Religious Sects in India - Parsi, Jaina and Sikh
Within the compass of this small but stimulating book, the author has recorded the findings of his minute study of the three numerically small but significant religions of India that played a vital role in the religious, social and political life of this country. These religions are the Parsi, the Jaina and the Sikh which have left indelible imprints on the fateful history of the Indian sub-continent. The book itself was written almost a century ago by a painstaking research scholar with a view to “stimulate further study of the ages of religious enquiries which have given birth to so many schools of thought.” Beginning with Parsi religion, the author traces its hoary past, the personality of Zoroaster, the founder of this faith, and its sacred scripture, viz., the Zend Avestha. It also deals with the historic migration of Parsis from ancient Iran to India and their great contribution in shaping not only the religious but also the social and economic life of India. Then follows the ascetic faith of the Jains, their origin, their development into Shwetamber and Digamber sects and the present day role played by the Jains in the social and economic resurgence of India. The book also highlights the teachings of Mahavir, the founder of Jainism, and the antiquity of Jaina Philosophy. Finally, the author traces the origin of Sikhism, one of the latest faiths of the world which came into the wake of reformers like Kabir and other Vaishnava saints who originally had aimed at reforming the Hindu religion. This religious movement was started in India exactly when Reformation was taking place in Europe. The author describes the history of the Sikhs into two parts, viz., the religious history and the political history : (i) The Religious History has its origin in the intense religious fervour of Guru Nanak Dev one of whose first sermons was: “There is neither Hindu nor Musalman; we are children of one God”. This worked as a catalyst of awakening among masses. (ii) The Political History of the Sikhs is marked by their gradual evolution into a martial class which was given formal shape by the last Sikh Guru, viz., Guru Govind Singh. A book which traces the historic evolution of three great religions of India and which kindles our curiosity to know more of them deserves to be the proud possession not only of academic and public libraries but also of every seeker of light and learning.
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