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Introduction to Hinduism
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Introduction to Hinduism

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  • 1. India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneAumSwastikaIndia is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneSanatan DharmaIndiaBhārat is a really largecountry.3,2 million km2.1 210 million people.Compare with Europe.10,6 million km2.732 million people.Or North America(Greenland + Canada + USA + Mexico +Central American states + West Indies)24,4 million km2.529 million people.12.1India7.32Europe5.29N. Am.
  • 2. India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneSanatan DharmaIndiaBhārat is a really, really large country.3,2 million km2.1 210 million people.Additionally, one might argue it’s even more varied thanEurope and North America combined.300–400 languages are spoken.20 of them are official languages.Roughly 80% count as Hindus. Islam second largest religion.80.0% Hindu13.4% Muslim 162 Million2.3% Christian 27.8 Million2.0% Sikh0.8% Buddhist0.4% JainIndia is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneSanatan DharmaIndiaBhārat is a really, really large country.“Connaught Place sunset” by Ville Miettinen (cc-by-2.0)http://www.flickr.com/photos/wili/295189351/in/photostream/
  • 3. India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneSanatan DharmaIndiaBhārat is a really, really large country.“Homeward bound” by UrbanWanderer (cc-by-sa-2.0)http://www.flickr.com/photos/adityo/7360934782/in/photostream/India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneSanatan DharmaIndiaBhārat is a really, really large country.Life in the cities is vastly different than in rural areas.Ab. 8% belong to ‘tribal people’. Adivasi. Scheduled tribes.To say “this is how it is in India” is to lie.Somewhere in India, it is not like “this”.
  • 4. India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneHinduismA Meaningful LifeReligion in general, is a way to live in the world.Religion is a way to view the world.Religion is a way to live a meaningful life.According to Hinduism, a meaningful life means that:1 You live a happy life.2 You’re a good person.That you live a life which is meaningful to others.India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneHinduismPuruṣārtha: Four Goals in LifeIn a meaningful life, the four goals are balanced.Artha life necessities; material possesions.Kāma aesthethic enjoyment; pleasure of the senses.Dharm(a) a moral life; following the rules of society, of one’scontext.Moksh(a) to leave life free. End of saṃsāra.
  • 5. India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneHinduismPuruṣārtha: Four Goals in LifeIn a meaningful live, the four goals are balanced.MaterialArthaKāmaDharmaMokshSpiritualOne fourth of your energy should go to gathering the materialnecessities of life. Food and shelter.One fourth to enjoy life.One fourth to fulfil your duties (family, society…)One fourth to spirituality.Dharma should govern the search for artha and kāma.India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneHinduismPuruṣārtha: Four Goals in LifeIn a meaningful life, the four goals are balanced.Religion guides on how to distribute your energies.Every religion, which informs on the proper distribution ofenergies, is ‘a right religion’.Different circumstances demand different paths to theseparate goals.To gather food is achieved in a certain manner in Sweden; in adifferent in USA; in a third way in India.The guidance (religion) have to be adapted to thecircumstances.Some faiths fit certain contexts better.
  • 6. India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneSanatan DharmaHinduismIn a meaningful life, the four goals are balanced.Religion guides on how to distribute your energies.One such system, is Sanatan Dharm(a).“The eternal order”.The eternally existing guidance.The ever-flowing religion.‘Hinduism’ is a western notion.India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneSaṃsāraThe Eternal Cycle of RebirthSaṃsāra The eternal cycle of rebirth.Reincarnation Back to the carnal reality. To the flesh. To be bornagain. Reborn.Karma Actions, physical and mental, count as good, bad orindifferent.The sum of your karma is the basis of your nextreincarnation.Animals can have good karma, too!Animals, too, can achieve moksh.Moksh The end of samsara. No more (re)birth.
  • 7. India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneSaṃsāraAUMAtman — BrahmandBrahmand the ‘soul’ of the universe.Atman the ‘soul’ of the individual.Moksh the end of saṃsāra.Atman joins Brahmand.Aum the symbol to the right.(Alt. spelling: ‘om’.)India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneSaṃsāraAtman — BrahmandEverything is Brahmand.Brahmand is the origin of the individual ‘soul’, atman.The goal of the individual is to join Brahmand again.…but perhaps not just right this minute?AumAum is the original sound.The sound of the universe being born.Aum is what everything begins with.By saying aum we can return to Brahmand.
  • 8. India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneSaṃsāraAUMAtman — BrahmandIndia is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneSaṃsāraAUMAtman — BrahmandMost ‘holy actions’ begin with aumor swastika.Most mantras begin with aum.Aum is a mantra in itself.
  • 9. India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneFour Paths to MokshBhakti-yog(a) through devotion towards the divine.Rāja -yog(a) through control (over body and soul).Jñana -yog(a) through reason (knowledge).Karma-yog(a) through following dharm(a).India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneHoly CowsCows are considered sacred.Aditi, mother of all deities.There are also pragmatical benefitsRoams about freely. —Accessibleby all.Milk, important source ofnourishment for children. Ghee.Dung, important source of fuel.Urine, fertilizer.Only the cow is holy, not the bull,which can be used for labour.
  • 10. India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneHoly CowsIndia is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneHoly Cows
  • 11. India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneThe Varna-systemJatiThe ‘caste system’, as we know it in the west, is really a mixof varn(a) and jati.Jati is comparable to profession.You’re born in a family with a certainprofessional competence.In the possible lack of education etc., you learnthe profession of your family. (That might evenbe considered to be your dharm.)India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneThe Varna-systemVarna: Purush4. Shudra, working people3. Vaishya, commerce2. Kshatriya, rules1. Brahmin, distributes knowledge
  • 12. India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneThe Varna-systemVarn(a)In theory, all parts of Purush are of equal worth.Reality differs from the theory.Huge difference between urban and rural areas.India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneThe Varna-systemVarn(a)The different jatis belong to separate varn(a)s.The division looks different in different places.Some jatis are always ‘low caste’, like chamar — leatherworkers.Other jatis are somewhere between varn(a)s, like yadav —milk men. In some areas they are high shudra; in others, lowvaishya.Festivals and traditions bind and harmonise the differentgroups.On the one hand: harmonises.On the other hand: maintains status quo. The low remain low.
  • 13. India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and One“The Caste System”Officially, the four varn(a)s have been abolished.Brahmin; kshatriya; vaishya; shudra. “Scheduled casts”,“scheduled tribes”.In fact, they’re still a reality. Stronger in some places; weakerin others. (Not least, difference between urban/rural.)India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneOne Million Gods — and OneThe divine has many faces.You speak to the one you feel most comfortable with. Theface that appeals to you the most.God can appear in a myriad of ways: all are expressions of oneand the same reality: Brahmand.
  • 14. India is a really large country Sanatan Dharma Concepts and terms Varna and jati One Million Gods — and OneGodsThree Main PathsBroadly speaking, there are three different categories. Threedifferent ways of approaching the divine. Three groups ofbelievers.Vaishnavism Those who are devoted to Vishny — or rather: oneof his avatars.Matsya; Kurma; Varaha; Narasimha; Vamana;Parashurama; Rama; Krishna; Buddha; Kalki.Shaivism Those who are devoted to Shiva.Shaktism Those who are devoted to some form of devi, thefeminine aspect of the divine.