Sanātana Dharma Sanskrit phrase "the eternal law"

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1 1. Notebook Entry: Hinduism 2. How do we identify a belief system EQ: How does Hinduism fit our model of a belief system? code of ethics, place of origin, texts, impact, spread, divine being, founder, practices Hinduism is a belief system? Consider the 8 characteristics of all belief systems. By the end of class are objectives are to: -describe the origins, beliefs, and development of Hinduism -categorize information about Hinduism using our belief system model as a guide Tonight s Homework: R&O p , 177 Hinduism often referred to as Sanātana Dharma Sanskrit phrase "the eternal law" Hinduism: Over a billion followers (1 billion in Republic of India) Considered 3 rd largest religion in the world A religious, philosophical, and cultural belief system One of the oldest existing religions in the world Wide diversity in beliefs, practices, and traditions No universally accepted definition on what a Hindu is, or even agreement on whether Hinduism represents a religious, cultural or socio-political entity OM (or AUM) Hindu symbol said or sung before and after all Prayers In 1995, Chief Justice P. B. Gajendragadkar was quoted in an Indian Supreme Court ruling: When we think of the Hindu religion, we find it difficult, if not impossible, to define Hindu religion or even adequately describe it. Unlike other religions in the world, the Hindu religion does not claim any one prophet; it does not worship any one God; it does not subscribe to any one dogma; it does not believe in any one philosophic concept; it does not follow any one set of religious rites or performances; in fact, it does not appear to satisfy the narrow traditional features of any religion of creed. It may broadly be described as a way of life and nothing more. 1

2 This image cannot currently be displayed. 10/5/2010 Hinduism is: Collection of religious beliefs Developed slowly over a long period of time Cannot be traced to one founder or a single set of ideas Common world-view -see religion as a way to liberating the soul from the illusions, disappointments, and mistakes of everyday existence Sacred Texts: Vedas Upanishads - based on Hindu teachers meditations on the Vedas, written as discussions between student and teacher Asked questions such as: What is the nature of reality? What is morality? Is there eternal life? What is the soul? The sacred books explore how a person can achieve liberation from desires and suffering this is Moksha perfect understanding of all things Teacher explains the difference between atman and Brahman Brahman the world soul that contains and unites all atmans Atman individual soul of living being. Reaching moksha (perfect understanding) usually takes more than one lifetime Reincarnation (rebirth) allows an individual spirit or soul to be born again and again until moksha is achieved A soul s karma follows it from one reincarnation to the next. It is important to be aware of good and bad deeds for this reason. Karma also influences one s health, wealth or poverty, and what caste someone is born into. Over the 2,500 years Hinduism has been around it has gone through some changes: Brahman is sometimes seen as having the personalities of three gods Brahma the creator Vishnu the protector Shiva the destroyer Today Hindus can choose the deity they want to worship or choose none at all. Brahma Vishnu Shiva Can choose from 3 paths to moksha right thinking, right action, or religious devotion 2

3 The story of Rama and Sita A good man, called Rama, was married to a beautiful princess, called Sita. They had been banished to live in the forest with his brother, Lakshmana, by his stepmother, as she wanted her son to be King. Ravana, the Demon king with ten heads, heard of Sita s beauty and goodness and planned to kidnap her. By magic, he conjured up a golden fawn. She asked Rama to capture it. The demon king disguised himself as an old man and tricked Sita. He kidnapped her and flew away on his chariot back to his island, Lanka. Rama and Lakshmana searched many months for Sita. Finally, they asked Hanuman, king of the monkey army, for help. Hanuman could fly. 3

4 He found Sita imprisoned on the island of Lanka. Hanuman, Rama and Lakshmana prepared themselves for battle. This was one of the greatest battles ever seen. The fighting lasted for ten whole days. It looked as though Ravana was going to win, until Rama borrowed a special bow and arrow from the gods. Rama shot Ravana and the battle was won. Rama rescued Sita and they decided to go home. As it got dark, the people of the kingdom put out little oil lamps (divas) in their windows to show the way home. It seemed as though there were more lamps than stars in the sky. Everyone was happy and Rama and Sita ruled well. Now every year people remember this story at Divali by lighting diva lights inside their homes and fireworks outside. The "Festival of Lights" symbolizes the victory of good over evil, and lamps are lit as a sign of celebration and hope for humankind. 4

5 Hinduism 5

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