Presentation on theme: "Unit 2 - Religion in the Family Candidates should have considered the following aspects of Hinduism: the contribution of dharma and karma to the welfare."— Presentation transcript:
Unit 2 - Religion in the Family Candidates should have considered the following aspects of Hinduism: the contribution of dharma and karma to the welfare of the community; varnashramadharma; birth rites and the nurture of the young; the sacred thread ceremony; the marriage ceremony; the role of the family; funeral rites, and beliefs about death and dying, life after death. There should be consideration of the ceremonies which mark these events (samskaras), The significance of the events for Hindus, and the ways in which the ceremonies reflect Hindu belief. 1 Dharma Dharma means religion, duty, law, righteousness and eternal order. Dharma is a mode of Hindu religious motivation, gaining merit and having good re-birth. Santana dharma is the eternal dharma which is the unchanging universal law which states that every being must act according to the laws that apply to its own nature. Varnashrama dharma is accepting and followin the rules of caste Jati dharma decides how and which samskaras (rites of passage) are celebrated by each caste. Caste System - Varna Brahmins - Priests The Brahmins are the priest and higher profession such as teachers and doctors. They are responsible for preserving the tradition, they understand the scripture and lead a good moral example. Kshatriyas - Warriors and rulers The Kshatriyas are the rulers and military forces in society, such as the royal family, prime minister and members of government. They are responsible for ruling society. Vaishyas -Traders The Vaishyas are business people in society dealing with money. They are solicitors, shop owners, business men. They are responsible for providing material wealth. B576 – Hinduism 2
2 Shudras - Manual workers The shudras are the workers and servants, such as farm labourers, factory workers, builders and manual workers. Their responsibility is to serve the needs of the higher castes. Dalits – Untouchables There are some jobs considered so unclean, such as rubbish collecting, dealing with dead animals, that those people are considered to be outside of the caste system altogether Ashramas – Stages of Life Brahmacharya or Student stage This begins with the sacred thread ceremony. Nowadays this is marked by students attending secondary school. The students duty is to gain knowledge through study. Grihasta or householder stage This stage begins when the students has finished their studies and marries. Marriage is very important for Hindus as it is a sacred duty. A married woman's duties are to bring up the children, manage the finances and clean the home. A married man’s duties are to provide for his family by earning a good, honest living. Vanaprastha or retirement stage This stage begins when a grandson is born to ensure the continuation of the family. The head of the household will then turn over responsibility to the elder son. In ancient time, it was as this stage that you became a forest dweller. The duties of this stage are to become detached from worldly goods and material concerns and devote time to quietness, solitude, study of the scriptures and meditation. Sannyasin or renunciation stage This stage of life is regarded as a holy and spiritual way of life and it is one that not many Hindus reach. The duties of this stage are to completely give up all worldly ties and possessions and devoting one’s entire life to the spiritual goal of liberation or Moksha.
3 Why is Dharma so important? It is the core of Hinduism because by fulfiling it every Hindu can achieve moksha. They learn the rules in their families. It affects nearly every aspect of their life. The rites of passage mark the major life changes. Samskaras: Rites of Passage Hindu rites of passage are there to purify the soul. The word "samskara" means "mental impression," for the ceremonies help create a favourable mentality for stepping positively from one phase of life into the next. The samskaras are considered essential for the three higher (twice-born) castes. The rites of passage were considered essential for preserving the purity of the individual and of the social system. Jatakarma – birth ceremonies (plus others in childhood) Upanayana – initiation (the sacred-thread ceremony) Vivaha – marriage Antyeshti – funeral and rites for the dead Jatakarma: Birth Ceremonies The jatakarma ceremony welcomes the baby into the world. 1. The father places a small amount of ghee and honey on the baby's tongue and whispers the name of God in his ear. 2. On about the 11th day after birth the parents celebrate the name-giving ceremony (namakarana) by dressing the baby in new clothes. 3. The family astrologer announces the child's horoscope. 4. Traditionally the child's name is chosen according to the position of the moon in the birth chart. Songs and sometimes a havan (fire sacrifice) accompany these rites, followed by the obligatory feast. After these two ceremonies, various others follow, including: the first outing (normally at around two weeks) the child takes darshan of the sun, then the temple deity and in the evening sees the moon. the first grains (when teething begins) the first haircut (called mundan – between 1 and 3 years) piercing the ear lobes (normally 3–5 years)
4 Upanayana Initiation: The Sacred Thread Ceremony This ceremony is essential to the members of the three higher classes and marks a boy's official acceptance into his varna (caste). At this point he becomes "twice-born." Everyone has a first, biological birth, but when a young man seeks his spiritual identity he symbolically accepts a spiritual teacher as father and the Vedas as mother. Upanayana means "sitting close by," referring to the boy's taking shelter of the guru (spiritual teacher). Traditionally, he would move away from home to the teacher's ashram, called "gurukula." The emphasis at gurukula was on the study of the Vedas and development of character. The ceremony: 1. The ceremony itself involves shaving the head, bathing and wearing new clothes. 2. The boy may also beg alms from his mother and from other relatives. 3. There is a havan (fire ceremony) and the wearing of the sacred thread, which hangs over his left shoulder. 4. The boy will then hear the Gayatri mantra from his priest or guru, who may give him a spiritual name to signify his "second birth". 5. Thereafter, wrapping the thread round the thumb of his right hand, he will chant this prayer thrice daily, at dawn, noon, and dusk. 6. The boy takes vows to study the Vedas, serve his teachers and follow certain vows, including celibacy. 7. He often concludes the ceremony by offering the traditional dakshina (gift) to his teacher. Key Words Dvija – "twice born," referring to full members of the three upper varnas. It also refers to birds and teeth. Jenoi – a modern word for the sacred thread (it rhymes with "annoy'). Vivaha - Marriage Vivaha (marriage) is perhaps the most important samskara. Traditionally it was the only rite performed for women, and for men in the fourth varna (shudras). A couple would stay together for life or until the husband took to the path of renunciation. Divorce was not allowed, and those who left their partners were often ostracized from society. Matches were usually arranged by the elders and based on astrological principles. Despite modern attitudes towards this practice, evidence suggests that these marriages worked relatively well.
5 The Wedding Ceremony 1. Sometimes a Hindu marriage is arranged by the parents because it is a joining of two families, not just two people. 2. The horoscopes of the couple are checked before the date is set. 3. The ceremony usually takes place at the bride’s home. 4. The parents and priest recite blessings before the father hands his daughter to her new husband. 5. The groom recites a prayer asking that the marriage will be fruitful and that they will have many children. 6. Offerings will be made to the Gods. 7. The Bride will stand on a stone to represent the stability marriage brings. 8. The couple join hands as the priest lights a fire on the small altar that has been set up. 9. The couple will throw rice into the sacred fire (havan) to encourage fertility in the bride and groom. 10. The husband’s scarf is tied to his wife’s sari to show that they are now united as one couple rather than two separate people. 11. The groom puts his right hand on his bride’s right shoulder and they circle the sacred fire seven times. Seven prayers are said asking for seven blessings on the marriage – This is the essential part of marriage laid down in the law of Manu. 12. The groom and his family make an offering of barley which is a symbol of fertility. 12. The groom places a black and gold necklace round the bride’s neck to represent the union of their families. Roles of men and women Some Hindus believe that: Men are the protectors of women and should have the role of breadwinner and leader of the household. Women should look after the home and children, and care for the shrine in the home They do not allow women to be religious leaders. Some Hindus (such as Iskcon and the Virashaivas) believe that: Women and men should have equal roles in life and religion. They have women religious leaders. Some Hindus (such as the Swaminarayan) believe that: Wlthough men and women are equal in life, men and women should have different roles in Temple worship, and they do not have women religious leaders.
6 Antyeshti: Funeral Rites Most Hindus cremate their dead. The exceptions are small children and saints, whose bodies are considered pure, and are therefore buried. The burning of the body enables the soul to be released from it’s entrapment in the body. Funeral ceremonies should therefore be performed as soon as possible – by dusk or by dawn, whichever occurs first. Therefore, in India a funeral takes place within hours of death. Regulations elsewhere mean that it may take much longer. Significantly, though, these rites are more for the benefit of the deceased than for the bereaved. They are essential to ensure the smooth passage of the soul to a better level of existence. Most essential is the shraddha ceremony performed on the first anniversary of death. Prasad, often balls of cooked rice, are offered to God and in turn to the departed soul. Funeral rites are very important for two reasons: They show respect for the dead and, they include various ceremonies which people believe are necessary to ensure that people go on to whatever their next life will be. Perhaps more importantly, they give the relatives and friends of the dead person time to mourn and show their grief in a certain way. People often say that showing their grief formally helps them to get over their loss. What happens after death… 1. When a Hindu dies their body is washed and wrapped in white cloth. Sweet smelling paste called ghee is rubbed into the skin, perfume called sandalwood is also rubbed in. 2. Members of the family may offer gifts to Shiva and place them with the body. 3. A Candle is lit and placed near the head to represent the atman. 4. Tulsi leave is placed into the mouth of the deceased because it is said to bring instant liberation. 5. The body is carried to the pyre by close members of the family. Often a priest may be present at the ceremony. 6. The fire is lit by the eldest son and ghee is placed over the wood to make sure it burns well. 7. A prayer is said over the body, ‘...may your sight return to the sun and your soul be released to return to the earth to enter a new body or to enter the realms of the Ganges’ (because it is the most important river in Hinduism). 8. It is associated with Shiva who holds the power of life and death.
7 9. Prayers are said for the dead person: “O Supreme light, lead us from untruth to truth, from darkness to light and from death to immortality.” 10. Afterwards the ashes of the dead person are sprinkled on water. Many people take the ashes to India to put on the waters of the Ganges, others may take them to the sea near to where they live. 11. After the funeral the widow or widower will wear white as a sign of mourning. 12. The close family may mourn for twelve days. 13. On the thirteenth day the samskara ends with Kriya. During this ceremony, rice balls and milk are offered to the dead person to show the gratitude of the family for the life of that person. After this, the mourners can continue with their normal lives. The significance of the events for Hindus, and the ways in which the ceremonies reflect Hindu belief Hinduism is often considered a way of life rather than a religion. This way of life is centred around a Hindu’s dharma (duty). To achieve Moksha (Liberation) a Hindu has to be the best they can be and this is defined by their varnashramadharma. The Rites of passage ceremonies mark a change in a Hindus stage of life, and therefore their Dharma. For example, once a Hindu is married they enter the householder stage. The rites of passage ceremonies are symbolic in recognising a change in status and duty and also promises that you make. The marriage ceremony recognises promises that the husband and wife make to each other and symbolic gestures to encourage fertility. Having males is important to continue the family name and an eldest son is needed for the funeral rites. The funeral rites are essential to help the soul (atman) to continue on it’s journey through the afterlife and also help to cleanse the relatives.