Presentation on theme: "Lecture 5: The origins of Hinduism. Facts on Hinduism The word “Hinduism” encompasses a wide range of beliefs and practices Hinduism is monotheistic and."— Presentation transcript:
Facts on Hinduism The word “Hinduism” encompasses a wide range of beliefs and practices Hinduism is monotheistic and the oldest known religion Hindus worship one ultimate being which they refer to as “Brahman”; the one, ultimate reality Hinduism is the worlds third largest religion (13.26% of the world’s population) 1 The word Hinduism comes from outsiders and as such the word is used with much controversy 1: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world- factbook/fields/print_2122.html
A famous Hindu: Gandhi Mohandas K. Gandhi o Lived 1869 to 1948 o Famous for his roles as a political and spiritual leader o Gandhi viewed Religion as primarily concerned with Self-Realization and knowledge of oneself o Held strong philosophical beliefs against violence o Saw truth and morality as the most important things in reality.
Problems with “Hinduism” In your pair discuss the following: What does the word “American” mean to you? If you were asked to describe what it is to be American what description could you offer? Is there one description that could accurately describe All Americans? Can your description include Americans who do not currently live in the United States or those who were not born there? Can it represent all of the different religious practices used throughout the United States?
Hinduism as a way of life Rather than treating Hinduism as a single religion with one strict set of beliefs scholars consider Hinduism more like a way of life Hindu practices range from extreme Asceticism to sensuality Hindu practices also vary according to region, caste, economic status, gender, and education. Hindu families and individuals also have their own preferences
Sanatana Dharma Given the controversies of the term “Hinduism” scholars prefer to take a thematic approach; Sanatana Dharma Sanatana Dharma means “eternal religion” Dharma includes the following: o Duty o Natural law o Social welfare o Ethics o Health o Transcendental Realization
Hindu Origin Theories The earliest known era of Hinduism is known as the “Vedic Age” but there are various theories on how to date and characterize this period 1.Aryan Invasion Theory o Nomads called the ‘Aryans’ invaded the north-west Indian subcontinent and conquered the people of the Indus valley. o The Aryans developed the Vedic tradition; the foundation of Hinduism 2.Some scholars argue that the Indus valley people were the ancestors of those who spoke the Dravidian languages of southern India and the Aryans forced them to move south. 3.Hindu Nationalists Claim that the Aryans were native to India 4.More recent research suggests that smaller micro-migrations over a long period may be responsible for changes in the Indus valley.
The Vedas The Vedas represent an important foundation in Hinduism and teach us about the early origins of Sanatana Dharma The Vedas are sacred hymns which were initially preserved orally The Vedas were heard by ancient Rishis (Sages) and as such have a divine origin The Vedas include (Chronologically) 1.Samhitas 2.Brahmanas 3.Aranyakas 4.Upanishads
Brahamanas / Brahman / Brahmin Brahamanas A portion of the Vedas Brahman The all-pervading reality Brahmin A priestly caste / sages
Upanishad teachings Rishis appear in the Upanishads and taught some of the following: 1.Brahman can be known from within Such knowledge is known as the self or the soul (Atman) 2.The concept of a cycle of death and rebirth (Samsara) The Atman is continually reborn according to the results of one’s actions (Karma) 3.The Rishis sought Moksha; Liberation from samsara
The Epics and Puranas Appeared after 500 C.E. The Epics and Puranas illustrate the trend towards personal love for a deity The two major epics are the Ramayana and the Mahabharata The epics illustrate the theory of Yugas (ages) According to this theory the universe passes through four ages Our cosmos is currently in its worst ages; Kali Yuga
Ramayama Compiled sometime between 400 B.C.E. to 200 C.E. Uses stories of Prince Rama and his wife Sita to depict various kinds of relationships and duties
Mahabharata Composed sometime between 4000 B.C.E. and 400 C.E. Includes a number of texts including the Bhagavad-Gita The Bhagavad-Gita relates a dialogue between Krishna and Arjuna at the beginning of a battle between two sides of a family
The Puranas Traditionally there are 18 Puranas Composed sometime between 500-1500 C.E. The Puranas detail the vast mythology of the Hindu Pantheon A popular Purana is the Bhagvata Purana which tells the tale of Krishna as a mischievous child
Group assignment Your group must choose One of the following Hindu deities 1.Brahma 2.Vishnu 3.Shiva 4.Saraswati 5.Lakshmi 6.Durga/Parvati/Amba 7.Venkateshwara 8.Satyanarayana 9.Rama 10.Krishna 11.Kartikeya 12.Ganesh 13.Hanuman 14.Gauri 15.Gayatri