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Religion is a methodology to take decisions.

There are many ways of decision making viz Science, Philosophy, Religion and Mysticism. In west, there is a huge gap between Religion and Science but in India there is an overlap of philosophy, science and mysticism with religion. Tradition is something that is customary. It is simply the habits of whole communities which are always flowing, changing, evolving. Some traditions are meaningless but we are asked not to question them. Historical Timeline of Religious Traditions: Original Revelation Intellectual Stimulus, Thought (Often a throwback to earlier tradition) Orthodoxy, Interpretation and Doctrinism Rebellions and Reforms; Breakaways Modern Current Traditions Religion [from the Latin religio respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods, in turn probably from Latin re (again) + ligare (connect)] A Public Servant must study Religious Systems and Traditions because of Public and Interactive nature of job of serving and also because knowing others and the environment improves effect and quality. It pervades every other facet of life. Be it languages, food habits, music or arts, Belief systems are the ultimate indices of selfexpression and also Religions aid rational decision making Answers to several questions are usually found through Mystical Experience (Revelation) from dimensions beyond Theological Speculations (Doctrines) . Fundamental Religious Thoughts and Approaches are apparently revealed through TransSensory Experience and Useful to all (ethical/moral) but sometimes self-seeking religious bureaucracy takes religion based decisions which are autocratic and have elements of orthodoxy and orthopraxy. There is an adulteration of the original thought by intellectualizing and reinterpreting. All Religions preach the way to the Transcendental Truth They promise liberation and untold happiness in this world and/or beyond if one adhers to norms and codes of goodness or righteousness. Religions seek to implement divine orders in material frames .Each has its own version of the TT (and the way towards attaining it).

Every doctrine is true insofar as it does not offend / tread on another doctrine. Major Religious Streams: Semitic-Arab Religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) Faiths with Indo-Iranian origins (Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism) Chinese and Japanese thought (Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism) Others (Folk Religions, New Age Orders) Paganism, Animism, Shamanism The idea of God varies according to the religious beliefs eg. Monotheism, Henotheism (coined by Max Mueller) , Polytheism, Pantheism (God is the whole), Panentheism(The whole is in God).Indian Religious Mix is a function of the racial-ethnic-cultural components of its original inhabitants,Migrants (invaders, traders, refugees and drifters),The Negritos (Iruls and Yanadis in Andhra/TN) original inhabitants of the Deccan Plateau ,The ProtoAustraloids (Tribal regions in M.P. Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar). With The Aryan nomadic Invasion (1500 B.C) fire worshipping culture started. Vedic Civilization and Cultural consolidation took place between 1200 B.C. 700 B.C. Later there was rise of Jainism &Buddhism during the Mauryan Period (600 300 B.C.).The advent of Christianity was through St. Thomas, the Apostle (1st Century A.D.)Muslim (Afghan and Mongol-Turk) Invasions and The Mughal Empire (13th Century A.D. onwards) saw rise of many new belief systems. Due to The British East-India Company and the British Empire there was gradual anglicization of Elite culture. Due to long-periods of interaction, Racial and Ethnic Divides blurred in India .Pan Indian culture is evident from the following: Cultural assimilation (Musical Gharanaas; Urdu language; common festivals/celebrations) Infiltration of caste-consciousness into other religions Development of differentiated folk cultures and institutions Religious conversions, admixtures, marriages and multilateral influencesReligious conversions, admixtures, marriages and multilateral influences Shades of syncretic thought (Akbars Din-i-Ilahi, Prince Dara Shukohsbeliefs, Sufism, Bhakti movement) Places of mixed worship SabarimalaTemple, the Sufi Dargahs Religious differences narrowed and became purely political; tolerance increased (until the

arrival of Emperor Aurangzeb and his ideas and the British and their strategies) Tolerance of idolatoryand polytheistic ritualism in Christianity and Islam; reformations, reinterpretations and assimilations in the Hindu system. India developed the Number System including the place value and decimal systems was developed. Zero was discovered/conceptualized by Aryabhatta. Aryabhatta was the first to explain the spherical shape, size ,diameter, rotation (and its correct speed) of the Earth in 499 AD. In the Siddhanta Siromani (Bhuvanakosam 6) Bhaskaracharya II discussed and described gravity of earth about 400 years before Sir Isaac Newton. He also had clear notions on Differential Calculus, and the Theory of Continued Fraction.The World's first university was established in Takshasila in 700 BC. Students from all over the World studied more than 60 subjects.The University of Nalanda built in the 4th century was one of the greatest achievements of ancient India in the field of education. Sanskrit has existed from antiquity and is perhaps the mother of all higher languages. Ayurveda is the earliest school of medicine known to humans. Charaka, the father of medicine consolidated this about 2500 years ago. The first prophet was born to Purushaspa and Dugdhova. He addressed societies who venerated fire and worshipped ancient Indo-European deities Sky (Asman) and Earth (Zam); Sun (Mithra) and Moon ( Mah) ,War (Indra) and devas and demons. He reduced these divinities to attributes or partial glimpses of the one glorious totality of God. Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) It is a state of being and way of life that began (perhaps) in Central Asia but certainly evolved in India. Most Hindus live in India/Nepal/Thailand/Malaysia..It is the worlds oldest active spiritual-philosophical-doctrinal-cultural tradition . Core beliefs A single Divinity or Supreme Presence in everything called Brahman Knows but cannot experience himself or THAT-self (has to be NOT THAT to do so) Knows but cannot experience himself or THAT-self (has to be NOT THAT to do so) Ma-ya and its manifestations [Existence (Sat), Mind (Manas) and Consciousness (Chitta)] 5 Bhutas components of Sat (Akasa, Vayu, Agni, Apa, Bhumi); Trigunas of matter (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas), Asus or 5 pranas that maintain living bodies; Five layers of conscious and

thinking bodies (Anna, Prana, Manas, Vijnana and Tejas) or (body, .breath, senses and mind, intellect and ego and the soul) Indriyas or Devas (the 5 senses that create 4 varnas upon the 3 gunas being combined in different proportions).3 auto-normal states in the living human [sleepy or prajna (maya), dreamy or taijasa (hiranyagarbha) and awake or viswa (isvara)] and one willed-paranormal state (trance or turiya (brahman)].Other gods who are aspects/expressions of the Supreme in the world of duality (Leela) in Maya observer and observed, soul-seed and manifestation Brahma, Vishnu, Siva (functionaries of nature of the physical realm) Vidya-Avidya/ Siva-Sakti/ Purusha-Prakriti/ Svarad-Virat/ Vyashti-Samashti Consciousness (Jivatma) and Energy-Matter-Space-Time. It results in 3 maxims: Reincarnation: the jivatman repeatedly undergoes a cycle of being born into a body, dying, and being reborn again in a new body. Karma, a force that determines the quality of each life of a jivatman, depending on ones thoughts and deeds .Moksha:The way to get to Moksha is to not create any karma/sanskara.There are 4 legitimate goals in material life: dharma (appropriate living), artha (the pursuit of material gain by lawful means), kama (delight of the senses), moksha (release from rebirth).There are deliberations in specific periods. Example is TheVedic Orthodoxy,The Ajivikas, The CharvakasBreakaways/Allied Ideas Buddhism , Jainism , SikhismCommon thread the Karmic idea of Punya and Paapa,Agamas Scripturaldoctrinal Paths (reconciling physical dualism) Saktas, Saivas, Vaishnavas.The Jainas represent a breakaway modified segment;Vaisesika: Science of logic; theistic atomism to explain creation Kanada Sankhya: Know God using Numbers and Science to reconcile and eliminate physical ;Mimansa: Doctrines to show the Vedas as eternal, divine and irrefutable Vedanta: Philosophy; explains the divine nature of the soul, maya and creation;Nyaya: Logical proof of existence of God;Yoga: Mysticism; oneness with God through meditation, renunciation and Samadhi;Patanjalireconcile and eliminate physical and mental blocks. The challenges of Buddhism, the Bhakti, Sakta and other trends resulted in Revelations and the intellectual victory of Vedanticmonism and panentheism; analyses of the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras and the Gita The eclipse of the other Darsanas (schools of thought) and their assimilation Reconciliation of the one with the many and the manifold Then came the Intellectual-Mystical beliefs likeSankara(7th Century A.D) Advaita (strict indivisibility all merged in One)Sankara(7th Century A.D) Advaita (strict indivisibility all

merged in One).Later Ramakrishna and RamanaMaharishi; Vivekananda and Aurobindo brought maturity in Sanatana Dharma. Buddhism Buddha the teacher; Dharma the teachings;Sangha the community.It is a2500 year old tradition that began in India and spread and diversified throughout the Far EastA philosophy, religion, and spiritual practice followed by more than 300 million people based on the teachings of the Buddha.The 4 Noble Truths of Buddhism areTo live is to suffer The cause of suffering is self-centered desire & attachments.The solution is to eliminate desire and attachment thus achieving Nirvana (extinction).The way to Nirvana is through the Eight-Fold Pathof Wisdom,Moral discipline,Right understanding,Right motivation Moral discipline,Right speech,Right action,Right livelihood,Mental discipline,Right effort Right mindfulness,Right meditation. Jainism It flourished In response to and rejection of ritualism and the caste system FounderMahavira or the last of 23Tirthankaras.According to it,Jina is the person securing release from this life or conqueror over attachment. Jainism: Teachings and Vows are Reincarnationuntil one finally breaks the cycle; Karma is the glue that sticks you to life Reduce involvement and one reduces karma, the wheel in the center is the wheel of Samsara, the word in the center of the wheel reads stop. Teachings are Ahimsa,Speak the truth, Dont steal, Celibacy, Renounce attachment Sikhism A 500 year old, monotheistic religion of Northwest India, followed by some 20 million Sikhs to make religion a uniting rather than dividing force.All people male and female, Brahmin and Sudra, Hindu and Muslim are united as brothers and sisters in devotion to the one God:"there is no Muslim, there is no Hindu; all are equal human beings because they are the children of the same Father, God.Guru Nanak Beliefs: One God (whom people call by many names)Sat Nam (true name), Waheguru (great guru),Equality of all human beings (reject caste distinctions)Karma and reincarnation Rejects asceticism (no monastic life in Sikhism),The spirit of the guru (Nanak) continued for 200 years through a succession of ten human gurus succession of ten human gurus.

History: the Gurus 2nd guru (AngadDev) developed written form of Punjabi language for recording hymns (Gurumukhi script);3rd guru (AmarDas) instituted the community kitchen (Langar); 4th guru (Ram Das) built the Sikh holy city of Amritsar;5th guru (ArjunDev) built the Golden Temple in Amritsar as the center of the Sikh world; also Amritsar as the center of the Sikh world; also compiled hymns of the earlier gurus, creating the Sikh holy book: Adi Granth; 5th guru was martyred, 6th guru (HarGobind) began a tradition of training Sikhs in martial arts to protect those persecuted for their religion (Sikh, Hindu or otherwise);7th guru (HarRai) best known for opening hospitals and offering free medical treatment to those in need;8th guru (HarKrishan) was just a child but continued caring for the sick (died at age 8) 9th guru (TeghBahadur) worked to combat religious persecution. Khalsa members wear the Five Ks as symbols of their faith Kesh: Long, uncut hair (both men and women),Kangha: a comb to keep the hair clean and presentable,Kara: a steel bracelet worn on the right wrist as a reminder of God and ones duty; Kachh: undergarments as a reminder of chastity (outside of marriage) and purity; Kirpan: a defensive sword symbolic of Gods power and the Sikh duty to protect the weak . Semitic Arab Religions Judaism,Christianity,Islam Judaism It is based on Gods (YHWH) covenantal relationship with the Children of Israel Hebrews / Israelites called Jews as early as in the Book of Esther.Origins in the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh) . It teaches Ethical monotheism; A unitary and solitary God's existence taken for granted; God's principal relationships are not with other gods, but with the world, with humankind and more specifically, with the people He created. The Ten Commandments of Judaism are Reciprocate God's concern for the world and love and worship only one God;Love one another; that is, imitate God's love for people.The Commandments formed the basis of 613 Commandments of the Torah or the Law.Authority on theological-legal matters not vested in any one person or organization, but in the sacred texts and the many rabbis and scholars who interpret these texts. Historically, special courts enforced Jewish law.Today, these courts exist but the practice of Judaism is mostly voluntary.Although, there is an esoteric spiritual tradition in Judaism (Kabbalah), actual practice is "normal mysticism and involves everyday personal experiences of God through ways or modes common to all Jews The 13 principles of faith of Moses Maimonides, a.k.a Rambam (12th century): rejecting

even one of these principles considered an apostate and a heretic Not encompassing all of belief, but representing its core theological underpinnings Opposition: too many items not fundamentals of the faith; too many simply in error as heretics Others: any simplified formulation of Judaism's core tenets, would reduce Judaism to a short list of beliefs and minimize acceptance of the Torah Complex lineages of theological literature Most Jews have remained in exile at several points in time during the previous two millenniums until 1948: formation of the state of Israel .Jews have Insecurity and strong religious passions.Prominent Jews in modern times include:Baruch Spinoza, Albert Einstein, Benjamin Disraeli, Bob Dylan, Woody Allen, Alan Greenspan, Harrison Ford, Gwyneth Paltrow, Paul Newman.Many aspects of Judaism have also directly or indirectly influenced secular Western ethics and civil law.In 2007, the world Jewish population was estimated at13 million, of whom about 40% reside in Israel and 40% in the United States.