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World religions hindu

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  • 1. World ReligionsIndia: Hinduism
  • 2. The “NO” of Hinduism• NO single founder• NO specific theological system• NO single system of morality• NO central religious organizationBecause of the “no” there is great diversity within Hinduism;in some manner it may be the most tolerant of all religions. The possible religious views are virtually infinite. Today, there are about 760 million followers of Hinduism
  • 3. With no identifiable founder, where does Hinduism come from?The Word Hindu May come from the Persian word for India May come from a British corruption of the Sanskrit name for the Indus River: Sindhu The word was applied to all Indian people. Thus, to be from India is to be Hindu
  • 4. A Brief History• Migrations of Aryan peoples into India c. 2500 BC Aryan does not describe a race but a language group Language is similar to European languages Aryan is Sanskrit for “noble ones” May be related to the Celts of the British Isles Created the Persian Empire When naming their country, the Persians called it Iran, land of the Aryans• Advanced peoples who built complex cities covering nearly 500,000 sq. miles• Brought their polytheistic religions with them and mingled them with those of the people of India• From this mingling, classical Hinduism was born
  • 5. Movement of Hindu Development
  • 6. A Brief History• These peoples organized along tribal lines with chiefs called “rajas”• In time classes developed called “varnas”• Other classes (varnas): Brahmins---priests Chieftains (rajas) and Warriors---top of the scale Merchants Commoners Conquered peoples (not considered full members)• These divisions later became the basis for the caste system
  • 7. Three Branches of Hinduism • Vedic (Classical) • Post-Classical • Modern More than to specific time periods, thesebranches refer to periods when certain teachings, deities, worship styles, or rituals either had not developed, or had developed but were by dominated others.
  • 8. The Vedic or Classical Era• The Vedas Mean “Knowledge” or “sacred lore” Are the basic sacred literature (books) of Hindus, considered by many Hindus to be divine Four Vedic books made up of four parts each Part one: hymns or mantras to the gods Part four: The Upanishads (material written after the Vedas) Provide a Hindu understanding of the universe Other Hindu literature is considered commentary on the Vedas Vedas were still developing as late as c. 400 BC
  • 9. The Vedic or Classical Era The oldest and most important Veda, the Rig- Veda, dates back to c. 2000 BC Collection of 1,000 hymns to the Aryan gods Contains much mythology of these gods The god given most attention in the Rig-Veda is Indra Vishnu (later the most important Hindu god) is givenonly minor mention
  • 10. The Vedic or Classical EraThe Upanishads Early philosophical statements (date to c. 9th century BC) Are clearly monistic (not polytheistic as early Vedas) Only one reality---the god-being Brahman All other beings are expressions of Brahman---all that is not Brahman is not real Human beings are consumed with Maya (false knowledge) and believe that this life and separation from Brahman are real Humanity’s real problem is Avidya (ignorance) of their plight; they are deceived about their true nature The task of religion is to show the divine nature within us and how to live on a new plane Proper worship is meditation, not making sacrifice to the gods
  • 11. Terms & Concepts Introduced in the Upanishads• BRAHMAN ULTIMATE REALITY• MAYA ILLUSION• AVIDYA IGNORANCE• ATMAN INDIVIDUAL SELF OR SOUL• SAMSARA ENDLESS WHEEL OF CYCLICAL TIME• MOKSHA LIBERATION FROM WHEEL• BRAHMIN ONE WHO HAS ACHIEVED ENLIGHTENMENT• KARMA A MEASURE• VARNA CASTE SYSTEM
  • 12. The Code of Manu• Further developed the ethical standards of Hinduism• Affirmed the varna system as divinely ordained• Discusses marriage, male female relationships, dietary restrictions, etc.• Claims the killing of cows is a great sin punishable by having a cow control your brain for a year
  • 13. Bhagavad Gita• An epic poem forming the concluding statement of classical Hindu culture• The story of leading Hindu families and their struggle for domination• Key characters: Arjuna and Krishna• Krishna is revealed as the reincarnation of Vishnu• Krishna affirms: the Upanishads as supreme scriptures People should perform their caste duties and avoid karma Be open and devoted to a variety of religious expressions
  • 14. Post-Classical HinduismA Period Marked By: Worship centered on a few gods Temples built to honor these gods These gods took wives or consorts Negative, world and life (pleasure)-denying forcespredominate Life-view is an endless cycle of birth, death, rebirth The goal of religion is to cease living Ascetics who deny themselves pleasure—not mightywarriors—are the real heros
  • 15. Post-Classical HinduismDuring the Period, Devotion Centered on Three Major GodsBrahma Given least attention—pictured as red with fourbearded faces and four armsShiva God of death, destruction, and reproduction Most popular of the period Followers put a trident on their faces Special to ascetics because he tortures their flesh Believed to be ultimate reality
  • 16. Post-Classical Hinduism• Death and reproduction come under his power• Humans are separated from Shiva due to ignorance,Karma, and illusion• Many Shivaites in India today• His consort is the more destructive Kali, who is depicted with a necklace of skulls, tearing away the flesh ofsacrificed victims and drinking bloodVishnu God of love, play, and forgiveness Enjoys tricks and pranks Appeared many times on earth as avatars like Krishna Hare Krishna is example of the sect’s devotees
  • 17. Post-Classical Hinduism Devotion to Knowledge: Five Philosophical Systems Sankhya system Atheistic – recognizes no personal gods Dualistic – posits a spirit and matter that encompasses all that is Yoga system Means “to join” The world is a dualism between atman and Brahman Yoga seeks to join the individual spirit (atman) toBrahman Main feature: meditation (even essential for the gods)
  • 18. Post-Classical HinduismEight Steps to Yoga Vows of restraint Internal control, calmness and equanimity Certain bodily postures to achieve the aims of yoga Breath control Control of the senses for shutting out the world Extreme concentration on a single object Meditation Trance in which “yogin” becomes one with Brahman
  • 19. Post-Classical Hinduism Mimansa System Held to the early Vedas Revered Shiva as the highest God Concerned with avoiding rebirth Vaisheshika System Believes that the world is made of nine distinctelements: earth, air, water, fire, soul, mind, ether,time, space These elements are eternal and uncreated; thus,no gods are needed
  • 20. Post-Classical Hinduism• Vedanta System Most popular system Committed to the Upanishads It is monistic: the human world really does not exist Humankind’s basic problem is not evil butignorance as to its true state A primary branch of Vendanta is called Advaita,meaning “nondual”