Sage/Seer/Rishi is a person who foresees events. They are inspired personages to Vedic hymns were revealed. Dharma is essential character of nature of all that is, of the universe and each of us and realizing it. Religion is concerned with all of the relations existing between God and human beings, and between humans themselves because of the central significance of God. Religion is a way to understand or practice on how to realize God. A person's relationship to God or salvation. So Hindus treat religion to be personal choice. As per Hindu, Religion is only a subset of Dharma. One does not need to believe in God to be a Hindu. However, we will use Dharma and Religion interchangeably for this presentation.
The Hindu system can be divided into two major systems. The Orthodox system (called astika in Sanskrit) accepts the authority of the Vedas. 1. Sankhya - founder Sage Kapila 2. Yoga - Sage Patanjali 3. Mimamsa - Sage Vyasa / Sage Jaimini 4. Vedanta - Shankaracharya, Ramanuja/Chaitanya/ Madhava/Vallabha 5. Nyaya - Sage Gautama (not Buddha) 6. Vaisheshika - Sage Kanda The Heterdox (Nastika) system rejects the authority of the Vedas. This system includes Carvaka (materialism), Jainism, and Buddhism. The Carvaka system denies existence of the individual self(atman) apart from the body and rejects the notion of moksha (salvation) for the atman. This system never gained popularity among the Hindus. For this presentation, we will focus on Astika (Orthodox) system. Sarvesham Svasti Bhavatu Sarvesham Santir Bhavatu Sarvesham Purnam Bhavatu Sarvesham Mangalam Bhavatu May auspiciousness be unto all; May peace be unto all; May fullness be unto all; May prosperity be unto all. Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinah Sarve Santu Niramayah Sarve Bhadrani Pasyantu Ma Kaschid-Duhkha-Bhag-Bhavet May all be happy; May all be free from disabilities; May all behold what is auspicious; May none suffer from sorrow. Asato Ma Sadgamaya Tamaso Ma Jyotir-Gamaya Mrityor-Ma Amritam Gamaya Om Santi Santi Santih! Lead me from the unreal to the Real; Lead me from darkness to the Light; Lead me from mortality to Immortality. Om Peace! Peace! Peace!
The Vedas Meaning “knowledge” in Sanskrit, the Vedas are the world’s oldest surviving and most authoritative texts of Hindu Dharma. Rishis, heard these verses directly from the God. Supposed to have been composed anywhere between 6500 - 1500 B.C.E. The Vedas consist of four parts. Addresses one of the Vedic Gods or Goddesses or spirits, each of whom represents natural forces such as the sun, the moon, and the wind. The Rig Veda contains verses of praise to the gods; the Yajur Veda discusses the requirements of ritual offerings; the Sama Veda, verses and chants for ritual offerings, and Atharva Veda, magical verses. . Each of these texts is comprised of hymns or mantras (Samhitas), rituals and devotional practices (Brahmanas), and additional corrections and explanations (Aranyakas). Only 13 are traceable today and 7 are being taught. Number of pandits who can recite available shakas are countable in single hand. The Upanishads Among the principal texts of the Hindu tradition, the Upanishads are metaphysical treatises that are concerned with the origin and destiny of humanity and the universe. These texts (the oldest of which date to the sixth century B.C.E or before.) teach that the gods of the Hindu pantheon are but manifestations of the unitive power of the cosmos and of an all-comprehensive Reality, Brahman. They also introduce the concepts of karma and reincarnation and of the Atman or transcendent Self. There are four Maha-Vakyas, each of the four Vedas containing one of them. The four Maha-Vakyas are: Prajnanam Brahma :—‘Consciousness is Brahman.’ This is called the Svarupabodha-Vakya or the sentence that explains the nature of Brahman or the Self. This is contained in the Aitareya-Upanishad of the Rigveda. Aham Brahma Asmi :—‘I Am Brahman.’ This is the Anusandhana-Vakya, the idea on which the aspirant tries to fix his mind. This is contained in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad of the Yajurveda. Tat Tram Asi: —‘That Thou Art.’ This is the Upanishadic Vakya contained in the Chhandogya Upanishad of the Sama Veda. The teacher instructs through this sentence. Ayam Atma Brahma :—‘This Self is Brahman.’ This is the Anubhavabodha Vakya or the sentence that gives expression to the inner intuitive experience of the aspirant. This is contained in the Mandukya Upanishad of the Atharva Veda. Smriti The rules of conduct are a part of the religious way of life. The Smritis are the codes which lay down the laws of human behaviour in one's personal capacity as well as in society. These are secondary revelations interpreted by various sages based on the times. Dharma Shastras The Smritis of Manu, Yajnavalkya and Parasara are some examples. These Dharma Shastras change according to the times and needs of the society. The laws of Manu are intended for the Satya Yuga, those of Yajnavalkya are for the Treta Yuga; those of Sankha and Likhita are for the Dvapara Yuga; and those of Parasara are for the Kali Yuga. Epics The Ramayana is a story of Prince Rama, the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and focuses on individual role in practicing Dharma w.r.t parents and family. It is one of the world's great epic in which a beautiful wife, Sita, is kidnapped by a demon known as Ravana and is rescued by her husband, Prince Rama, with the help of the monkey god, Lord Hanuman and monkey soldiers. The Ramayana poem runs to about 2000 verses (&quot;slokas&quot;). The Mahabharata traces the fortunes of five brothers, all warrior princes who had to face the injustice from their cousins and had to fight to regain the kingdom. It is a tale of one’s societal Dharma. The Bhagavad-Gita A section of the immense epic known as the Mahabharata, the Bhagavad-Gita (“The Song of the Lord”) is perhaps the best-known of Hindu texts. Believed to be about 4000 years old, it is set on the field of the climactic battle of the Mahabharata. It consists of a dialogue between the hero Arjuna and his charioteer, the divine Krishna. Krishna reveals the nature and purpose of human existence to Arjuna, and urges him on to fulfill his dharma, or divine destiny. The human mind is composed not only of the rational powers but also the emotional and the instinctive elements which feel the presence and working of certain truths that rationality cannot explain adequately. The Epics and Puranas answer to that aspect of human nature which is other than the ratiocinating or the investigative. The Puranas The name purana means “ancient,” and these eighteen texts are a compendium of legends and histories dating from the fourth century B.C.E. to 1000 C.E. They address the creation of the universe, its destruction and renovation, the genealogy of gods and patriarchs, and the reigns of ancient rulers. The tales and stories of the Puranas form an integral part of the fabric of Hindu culture. Agamas, Tantras and Darshanas are special texts individual to each School of thought.
Brahman and English word ‘God’ are not the same. Brahman is Sat-Chit-Ananda Svarupa. It is self-luminous (Svayam-Jyoti). It is eternal (Nityam), beginningless (Anadi), endless (Ananta), changeless (Nirvikara), deathless (Amritam), fearless (Abhayam) and spotless (Niranjana). Brahman is attributeless (Nirguna), formless, (Nirakara), without special characteristics (Nirvisesha), without parts (Akhanda), without any limiting adjunct (Nirupadhika), one without a second (Ekam eva Advitiyam), independent (Svatantra), ever free (Nitya-mukta) and all-full (Paripurna).
Brahman is Sat-Chit-Ananda Svarupa. It is self-luminous (Svayam-Jyoti). It is eternal (Nityam), beginningless (Anadi), endless (Ananta), changeless (Nirvikara), deathless (Amritam), fearless (Abhayam) and spotless (Niranjana). Brahman is attributeless (Nirguna), formless, (Nirakara), without special characteristics (Nirvisesha), without parts (Akhanda), without any limiting adjunct (Nirupadhika), one without a second (Ekam eva Advitiyam), independent (Svatantra), ever free (Nitya-mukta) and all-full (Paripurna).
The Hindu trinity is of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is the creative aspect, Vishnu is the protecting, sustaining aspect; and Siva is the transforming, dissolving aspect. Brahma creates, Vishnu sustains, and Siva dissolves. These are the three aspects of the Supreme Being. They are also aligned as the transcendent Godhead, Shiva, the cosmic lord, Vishnu and the cosmic mind, Brahma. In this regard they are called Sat-Tat-Aum, the Being, the Thatness or immanence and the Word or holy spirit. This is much like the Christian trinity of God as the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. The trinity represents the Divine in its threefold nature and function. Each aspect of the trinity contains and includes the others. Each God in the trinity has his consort. To Brahma is Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge. For Vishnu is Lakshmi, the Goddess of love, beauty and delight. For Shiva is Kali (Parvati) , the Goddess of power, destruction and transformation. These are the three main forms of the Goddess, as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the three main forms of the God. The three Goddesses are often worshipped in their own right as well as along with their spouses. These forces of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva are called shaktis , which means power. The shakti of Brahma is called Sarasvati, the goddess of learning; the shakti of Vishnu is Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. The shakti of Siva is Durga (and various other names also she has.) Durga is sometimes identified with the Power of the One Absolute.
These forces of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva are called shaktis , which means power. The shakti of Brahma is called Sarasvati, the goddess of learning; the shakti of Vishnu is Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. The shakti of Siva is Durga (and various other names also she has.) Durga is sometimes identified with the Power of the One Absolute.
Lord Vishnu's preserving, protecting powers have been manifested to the world in a variety of forms, called Avatars, in which one or more of his divine attributes were embodied in the shape of a human being or an animal or a human-animal combined form, possessing great and sometimes supernatural powers.that are innumerable. Of the ten universally recognized avatars, nine have already manifested whereas the tenth is yet to appear. It is important to note that the all the Avatars are earthly form of Lord Vishnu , who himself is eternal, unchangeable and immutable.
There is a misconception in some minds that Hindu scriptures sanction the caste system. Vedas, the proud possession of mankind, are the foundation of Hinduism. Vedas are all-embracing, and treat the entire humanity with the same respect and dignity. Vedas speak of nobility of entire humanity (krinvanto vishvam aryam), and do not sanction any caste system or birth-based caste system. Mantra, numbered 10-13-1 in Rig Veda, addresses the entire humanity as divine children (shrunvantu vishve amrutsya putraha). Innumerable mantras in Vedas emphasise oneness, universal brotherhood, harmony, happiness, affection, unity and commonality of entire humanity. A few illustrations are given here. Vide Mantra numbered 5-60-5 in Rig Veda, the divine poet declares, “All men are brothers; no one is big, no one is small. All are equal.” Mantra numbered 16.15 in Yajur Veda reiterates that all men are brothers; no one is superior or inferior. Mantra numbered 10-191-2 in Rig Veda calls upon humanity to be united to have a common speech and a common mind. Mantra numbered 3-30-1 in Atharva Veda enjoins upon all humans to be affectionate and to love one another as the cow loves her newly-born calf. Underlining unity and harmony still further, Mantra numbered 3-30-6 in Atharva Veda commands humankind to dine together, and be as firmly united as the spokes attached to the hub of a chariot wheel. The Bhagavad Gita, which contains the essence of Vedas and Upanishads, has many shlokas that echo the Vedic doctrine of oneness of humanity. In shloka numbered V (29), Lord Krishna declares that He is the friend of all creatures (suhridam sarva bhutanam) whereas shloka numbered IX (29) reiterates that the Lord has the same affection for all creatures, and whosoever remembers the Lord, resides in the Lord, and the Lord resides in him. Shloka numbered XVIII (61) declares that God resides in every heart (ishwar sarva bhutanam hrudyeshe Arjun tishthti). Guna (Aptitude) and Karma (Actions) Hindu scriptures speak only about ‘varna’ which means to ‘select’ (one’s profession, etc.) and which is not caste or birth-based. As per shloka numbered IV (13) of the Bhagavad Gita, depending upon a person’s guna (aptitude) and karma (actions), there are four varnas. As per this shloka, a person’s varna is determined by his guna and karma, and not by his birth. Chapter XIV of the Bhagavad Gita specifies three gunas viz. satva (purity), rajas (passion and attachment) and tamas (ignorance). These three gunas are present in every human in different proportions, and determine the varna of every person. Accordingly, depending on one’s guna and karma, every individual is free to select his own varna. Consequently, if their gunas and karmas are different, even members of the same family can belong to different varnas. Notwithstanding the differences in guna and karma of different individuals, Vedas treat the entire humanity with the same respect and do not sanction any caste system or birth-based caste system. Veda is the Foundation Hinduism is all-embracing and grants the same respect to all humans, and anything to the contrary anywhere is not sanctioned by the Vedas. Being divine revelation, the shrutis (Vedas) are the ultimate authority on Dharma, and represent its eternal principles whereas being human recapitulations, smritis (recollections) can play only a subordinate role. As per shloka numbered (6) of Chapter 2 in Manu Smriti, “Veda is the foundation of entire Dharma.” Shloka numbered 2(13) of Manu Smriti specifies that whenever shruti (vedas) and smritis differ, stipulation of Vedas will prevail over smritis. In view of this position, anything discriminatory in Manu Smriti or anywhere else is anti-Veda, and therefore, is not sanctioned by Hinduism and has subsequently been inserted with unholy intentions, and deserves to be weeded out. Besides, precise codification of Hinduism in one book is indispensable to make Hinduism easier to be understood by a layman. For this codification, appropriate mantras of Vedas and Upanishads, and selected shlokas in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata (which also includes the Bhagavad Gita), etc. will provide the basic material. Role of Media In order to usher in a casteless and harmonious society, the all-embracing and universal message of Vedas has to be followed and spread. Both the print and electronic media play an important role in a country’s life. They should contribute their mite to unite various sections of the society. But in India, most of the media are unwittingly strengthening caste and communal divisions. By publishing divisive articles and describing political leaders and electorates, achievers and sports persons, and even wrong-doers and their victims as members of a particular caste or community, the media is strengthening the divisions instead of unifying the society. The media should play a positive role so that there is amity all around.
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Intro To Hindu Dharma
Introduction to Hindu / Sanatan Dharma The search for Truth is called the Sanatana Dharma , or the Eternal Path. Practiced by people on the otherside of Sindhu river, so Hindu Dharma. <ul><li>Hinduism has been enriched by the contributions by many sages. </li></ul><ul><li>Hinduism is as old as the world itself. Vedas form the basis. </li></ul><ul><li>A Way of life that TRANSCENDS Religion </li></ul><ul><li>Believes in ‘ Truth is one. Paths are many ’. </li></ul><ul><li>World’s 3 rd largest with 1 billion+ followers. </li></ul><ul><li>Let Noble Thoughts Come From ALL Directions </li></ul><ul><li>Focuses on personally experiencing the Truth within. </li></ul>Dharma: Dharma is the natural and rightful order and foundation of everyone and everything. It is both why things are as they are and the path to the realization of why things are as they are. It is a way-of-life. Religion: is a way to understand or practice on how to realize God. Religion is concerned with all of the relations existing between God and human beings, and between humans themselves because of the central significance of God.
<ul><li>What are the Hindu scriptures? </li></ul><ul><li>What is the concept of God? </li></ul><ul><li>Hindu concept of Individual and Universe </li></ul><ul><li>What are the basic principles of Hindu Dharma? </li></ul><ul><li>Three Debts of Human Life </li></ul><ul><li>Four Stages of Hindu Religious Life </li></ul><ul><li>Four Ends of Human Life </li></ul><ul><li>Who is a Hindu?. </li></ul><ul><li>Code of Conduct </li></ul><ul><li>Additional Topics </li></ul><ul><li>References and links </li></ul>Contents of the presentation The Rig Veda has declared the Ultimate Reality (God) as: “ Ekam sat, vipraha bahudha vadanti .” (Rig Veda 1.164.46) "Truth (God) is one, the wise call it by various names" http://www.dlshq.org/download/hinduismbk.pdf for more info.
Smriti (Remembered) Sruti (Revealed) Hindu Scriptures <ul><li>Vedas (Four) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rig (21 shakas) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sama (109 shakas) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yajur (1000 shakas) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Atharva (50 shakas) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Hymns, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads </li></ul><ul><li>Dharma Shastras (Law Codes) </li></ul><ul><li>Ex: Manu Smriti </li></ul><ul><li>Epics (Ramayana and Mahabharata) </li></ul><ul><li>Puranas (Mythology) – There are many; each tradition has its own. Ex: Shiva Purana and Bhagavat Purana </li></ul><ul><li>Agamas and Tantras: (sectarian scriptures) </li></ul><ul><li>Darshanas (Manuals of Philosophy) – </li></ul><ul><li>Each school has its own literature. Ex: Yoga Sutras of Sage Patanjali. </li></ul>Vedas are the eternal truths revealed by God to the great ancient Rishis. These eternal truths never change. Scriptures that change with time and space and summery of Smriti in understandable format for common mind Prajnanam Brahma :—‘Consciousness is Brahman’ Aham Brahma Asmi :—‘I Am Brahman’ Tat Tram Asi: —‘That Thou Art’ Ayam Atma Brahma :—‘This Self is Brahman’ http://www.dlshq.org/download/vedbegin.pdf for more info.
In Hindu scriptures, the Cosmic Absolute/Absolute Reality is defined as Transcendent (impersonal) and Immanent (personal). In the transcendent aspect, the Supreme Reality is called Nirguna Brahman , that is Brahman , without attributes. " Brahman is He whom speech cannot express, and from whom the mind is unable to reach Him, comes away baffled" states the Taittiriya Upanishad. Nirguna Brahman is not an object of prayer, but of meditation and knowledge . It cannot be described, and It is absolute existence, absolute knowledge, and absolute bliss ( sat-chit-ananda ). It is unborn , self-existent , all-pervading , and the essence of all things and beings in the universe. It is immeasurable , unapproachable , beyond conception, beyond birth, beyond reasoning, and beyond thought". God cannot be defined in terms of any specific manifestation, nor indeed in terms of their sum total. He is beyond all possibility of definition. The Bhagavad Gita, the best-known scripture of India, states this point clearly: Concept of God ( Brahman )
Brahman , the Cosmic Absolute (beyond description) Transcendent (impersonal aspect, can be realized, but not worshipped Immanent (personal aspect, can be prayed, and worshipped, but not realized) Male Aspect Ishvara or God (note capital G) worshipped by many names and forms known as deities or gods (note small g) Female Aspect Divine Mother, worshipped by many names and forms known as deities or goddesses (note small g) Concept of God, cont’d We will focus on Immanent aspect of Brahman for now
Concept of God (Bramhan) In its Immanent (personal) aspect, the Supreme Reality, is called Saguna Bramhan. He is the personal God, the creator, the preserver, and the controller of the universe. In Hinduism, the immanent (personal) aspect of Bramhan is worshipped in both male and female forms. In the male form, He is worshipped as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is the creative aspect, Vishnu is the protecting, sustaining aspect; and Siva is the transforming, dissolving aspect. In the female form, as Saraswathi, Lakshmi and Parvathi. ALL POWERFUL MOTHER GAYATRI BRAHMA -CREATOR VISHNU - PROTECTOR SHIVA - DISSOLVER
However, on the personal level, its up to individuals to create a form/view of the same Supreme Bharman to pray. Hindu accepts only one God, the Supreme. Because of this flexibility in giving a shape or form, it appears as if there are many Hindu Gods/Goddesses to a non-Hindu. Hindus see divinity in all living creatures. Animal deities therefore, occupy an important place in Hindu dharma. Animals, for example, are very common as form of transport for various Gods and Goddesses. This is dues to the concept of Atman and Brahman being the same. We will discuss that in later slides….. Concept of God (Bramhan)
Hindu Concept of the Individual Just as a man living in a house is called a householder, Atman (meaning “God within”) living in a human body is called an individual. When this “human house” becomes old and irreparable, Atman leaves the house and we say that the individual has died. But Atman is immortal and is part of Brahman, Supreme God. Atman is divine so all the beings are divine.
Hindu Concept of the Individual, cont’d . <ul><li>Atman is uncreated, immortal and divine. </li></ul><ul><li>Although Atman is generally translated as soul or spirit, Atman and soul do not mean the same. </li></ul><ul><li>Atman and Brahman is same. So individual can reach the state of divinity. “Aham Brahmasmi” – I am God. </li></ul><ul><li>In the human body, Atman is deluded by cosmic ignorance, called Maya in Sanskrit. </li></ul><ul><li>In Hindu view, WE ARE CHILDREN OF IMMORTALITY and may commit sin under the influence of Maya. Thus, the purpose of Hindu religious life is to transcend Maya. </li></ul>
Electricity + Refrigerator = Cold Electricity + Television = Audio & Video Electricity + Type of Appliance = Type of Application Electricity + Oven = Heat Opposing Functions Personality Individuality Spirituality Divinity Hindu Concept of the Individual, cont’d Atman Physical Human Body + = just as Why are individuals different form each other?
Cosmic Energy Divine Mother (Shakti) Hindu Concept of the Universe Brahman (Infinite, Undivided and Changeless) Cosmic Consciousness (Heavenly Father ) Cosmic Ignorance (Maya) Sattva Rajas Tamas Time Space Duality Appearance of Brahman as things and beings of the world The Infinite, Undivided and Changeless appears as finite, divided, and changing
Hindu Concept of the Universe Hindus believe that the universe is without a beginning (anadi= beginning-less) or an end (ananta = end-less). Rather the universe is projected in cycles. Each cycle is divided into four yugas (ages of the world). Satya yuga (golden age) 4,000,000 years Treta yuga (silver age) 3,600,000 years Dvapara yuga (copper age) 2,400,000 years Kali yuga (iron age) 1,200,000 years Pralaya (cosmic deluge ) 4000,000 years New Creation 400,000 years Duration of One Cycle 12,000,000 years Total duration of the four yugas is called a kalpa. At the end of kalyuga the universe is dissolved by pralaya (cosmic deluge ) and another cycle begins. Each cycle of creation lasts one kalpa, that is 12,000,000 human years ( or 12,000 Brahma years). Hindus believe that there is almost a universe hidden in each Atman and that can be explored looking inward with the help of Yoga and Meditation.
10 AVATARS (INCARNATIONS) Lord Vishnu's preserving, protecting powers have been manifested to the world in a variety of forms, called Avatars, in which one or more of his divine attributes were embodied in the shape of a human being or an animal or a human-animal combined form, possessing great and sometimes supernatural powers.that are innumerable.
Basic principles of Hindu Dharma <ul><li>Divinity of the Atman </li></ul><ul><li>Unity of Existence </li></ul><ul><li>Ahimsa </li></ul><ul><li>Harmony of Religions </li></ul><ul><li>Law of Karma </li></ul><ul><li>Doctrine of Incarnation </li></ul><ul><li>Freedom of Thought </li></ul><ul><li>Law of Dharma </li></ul>
<ul><li>Each human being, regardless of religion, geographic region, gender, color or creed is in reality Atman clothed in a physical body. Since Atman is inherently pure and divine, every human being is potentially divine. In Hindu view, a man is not born a sinner, but becomes a victim of ignorance under the influence of cosmic ignorance, called Maya. Just as darkness quickly disappears upon the appearance of light, an individual’s delusion vanishes when he gains self-knowledge. </li></ul><ul><li>Practical Significance : Eliminates fear of God, encourages freedom of thought, and removes psychological barrier to human growth. No fear of eternal hell. </li></ul>Divinity of the Atman
Unity of Existence <ul><li>Science has revealed that what we call matter is essentially energy. Hindu sages tell us that the cosmic energy is manifestation of the Universal Spirit ( Brahman ). Brahman has become all things and beings in the world. Thus, we are all interconnected in subtle ways. “All is One and One is in all,” declare the sages. </li></ul><ul><li>Practical Significance : </li></ul><ul><li>Encourages universal brotherhood, reverence for all forms of life, and respect for our environment. Hindu scriptures address earth as Mother Earth . </li></ul>
Ahimsa <ul><li>Ahimsa means non-violence, non-injury, or non-killing. Hinduism teaches that al forms of life are manifestations of Brahman. We must, therefore, not be indifferent to the sufferings of others. </li></ul><ul><li>Practical Significance : Creates mutual love between humans and other forms of life, and protects our environment. Ahimsa provides basis for Hindu notion of morality. “That mode of living which is based upon a total harmlessness towards all creatures or (in the case of necessity) upon minimum of such harm, is the highest morality.” (Mahabharata Shantiparva 262.5-6). </li></ul>
Harmony of Religions <ul><li>Hinduism believes that there is no one religion that teaches an exclusive way to salvation. All genuine spiritual paths are valid and all great religions are equally true. “In whatever way humans love Me (God), in the same way they find My love. Various are the ways for humans, but in the end they all come to Me.” (Bhagavad Gita 4.11) </li></ul><ul><li>Practical Significance : This doctrine lays foundation for universal harmony. The attitude of religious tolerance is one of Hinduism’s greatest gifts to mankind. </li></ul>
The Law of Karma <ul><li>Hindus believe that God, who is all-loving and merciful, does not punish or reward anyone. He molds our destinies based upon our own thoughts and deeds. Every action of a person, in though, word, or deed, brings results, either good or bad, depending upon the moral quality of the action, in accordance with the adage, “As you sow, so shall you reap.” Moral consequences of all actions are conserved by the Nature. </li></ul><ul><li>Practical Significance : Eliminates fear of God and hell; enhances self-confidence and strengthens the concepts of righteousness and fairness. </li></ul>
Doctrine of Incarnation <ul><li>Hindus believe that God incarnates Himself on earth to uphold righteousness, whenever there is a decline in virtue. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, “Whenever there is a decline in righteousness and predominance of unrighteousness, I (God) embody Myself. </li></ul>For the protection of the good and for the destruction of the evil-doers and for the re-establishment of righteousness, I am born form age to age.” (BG 4.6-4.7)
Freedom of Thought <ul><li>Hindus believe that wisdom is not an exclusive possession of any particular race or religion. Hinduism, therefore, provides everyone with absolute freedom of thought in religious matters. One is free to approach God in his or her own way, without conforming to any dogma or blind faith. An open mind is all that is needed to study Hinduism. Hindus place the greatest value on experiencing truth personally. </li></ul><ul><li>Practical Significance : Eliminates blind faith and dogma. Encourages reason and logic for mutual understanding. Hinduism is a God-loving religion and not God-fearing one. </li></ul>
The Law of Dharma <ul><li>The thought of dharma generates deep confidence in the Hindu mind in cosmic justice. This is reflected in the often-quoted maxims: “The righteous side will have the victory.” “Truth only prevails, not falsehood.” “Dharma kills if it is killed; dharma protects if it is protected.” “The entire world rests on dharma.” </li></ul><ul><li>Dharma is the law that maintains the cosmic order as well as the individual and social order. Dharma sustains human life in harmony with nature. When we follow dharma, we are in conformity with the law that sustains the universe. </li></ul>
Dharma Morality Ethics Individual Resp. Social Resp. Laws of the Land Profession Ahimsa (non-violence) The Law of Dharma “ Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.”
3 Debts, 4 Stages, and 4 Ends of Human Life <ul><li>Three Debts : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Debt to God </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Debt to Sages and Saints </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Debt to one’s parents and ancestors </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Four Stages: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Brahmacharya (Studentship) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grhastha (Householder) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vanaprastha (Retirement) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sannyasa (Renunciation) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Four Ends : </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha </li></ul></ul>
Progress of Human thought Towards Dharma Dependent (Independent) Individual Family Community Nation Humanity Universe Truth
Who Is Hindu? – 9 Point Test Hindus believe many diverse things, but there are a few bedrock concepts on which most Hindus concur. The following nine beliefs, though not exhaustive, offer a simple summary of Hindu spirituality. 1) I believe in the divinity of the Vedas, the world’s most ancient scripture, and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God’s word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion which has neither beginning nor end. 2) I believe in a one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality. 3) I believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution. 4) I believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds.
Who Is Hindu? – 9 Point Test 5) I believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and moksha, spiritual knowledge and liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be eternally deprived of this destiny. 6) I believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments as well as personal devotionals create a communion with these devas and Gods. 7) I believe that a spiritually awakened master, or satguru, is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry and meditation. 8) I believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered, and therefore practice ahimsa, “noninjury.” 9) I believe that no particular religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine religious paths are facets of God’s Pure Love and Light, deserving tolerance and understanding.
Four major religions of the world have originated from India: Hinduism,Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism. Hindu Temple Jain Temple Sikh Gurudwara Buddhist Pagoda
Some Facts <ul><li>Probably the first written language with complete grammer is Sanskrit. 5000 years+. </li></ul><ul><li>Oldest civilization to exist on the earth today. </li></ul><ul><li>The science of Yoga and Meditation was developed in the Himalayas </li></ul><ul><li>Birthplace of 4 major religions Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism </li></ul><ul><li>World’s first University in Takshila in 700 BC </li></ul><ul><li>Vedas are the oldest texts available to humans </li></ul>Sanskrit: Source of numerous languages <ul><li>No Human Founder. </li></ul><ul><li>No known beginning </li></ul><ul><li>No One Scripture of authority </li></ul><ul><li>One Supreme God/ Ultimate Reality </li></ul><ul><li>Emphasis on personal experience </li></ul><ul><li>All Paths deserve equal respect </li></ul><ul><li>Whole world is one family </li></ul><ul><li>Let every one be happy, healthy and peaceful </li></ul>
Sacred Cow – Why? Everything is sacred for Hindus. Cows, Like in all societies of all times, have been considered to be “wealth”. Cows provide milk which helps sustain life, life of adults and children alike. The by-products of the milk, yoghurt, buttermilk, butter etc were an integral part of their daily diet. Their dung was a useful, year around fuel supply. By pulling carts and ploughs, they were partners in technology that helped develop new frontiers in the Indian sub-continent. Their usefulness meant they were valued as highly as any gold, gem or sometimes even kin. By giving it a very special place in our society, that of a pseudo mother, we made sure it was respected at all times. By giving it the same divine status as parents, the ancients made sure the humble cow had the same legal and social protection as humans ! All this to protect our wealth !!
Caste System Vedas speak of nobility of entire humanity (krinvanto vishvam aryam), and do not sanction any caste system or birth-based caste system. Mantra, numbered 10-13-1 in Rig Veda, addresses the entire humanity as divine children (shrunvantu vishve amrutsya putraha). Innumerable mantras in Vedas emphasise oneness, universal brotherhood, harmony, happiness, affection, unity and commonality of entire humanity. Veda Mantra numbered 5-60-5 in Rig Veda declares, “All men are brothers; no one is big, no one is small. All are equal.” Mantra numbered 16.15 in Yajur Veda reiterates that all men are brothers; no one is superior or inferior. Hindu scriptures speak only about ‘varna’ which means to ‘select’ (one’s profession, etc.) and which is not caste or birth-based. As per shloka numbered IV (13) of the Bhagavad Gita, depending upon a person’s guna (aptitude) and karma (actions), there are four varnas. As per this shloka, a person’s varna is determined by his guna and karma, and not by his birth. Chapter XIV of the Bhagavad Gita specifies three gunas viz. satva (purity), rajas (passion and attachment) and tamas (ignorance). These three gunas are present in every human in different proportions, and determine the varna of every person.
Additional Resources Idiots Guide To Hinduism By Linda Johnsen On The Internet: http://www.himalayanacademy.com/basics http://www.atributetohinduism.com/ http://www.dlshq.org/download/vedbegin.pdf http://www.dlshq.org/download/download.htm http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/ans_00.html http://www.hindubooks.org/bansi_pandit/hindu_dharma / This is a presentation by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh(HSS). For more information, email at [email_address]