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Hinduism. Predominant religion of the Indian subcontinent Often called the “oldest living major religion” in the world About 1 billion followers World’s.

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Presentation on theme: "Hinduism. Predominant religion of the Indian subcontinent Often called the “oldest living major religion” in the world About 1 billion followers World’s."— Presentation transcript:

1 Hinduism

2 Predominant religion of the Indian subcontinent Often called the “oldest living major religion” in the world About 1 billion followers World’s 3 rd largest religion

3 Basic Principles Harmony amid diversity Tolerance towards other faiths #1 focus = concern for human beings “God is one but [humans] call him by many names.” – The Rig Veda

4 Hindu Cosmology Monism = all reality is ultimately one Brahman = ultimate reality understood through contemplation of the universe Atman = ultimate reality understood through contemplation of the inner self ***Brahman and Atman are interchangeable*** – Brahman = Atman; all reality is one

5 Video: Hindu beliefs m5LA m5LA

6 Hinduism’s Deities The divine = one essence But 330 million gods and goddesses make up this essence – Seen as extensions of one ultimate reality – “Masks” for one God – Provide points of contact with the divine for humans


8 Video: Hindu Cosmology WpbRo WpbRo Who are Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva?

9 “Hindu Trinity” Supreme Spirit/Power in the Universe = Lord Brahman 3 forms: Lord Brahma – The creator Lord Vishnu – The preserver Lord Shiva – The destroyer

10 Hindu Temporality Temporality = structure of time Hindu time = cyclical – The universe undergoes long periods of creation and destruction endlessly

11 Reincarnation Samsara = The wheel of rebirth Human life is repeated cyclically and endlessly Until an individual reaches moksha – Moksha = release or liberation – Released from ordinary existence into the realm of the divine

12 Moksha 3 paths to moksha 1. Karma Marga – “the path of works” – Doing the right thing; marked by unselfishness 2. Jnana Marga – “the path of knowledge” – Learning and meditation; experience the true nature of reality 3. Bhakti Marga – “the path of devotion” – Loving reverence and devotion to one’s chosen god/goddess


14 Divine Principles in the World Karma and dharma – Connect the divine with this world (samsara) – Create the basis for a moral life in this world – Give earthly life spiritual significance

15 Karma Karma = “action” or “deeds” Individuals are held morally responsible for their actions Determines the life form a person will be born into in her/his next life Karmic records stay with a person throughout the cycles of reincarnation

16 Dharma Complete rule for life Hindu ethical standard – Determines the rightness or wrongness of one’s actions Shifts focus from personal desires to caring for others

17 New Vocabulary Theodicy = attempts to explain the mystery of evil amidst the presence of goodness What is the Hindu understanding of theodicy?

18 Hindu Ritual: Cow Veneration Many Hindus worship cows like deities – Decorate cows with garlands and anoint their heads with oil The cow represents life Duality: The cow is seen both as the mother of the earth and an animal who suffers with humans



21 Caste System Distinct social classes 1. Brahmin – priests 2. kshatriya – warriors/administrators 3. vaishya – producers (farmers, merchants, artisans) 4. shudra – servants and laborers 5. outcastes – outside of society altogether – Including the “Untouchables” (Dalit)


23 Caste System: Mythic Origins Rig Veda: The division of Indian society was based on the creator god Brahma's divine manifestation of four groups. – 1. Priests and teachers: his mouth – 2. Rulers and warriors: his arms – 3. Merchants and traders: his thighs – 4. Workers and peasants: his feet

24 Caste System Original term = varna (color) – People who are darker in skin tone are traditionally in the lower castes Based on heredity – born into your caste Caste is justified by karma Caste determines your dharma

25 Historical Background of Varna Aryans invaded and conquered India during the centuries of Hinduism’s origins – Lighter skinned than the original inhabitants of India Wanted to prevent the 2 racial groups from intermingling – Their castes = top 3 – Native people’s castes = bottom 2



28 Caste System Today Officially outlawed by the new Republic of India in 1950 But the effects of the caste system are still present today “This Dalit stamp is always with us,” Amit said. “When we apply for jobs, or try to get into college we have to show which community we belong to. That’s when the discrimination starts. Here in Haryana, Dalits are still being tied to trees and beaten by the upper-caste people. No one stands up for us.” (June 2012)

29 Video: Hindu Caste System So So

30 December 6, 1865: The 13 th Amendment is ratified and slavery is officially abolished in America May 17, 1954 – The Supreme Court decision of Brown v. Board of Education officially rules that racial segregation in the U.S. is "inherently unequal." Is the Hindu caste system parallel to the American system of racial segregation…?

31 …Did these law-binding decisions create racial equality in the U.S.?

32 Video: Clark Doll Experiment Ud1g Ud1g

33 One million students in the U.S. drop out of school every year… The students who are dropping out of school are overwhelmingly people of color… Nearly half of all African American students will not graduate with their class And only six in 10 Latino students will

34 And overwhelmingly, these students and their families are living in poverty. A child who does not graduate from high school is eight times more likely to be incarcerated And three times more likely to be unemployed


36 High school dropouts earn approximately $130,000 less than high school graduates And $1 million less than college graduates over their lifetimes And the cycle of racialized poverty continues…

37 Dalit women are doubly discriminated against. – Every day at least 3 Dalit women are raped. – Most women do not report any form of violence because less than 1% cases actually filed end in convictions. – “If you are a poor woman who is raped, you cannot expect justice. If you are a poor woman and a Dalit the chances of justice are even slimmer. This is the sad fate for Dalit women in India.”

38 According to official Indian crime statistics, averaged over the period 2001-2005: 27 atrocities against Dalits every day: 13 Dalits murdered every week 5 Dalits’ homes or possessions burnt every week 6 Dalits kidnapped or abducted every week 3 Dalit women raped every day 11 Dalits beaten every day A crime is committed against a Dalit every 18 minutes

39 Videos: Women’s Rights in India Female Foeticide/Infanticide: india-female-infanticide india-female-infanticide Child Rape: 8 8

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