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Hinduism. NOTES Hinduism more a system of actions than of beliefs. Which deity one adheres to isn’t crucial to one’s standing as a Hindu. Almost like.

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Presentation on theme: "Hinduism. NOTES Hinduism more a system of actions than of beliefs. Which deity one adheres to isn’t crucial to one’s standing as a Hindu. Almost like."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hinduism

2 NOTES Hinduism more a system of actions than of beliefs. Which deity one adheres to isn’t crucial to one’s standing as a Hindu. Almost like two religions: Vedic or Brahmanism; & those based on devotional sects of Krishna, Vishnu, Shiva, etc and based in Maha & Bhagavad Gita Three gods stand out: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Brahma is the personification of Brahman, the sacred power or world-soul that underlies all existence. Shiva, the destroyer/regenerator and Vishnu the preserver & protector.

3 Generalizations about Hindu scriptures are especially difficult to make; almost every statement has exceptions. Still, the main lines of scriptures can be reliably traced. Hindus acknowledge the sacredness of the Vedas, and adhere to a structure of society as reflected in the law-code scriptures (including caste structure),

4 Dancers, Bali Indonesia The Balinese religion is based on Hinduism, but incorporates a lot of pre-Hindu, animist beliefs (primarily ancestor worship). In ancient times the founder of a Balinese village was revered as a god after his death by the village people. When the Hindu princes from Java occupied Bali, their form of worshipping their dead kings as gods came very close to the old Balinese ancestor worship. The many different gods of Bali (gods of Earth, Fire, Water, and Fertility) were now all viewed as different manifestations of the Trimurti, the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and the destroyer/creator Shiva. (

5 The Ramayana narrative being performed in The traditional Balinese dance form

6 India – a land of religious diversity The chief architectural symbol of India is the Taj Mahal (lower right), a Muslim mosque. India is predominantly Hindu, but after the division of Pakistan has a 20% Muslim population and sizeable Sikh, Zoroastrian, and Christian minorities.

7 Introduction to Hinduism Hinduism is one of the most internally diverse world religions. It has many gods and allows many “paths” to salvation. The scriptures of Hinduism mirror this diversity. Vast in size, varied in usage, and profound in influence, many scriptures have been used for three thousand years. “Hinduism” and “Indian” were territorial terms applied by foreigners. Hindu self-identity mirrors external challenges of Islam (9 th CE onwards) and colonialism (esp. 19 th C.). Would there be a “Hindu consciousness” apart from the need to distinguish it from Muslim and Christian, etc.? All Hindus have a basic reverence for the most ancient scriptures, the Vedas written over a vast period of time. Secondly, all acknowledge a feeling for the structure of society as reflected in the law-code scriptures (including caste structure).

8 The Two Main Divisions in Hindu Scriptures Shruti “What is heard”: the earliest, Vedic scripture Includes hymns, books directing sacrifice, and books for meditation Includes the Upanishads: philosophy of cosmic reality and the way to true liberation through thought. Smriti “What is remembered,”: all other later scripture; includes law codes, legends, and lore Seeks to carry out the basic religious message of Shruti Includes the Bhagavad Gita as section of the Mahabarata, the most popularly influential and beloved Hindu sacred story.

9 The Hindu “Trimurti” Brahman as all three Gods of the Trimurti, Brahman, Shiva, and Vishnu. But Hindus often have a primary attachment to a single chosen god or goddess among many. Hinduism a religion of ‘330 million gods’; yet ‘all gods are one god’ = Henotheism “People say, ‘Sacrifice to this god or that god.’ But each god is his manifestation, for he is all gods.” (B-A Upanisad)

10 The Trimurti and “Henotheism” The different gods are all manifestations of the same divine reality. They are all manifestations of the infinite, omni-present and ultimately incomprehensible Brahman- without-attributes. This attitude allows devotion to different deities, and even extolling each as as supreme, while adopting religious pluralism and tolerance. Hindu polytheism/ henotheism “is an expression of Hindu pluralism.”

11 The Upanisads and the mystical ‘yoking’ of self (atman) and Brahman-Atman Upanisad means ‘to sit down next to’ (a spiritual guide or teacher). What is the relation between the individual self (atman) and Atman? Mystical experience related the unity of all things fleetingly experienced in the ‘fourth’ state. The sacred syllable “OM” reflects the monism and mysticism of the Upanisadic teachings. The practice of Yoga is believed to enable one to realize the highest self-knowledge, the “non-duality” of self and other, individual self and world-soul or Brahman-Atman: “Thou art that” (the Self or Atman).

12 OM Considered to be the hidden, mystical sound the cosmos makes. Pronounced by chanting in a lengthy, resonant way. Used in meditation, and at the beginning and end of reading scripture. The Om written out (left) is often used as a symbol of Hinduism.

13 Cosmogony in the Upanisads “In the beginning this world was Self (Atman) in the form of a Person. Looking around, he saw nothing else than himself. He first said “I am…He was afraid. Therefore one who is alone is afraid…Verily he had no delight. Therefore one alone has no delight. He desired a second. He was, indeed, as large as a woman and a man closely embraced. He caused that self to fall into two pieces. Hence arose a husband and a wife, and therefore it is true: ‘Oneself is like a half-fragment.’ He lay with her. Therefore human beings were produced. She changed herself into the cow, but he became a bull and again they mated. She became a mare, and he a stallion; she became and ewe and he a ram. In this way he created everything that exists in pairs, down to the ants. He knew: ‘I indeed am this creation, for I created all this.’ Therefore he became the creation, and he who knows this lives on in this his creation.” (Brihad-Aranyaka Upanisad) Origin of the Caste System (from Hymn to Purusha): “When they divided the Self, into how many parts did they arrange him?...The brahmin was his mouth, his two arms were made the kshatriyas (warriors), his two thighs the vaisya (merchants; farmers), from his feet the shudra (servile caste) was born.”

14 The Caste System The ‘Twice-Born’ Castes: The Brahmins (priests and intellectuals) were born of the mouth of Brahma and speak with the gods for humankind. The Kshatriyas (rulers and warriors) were born of Lord Brahma's arms and are given the task of protecting society. The Vaishyas (business people) were born of his thighs and do trade, business, and large-scale farming. The Lower Castes: The Shudras (or common laborers and small farmers) were born of Brahma's feet and their only purpose is to serve the other three castes. Includes the "untouchables" who are considered outside the system (hence “outcastes”).

15 Religions in India, 1987

16 Women in Hinduism Traditional women often wear devotional marks to their deity on their foreheads. Significance of awakening of a third, “spiritual eye”. The life of women in Hinduism has been tightly regulated in the past by Hindu law. The Laws of Manu specify that females are “never to be independent” of male authority. Woman can sometimes ascend their caste through marriage; but no matter what her caste, a Hindu woman’s life consists of serving her husband and family. In modern India, a movement to liberate women is taking place, especially in the cities. Example: ‘The Bandit Queen’

17 The Bhagavad-Gita Its name means “The Song of the Lord.” Found in a section of the long epic, the Mahabharata. Comprises a dialogue between Krishna (an avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu) and Arjuna in the context of a civil war. Its main point: Do your caste duties faithfully, and even if you have doubts about them, act with detachment. Each person has sacred dharma (moral duty) to promote the stability, solidarity and progress of society. feature=related 17 minute video-English; start at 10 feature=related

18 Use of Scriptures in Hinduism Use depends on one’s caste, occupation, and the god to whom one is devoted. Vedas are used for ritual by Brahmin priests. Upanishads are used for philosophic meditation, yoga, and study. Law codes like Manu structure society; source of castes and divisions of labor. The Mahabarata and Ramayana “epics” are perhaps the best-loved and most influential text in popular Hinduism. Oral usage predominates over written for almost all Hindu scripture.

19 Origin and Development of Scriptures Vedas have their origin in ancient rituals. The later Vedic literature, especially the Upanishads, both justify and criticize sacrificial worship. The term means “sitting down near,” so it’s a lesson given at the foot of a master. Smriti has little interest in ritual, dealing with broad religious and cultural topics. Like Hinduism as a whole, the leading purposes of these scriptures are kept over time, often combined with newer rituals and later literary works.

20 The Four Vedas Rig Veda: Hymns; the most important of the Vedas. Yajur Veda: Formulas for sacrifice Sama Veda: Songs for sacrifice Atharva Veda: Spells for a variety of purposes.

21 Other Shruti Brahmanas: “Brahmin Books” for the sacrificial rites; one for each of the 4 Vedas. Aranyakas: “Forest Books”: philosophical meditations and speculations on sacrifice Upanishads: philosophy of cosmic reality and the way to true liberation through thought.

22 Smriti The role of Smriti is to bring out the meaning of Shruti and apply it to later ages. The Smriti literature is vast: myths and legends of the Puranas, epics like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, and law codes like Laws of Manu. Because of its more popular and ever-developing nature, Smriti scripture has had a strong influence on Hindu religion and Indian culture. Prime example: the Bhagavad-Gita, with its easy-to- understand moral lessons of caste duty, and prescription for a karma yoga (caste duty) and bhakti (devotion to Krishna) orientation as the uniquely best and the kind open to all (unlike the upanisads, which favor jnana and raja and the Vedic cult dominated by the Brahmins)

23 THE FOUR STAGES OF LIFE 1. STUDENT 2. HOUSEHOLDER 3. RETIREMENT 4. WANDERING ASCETIC Each stage is related, though not strictly, to the four goals of life: moral education, earning of wealth, enjoyment of sensual pleasures, and the seeking of liberation (Moksa).



26 Meet the Gods: Brahman

27 The Hindu Trimurti

28 Three in One BRAHMAN (THE CREATOR; BRAHMAN-ATMAN) Saguna Brahma or Ishvara (īśvara, Hindi Ishvar) is God or Supreme Consciousness with gunas (qualities or attributes). Ishvara, literally "master, lord" (also used to denote "lord" in a secular sense, as any master or king.), frequently translated as "the Supreme Lord", is used to refer to the One and the Supreme God in a monotheistic sense.GodgunaslordkingGod This contrasts with Nirguna Brahman, the Supreme Consciousness or Supreme Spirit, i.e., Brahman beyond the attributes.Nirguna BrahmanBrahman VISHNU The preserver; the forces of preservation, love and benevolence Krishna, is an avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu SHIVA The destroyer; represents forces of destruction and regeneration Dance; both "terrible and mild”

29 Shiva, the dancing god

30 Shiva “both terrible and mild” (Destroyer and Regenerator; Show Cosmic version. The hands of the four-armed Shiva: Legs: one is dancing on a dwarf = ignorance (Maya-no offense to dwarves) = driving us into the world, while the other is uplifting. Left top: holds flame; constant transformation of the world, and its ultimate destruction 2 nd : held out in the ‘elephant’ position =teaching hand Right: holds drum = creation of the world 2 nd is up = as assurance that the cycle of creation and destruction is eternal, like a cosmic dance without end.

31 Shiva attended by the cow-herds

32 Vishnu, Preserver & Protector At the end of the world (Kalpa-age) he brings forth Shiva, who then destroys the universe by means of his cosmic dance. After Vishnu has rested on his snake couch, and mates with Yoganidra, the process of creation starts over again, as its has countless times before. Cyclical time vs. Western directional time.

33 Vishnu as Krishna

34 Vishnu

35 Vishnu riding Garuda

36 Other gods: Ganesha God of wisdom and the remover of obstacles, son of Shiva and Parvati. One day Parvati, wife of Shiva, made a clay statue of a boy and breathed life into it to create a son and guardian of the house. Shiva arrived home and in a jealous rage chopped of his head before learning this was his own son. A remorseful Shiva then sent servants to find a head to replace it, but they couldn’t find a human head but instead brought back an elephant head, which Shiva then re-attached and breathed life into.

37 Ganesha Symbolism

38 Hindu Goddesses: Kali The Hindu goddess Kali is a ferocious form of the Divine Mother. Kali is the goddess of time and of the transformation that is death. In the ignorant ones she creates fear (existential death anxiety), while for others she removes the ignorance that makes us fear death. The intention of her standing over the slain Shiva “is not to portray the goddess as a slayer of men but as the power (Shakti) of Shiva, who without her is inert like a corpse.” ganga.html ganga.html

39 Hindu Goddesses: Shakti Shakti is a more benign image of the mother goddess, a universal principle of energy, power or creativity. The ten Mahavidyas are incarnations of the Goddess Shakti covering the whole range of feminine divinity. Shakti is the divine force, manifesting to destroy demonic forces and restore balance. The play of female energy has no beginning and no end. Every God in Hinduism has his Shakti, and according to followers ofs Shakti and without that energy they have no power. The worship of Shakti as this energy is closely associated with of Tantric and Kundalini Yoga.Tantric and Kundalini Yoga

40 the Seven Chakras


42 Yoga Techniques Yama (control) : nonviolence, truth, honesty, sexual continence, forbearance, fortitude, kindness, straightforwardness, moderation in diet, bodily purity. Niyama (rules of conduct) : austerity, contentment, belief in God, charity, worship of God, study of teachings and scriptures, modesty, having a discerning mind, repetition of prayers (japa), observance of vows and performing sacrifices.japa Asanas (postures) : as a motionless body makes the mind quiet, 48 postures have been described of which at the least one must be mastered if one is to reach a deep state of meditation. Pranayama (control of breath) : inhalation, holding the breath, exhalation … through 3 kinds of muscular control (bandhas). Pratyahara (withdrawal of sensory perceptions) : consisting of breath suspension and holding the mind, that step by step absorbs the senses in Kundalini energy. Dharana (concentration) : by the aid of mantras, deep concentration on the six subtle centers of the chakras, starting from the first and gradually approaching the seventh. Dhyana (uninterrupted mediation) : in which the ego, mind, and intellect dissolve. Samadhi (complete equilibrium) : the individual consciousness becomes pure consciousness, supreme consciousness. Hatha is a compound of the words Ha and Tha meaning sun and moon and refers to the principal energy channels of the “subtle body”: the energetic psycho-spiritual body we all possess to varying degrees.

43 Yoga has developed systematic techniques of breathing regulating its speed, depth and rhythm [Go to page with specific types-emphasize disciplines, Yogic techniques are typically associated with theories on chakras, theories that fit within systems that link the human body and mind into a single unit, described as psycho- physical, or sometimes called the 'bodymind' (Sanskrit/Pali: namarupa). The philosophical theories and models of chakras as centers of energy were first codified in ancient India. Compare CTM and meridians of Ch’i—Indian more related to glands (sexual chakra today with testies/ovaries and with sex hormones, but others with adreniline or the products and effects of other glands).bodymindnamarupa The object of the tantric practice of kundalini-yoga is to awaken this cosmic energy and cause it to unite with Siva, the Pure Consciousness pervading the whole universe. “In yoga, a set of techniques is used to raise the coiled Kundalini energy through all seven chakras towards the seventh chakra. In this way, the divine mother Shakti, in the form of Kundalini, can find union with Shiva, her beloved, who resides in eternal bliss at the top of the skull.”-White A particular deity may be associated with each of the 7 chakras “Tantra” means liberation through expansion. "Tantra is that [pan]-Asian body of beliefs and practices which, working from the principle that the universe we experience is nothing other than the concrete manifestation of the divine energy of the Godhead that creates and maintains that universe. The practitioner seeks to ritually appropriate and channel that energy, within the human microcosm, to realize the macrocosm in the microcosm. This energy gets sexualized when identified first, with the root and sexual chakras in one’s body, and second, with female energy. often aesthetic, but trantric and Kundalini forms as associated with Kama Sutra, though disciplines, are disciplines involving sexual conduct and techniques, and hence with Kama or pleasure]. The Sanskrit word kundalini means 'coiled-up'. The coiled kundalini is this energy existing in latent form, not that different from the labidinal energy Freud spoke of. Its actually there not only in every human being but in every atom of the universe.

44 Tantric/Kundalini Energy

45 “Kundalini” energy is one's dormant spiritual energy. “Tantra” means “continuity” or “integration.” As a term for a form of both Hindu and Buddhist religious practice, tantric practices have as their goal to reach an awakened state of higher consciousness by incorporating all the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects. “The divine power—Kundalini—shines like the stem of a young lotus; Like a snake, coiled round upon herself, She holds her tail in her mouth, And lies resting half asleep at the base of the body” (Yoga Kundalini Upanishad).

46 The Kama Sutra. The dissemination of the "Discipline of Kama" (Love/Pleasure) is attributed to Nandi, the sacred bull and Shiva’s doorkeeper, who was moved by overhearing the lovemaking of the god and his wife Parvati, to record this for the benefit of all man (and woman) kind!

47 So Kundalini is depicted as a white coiled serpent (kundalini sakti) sleeping at the base of the spine in the bottom of the seven chakras, or centers. Through meditation and Yogic techniques, is thought metaphorically to awaken and travels up the spine through the other chakras. The final chakra is at the top of the head, the site of blissful awakening. As each chakra is opened, one experiences different states of consciousness. All the thoughts in one’s mind can be utilized as a stepping stone to reach spiritual enlightenment, enabling one to transcend all earthly concepts and to see everything in divine function: the “macrocosm in the microcosm.” The release and ascent of the dormant spiritual Kundalini energy that resides in the root and sexual chakras, enables the aspirant of Kundalini Yoga, whether male or female, to transcend the effects of the elements and achieve consciousness that brings liberation from the ever-changing world of illusion (Maya). Parvati joining with her Shiva. The arousal of this female sexual energy is divine energy, too. While sexuality and physical function are aspects of attaining full enlightenment, the basis of Tantra is to evoke the Goddess within and learn from her, not just to increase sexual function, though it has been associated in the West with that, too. The tradition is disavowed by most Brahmins, and others whose Yogic practices is more ascetic and may entail sexual celibacy. Sorry, no extra credit available on this!

48 Meditation aids: Mantras (ritually repeated phrases) Mudras (hand gestures) Mandalas (visual aids) feature=related meditational video with mandalas feature=related


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