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Hinduism : The Eternal Tradition Sanatana Dharma
Index

Preface 

Perennial Wisdom 

Sanatana Dharma

Religion And Spirituality...

Religion Or Dharma

The Eternal View Of Hinduism

Idolatary And Dogmatism

Religion And Spirituality..

Religious And Spiritual Practices

Civilization And Social Issues

Hinduism And Sanatana Dharma

Hinduism And Other Religions

Appendices

       

Major Sections
Books By David Frawley
Arjuna

Awaken Bharata

From The River Of Heaven How I Became A Hindu
The Myth Of Aryan Invasion Of India

Hinduism : The Eternal Tradition, Sanatana Dharma

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HINDUISM AND SANATANA DHARMA

What are the Different Branches of Hinduism?

Hinduism traditionally is divided into five main branches:

  1. Vaishnava or worshippers of Vishnu

  2. Shaiva or worshippers of Shiva

  3. Shakta or worshippers of the Goddess (Devi or Shakti)

  4. Ganapata or worshippers of Ganapati (Ganesha)

  5. Saura or worshippers of the Sun (Surya)

These groups generally coalesce into two, the Vaishnava and Shaiva. As Shakti is the consort of Shiva, her worship can be included with his. As Ganesha is the son of Shiva and Shakti, his worship usually goes along with his parents. As Surya, the Sun, is generally related to Vishnu, his worship usually goes along with that of Vishnu. There are many Hindus, however who accept all five of these approaches, which for most Hindus are intertwined anyway.

There is in addition the Vedic or Brahmanical tradition. This is usually divided up according to which of the four Vedas one follows:

  1. Rig Vedis or followers of the Rig Veda

  2. Sama Vedis or followers of the Sama Veda

  3. Atharva Vedis or followers of the Atharva Veda

  4. Yajur Vedis or followers of the Yajur Veda

Yajur Vedis are the largest group and divided into two main subgroups, the Shukla or White Yajur Veda school which prevails in the north of India, and the Krishna or Black Yajur Veda school which prevails in the south. Generally those following Vedic traditions also belong to one of the five or six divisions of Hinduism.

There are also Hindus of various philosophical views like Vedanta, Sankhya, Yoga and Tantra. All such divisions are only a convenient differentiation. Many other groups and subgroups exist, including various recent or modern groups like Arya Samaj or the Swami Narayan movement. In fact all religions can be considered as different branches of a universal religion or Sanatana Dharma.

 

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