Monday December 10, 2018

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

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 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?

  • 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?

Next Story

Protecting The World, The Hindu Way

As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The rich must live more simply so the poor may simply live.”

Climate change, california, economic
Climate Change Fuels California Fires. Flickr

By Vijai Singhal

Īśāvāsyam idaṁsarvaṁyatkiñcajagatyāṁjagat;

Tena tyaktenabhuñjīthā,

mā gdha kasya svid dhanam.

 – (Isa Upanishad, Verse 1)

“Everything animate or inanimate in this universe is pervaded by God. Take whatever you need for your sustenance without the sense of ownership. Do not covet the wealth of anyone.”

Consumerism is the basic cause of climate change. Our economic model is demand based. We are constantly pushed to buy more as we have a system of planned obsolescence which results in excesswaste. We can see in our Hindu literature that the emphasis is on need and not on demand. Mahatma Gandhi said: “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”Greed is the root cause of all our problems – environmental or economic.

Hurricane, climate change, disasters, U.S., economic
Floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey overflow from Buffalo Bayou in downtown Houston, Texas, VOA

Gross domestic product (GDP) is a common measure of economic growth. However, GDP fails to account fully for the ecological damage that growth causes. By prioritizing economic growth, societies based on capitalism permit excessive consumption and with it comes excess waste. In 2012, the tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan adopted the Gross National Happiness Index as their main development indicator.  This index measured‘Well-being and Happiness’ as a new economic paradigm. The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network which contains rankings of national happiness and analysis of the data from various perspectives, publishes an annual World Happiness Report.

In their report, Finland ranks 1st, Australia ranks 10th, whereas India ranks 133rd. New Delhi is one of the most polluted cities in the world. The Prime Minister of India, Mr Narendra Modi had launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission) on 2nd Oct 2014, with the aim to clean up the streets, roads and infrastructure of India. The objectives of Swachh Bharat include eliminating open defecation through the construction of nearly 73 million household and community toilets since the launch of the plan. The Indian government is also pushing the use of renewable energy, particularly solar energy.

Hurricane, climate change, disasters, U.S., economic
Traffic moves as smoke emits from the chimney of a factory on the outskirts of Gauhati, India. VOA

Indian government is actively pushing the use of renewable energy. The International Solar Alliance, an alliance of over 121 countries with an aim to reducing dependence on fossil fuels and to promote use of solar energy was launched by the Indian Prime Minister Mr Modi at the India Africa Summit, ahead of the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. India has built the World’s largest solar farm of 2GW capacity in Karnataka State and the Energy Minister, Mr PiyushGoel has declared that there will be no new coal-fired power stations planned in India beyond 2018. In Australia also the rooftop solar installations is edging to 2 million households mark but unfortunately the Australian government is dragging its feet in support of the coal-fired power stations.

There is a proposal that has been put forward to the United Nations for declaring 2018 InternationalYear of Clean and Healthy Planet aiming to mobilize millions of people worldwide in a single day event to clean up illegal waste on World Clean-up Day on 8th of September, 2018.  Last year, ABC TV produced a three-part series – War on Waste, highlighting the amount of waste we are producing in Australia. We are wasting a massive 40% of food items. With persuasion by the program producer and public reaction to waste, both Woolworths and Coles have declared that they would be cutting down on the use of throw away plastic and reducing the food wastage. This is a positive development.

Australia, Meat free,Hurricane, climate change, economic
Tire tracks left by a truck can be seen in a drought-stricken paddock on Kahmoo Station property, located on the outskirts of the southwestern Queensland town of Cunnamulla in outback Australia, Aug. 10, 2017. (VOA)

Healthy living and a healthy planet go hand-in-hand. Choosing a plant-based diet is the single most important thing one can do for the environment and for our own health. There is a strong push for using vegan or plant-based diet in countries like Australia, United Kingdom and the USA, where meat consumption has traditionally been very high. Australia has become the third fastest growing vegan market in the world witha recent survey showing there are 2.1 million vegan/ nearly vegetarian people in Australia. This is another positive development for the health of our planet.

Also Read: Climate Change To Get Worse In The Future: Study

The world’s poor people are the worst sufferers of the environmental pollution. As responsible members of the society it is our duty to live a simple and ecologically sustainable life style. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The rich must live more simply so the poor may simply live.” (Hindu Council Of Australia)