Understanding the New Religious Movements (NRM) in Hinduism

We talk about Hinduism that existed centuries back to the movements it has given rise to today and also clear your doubts about sects & cults

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A group photo taken in Shimoga in 1944 when Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (seated fourth from right, second row) came to address the State-level Hindu Mahasabha. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

August 25, 2016: Lifting up the veil that hangs between the ancestral thoughts and the modern religion, we talk about the prevailing religious movements, which are new in thoughts and old in ideologies.

Different Sects in Hinduism 

Currently, Hinduism consists of 4 major sects-

  1. Vaishnavism (Vishnu)
  2. Shaivism (Shiva)
  3. Shaktism (Devi)
  4. Smartism (five deities treated as same)

All of the above sects follow different rituals and traditions. They have different symbols and images in the name of God. These sects as one would know are surviving for many, many years as they modify themselves depending on the prevailing concepts.

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Important examples of a sect improving, rejecting and redefining according to the worldly demands are Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism. These three movements acquired their own status and evolved retaining some concepts and traditions.

Sects vs Cults

“Oh Dammn! He belongs to the Ku klux klan clut.” The word cult is always used in conjunction with a nefarious act. If you belong to a cult, you are cool but like the cruel kind of cool. According to the western world, you are living a secret and a dangerous life. However, in the modern world, if ‘Ku klux klan’ called themselves sects they’ll be the holier than thou group instead of a street gang and that’s where the difference lies.

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Technically, there is no difference between a cult and a sect except in our attitude and interpretation of the word. Over the years, the word cult has gained a negative impact whereas the word sect emits a more warmer and calmer vibe. To eschew from such discrepancies, there was a more generic term coined called new religious movements or sectarian movements.

New Religious movements

Glorious ISKCON Mandir at ‎Delhi‬, is a well known Vaishnav temple of Lord ‎Krishna‬ and Radharani in the form of Radha Parthasarathi, Delhi, ‪India‬
Glorious ISKCON Mandir at ‎Delhi‬, is a well known Vaishnav temple of Lord ‎Krishna‬ and Radharani in the form of Radha Parthasarathi, Delhi, ‪India‬

With a new era comes in the need of evolving whilst keeping the old traditions alive. New religious movements are nothing but a term used to identify groups that are religious ethical and are of relatively modern origins. Usually, these movements are lead by Gurus who have a long list of followers and share modern thoughts along with the ancestral knowledge that has been passed on.

Here’s a list of some of the famous NRMs

  1. The Ramakrishna Mission
  2. The Brahma Kumaris
  3. The Satya Sai Baba Society
  4. The HareKrishna Movement (ISKCON)
  5. The Osho Movement

They compromise in the face of a more convincing argument and hence absorb a new idea. Hence, their main aim is to submit to faith and spirituality.

– by Karishma Vanjani of NewsGram. Twitter: @BladesnBoots

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  • Antara

    Fascinating facts about the Hindu sects and cults!

  • Anubhuti Gupta

    Has anyone noticed that newer religions are more tolerant and peaceful with lesser restrictions on their followers?