The Divine Light Mission/Elan Vital

The Divine Light Mission/Elan Vital was founded by Sri Hans Maharaj Ji (1900-1966) in the 1930’s in India. When Maharaj Ji died Prem Pal Singh Rawat , the youngest of 4 sons and only 8 years old at the time declared himself to be his father’s spiritual successor and a satguru or Perfect Master. The movement…

The Divine Life Society

The Divine Life Society was founded by Shivananda Sarasvati Maharaja (1887-1963) and its philosophy and ritual practice are rooted in Hinduism’s Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga paths.  

The Chinmayananda Mission

The Chinmayananda Mission was founded by followers of Swami Chinmayananda (1916-1993) in 1953 in India. Their teachings are based on Advaitic Vedanta.  

The Brahmo Sabha

The Brahmo Sabha was founded in 1828 by Rama Mohan Roy and in 1843 was restructured and renamed Brahmo Samaj by Devendranatha Tagore, father of the well known poet Rabindranatha Tagore. Rama Mohan was extremely learned and strongly influenced by Christianity. He disagreed with the doctrine of reincarnation and fought to abolish certain traditional practices, some…

The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Unviversity

The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual Unviversity (BKWSU) was founded in the late 1930’s by Lekhraj Khubchand Kirpalani (1877-1969) in Karachi (now Pakistan). He was a wealthy diamond merchant and devout Hindu who later took the spiritual name Pajapita Brahma. The Raja Yoga embraced by the Brahma Kumaris does not involve any mantras, special postures or breathing…

Arya Samaj

Arya Samaj was founded by Swami Dayananda Sarasvati in 1875 as a radical reform movement. Dayananda wanted to halt the Christian missionary onslaught and return to the Vedic tradition. He therefore sought to purge Hinduism of what he considered later additions, such as image worship, pilgrimage and ritual bathing. Although emphasizing the Vedic tradition, Dayananda  also…

The Ananda Marga Yoga Society

The Ananda Marga Yoga Society was founded in 1955 by Prabhat Rarjar Sarkar (1921-1990) in the state of Bihar, India. Ananda Marga, as it is commonly called, conceives of itself as “an international socio spiritual movement involved in the twin pursuit of self-realization and service to all creation”. Sarkar better known as Sri Sri Anandamurti is…

Main Traditions and Paths

Classifying the many groups within Hinduism is a challenge more so than with other religions. In so doing, we may unconsciously promote the idea that Hinduism is a single monolithic religion. As mentioned before it is more accurately a “family of religions” with each family member autonomous but sharing distinctive family features. The fact that…

Three main features of the Supreme

These correspond to three main features of the Supreme: Brahman refers to the all-pervading aspect of God. Scripture states ‘everything is Brahman.” This sat/eternal aspect of God is realized by understanding one’s own eternal nature as atman. Paramatman or Antaryami means “the controller within” and refers to God residing within the hearts of all beings.  He is…

Basic Concepts of Hinduism

Atman  – in order to understand the Hindu world-view it is essential to grasp this first and foundational concept. Atman refers to the non-material self, which never changes. It is distinct from both the mind and the body. This real self is beyond the temporary designations we normally ascribe to ourselves, in terms of race,…