2 Section 1: The Human Condition What is the human condition? What is the cause of the human condition?Section 2: The goals in lifeWhat are the goalsWhat is the final aim of existence?Section 3: The means (or path)What teachings help to achieve the goals?What practices help to achieve the goals?Diwali, the Festival of Lights honouring Lakshmi,Goddess of wealth, in the hope of a successful year
3 Read Introduction on page 1 Like many religions, Hinduism, has many branches (like a tree).This course is also going to use a tree analogy
4 Brahman Moksha Jivanmukti Samadhi Atman Jiva Samsara Avidya Maya Gunas The Goals - to live a virtuous life and finally to achieve Moksha.The Means – there are many paths which lead to Moksha. Brahman also has a role in the attainment of Moksha.The Human Condition –life is a journey to union with God but, when they remain ignorant of this, human beings suffer and are continually reborn.MokshaJivanmuktiSamadhiAtmanJivaSamsaraAvidyaMayaGunasKama Dharma ArthaGod’s GraceTrimurtiMargasVarnasAshramasAhimsaGuru, rishi, swamiShrutiDetachment
5 What is the Human Condition? p1 All life is a journey to union with BrahmanUntil humans achieve this they will continue to suffer (dukkha) and be reborn (samsara)Life is transient; brief and short-lived, ever-changing
6 sat cit ananda Who or What is Brahman ? p1 the ultimate reality behind existencepure being – satpure consciousness – citpure bliss – anandaSaguna – with attributesNirguna – without attributessatcitananda
7 What aspects of Brahman are represented by the Trimurti ? p3 Creation – BrahmaPreserver – VishnuDestroyer – Shiva
8 What is the Atman? p6The real self.The one that is permanent.A spark of the divine BrahmanHinduism is all about realising the Atman & Brahman are the same.The Atman goes through samsara, and controls moral behaviourMoksha ends the Atman’s journey.
9 What is the jiva? p6Some see jiva as the ‘person’ i.e. body & mind that the atman hides behind.Some see it as impermanent and can’t achieve mokshaSome see it as ‘attached’ to atman and can achieve moksha
10 What is maya? p6The grand illusionEveryday reality makes false promises of comfort and securityLiberation will not be achieved until maya is ignored and the Ultimate reality is understood.There is no lasting beauty or possibility of immortality in everyday reality.
11 What is samsara? p7Samara literally means ‘continuous flowing’.It is the cycle of birth, death, rebirth that the soul or atman travels through.Samsara is the journey to moksha.It can act as a motivation to improve a person’s life through following their dharma.It is the cycle of life that Hindus strive to ‘escape’ from.Reincarnation literally means ‘sea of change’
12 What is karma? p7Moral and proper actionsRuled by law of cause and effectPast karma has affected present circumstancesPresent karma will affect future rebirthAnswers questions on page 6
13 What is the cause of the human condition? P9 Attachment, specifically to the self, and ignorance (avidya) of true reality keep the human soul (atman) trapped in the cycle of birth, death and rebirth (samsara)Attachment to the self (or jiva)Avidya; ignorance of the true nature of self and the universeMaya (illusion)Keeps the atman trapped in samsara
14 What is Avidya ? p9Ignorance; stops spiritual enlightenment or the union of the Atman & Brahman.Ignorance of the ‘true nature of reality’Avidya is kept alive by materialism, Education is not the same as ‘knowledge’. (see Jnana Yoga)
15 What is darshana? p9Differing schools of philosophy about the nature of reality.Samkhya – dualistic: Reality is divided between physical & spiritualPhysical world remains imbalanced if gunas are imbalancedMaya tricks humans into belief that existence is only physicalOnce spiritual aspect is realised the physical will be forgottenShankara – non-dualistic: Only one reality – Brahman.Maya (illusion) prevents understanding of thisOnly when maya & avidya are overcome will liberation be possible
16 What are the gunas? p9The 3 categories the world of matter can be divided intoSattva: goodness or purity; represents all good and holy aspects of the world.Rajas: passion or energy; represents the active component of the worldTamas: dark or inactive; represents negative aspects of the worldThere is peace when the 3 categories are balanced.All 3 are present in humans and while theyare imbalanced liberation is not possible.
17 What are the goals during life? p11 To live with intention of improving situation so that better rebirths are gained until liberation (moksha) is achieved.Follow dharma (duties and customs) for varna & jatiFollow dharma; act in harmony with the laws of the universePursue kamaPursue arthaAchieve moksha (liberation)Of the four goals only Moksha is permanent; the other three are temporary and corruptible
18 What Is Dharma? p11Right Conduct – behave yourself, duty of your caste/varna and your obligation or responsibility to society.Religious or moral duty relating to specific varna and stage in life.It gives order & harmony to the world and the universeAffects a person’s journey through samsara.
19 How can a person affect samsara through their dharma? p11 Following your dharma well can help the atman progress through samsaraSamsara is the apparent endless cycle of rebirth the atman has to go through. Performing dharma and developing karma can attain a better rebirthA Hindu aims to achieve Moksha and the end of samsara; carrying out their dharma makes it possible to move towards moksha.Practice takes priority over belief and has more of an effect on dharma
20 What is artha? p11A goal humans pursue in householder stageMaterial wealthWas first sought by Indian king as part of his dharma towards his people.Householder has to provide for familyMust be pursued within moral structure of dharma or can result in poor karma
21 What is kama? P11-12A goal humans pursue in householder stagePleasure such as music, drama, painting, sex.Required for a well-ordered societyShould be pursued before moksha as it prepares a person for what is needed to be devoted to Brahman i.e. longing and loving adoration.Achieving kama means a person is ready for higher spiritual achievement.
22 What is Moksha? p12A Hindu’s final goal or destiny.The final stage of existence after the release from the cycle of samsara.The end of suffering.Union of Brahman and atman; the atman is never reborn.Highest state of happiness which cannot be described.Achievable for only a fewImportant to some Hindus; not importantto others.Answer questions on page 10
23 What is the final aim of existence? p13 Achieve mokshaRelease from samsaraUnion of atman with BrahmanJivanmukti - liberation while still livingSamadhi - attainment of bliss
24 How Moksha relates to other Hindu concepts: p13 Karma – the idea of moksha controls action & behaviourDharma – moksha encourages Hindus to follow dharma enabling individuals & society to operate more efficientlySamsara – through karma & dharma, atman is advanced in the cycle, leading it closer to mokshaMargas – the scriptures stress the importance of the margas in achieving moksha
25 Why is Moksha Important to Hindus? p13 The ultimate goal for a Hindu is to achieve Moksha. Without re-uniting with Brahman, your atman/soul can never be at peace.It encourages Hindus to lead a good/honest and peaceful life because to achieve Moksha requires good karma & following Dharma – varnashramadharmaGives hope of a better life after this one
26 Why/when is Moksha not important to some Hindus? p13 Many Hindus struggle to survive from day to day and do not think about life after death.Moksha has too many stages and some Hindus do not think it is achievable.Scientific development has lead many Hindus to question the concept of reincarnation.
27 What is Jivanmukti? p15Jiva (the soul of a person) Mukti (liberation)Liberation while still livingDebate whether liberation is achievable while aliveTrue gurus are believed to have achieved liberation
28 What is Samadhi? p15It means enlightenment.It means realising who Brahman really is.It is the final state of the Atman; there is no sense of 'I' or 'mine'Cannot be describedIs not full liberationThe highest state that someone who practices yoga/meditation - some claim to levitate
29 What are the means (physical things) to achieving the goals in life What are the means (physical things) to achieving the goals in life? p17The Hindu Scriptures - known as ‘sruti’ or ‘shruti’The guidance of a guru, acarya or swamiWhat scriptural teachings help to achieve the goals?The VedasThe UpanishadsThe EpicsThe Bhagavad – Gita
30 The Vedas: p174 booksWritten around 600 BCERevered (regarded very highly), although few Hindus actually read themThe Upanishads:Written around 500 BCE when a more philosophical approach regarding the Ultimate Reality took holdNew interpretations of the VedasThe Epics:Epic poemsMahabharata & Ramayana extremely popular and influential
31 The Bhagavad – Vita p17-18Means ‘The Lord’s Song’One book of the epic MahabharataHolds special statusIncludes famous conversation between the warrior Arjuna and the Supreme Being, Krishna Video clipArjuna, a young warrior is concerned about going into battle against the opposition which includes his uncle, cousin and former teacher. Krishna who is an avatar of Vishnu advises:Not to fight isn’t noble – he should fulfil his duty as a warriorThe atman of the people he may kill won’t die anywayPerforming your own dharma requires detachment from any situation even if that means killing loved onesBrahman will understand through his grace
32 What is the role of a guru and acarya in achieving goals in life? p19 Respected religious teacher and leaderSometimes thought of as ‘divine being’The same as or similar to a swamiSome believe it is necessary to have a guru or swami to achieve moksha or samadhiOthers believe it is possible to achieve moksha or samadhi without a teacher
33 What is an ashram? p19A place for spiritual education, social work, medicine, religious activities and community activitiesWhere you will find a swami (religious teacher) or guruHindu Kings usually had an ashram where a raj guru (royal teacher) who would advise himGhandi’s ashram
34 What practices help to achieve the goals? p21 There are many paths which lead to mokshaFollowers should choose the right one for themBrahman has a role in the attainment of mokshaPractice margas; karma, bhakti, jnanaFollow dharma for ashramaVarnashramadharma – dharma for varna and ashrama
35 Marga (way or path) and yoga (discipline) basically mean the same thing. What are the Three Margas? p21Forms of following dharmaKarma – performing dutyJnana – Meditation & learningBhakti – devotion, puja
36 Karma Marga p21Performing duties according to caste and ashrama – varnashramadharmaA person should only carry out a task because it should be done – not for any other reasonIncludes thoughts as well as actionsA person should use their particular talents for the benefits of others i.e. family, society and cosmic order‘How poor those who work for a reward’ Bhagavad Gita
37 Jnana Marga p21Considered most difficult to followKnowledge of scripture is only the beginningSpiritual learning e.g. meditation requiredSome believe this requires a guru or swami (teacher)Guru Ramana Maharshi (1879 – 1950) is claimed to have achieved Jivanmukti (liberation while alive). Others believe this is not possible while living.
38 Bhakti marga p22Followed by the majority of devotees as it is more accessible than the other twoHindus choose which god or deity to worship as a vehicle to BrahmanWorship or ‘puja’ can take place anywhereMost Hindus have a shrine at home at which they worship daily; the mother is usually responsible for looking after itPuja is also carried out as a community (16:08)Worship also takes place in temples or Mandirs
39 Relationship between margas and dharma p22-23 Pursuing margas is part of a Hindus dharma (duty) in relation to their varna and ashrama e.g. bhakti marga is more accessible for lower castes; jnana marga is more relevant to a sunnyasinSome believe jnana marga, for example, is necessary in order to achieve moksha and this is the most difficult path. However not all agree that following jnana marga is necessary.Some choose not to follow jnana as it takes up too much time or is too difficult or they don’t have the opportunity. They may feel one of the margas that fits in to their lifestyle is more appropriateVideo clip
40 Being a Hindu in UK v India p23 Easier in India because: Society is immersed in Hindu cultureTemples & gurus easily availableNot may as many distractionsEasier in UK because:Temples & gurus availablePeople are freer to pursue ambition & potential as caste system less restrictedHindu culture not so stereotypedNeasden Hindu Temple in London
41 What does varna mean? p25Varna literally means ‘colour’Refers to the 4 social classes or castes.
42 Who are the Brahmins? p25They are priests/professionalsThey understand and study Hindu teachings.They set a good moral example for others by remaining pure in words and deeds.Paid by other castes
43 Who are the Kshatriyas? p25 They are the rulers & military forces in society, such as royal family, prime minister, members of the government and officers in the armed forces.They are leaders, and protectors and guard the welfare of the people.They were a secular (non-religious) power responsible for enforcing dharma.
44 Who are the Vaishyas? p25They are the business people in society. They deal with money and commercial activities i.e. traders, bankers, financial advisers, solicitors and directors.They were farmers or peasants involved in agriculture to provide food.They are responsible for providing the material goods & the wealth in society.
45 Who are the Shudras? p25Skilled workers eg potters, weavers and servants.The working class. i.e. workers, labourers, factory workers and builders.They do the physical and manual workers, serving the needs of others.They were banned from access to scriptures.Cannot be twice-born (sacred thread ceremony/ Upanayana)
46 Why are Varnas important for Hindu Society? p25 Everyone is given a role and responsibility to produce a stable society.It was based on occupation ensuring that society had a thriving society with everyone depending on each other.Your caste reflects your position and status in terms of a persons karma and therefore reincarnation.It provides a moral incentive for all to improve their caste.
47 What are jatis? p25Birth groupsSub groups of the 4 varnasSocial divisions of which there are thousandsWho are the Untouchables?DalitsThey are outside the caste system.They deal with things considered unclean i.e. dead animals/rubbish.
48 What other practices help to achieve the goals? p27 What are the Ashramas ?Stages laid out in Hindu law texts for the men of first three castes.Student Stage – BrahmacharyaHouseholder Stage – GrihasthaRetirement Stage – VanaprastaRenunciation Stage – Sunnyasin
49 What is Brahmacharya (student stage)? p27 Students study Hindu scripture.During this stage the initiation rite of the sacred thread called Upanayana, or twice-born, is performed only for boys in the upper 3 castes. This ‘second birth’ is one of knowledge and wisdom.Traditionally boys would have their own scriptural teacherToday this takes place in regular schools
50 What is Grihastha (householder stage)? p27 This begins when the student returns from his studies, marries and produces children.This stage is considered a sacred duty.Should carry out social and religious traditionsPursue kama (pleasure)Pursue artha (wealth)
51 What is Vanaprasthya (retirement stage)? p27 This stage occurs when the children are grown up and able to run their own lives.He steps aside from society and workHelps with grandchildrenMay go on pilgrimage with his wife if she wishesConcentrates on texts and spiritual mattersNot all men enter this stage
52 What is Sunnyasin (renunciation stage)? p27 Becomes a sadhu or wandering holy manPractices detachment and renunciation from all worldly possessionsTo give up all worldly ties, possessions, family and even name and devoting one's entire life to the spiritual god of liberation or moksha.May attend his own funeral and is considered dead to his former life.May follow a guru for some years before becoming homeless ascetic. (9:00)
53 The relationship between dharma and the ashramas p27-28 Hindus refer to their way of life as Sanatana dharmaVarnashramadharma is the duties of this way of lifeDharma for ashrama changes with different life stagesDharma for varnas remains unchanged as they are fixed for lifeHindus do not go through all stages of ashramas – the third and fourth are difficult and many modern Hindus do not want to give up their lifestyleHowever some argue carrying out all stages isvital in order to achieve moksha as it can onlybe done by complete detachment
54 The means to achieving the goals p29 What is Ahimsa?Means non-violence to all things, this is because Hindus believe in the 'specialness' of all life.All life is involved in samsara.Some Hindus reject it because if we don't defend ourselves we can allow suffering to happen. This might mean poor karma and not following your dharma.
55 Mahatma Ghandi (1869 – 1948) campaigned in South Africa and India for equal rights for all castes and was a key figure in Indians independence from Britain. p29‘Mahatma’ means great one or soulCampaigned for equality for untouchables whom he named Harijan or ‘God’s children’Campaign was based on ahimsa‘…he who faces death without raising his little finger is braver.’In South Africa he ended unjust against Indians/HindusIn India he improved life for untouchables; some were now allowed into temples and draw water from any wellHe helped India gain independence from Britain in 1947However…
56 It could also be argued: p29 Ghandi’s non-violent approach caused thousands to be beaten or killed as they would not fight backFollowing India’s independence there is still unrest between Hindus and MuslimsGhandi himself felt he hadn’t been completely successful, ‘My 32 years of work have come to an inglorious end.’Ghandi was assassinated by a Hindu extremist (who was a Brahmin); this was the 5th attempt on his life
57 Ramanuja (poem from Epics) Without it man is nothing on his own What is God’s Grace? p31Ramanuja (poem from Epics)Without it man is nothing on his ownImpossible to achieve spiritual progression without it.Vivekananda (Influential 19th C Indian monk)Some Hindus believe it doesn’t exist; we are on our ownSome Hindus believe that man by nature is free, not dependant on God.God’s graceNo God’s grace