Hinduism. An Introduction to the Sanatana Dharma. Simple Background. “ Hinduism ” is a 19th-century word Persian: hindu Sanskrit sindhu ( “ river ” ) Religions from the Indus Valley “ Indian Religion(s) ” Almost 900 million “ Hindus ” in India 30+ million “ Hindus ” abroad
Though relatively stable, there is still some conflict, such at the Ayodhya Temple.
Some scholars have hypothesized that the the world.“Aryan Invasion” is the key event in the founding of Indian civilization and Hinduism. (2000-1500 BCE)
Now other scholars have questioned the “invasion” theory in favor of more organic theories of cultural dispersion.
The earliest forms of Hinduism are often called the world.“Vedic.” (2500-800 BCE)
Dominated by a priestly class concerned with “fire sacrifices.”
The fire rituals communicated with the gods, influenced them, and restored the vital powers of the universe.
Dyaus Pitr (cf: Zeus & Jupiter)
Agni (god of fire)
Soma (a god & a drug?)
“ the world.If I were asked under what sky the human mind . . . has most deeply pondered over the greatest problems of life, and has found solutions to some of them which well deserve the attention even of those who have studied Plato and Kant--I should point to India. And if I were to ask myself from what literature we who have been nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of Greeks and Romans, and of one Semitic race, the Jewish, may draw the corrective which is most wanted in order to make our inner life more perfect, more comprehensive, more universal, in fact more truly human a life . . . again I would point to India.” -- Max Müller.
“"I should have been glad to acquire some sort of idea of Hindu theology, but the difficulties were too great.”--Mark Twain
*based on Huston Smith’s, World Religions
Together, we can think of these two as the “path of desire.”
What do people really want/desire?
What do people really want/desire?
What do people really want/desire?
yoga = “union”
Cultivate habits of:
Jnana Yoga/Path the world.
Path to moksha through knowledge and contemplation--a transforming intuitive discernment--turning the knower into that which she/he knows.
Bhakti Yoga/path the world.
Directs towards (a) god love and adoration.
karma yoga/path the world.
By wise and proper involvement in the work of the world, one can also move towards God/moksha.
raja yoga/path the world.
Disciplined bodily and mental activity designed to explore the nature of the true self.
Layers of human being:
raja yoga/path (cont.) the world.
Eight Steps: (hatha yoga)
Five Abstentions: injury, lying, stealing,sensuality, greed
Five Observances: cleanliness, contentment, self-control, studiousness, contemplation of the divine
asanas (postures, e.g., “the lotus position”)
contemplation (turning inward)
concentration (leave the mind alone)
merging of subject/object; out of time;
samadhi: sam=together with, adhi=the Lord
Vaishyas (artisans, farmers, craftsmen)
Shudras (unskilled laborers)
-------------------------------------------------------------------------- “untouchables” (today: “dalit”)
Though affirming Brahman as “ultimate reality,” Hinduism is highly polytheistic.
The Hindu Pantheon is structured around “divine couples” (male-structure/form::female-energy/matter) who serve different functions in the universe; in a way, they point to the various forces in life/the cosmos.
Many deities are depicted with a “vehicle”—an animal with whom they are often portrayed.
The “Trimurti” is organized around Brahma (creation), Vishnu (maintenance), Shiva (destruction).
Vishnu appears in many avatars (traditionally ten, the last, who has not yet appeared, is Kalki, who will come when he is most needed).
The two most important avatars of Vishnu are Rama and Krishna.
Ganesha (son of Shiva and Parvati) who has not yet appeared, is Kalki, who will come when he is most needed).
Devi (the goddess) is sometimes worshipped as the supreme manifestation of Brahman. All other gods and goddesses would then be considered emanations of her.
Devi (Devanagari: देवी) is the Sanskrit word for Goddess.
Devi is synonymous with Shakti, the female aspect of the divine, as conceptualized by the Shakta tradition of Hinduism. She is the female counterpart without whom the male aspect, which represents consciousness or discrimination, remains impotent and void. Goddess worship is an integral part of Hinduism.Devi is, quintessentially, the core form of every Hindu Goddess. As the female manifestation of the supreme lord, she is also called Prakriti or Maya, as she balances out the male aspect of the divine addressed Purusha. ManifestationsDevi or the divine feminine is an equal conterpart to the divine masculine, and hence manifests herself as the Trinity herself - the Creator (Durga or the Divine Mother), Preserver (Lakshmi, Parvati & Sarswati) and Destroyer (Mahishasura-Mardini, Kali & Smashanakali ).
Source: The Goddess Files
Hindus worship principally through seeing (Darshan) an image of the divinity.
Shrines can be anywhere, in great temples, by the road, or in the home.
Puja is the act of worship, offering them fruit, flowers, incense, water, or cloth in order to symbolize an offering of the self to the god/goddess.
In some cases deities are processed through the streets (at festivals, etc.). See Diwali Video.
Sometimes the worshipper will take a pilgrimage to a sacred place, the most well-known being Benares, on the Ganges River.
The only objects a Digambara monk is allowed to carry are a water-pot and a fly-whisk of peacock feathers.
Though not really a proselytizing religion, Hinduism, especially in its most philosophical and meditative forms, has made a number of converts in the West.
Swami Vivekananda (appeared at the first World Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893)—philosophical Hinduism.
Transcendental Meditation (1960’s—Maharishi Mahesh Yogi)—ascetic Hinduism.
International Society for Krishna Consciousness— so called “Hare Krishnas” (1960’s Swami Prabhupada)—bhakti Hinduism.
Buddhism: A Brief Introduction especially in its most philosophical and meditative forms, has made a number of converts in the West.
*also “The Three Refuges”
Right View especially in its most philosophical and meditative forms, has made a number of converts in the West.
Right ConcentrationThe Eightfold Path
samma = right,
Nothing is independent.
Everything is part of a web of relations.
What is a hammer on a nail-less island?
What are chopsticks in a fork world?
What do concepts like “man,”“father,”“professor” really say about me?
There is no “there” there.
“Ztt! I entered. I lost the boundary of my physical body. I had my skin, of course, but I felt I was standing in the center of the cosmos. I saw people coming toward me, but all were the same man. all were myself. I had never known this world before. I had believed that I was created, but now I must change my opinion; I was never created; I was the cosmos. No individual existed.” (Zen Notes 1.5, p. 1)
MUDDY ROAD: Tanzen and Ekido were once traveling together down a muddy road. A heavy rain was still falling.Coming around the bend, they met a lovely girl in a silk kimono and sash, unable to cross the intersection.
"Come on girl", said Tanzen at once. Lifting her in his arms, he carried her over the mud.Ekido did not speak again until that night when they reached a lodging temple. Then he no longer could restrain himself. "We monks don't go near females," he told Tanzen, "especially not young and lovely ones. It is dangerous. Why did you do that?”
"I left the girl there," said Tanzen. "Are you still carrying her?"
A monk told Joshu, "I have just entered the monastery. Please teach me.”
Joshu asked, "Have you eaten your rice porridge?The monk replied, "I have eaten.”
Joshu said, "Then you had better wash your bowl.”
At that moment the monk was enlightened.
One day Akbar drew a line with his royal hand on the floor of the open court and told his wise men that if they wanted to keep their jobs they must make the line shorter without touching any part of it.
Wise man after wise man approached and stood staring at the puzzle, but they were unable to solve the problem.
Finally Birbal stepped forward and drew a longer line next to the first one, without touching the first line.Everyone in the court look at it and agreed. The first line was definitely shorter.
A university student asked Gasan, "have you ever read the Christian Bible?”
"No, read it to me," said Gasan.The student opened the Bible and read from St. Matthew: "And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They toil not, neither do they spin, and yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these... Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.”
Gasan said: "Whoever uttered those words I consider an enlightened man.
"The student continued reading: "Ask and it shall be given to you, see and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened for you. For everyone that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.”
Gasan remarked: "That is excellent. Whoever said that is not far from Buddhahood."
“ especially in its most philosophical and meditative forms, has made a number of converts in the West.Asked what Zen training leads to, a Western student who had been practicing for seven years in Kyoto answered, ‘No paranormal experiences that I can detect. but you wake up in the morning and the world seems so beautiful you can hardly stand it.” (Quoted in Smith, World Religions, p. 93)
“ especially in its most philosophical and meditative forms, has made a number of converts in the West.The Dalai Lama is not accurately likened to the pope, for it is not his prerogative to define doctrine. Even more misleading is the designation god-King, for though temporal and spiritual authority do converge in him, neither of those powers define his essential function. The function is to incarnate on earth the celestial principle of which compassion or mercy is the defining feature. The Dalai Lama is the bodhisattva who in India was known as Avalokiteshvara, in China as the Goddess of Mercy, Kwan Yin, and in Japan as Kannon. As Chenrezig (his Tibetan name) he has for the last several centuries incarnated himself for the empowerment and regeneration of the Tibetan tradition. Through his person--a single person who has thus far assumed fourteen successive incarnations--there flows an uninterrupted current of spiritual influence, characteristically compassionate in its flavor. . . The Dalai Lama is a receiving station toward which the compassion-principle of Buddhism in all its cosmic amplitude is continuously channeled, to radiate thence to the Tibetan people most directly, but by extension to all sentient beings.” (Smith, World Religions, pp. 143-44)