Foundations of Hinduism


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Foundations of Hinduism

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Foundations of Hinduism

  1. 1. Lecture 7: Foundations ofHinduism
  2. 2. Philosophical Foundations of HinduismThe philosophical systems of Sanatana Dharma have their foundation in: 1. The Vedas 3. Direct personal experience of truth through meditation 5. The concern for ethics as necessary for orderly social life 7. The belief that suffering is a result of ignorance of the eternal self
  3. 3. SamkhyaSamkhya is a dualistic philosophyIt claims that reality has two distinct aspects:5.Purusha The pure, changeless, eternal self8.Praktiri “Nature” The source and cause of ourmaterial universeThe problem humans face according to this philosophyis that they are confused about the difference betweenthese two aspectsThe goal in Samkhya is to recognize the ultimate realityof the Purusha apart from Praktiri
  4. 4. Advaita VedantaAdvaita Vedanta is a monistic philosophyIt claims that there is only one realityAccording to this philosophy Atman and Brahman are one and thesame thingBut they appear to be separate because of Maya Maya The illusory physical world which appears to be real and separate from Brahman For example; we appear to be different from each other and separate from ultimate reality. But we are not
  5. 5. YogaAll forms of Yoga use spiritual discipline to achieve self-knowledgeSome seek Samadhi union with the absolute (Brahman)Certain practices include:oRegulation of breathing to increase prana (Breath/Lifeenergy)oAn assortment of physical postures (asanas)oSacred formulas (mantras) or concentration on aspiritual symbol (Yantra)oFocus on controlling the energy that flows through theChakras
  6. 6. Varieties of YogaRaja YogaThe path of mental contrentationJnana YogaThe path of rational inquiryKarma YogaThe path of right actionBhakti YogaThe path of devotion to a personal deityQ: In what way does the yoga described here, differ from the Yoga we arefamiliar with in the west?
  7. 7. Theistic paths Vaisnavites Worshippers of Vishnu and his associated deities (Rama and Krishna) Saivites Worshippers of Shiva and his associated deities (His son Ganesh) Saktas Worshippers of a mother/wife goddess (Brahmani, Indrani, Kartiki, Mahesvari, Narasinhi, Pradhana, Raudri, Vaishnavi, Varahi.)
  8. 8. Hindu PracticesRituals (Puja)Darsan; Visual contact with the divinePrasad; Food blessed by being offered to a deity and then eatenCastesThe Hindu castes originate in the Vedic age and divides men into four hereditaryoccupational groups 1. Brahmins (priests and teachers) 2. Kshatriyas (warriors and rulers) 3. Vaishyas (Farmers, merchants, artisans) 4. Shudras (Laborers) v. The untouchables (those outside the system)Life StagesBrahmin males traditionally went through four stages:a) Student; b) householder; c) meditation/study; d) renunciation (Sannyasin)Sannyasins join monastic orders and live in retreats known as Ashram
  9. 9. Hindu PracticesDuties and GoalsThere are four goals that define a good life 1. Dharma 2. Artha (Success in worldly activities) 3. Kama (love) 4. Moksha (Liberation from Samsare)GurusFasting and PrayingReverence of trees and riversPilgrimagesFestivals