Hinduism Is not one religion but is a family of religions
Hinduism development India and Hindu derived from the same word--Indus. The Harappa cultured existed in the area. Some argue that the Dravidians lived in India before the invasion of the Aryans. Around 2000 B.C.E. The Aryans entered India. However, recent scholarship suggests that such an invasion never occurred.
The Vedic Period Sacrifices to nature gods Hereditary priesthood Outdoor fire altars Memorized Vedic chants Offering of food, drink, animals
The Vedas The Vedas (knowledge or sacred lore) Sacred chants which made up the sacred literature of the early inhabitants. They were revealed to holy men called rishis. These poetic compositions are made up of history, ethical precepts, moral laws, social traditions and spiritual philosophy.
The Four Texts of the Vedas 1. Rig Veda - hymn of knowledge -- is a collection of more than a thousand prayers hymn- chants (mantras) to the Aryan Gods.
Origin of the Rig-Veda Gods Purusha is described as the All from which parts of the universe came. Gods come from Purusha
The Gods of the Rig-Veda Agni –it is the fire used in the sacrifice. Indra, – he slays demons but preserves humans.
More Gods Soma – is a "deified plant" and is the most important god of the Rig-Veda. Mitra –personifies an agreement or contract. People use the name as a way of validating an agreement.
More Gods Varuna – is also an important deity in the Rig-Veda and is the protector of truth and "the main force in the universe is Rita, which orders all things and prevents Chaos.”
2. Yajur Veda - ceremonial knowledge -- contains those things that are chanted during sacrifice
Vedas 3. Sama Veda - chant knowledge-- is a handbook of musical elaboration of Vedic chants 4. Atharva Veda - knowledge from [the teacher] Artharva -- is made up of practical prayers and charms which protect adherents against snakes and sickness
Upanishads The four Vedas end with something even later known as Upanishads, "which express philosophical and religious ideas that arouse in introspective and meditative traditions." The Upanishads are a collection of about 100 written works that record insights into external and internal reality. They are written in dialogue form and appear as both prose and poet forms.
Hinduism Belief in Brahman as the ultimate reality is what characterizes the adherents of this religion. The Brahman is omnipotent and impersonal. Attaining unity with the Brahman is a key characteristic. One wants the Atman (soul) to be one with Brahman.
Four Stages of Life For the Hindu there are four stages in life. 1.Brahmacarya or student. 2.Gârhastya or householder. 3.Vânaprastya or Renouncer or forest dweller. 4.Sannyâsa or seeker.
Brahmacarya Student This stage is between 8 and 12 but no more than 24. He studies the Vedas and he has a sacred cord which shows that he is a member of one of the 3 highest castes.
Gârhastya Householder At this stage a person is around 25 and usually married “he lives as close to the ideals as he can.” He tries to follow the rituals as prescribed for householders as closely as he can and he tries not to harm other creatures. “Above all he tries to observe duties in marriage, in his occupation and in raising children.” He is a spiritual man who observes his duties.
Vânaprastya Renouncer This person renounces everything including wife and go to the forest; His wife can follow him if he desires. He leaves the village and goes to live in the wilderness. He offers “the five great sacrifices with various sorts of pure food or hermits...”
Sannyâsa Seeker This person seeks release (Samadhi) of the soul so that it can unite with Brahman. This can be done through raya yoga where the body is trained to serve the soul.
Salvation In Hindu tradition one desires to be liberated from the cycle of birth and death; samsara.
Paths to Salvation 1. The way of action (karma yoga) 2. The way of knowledge (jnana yoga) 3. The way of devotion (bhakti yoga) 4. The way of meditation (raja yoga)
Karma Yoga 1. karma yoga - the way of action is the path of unselfish action. One does one’s duty but not for fear of punishment or hope of reward. The right action is done not for praise or blame. One does an act because it is one’s duty dharma not because other people will praise you for it. Duties for men and women are prescribed. One performs the appropriate rituals every day. A person’s whole day is filled with actions explained in the Vedas.
Jnana Yoga jnana yoga - the way of knowledge is the path of scriptural knowledge. A person’s ignorance keeps one in illusion. If the bondage of illusion can be broken one can experience liberation. One attempts to identify with the universal soul instead transient material things or the world. “Salvation lies in a person’s recognizing that his or her identity is ground not in the world but in Brahman- Atman.” One will attach oneself to a guru—someone who is very knowledgeable
Bhakti Yoga Bhakti Yoga - the way of devotion. It is the path of devotion and it is emphasized in the Bhagavad Gita. One serves a god wholeheartedly with no reservations. One embraces god in love. One commits oneself to one of the Hindu gods.
Raja Yoga Raja Yoga - the Way of Physical Discipline. One wants “to train the physical body so that the soul can be free.” There are 8 steps to training the body.
The Eight Steps of Raja Yoga 1. Restraint - no killing, lying, stealing, unchastity, coveting 2. Spiritual Discipline - calm, austerity, study, devotion, purity 3. Posture (lotus best) 4. Controlled breathing 5. Withdrawal of the senses from all sense-objects 6. Concentration 7. Meditation 8. Union with god
Key Terms The most important concepts in the Upanishads, which are still in Hinduism today, are Brahman, Atman, maya, karma and moksha.
Brahman Brahman originally meant cosmic power in the Vedic system. In the Upanishads the word was expanded to mean “a divine reality at the heart of things. To know Brahman cannot be put in words. Brahman is sat, reality itself; chit, pure consciousness, and ananda, bliss. Brahman is beyond time and space.
Hindu Deities The major gods. There are three major gods, which are the center of devotion because they are “interlinked with the forces of creation, preservation, and destruction. The three gods are Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, sometimes together they are called the Trimurti, which means ‘triple form.’”
Brahma Brahma is the creative force that made the universe. Brahma is usually worshiped collectively along with Vishnu and Shiva than alone. He is depicted as “ancient, thoughtful king, with four faces that look in all four directions and four arms.”
Vishnu Vishnu is the force of preservation in the universe. He is thought of light and warmth that destroys darkness, Vishnu grew in stature until finally becoming a major god of Hinduism. He is associated with loving-kindness and can “appear on earth at different times and various physical forms to help those in need.”
Krishna Krishna is another incarnation of Vishnu and may have started as the object of fertility worship.
Shiva Shiva is linked with “destruction and is the most complicated of the gods.” Shiva is expressed as threatening and benevolent, creator but destroyer, exuberant dancer but austere yogi. Shiva’s “creative energy is symbolized or manifested, sometimes more abstractly and sometimes more explicitly, in sexual terms.
Four Major Castes Some historians believe that the Aryans were responsible for the caste system in India. Four major caste systems emerged. –Brahmins –Kshatriya –Vaisyas –Shudras http://nisus.sfusd.edu/schwww/sch618/India/Class_Caste.html
Four Major Castes Brahmins - intellectual and spiritual leaders, priests - They perform the Vedic rituals and counsels. They are in demands a cooks because of the association with fire and sacrifice. Furthermore, they can prepare food for other castes as well as their own.
Kshatriya - warrior- noble - has the role of protecting society. This is the traditional caste of the aristocracy. http://nisus.sfusd.edu/schwww/sch618/India/Class_Caste.html
Vaisyas – the merchants, landowners, moneylenders, and sometimes artisans. Males of the thee upper castes receive a sacred cord during a ceremony in their youth and afterward are called twice-born.” http://nisus.sfusd.edu/schwww/sch618/India/Class_Caste.html
Shudras - the unskilled laborers - do manual labor and is expected to serve the higher castes. The origin probably goes back the Aryan subjection of native people, who were forced to do the work of servants. The peasant is called ‘once-born.’” http://nisus.sfusd.edu/schwww/sch618/India/Class_Caste.html
Untouchables mlechcha - outcastes, untouchables - are considered so low as to be outside the caste system. Untouchables do the dirtiest work–cleaning toilets, sweeping streets, collecting animal carcasses, and tanning animal hides.
Subcaste There is subcaste system which developed over the years from the simple four caste and is quite large. Although the caste system is outlawed it is still practiced to some extent.