Religions of Ancient India


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3 Religions of India

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Religions of Ancient India

  1. 1. JainismBuddhismHinduism
  2. 2. Jainism• Began around 600 BCE• Jainism is named after “jinas”• “Jinas” included 24 spiritual leaders called “Tirthankaras”• 24th Tirthankara, Mahavira, usually regarded as founder of Jainism• Mahavira lived 599 to 527 BCE; believed to be contemporary of the Buddha
  3. 3. Beliefs• Universe and everything in it is eternal• Understanding of an uncreated and eternal universe leaves little room for an “almighty creator”• Universe consists of three realms: • Urdhva Loka (7 levels of heaven) • Madhya Loka (earthly realm with 7 regions divided by 6 mountain ranges) • Adho Loka (7 infernal regions of hell)• Live by 5 great vows of conduct: • Ahimsa (nonviolence): not to cause harm to any living beings • Satya (truthfulness): to speak the harmless truth only • Asteya (non-stealing): not to take anything not properly given • Brahmacharya (chastity): not to indulge in sensual pleasure • Aparigraha (Non-possession/Non-attachment): complete detachment from people, places, and material things
  4. 4. 7 levels of infernal hell
  5. 5. • 5 levels of human development • Sadhus (monks) and sadhvis (nuns) • Upadhyayas (teachers of the Jain scriptures) • Acharyas (spiritual leaders) • Siddhas (liberated souls) • Arihantas (liberated souls who attain salvation)• 4 kinds of Karma • Vedniya- happiness determining • Nam- body determining • Gotra- status determining • Ayushya- longevity determining• Death • Repeated reincarnation until liberation • One doesn’t spend eternity in hell.
  6. 6. • Kalpa Sutra • Written 400 BCE • Considered most sacred text • Consists of biography of Mahavira and other Tirthankaras • Contains list of monks from 527 BCE to 500 CE• Jainism Today • Almost 5 million people still practice • Many are rich and overwhelming majority are well-to-do • Have highest literacy rate at 94% compared to other religions in India
  7. 7. Mahavira
  8. 8. Adinath Jain Temple in Ranakpur, India
  9. 9. Diwali or "Festival of Lights"
  10. 10. Buddhism• Religion and philosophy developed by teachings of the Buddha• Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, lived from 566 to 486 BCE• Philosophy of Buddhism does not contain any theistic world view
  11. 11. Beliefs• The Buddha was not a god! • He is looked-up to and respected as a great teacher • Teacher who guides and points the way to enlightment• The Buddha did not believe in an “almighty god” for 3 reasons • Religious ideas and the “god” ideas have their origin in fear • No evidence to support the idea • The belief is not necessary• Teachings of the Buddha are aimed solely to liberate sentient beings from suffering• Law of Karma • For every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first, and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant according as its cause was skillful or unskillful
  12. 12. • Taught 4 noble truths • There is suffering • Suffering has a cause • Suffering has an end • There is a path out of suffering• Five Precepts for the Buddhist Laity • Abstention from killing • Abstention from stealing • Abstention from sexual misconduct • Abstention from lying • Abstention from consumption of alcohol• Noble Eightfold Path • Right understanding • Right though • Right speech • Right action • Right livelihood • Right effort • Right mindfulness • Right concentration
  13. 13. Meditation• Meditation- the practice of mental concentration leading ultimately through a succession of stages to the final goal of spiritual freedom, nirvana• Dhyanas- shift of attention from the outward sensory world • Detachment from external world and a consciousness of joy and ease • Concentration, with suppression of reasoning and investigation • The passing away of joy, with the sense of ease remaining • The passing away of ease, bringing about a state of pure self- possession and equanimity• Samapattis- attainments • Consciousness of infinity of space • Consciousness of the infinity of cognition • Concern with the unreality of things • Consciousness of unreality as the object of thought
  14. 14. Canon of the Physical Proportions of a Great Being
  15. 15. Buddhism in the U.S.
  16. 16. Buddha Statue in Bodhgaya, India
  17. 17. Buddhist Temple in Bir, India
  18. 18. Hinduism• Hindu derives from “Sindhu” which was traditional name of Indus River • Hindu referred to the “Hind” peoples of Indian subcontinent• Began between 3000 and 2000 BCE among the Indus Valley civilization• Often referred to as Sanatana Dharma, meaning “eternal law or faith”• Often called the oldest living religion almost 5 millennia of tradition• Believe in monotheistic polytheism (one holy trinity with many manifestations)• Dominant religion of India
  19. 19. Approximate Timeline• 3000 to 1600 BCE Indus Valley Civilization• 1500 BCE Vedic Brahmanism• 800 BCE Vedas and Upanishads composed• 400 BCE “Ramayana” and “Mahabharata” epics written which includes the Bhagavad Gita• 200 BCE Rise of Devotionalism• 400 CE Rise of Tantra
  20. 20. Major Sacred Sites of India
  21. 21. Indus Valley Civilization• Also known as the “Harappan” Civilization• Thought to have originated as early as 7000 BC and to have reached is height between 2300 to 2000 BC• Evidence of early religion • Baths have been found that suggest ritual bathing • Alters found that may have been used for animal sacrifice • Found seal with horned figure surrounded by animals thought to be an early prototype of Shiva
  22. 22. “Great Bath” at Mohenjodaro in south Indus Valley“Great Bath” possibility
  23. 23. Vedic Brahmanism• Composed the 4 Vedas • Rig-Veda (wisdom of verses)- contains 1,028 poetic hymns • Sama-Veda (wisdom of chants)- portions taken from Rig-Veda for chanting • Yajur-Veda (wisdom of sacrificial formulas)- sacrificial formulas recited during ceremony • Atharva-Veda (wisdom of Atharvan priests)- consists of many hymns and magical incantations• Vedas not written by anyone; considered to be revealed knowledge• Upanishads (inner or mystic teachings part of the Vedas) • Set forth doctrines of self-realization, meditation, karma/reincarnation • Main figure was a sage named Yajnavalkya • Later teaching of the Buddha said to have derived from him • “Truth can only be found through the negation of all thoughts about it”
  24. 24. Pages from the VedasPages from Upanishads
  25. 25. Hindu Gods• Hindu trinity • Brahma- the creator; the supreme god • Vishnu- the preserver; the chief god • Shiva- the destroyer• Most worshipped gods are Vishnu, Shiva, and Shakthi (devil)
  26. 26. • Brahma • Absolute reality which is formless and infinite • Activity attributed with the daily alternation of light and dark • In order to create humans, created goddess out of himself and was named Gayatri, Saraswati, Satrupa • Represents ones own mind and intellect. If a person is god-gifted with mind and intellect, then it is assumed that one has already obtained Brahma. This may be reason that worship of Brahma is unpopular.
  27. 27. • Vishnu • Protector of the world and the restorer of moral order (dharma) • Best known for his incarnations, who appear on Earth when there is disorder in the world • Most famous incarnations are Rama and Krishna in the Epics and Puranans (holy texts) • Worshippers called “Vaishnavas” and are largest in Hindu community• The Ten Incarnations of Vishnu • Matsya (fish) • Kurma (turtle) • Varaha (boar) • Narasimha (man-lion) • Vamana (dwarf) • Parashurama (warrior-priest) • Rama (prince) • Krishna (cow-hearder) • The Buddha
  28. 28. • Shiva • Paradoxical Deity; both destroyer and restorer • Also known as “Lord of Dancers” and “Giver God” • Represents truth, goodness, and beauty through balance • Balance between good and evil; out of balance results in destruction • Protects his devotees from evil forces like lust, greed, and anger • Worshippers are called “Saivites”
  29. 29. “Ramayana” and “Mahabharata” Epics• Ramayana (march of Rama) • Tells the story of Rama (means prince & 7th incarnation of Vishnu) • Likely drew from pre-existing oral tradition • Consists of 7 sections • Bal Kanda- Rama’s boyhood • Ayodhya Kanda- Rama’s life in Ayodhya until banashment • Aranya- Rama’s life in the forest and his abduction by Ravana • Kishkinda- Rama’s stay at Kishkinda (capital of his monkey ally) • Sundara- Rama’s journey to Sri Lanka • Yuddha (or Lanka)- Rama’s battle with Ravana, and return home • Uttara- Rama’s life as king of Ayodhya and his demise
  30. 30. • Mahabharata- Great tale of the Bharata (the cherished) • Longest epic poem in the world with more than 100,000 verses • Central theme of dharma, mainly dharma of kingship • Most well know for the Bhagavad Gita• Bhagavad Gita (Song of the Lord or Song of God) • Single most popular Hindu text at 700 verses long • Part of 6th book of the Mahabharata • Tells story of King Pandu and his five sons • Philosophical dialogue between Krishna and the warrior Arjuna
  31. 31. New Age Ramayana
  32. 32. • Hinduism Today • 3rd largest religion in the world • 1 billion followers