Views• Hinduism embraces a great diversity of beliefs, a fact that can be initially confusing to westerners.• One can believe a wide variety of things about God, the universe and the path to liberation and still be considered a Hindu.
Views • There is a common misconception that Hinduism is a polytheistic religion. While Hindu’s do worship many gods and goddesses, they are most often viewed as different manifestations of one supreme being, Brahman.
Three Major Forms of Brahman • Brahma the Creator
Three Major Forms of Brahman • Siva the Destroyer
Three Major Forms of Brahman • Vishnu the Preserver
Common Hindu Beliefs• Everyone has a soul or Atman
Common Hindu Beliefs• The Ultimate Goal: To reunite one’s soul with Brahman, the universal spirit
Common Hindu Beliefs• Reincarnation - Souls are born and reborn many times
Common Hindu Beliefs• Karma – the effects that good or bad actions have on a person’s soul.
Common Hindu Beliefs• Moksha – Salvation from the cycle of rebirth. This happens after building enough good karma.
Common Hindu Beliefs• Dharma – each person has a duty to accept his or her place in the world without complaint.
Life’s Purpose• Humans are in bondage to ignorance and illusion, but are able to escape.• The purpose of life is to gain release (moksha) from the cycle of rebirth, or at least a better rebirth.
Afterlife• Uniting with God (Brahman) as a drop of rain merges with the sea.
General Practices• Yoga• meditation• worship (puja)• devotion to a god or goddess• pilgrimage to holy cities• live according to ones dharma (purpose/ role)
Holy Text(s)• The Vedas (Book of Knowledge, most sacred)• Upanishads (means “Sitting near a teacher”)• Bhagavad Gita