Essay Sample Focusing on Religion in South Asia

Published: 2022-07-13
Essay Sample Focusing on Religion in South Asia
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Islam Buddhism Christianity
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1355 words
12 min read

South Asia comprises of the following nations; Pakistan, India, Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. However, these nations are not united regarding religion and linguistics. Furthermore, when people do not speak one language, communicating with one another is always a challenge. The lack of communication works against unity especially regarding the religion of southern Asia enabling people to stick to their language as the means of expressing their values, feelings and deepest beliefs which have connected them to their religious heritage. From the teaching of the Sikh gurus, there are five major religions in the southern part of Asia; these include; Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Buddhism, Jainism, and Christianity.

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The vast majority of the people from India do practice Hinduism. It results in an overwhelming 80% of the total population of India. The Hindus have got much representations of God from which they choose to adore and worship. As a result, they also possess many Holy Scriptures and prophets from which they believe in and follow respectively. The common characteristics of the mature Hinduism are the worship of the divine images and also the constructions of the ordain temples to house these sacred images. Additionally, Hinduism has a majority of pantheon comprising of the female and male deities, but the preeminent among are the Vishnu and the Shiva. From the teaching of the Sikh guru, it argued out that there is no single path to salvation for the Hindus since they believe that one's soul may be reborn several times before achieving enlightenment. Also, when one's soul is merged with the cosmic forces among the Hindu religion, it's eliminated. Through the doctrine of karma and even the caste system, the Hindu religion explains the inequalities in the human society. The Hinduism religion believes in the following stages of life; the studentship; remain celibate and study, become husband and father hence repaying debts to the society and supporting the family. Also, it involves retiring from the forest, leading a simple life as well as renouncing the world and becoming an ascetic. The Indians occupies the vast majority of 79.5% of Hinduism religion. The religion aims at life by doing the following; performing their duties, sensual pleasures, and acquiring wealth and power.


The term Islam means peaceful submission to God. The origin of the Islamic religion was way back in the 610 BC. Prophet Muhammad then 40 years old received the very first revelation of the Quran by angel Gabriel at the time of his retreat in a cave near Mecca. Prophet Muhammad assumed the positions of the Gods prophet and began his journey by spreading the words of "Allah" meaning "the god." The spread of the Islamic religion started in the Arabic peninsula at around 700 AD. By this time the Persian and the Arab traders began settling in the Gujarat, India. Since then, the Islamic religion has become the second largest religion in southern Asia, especially in India. From the teaching of the Sikh guru the Islamic religion believes in the following five pillars; praying five times a day, acknowledging the fact that there is only one God, and that Muhammad is the prophet, fasting during Ramadan and lastly giving charity based on one's economic capabilities. The Muslims have a sacred text known as the Koran which was revealed to the prophet, Muhammad. Additionally, Muslims believe that people only one chance, one life to attain salvation. Furthermore, they stress that, the spiritual equality and brotherhood of all humankind. There is also a sub-branch of Islamic religion called Sufis. They are known to perform activities such as singing, dancing, playing instruments, reciting poetry and prayers. Sufis claims a direct experience and strong connection to God. The Indians occupies 14.5% of the Islamic religion. Finally, it is recorded that around 300 million Muslims are from South Asia with India comprising of 172 million of the total population.


From the teaching of Sikh guru, Buddhism religion originated as a reform movement in Hinduism in the 5th century BCE. The founder was Siddhartha Gautama, who believed that human suffering was inherent in all life, i.e., no living being escapes suffering, suffering is a result of craving and lastly suffering ends when desire does. Also, for one to avoid suffering, one must do away with desire by following an eightfold path of physical and spiritual purification. The eightfold path includes the following; the right to understanding, right to thought, right to speech, right to conduct, right to livelihood, right to effort, and right to mindfulness and freedom to mediation. Around 260 BC, the great king Asoka of the Maurya Empire converted to Buddhism and promoted the religion by constructing many stupas or places for meditation. Currently, there is 200 to 300 million population of Buddhist worldwide with India occupying 0.7%


The Sikhism religion arose out of Hinduism as a reform movement around the 15th century in Northwest India. From his teachings, guru stresses that human being can escape rebirth by meditating on God's divine's name. Sikhs believe in the monotheistic concept of God. The religion suggests that the best way to salvation is by living a good family life comprising of the principle of charity, work, and worship. The Sikhism religion has their distinctive set of scriptures as well as religious traditions that set them apart from the Hindus. Sikhism have the following aspects of the Gods nature, unchanging, formless, inscrutable, creator and lastly, the name is the key to all, expressed and experienced within. There are only 2% of Indians who follow this religion.


The religion began at around ninth to sixth century BCE mainly in India. The religion emphasizes complete nonviolence and ascents. The followers of Jainism are known as Jains and are about 4.5 million worldwide. The faith is named Jinas, spiritual conquerors who have attained liberation as well as perfection. The religion has 24 spiritual leaders called "ford makers." The last Tirthankaras was Mahavira at around 599 to 527 BCE. Additionally, a contemporary of the Buddha who is generally considered as the founder of Jainism. Jinas are believed to live in the top level of heaven, above the realm of gods. The primary goal of life in Jainism is to reach the liberation, by a life of discipline, purification, and nonviolence as taught by Tirthankaras.


Christianity spread in southern Asia by the apostle Thomas at around 52 AD. The major population of Christianity exists in the northeast and south of India well as the Konkani coast. The Roman Catholicism was first introduced in India by Italian in the 16th century. Most of the hospitals, Christian schools originated through the Catholic missions. The British and the American missionaries introduced English education in India as a result of Protestantism. They also helped established early translations of the Holy Bible into various Indian languages like Hindi.

Bhakti tradition

Due to the emergence of the Islamic religion in India, the Hindus were shocked by the Muslim rulers who destroyed a number of their religious movement and temples. The Muslim rulers also tried to convert more Hindus to Islamic religion by extending certain concessions. The act resulted in the decline of the Hinduism as well as contributing to the decline of Brahman supremacy. The Islamic principle of the universal brotherhood and even human equality greatly attracted the lower group of the Hindu society. From the teaching of Sikh guru, the Bhakti movement was a complete surrender of oneself to God. Bhakti to God was accepted as salvation. The following are the main features of the bhakti movement; self-surrender, repetition of the true name, one God though known by various names and lastly, bhakti intense love and devotion.


In summary, the ten of Sikhism illustrates what happens as the religion grows over many centuries. Religion is living as well as other organic things which do shift and change with time. From his teachings, guru indicated that the older forms of practice, thoughts and structure give way to newer forms. The example in Sikhism is believed to be the perfect as it illustrates the universal phenomenon and its origin.


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