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see HinduismHinduism
, Western term for the religious beliefs and practices of the vast majority of the people of India. One of the oldest living religions in the world, Hinduism is unique among the world religions in that it had no single founder but grew over a period of 4,000 years in
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name frequently employed in scholarly literature for the late Vedic religion, after the religion had changed considerably as a result of the development of class relations (particularly slavery) and the influence of the religion of the indigenous population of ancient India (first millennium B.C.). It got its name from the collection of ritual texts, the Brahmanas.

Brahmanism is characterized by polytheism with the inclusion of various local tribal deities in the pantheon, by the retention of animistic and totemistic views, and by ancestor worship. The supreme deities of Brahmanism are Brahma, the creator and embodiment of the universe, and the beneficent Vishnu and terrible Siva, which embody the productive forces of nature. At the basis of the dogma of Brahmanism are the notions of the animation of nature and the reincarnation of all living beings. Rebirth of the soul in one or another new corporeal form proceeds as requital (karma) for virtuousness or sinfulness in the preceding life: in the first case, a soul is reborn in the body of a human being of higher social standing or even as an inhabitant of heaven; in the second case, the soul is reborn in a person of lower social standing or even in an animal or plant. The criterion for the evaluation of a person’s behavior is his fulfillment or violation of dharma—the particular way of life allegedly established by Brahma for each varna. Brahmanism sanctified social inequality, proclaiming the division of society into varnas to be established by the gods.

Crucial significance was attributed by Brahmanism to rites—the complex ritual of sacrifice to the gods, memorial offerings to ancestors, and so on. The accurate execution of the ritual of reading the sacred texts in a language incomprehensible to the people (Sanskrit) required long training; this helped increase the importance of the Brahmins (the priestly class). The notion of ritual purity was extremely persistent; its violation required compulsory purifying rites. Brahmanism developed the notion of man’s ability to obtain the favor of the gods and acquire superhuman capacities by means of ascetic feats. In the struggle against Buddhism, and under its influence, Brahmanism was transformed into Hinduism in the first millennium A.D.


Barth, A. Religii Indii. Moscow, 1897. (Translated from French.)
Il’in, G. F. Religii drevnei Indii. Moscow, 1959.
Radkhakrishnan, S. Indiiskaia filosofiia, vol. 1. Moscow, 1956. (Translated from English.)
Renou, L. Religions of Ancient India. London, 1953.
Monier-Williams, M. Religious Thought and Life in India, 2nd ed. Part 1, “Vedism, Brahmanism, and Hinduism.” London, 1885.


References in periodicals archive ?
The region's population embraced Buddhism and Brahmanism by about the sixth to seventh centuries, but did not unify under a particular polity until the ninth to tenth centuries (when the Angkorian state incorporated this region as part of its northwestward expansion).
They were not as greatly opposed to Buddha's philosophical teachings as they were to his message that directly challenged their hegemony and the divinity of the Vedas, the bedrock of Brahmanism, which they had guarded so zealously and exclusively.
Prior to the introduction of Brahmanism in India, women had been able to lead and teach, but with Brahmanism's ascendancy, males took over and strong women yoginis, if they were to continue their practice, had to leave civilization and live as "wild women.
if you are a creature of the age, that is a rational, intelligent, welleducated, objective-minded denizen of the twentieth century, reasonably versed in the sciences and the arts; we are all Aristarchus Jones: Judaeo-Christianity is indeed a preposterous religion, far less compatible with the modern scientific temper than, say, Buddhism or Brahmanism.
The manipulation of standards of touchable/untouchable that I discuss here provides vital information both on the malleability of caste in modernity, as well as the manner by which a certain kind of Brahmanism was beginning to stand in for Hinduism and Indian culture itself.
The honor of your blood" Brahmanism and topics of distinction in the Portuguese context
It includes animism, Brahmanism, and beliefs in ghosts and spirits.
The mythical aeon called Kaliyuga may historically be identified with the Islamic period culminating in the present day globalization that has destroyed the rigors of Brahmanism altogether.
Bhutto's civil service reforms programme 1973 shattered the bureaucratic Brahmanism.
At Ellora you can see that Buddhism, Brahmanism, Hinduism and Jainism; along with this the Sufi activities at Khuldabad, they go together.
But it was tabooed by Brahmanic Hinduism and Vedic Brahmanism.
According to the author, this humanist and pluralist spiritualism of the subcontinent suffered at the hands of Hindu Brahmanism and Muslim warriors.