2 What is Hinduism? One of the oldest religions of humanity The religion of the Indian peopleGave birth to Buddhism, Jainism, SikhismTolerance and diversity: "Truth is one, paths are many"Many deities but a single, impersonal Ultimate RealityA philosophy and a way of life – focused both on this world and beyond
3 How did Hinduism begin? No particular founder Indus River Valley Civilization >5000 years agoAryans enter years agoVedic Tradition 3500 – 2500 years ago:rituals and many gods (polytheism)sacred texts (Vedas)social stratification (caste system)Upanishads (metaphysical philosophy) 2800 – 2400 years agoVedic Tradition develops into Hinduism
4 What are the Sacred Texts? Shruti (“heard”) – oldest, most authoritative:Four Vedas (“truth”) – myths, rituals, chantsUpanishads - metaphysical speculationPlus other textsSmriti (“remembered”) – the Great Indian Epics:RamayanaMahabharata (includes Bhagavad-Gita)Plus others
5 MahabharataMahabharata, Sanskrit for Great Story, is one of the great epic poems of ancient India.It was written between 300 BC and AD. 300.The story is about the battle of one family over a kingdom in northern India.The Bhagavad Gita (Song of God) is contained in the Mahabharata. It is dialogue between Krishna and the hero Arjuna on the meaning of life.
6 RamayanaRamayana was written in 3rd century BC, and tells story of Rama, and his wife, Sita.Rama and Sita are generally seen as ideal examples of great manly heroism and wifely devotion.Reciting the Ramayana is considered a religious act, and scenes from the epic are portrayed throughout India and Southeast Asia.
7 What do Hindus believe? One impersonal Ultimate Reality – Brahman Manifest as many personal deitiesTrue essence of life – Atman, the soul, is Brahman trapped in matter (“That art thou”)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)
8 Karma and Reincarnation Reincarnation is the belief that the soul repeatedly goes through a cycle.Being born into a body, dying, and being reborn again in a new body.Karma, a force that determines the quality of each life.depends on behavior of your past life.Hinduism says we create karma by our actions on earth. If you live a good life, you create good karma. If you live a bad life, you create bad karma.
9 Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hindu Pantheon Brahma, the creator god
10 Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hindu Pantheon Vishnu, the preserver godIncarnates as ten avatars (descents) including:Rama (featured in the Ramayana)Krishna (featured in the Mahabharata)(Each shown with his consort, Sita and Radha, respectively)
11 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)
12 What about the goddesses? Devi – the feminine divine Saraswati, goddess of wisdom, consort of Brahma
13 What about the goddesses? Devi – the feminine divine Lakshmi, goddess of good fortune, consort of Vishnu
14 What about the goddesses? Devi – the feminine divine Durga, protectressKali, destroyer of demonsPlus about 330 million other deities
15 All these deities are but Manifest forms (attributesand functions) of theimpersonal Brahman
16 Hindu Life GoalsHinduism is about the sort of life one should lead in order to be born into a better life next time and ultimately achieve liberation. There are 4 legitimate goals in life:dharma (appropriate living)artha (the pursuit of material gain by lawful means)kama (delight of the senses)moksha (release from rebirth).
17 Hindu Duties Each Hindu has 4 daily duties: Revere the deities Respect ancestorsRespect all beingsHonor all humankind