Presentation on theme: "HISTORY AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE WORLD’S OLDEST RELIGION HINDUISM."— Presentation transcript:
HISTORY AND CHARACTERISTICS OF THE WORLD’S OLDEST RELIGION HINDUISM
BASIC FACTS Basic religion of India Ultimate reality is unknowable Most tolerant of religions because Hindus believe that all religions are true in the sense that they are open to a spiritual reality Possesses few boundaries and believes that the person can enter into a new religious awareness Approx. 850 million Hindus worldwide Oldest religion, most complex Traces its beginnings to 3000BC
FACTS, CON’T. Simple animism with elaborate philosophical systems; allows for 1000s of gods 3 religions arose from Hinduism Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism No identifiable founder Scriptures Vedas: oldest writings containing spells and hymns, not of “human origin”, Orthodox Hindus cite Vedas as authority Upanishads: philosophical and mystical texts with stories of the gods added to Veda Bhagavad Gita: epic poem as told by a manifestation of god- Krishna, explaining the Vedas to Arjuna (a Hindu hero)
THE HINDU GOD It is only possible to have a limited view of the “Ultimate Reality” 3 Major Gods: gods of other religions (Allah, Yahweh, Christian Trinity) are manifestations of the three major Hindu gods Brahma- the Creator Vishnu- the Preserver Shiva- the Destroyer Polytheistic and pantheistic The Ultimate Being is conceived in a way that best suits one’s needs Unknowable, unsearchable, incapable of describing Could be a father image, an aloof deity, a powerful protector Like Christians, Hindus believe that God is at the end of everyone’s journey
THE CONCEPT OF SELF Atman- a reservoir of being that never dies, and infinite center, or hidden, true soul or self, divine and eternal Upon Death- Reincarnation Every person is reborn into a higher or lower level of goodness- the law of KARMA The sacred Om Goal is to find your true self: MOKSHA (“release”) Margas- the path to Moksha Karma Marga* Dharma vs. Avidya Bhakti Marga Jnana Marga
THE CASTE SYSTEM Although the caste system is not legal in India anymore, like racism in the US, it is sometimes difficult to change the minds and hearts of people What concept in Hinduism makes the caste system bearable for the “untouchables”?
STAGES OF LIFE- ASHRAMAS Brahmacarya (Student) Grihastha (Householder) Vanaprastha (Seeking reflection) Samnyasin (World-renouncer) WORSHIP Temples in homes built to house the image of Brahman Enter into worship through yantras & mandalas Rituals such as mantras (Om), offerings, washings and festivals