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Major Religions

Sacred Texts of Hinduism

Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagvat Gita - Important Points

  • The Ramayana consisting of 24,000 verses was written by sage Valmiki in Sanskrit. It is divided into 6 kandas namely Bala Kanda, Ayodhya Kanda, Aranya Kanda, Kiskindha Kanda, Sundara Kanda and Yudh Kanda. The 7th kanda, the Uttara Kanda is generally regarded as a later addition to Valmiki's​​ Ramayana.

  • Kamban is the author of the Tamil version of Ramayana​​ -​​ Iramavataram​​ (The Avatar of​​ Rama).

  • The Telugu version of Ramayana, Ranganatha Ramayanam was written by Gona Budda​​ Reddy.

  • Krittvasi Ramayana is the Bengali​​ version of Ramayana written by Krittibas​​ Ojha.

  • Ramcharit Manas was written by Tulsidas in Awadhi (a Hindi​​ dialect).

  • The Mahabharata written by Ved Vyas in Sanskrit is the world's largest epic with around 1,00,000 verses divided into 18​​ parvas.

  • The Bhagavad Gita with 700 verses is a part of the​​ Mahabharata.

Important points on Vedas

  • The Vedas are believed to have been complied by Krishna Dwipayana also known as Ved​​ Vyasa.

  • The Vedas have been written in Vedic​​ Sanskrit.

  • There are four Vedas, Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva​​ Veda.

  • The Rig Veda is the oldest and also the largest of all the​​ Vedas.

  • The Rig Veda contains hymns of praise to several deities. Most of the hymns are devoted to Indra and​​ Agni.

  • Gayatri Mantra is contained in the Rig Veda. It is an invocation to the Sun​​ God.

  • Sama Veda is almost entirely based on the Rig​​ Veda.

  • The origins of Indian classical music are attributed to Sama​​ Veda.

  • The Yajur Veda has two branches - the black (Krishna) and the white​​ (Shukla).

  • The Yajur Veda contains chants which accompany ancient​​ rites.

  • The Atharva Veda primarily consists of spells and charms to ward​​ off diseases and to influence​​ events.

  • Ayurveda has its origins in Atharva​​ Veda.

  • The four Upvedas are Ayurveda, Dhanurveda, Gandharvaveda (music), and Shilpaveda (art and architecture).

Principal Upanishads — 13

 

Upanishad

Part of

Upanishad

Part of

Aitareya Upanishad

Rig Veda

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

Yajur Veda

Kaushitaki Upanishad

Rig Veda

Taittiriya Upanishad

Yajur Veda

Chandogya Upanishad

Sama Veda

Katha Upanishad

Yajur Veda

Kena Upanishad

Sama Veda

Mundaka Upanishad

Atharva Veda

Maitri Upanishad

Yajur Veda

Mandukya Upanishad

Atharva Veda

Isavasya Upanishad

Yajur Veda

Prasna Upanishad

Atharva Veda

Svetasvatara Upanishad

Yajur Veda

 

Schools of Vedic Philosophy

 

Philosophy

Founded by

Sankhya or the Cosmic principle school

Kapila

Yoga

Patanjali

Nyaya or the Logical school

Gautama

Vaisheshak or the Atomic school

Kanad

Purva Mimansa or the Ritualistic school

Jamini

Uttara Mimansa or the Theological school

Vyasa

 

Important Pilgrimage Centres of Hinduism

Four venues of Kumbh Mela

 

Place

On the banks of

State

Nasik

Godavari

Maharashtra

Ujjain

Shipra

Madhya Pradesh

Prayag

Confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati

Uttar Pradesh

Haridwar

Ganga

Uttarakhand

 

Four Dhams of Hinduism

 

Dham (Pilgrimage Place)

Devoted to

State

Puri

Lord Jagannath

Orissa

Badrinath

Sri Badrinarayana

Uttarakhand

Dwaraka

Sri Krishna

Gujarat

Rameswaram

Lord Shiva

Tamilnadu

 

 

The 12 Jyotirlingas

 

Name of the Jyotirlinga

Place

State

1. Somnath

Saurashtra

Gujarat

2. Mallikarjun

Srisailam

Andhra Pradesh

3. Mahakaleshwar

Ujjain

Madhya Pradesh

4. Omkareshwar

Mammaleshwaram

Madhya Pradesh

5. Parli Vaijnath

Deogarh

Jharkhand

6. Bhima Shankar

Dakini

Maharashtra

7. Rameshwaram

Setubandha

Tamilnadu

8. Nageshwar

Darukavana

Maharashtra

9. Vishweshwar

Varanasi

Uttar Pradesh

10. Trimbakeshwar

Nasik

Maharashtra

11. Kedareshwar

Kedarnath

Uttarkhand

12. Ghurmeshwar

Visalakam

Maharashtra

 

Important points to remember on Islam

  • The Islamic calendar is known as the​​ Hijri.​​ It starts from 622 A.D. the year in which Prophet Mohammed from Mecca to​​ Madina.

  • The Hijri has 12 lunar months and the year consists of​​ 354 or 355​​ days.

  • The month of​​ Ramadan​​ (9th month) is the holiest of the 12 months in which eating and drinking during daylight hours is prohibited. It is believed that in this month the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet.

  • Ramzan-Id or Id-ul-Fitr​​ is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal, the 10th month of Islamic​​ calendar.

  • Id-e-Milad​​ is the festival which celebrates the birth of Prophet​​ Mohammed.

  • Moharrum​​ is the mourning day for the Shias who mourn the death of Ali, 4th Caliph of​​ Islam.

  • Moharrum​​ is​​ also​​ the​​ first​​ month​​ of​​ the​​ Islamic​​ calendar.​​ The​​ day​​ of​​ mourning,​​ Moharrum​​ falls​​ on​​ the​​ 10th day of the​​ month.

  • Id-u-zuha or Bakr-I-d, the story behind the celebration of the festival is that Abraham on being ordered by God to sacrifice his son Ismael blindfolded himself before killing. When he removed the blindfold he found​​ his son safe and ram slain on the​​ altar.

  • Hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca is performed during the month of​​ Dhu al-Hijja,​​ the last month of the Islamic Calender. Bakr-I-d is celebrated on the 10th day of the same​​ month.

  • The five important​​ tenets of Islam​​ which every devout Muslim is bound to follow are​​ :

 

    • Offer Namaz five times a​​ day.

    • Believe that there is no God but​​ Allah.

    • Visit Mecca at least once in his life time i.e. perform​​ Haz.

    • Give alms to the​​ poor.

    • Fast in the month of​​ Ramadan.

 

Famous Dargahs of India

 

Dargah

Location

Dargah of Sheikh Salim Chisti

Fatehpur Sikri, near Agra in Uttar Pradesh

Dargah of Haji Ali

Worli, Mumbai

Dargah of Moinuddin Chisti

Ajmer in Rajasthan

Dargah of Khwaja Nizamuddin Awliya

Delhi

 

Important points to remember on Christianity

  • The birth place of Jesus Christ is​​ Bethlehum.​​ Its present day location is in West Bank in​​ Palestine.

  • The forty days period of fasting before Good Friday is called​​ Lent.

  • Good Friday​​ is the day of Jesus Christ death while​​ Easter, the Sunday which follows Good Friday is the day of his​​ resurrection.

  • Judas Iscariot​​ was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve original apostles of Jesus, and the one who betrayed​​ him.

  • The first Christian saint to visit India was​​ St Thomas​​ in 52​​ A.D.

  • The country with the highest number of Christians in the world is the​​ United States of​​ America.

  • The first authorized version of the Bible also known as​​ King James’​​ version was published in​​ 1611.

  • The Ten Commandments were brought to the people from God by​​ Moses

  • Gregorian Calendar (Christian Era) came into being from​​ 1582.​​ Introduced by Pope Gregory XIII to provide corrections in the Julian​​ Calendar.

  • Pope, the head of Roman Catholic Church resides in Vatican City, a landlocked country in Italy, also the smallest country in the​​ world.

  • All Saints Day is the day for all saints who have no special day of their own. It is celebrated on​​ 1 Nov every year.​​ It is immediately followed by All Souls Day on 2​​ Nov.

Important points to remember on Buddhism

  • The founder of Buddhism, Gautama Buddha was born at Lumbini located in present day​​ Nepal.

  • Gautama​​ Buddha's​​ original​​ name​​ was​​ Siddhartha​​ and​​ he​​ was​​ the​​ son​​ of​​ King​​ Suddodhana​​ of​​ Kapilvastu.

  • He attained enlightenment at​​ Bodhgaya​​ and gave his first sermon at Sarnath. Bodhgaya is located in Bihar, while Sarnath is in Uttar​​ Pradesh.

  • The state of Bihar is named after Buddhist 'Vihara' - the residential quarters of Buddhist​​ monks.

  • The first day of the Buddhist calendar is​​ Vaishakhi​​ Purnima.

  • Vesak​​ or​​ Buddha​​ Purnima​​ is​​ the​​ day​​ which​​ marks​​ the​​ birth,​​ enlightenment​​ and​​ passing​​ away​​ of​​ Buddha.

  • The Indian state with the maximum number of Buddhists is​​ Maharashtra.

  • The country with the largest Buddhist population is​​ China.

  • Six Buddhist councils​​ have​​ been held so far as follows​​ :

 

  • Immediately after the death of Gautama​​ Buddha.

  • After about 100 years after his​​ death.

  • During the reign of Emperor Asoka in the 3rd century​​ BC.

  • During the reign of King Kanishka around 100​​ AD

  • From 1888 to 1871 in Mandalay,​​ Burma

  • From 1954 to 1956 at Rangoon,​​ Burma.

 

  • The​​ Leshan Giant Buddha​​ in China is the tallest stone Buddha statue in the​​ world.

  • The​​ Borobudur Temple​​ in Java, Indonesia is the largest Buddhist temple in the​​ world.

  • Jataka​​ tales​​ are​​ about​​ the​​ Buddha’s​​ previous​​ lives​​ in​​ various​​ forms​​ before​​ he​​ was​​ born​​ as​​ a​​ human​​ being.

  • Mahayana​​ and​​ Hinayana​​ are the two sects in​​ Buddhism.

Some Important Monasteries in India

 

Namgyal Monastery

Dharamsala (H.P.)

Hemis Monastery

Ladakh (J & K)

Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery

Mysore (Karnataka)

Tabo Monastery

Spiti valley (H.P.)

Ghum Monastery

Darjeeling (W.B.)

Mindrolling Monastery

Dehradun

Tawang Monastery

Bomdila (Arunachal Pradesh)

Kye Monastery

Spiti (H.P.)

Rumtek Monastery

Sikkim

Phuktal Monastery

Zanskar (J & K)

 

Important points to remember on Jainism

  • The founder of Jainism, Vardhamana Mahavira was born at Vaisali located in​​ Bihar.

  • His father's name was King Siddhartha and mother was Queen​​ Trishala.

  • Thirthankara​​ is​​ a​​ saviour​​ who​​ has​​ succeeded​​ in​​ crossing​​ over​​ life’s​​ stream​​ of​​ rebirths​​ and​​ has​​ made​​ a​​ path for others to follow, in short, a path maker. Jainism had 24​​ thirthankaras.

  • The first thirthankara was named Rishab who is also regarded as the real founder of​​ Jainism.

  • Mahavira was the 24th Thirthankara, while Parshava was the 23rd​​ thirthankara.

  • Jain comes from the word ‘Jina’ which means 'the​​ conqueror'.

  • Mahavira gave his 1st sermon called Divya Dhwani at Mt Vipul in​​ Rajgriha.

  • Chandragupta Maurya embraced Jainism before his​​ death.

  • Shwetamber​​ and​​ Digamber​​ are the two main sects of Jainism. The followers of Shwetamber sect wear white clothes (Shwet for white and amber for clothes) while the followers of Digamber sect do not wear​​ any clothes (Dig for sky and amber for​​ clothes).

  • First Jain Council was held at​​ Patliputra​​ under the chairmanship of Sthulabhadra in 300 B.C. It resulted in the compilation of 12 Angas replacing the lost 14​​ Purvas.

  • Second Jain Council was held at​​ Vallabhi​​ under the chairmainship of Devardhi in 521 A.D. It resulted in the final compilation of 12 Angas and 12​​ Upangas.

Important points to remember on Sikhism

  • Guru Nanak,​​ the founder of Sikhism was born at​​ Talwandi​​ in Lahore district of Pakistan, He is credited with starting the Langar (the system of providing food to all visitors in​​ Gurudwaras).

  • The birthday of Guru Nanak is celebrated on full moon day of the​​ Kartik​​ month.

  • Guru Angad​​ invented the​​ Gurumukhi​​ script

  • Guru Ramdas​​ is credited with the establishment of the city of​​ Amritsar.

  • Guru Arjun Dev​​ is considered the author of the sacred text​​ ‘Guru Granth Sahib’​​ He is also credited with the construction of the Golden Temple​​ at

Amritsar. Guru Arjun Dev was tortured to death by the then Mughal Emperor Jahangir.

  • Guru Arjan Dev got the foundation of Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) laid by a muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mir ji of​​ Lahore.

  • Guru Hargovind​​ called himself the​​ Sachcha Badshah​​ (True​​ Emperor).

  • The symbol of Sikh faith is known as the​​ Khanda.

  • The concept of​​ "Miri Piri"​​ was highlighted by Guru Hargobind who wore two kirpans, one to symbolize the concept of Miri or temporal authority and the second to symbolize the concept of Piri or​​ spiritual​​ authority.

  • Guru Hargobind was imprisoned in the​​ Gwalior fort​​ for 3 years by Mughal Emperor Jahangir. He is known as​​ Bandi Chod Baba​​ for securing the release of 52 Hindu princes who were imprisoned with him at the​​ fort.

  • Guru Tegh Bahadur​​ was executed by Aurangzeb and​​ Gurudwara Shish Ganj​​ in Delhi stands at the place where he was​​ executed.

  • Guru Gobind Singh, the last guru founded the Khalsa Sect making it mandatory for all Sikhs to possess five Ks​​ 

 

  • Kripan (a​​ sword),

  • Kachcha​​ (shorts),

  • Kesh (long​​ hair),

  • Kada​​ (bangle)

  • Kangha (Comb).

 

Name

Place of Birth

Place of Death

Guru Nanak Dev (1469 to 1539)

Nankana Sahib Punjab​​ (Pakistan)

Kartarpur Sahib (Pakistan)

Guru Angad Dev (1504 to 1552)

Muktsar (Punjab)

Khadur Sahib, Amritsar

 

 

Guru Amar Das (1479 to 1574)

Amritsar (Punjab)

Goindwal Sahib, Punjab

Guru Ram Das (1534 to 1581)

Lahore​​ (Pakistan)

Goindwal, Punjab

Guru Arjan Dev (1563 to 1606)

Goindwal, (Punjab)

Lahore, Pakistan

Guru Hargobind (1595 to 1644)

Amritsar (Punjab)

Kiratpur Sahib (Punjab)

Guru Har Rai (1630 to 1661)

Kiratpur Sahib (Punjab)

Kiratpur Sahib (Punjab)

Guru Har Krishan (1656 to 1664)

Kiratpur Sahib (Punjab)

Delhi

Guru Tegh Bahadur (1621 to

1675)

 

Amritsar (Punjab)

 

Delhi

Guru Gobind Singh (1666 to

1708)

Patna (Bihar)

Hazur Sahib, Nanded (Maharashtra)

 

Other Religions and Faiths - Important Points

 

Baha'I Faith

Baha'I Faith originated in​​ Iran

The founder of the faith was Baha-u-llah.

The Lotus temple at New Delhi belongs to the​​ Baha'I faith.

Judaism

The religion followed by Jews is known as Judaism.

Judaism was founded by​​ Moses.

The sacred text of the Jews is the​​ Torah.

The Jews place of worship is called the​​ Synagogue.

Zoroastrianism

The founder of Zoroastrianism is Zoroaster or Zarusthar.

It was formed around 6 B.C. in Iran.

Zoroastrians are also called​​ Parsees.

The sacred book of the Parsees is​​ Zend Avesta​​ and their place of worship is the​​ Fire Temple

Parsee new year is called the​​ Navroze.

The Tower of Silence or​​ Dakhma​​ is the place where Parsees dispose off their dead.

Confucianism

The founder of Confucianism is​​ Confucius, a Chinese teacher who lived during 599 - 479 BC.

The​​ Analects​​ are the sacred texts of Confucianism.