The Aryans Light Skinned nomads who entered India from the North in 1500 BCE. The Aryans spoke a language called Sanskrit and counted their worth in cows. The Aryans conquered dark skinned, town-dwelling Dasas when they entered India The Aryans had a rigid class (or caste) system, which determined how people lived their lives (jobs, socializing….).
Origins of Hinduism No founder No single sacred text Collection of practices and beliefs Evolved over time
Sacred Texts of Hinduism The Vedas: Brought to the Indian subcontinent by the Aryans. The Vedas are four collections of prayers and instructions for performing rituals. The Rig Veda is the most important, which includes Purusa. Mahabharata: A great epic Indian story that explains the struggles that took place in India as the Aryans moved South. One part is the Bhagavad Gita, about a warrior prince about to go to war; chariot driver is Krishna, god in human form. Ramayana: The great epic story of Rama and Sita, which stresses the importance of dharma.
Vedas Prayers Rituals Existed orally Written in Sanskrit around 300 BCE
Sources of Authority: Philosophical commentary on Vedas begun around 8th C. BCE Means “sitting near;” told in dialogues Explore the relationship between humans and gods Conclusion: Atman the same as Brahman Upanishads
Major Beliefs of Hinduism Reincarnation: Karma: Dharma: Samsara: Moksha: The process in which people are reborn into new bodies when they die. System that determines whether someone reincarnates into a higher or lower caste. One’s obligations in life—helps to determine karma—depends on caste Cycle of birth, death, and re-birth Goal of Hinduism—end of samsara—when the soul (atman) becomes one with the one true reality
Goal of Life: Understand Ultimate Reality, pierce through maya (illusion) Free oneself from samsara (cycle of rebirth) Moksha
Paths to Moksha Bhakti-yoga: path of devoting oneself to God Raja-yoga: path of meditation and proper knowledge Karma-yoga: path of acting correctly not for the result of action
Thousands of Gods/Goddesses—flexibility of worship All part of the Ultimate Reality, Brahman Individual human soul, Atman, also part of this Ultimate Reality Main Gods: Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva Hindu Pantheon