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Hinduism and Globalization

  • Rana P. B. SinghEmail author
  • Mikael Aktor
Chapter

Abstract

Hinduism, a unified religious entity that boasts an extraordinary diversity in its beliefs and customs claims over 1.08 billion adherents (2007) or 15 % of the world’s people. Its diversity has promoted its traditional liberality and its freedom allowed for individuals to follow many different paths in their quest for the divine. In India, Hinduism inhabits three spaces: (1) “Village Hinduism” prevails in rural India (68 % of the population), a set of “Little traditions” combining ritual and shamanism; (2) “Sanskrit, Vedic Hinduism”, the “Great Tradition” preserved by Brahmin priests, pandits, and monastic orders that propagates the ancient scriptures and mythology; and (3) “Renaissance Hinduism,” which is popular among the new urban middle class and associated with the teachings of saints in missionary programs within India and worldwide. Hinduism is a diverse religious and cultural phenomenon which contains several key teachings of value for the modern world. These include: a living belief in the sacredness of the Earth; fundamental belief in the interconnectedness of all life; commitment to dharma, a moral duty for service to the Earth and humanity; belief in karma, the law of consequences; and deep commitment to simple lifestyles and the greater benefit of spiritual than material wealth. Of course, Hinduism also faces many challenges caused by the globalized values of materialism, consumerism and individualism and by the legacies of 700 years of Indian subjugation. Hinduism is also defended from many of globalization’s adverse effects for its open-minded theology and its penchant for absorption and reinterpretation.

Keywords

Hinduism and globalization Sanatan Dharma Varna system Village Hinduism Vedic Hinduism Renaissance Hinduism 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia
  2. 2.Institute of History, Study of ReligionsUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark

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