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Presentation on theme: "Hinduism."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hinduism

2 Origins of Hinduism = 1500s BCE in the Indus Valley region of India

3 Word Hindu from Sanskrit word “sindhu” meaning river
Originally referred to people living in Indus Valley region Later referred to religious beliefs and practices of people of India Over 95% of world’s Hindus live in India

4 Hinduism didn’t begin with a founder nor a particular event that marked its beginning – Hinduism is synthesis of many factors Includes Vedic religion of the Indo-Aryans, the brahminical sacrificial rituals called bhatki and the asceticism and meditation of Jainism and Buddhism

5 Hindus accept premises or parts of several religions, yet Hindus hold that no one religion can possibly claim knowledge of the absolute truth To Hindus the ultimate reality that other religions may name as God is unknowable

6 Since Hinduism has no founder and no set date for its beginnings, must speak of how Hinduism emerged, not began

7 History of Hinduism like banyan tree
A banyan tree does not only have branches that grow up, some grow down into the ground, become roots and sport new trunks alongside the old tree – in old banyan tree it’s difficult to distinguish what is the original trunk So too religions in India have expanded and changed so much that what we now call Hinduism has no linear line to a beginning

8 Basic outline of Hinduism History

9 Indus Valley Period (3000 BCE-1500 BCE)
Before Aryans invaded India in 1500 BCE there was an ancient civilization in the Indus Valley – Hinduism contains elements of this ancient civilization Those who settled in India became known as Indo-Aryans and brought with them the Vedic religion – Vedic hymns were complied into written text and became the sacred scripture of Hinduism Some Vedic gods became precursors to Hindu gods Vedic priests known as Brahmins performed ritual sacrifices – this too was absorbed into Hinduism Western scholars hold that Hinduism officially began in 1500s BCE

10 Brahmanical Period (1500-300 BCE)
Indo-Aryans intermarried with indigenous population and migrated south to Ganges River– created elaborate civilization in 900 BCE Role of Brahmins increased Various schools of Brahmins specialized in certain types of sacrifices to gods Brahmins composed commentaries on rituals = Brahmanas Included in Shruti = oldest of Hindu scriptures

11 Reaction to Brahminism (550 BCE-300 AD)
Role of Brahmin decreased as gurus emerged A Guru is a teacher or guide who instructs his followers on how to find salvation Gurus trained disciples in bhatki or personal devotion to gods Through bhatki people come to know God through personal experience and prayer 2 Hindu gods, Shiva and Vishnu, gained prominence during this time There was a rise in ascetical practice

12 Classical Period (300-1200 AD)
Hinduism became recognized as a religion Ritual forms changed dramatically Hindu temples were established, as well as home-based rituals Sanskrit, the liturgical and scriptural language of Hinduism only understood by a few, was changed into the vernacular (common) language of peoples Shruti Scripture containing the Vedas, became the authoritative scripture of Hinduism, considered to be written by the divine The Smriti, including 2 great epics became popular Deals with struggle of good and evil

13 Hindu-Muslim Period (1200AD-Present)
Muslim traders reached India at end of 7th century, by 1021 Muslims conquered northwest India In 12th-13th centuries Muslims invaded India, administrating the region from Delhi Some Muslim rulers tolerant of Hinduism, while others sought to destroy Hindu temples and statues In 15th century Sikhism developed out of Muslim invasion = combination of Hinduism and Islam Akbar in 16th century tried to synthesize religions of India, but was unsuccessful After Akbar Muslim toleration of Hinduism deteriorated During this time Hindus established practices that clearly distinguished them

14 In 1947 Muslims established Pakistan a Muslim country
Have been many conflicts between Muslims of Pakistan and Hindus of India In the 16th century Christian missionaries had great influence on Hinduism Due to Christian influence many Hindu reformers emerged in 19th century Mohandas Ghandi or Mahatma (“Great Soul”) Gandhi, advocated equality of all religions, ahimsa or non-violence and satyagraha (passive resistance) to British rule

15 In 20th century there has been exportation of Hinduism outside of India
Beatles brought Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and Transcendental Meditation to world’s attention = a person given a mantra to meditate on daily International Society of Krishna Consciousness/Hare Krishnas founded 1965

16 Beliefs of Hinduism Hindus have no set standards of doctrine that they must believe There are some things that all Hindus accept as true

17 2 categories: Shruti and Smriti
Hindu Scriptures 2 categories: Shruti and Smriti

18 Shruti means “that which has been heard”
More sacred scripture Revealed by the gods and not one syllable is to change Earliest scriptures called Vedas From Aryan era – main form of worship was fire sacrifice to the gods where the priests changed hymns known as Vedas Vedas considered sacred knowledge that wasn’t to be passed onto anyone but priests

19 Brahmanas are second type of Shruti scripture
A collection of commentaries where myths used to explaining meaning and purpose of rituals Upanishads = writings concerned with nature of human awareness and mystical relationship between Brahman and atman Stories often shared between guru and student

20 Smriti means “that which is to be remembered,” and is less authoritative
Contains Hindu traditions originally passed down orally through the ages More popularly read then Shruti Includes Mahabharata = Hindu epic of war between 2 families over inheritance – Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, supports the righteous family

21 Contains Bhagavad Gita = most popular Hindu scripture = story of Arjuna, brother in the righteous family, who is caught between his obligation to protect his family from the wicked one and his dedication to non-violence – he debates this with Krishna, who is Brahman Point = one who desires full union with Brahman can’t do so without escaping this world 2nd greatest Hindu epic = Ramayana – about prince Rama who is forced into exile and goes on a long journey to find his kidnapped wife Puranas = collection of stories about the 3 great gods of Hinduism: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva also contains stories about the universe

22 There are nearly 330 million gods in Hinduism – there are so many gods and goddesses in Hinduism that they cannot be counted Hindus believe that all gods and goddesses are images of the one Ultimate Reality or Absolute Reality, known as Brahman

23 All gods and goddesses are worshipped as forms of Brahman
The Ultimate Reality or Absolute Reality is identical to the innermost soul, the real self of each person, called atman Body, mind and emotions of a person aren’t considered a person’s real self, they are only illusions or maya Maya keeps one from one’s real self, and from Brahman and atman Hindus strive for release from maya in order to achieve union with Brahman, that is atman Brahman and atman are interchangeable

24 While gods and goddesses have attributes, mostly human attributes, Brahman has no attributes
Brahman is transcendent, beyond reach Brahman is the life force of the universe permeating it Brahman is manifested in creation as the many Hindu gods and goddesses 3 primary forms of Brahman symbolize the cycle of life Brahma is the Creator god Vishnu is the Preserving god Shiva is the Destroying god

25 Avatar = the incarnation of a god or goddess who has descended from the heavenly world to earth to rid the world of evil 2 most popular avatars = Vishnu named Krishna and Rama Guatama the Buddha founder of Buddhism, is considered an avatar of Vishnu In Hinduism, Jesus is a teacher and guru, or an avatar of the god Vishnu His death does not atone for sins and He did not rise from the dead

26 Cycle of Rebirth Life is cyclical not linear
Life cycle = birth, death and rebirth Rebirth occurs because one’s deeds on earth didn’t merit them to be liberated from the cycle Every person is on a cycle determined by karma the moral law of cause and effect Who one is and how one now acts is determined by deeds in the person’s previous lives How one acts now determines one’s fate for the future

27 Death and rebirth are part of the cycle known as samsara or the transmigration of souls
A soul passes from one body to another Example = from human body to animal or insect The physical body dies, the eternal atman lives on in another body Good actions merit migration to a better situation in the next life, while bad actions merit migration to a worse situation

28 Hindus believe there is a liberation, moksha, from this endless cycle of rebirth
Achieved by removing the karmic residue that has accumulated throughout countless deaths and rebirths Achieved by 3 disciplines: Path of Action, Path of Knowledge and Path of Devotion Called yoga – erode the negative effects of karma

29 Path of Action = karma yoga – includes selfless service to others, all deeds not done for self but for Brahman Path of Knowledge = jnan yoga – includes learning, thinking and viewing oneself in the 3rd person Utilizes meditation so a person can see the truth in how they are attached to this world, then become unattached Path of Devotion = bhakti yoga – followed by most Hindus Pure, long devotion, to Brahman can bring liberation

30 What happens after death?
If one has been bad, one can be reborn and pay for past sins (bad karma) by suffering Reincarnation into a better status (good karma) if person has behaved well

31 How to be Saved Hindus generally regard salvation as release from the cycle of reincarnation Salvation may be attained through yoga and meditation Salvation can take many lifetimes to achieve Final salvation is union with Brahman

32 Sacredness of Life Hindus believe Brahman is in all things – humans, plants, animals and insects Because of this all things are sacred Ahimsa = name that describes the desire not to harm any form of life Basis for Hindu’s belief in non-violent means as a solution to problems Causes most Hindus to be vegetarian and that the cow is considered sacred

33 4 stages of life and 4 major purposes for living
Though Hindus have very diverse beliefs, the typical actions of Hindus are uniform 4 stages of life and 4 major purposes for living

34 Caste system = one’s social group in Hindu society
Hindus are not tolerant of one straying from their caste Castes are related to karma and samsara in that caste is dependent upon actions in a previous life Born into caste level

35 Levels from highest to lowest:
Brahmins = priests, from families who are considered purest, wisest and most learned Kshatriyas = warriors, help protect and rule society Vaishya = farmers and merchants Shudra = servants, lowest in caste system – serve those in other levels of caste, are not permitted to study scripture

36 5th level of caste = asprishya or the untouchables
Deemed so low it’s not part of caste system The families that are considered defiled because they have degrading jobs in society, such as cleaning up human waste Means that actions in one’s previous lives were in some way vile Ghandi worked to uplift the untouchables from degrading status

37 Caste system has strong hold on Hindu society
A person is bound to the caste their born into until death Person must dutifully submit to all requirements defined for their caste: clothing, habits, religious practices

38 Despite caste, all Hindus subscribe to 4 major purposes for living
Dharma = person’s duties in life, especially those related to social obligations within one’s caste Artha = pursuit of both material and political wealth Kama = pursuit of artistic, recreational and sensual pleasures Moksha = pursuit of liberation from cycle of rebirth through actions, thoughts and devotions

39 Stages of Life 4 stages of life are general patterns for Hindu males to follow – called ashramas Women are to be daughters, wives and mothers and live under protection of male

40 Brahmancarin = student learns about Hindu tradition, at feet of a guru
Grihastha = stage of the house-holder when he marries, raises a family and contributes to society Banaprastha = man begins to move away from ordinary life to life as a hermit in order to pursue other-worldly desires Sannyasin = spiritual pilgrim who renounces everything in this world to pursue moksha – includes abandoning family and family name, living without memory of previous life

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