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What is Hinduism? One of the oldest religions of humanity

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Presentation on theme: "What is Hinduism? One of the oldest religions of humanity"— Presentation transcript:

1 What is Hinduism? One of the oldest religions of humanity
The religion of the Indian people Gave birth to Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism Tolerance and diversity: "Truth is one, paths are many" Many deities but a single, impersonal Ultimate Reality A philosophy and a way of life – focused both on this world and beyond

2 How did Hinduism begin? No particular founder
Indus River Valley Civilization >5000 years ago Aryans enter years ago Vedic Tradition 3500 – 2500 years ago: rituals and many gods (polytheism)‏ sacred texts (Vedas)‏ social stratification (caste system)‏ Vedic Tradition develops into Hinduism

3 What are the Sacred Texts?
Shruti (“heard”) – oldest, most authoritative: Four Vedas (“truth”) – myths, rituals, chants Upanishads - metaphysical speculation Plus other texts Smriti (“remembered”) – the Great Indian Epics:

4 What do Hindus believe? One impersonal Ultimate Reality – Brahman
Manifest as many personal deities True essence of life – Atman, the soul, is Brahman trapped in matter. Reincarnation – atman is continually born into this world lifetime after lifetime (Samsara)‏ Karma – spiritual impurity due to actions keeps us bound to this world (good and bad)‏ Ultimate goal of life – to release Atman and reunite with the divine, becoming as one with Brahman (Moksha)‏

5 What are the spiritual practices of Hinduism?
The Four Yogas - seeking union with the divine: Karma Yoga – the path of action through selfless service Jnana Yoga – the path of knowledge (understanding the true nature of reality and the self)‏ Raja Yoga – the path of meditation Bhakti Yoga – the path of devotion Guru – a spiritual teacher, especially helpful for Jnana and Raja yoga

6 How do Hindus worship? Bhakti Yoga is seeking union with the divine through loving devotion to manifest deities In the home (household shrines)‏ In the Temples (priests officiate)‏ Puja – making offerings to and decorating the deity images Darsan – “seeing” the deity (not idol worship)‏ Prasad – taking the divine within your own being through eating of food shared with the deity

7 Foundational Concepts of Hinduism
Part 2

8 Samsara cycle/wheel of life, death, rebirth that is the basic state of existence  Time is cyclical, not linear- cycles of creation and destruction in the universe- reincarnation for the universe over vast periods of time

9 Reincarnation series of lifetimes needed to achieve the goal of liberation/release from this world (samsara- ‘wheel of rebirth’) divine spark (atman) is reborn. Reborn as: people, animals, gods and goddesses in many heavens, demons in many hells other steps in between- even gods are reincarnated

10 Moksha liberation or release, characterized by union with the divine, awareness, bliss- a mystical state of being that cannot be explained returned to the sacred source- ends the cycle of reincarnation

11 Caste System a system of social stratification
ostracised by all other castes and treated as untouchables. LhZHg

12 Four Stages of Life Traditionally applicable to upper caste men, but can include women in last three stages 1. celibate student- between puberty and marriage, study sacred texts. 2. householder- marriage to birth of first grandchild- arranged marriages, pursuing a career and raising a family

13 Four Stages of Life 3. forest-dweller/hermit- 1st grandchild to return to the world detached- retreat from the world to focus on spiritual practice and quest 4. sannyasin/wanderer - wandering ascetic, can return to society and yet be detached, neither hate nor desire

14 Four Goals of Life Kama, pleasure of sensual love within the bounds of dharma 2. Artha- material success, after kama is satisfied, you move on to the next level of fulfillment- material success and social prestige- also unfulfilling

15 Four Goals of Life 3. Dharma- following dharma, you ethical duty, because you truly want to not just because you are supposed to- better to give than to receive- very good, yet still in the world, still bound by samsara 4. Moksha- liberation, bliss, unity with the great ocean of brahman

16 Discussion 1. Reincarnation is a concept that many cultures consider to be a logical view of human destiny.  How might reincarnation help to explain who we are, what we know, what we look like, how we act?

17 Discussion 2. A central feature of traditional Hindu society was the caste system. What relationship might there be between the concepts of karma and reincarnation and the social hierarchy of caste?

18 Discussion 3. If all things are one, why are there so many gods and goddesses in Hinduism? In other words, what role do the gods and goddesses play?

19 Activity: Essay. Write a 3 paragraph essay

20 Hindu Gods and Goddesses
Part 3

21 Iconography "iconography” art and this language of symbols is often used to educate people in a society that is primarily illiterate.

22 Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hindu Pantheon
Brahma, the creator god

23 Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hindu Pantheon
Vishnu, the preserver god Incarnates as ten avatars (descents) including: Rama (featured in the Ramayana)‏ Krishna (featured in the Mahabharata)‏ (Each shown with his consort, Sita and Radha, respectively)‏

24 Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hindu Pantheon
Shiva, god of constructive destruction (the transformer)‏ Appears as Shiva Nataraj, lord of the dance of creation… and with his wife, Parvati, and son Ganesha (the elephant headed remover of obstacles)‏

25 What about the goddesses? Devi – the feminine divine
Saraswati, goddess of wisdom, consort of Brahma

26 What about the goddesses? Devi – the feminine divine
Lakshmi, goddess of good fortune, consort of Vishnu

27 What about the goddesses? Devi – the feminine divine
Parvati, divine mother, wife of Shiva

28 What about the goddesses? Devi – the feminine divine
Durga, protectress Kali, destroyer of demons Plus about 330 million other deities

29 All these deities are but Manifest forms (attributes
and functions) of the impersonal Brahman

30 And we too are manifest forms of God!
“We are not human beings having spiritual experiences; We are spiritual beings having a human experience!” “That art Thou” Hinduism is about recognizing the all pervasiveness of the divine

31 Activity Choose one of the deities discussed and explain why Hindus would want to worship that god or goddess. (2 paragraphs) Or draw a deity in the Hindu style and explain the symbolism of the image and why it is significant to the lives of Hindus.(1 drawing and 1 paragraph)

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