2 What is Hinduism? If you ask google what is Hinduism? you will get over 3,820,000 results...
3 Hinduism is not a single, unified, monolithic religion... it is more like a family of beliefs Hinduism is a mystically oriented religious tradition
4 What aspects of Hinduism will we be considering in class... Origin and Development Sacred Texts/Literature A few important beliefs shared by all Hindus Practices, Rituals and Ceremonies The Hindu pantheon Influential Personages The origin and development of Hinduism
5 BCE Indus River Valley civiliza2on (Harappa culture) develops and ﬂourishes BCE The Aryan invasion and the Vedic era BCE The age of axis and the Upanishads 200 BCE CE The emergence of the Bhagavad Gita 1200 CE Islamic inﬂuence begins CE Bri2sh domina2on of India Mohandas Gandhi and Indian poli2cal independence
6 The sacred texts of Hinduism Vedas collection of hymns, prayers and chants of praise and cosmogony
7 The Crea5on Hymn of Rig Veda There was neither non- existence nor existence then. There was neither the realm of space nor the sky which is beyond. What s:rred? Where? In whose protec:on? Was there water, bo>omlessly deep? There was neither death nor immortality then. There was no dis:nguishing sign of night nor of day. That One breathed, windless, by its own impulse. Other than that there was nothing beyond. Darkness was hidden by darkness in the beginning, with no dis:nguishing sign, all this was water. The life force that was covered with emp:ness, that One arose through the power of heat. Desire came upon that One in the beginning, that was the first seed of mind. Poets seeking in their heart with wisdom found the bond of existence and non- existence. Their cord was extended across. Was there below? Was there above? There were seed- placers, there were powers. There was impulse beneath, there was giving forth above. Who really knows? Who will here proclaim it? Whence was it produced? Whence is this crea:on? The gods came aferwards, with the crea:on of this universe. Who then knows whence it has arisen? Whence this crea:on has arisen - perhaps it formed itself, or perhaps it did not - the One who looks down on it, in the highest heaven, only He knows or perhaps even He does not know.
8 Hymn to the Supreme Person (1) The cosmic person has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes and feet. It covers the earth on all sides and extends ten finger- lengths beyond. (2) The cosmic person is everything... all that has been and will be... (12) From his mouth came the priestly class; from his arms, the rulers. The producers came from his legs; from his feet came the servant class (13) From his mind came the moon; from his eye, the sun. Indra and Angi from his mouth, and the wind came from his breath (14) From his navel came space; from his head, the sky. From his feet, the earth. From his ears, the four direc:ons. Thus, the worlds were created Upanishads reflective meditations on the spiritual essence of the universe and the self
9 Lead me from the unreal to reality. Lead me from darkness to light. Lead me from death to immortality... Om, let there be peace, peace, peace Son, as you are so conceited, considering yourself so well- read and so stern, my dear, have you ever asked for that instruc:on by which we hear what cannot be heard, by which we perceive what cannot be perceived, by which we know what cannot be known? What is that instruc:on, Sir? he asked... The father said: My son, [it is the instruc:on about] that subtle essence which you do not perceive in IT all that exists has its self. It is the True. It is the Self, and you, Son, are it. Please, Sir, inform me s:ll more, said the son. Be it so, my child, the father replied... Place this salt in water, and then wait on me in the morning. The son did as he was commanded...
10 The father said to him: Bring me the salt, which you placed in the water last night. The son having looked for it, found it not, for, of course, it was melted. The father said: Taste it from the surface of the water. How is it? The son replied: It is salt. Taste it from the middle. How is it? The son replied: It is salt. Taste it from the bo>om. How is it? The son replied: It is salt. The father said: Wait, then look for the salt again and come to me. He did so, saying I cannot see the salt. I only see water, but it is s:ll salty. Then the father said: Here also, in this body, you do not perceive the True, my son; but there indeed it is. An invisible and subtle essence is the Spirit of the whole universe. That is Reality. That is Truth. Thou art that! Brahman is the sun, moon stars, fire, water, wind... he is the God (or divine reality) that appears in forms infinite...
11 Brahman is the sun, moon stars, fire, water, wind... he is the God (or divine reality) that appears in forms infinite... A few important beliefs shared by all Hindus
12 Pluralism there are many spiritual paths that all lead to the same divine reality Brahman the ultimate divine reality at the heart all things
13 Atman the spiritual essence of all individual human beings Maya the veil of illusion that keeps us from seeing the true nature of reality
14 Karma the cosmic moral law of action and reaction, cause and effect According as one acts, so does he become. One becomes virtuous by virtuous action, and bad by bad action...
15 Samsara the cycle of constant life, death and rebirth Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be. As the embodied soul continuously passes, in this body, from childhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change... and worn-out garments are shed by the body; Worn-out bodies are shed by the dweller within the body. New bodies are donned by the dweller, like garments...
16 Moksha liberation from the cycle of samsara and the ultimate goal of life Different interpretations when it comes to the details
17 Shankara on the relationship between Brahman and Atman According to Shankara, everything is ul5mately ONE - all is Brahman The ul5mate nature of reality is monis5c and so Brahman and Atman are fundamentally one and the same Brahman is that one Reality which appears to our ignorance as a manifold universe of names and forms and changes. Like the gold of which many ornaments are made, it remains in itself unchanged. Such is Brahman, and That art Thou. Meditate upon this truth Ramanuja on the relationship between Brahman and Atman According to Ramanuja, everything is not ul5mately ONE In contrast to Shankara, Ramanuja holds that there is no knowledge source in support of the claim that there is a dis$nc$onless Brahman Rather, Brahman and Atman are fundamentally dis2nct - We uphold plurality as the three en22es the individual selves, the world and the supreme Lord are mutually dis2nct in their substan2ve nature, atributes and characteris2cs
18 Shankara reality is ultimately one Ramanuja reality is ultimately not one But, how does one come to understand the true nature of reality and achieve moksha?
19 Bhagavad Gita the divine song Krishna s sacred words for achieving spiritual perfection The Bhagavad Gita attempts to provide a more concrete connection between the abstract and the practical
20 When Krishna urges Arjuna to do what his position as a warrior demands, he is reinforcing the role of the caste system Now you shall hear how a man may become perfect, if he devotes himself to the work which is natural to him. A man shall reach perfection if he does his duty as an act of worship to the Lord...
21 When Krishna urges Arjuna to do what his position as a warrior demands, he is reinforcing the role of the caste system The spiritual importance of the Hindu caste system A division of society into different social classes based on birth or occupa5on (1) The priestly class - duty to perform religious rituals and provide counsel (2) The warrior class - duty to protect society (3) The merchant class - duty to facilitate trade and commerce (4) The worker/laborer class - duty to perform manual labor and serve (5) The untouchable class
22 In other words, perfection is achieved when each individual recognizes their role and performs their social duty... There are different types of people and the way to perfection will differ depending on a person s role in society and individual personality
23 Living to perfect union with the divine the yogas There are different paths to perfec5on for different people Jana ( knowledge ) yoga focuses on study and and instruc2on Karma ( ac2on ) yoga focuses on unselfishly working and ac2ng Bhak5 ( devo2on ) yoga focuses on devo2on and worship Raja ( royal ) and Hatha ( force ) yoga focuses on medita2on and methods for enhancing medita2on Just as the correct path to perfection varies depending on an individual s particular caste and personality, Hindus also believe that each stage of life has a proper way of being lived...
24 The spiritual importance of the basic stages of human life (1) The student stage - designed to lay a religious founda2on for life (2) The householder stage - designed to fulfill the demands of society by focusing on marriage and child rearing (3) The re5rement stage - designed to allow one to retreat from the demands of ordinary life in order to pursue religious maters (4) The renunciate stage - designed to allow one the op2on to totally free oneself from all atachments (social and familial) and hasten spiritual insight For most Hindus, the duties of everyday life leave very little time for many of the spiritual disciplines that we ve been mentioning e.g. philosophical study, meditation, physical exercises, etc...
25 As such, the vast majority of Hindus follow the path of devotion and worship (bhakti) in one way or another to make spiritual progress Living spriitually - aspects of devotional Hinduism There are many different forms of Hindu devo5on... Ritual ceremonies usually performed at an altar or temple - offering of flowers, food, drink, burning of incense, etc Deity venera5on/devo5on - the many manifesta2ons of God are adored and worshiped (e.g. Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu and their various avatars) Animal venera5on Guru venera5on - one who removes darkness
26 Making sense of the gods of devotional Hinduism Three gods have been par5cularly important in the devo5onal life of hinduism: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva Brahma represents the crea5ve force that made the universe Vishnu (and his avatars) represents the force of preserva5on in the universe Shiva represents the force of destruc5on in the universe Hindu destruc2on is not associated with punishment or wrongdoing, but rather with a kind of recycling Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi ( )
27 Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi ( ) Gandhi was born in India, educated in London, worked in South Africa and then dedicated his life to helping the Indian people achieve independence Gandhi was the pre- eminent poli5cal and spiritual leader of India during the Indian independence movement. Gandhi prac2ced ahisma ( non- violence ) as his method of opposi2on Gandhi was o]en referred to as Mahatma, meaning great soul, and Bapu, meaning Father I call myself a Sanatani Hindu because I believe in the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Puranas and all that goes by the name of Hindu scriptures, and therefore in avatars and rebirth. In a concrete manner he is a Hindu who believes in God, immortality of the soul, transmigration, the law of karma and moksha, and who tries to practice truth and ahimsa in daily life, and therefore practices cow protection in its widest sense and understands and tries to act according to the law of varnashrama.
28 Gandhi said that untouchability is a crime against God and man. He also referred to the so-called untouchables as HARIJANS meaning Children of God. He fought for their emancipation and in 1949 and soon after independence from Britain, the government of India made it a criminal offense to practice untouchability.
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