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“There is only one God, but endless are his aspects and endless are his names”. Introduction to Hinduism. The vast majority of Hindus live in India and Nepal. The Ganges River. Falling from Its source of Vishnu’s feet onto Shiva’s head and out from his hair, the water of

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Introduction to Hinduism

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“There is only one God, but endless are his aspects and endless are his names”

Introduction to Hinduism

The vast majority of Hindus live in India and Nepal

The Ganges River

Falling from

Its source of

Vishnu’s feet

onto Shiva’s

head and out

from his hair,

the water of

the Ganges is

sacred enough

to purify all


Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in the world.

The religion developed in India, taking much from the religion practiced by the Aryans, a group who had invaded the country from the north around 1500 B.C.

Hinduism is a polytheistic religion.

The Hindu religion developed from the Vedas, or the Books of Knowledge.

This book also came from the Aryan priests and contains complicated rituals and hymns.

What is Hinduism?

Hindus believe in many gods .

All gods are part of a supreme spirit– Brahman

These are the main three gods known to Hindus around the world:

Brahman – the Creator

Shiva - Preserver

Vishnu - Destroyer

What do Hindus believe?

Reincarnation – you are continually born into this world lifetime after lifetime

Karma – spiritual impurity due to actions keeps us bound to this world (good and bad)

Ultimate goal of life – to reunite with the divine, becoming as one with Brahman

What do Hindus believe?

Karma & Dharma

  • Karma: “action” or “deeds”

  • Every action produces a Justified effect based on its moral worthiness.

  • Karma determines all the particular circumstances and Situations of one’s life.

  • Dharma: ethical duty based on the divine order of reality. The word is the closest equivalent to “religion.”

  • Respect for all life – vegetarian

  • Human life as supreme:

    • Four “stations” of life (Caste) - priests & teachers, nobles & warriors, merchant class, servant class

    • Four stages of life – student, householder, retired, renunciation

    • Four duties of life – pleasure, success, social responsibilities, religious responsibilities

How does Hinduism directlife in this world?


  • Samsara is the wheel of rebirth which means the soul is reborn

    from one life form to another.

  • People may be reincarnated at a higher or lower level of existence depending on their karma from their present life.

  • People may be reborn as plants or animals or they may be elevated to a higher caste as a human.

  • Death is not final for Hindus as they expect to be reborn many times.

  • The Four Yogas - seeking union with the divine:

    • Karma Yoga – the path of action through selfless service (releases built up karma without building up new karma)

    • Jnana Yoga – the path of knowledge (understanding the true nature of reality and the self)

    • Raja Yoga – the path of meditation

    • Bhakti Yoga – the path of devotion

  • Guru – a spiritual teacher, especially helpful for Jnana and Raja yoga

What are the spiritualpractices of Hinduism?

  • Bhakti Yoga is seeking union with the divine through loving devotion to manifest deities

    • In the home (household shrines)

    • In the Temples (priests officiate)

  • Puja– making offerings to and decorating the deity images

  • Darsan– “seeing” the deity (not idol worship)

  • Prasad – taking the divine within your own being through eating of food shared with the deity

How do Hindus worship?

Caste System

Four major castes

  • Brahmin : priests

  • Kshatriya: warriors and administrators

  • Vaistrya: farmers, merchants, teachers, artisans

  • Sudras: servants,laborers

Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hindu Pantheon

Brahma, the creator god

All these deities are but

Manifest forms (attributes

and functions) of the

impersonal Brahman




Avatars of Vishnu



Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hinduism

Vishnu, the preserver god

Incarnates as ten avatars (descents) including:

Rama (featured in the Ramayana)

Krishna (featured in the Mahabharata)

(Each shown with his consort, Sita and Radha, respectively)

Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hindu

Shiva, god of constructive destruction(the transformer)

Appears as Shiva Nataraj,lord of the dance of creation…

and with his wife, Parvati, and son Ganesha(the elephant headed remover of obstacles)

Banaras - Hindu’s Holy City

  • Pilgrims come from all overto bathe in the Ganges.

  • Countless Hindus come to Banaras to die.

  • It has 1500 temples, most of them devoted to Shiva.

  • It is a gathering place for the religiously learned and their disciples.

Sacred Cow of India

Festivals and Holy Days

  • no set day of the week is holy-each days has its possibilities

  • Religious festivals may be solar or lunar-lunar is preferred

  • In order to keep festivals consistent, an additional lunar month is added to the calendar about every three years.

  • Some numbered days of the month are more important than others. There are 125 special days in the Hindu year.

Festival: Diwali

Diwali: “Row of lights

  • Takes place in Oct. or Nov.

  • It is a series of five festivals

  • Lights are floated on small rafts

  • If the candle remains lit, good luck

    will follow.

Gandhi: the Father of India

For Gandhi, social concern was deeply rooted in his conviction of the

Sacredness of life.

Gandhi believed that human beings should strive to live as simply as possible since overindulgence often meant that others may have to do without their basic needs.

Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic on January 30, l948 as India was gaining its independence.

One Ocean, Many Names

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