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,…

The Vedangas and The Upavedas

There are also 2 important bodies of supplementary literature, related closely to the Vedas themselves: The Vedangas which expound the sciences required to understand and apply the Vedas: Kalpa: Ritual detail Siksha: Pronounciation Vyakarana: Grammar Nirukti: Etymology Chandas: Meter Jyotisha: Astronomy/Astrology The Upavedas (usually considered Smrti) which deal with 4 traditional arts and sciences: Ayur-veda:…

Divisions of Vedas?

The Rig Veda is the most important and the oldest and it is divided into 10 books with a total of 1028 hymns in praise of various deities. It also contains the famous Gayatri mantra and the prayer called the Purusha Sukta (the story of Primal Man). The Yajur Veda is a priestly handbook for…