Sikhism: Formed in 15th Century AD as a reaction to the social and religious practices of the time in the Indian subcontinent. The Sikh Gurus (or teachers) have emphasized on recognizing all humans as equal before Waheguru (Guru Nanak), regardless of colour, caste or lineage. The Sikh Gurus did not call themselves as prophets. The emphasis is on a single all pervading God and creating a relationship with him. There is no place for intermediaries. The Sikh holy book is known as the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Which was compiled by Arjan Dev Singh, added the teachings of 5 Gurus beginning with Guru Nanak Dev Ji and includes passages from both Hindu and Sufi saints.The Sikh Gurus have referred to their compositions as “dhur ki bani” or the word of primal divine source. Place of ritual is Gurudwara Sahib. Major locations of stronghold are States of West Punjab, NWFP in Pakistan & in India East Punjab, Delhi NCR, Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Rajasthan. Major places of worship; Golden Temple Amritsar – India, Nanakana Sahib – Pakistan, Ponta Sahib – Punjab, Hem Kund, Nanak Matta – Uttrakhand, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib Delhi – India.
Buddhism: Founded by Prince Siddhartha Gautama of North India in 6th Century BC who was after his enlighten known as Gautama Buddha? Its sacred texts are Pali Canon (Tripitaka), numerous Mahayana sutras written originally in Pali. As per Tibetan Buddhism Monk is the spiritual leader. Buddhism follows the system taught by Buddha. Place of worship is Temple, meditation hall. Main sects in Buddhism are Theravada and Mahayana. Major locations of stronghold are India, China, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka, South East Asia. Major locations: Sarnath, Gaya, Patna, Twang, Dharamshala, Leh, Laol Spiti, Gangtok – India, Colombo – Sri Lanka, Bangkok – Thailand, Cambodia, Guangzou, Lahsa – China, Bagan – Burma.
Jainism: Jains derive their name from the jinas, spiritual conquerors who have achieved liberation and perfection. Included among these are the 24 spiritual leaders called “ford-makers” or tirthankaras. The last of the tirthankaras was Mahavira (599-527 BC), a contemporary of the Buddha and the man generally considered the founder of Jainism. Jinas are believed to reside in the
top level of heaven, above the realm of the gods. Accordingly, liberated souls are revered more than the gods. Formed in 550 BC, sacred scriptures are the teachings ofMahavira written originally in Sanskrit, major sects are Digambaras (“sky-clad”); Shvetambaras (“white-clad”), monks are the spiritual leader’s place of worship is the temple. Major location is India. Major places of worship are: Palitana, Shankheshwar, Shikharji, Vataman, Mumbai, Mahudi Shri Ghantakarna Vir Temple and Ahmedabad – India.
Taoism: also known as Daoism was founded by Lao – Tze in China in 550 BC, based on the teachings of the Tao Te Ching, a short tract written in the 6th century BC in China. Its emphasis on spiritual harmony within the individual complements; Taoism is also increasingly influential in the West, especially in the fields of alternative medicine and martial arts like Tai Chi. There are two main strands and schools within Taoism, usually labeled “philosophical Taoism” (Tao-chia) and “religious Taoism” (Tao-chaio). Tao Te Ching, Chuang-Tzu is sacred scripture originally written in traditional Chinese. Sage is a spiritual leader in Taoism. House of worship is temple. Major locations are; China, South East Asia.
Shintoism: Shinto (also Shintoism) is the term for the indigenous religious beliefs and practices of Japan. Shinto has no founder, no official sacred scriptures, and no fixed creeds, but it has preserved its main beliefs and rituals throughout the ages. The word Shinto, which comes from the Chinese shin tao, meaning “the way of kami“, came into use in order to distinguish indigenous Japanese beliefs from Buddhism, which had been introduced into Japan in the 6th century AD. Shinto has no founder or founding date. When the Japanese people and Japanese culture became aware of themselves, Shinto was already there. Yayoi culture, which originated in the northern area of the island of Kyushu around the 3rd or 2nd century BC, is directly related to later Japanese culture and Shinto. Among the primary Yayoi religious phenomena were agricultural rites and shamanism. Early shamans (miko) performed the ceremonies; eventually those of the Yamato tribe did so; on behalf of the other tribes and their chieftain assumed duties that led to headship of the Shinto state. Texts comprises of Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters), Nihongi or Nihon shoki (Chronicles of Japan). Major location is Japan. Major places of worship are: Mt. Fuji, Dazaifu Tenmangu, Oyama Shrine, Toshogu Shrine, Tsurugaoka Hachimangu, Fushimi Inari Shrine, Ise Shrines, Izumo Shrine, Atsuta Shrine, Heian Shrine, Meiji Shrine all are in Japan.
Baha’ism: Also popularly known as Bahai Faith was founded in 1844 – 1882 in Iran by the two controversial leaders proclaimed to be the first preacher of Bahai named Bab & Baha ullah, declaring themselves as the prophets of modern world. The laws of the Bahá’í Faith primarily come from the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, written by Baha’u’llah, which is also a main scripture, It is sometimes also referred to as The Aqdas, “the Most Holy Book”, “the Book of Laws” and occasionally the Book of Aqdas, originally written in Arabic & its title in Persian. The Manifestations of God are analogous to divine mirrors which reflect God’s created attributes and thus reveal aspects of God without being incarnations of God’s essence.
It is through these divine educators that humans can approach God, and through them God brings divine revelation and law. Bahá’ís believe that God expresses his will at all times and in manyways, and specifically through a series of divine messengers referred to as Manifestations of God or sometimes divine educators. The supreme seat is based in Israel. Major locations are Israel, Europe, US, India, South East Asia.
Greek Religion: Greek religion is the collection of beliefs and rituals practiced in ancient Greece in the form of both popular public religion and cult practices. Greek people recognized the major gods and goddesses: Zeus, Poseidon, Hades, Apollo, Artemis, Aphrodite, Ares, Dionysus, Hephaestus, Athena, Hermes, Demeter, Hestia and Hera though philosophies such as Stoicism and some forms of Platonism. Grreks believes in afterlife or re incarnation. Their sacred texts are Hesiod’s Theogony and Works and Days, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Pindar’s Odes. Major Locations are Greece, Italy, and Cyprus. Major places of worship were: Arcadia.