Development of Religion in South India

Development of Religion in South India

Development of Religion in South India

Development of Religion in South India

Excerpt

Religion has generally formed one of the most important factors in the life and history of all nations. In India it has animated social life in an exceptional measure and the concept of Dharma has commanded universal allegiance throughout the sub-continent in all its history. It has exerted its influence even on the followers of alien faiths like Islam and Christianity, which in their turn have also influenced it, though perhaps not to the same extent. It is the aim of this little book to trace the leading religious movements in the history of South India and assess the contribution made by their leaders at different times to the practice of religion and the speculations of philosophy which in India were seldom divorced from religion.

By South India we mean the entire triangular peninsula south of the dividing line formed by the Vindhya mountains and the Narmadā and Tapti rivers in the west and the Mahānadī in the east. This region has been held to be one of the oldest habitats of man, say from 300,000 B.C.; this view gains support from the discovery of considerable numbers of paleoliths, crude stone implements, in various parts, though not of skeletal remains of humans. These were followed by microliths, some of which are thought to be as old as 6000 B.C. if not earlier, though their use seems to have continued till relatively much later. The remains of the neolithic age are more plentiful, though not enough to give a clear picture of its life and culture. Many megalithic monuments have come to light and these constitute tangible evidence of the latest phases of the pre-history of South India-- a subject that is being studied systematically only of late.

Megalithic settlements are generally found on the slopes of hills or amidst rocky outcrops in the neighbourhood of natural . . .

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