Presentation on theme: "Hinduism An introduction"— Presentation transcript:
1Hinduism An introduction Ekam sat, viprah bahuda vadantiThere is one truth, only men describe it in different ways- Rg VedaHinduism An introduction
2Hinduism is one of the worlds major religions Hinduism is one of the worlds major religions. It is the oldest major religion. There are approximately 900 million Hindus today. Major populations include India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Mauritius, Fiji, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Guyana, Indonesia.
3HistoryHinduism has no founder. The ancestors of the Hindus were known as the Aryas. They called their religion Santana Dharma (The Eternal Religion). As the Aryans moved north around 1500BC and shared their religion with the indigenous peoples of north India. The name Hinduism comes from the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the Persian name for the Indus River. The river was the border between Persia and Ancient India.
4Dharmic ReligionThe most widely known Dharmic religions are Hinduism and Buddhism The concept of Dharma is complex but basically it is a belief in: Natural laws and natural harmony A path to righteousness through spiritual duty Spiritual justice (karma)
5GodMost Hindus believe in a ‘god concept’ known as Brahman. The concept of Brahman is: Eternal, genderless, omnipotent and omnipresent. Present within the human soul Present within everything in the world and universe To discover ones soul (atman) is to discover Brahman There are many deities in Hinduism but the ‘Absolute’ is known as the Brahman.
6Sacred Texts – Sruti (The Vedas) The Vedas are sacred books of divinely given knowledge, handed down through generations of Hindu sages There are 4 Vedas – holy books of hymns, chants and rituals. Each Veda contains 4 sections that represent the 4 stages of the life cycle
7Rejection of worldy life in order to achieve Moksa The four VedasRgYajurSamaAtharvaEach Veda contains 4 sections that correspond to the four stages of the life cycle. The most important section is the Upanishad because it teaches a person the skills required to achieve moksa (enlightenment).Mantra-samhitaBrahmanaAranyakaUpanishadHymnsCeremonies and ritesLife of retirementRejection of worldy life in order to achieve Moksa
8Of these the most widely known would be the Bhagavad Gita Sacred Text - SmritiThe Smriti are the secondary scriptures. These are accessible to everyone. The Smriti are made up of scriptures, poems and stories. Which can be renacted through dance or drama.Of these the most widely known would be the Bhagavad Gita
9KarmaKarma is the effect of any action: All good actions produce good effects. All bad actions produce bad effects. The fruits of good deeds bring pleasure and enjoyment. The fruits of bad deeds bring suffering and pain No person can escape the karmic forces
10ReincarnationReincarnation is the return of the soul to be reborn into a new physical body Reincarnation occurs because a person must gradually evolve spiritually through experiences of different incarnations.
11Moksa (Moksha)The cycle of repeating the process of birth and death (reincarnation) is called samsara. The ultimate goal for Hindus is to free themselves from samsara Once a person has reached the highest point of his spiritual path through ‘God-realisation’, their soul is freed. This liberation from the cycle is known as moksa.
12Four goalsTo reach Moksa a person must move through the four goals of human life. From the lowest (kama) to the highest (moksa)Kama – desire for senory pleasure Artha – acquisition of worldly possessions Dharma – carrying out religious duties Moksa – liberation through God realisation
13Class and casteThe Hindu caste system divided society into 4 classes (varnas). This was based on a persons inherant qualities (guna) and karma.Brahmins Teachers, scholars, priestsQualities of compassion, unselfishness, spirituality and morality. The teachers of spiritual knowledgeKshatriyasKings, warriorsQualities of military or royal leadership. The ruling class.VaishyasMerchantsQualities of professional knowledge. Gifted merchants and businessmen.ShudrasFarmers, artisans etcAll others. The labouring class.Below these were the ‘untouchables’ (dalit). The outcastes of society including the peasant workers and people who work with animal or human waste
14Mantras and SymbolsMantras and symbols are sacred words or images that have an association with God. Chanting a mantra can bring spiritual enlightenment to a person and bring them closer to God.The symbol of Om (Aum) is both a mantra (aural) and symbol (visual). It represents: A: creation/beginning U: progress M: destruction/dissolution
15Symbols Lotus Universe rising out of primeval waters Om Represents BrahmanCow The Hindu sacred animal. Descendant of KamadhenuSvastika Auspicious symbol of luck and favour
16Sacred placesGanges River Rivers are seen as a bridge between heaven and earth. The waters of the Ganges are seen as healing and have the power to liberate a persons soul from the cycle of reincarnationTemples/Shrines Many Hindu homes have a small shrine for daily worship. Visiting temples is not obligatory for Hindus, they offer a venue for religious singing and public gathering.
17TeachersGuru: Hindu spiritual teachers are known as gurus. They guide students toward spiritual knowledge. Faith and confidence in the self and the guru is key to this process. Priest: Devoted priests care for temple shrines
18Now that you know more about the Hindu belief system… Now that you know more about the Hindu belief system….. Think about how persepctives of these beliefs might differ within the Hindu values system. What things could you ask our visitors about their perspectives?