Introduction to Hinduism

Introduction to Hinduism

Warm-Up 1. What is the name of the Hindu sacred text? 2. How long do Hindus believe a soul will be reincarnated? Answer: Vedas-orally passed down Souls are reincarnated until they reach moksha & are united Warm-Up 1.

2. What is the language of the Vedas & who brought it to India? What was the name of the warrior class in the Hindu caste system? Answer: 1.Sanskrit, Aryans 2. KSHATRIYA There is only one God, but endless are his aspects and endless are his names INTRODUCTION TO HINDUISM

THE VAST MAJORITY OF HINDUS LIVE IN INDIA AND NEPAL THE GANGES RIVER Falling from its source of Vishnus feet onto Shivas head and out from his hair,

the water of the Ganges is sacred enough to purify all sins. WHAT IS HINDUISM?

Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world. The religion developed in India, taking much from the religion practiced by the Aryans, a group who had invaded the country from the north around 1500 B.C. Hinduism is a polytheistic religion. The Hindu religion developed from the Vedas, or the Books of Knowledge. This book also came from the Aryan ARYAN INFLUENCE ON HINDUISM

Sanskrit this was the language of the Aryans. It is the language they spoke when they arrived in the Indus Valley The most important indicator of Aryan wealth was based on the number of cattle that an individual owned. The more cattle a family owned the more wealthy they were. Eventually cattle became so important that they made it illegal to kill or eat them.

Over time the Aryan religion slowly evolved into what we know today as Hinduism. The Aryans were polytheistic- they believed in VEDAS For many hundreds of years the Aryans did not have a written language. Instead, they passed their history down from one generation to another though stories, poems, and epics. These oral histories would be memorized, word for word, and handed down, insuring that future generations Around 1200 B.C. would not forget their past. the Aryans

developed a written language. The oral traditions that had been handed down were recorded in sacred books WHAT DO HINDUS BELIEVE? Hindus believe in many gods (polytheistic) .

All gods are part of a supreme spirit Brahman There are the main three gods known to Hindus around the world: Brahman the Creator Shiva - Destroyer Vishnu Preserver

Brahman the Creator Shiva Destroyer All these deities are but Manifest forms (attributes and functions) of the impersonal Brahman HINDU BELIEF How a person lives their current

life will determine the form they will take in the next life. If they live a good life, and fulfill all their duties, they might be born into a higher class in the next life. If they live poorly, they might be born into a lower life, or even into a lower life form, such as a beetle, or snake. TWO CENTRAL THEMES OF HINDUISM Reincarnation You are continually born into this world

lifetime after lifetime. The soul goes through a series of rebirths, as it strives to obtain a oneness with the universal spirit. They believe that when a person dies, they will be reborn again, living many lives, until they have perfected themselves. When one obtained this state of Moksha their cycle of

rebirth after rebirth would finally stop, and they would live in Karma spiritual impurity due to actions keeps us bound to this world (good and bad). A persons actions determine what will happen after his/ her death. Every action produces a justified effect based on its moral worthiness. Determines all the particular circumstances and situations of ones life

Ultimate goal of life to HOW DOES HINDUISM IMPACT DAILY LIFE ? Respect for all life vegetarian Human life as supreme: Four stations of life (Caste) priests & teachers, nobles & warriors, merchant class, servant class Four stages of life student, householder, retired, renunciation Four duties of life pleasure, success, social responsibilities,

CASTE SYSTEM Grew out of Aryan tribal social system belief that people are not equal A main characteristic of Hinduism Every person is born to a particular status for his/her life What caste you are in can determine who you marry, what job you will have, who your friends are.. The top or most powerful caste was the Brahmans, the priests and leaders. There were only a few of them. Only Brahman men were allowed to go to

school, or to teach in schools (Brahman women could not go to school). Next were the Kshatriya, or warriors. There were not very many Kshatriyas. A lot of them were in the army, or leaders in other ways. Women could not be warriors, but they could be Kshatriyas anyway Below them were the vaishyas, or farmers and traders, who owned their own farms or businesses. There were a lot of them, too. The lowest of the castes was the shudras the servants and farmhands who did not own their own business or their own land, and who had to work for other people. But

gradually a lot of land-owning farmers fell into this caste, too. Probably the largest number of people belonged to this caste. BRAHMANS (priests/ leaders) KSHATRIYA (warriors/princ es) VAISHYAS (farmers/ traders) SHUDRAS Servants/

farmhands UNTOUCHABLES There were really four castes, and then the lowest group had no caste, and were known as Untouchables. Untouchables usually did the worst jobs, like collecting garbage, dealing with the bodies of dead animals (like the sacred cattle that wander Indian villages) or unclaimed dead humans, tanning leather, from such dead animals, and manufacturing leather goods, and cleaning up the human

WHAT ARE THE SPIRITUAL PRACTICES OF HINDUISM? The Four Yogas - seeking union with the divine: Karma Yoga the path of action through selfless service (releases built up karma without building up new karma) 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 BANARAS - HINDUS HOLY CITY Many people from all over the world make a pilgrimmage here to bathe in the Ganges. Countless Hindus come to Banaras to die. It has 1500 temples, most of them devoted to Shiva. It is a gathering place for the religiously learned and their disciples. SACRED COW OF INDIA Cows are considered sacred in Hindu religion. The cow like all animals is sacred because it is a reincarnation of human souls. Many

Hindu's choose a vegetarian diet because of this belief. The cow is treated as holy because he/she provides strength to plow the fields, milk to give nutrition to humans and leather from their skins upon death. Because of all they provide cows are considered the mothers to humans and therefore should be treated with respect and never eaten. The cow represents life and the sustainance of life to the Hindu. It represents the soul, obstinate intellect, unruly emotions, but the cow supersedes us because it is so giving, taking nothing but grass and grain. It gives and gives and gives, as does the soul give and give and give. The cow is so vital to life, the virtual sustainer of life for humans. In a society if you only had cows and no other domestic animals or agricultural pursuits, you could still survive and the children could survive with the butter, the cream and the milk to feed the children.

FESTIVALS AND HOLY DAYS No set day of the week is holy-each days has its possibilities Diwali Diwali is celebrated for 5 days according to the lunar Hindu Calendar. It begins in late September-October and ends in early October-November. It is popularly known as the "festival of lights The most significant spiritual meaning is "the awareness of the inner light". Diwali celebrates this through festive

fireworks, lights, flowers, sharing of sweets, and worship. While the story behind Diwali varies from HOLI Also called the Festival of Colors, it is a spring festival celebrated by Hindus. Lasts up to sixteen days Celebrated by people throwing colored powder and colored water at each other. Celebrated at the end of

the winter season on the last full moon day of the lunar month which usually falls in the later part of

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