Presentation on theme: "What is Hinduism? The religion of the Indian people Gave birth to other religions: Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism Focus on tolerance and diversity: "Truth."— Presentation transcript:
What is Hinduism? The religion of the Indian people Gave birth to other religions: Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism Focus on tolerance and diversity: "Truth is one, paths are many“ A way of life – focused both on this world and beyond
How did Hinduism begin? The world’s oldest religion. It has no beginning. Predates recorded history. No particular founder! Began in Indus River Valley Civilization over 4000 years ago.
2000 BCE1500 BCE1000 BCE 500 BCE 0 500 CE Hinduism Abraham Judaism Islam Judaism Moses Jesus Christ c.4 BCE – 30 CE Christianity K’ung (Confucius) 551-479 BCE Confucianism Guatama Buddha 563-483 BCE Lao-Tzu Taoism Buddhism Muhammad 570-632 CE Islamic community
Relationship with God Believe in many gods (polytheistic), but a single, impersonal larger universal force known as Brahman. Brahman: unchanging, all-powerful spiritual force - too complex for humans to understand so they worship many gods to give the Brahman a concrete form. Ex: think of Brahman as a hand with many fingers, each finger represents a god Brahma: The Creator Vishnu: The Preserver Shiva: The Destroyer
What do Hindus believe? One universal force – Brahman Takes the form of many personal deities True essence of life – Atman, the soul, is Brahman trapped in matter. Dharma – moral balance; doing the right thing Samsara (Reincarnation) – atman is continually born into this world lifetime after lifetime
Goal of Life The ultimate goal of life is to achieve moksha (union with Brahman). To do this, individuals must free themselves from all selfish desires. Most people cannot achieve moksha in one lifetime. A person moves closer to moksha by obeying the law of karma. Karma refers to all actions of a person’s life that affect his/her fate. Good Karma: reincarnate in higher form Bad Karma: reincarnate in lower form
What are the Sacred Texts? o Four Vedas ( “ truth ” ) – myths, rituals, chants o Upanishads – collection of stories o The Great Indian Epics: Ramayana Mahabharata (includes Bhagavad-Gita) But there is no single sacred text!!!
Reincarnation Hindus believe that because moksha cannot be achieved in one lifetime, the soul reincarnates in the next life. Reincarnation: rebirth of the soul in another bodily form.
How does Hinduism view life in this world? To Hindus, all people & things are aspects of the Brahman and should be respected. Respect for all life – vegetarian. Hindus stress nonviolence.
Caste System Caste: unchangeable social group into which a person is born. Four “ stations ” of life (caste) - priests, nobles & warriors, merchant class, servant class. The outcastes = the untouchables.
Caste System Brahmin: priests Kshatriya: warriors and administrators Vaishya: farmers, merchants, teachers, artisans Shudras: servants, laborers
Who do Hindus worship? ( the major gods of Hinduism) Brahman – The Creator God
Vishnu – the preserver of the universe Maintains balance Has many incarnations, coming to earth to restore balance.
Shiva – the destroyer Hindus believe that Shiva periodically destroys the world in order to recreate it. Shiva is the source of both good and evil.
Other important gods Lakshmi - Goddess of wealth Ganesh – Remover of obstacles
All these gods and goddesses are forms (attributes and functions) of the universal Brahman! All these gods and goddesses are forms (attributes and functions) of the universal Brahman!
Hindu Worship Mandir = Temple Many Hindus have small shrines in their homes.
Hindu Symbols Om – visual and oral representation of Brahman The Lotus flower- birth of the universe Swastika – sacred symbol of good luck