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The Religion Of India The Sociology Of Hinduism And Buddhism Pdf

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John T. By Max Weber trans. Glencoe, Illinois: The Free Press,

SOAS University of London

This essay will establish the extent to which Hinduism and the caste system can be considered a European invention. It will be demonstrated that the content of Hinduism was in no way invented by Europeans but the religious category of Hinduism was.

It will be shown that the caste system was part of Hinduisms social content and therefore not invented by Europeans, but simply adapted and utilised by British colonials. This essay will assess the nature of Hinduism and the caste system before, during and after the period of British colonialism in India, while assessing the changes that were brought about by colonialism. The following section will highlight what aspects of the modern day interpretation of Hinduism existed before British colonialism.

The unifying role of the Sanskrit language will also be observed. This therefore would contribute to the conclusion that the concept of a unitary Hindu religion was, at some point, largely invented by British colonialists. The earliest significant civilisation of the Indus Valley was the Harappan civilisation which existed between and BCE.

The Harappan civilisation was centred around the relatively advanced cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. It is within Harappan culture that many origins of modern Hindu religion are found. The religion of the Harappan civilisation was typical of river valley areas. There was a cult of explicit fertility. However these similarities do not do enough to demonstrate that the Hindu religion has a complete and direct lineage from the Indus Valley Civilisation.

This is in support of the claim that multiple sources contributed to what was later generalised as the Hindu religion by British colonials. Before British colonialism, those who would now be defined as Hindu existed without one collective identity and certainly did not possess a unified collective religious identity.

The group now defined as Hindu can be said to have existed only because it was a group independent of Islam, Christianity or Judaism, although not internally coherent. The lack of religious coherence within the Hindu group is demonstrated by the fact that they did not view Islam in religious terms.

In the face of Abrahamic religions, one unifying factor of pre-colonial Hinduism Is the use of the Sanskrit language. This unifying factor can be considered to be one of cultural as opposed to religious similarities for pre-colonial Hinduism. Sanskrit was an ancient liturgical language used across many religious groups, which made it a standard by which British colonialists could define Hinduism.

This is despite evidence that suggests that use of Sanskrit was not exclusively Hindu. Sanskrit was a useful political tool as it demonstrated a connection to the ancient religions of local populations.

That included not only the use of the all-India literary language of Sanskrit, the patronage of Brahmins, and the memory of the previous Kakatiya dynasty but also the rich symbolism of the age-old fight against demons and disorder. Buddhism and Jainism are two religions whose liturgical texts are also in the Sanskrit language however they were not considered by the British to be Hindu. At first glance this may seem like British orientalists were aware of the difference between the different religions that use the Sanskrit language.

However it can be noted that while Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism contain many similarities, notably for example the belief in Karma, they also contain many differences. Equally within various sects of Hinduism there are also notable disparities. For example, beliefs range between monotheism and polytheism in different denominations. This demonstrates that the size of the disparities between Buddhism and Jainism also exist within the construct of Hinduism itself and that Hinduism cannot be considered as a monolithic religion.

The reasons for Buddhism and Jainism therefore not being included within the British generalisation of Hinduism is because they were significantly larger than most Hindu denominations and, more importantly, largely self-determined as individual, separate religions. Despite considerable association and integration with Islamic traditions in some areas of India, Sanskrit was still used as the one liturgical language used to demonstrate sovereignty despite the prevalence of other religions in India, notably Islam.

This integration with Islam can be exemplified through the study of dress in Vijayanagara which is widely touted as a Hindu area. This further demonstrates the fact that Hinduism was not generally viewed as a cohesive religion as Islam was not treated as aggressive on religious grounds.

A study into the existence of Hinduism before British intervention presents three conclusions with regard to whether Europeans invented Hinduism.

The first conclusion to be drawn is that the social group of the Indus river valley from where the name Hindu derives did not exist as a recognisably Hindu social group. While aspects of their religious beliefs exist within modern day Hinduism, there is not a coherent religion that survived between then and now. The second observation is that what would now be considered the Hindu group did not define themselves as a singular religious group, even in the face of Islam, both militarily and culturally.

The third conclusion is that the Sanskrit language, which British scholars would use to generalise Hindus, is the liturgical language for many religious denominations where the majority have been generalised into Hinduism regardless of huge diversity between them. These conclusions demonstrate that before British invention there did not exist a cohesive and self-determined Hindu religion.

The nature in which Hinduism was invented then needs to be established in order to understand how the vast content was generalised into one religion by the British.

During the period of British Colonialism there were three key contributing factors to the invention of Hinduism. The Orientalists such as William Jones and Edward Moor contributed through their academic systematisations and generalisations of Indian religion. Colonial social structures contributed by generalisations of Hinduism through bureaucratic means, and indigenous religious traditions contributed through their construction of Hinduism as a competitor to Christianity.

Firstly, however an understanding of pre-colonial European conceptions of Hinduism must be achieved. Before the 18 th century, Indian culture was viewed as heathen. On this view there were four major religious groups [in India], Jews, Christians, Mahometans i.

Muslims and Heathens. By the end of the colonial era in India, Hinduism existed as an accepted cohesive religion. The nature of this manifestation needs to be explored in order to investigate whether Hinduism was invented by British colonials, as opposed to Indians themselves. The first form of Hindu construction was that of the Orientalists, the primary examples being William Jones and Edward Moor.

In this form, construction and invention of Hinduism developed through attempts to understand and categorise Hinduism. Due to the naturally Western approach taken by these academics, Indian religion was misconstrued, albeit unintentionally.

While doing so with good academic intentions, these Orientalists drew on the expansive materials of Indian culture in such a way that they were treated as connected parts of an overarching culture. This led to the unintentional invention of a religion that never existed before that point in a coherent form. The foremost of these Orientalists can be considered to be Edward Moor whose book The Hindu Pantheon is the preeminent early English-language collection of Hindu religion and culture.

A primary theme seems to be that of the legitimisation of Hinduism in an attempt to demonstrate it as a genuine religion comparable to Christianity. While this demonstrates an affection for Indian culture, it also leads to misconstruction of the reality of Hinduism. Examples from the first chapter alone demonstrate various attempts to show Hinduism in a light that would make it more difficult for Christians to define it as heathen.

An important aspect of Hinduism to emphasize to garner legitimisation in Western circles was elements of monotheism. They worship God in unity, and express their conceptions of the Divine Being and his attributes in the most awful and sublime terms. While Indian education was certainly Puranic [17] , their teaching was not under a unified code of Hinduism, especially considering that Puranical texts exist additionally in both Buddhism and Jainism.

While this is arguably true this is a conclusion invented by Moor as opposed to divulged strictly from Hindu teaching. Moor states that Brahma, now viewed as one of the most important deities of Hinduism, was not prevalent in Indian teachings. Sir William Jones was an earlier prominent Orientalist who contributed to the invention of Hinduism. Jones made immense contributions to Sanskrit translation and introducing Indian culture to the West.

The early Orientalists, while doing so with honest intentions, were key contributors to the invention of Hinduism. The two forms of invention that took place due to orientalists were invention through legitimisation and through generalisation. Additionally to the orientalists, however, there were other factors that contributed to the construction of Hinduism.

The British Empire utilised modern state institutions, therefore determination of population identity was important. Censuses and other categorising institutions demonstrate British definitions of Hinduism. Under colonialism, Indian religion clashed directly with British Christianity.

With Christianity being one of the pillars on which the British Empire was built, the religion of Indians was targeted by colonial missionaries in the similar fashion as had happened across the empire. This is due to the fact that, in order to demonstrate the superiority of Christianity over Indian religion, generalisation was necessary simply due to the huge number of belief systems that were being challenged. The missionary desire to spread Christianity came from the growth of evangelical Christianity and it was this evangelical trend that was most instrumental in the invention and systemization of Hinduism.

This is due to evangelical attempts to create a singular definable religious opponent. An example of generalisation demonstrated by Pennington is the missionary obsession with idol worship. The impact of colonial social and religious traditions on the invention of Hinduism was very significant. A brief look at the situation after the period of British colonialism demonstrates further evidence of Hindu invention and also demonstrates the nature of this invention.

The Indian colonial uprising of was part of the common pattern of reactive nationalism. However, the invention is further demonstrated in spite of Hindu nationalism.

This suggests that the popular uprising was Indian as opposed to Hindu. This in turn suggests the invention of Hinduism, due to the fact that, if it was not a British construct, the popular uprising would have been of Hindu nationalists, as opposed to Indian nationalists such as Ghandi. The caste system in India is an ancient part of Indian society. Created through Indian religions, the caste system divides people into four Varna categories; Brahmins priests , Kshatriyas warriors , Vaishyas agriculturalists , and Shudras servants.

The Dalits untouchables is a group that does not exist within any of the four Varna categories. This section will demonstrate that this caste system is part of the ancient content of Hinduism and therefore should not be considered as a British colonial construct and that British involvement and contributions with regards to the caste system are typical of ruling classes in Indian history.

In no way can Caste be considered to be a British colonial construct, it is often argued, as it is evident throughout Indian cultural history. There is certainly a degree of arrogance involved in suggestions that British colonial rule invented a system which first appears between BCE and is consistently prevalent in Indian texts up to the era of British colonialism. The caste system also existed in a tangible social context, along with a purely religious context.

A further example is located within the Athasastra in the 4 th century BCE. British colonial rulers would have self-imposed themselves as Brahmin during this evolution of the Caste system. An assessment of the origins of the caste system demonstrates not only that caste certainly existed before British colonialism, but it existed beyond religious contexts in a very tangible social manner. An assessment of British colonial interaction with the caste system will further demonstrate that caste is not a British invention.

There is a considerable school of thought suggesting that Caste, as well as Hinduism, was a British invention. This argument is not as well supported as the argument that Hinduism was a British construction. This is due to the fact that caste is an ancient feature of Indian culture and therefore caste is an aspect of the content which would be generalised by the British as Hinduism.

That might have led them to construct a class-based discriminating society out of the multiple sampradayas and castes co-existing peacefully. After all, history is constructed to suit the colonisers and victors. Due to recent efforts to dismantle caste in India the nature in which the caste system is altered can be exemplified in a different way.

SOAS University of London

The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism is a book on the sociology of religion written by Max Weber , a German economist and sociologist of the early twentieth century. The original edition was in German under the title Hinduismus und Buddhismus and published in In this work he deals with the structure of Indian society , with the orthodox doctrines of Hinduism and the heterodox doctrines of Buddhism , with the changes wrought by popular religiosity and their influence on the secular ethic of Indian society. The Indian social system was influenced by the concept of varna. This is a critical difference not understood by many. It directly linked religious belief and the segregation of society into status groups. Weber goes on to describe the Varna system the Brahmins - priests, the Kshatriyas - warriors, the Vaishyas - merchants, the Shudras - laborers and the Untouchable.

Schumacher , Payutto. The purpose of Buddhist Economics is to use wealth in order to accomplish the happiness of oneself and others. In order to become wealthy, some people forfeit their happiness and health and destroy the happiness of others. Does such wealth have any essence whatsoever? Our earliest traces of Buddhist life are full of references to trading caravans, merchant guilds, urban development, market towns, and new modes of production for profit Benavides


long articles on the religions and the social and political structures of South Asia in India would emerge in the process of nation state formation, just as he noted the Hinduism and Buddhism marks Weber's intense preoccupation with the Max Weber and the sociology of religion: comparative methods and social theory.


Max Weber The Religion of India the Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism

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Hinduism , major world religion originating on the Indian subcontinent and comprising several and varied systems of philosophy , belief, and ritual. Although the name Hinduism is relatively new, having been coined by British writers in the first decades of the 19th century, it refers to a rich cumulative tradition of texts and practices, some of which date to the 2nd millennium bce or possibly earlier. If the Indus valley civilization 3rd—2nd millennium bce was the earliest source of these traditions, as some scholars hold, then Hinduism is the oldest living religion on Earth.

Capitalism and the Social Relationship pp Cite as.

The religion of India : the sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism

Hinduism , major world religion originating on the Indian subcontinent and comprising several and varied systems of philosophy , belief, and ritual. Although the name Hinduism is relatively new, having been coined by British writers in the first decades of the 19th century, it refers to a rich cumulative tradition of texts and practices, some of which date to the 2nd millennium bce or possibly earlier. If the Indus valley civilization 3rd—2nd millennium bce was the earliest source of these traditions, as some scholars hold, then Hinduism is the oldest living religion on Earth. Its many sacred texts in Sanskrit and vernacular languages served as a vehicle for spreading the religion to other parts of the world, though ritual and the visual and performing arts also played a significant role in its transmission. From about the 4th century ce , Hinduism had a dominant presence in Southeast Asia , one that would last for more than 1, years. Despite its global presence, however, it is best understood through its many distinctive regional manifestations.

This essay will establish the extent to which Hinduism and the caste system can be considered a European invention. It will be demonstrated that the content of Hinduism was in no way invented by Europeans but the religious category of Hinduism was. It will be shown that the caste system was part of Hinduisms social content and therefore not invented by Europeans, but simply adapted and utilised by British colonials.


Max Weber The Religion of India the Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism - Free ebook download as PDF File .pdf) or read book online for.


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Classes will begin Monday, August 17, and conclude with finals just before Thanksgiving. There will be no fall midterm break. Fall semester classes will end Friday, Nov. Students are recommended NOT to print out this syllabus as it may change during the semester. However, if, for any reason, you really do need a printed copy, click this link for a Pdf formatted version. Brockington, John, The Sacred Thread.

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Max Weber, Capitalism and the Religion of India

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Pearl C. 12.06.2021 at 18:45

John T. Flint; The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism. By Max Weber This content is only available as a PDF. © Copyright, , The.

Septimio G. 13.06.2021 at 15:27

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Jay G. 14.06.2021 at 17:46

The Religion of India: The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism. MAX WEBER. Trans- lated and Edited by HANS H. GERTH ANi) DON MARTINDALE. Glencoe:​.

Royce G. 17.06.2021 at 09:12

The Religion of India, The Sociology of Hinduism and Buddhism. By Max Weber. Translated by Hans H. Gerth and Don Martindale. Glencoe: The Free Press.

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