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Presentation on theme: "HINDUISM."— Presentation transcript:


2 Section 1: The Human Condition What is the human condition?
What is the cause of the human condition? Section 2: The goals in life What are the goals What 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. Moksha Jivanmukti Samadhi Atman Jiva Samsara Avidya Maya Gunas Kama Dharma Artha God’s Grace Trimurti Margas Varnas Ashramas Ahimsa Guru, rishi, swami Shruti Detachment

5 What is the Human Condition? p1
All life is a journey to union with Brahman Until 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 existence pure being – sat pure consciousness – cit pure bliss – ananda Saguna – with attributes Nirguna – without attributes sat cit ananda

7 What aspects of Brahman are represented by the Trimurti ? p3
Creation – Brahma Preserver – Vishnu Destroyer – Shiva

8 What is the Atman? p6 The real self. The one that is permanent. A spark of the divine Brahman Hinduism is all about realising the Atman & Brahman are the same. The Atman goes through samsara, and controls moral behaviour Moksha ends the Atman’s journey.

9 What is the jiva? p6 Some see jiva as the ‘person’ i.e. body & mind that the atman hides behind. Some see it as impermanent and can’t achieve moksha Some see it as ‘attached’ to atman and can achieve moksha

10 What is maya? p6 The grand illusion Everyday reality makes false promises of comfort and security Liberation 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? p7 Samara 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? p7 Moral and proper actions Ruled by law of cause and effect Past karma has affected present circumstances Present karma will affect future rebirth Answers 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 universe Maya (illusion) Keeps the atman trapped in samsara

14 What is Avidya ? p9 Ignorance; 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? p9 Differing schools of philosophy about the nature of reality. Samkhya – dualistic: Reality is divided between physical & spiritual Physical world remains imbalanced if gunas are imbalanced Maya tricks humans into belief that existence is only physical Once spiritual aspect is realised the physical will be forgotten Shankara – non-dualistic: Only one reality – Brahman. Maya (illusion) prevents understanding of this Only when maya & avidya are overcome will liberation be possible

16 What are the gunas? p9 The 3 categories the world of matter can be divided into Sattva: goodness or purity; represents all good and holy aspects of the world. Rajas: passion or energy; represents the active component of the world Tamas: dark or inactive; represents negative aspects of the world There is peace when the 3 categories are balanced. All 3 are present in humans and while they are 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 & jati Follow dharma; act in harmony with the laws of the universe Pursue kama Pursue artha Achieve moksha (liberation) Of the four goals only Moksha is permanent; the other three are temporary and corruptible

18 What Is Dharma? p11 Right 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 universe Affects 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 samsara Samsara is the apparent endless cycle of rebirth the atman has to go through. Performing dharma and developing karma can attain a better rebirth A 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? p11 A goal humans pursue in householder stage Material wealth Was first sought by Indian king as part of his dharma towards his people. Householder has to provide for family Must be pursued within moral structure of dharma or can result in poor karma

21 What is kama? P11-12 A goal humans pursue in householder stage Pleasure such as music, drama, painting, sex. Required for a well-ordered society Should 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? p12 A 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 few Important to some Hindus; not important to others. Answer questions on page 10

23 What is the final aim of existence? p13
Achieve moksha Release from samsara Union of atman with Brahman Jivanmukti - liberation while still living Samadhi - attainment of bliss

24 How Moksha relates to other Hindu concepts: p13
Karma – the idea of moksha controls action & behaviour Dharma – moksha encourages Hindus to follow dharma enabling individuals & society to operate more efficiently Samsara – through karma & dharma, atman is advanced in the cycle, leading it closer to moksha Margas – 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 – varnashramadharma Gives 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? p15 Jiva (the soul of a person) Mukti (liberation) Liberation while still living Debate whether liberation is achievable while alive True gurus are believed to have achieved liberation

28 What is Samadhi? p15 It 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 described Is not full liberation The 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? p17 The Hindu Scriptures - known as ‘sruti’ or ‘shruti’ The guidance of a guru, acarya or swami What scriptural teachings help to achieve the goals? The Vedas The Upanishads The Epics The Bhagavad – Gita

30 The Vedas: p17 4 books Written around 600 BCE Revered (regarded very highly), although few Hindus actually read them The Upanishads: Written around 500 BCE when a more philosophical approach regarding the Ultimate Reality took hold New interpretations of the Vedas The Epics: Epic poems Mahabharata & Ramayana extremely popular and influential

31 The Bhagavad – Vita p17-18 Means ‘The Lord’s Song’ One book of the epic Mahabharata Holds special status Includes famous conversation between the warrior Arjuna and the Supreme Being, Krishna Video clip Arjuna, 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 warrior The atman of the people he may kill won’t die anyway Performing your own dharma requires detachment from any situation even if that means killing loved ones Brahman 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 leader Sometimes thought of as ‘divine being’ The same as or similar to a swami Some believe it is necessary to have a guru or swami to achieve moksha or samadhi Others believe it is possible to achieve moksha or samadhi without a teacher

33 What is an ashram? p19 A place for spiritual education, social work, medicine, religious activities and community activities Where you will find a swami (religious teacher) or guru Hindu Kings usually had an ashram where a raj guru (royal teacher) who would advise him Ghandi’s ashram

34 What practices help to achieve the goals? p21
There are many paths which lead to moksha Followers should choose the right one for them Brahman has a role in the attainment of moksha Practice margas; karma, bhakti, jnana Follow dharma for ashrama Varnashramadharma – dharma for varna and ashrama

35 Marga (way or path) and yoga (discipline) basically mean the same thing.
What are the Three Margas? p21 Forms of following dharma Karma – performing duty Jnana – Meditation & learning Bhakti – devotion, puja

36 Karma Marga p21 Performing duties according to caste and ashrama – varnashramadharma A person should only carry out a task because it should be done – not for any other reason Includes thoughts as well as actions A 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 p21 Considered most difficult to follow Knowledge of scripture is only the beginning Spiritual learning e.g. meditation required Some 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 p22 Followed by the majority of devotees as it is more accessible than the other two Hindus choose which god or deity to worship as a vehicle to Brahman Worship or ‘puja’ can take place anywhere Most Hindus have a shrine at home at which they worship daily; the mother is usually responsible for looking after it Puja 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 sunnyasin Some 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 appropriate Video clip

40 Being a Hindu in UK v India p23 Easier in India because:
Society is immersed in Hindu culture Temples & gurus easily available Not may as many distractions Easier in UK because: Temples & gurus available People are freer to pursue ambition & potential as caste system less restricted Hindu culture not so stereotyped Neasden Hindu Temple in London

41 What does varna mean? p25 Varna literally means ‘colour’ Refers to the 4 social classes or castes.

42 Who are the Brahmins? p25 They are priests/professionals They 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? p25 They 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? p25 Skilled 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? p25 Birth groups Sub groups of the 4 varnas Social divisions of which there are thousands Who are the Untouchables? Dalits They 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 – Brahmacharya Householder Stage – Grihastha Retirement Stage – Vanaprasta Renunciation 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 teacher Today 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 traditions Pursue 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 work Helps with grandchildren May go on pilgrimage with his wife if she wishes Concentrates on texts and spiritual matters Not all men enter this stage

52 What is Sunnyasin (renunciation stage)? p27
Becomes a sadhu or wandering holy man Practices detachment and renunciation from all worldly possessions To 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 dharma Varnashramadharma is the duties of this way of life Dharma for ashrama changes with different life stages Dharma for varnas remains unchanged as they are fixed for life Hindus 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 lifestyle However some argue carrying out all stages is vital in order to achieve moksha as it can only be 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 soul Campaigned 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/Hindus In India he improved life for untouchables; some were now allowed into temples and draw water from any well He helped India gain independence from Britain in 1947 However…

56 It could also be argued: p29
Ghandi’s non-violent approach caused thousands to be beaten or killed as they would not fight back Following India’s independence there is still unrest between Hindus and Muslims Ghandi 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? p31 Ramanuja (poem from Epics) Without it man is nothing on his own Impossible to achieve spiritual progression without it. Vivekananda (Influential 19th C Indian monk) Some Hindus believe it doesn’t exist; we are on our own Some Hindus believe that man by nature is free, not dependant on God. God’s grace No God’s grace

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