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Hinduism 2

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World Religions class for Jon Kohler's Amarillo College class, Spring 2010.

World Religions class for Jon Kohler's Amarillo College class, Spring 2010.

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  • Mahabarata tells how the sons of Pandu conquered their cousins the Kauravas with the help of the god Krishna.
  • Transcript

    • 1. HINDUISM 2
    • 2. LIVING SPIRITUALLY IN THE EVERYDAY WORLD
      • Hindu practice for the ordinary layperson usually involves devotion to at least one deity.
        • It recommends finding one’s proper work and then doing it unselfishly.
        • May also include the study of religious texts, meditation, and other specifically religious disciplines.
    • 3. Bhagavad Gita (divine song)
      • Part of a longer poem called the Mahabharata
      • Balances mysticism and practical living needs.
      • Duty is part of the spiritual path
      • Written in dialogue form: the dialogue is between a prince (Ajuna) and his charioteer (Krishna)
      • There is nothing more noble than a righteous war
    • 4. The Caste System
      • The caste system, the prevalent social system of the Aryans, had already been mentioned in the Rig Veda.
      • The caste system receives further religious approval in the Bhagavad Gita, which recognizes that there are different types of people and that their ways to perfection will differ, depending on their personality type and role in society.
    • 5. The Caste System
      • Traditionally, the caste system was based on more than one’s type of work and in modern times it does not always indicate the type of work a person does.
      • The caste system dissuades members of different castes, and often sub castes, from intermarrying.
    • 6. Five Main Social Classes of the Caste System
          • The priest ( brahmin ) traditionally performs Vedic rituals and acts as a counselor. (In modern times, members of this caste are also in demand as cooks.)
          • The warrior-noble ( kshatriya ) has the role of protecting society -- (aristocracy).
          • The merchant ( vaishya ) class includes landowners, moneylenders, and sometimes artisans.
          • The peasant ( shudra ) does manual labor and is expected to serve the higher castes.
          • The untouchable ( dalit ) traditionally does the dirtiest work—cleaning toilets, sweeping streets, collecting animal carcasses, and tanning animal hides.
    • 7. The Stages of Life
      • Traditional Hinduism holds that each stage of life also has its proper way of being lived.
        • In India the notion of life stages is more religious.
          • Student ( brahmacharin )
            • --This first stage is spent laying a religious foundation for life.
            • --Between the ages of 8 and 20.
          • Householder ( grihastha )
            • --Marriage (traditionally arranged by the parents) occurs at about age 20.
          • Retiree ( vanaprastha )
            • --When grandchildren arrive, the individual may retire somewhat from ordinary life to spend time once again on religious matters.
          • Renunciate ( sannyasin )
            • --To enter this last stage is considered to be appropriate only after retirement. It is not expected of everyone but is simply an option.
            • --The sannyasin , considered to be outside the caste system, is free to wander, begging his food along the way, and many temples have endowments to feed such pilgrims.
    • 8. The Goals of Life
      • In order of increasing value these goals are:
        • pleasure ( kama )
        • economic security and power ( artha )
        • social and religious duty ( dharma )
        • complete freedom ( moksha )
          • considered the highest of the goals
    • 9. The Goals of Life
      • The Yogas
        • The various types of yoga are methods that can be used to help people live spiritually.
        • The word yoga means “ union ”
        • A yoga is a way for people to perfect their union with the divine , and because the yogas suggest roads to perfection, they are also called margas (“paths”).
    • 10. The Goals of Life The Yogas (Continued)
      • Jnana Yoga
        • Brings insight into one’s divine nature by studying the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita and their commentaries.
          • particularly appropriate for priests and intellectuals
        • This yoga was highly refined by a school of philosophy that is still quite vital, the school of Vedanta (“Veda end”).
        • The greatest teacher of Vedanta, Shankara (c. 788-820), argued that everything is ultimately one—all is Brahman (i.e., monism ).
    • 11. The Goals of Life The Yogas (Continued)
      • Karma Yoga (“Action Yoga”)
        • Proposes that all useful work, if done unselfishly, can be a way to perfection
          • Much of what we ordinarily do is motivated by money or pleasure or praise, but deeds performed without a desire for reward are the heart of karma yoga .
      • Bhakti Yoga (“Devotion Yoga”)
        • In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna, “Regard me as your dearest loved one. Know me to be your only refuge.”
        • Can involve various expressions of devotion—most commonly chants, songs, food offerings, and the anointing of statues.
        • Can also extend to acts of devotion shown to one’s guru (spiritual teacher), to one’s parents, and to one’s spouse.
    • 12. The Goals of Life The Yogas (Continued)
      • Raja Yoga (“Royal Yoga”)
        • This type of yoga promotes meditation.
          • Done for short periods of time on a regular basis, meditation lowers stress and brings a sense of peace; done for longer periods of time, it can induce new states of consciousness.
          • There are many types of meditation.
            • emptying the mind of thought
            • focusing on some physical or mental object
            • can be done with one’s eyes closed or open and focused on a point a short distance in front of the face
            • a mantra is often recited with each breath to help clear the mind of thought
            • can be done in silence or to gentle music
    • 13. The Goals of Life The Yogas (Continued)
      • Hatha Yoga (“Force Yoga”)
        • Physical exercises
          • originally developed to help make long periods of meditation easier, mostly involve stretching and balancing
          • breathing exercises are sometimes considered a part of hatha yoga.
    • 14. Devotional Hinduism
      • For the majority of Hindus, some of the spiritual disciplines mentioned—study, meditation, and special physical exercises—have had limited appeal.
      • The great majority of Hindus have followed the path of devotion ( bhakti ) to a god or gods .
        • Hindus worship their gods in village temples and at home altars.
    • 15. Devotional Hinduism (Continued)
      • The Trimurti – three gods have been particularly important in the devotional and artistic life of Hinduism.
        • Brahma
        • Vishnu
        • Shiva
    • 16. Brahma Vishnu
      • Brahma
      • Vishnu
    • 17. Devotional Hinduism The Trimurti (Continued)
      • Brahma
        • represents the creative force that made the universe.
        • personal aspect of Brahman – thought of as the special patron of the priestly class, the brahmins.
        • Brahma is commonly depicted as an ancient, thoughtful king sitting on a throne.
        • In India, worship of Brahma as a separate deity has declined over the past two hundred years, although he is still frequently represented in art, where he is pictured beside Vishnu or Shiva.
    • 18. Shiva
    • 19. Devotional Hinduism The Trimurti (Continued)
      • Vishnu
        • Represents the force of preservation in the universe.
        • In the Veda he is a god associated with the sun.
        • Thought of as light and warmth that destroys darkness.
        • Today Vishnu (in various forms) is the most important object of devotion in India , and about three quarters of all Hindus in India worship him or his manifestations.
        • His followers are called Vaishnavites (or Vaishnavas).
        • Two incarnations of Vishnu: Rama & Krishna
    • 20. Devotional Hinduism The Trimurti (Continued)
      • Shiva
        • The god linked with destruction.
        • Is the most complicated of the gods , both in origin and in conception.
        • The horned figure, sitting in yogic meditation posture and found on seals from the Harappa period, may be an early form of Shiva, meaning that some aspects of the present-day god may extend back to pre-Aryan India.
        • Shiva’s connection with destruction may be hard for many non-Hindus to appreciate.
          • destruction is considered to be simply another part of the divine energy at work in the world.
            • a type of recycling, the necessary loss of form, which occurs so that new forms may appear, and death is always thought of as leading to a new life.
    • 21. Worship of the Divine Feminine: Devi
      • Hinduism strongly recognizes the female aspects of divinity.
      • The Great Mother, also called Devi (“goddess”), is worshipped throughout India but particularly in the northeast.
      • Durga frequently represented with ten arms, full of implements used to destroy evil.
      • Kali is more fearsome still is often shown wearing a necklace of human skulls, and her fanged teeth drip with blood. Her many arms are full of weapons, which are thought to be dangerous to enemies but protective of her children.
    • 22. The Guru as Object of Devotion
      • Because Hinduism is not organized in a hierarchical fashion, devotion to a guru (spiritual teacher) is a large and ancient component of Hindu spirituality.
        • The etymology of the word guru is expressive – “the one who removed darkness.”
      • Although the majority of gurus are men, female gurus are not uncommon.
        • Because a guru expects to be surrounded by students and devotees, he or she will frequently set up an ashram, a religious community for disciples.
        • It is common to touch and even kiss the feet of a guru—an act of reverence that is also performed at times for parents and grandparents.
        • Many Hindus believe that the guru is both a saint and a living embodiment of the divine.
    • 23. Devotion to Animals
      • Hinduism is distinctive among world religions for its kindness to animals: a devout Hindu does not kill or eat animals.
      • This devotion to animals has several possible origins:
        • an ancient deification of certain animals, such as the elephant and tiger
        • the desire to neutralize dangerous or mischievous animals, such as the snake, rat, and monkey
        • a sense that human beings and animals have the same origin (a belief common in oral religions)
        • belief in reincarnation.
      • Among the animals, cows receive special veneration.
        • with a cow, one is never utterly destitute (milk, butter, dried dung for fuel, warmth and comfort associated with household pets)