1 Basics of Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) Prakasarao V Velagapudi, PhD Chairman, Datta Yoga Center President, Global Hindu Heritage Foundation
2 If I were asked under what sky the human mind... has most deeply pondered over the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions to some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant -- I should point to India. And if I were to ask myself from what literature we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans, and of one Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw the corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human a life... again I would point to India. -- Max Müller
3 Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) Original name eternal truth, righteousness It is a way of living, not a religion in the strict sense Do not know when, who and how it started Name Hindu refers to people the other side of Sindhu ( river ) Indian Supreme Court 1966 (reaffirmed 1995): Acceptance and reverence for the Vedas A spirit of tolerance Belief in vast cosmic periods of creation and destruction Belief in reincarnation Recognition of multiple paths to salvation and truth Belief in Polytheism Philosophical flexibility (no single dogma)
4 Sacred Books -Source of Literature Four Vedas Upanishads Puranas Itihasas - Ramayana & Mahabharata Tantras Bhagavad Gita
5 God / Energy / Power Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient Brahman (etymology: br=breath, brih=to be great) There is only one God, but endless are his aspects and endless are his names. sat: being; chit: awareness; ananda: bliss neti...neti -- a kind of negative theology (Nirguna Brahman of the philosophers) Saguna Brahman: the noblest reality encountered in the world. Sri Ramakrishna claimed both were equally correct But in many Hindu expressions God is transpersonal: beyond it all 330 million Gods.
6 Hindu Worship Darshan - seeing an image of the divinity. Shrines can be anywhere, in great temples, by the road, or in the home. Puja is the act of worship, offering them fruit, flowers, incense, water, or cloth in order to symbolize an offering of the self to the god/goddess. In some cases deities are processed through the streets (at festivals, etc.). Sometimes the worshipper will take a pilgrimage to a sacred place, the most well-known being Benares, on the Ganges River.
7 Image Worship Why do Hindus do Image worship? Is it polytheism or monotheism? One God or many Gods? Do the Christians and Muslims worship too?
8 Hindu Temples Why so many Deities? Architecture & Characteristics Significance of Temples How Temples are built? Pranaprathishta Installation of Murtys (Vigrahas)
9 Festivals A number of days are considered holy; different timings are considered auspicious. Many religious festivals are identified based on both solar or lunar calculations -lunar is preferred. In order to keep festivals consistent, an additional lunar month is added to the calendar about every three years. Some numbered days of the month are more important than others. There are 125 special days in the Hindu year.
10 Conversion in Hinduism No goal of conversion; no salvation through conversion. No incentives are given for conversion either here or in haven. Hindu mansion is open to others interested in self realization. No bashing of other religions to woo the flock. Free flow of thoughts. Be a good Hindu, good Christian, good Muslim.
11 Ahimsa Non-injury; non-killing. Believe all animals, plants have souls. Ahimsa became a philosophical action against the British by Mahatma Gandhi. Advocated nonviolence; Not eating meat is the result of Ahimsa. Vegetarianism emphasized; Should not hurt either by word or deed; You do not do to others what you do not want to be done to you by others.
12 3 Major Devotional Traditions Vaishnava (Vishnu) Generally vegetarian Worship Vishnu, Rama, Krishna Oriented towards duty and tradition Shaiva (Shiva) Worship focuses on union of opposites, especially creation and destruction Tend to emphasize ascetic practices Shakta (Devi) Worship the goddess as ultimate reality (Bengali). Not as likely to be vegetarian
13 Hindu Samskaras Life cycle events from womb to the tomb. Every life cycle is purified by conducting pujas, prayers, homas, oblations. Selected Samskaras listed below: Pregnancy Seemantham Namakarana Annaprasana Aksharabhyasam Upanayana Engagement Vivaha Antyesti
14 Stages of Life Brahmacharya - The Student Grihastha - Householder (pleasure, success, duty) Vaanaprastha - Retirement Sannyasa - One who neither hates nor loves anything
15 Caste System Beginning with Aryan intrusion (2nd m. BCE)? Four Castes: Brahmins (Seers) Kshatriyas (Administrators) Vaishyas (Artisans, farmers, craftsmen) Shudras (Unskilled laborers) Bhagavad Geetha description of Caste.
16 Vedanta Atma (Individual) and Paramatma are the same. Individual souls (jivas) merge into Paramatma. Upanishad statement: You are That That represents Paramatma; you individual, soul. They begin as the souls of the simplest forms of life and reincarnate / transmigrate (samsara) into more complex bodies until they enter human bodies. Souls in human bodies are engaged in issues of freedom and responsibility (karma). Influence on science; Nobel Laureates; Intellectuals. Atoms, Quantum physics.
17 Three Pillars of Hinduism
18 Guru Gu means darkness; Ru means remove or drive away. Remove the darkness of ignorance. Guru is a spiritual leader, equipped with mastery over the scriptures, guides and leads his disciples.
19 Karma Karma means action, to do, or deeds. What you sow is what you reap. Every action produces a reaction / effect based on its moral worthiness. Karma determines all the particular circumstances and situations of one s life.
20 Reincarnation Samsara is the wheel of rebirth which means the soul is reborn from one life form to another. People may be reincarnated at a higher or lower level of existence depending on their karma from their present life. People may be reborn as plants or animals or they may be elevated to a higher caste as a human. Death is not final for Hindus as they expect to be reborn many times. Voluminous research Kennedy vs Lincoln similarities.
21 Four Goals
22 Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha Dharma - Ethical duty based on the divine order of reality. Responsibility, Righteousness, Virtue. Duties for each group / person are described. The word is the closest equivalent to religion. Artha - Aim, goal, purpose; in the field of economics and political; fame, power and security are part of the human life. Kama Sutra, Artha Shastra. Kama - Pleasure, love making; desire for sensual and sacred are described. Emphasized the need to balance them. Moksha Liberation United with the Brahman (infinite).
23 Liberation Infinite bliss and awareness Liberation from the cycle of existence (samsara) often identified with a state of knowledge in which the phenomenal world and its concerns are shut out in favor of a mystical identification with the ultimate, changeless ground of all things. -- Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy release from the finitude that restricts us from the limitless being, consciousness, and bliss our hearts desire. -- Huston Smith Liberation from Life s Limitations, pain (physical and psychological), ignorance, restricted being.
24 Four Paths to Unite with God
25 Jnana Yoga Reflecting on the nature of the Atman -- The self which is eternal and (in Advaita) identical with Brahman (sacred Power/Divine Being). Shifting self-identification to the abiding part of her nature I am Witness approach to his own history/life. Brahman is all, and the Self (Atman) is Brahman (Mandukya Upanishad, 2).
26 Bhakti Yoga Devotion is directed toward God. Love is the basis for all human existence. Express through divine love and devotion. Probably the most popular and frequently practiced form. Tends to insist on God s otherness: Pray no more for utter oneness with God Song of Tukaram Strives to adore God with every fabric of one s being (as opposed to acknowledging union). Tends towards incarnational representations of the deity -- an Ishta Devata or God. But: Lord, forgive three sins that are due to my human limitations, Thou art everywhere, but I worship you here; Thou art without form, but I worship you in these forms; Thou needs no praise, yet I offer you these prayers and salutations. Lord, forgive three sins that are due to my human limitations
27 Karma Yoga By wise and proper involvement in the work of the world, one can also move towards God/moksha. By identifying oneself with the transpersonal Absolute (a la jnana) every action performed on the external world reacts on the doer work performed in detachment from the empirical self by shifting affection to external person (a la bhakti) work for God s sake instead of my own work done selflessly. He who does the task/dictated by duty/caring nothing/for the fruit of the action/ He is a yogi. (Bhagava-Gita, VI:1).
28 Raja Yoga Yoga and Meditation Patanjali Disciplined bodily and mental activity designed to explore the nature of the true self. Layers of human being: Bodies Minds Subconscious Being Itself
29 Raja Yoga (Contd ) EIGHT Steps for connecting Body, Mind, Soul. Five Abstentions: injury, lying, stealing, sensuality, greed. Five Observances: cleanliness, contentment, self-control, studiousness, contemplation of the divine. Asanas (postures, e.g., the lotus position ) Breathing Contemplation (turning inward) Concentration (leave the mind alone) Merging of subject/object; out of time; Samadhi: sam=together with, adhi=the Lord
30 Hinduism & Science No conflict with Science. Advances in Mathematics, Physics, Engineering, Computer science. Advances in Ayurveda, Cosmology, Astronomy, Medicine & other scientific areas.
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