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What is Hinduism? One of the oldest religions of humanity The religion of many Indian people Gave birth to Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism Tolerance and diversity:

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Presentation on theme: "What is Hinduism? One of the oldest religions of humanity The religion of many Indian people Gave birth to Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism Tolerance and diversity:"— Presentation transcript:

1 What is Hinduism? One of the oldest religions of humanity The religion of many Indian people Gave birth to Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism Tolerance and diversity: "Truth is one, paths are many" Many deities but a single, impersonal Ultimate Reality A philosophy and a way of life – focused both on this world and beyond

2 How did Hinduism begin? No particular founder Indus River Valley Civilization >5000 years ago Invaders called Aryans enter the region years ago Their beliefs mixed with the beliefs of the native people which develops into Hinduism

3 What are the Sacred Texts? oldest, most authoritative: Four Vedas (“truth”) – myths, rituals, chants Upanishads - metaphysical speculation Plus other texts the Great Indian Epics: Ramayana Mahabharata (includes Bhagavad-Gita) Plus others

4 What do Hindus believe? One impersonal divine force– Brahman Takes the form of many personal deities (gods) True essence of life – Atman, the soul, is Brahman (the holy)trapped in matter (“our bodies”) Reincarnation – atman is continually born into this world lifetime after lifetime (Samsara) Karma – spiritual impurity due to actions keeps us bound to this world (good and bad) Ultimate goal of life – to release Atman and reunite with the divine, becoming as one with Brahman (Moksha)

5 How does Hinduism affect daily life in this word? Respect for all life – vegetarian Human life as supreme: Four “stations” of life (Caste) - priests & teachers, nobles & warriors, merchant class, servant class Four stages of life – student, householder, retired, seeker Four duties of life – pleasure, success, social responsibilities, religious responsibilities (moksha)

6 What are the spiritual practices of Hinduism? The Four Yogas – these are the ways humans try to unite with with the divine: Karma Yoga –selfless service (releases built up karma without building up new karma) Jnana Yoga – study(understanding the true nature of reality and the self) Raja Yoga –meditation Bhakti Yoga –devotion or worship Guru – a spiritual teacher, especially helpful for Jnana and Raja yoga

7 How do Hindus worship? Bhakti Yoga is seeking union with the divine through loving devotion to representatives of the gods In the home (household shrines)In the home In the Temples (priests officiate) Puja Puja – making offerings to and decorating the deity images Darsan Darsan – “seeing” the deity (not idol worship) Prasad – taking the divine within your own being through eating of food shared with the deity

8 Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hindu Pantheon Brahma, the creator god

9 Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hindu Pantheon Vishnu, the preserver god Takes human form as ten avatars (descents) including: Rama (featured in the Ramayana) Krishna (featured in the Mahabharata) (Each shown with his consort, Sita and Radha, respectively)

10 Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hindu Pantheon Shiva, god of constructive destruction (the transformer) Appears as Shiva Nataraj, lord of the dance of creation… and with his wife, Parvati, and son Ganesha (the elephant headed remover of obstacles)

11 All these deities are aspects of the impersonal Brahman All these deities are aspects of the impersonal Brahman

12 Hindus would say that we too are forms of God! “We are not human beings having spiritual experiences; We are spiritual beings having a human experience!” Hinduism is about recognizing the presence of the divine In all things and all people, in everything in the universe


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