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Hindu Heritage Study Program  
 
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Hindu Heritage Study Program
 
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Principles and Practice of Hindu Dharma
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-HR 201.03
Understanding the History of the Religious Faith in India
Evolution of the Beliefs and Culture over the Time of Several Millennia
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Lesson - 47 :
The Age of Global Contacts and Reform Movements
Age of the Later Bhakthi Schools (From 1400's to the 1750's)
Please see below
for Lesson - 48
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Later Bhakthi Schools: The age of the Later Bhakthi Schools from 1400 A.D. to 1750 A.D. saw the fall of the great Hindu Kingdom of Vijayanagar and the rise and fall of the Moghul Empire. Bhakthi form of worship and singing of prayers in local languages, which was a Pre-Aryan practice of South India become popular under several teachers like Ramananda, Vallabha and Chaitanya. Vaishnavism of Ramanuja and Madhva also became popular.

Various schools of Hinduism hardened into Sects. Castes became rigid and exclusive under foreign religious persecusion. There was also the rise of the Maratta power under Sri Shivaji, Kabir Panthis, the rise of Sikhs and their religious thoughts under Guru Nanak and other Gurus. Later, the Portuguese rule in the 16th century and the Dutch in the 17th century brought the Christian influence. Many Hindu women were married to Muslims. There was large scale conversion to Islam by force. Muslim influence is seen in the religious theories and works of Saint Kabir, Guru Nanak and other leaders of this time.

Religious literature in severl local languages flourished, like songs of Mira Bai, Tukaram's Abhangas, Adi Granth, Ramayana written by Tulasidas and the works of Sur Das. Vijayanagar's influence of architecture was seen in the Temples of Madurai, Rameswaram, Srirangam in the great pillars and gopurams. Persian and Islamic influence entered the great monuments of North India at this time. Kabir, Tulasidas, Ramananda, Chaitanya, Guru Nanak, Guru Gobind, Shivaji, Krishna Deva Raya, Appayya Dikshitar and Thayumanavar belong to this period. Their works and reform movements were mainly to protect the Hindu faith and culture against Western influence.

This was the beginning of the age of the reform movements and the Hindu Renaissance of the modern age in the Eighteenth Century. This was the time of the spread of Christianity along with the rise of British power and East India company, forming the British establishment in Calcutta and Madras after the battle of Plassey in 1757 A.D.

 

 
     
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Lesson - 48 :
The Modern Age of Nationalism and New Growth
The Age of the New World and New Leaders (1750's to 1Present Day)
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The Modern Age from 1750 AD.: The modern period constitutes from the period of the formation of British Raj all over India to India's Independence in 1947 and today. The British came to power with several battles and agreements slowly throwing out the Maratta and Sikh rulers, several hundred small Hindu and Muslim rulers and Moghul kings who were fighting among themselves. This period consists of the age of the reform movements from 1750 to 1885 AD which saw the rise of the Christian Missionaries and social reformers of the Hindu society.

Many Hindus were showing interest in education in Western culture and ignored the Hindu values. Almost all Indigenous arts and religious works languished under alien rules of Christians and Muslim rulers, with ignorance of local people and obstruction to the practice of religion by the foreign rulers. This was the stimulus for the reform movements. The great works of classical music by Saints Thyagaraja, Syama Sasthri and Muthuswami Dikshithar were seen at this time.

The age of the Renaissance: This started after 1885 when the Indian National Congress was formed and movement for self rule and Independence started. Many leaders from different regions of India including Mahathma Gandhi, Gokale and Thilak joined hands with political leaders of other religions. This gave rise to secular thoughts and ideals for the future of independant India. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda started the renaissance of Hinduism at this time.

Later, in 20th Century, Sri Ramana Maharishi, Tagore, Aurobindo and Radhakrishnan established a new order of Hindu religious thoughts and Philosophy which became known to the Western world. Many of the political leaders were also strong in their Hindu beliefs and were responsible to introduce the reform movements in the thoughts of the common people, though many were trying to support some form of secularism. Chairs of Hindu Philosophy and Sanskrit and other Indian languages were established in many Western Universities. Hindu thoughts and Philosophy gained popularity among the educated people and reached the shores of Western countries through many emigrants, Religious leaders, Gurus and new converts.

 
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The greatest Philosopher of the Twentienth century, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan,
past President of India, explains the true nature of the Supreme God and the human Spirit very well.
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"The Divine is both in us and out of us. God is neither completely transcendent nor completely immanent.
He is divine darkness as well as 'unencompassed light.' The philosophers with their passion for unity
emphasize the immanent aspect, that there is no barrier dividing man from the real.
Those who emphasize the Transcendence of the Supreme to the human insist on the specifically religious
consciousness, of communion with a higher than ourselves with whom it is impossible for the individual to get assimilated."
[This is seen both in Eastern and Western Faiths]
 

 

 
 
 
 
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Chapter - 3 - A Review of the History of Hindu Traditions - Lessons 47 & 48
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Go to Lessons: - :~: 33 & 34 :~: 35 & 36 :~: 37 & 38 :~: 39 & 40 :~: 41 & 42 :~: 43 & 44 :~: 45 & 46 :~: 47 & 48 :
 
 
End of Chapter - 3 : : Go to Chapter - 4 - The Scriptures and The Sacred Works
 
 
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