In a restricted sense, the total of religious beliefs and practises in India, growing out of ancient Brahmanism, and contrasting with the present orthodox Brahmanism. In its broader and generally accepted application Hinduism comprises all religious, social, and intellectual life popularly accepted as compatible with Brahman tradition. It extends to orthodox Brahmanism, and to popular Vishnuism and Shivaism with their numerous schisms. The Brahman priests require but recognition of their supremacy and of certain fundamental traditions. The elastic pantheistic all-god Brahma admits all varieties of worship from the higher monotheistic to the popular depraved worship of nature, demons, animals, and trees, together with fetishism, totemism, and animism. Hinduism is of wide adaptation with its spiritual and abstract, practical and concrete, ethical and ceremonial, and quiescent and contemplative sides. Bound up with its castes, and its intricate social customs, it is a national, not a world religion. See also: Brahmanism.

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