Compass - Three Million Gods
The origins of Hinduism date back to the Indus civilisation of 3000 BCE. Known as the Sanatana Dharma or Immemorial Way of Right Living, it is believed to have had no founder...but "to have always been there". Hinduism has no formal organisation but has emerged through the centuries as a rich and complex tapestry of religious deities, beliefs and practices bound together by ancient and sacred texts, the Vedas. Pivotal to Hinduism has been the belief in reincarnation and the divine legitimacy of the caste system, a concept increasingly under challenge in modern day India.
Hinduism is proportionately, the fastest growing religion in Australia today. Whether due to an influx of Hindu migrants of Indian extraction or the increasing involvement of Australians from a Judeo-Christian background. This growth of the Hindu community, its building of Hindu temples, and its display of florid Hindu cultural forms amid Australia's suburban landscape, may be the result of the colourful profusion of deities and ceremonies which offer a distinctive appeal to people seeking a sense of the sacred in everyday life.
We interview Professor Oliver Mendelsohn from Latrobe University and Dr Kalpana Ram, Research Fellow at Macquarie University on the subject of caste in India and Australia.
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