Monday, April 9, 2012

The Concept of Hinduism,Hindu Marriage&its Essential Ceremonies

The Concept of Hinduism,Hindu Marriage&its Essential Ceremonies:

Series of Posts on Hindu Law

  • The concept of Hinduism.
  • Hindu Marriage.
  • Essentials of Hindu marriage.
  • The divorce and maintenance under Hindu Marriage Act .

Who is an Hindu ? What are definitions of Hindu or Hinduism?
  • The word 'Hindu' is derived from the Sanskrit word 'Sindhu', It was first mentioned in the Rig Veda.

  • Hinduism is not religion "way of life" [S.C] ,it is not institutionalized religion or no religious central authority exists for Hinduism like Vatican church.
  • According Section 2 Hindu Marriage Act 1956[Legal definition of "Hindu"]
(a) to any person who is a Hindu by religion in any of its forms and developments, including a Virashaiva, a Lingayat or a follower of the Brahmo, Prarthana or Arya Samaj,(b) to any person who is a Buddhist, Jain or Sikh by religion, and“(c) to any other person domiciled in the territories to which this Act extends who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion”

  • The Indian constitution does not define word 'Hinduism' includes a Virashaiva,Lingayat or a follower of the Brahmo, Prarthana or Arya Samaj.
  • It is well accepted that the word 'Hindu' derived from Sindhu river or Indus [ NW frontier province / Punjab, now in Pakistan] ,the Persians used to pronounced Sindhu as Hindu,basically Aryans, who settled in Indus Valley were also called as Hindus.

  • Hinduism is world oldest living religion ,as old as Harappan period (5500–2600BCE).The epics s Ramayana and Mahabharata were written roughly from 500–100BCE.

  • It has third largest followers after Christianity and Islam .
  • The Arabic term al-Hind referring to the land of the people ,who live across river Indus.

  • " to many Hinduism seems to be a name without any content. Is it a museum of beliefs, a medley or rites, or a mere map, a geographical expression" in "The Hindu View of Life" by Dr. S Radhakrishnan,

  • Hinduism is often referred to as Sanatana Dharma (सनातन धम) by its practitioners,a Sanskrit phrase meaning "the eternal law".
  • Sources of Hindu Philosophy includes,Vedas[divine revelations sruti,four Veda's-Rigveda,Yajurveda&Sama veda],smriti[Laws of Manu],Upanishads,Purana's and Itihasa.

  • Mahabharata and Ramayana are considered holy epics in Hinduism. [500–100BCE]

  • Sikhism,Jainism,Buddhism are off-shoots Hinduism are governed by Hindu Law.

  • Hinduism believes every aspect of life holy, the marriage is one of the Sixteen Samskaras[Samaskaras propounded by Veda vysa holds important other 's sages theory],which Hindu's believe sacrament or religious duty.

  • "When we think of the Hindu religion, unlike other religions in the world, the Hindu religion does not claim any one prophet; it does not worship any one god; it does not subscribe to any one dogma; it does not believe in any one philosophic concept; it does not follow any one set of religious rites or performances; in fact, it does not appear to satisfy the narrow traditional features of any religion or creed. It may broadly be described as a way of life and nothing more."-Chief Justice P. B. Gajendragadkar.

  • "Acceptance of the Vedas with reverence; recognition of the fact that the means or ways to salvation are diverse; and the realization of the truth that the number of gods to be worshipped is large, that indeed is the distinguishing feature of Hindu religion." -Bal Gangadhar Tilak

  • A diverse body of religion, philosophy, and cultural practice native to and predominant in India, characterized by a belief in reincarnation and a supreme being of many forms and natures, by the view that opposing theories are aspects of one eternal truth, and by a desire for liberation from earthly evils-The Free Dictionary.

  • "Hinduism is practiced primarily in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. It is a diverse family of devotional and ascetic cults and philosophical schools, all sharing a belief in reincarnation and involving the worship of one or more of a large pantheon of gods and goddesses, including Shiva and Vishnu (incarnate as Rama and Krishna), Kali, Durga, Parvati, and Ganesh. Hindu society was traditionally based on a caste system"-2012,Oxford University Press.




Supreme Court &H.C Judgements &Definition of Hinduism :
  • Gopal Narhar Safray v. Hanmanl Ganesh Safray (1879) I.L.R. 3 Bom. 273,

    Lingayats founded by Basava [12th century] believes only one God, Siva, and reject the other two persons of the Hindu Triad[Brahma&Vishnu]They reverence the Vedas, but disregard the later commentaries on which the Brahmans rely.Their faith purports to be the primitive Hindu faith, cleared of all priestly mysticism.Lingayats are not Hindus in religion because they are no image worshipers.

    The court held Lingayats are Hindus ,they have been subject to Hindu law as applied to Shudras.There is no other special law applicable to them



    • Nalinaksha Majhi v. Rajanikania Das Mohanta (1931) I.L.R. 58 Cal. 1392.
      It was held that under the Bengal School of the Hindu law of inheritance, a Vaishnava of whatever class was entitled to inherit from an ancestor who professed the orthodox Hindu creed and that a person of Vaishnava faith does not renounce the Hindu religion and continues to be a Hindu and professes Hindu religion in his own way, and though he may have seceded from orthodox Hinduism, as Lutherans did from the orthodox Catholic Church, he does not go out of the pale of Hinduism"

      • Bhatinda v. State of Punjab [AIR 1971 S C 1731] &DAV College, Jullundur v. State of Punjab [AIR 1971 S C 1737]

      "even if [institute] established by Arya Samaj, which is merely a part of the Hindu religion, cannot be held to be an institution established by a minority community so as to qualify for protection under Article 30 of the Constitution of India"-Arya Samaj is part of Hinduism ,no separate law exists for Arya Samajis .


      • Acharya Jagdishwaranand Avadhuta, etc. VS. Commissioner of Police, Calcutta & Anr. [1984 1 SCR 447]
      "Whether protection of Arts. 25 and 26 available to Ananda Marga-A socio-Spiritual organisation; No, Ananda Marga is not a separate religion but a religious denomination. Performance of Tandava dance in procession in public streets not an essential religious rite of Ananda Marga."

      • Brahmachari Sidheswar Shai & Others v. State of West Bengal [AIR 1995 S C 2089]
      "Sri Rama Krishna Mission found by Swamy Vivekanad is not separate religion &its institutes can not claim minority status under Article 30" It is well known Sri Rama Krishna was worshiper of Goddess Kali of Kalighath.


      • Commissioner Of Endowments, vs All India Sai Seva Samaj on 19 October, 2001,A.P High Court Special Bench -Ref.case:2001 (6) ALD 747, 2001 (6) ALT 539:[S Sinha, G Raghuram, V Rao]


        "Sai temples are also Hindu temples, Endowment Act is applicable to Shiridi Sai Baba Temples " "can not be treated parallel to Kabir Panth."

        • The State Of Bombay vs Shastri Yagna Purushadasji on 3 October, 1958 (1959) 61 BOMLR 700

        Swaminarayan temple at Ahmedabad and the temples subordinate there to were Hindu religious institutions within the meaning of Article 25(2)(b) of the Constitution.

        Swaminarayan Sampradaya[Vaishava sect] is not a different religion from Hinduism.



        References :



        Judgements :




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