans for Mughals and Arabs following Islam. By the mid-19th century, colonial orientalist texts further distinguished Hindus from Buddhists and Jains, but the colonial laws continued to consider all of them to be within the scope of the term Hindu until about mid-20th century. Scholars state that the custom of distinguishing between Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs is a modern phenomenon. Hindoo is an archaic spelling variant. At more than 1.03 billion, Hindus are the world's third largest group after Muslims.
The vast majority of Hindus 966 million, live in India, according to India's 2011 census. After India, the next 9 countries with the largest Hindu populations are, in decreasing order: Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, United States, United Kingdom and Myanmar; these together accounted for 99% of the world's Hindu population, the remaining nations of the world together had about 6 million Hindus in 2010. The word Hindu is derived from the Indo-Aryan and Sanskrit word Sindhu, which means "a large body of water", covering "river, ocean", it was used as the name of the Indus river and referred to its tributaries. The actual term'hindu' first occurs, states Gavin Flood, as "a Persian geographical term for the people who lived beyond the river Indus", more in the 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I; the Punjab region, called Sapta Sindhu in the Vedas, is called Hapta Hindu in Zend Avesta. The 6th-century BCE inscription of Darius I mentions the province of Hidush, referring to northwestern India; the people of India were referred to as Hinduvān and hindavī was used as the adjective for Indian in the 8th century text Chachnama.
The term'Hindu' in these ancient records is an ethno-geographical term and did not refer to a religion. The Arabic equivalent Al-Hind referred to the country of India. Among the earliest known records of'Hindu' with connotations of religion may be in the 7th-century CE Chinese text Record of the Western Regions by the Buddhist scholar Xuanzang. Xuanzang uses the transliterated term In-tu whose "connotation overflows in the religious" according to Arvind Sharma. While Xuanzang suggested that the term refers to the country named after the moon, another Buddhist scholar I-tsing contradicted the conclusion saying that In-tu was not a common name for the country. Al-Biruni's 11th-century text Tarikh Al-Hind, the texts of the Delhi Sultanate period use the term'Hindu', where it includes all non-Islamic people such as Buddhists, retains the ambiguity of being "a region or a religion". The'Hindu' community occurs as the amorphous'Other' of the Muslim community in the court chronicles, according to Romila Thapar.
Wilfred Cantwell Smith notes that'Hindu' retained its geographical reference initially:'Indian','indigenous, local', virtually'native'. The Indian groups themselves started using the term, differentiating themselves and their "traditional ways" from those of the invaders; the text Prithviraj Raso, by Chanda Baradai, about the 1192 CE defeat of Prithviraj Chauhan at the hands of Muhammad Ghori, is full of references to "Hindus" and "Turks", at one stage, says "both the religions have drawn their curved swords. In Islamic literature,'Abd al-Malik Isami's Persian work, Futuhu's-salatin, composed in the Deccan in 1350, uses the word'hindi' to mean Indian in the ethno-geographical sense and the word'hindu' to mean'Hindu' in the sense of a follower of the Hindu religion"; the poet Vidyapati's poem Kirtilata contrasts the cultures of Hindus and Turks in a city and concludes "The Hindus and the Turks live close together. One of the earliest uses of word'Hindu' in religious context in a European language, was the publication in 1649 by Sebastiao Manrique.
Other prominent mentions of'Hindu' include the epigraphical inscriptions from Andhra Pradesh kingdoms who battled military expansion of Muslim dynasties in the 14th century, where the word'Hindu' implies a religious identity in contrast to'Turks' or Islam
Agni is a Sanskrit word meaning fire, connotes the Vedic fire god of Hinduism. He is the guardian deity of the southeast direction, is found in southeast corners of Hindu temples. In the classical cosmology of the Indian religions, Agni as fire is one of the five inert impermanent constituents along with space, water and earth, the five combining to form the empirically perceived material existence. In Vedic literature, Agni is a oft-invoked god along with Indra and Soma. Agni is considered the mouth of the gods and goddesses, the medium that conveys offerings to them in a homa, he is conceptualized in ancient Hindu texts to exist at three levels, on earth as fire, in the atmosphere as lightning, in the sky as the sun. This triple presence connects him as the messenger between gods and human beings in the Vedic thought; the relative importance of Agni declined in the post-Vedic era, as he was internalized and his identity evolved to metaphorically represent all transformative energy and knowledge in the Upanishads and Hindu literature.
Agni remains an integral part of Hindu traditions, such as being the central witness of the rite-of-passage ritual in traditional Hindu weddings called Saptapadi or Agnipradakshinam, as well being part of Diya in festivals such as Divali and Aarti in Puja. Agni is a term that appears extensively in Buddhist texts, in the literature related to the Senika heresy debate within the Buddhist traditions. In the ancient Jainism thought, Agni contains soul and fire-bodied beings, additionally appears as Agni-kumara or "fire princes" in its theory of rebirth and a class of reincarnated beings, is discussed in its texts with the equivalent term Tejas; the Sanskrit word Agni means "fire". In the early Vedic literature, Agni connotes the fire as a god, one reflecting the primordial powers to consume and convey, yet the term is used with the meaning of a Mahabhuta, one of five that the earliest Vedic thinkers believed to constitute material existence, that Vedic thinkers such as Kanada and Kapila expanded namely Akasha, Vayu, Ap, Prithvi and Agni.
The word Agni is used in many contexts, ranging from the fire in stomach, the cooking fire in a home, the sacrificial fire in an altar, the fire of cremation, the fire of rebirth, the fire in the energetic saps concealed within plants, the atmospheric fire in lightning and the celestial fire in the sun. In the Brahmanas layer of the Vedas, such as in section 5.2.3 of Shatapatha Brahmana, Agni represents all the gods, all concepts of spiritual energy that permeates everything in the universe. In the Upanishads and post-Vedic literature, Agni additionally became a metaphor for immortal principle in man, any energy or knowledge that consumes and dispels a state of darkness and procreates an enlightened state of existence; the etymology of Agni is uncertain and contested. Significant proposals include: from agnir, which means "leader, going in front", based on the Vedic premise that fire leads and is the chaplain of the gods, he is the divine priest, who connects and brings the gods and men together, the first among all gods whose presence can be felt and who attends a ceremony, the first among all priests around whom other priests gather, he is the one who leads and guides all men.
From agri, the root of which means "first", referring to "that first in the universe to arise" or "fire" according to Shatapatha Brahmana section 6.1.1. According to the 5th-century BCE Sanskrit text Nirukta-Nighantu in section 7.14, sage Śakapūṇi states the word Agni is derived from three verbs – from'going', from'shining or burning', from'leading'. From Indo-European root Ag or "to move", with the cognates Latin ignis, Sclavonian ogni. There are many theories about the origins of the god Agni, some tracing it to Indo-European mythologies, others tracing to mythologies within the Indian tradition; the origin myth found in many Indo-European cultures is one of a bird, or bird like being, that carries or brings fire from the gods to mankind. Alternatively, this messenger brings an elixir of immortality from heaven to earth. In either case, the bird returns everyday with sacrificial offerings for the gods, but sometimes the bird hides or disappears without trace. Agni is molded in similar mythical themes, in some hymns with the phrase the "heavenly bird that flies".
The earliest layers of the Vedic texts of Hinduism, such as section 6.1 of Kathaka Samhita and section 1.8.1 of Maitrayani Samhita state that the universe began with nothing, neither night nor day existed, what existed was just Prajapati. Agni originated from the forehead of Prajapati, assert these texts. With the creation of Agni came light, with that were created day and night. Agni, state these Samhitas, is the same as the Brahman, the truth, the eye of the manifested
Indus Valley Civilisation
The Indus Valley Civilisation was a Bronze Age civilisation in the northwestern regions of the Indian subcontinent, lasting from 3300 BCE to 1300 BCE, in mature form from 2600 BCE to 1900 BCE. Along with ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia it was one of three early civilisations of the region comprising North Africa, West Asia and South Asia, of the three, the most widespread, its sites spanning an area stretching from northeast Afghanistan, through much of Pakistan, into western- and northwestern India, it flourished in the basins of the Indus River, which flows through the length of Pakistan, along a system of perennial monsoon-fed, rivers that once coursed in the vicinity of the seasonal Ghaggar-Hakra river in northwest India and eastern Pakistan. The civilisation's cities were noted for their urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage systems, water supply systems, clusters of large non-residential buildings, new techniques in handicraft and metallurgy; the large cities of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa likely grew to containing between 30,000 and 60,000 individuals, the civilisation itself during its florescence may have contained between one and five million individuals.
Gradual drying of the region's soil during the 3rd millennium BCE may have been the initial spur for the urbanisation associated with the civilisation, but also reduced the water supply enough to cause the civilisation's demise, to scatter its population eastward. The Indus civilisation is known as the Harappan Civilisation, after its type site, the first of its sites to be excavated early in the 20th century in what was the Punjab province of British India and now is Pakistan; the discovery of Harappa and soon afterwards Mohenjo-Daro was the culmination of work beginning in 1861 with the founding of the Archaeological Survey of India during the British Raj. There were however earlier and cultures called Early Harappan and Late Harappan in the same area. By 2002, over 1,000 Mature Harappan cities and settlements had been reported, of which just under a hundred had been excavated, there are only five major urban sites: Harappa, Mohenjo-daro, Ganeriwala in Cholistan and Rakhigarhi; the early Harappan cultures were preceded by local Neolithic agricultural villages, from which the river plains were populated.
The Harappan language is not directly attested, its affiliation is uncertain since the Indus script is still undeciphered. A relationship with the Dravidian or Elamo-Dravidian language family is favoured by a section of scholars; the Indus Valley Civilisation is named after the Indus river system in whose alluvial plains the early sites of the civilisation were identified and excavated. Following a tradition in archaeology, the civilisation is sometimes referred to as the Harappan, after its type site, the first site to be excavated in the 1920s. A section of scholars use the terms "Sarasvati culture", the "Sarasvati Civilisation", the "Indus-Sarasvati Civilisation" or the "Sindhu-Saraswati Civilisation", because they consider the Ghaggar-Hakra river to be the same as the Sarasvati, a river mentioned several times in the Rig Veda, a collection of ancient Sanskrit hymns composed in the second millennium BCE. However, recent geophysical research suggests that unlike the Sarasvati, whose descriptions in the Rig Veda are those of a snow-fed river, the Ghaggar-Hakra was a system of perennial monsoon-fed rivers, which became seasonal around the time that the civilisation diminished 4,000 years ago.
In addition, proponents of the Sarasvati nomenclature see a connection between the decline of the Indus civilisation and the rise of the Vedic civilisation on the Gangetic plain. The Indus civilization was contemporary with the other riverine civilisations of the ancient world: Egypt along the Nile, Mesopotamia in the lands watered by the Euphrates and the Tigris, China in the drainage basin of the Yellow River. By the time of its mature phase, the civilisation had spread over an area larger than the others, which included a core of 1,500 km up the alluvial plane of the Indus and its tributaries. In addition, there was a region with disparate flora and habitats, up to ten times as large, shaped culturally and economically by the Indus. Around 6500 BCE, agriculture emerged on the margins of the Indus alluvium. In the following millennia, settled life made inroads into the Indus plains, setting the stage for the growth of rural and urban human settlements; the more organized sedentary life in turn led to a net increase in the birth rate.
The large urban centres of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa likely grew to containing between 30,000 and 60,000 individuals, during the civilization's florescence, the population of the subcontinent grew to between 4–6 million people. During this period the death rate increased as well, for close living conditions of humans and domesticated animals led to an increase in contagious diseases. According to one estimate, the population of the Indus civilization at its peak may have been between one and five million; the Indus Valley Civilisation extended from Pakistan's Balochistan in the west to India's western Uttar Pradesh in the east, from northeastern Afghanistan in the north to India's Gujarat state in the south. The largest number
Sannyasa is the life stage of renunciation within the Hindu philosophy of four age-based life stages known as ashramas, with the first three being Brahmacharya and Vanaprastha. Sannyasa is traditionally conceptualized for men or women in late years of their life, but young brahmacharis have had the choice to skip the householder and retirement stages, renounce worldly and materialistic pursuits and dedicate their lives to spiritual pursuits. Sannyasa is a form of asceticism, is marked by renunciation of material desires and prejudices, represented by a state of disinterest and detachment from material life, has the purpose of spending one's life in peaceful, love-inspired, simple spiritual life. An individual in Sanyasa is known as a Sannyasi or Sannyasini in Hinduism, which in many ways parallel to the Sadhu and Sadhvi traditions of Jain monasticism, the bhikkhus and bhikkhunis of Buddhism and the monk and nun traditions of Christianity. Sannyasa has been a stage of renunciation, ahimsa peaceful and simple life and spiritual pursuit in Indian traditions.
However, this has not always been the case. After the invasions and establishment of Muslim rule in India, from the 12th century through the British Raj, parts of the Shaiva and Vaishnava ascetics metamorphosed into a military order, to rebel against persecution, where they developed martial arts, created military strategies, engaged in guerrilla warfare; these warrior sanyasis played an important role in helping European colonial powers establish themselves in the Indian subcontinent. Saṃnyāsa in Sanskrit nyasa means purification, sannyasa means "Purification of Everything", it is a composite word of saṃ- which means "together, all", ni- which means "down" and āsa from the root as, meaning "to throw" or "to put". A literal translation of Sannyāsa is thus "to put down everything, all of it". Sannyasa is sometimes spelled as Sanyasa; the term Saṃnyasa makes appearance in the Samhitas and Brahmanas, the earliest layers of Vedic literature, but it is rare. It is not found in ancient Buddhist or Jaina vocabularies, only appears in Brahmanical literature of the 1st millennium BCE, in the context of those who have given up ritual activity and taken up non-ritualistic spiritual pursuits discussed in the Upanishads.
The term Sannyasa evolves into a rite of renunciation in ancient Sutra texts, thereafter became a recognized, well discussed stage of life by about the 3rd and 4th century CE. In Dravidian languages, "sannyasi" is pronounced as "sanyasi" and "sannasi" in colloquial form. Sanyasis are known as Bhiksu, Pravrajita/Pravrajitā, Yati and Parivrajaka in Hindu texts. Jamison and Witzel state early Vedic texts make no mention of Sannyasa, or Ashrama system, unlike the concepts of Brahmacharin and Grihastha which they do mention. Instead, Rig Veda uses the term Antigriha in hymn 10.95.4, still part of extended family, where older people lived in ancient India, with an outwardly role. It is in Vedic era and over time and other new concepts emerged, while older ideas evolved and expanded. A three-stage Ashrama concept along with Vanaprastha emerged about or after 7th Century BC, when sages such as Yājñavalkya left their homes and roamed around as spiritual recluses and pursued their Pravrajika lifestyle.
The explicit use of the four stage Ashrama concept, appeared a few centuries later. However, early Vedic literature from 2nd millennium BC, mentions Muni, with characteristics that mirror those found in Sannyasins and Sannyasinis. Rig Veda, for example, in Book 10 Chapter 136, mentions munis as those with Kesin and Mala clothes engaged in the affairs of Mananat. Rigveda, refers to these people as Muni and Vati. केश्यग्निं केशी विषं केशी बिभर्ति रोदसी । केशी विश्वं स्वर्दृशे केशीदं ज्योतिरुच्यते ॥१॥ मुनयो वातरशनाः पिशङ्गा वसते मला । वातस्यानु ध्राजिं यन्ति यद्देवासो अविक्षत ॥२॥ He with the long loose locks supports Agni, moisture and earth. The Munis, girdled with the wind, wear garments of soil hue; these Munis, their lifestyle and spiritual pursuit influenced the Sannyasa concept, as well as the ideas behind the ancient concept of Brahmacharya. One class of Munis were associated with Rudra. Another were Vratyas. Hinduism has no formal demands nor requirements on the lifestyle or spiritual discipline, method or deity a Sanyasin or Sanyasini must pursue – it is left to the choice and preferences of the individual.
This freedom has led to diversity and significant differences in the lifestyle and goals of those who adopt Sannyasa. There are, some common themes. A person in Sannyasa lives a simple life detached, drifting from place to place, with no material possessions or emotional attachments, they may have a walking stick, a book, a container or vessel for food and drink wearing yellow, orange, ochre or soil colored clothes. They may have long hair and appear disheveled, are vegetarians; some minor Upanishads as well as monastic orders consider women, students, fallen men and others as not qualified to become Sannyasa. The dress, the equipage and lifestyle varies between groups. For example, Sannyasa Upanishad in verses 2.23 to 2.29, identifies six lifestyles for six types of renunciates. One of them is descri
The Trimūrti is the Triple deity of supreme divinity in Hinduism in which the cosmic functions of creation and destruction are personified as a triad of deities Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the destroyer, though individual denominations may vary from that particular line-up. When all three deities of the Trimurti incarnate into a single avatar, the avatar is known as Dattatreya; the Puranic period saw the rise of post-Vedic religion and the evolution of what R. C. Majumdar calls "synthetic Hinduism."This period had no homogeneity, included orthodox Brahmanism in the form of remnants of older Vedic faith traditions, along with different sectarian religions, notably Shaivism and Shaktism that were within the orthodox fold yet still formed distinct entities. One of the important traits of this period is a spirit of harmony between orthodox and sectarian forms. Regarding this spirit of reconciliation, R. C. Majumdar says that: Its most notable expression is to be found in the theological conception of the Trimūrti, i.e. the manifestation of the supreme God in three forms of Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Śiva...
But the attempt cannot be regarded as a great success, for Brahmā never gained an ascendancy comparable to that of Śiva or Viṣṇu, the different sects conceived the Trimūrti as the three manifestations of their own sectarian god, whom they regarded as Brahman or Absolute. The identification of Brahma and Shiva as one being is emphasized in the Kūrma Purāṇa, where in 1.6 Brahman is worshipped as Trimurti. Historian A. L. Basham explains the background of the Trimurti as follows, noting Western interest in the idea of trinity:There must be some doubt as to whether the Hindu tradition has recognized Brahma as the Supreme Deity in the way that Visnu and Siva have been conceived of and worshiped; the concept of Trimurti is present in the Maitri Upanishad, where the three gods are explained as three of his supreme forms. Temples dedicated to various permutations of the Trimurti can be seen as early as the 8th century C. E. and there are temples today in which the Trimurti are worshiped. Baroli Trimurti Temple Elephanta Caves Mithrananthapuram Trimurti Temple Prambanan Trimurti Temple Savadi Trimurti Temple Thripaya Trimurti Temple The Saura sect that worships Surya as the supreme person of the godhead and saguna brahman doesn't accept the Trimurti as they believe Surya is God.
Earlier forms of the Trimurti sometimes included Surya instead of Brahma, or as a fourth above the Trimurti, of whom the other three are manifestations. Surya was a member of the original Vedic Trimurti, which included Varuna and Vayu; some Sauras worship either Vishnu or Brahma or Shiva as manifestations of Surya, others worship the Trimurti as a manifestation of Surya, others worship Surya alone. Shaivites hold that, according to Shaiva Agama, Shiva performs five actions - creation, dissolution, concealing grace, revealing grace; these first three actions are associated with Shiva as Sadyojata and Aghora. Thus, Brahma and Rudra are not deities different from Shiva, but rather are forms of Shiva; as Brahma/Sadyojata, Shiva creates. As Vishnu/Vamadeva, Shiva preserves; as Rudra/Aghora, he dissolves. This stands in contrast to the idea that Shiva is the "God of destruction." To Shaivites, Shiva performs all actions, of which destruction is only but one. Ergo, the Trimurti is a form of Shiva Himself for Shaivas.
Shaivites believe that Lord Shiva is the Supreme, who assumes various critical roles and assumes appropriate names and forms, stands transcending all these. A prominent visual example of a Shaivite version of the Trimurti is the Trimurti Sadashiva sculpture in the Elephanta Caves on Gharapuri Island; the Brahmins follows to Brahma. For them Brahma is the Parabrahaman and Supreme being, they believe Vishnu and Shiva as child of Brahma and forms of him only. In Brahmanism they believe that Brahma is Creator, Vishnu is Shiva as Destroyer, they believe Brahma as the Param-pita of gods. He only creates and destroys everything to create again.. The Female-Centric Shaktidharma denomination assigns the eminent roles of the three forms of Supreme Divinity not to masculine gods but instead to feminine goddesses: Mahasarasvati and Mahakali; this feminine version of the Trimurti is called Tridevi. The masculine gods are relegated as auxiliary agents of the supreme feminine Tridevi. Smartism is a denomination of Hinduism that places emphasis on a group of five deities rather than just a single deity.
The "worship of the five forms" system, popularized by the ninth-century philosopher Śankarācārya among orthodox Brahmins of the Smārta tradition, invokes the five deities Ganesha, Brahma and Shiva. Śankarācārya added Kartikeya to these five, making six total. This reformed system was promoted by Śankarācārya to unite the principal deities of the six major sects on an equal status; the monistic philosophy preached by Śankarācārya made it possible to choose one of these as a preferred principal deity and at the same time worship the other four deities as different forms of the same all-pervading Brahman. Despite the fact that the Vishnu Purana describes that Vishnu manifests as Brahma in order to create and as Rudra in order to destroy, Vaishnav
Brahmin is a varna in Hinduism specialising as priests and protectors of sacred learning across generations. The traditional occupation of Brahmins was that of priesthood at the Hindu temples or at socio-religious ceremonies and rite of passage rituals such as solemnising a wedding with hymns and prayers. Theoretically, the Brahmins were the highest ranking of the four social classes. In practice, Indian texts suggest that Brahmins were agriculturalists, warriors and have held a variety of other occupations in the Indian subcontinent; the earliest inferred reference to "Brahmin" as a possible social class is in the Rigveda, occurs once, the hymn is called Purusha Sukta. According to this hymn in Mandala 10, Brahmins are described as having emerged from the mouth of Purusha, being that part of the body from which words emerge; this Purusha Sukta varna verse is now considered to have been inserted at a date into the Vedic text as a charter myth. Stephanie Jamison and Joel Brereton, a professor of Sanskrit and Religious studies, state, "there is no evidence in the Rigveda for an elaborate, much-subdivided and overarching caste system", "the varna system seems to be embryonic in the Rigveda and, both and a social ideal rather than a social reality".
Ancient texts describing community-oriented Vedic yajna rituals mention four to five priests: the hotar, the adhvaryu, the udgatar, the Brahmin and sometimes the ritvij. The functions associated with the priests were: The Hotri recites invocations and litanies drawn from the Rigveda; the Adhvaryu is the priest's assistant and is in charge of the physical details of the ritual like measuring the ground, building the altar explained in the Yajurveda. The adhvaryu offers oblations; the Udgatri is the chanter of hymns set to melodies and music drawn from the Samaveda. The udgatar, like the hotar, chants the introductory and benediction hymns; the Brahmin recites from the Atharvaveda. The Ritvij is the chief operating priest. According to Kulkarni, the Grhya-sutras state that Yajna, dana pratigraha are the "peculiar duties and privileges of brahmins"; the term Brahmin in Indian texts has signified someone, good and virtuous, not just someone of priestly class. Both Buddhist and Brahmanical literature, states Patrick Olivelle define "Brahmin" not in terms of family of birth, but in terms of personal qualities.
These virtues and characteristics mirror the values cherished in Hinduism during the Sannyasa stage of life, or the life of renunciation for spiritual pursuits. Brahmins, states Olivelle, were the social class; the Dharmasutras and Dharmasatras text of Hinduism describe the expectations and role of Brahmins. The rules and duties in these Dharma texts of Hinduism, are directed at Brahmins; the Gautama's Dharmasutra, the oldest of surviving Hindu Dharmasutras, for example, states in verse 9.54–9.55 that a Brahmin should not participate or perform a ritual unless he is invited to do so, but he may attend. Gautama outlines the following rules of conduct for a Brahmin, in Chapters 8 and 9: Be always truthful Teach his art only to virtuous men Follow rules of ritual purification Study Vedas with delight Never hurt any living creature Be gentle but steadfast Have self-control Be kind, liberal towards everyoneChapter 8 of the Dharmasutra, states Olivelle, asserts the functions of a Brahmin to be to learn the Vedas, the secular sciences, the Vedic supplements, the dialogues, the epics and the Puranas.
The text lists eight virtues that a Brahmin must inculcate: compassion, lack of envy, tranquility, auspicious disposition and lack of greed, asserts in verse 9.24–9.25, that it is more important to lead a virtuous life than perform rites and rituals, because virtue leads to achieving liberation. The Dharma texts of Hinduism such as Baudhayana Dharmasutra add charity, refraining from anger and never being arrogant as duties of a Brahmin; the Vasistha Dharmasutra in verse 6.23 lists discipline, self-control, truthfulness, Vedic learning, erudition and religious faith as characteristics of a Brahmin. In 13.55, the Vasistha text states that a Brahmin must not accept weapons, poison or liquor as gifts. The Dharmasastras such as Manusmriti, like Dharmsutras, are codes focussed on how a Brahmin must live his life, their relationship with a king and warrior class. Manusmriti dedicates 1,034 verses, the largest portion, on laws for and expected virtues of Brahmins, it asserts, for example, A well disciplined Brahmin, although he knows just the Savitri verse, is far better than an undisciplined one who eats all types of food and deals in all types of merchandise though he may know all three Vedas.
John Bussanich states that the ethical precepts set for Brahmins, in ancient Indian texts, are similar to Greek virtue-ethics, that "Manu's dharmic Brahmin can be compared to Aristotle's man of practical wisdom", that "the virtuous Brahmin is not unlike the Platonic-Aristotelian philosopher" with the difference that the latter was not sacerdotal. According to Abraham Eraly, "Brahmin as a varna hardly had any presence in historical records before the Gupta Empire era", when Buddhism dominated the land. "No Brahmin, no sacrifice, no ritualistic act of any kind even once, is referred to" in any Indian texts between third century BCE and
Shakti is the primordial cosmic energy and represents the dynamic forces that are thought to move through the entire universe in Hinduism and Shaktism. Shakti is the concept or personification of divine feminine creative power, sometimes referred to as "The Great Divine Mother" in Hinduism; as a mother, she is known as "Adi Shakti" or "Adi Parashakti". On the earthly plane, Shakti most manifests herself through female embodiment and creativity/fertility, though it is present in males in its potential, unmanifest form. Hindus believe that Shakti is both responsible for the agent of all change. Shakti is cosmic existence as well as liberation, its most significant form being the Kundalini Shakti, a mysterious psychospiritual force. In Shaktism, Shakti is worshipped as the Supreme Being. Shakti embodies the active feminine energy of Shiva and is synonymously identified with Tripura Sundari or Parvati. David Kinsley mentions the "shakti" of Lord Indra's as Sachi. Indrani is part of a group of seven or eight mother goddesses called the Matrikas, who are considered shaktis of major Hindu gods.
The Shakti goddess is known as Amma in south India in the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. There are many temples devoted to various incarnations of the Shakti goddess in most of the villages in South India; the rural people believe that Shakti is the protector of the village, the punisher of evil people, the curer of diseases, the one who gives welfare to the village. They celebrate Shakti Jataras with great interest once a year; some examples of Shakti incarnations are Mahalakshmi, Parvati, Bhuvaneshwari, Meenakshi, Yellamma and Perantalamma. One of the oldest representations of the goddess in India is in a triangular form; the Baghor stone, found in a Paleolithic context in the Son River valley and dating to 9,000–8,000 years BCE, is considered an early example of a yantra. Kenoyer, part of the team that excavated the stone, considered that it was probable that the stone is associated with Shakti. Shaktism regards Devi as the Supreme Brahman itself with all other forms of divinity considered to be Her diverse manifestations.
In the details of its philosophy and practice, Shaktism resembles Shaivism. However, practitioners of Shaktism, focus most or all worship on Shakti, as the dynamic feminine aspect of the Supreme Divine. Shiva, the masculine aspect of divinity, is considered transcendent, Shiva's worship is secondary. From Devi-Mahatmya: By you this universe is borne, By you this world is created, Oh Devi, by you it is protected. From Shaktisangama Tantra: Woman is the creator of the universe, the universe is her form. In woman is the form of all things, of all that lives and moves in the world. There is no jewel rarer than woman, no condition superior to that of a woman. Adi Parashakti, whose material manifestation is Parvati and Tripura Sundari, is a Hindu concept of the Ultimate Shakti or Mahashakti, the ultimate power inherent in all Creation; this is prevalent in the Shakta denomination within Hinduism, which worships the Goddess Devi in all her manifestations. Her human or Shakti Svarūpa, was married to Shiva, while her Gyān Svarūpa, weds Brahma and her Dhan Svarūpa, becomes the consort of Vishnu.
In the Smarta Advaita sect of Hinduism, Shakti is considered to be one of five equal personal forms of God in the panchadeva system advocated by Adi Shankara. According to some schools, there are four Adi Shakti Pitha and 51 Shakti centers of worship located in South Asia, they can be found in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. These are called Shakti Peethas; the list of locations varies. A accepted list of Shakti Peethas and their temple complexes includes: Hinglaj Mataji Balochistan Jwalaji Tara Tarini Katyayani Bhadrakali Kamakhya Kali at Kalighat Naina Devi Temple Guhyeshwari Temple Devi Ambaji Vishalakshi Temple Chandranath Temple Other pithas in Maharashtra are: Tuljapur Kolhapur vani-Nashik Mahurgadh There are many ancient Shakti devotional songs and vibrational chants in the Hindu and Sikh traditions; the recitation of the Sanskrit mantras is used to call upon the Divine Mother. Kundalini-Shakti-Bhakti Mantra Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Namo Namo! Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Sarab Shakti, Namo Namo!
Prithum Bhagvati, Prithum Bhagvati, Prithum Bhagvati, Namo Namo! Kundalini Mata Shakti, Mata Shakti, Namo Namo! Translation: Primal Shakti, I bow to Thee! All-Encompassing Shakti, I bow to Thee! That through which Divine Creates, I bow to Thee! Creative Power of the Kundalini, Mother of all Mother Power, To Thee I Bow!"Merge in the Maha Shakti. This is enough to take away your misfortune; this will carve out of you a woman. Woman needs her own Shakti, not anybody else will do it... When a woman chants the Kundalini Bhakti mantra, God clears the way; this is not a religion, it is a real