Buddism as such does not exist in India (Or the number of Buddhists is very small). But it spread all over Asia. In fact, it was the religion of Asia and middle east before Christianity and Muslim religions swept the world. Jainism on the other hand exist only in a corner of India and does not exist outside India.
These religions did not disappear totally from the mainstream scene. In fact, modern Hinduism has several aspects of these 2 religions. Indians are mostly vegetarian now only because of these 2 religions preached it and Hinduism took it.
Apart from philosophy and origin, these 2 religions shared/borrowed a lot of Gods from Hindu religions. In the middle ages, all the 3 religions competed for the approval of Royal court and saints in each denomination debated and won at various times. Depending on who won, same temples were converted to either Buddhist, Hindu (Shiva, Vishnu) or Jain temples.
Religion in India is not a separate entity from one’s life and the society he or she lives in. The society varied depending on one’s caste, social status, but each followed certain rules of their “religion”. Religion was also very personal. There were several stories written in middle ages that talk about people from various classes coming into contact with God. This concept is not well understood in the west. When I first came into this country, I was always asked if my Religion precluded me from doing certain things. The answer was always “no” as I feared being branded “religious”. After many years, I am thinking the answer could be a Yes, but unfortunately it’s not as “Black and White” as in the west. Here you are either religious or *not*. In fact, in America, you are not truly religious, if you are not following Christ.
Like everything else Religion is a gray area. Brain is a gray matter, then why should the religion be black or white? In fact, to this day religion in India is a constantly evolving phenomenon. About 500 years ago, someone...