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Hinduism - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Hinduism. Origins and Basic Principles. The Vedic Period. About 1500-500 B.C.E. Origin of Hinduism. Vedas are created Hindu holy texts. Theory of Aryan Invasion. ~1500 B.C.E. Aryan tribes from the Central Asian Steppes crossed the Himalayas into India.

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Origins and Basic Principles

The Vedic Period

About 1500-500 B.C.E.

Origin of Hinduism

Vedas are created

Hindu holy texts

Theory of Aryan Invasion

~1500 B.C.E. Aryan tribes from the Central Asian Steppes crossed the Himalayas into India

The Aryans divided their society into separate castes

Castes were unchanging groups.

A person born into one caste never changed castes or mixed with members of other castes.

Caste members lived, ate, married, and worked with their own group.

The Caste System

A system for ranking society into social groups based on birth and wealth

  • At the top of the caste system were the Brahmin – the priests, teachers, and judges.

  • Next came the Kshatriya (KUH SHAT REE YUHZ), the warrior caste.

  • The Vaisya caste (VEEZ YUHZ) were the farmers and merchants

  • Sudras, were craftworkers and laborers

  • The untouchables were the outcastes, people beyond the caste system

    • Their jobs were considered “polluting activities”

The Varnas

  • Brahmins

    • Highest, preists/teachers

  • Kshatriyas

    • Warriors/rulers

  • Vaisyas

    • Commoners – traders/farmers etc…

  • Sudras

    • Servants

  • Untouchables

    • Below the caste


Not an organized religion

no single approach to teaching it

Has common core beliefs:

  • Belief in a supreme being

  • Key Concepts: Truth dharma, karma

Truth is Eternal

Hindus pursue knowledge and understanding of the Truth: the essence of the universe and the only Reality

Brahman is Truth and Reality

  • Brahman as the one true God who is formless, limitless, all-inclusive, and eternal

  • Brahman is a real entity that encompasses everything (seen and unseen) in the universe

The Vedas are the ultimate authority.

Holy Books of Hinduism - scriptures that contain revelations received by ancient saints and sages

Everyone should try to achieve dharma

  • Dharma can be described as right conduct, righteousness, moral law, and duty

  • To follow Dharma one must try to do the right thing, according to one’s duty and abilities, at all times

Individual souls are immortal

  • A Hindu believes that the individual soul (atman)is eternal

  • Actions of the soul reflect on the next life

  • The process of movement of the atman from one body to another is known as transmigration (aka reincarnation)

  • The kind of body the soul inhabits next is determined by karma (actions in previous lives)

The goal of each soul is moksha

  • Moksha is liberation: the soul’s release from the cycle of death and rebirth.

  • It occurs when the soul unites with Brahman by realizing its true nature.

The Hindu triumvirate

The three gods who are responsible for the creation, upkeep and destruction of the world

Brahma is the first god

  • Brahma's job was creation of the world and all creatures

  • Brahma is the least worshipped god in Hinduism

Vishnu is the second god

  • His role is to return to the earth in troubled times and restore the balance of good and evil.

  • So far, he has been incarnated nine times, but Hindus believe that he will be reincarnated one last time close to the end of this world

Shiva is the third god

  • Shiva's role is to destroy the universe in order to re-create it

  • Hindus believe his powers of destruction and recreation are used to destroy the imperfections of this world, paving the way for change


  • Lakshmi is the consort of the god Vishnu. She is one of the most popular goddesses of Hindu mythology and is known as the goddess of wealth and purity


  • Hindu worship, or puja, involves images (murtis), prayers (mantras) and diagrams of the universe (yantras)

  • Hindu worship is mostly an individual act, it involves making personal offerings to the deity

  • Most Hindu homes have a shrine where offerings are made and prayers are said


  • Important part of Hinduism

  • Rivers, temples, mountains, and other sacred sites in India are destinations for pilgrimages

  • Sites where the gods may have appeared

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