Hinduism- Religious Syncretism

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David Miller
Professor Rhone
AN101- FINAL EXAM
2. Barbara Miller, in her text, Anthropology Matters, defines religious syncretism as elements of tow or more religions that blend together. Miller also states that religious syncretism is most likely to occur when aspects of two religions form a close match with each other. As members of world religions have moved around the globe, religious beliefs and practices have become contextualized and locally specific. The five major world religions that I will be focusing on in this paper as it directly relates to religious syncretism are Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam. In the major religion of Hinduism, syncretism is very apparent. One of the best examples of religious syncretism in Hindu today is the major Hindu god Shiva, the third member of the trinity that includes that includes Brahma and Vishnu. “The Lord of Beasts,” often referred to as Shiva and an Indus Valley stamp seal dating from about 1800 B.C.E. shows a god seated in the lotus position. This is a connection with later iconography of Shiva, thus, strongly suggesting that the god in question reflects a syncretism of the ancient Dravidian and Aryan religions. (http://science.jrank.org/pages/11386/Syncretism-Syncretism-in-World-Religions.html) Another example of religious syncretism is given in Miller’s book about the two most widely known stories of Mahabharta, which is the story of a war between two patrilineages in which Krishna plays an important role, and the Ramayana story of king Rama and his devoted wife Sita. Miller states that “Throughout India, many local stories also exist, some containing elements from pre-Vedic times.” (Miller, 214) Buddhism too, has evolved its fair share of syncretistic beliefs and practice, making its profound spread to countries outside of India. Miller states that Buddhism was founded on the sole figure of Siddhartha Gautama, and began in Northern India. From Northern India, this religion has spread...
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