Introduction to Hinduism There is only one God, but endless are his aspects and endless are his names
What is Hinduism? A philosophy and a way of life – focused both on this world and beyond Tolerance and diversity: "Truth is one, paths are many" One of the oldest religions of humanity dating back to 1500 BCE
What is Hinduism? A religion that began in India. The religion of the Indian people Gave birth to Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism There are 750 million Hindus in the world today.
Location of Hindus The vast majority of Hindus live in India and Nepal
Origins: The Aryans An Indo-European people. Migrated to India in about 1500 BCE from the Caucus Mountains. Brought the Vedas. No single founder-combination of beliefs
Sacred Texts Vedas and Upanishads Rig Veda: Hinduism’s oldest text nearly 4000 years old
Goal of Hinduism Moksha: release or liberation from the endless cycle of rebirth (reincarnation). Infinite bliss and awareness United forever with the divine
Reincarnation Samsara: constant cycle of rebirth. Death is not final for Hindus they expect to be reborn many times. People may be reincarnated at a higher or lower level of existence depending on their karma from their present life. People may be reborn as plants or animals or they may be elevated to a higher caste as a human.
Karma & Dharma Karma: Total of good and bad actions a human soul carries with it from life to life. Karma determines all the particular circumstances and situations of one’s life. Dharma: system of rules and values that Hindus follow in their everyday life Atman
Festivals and Holy Days No set day of the week is holy-each days has its possibilities Religious festivals may be solar or lunar-lunar is preferred There are 125 special days in the Hindu year with Diwali being an extra special celebration.
Caste System: Four major castes Brahmin: priests Kshatriya: warriors and administrators Vaishya: farmers, merchants, teachers, artisans Sudras: servants, laborers Untouchables lived outside the caste system. Their presence was considered harmful.
The Major Gods Of Hinduism Brahma: the creator god Vishnu: the preserver god Shiva: god of destruction/ transformation so that new can be created
Sacred Cow of India Milk holds a central place in religious rituals. In honor of their exalted status, cows often roam free. A citizen can be sent to jail for killing or injuring a cow.
Banaras - Hindu’s Holy City Pilgrims come from all over to bathe in the Ganges. Countless Hindus come to die 1500 temples, most of them devoted to Shiva. It is a gathering place for the religiously learned and their disciples.
What are the spiritual practices of Hinduism? Yogas: seeking union with the divine Guru: a spiritual teacher
Gandhi: The Father of India For Gandhi, social concern was deeply rooted in his conviction of the sacredness of life. Gandhi believed that human beings should strive to live as simply as possible since overindulgence often meant that others may have to do without their basic needs. Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic on January 30, l948 as India was gaining its independence.
What do Hindus believe? One impersonal Ultimate Reality – Brahman Manifest as many personal deities True essence of life – Atman, the soul, is Brahman trapped in matter (“That art thou”) 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)
Mono OR Polytheistic? http://www.religionfacts.com/hinduism/belief s/theism.htm