It is amusing how many countries have different but yet so similar cultures. I read somewhere that cultures are like the railway tracks, parallel but never the same.
Japan and India have a long history of relations. Language, religion, and clothing are among the many similarities between the two countries.
What does Hinduism mean? What is the meaning of being a Hindu? I have pondered about this question a lot but never really got my answer.
Similarities Between Both The Religions
Hinduism is also called the oldest religion, and some even claim it to have its origins beyond human life. The term “Hindu” referred to the people who lived on the other side of the Sindhu River. It has its history dating back to the Bronze Age of the Indus Valley Civilization.
Around 1.25 billion people throughout the world practice it, making it the third most practiced religion. Hinduism is a blend of diverse ideas on spirituality and traditions but has no underlying rules or orders.
Shintoism, on the other hand, is the indigenous religion of Japan. It revolves around the Kami (gods or spirits), who are supernatural entities believed to inhabit all things.
Shinto is primarily found in Japan, but its practitioners can be found in other countries too. Even though Shintoism is Japan’s largest religion, the exciting part is that most of the country’s population takes part in both Shinto and Buddhist activities.
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There are many similarities in the beliefs of Hinduism and Shintoism. In Shinto, there is no absolute right and wrong, and nobody is perfect. There are certain designated places called Jinja (kami place) and The Sun Goddess or Amaterasu is considered the most important and primary Kami.
In Hinduism, humans are believed to be Suryavanshi or Descendants of the Sun. Everything is believed to be the emanation of Paramathma, and similar to Kami, the spirit of it is omnipresent.
Similar to the Jinja, Hindus have temples of various deities where they go to pay homage.
Due to India being a regionally diverse nation, the same festivals are celebrated in different ways and traditions. Even the popular mythological tales have their regional flavor, and they are told in multiple regional languages across the country.
The Japanese culture also has gods and demons, which is very similar to the Hindu culture. Many Hindu gods have paved their way into the Japanese mythologies like the goddess Sarawati (Benzaitensama), Shiva (Daikokuten), Ganapati (Kangiten).
Several of the aspects of Hindu culture which have influenced Japan have also, in a way, influenced the Chinese culture. Multiple books have been written on the worship of Hindu gods in Japan. Even today, Japan encourages a deeper study of Hindu gods.
The similarities and resemblances in religions around the world are a showcase of how ideas used to travel in ancient times. It shows that every religion and belief in this world is based on moral frameworks that define our society and the ways of life.
All of this makes us firm in our belief that no matter where you are born or what religion you practice, there is an underlying power that binds us all together as one.
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