Hinduism vs. Brahmanism
Difference Between Hinduism And Brahmanism
Hinduism is one of the world’s major religions. It has roughly 900 million followers and a presence on several continents. The term “Hindu” was originally used by outsiders to refer to people living in India. It was first used by Muslim conquerors and later adopted by the British in India. They used it to refer to Indians who were not Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, or members of another recognized religion. Over time Indians accepted it as a term referring to India’s dominant and richly diverse religion.
There is no central organizational structure in Hinduism. No single god, or scripture is accepted by all Hindus as essential. But many Hindus recognize the authority of various ancient texts. The oldest and most sacred of these are the four Vedas. (“Veda” means “knowledge” or “wisdom.”) Other widely recognized texts include two epics (long narrative poems). They are the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
Many Hindus worship more than one god. They believe that one god or goddess created the universe. But other deities are aspects of this creation. These gods appear in various forms. The god Vishnu, for instance, takes the form of Rama. Rama is the hero of the Ramayana. Vishnu also appears as the god Krishna. Krishna is depicted in the widely influential Bhagavad Gita (which is part of the Mahabharata). A portion of the Bhagavad Gita is considered by many to contain some of the basic beliefs of Hinduism. It features a conversation between the warrior Arjuna and Krishna, his chariot driver.
Brahmanism, the term used to describe the most ancient and orthodox core of traditional Hinduism as expressed in the religious scriptures known as the Veda and related materials. The Veda embodies the religious and philosophical teachings of India’s priestly, or brahman, class. See Hinduism; Brahman.
There is general agreement that Brahmanism has its historical roots in the beliefs and practices of the Aryan tribes who invaded India in the second millennium B.C. (2000–1000 B.C.) and who, in interaction with the indigenous Indian cultures, developed a highly articulate cult and philosophy which in time came to dominate Indian civilization. Brahmanism is therefore more than a religion in the usual sense. It is a total way of life, incomprehensible apart from the history of its tradition, literature, and social institutions.