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Introduction to Hindu / Sanatan Dharma The search for Truth is called the Sanatana Dharma , or the Eternal Path. Practiced by people on the otherside of Sindhu river, so Hindu Dharma. Hinduism has been enriched by the contributions by many sages.

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introduction to hindu sanatan dharma

Introduction toHindu / Sanatan Dharma

The search for Truth is called the Sanatana Dharma, or the Eternal Path.

Practiced by people on the otherside of Sindhu river, so Hindu Dharma.

  • Hinduism has been enriched by the contributions by many sages.
  • Hinduism is as old as the world itself. Vedas form the basis.
  • A Way of life that TRANSCENDS Religion
  • Believes in ‘Truth is one. Paths are many’.
  • World’s 3rd largest with 1 billion+ followers.
  • Let Noble Thoughts Come From ALL Directions
  • Focuses on personally experiencing the Truth within.

Dharma: Dharma is the natural and rightful order and foundation of everyone and everything. It is both why things are as they are and the path to the realization of why things are as they are. It is a way-of-life.

Religion: is a way to understand or practice on how to realize God.Religion is concerned with all of the relations existing between God and human beings, and between humans themselves because of the central significance of God.

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh


Contents of the presentation

  • What are the Hindu scriptures?
  • What is the concept of God?
  • Hindu concept of Individual and Universe
  • What are the basic principles of Hindu Dharma?
  • Three Debts of Human Life
  • Four Stages of Hindu Religious Life
  • Four Ends of Human Life
  • Who is a Hindu?.
  • Code of Conduct
  • Additional Topics
  • References and links

The Rig Veda has declared the Ultimate Reality (God) as:“Ekam sat, vipraha bahudha vadanti.” (Rig Veda 1.164.46)

"Truth (God) is one, the wise call it by various names" for more info.

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Hindu Scriptures

Sruti (Revealed)



Vedas are the eternal truths revealed by God to the great ancient Rishis. These eternal truths never change.

Scriptures that change with time and space and summery

of Smriti in understandable format for common mind

  • Vedas (Four)
    • Rig (21 shakas)
    • Sama (109 shakas)
    • Yajur (1000 shakas)
    • Atharva (50 shakas)
  • Hymns, Brahmanas, Aranyakas and Upanishads
  • Dharma Shastras (Law Codes)
  • Ex: Manu Smriti
  • Epics (Ramayana and Mahabharata)
  • Puranas (Mythology) – There are many; each tradition has its own. Ex: Shiva Purana and Bhagavat Purana
  • Agamas and Tantras: (sectarian scriptures)
  • Darshanas (Manuals of Philosophy) –
  • Each school has its own literature. Ex: Yoga Sutras of Sage Patanjali.

Prajnanam Brahma:—‘Consciousness is Brahman’

Aham Brahma Asmi:—‘I Am Brahman’

Tat Tram Asi:—‘That Thou Art’

Ayam Atma Brahma:—‘This Self is Brahman’ for more info.

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh


Concept of God (Brahman)

In Hindu scriptures, the Cosmic Absolute/Absolute Realityis defined as Transcendent (impersonal) and Immanent (personal).

In the transcendent aspect, the Supreme Reality is called Nirguna Brahman, that is Brahman, without attributes. " Brahmanis He whom speech cannot express, and from whom the mind is unable to reach Him, comes away baffled" states the Taittiriya Upanishad. Nirguna Brahmanis not an object of prayer, but of meditation and knowledge. It cannot be described, and It is absolute existence, absolute knowledge, and absolute bliss (sat-chit-ananda). It is unborn, self-existent, all-pervading, and the essence of all things and beings in the universe. It is immeasurable, unapproachable, beyond conception, beyond birth, beyond reasoning, and beyond thought". God cannot be defined in terms of any specific manifestation, nor indeed in terms of their sum total. He is beyond all possibility of definition. The Bhagavad Gita, the best-known scripture of India, states this point clearly:

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Concept of God, cont’d

Brahman , the Cosmic Absolute

(beyond description)


(personal aspect,

can be prayed, and

worshipped, but not



(impersonal aspect,

can be realized, but

not worshipped

We will focus on Immanent aspect of Brahman for now

Male Aspect

Ishvara or God (note capital G)

worshipped by many names

and forms known as deities

or gods (note small g)

Female Aspect

Divine Mother, worshipped

by many names and forms

known as deities or goddesses

(note small g)

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Concept of God (Bramhan)

In its Immanent (personal) aspect, the Supreme Reality, is called Saguna Bramhan. He is the personal God, the creator, the preserver, and the controller of the universe. In Hinduism, the immanent (personal) aspect of Bramhan is worshipped in both male and female forms. In the male form, He is worshipped as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is the creative aspect, Vishnu is the protecting, sustaining aspect; and Siva is the transforming, dissolving aspect. In the female form, as Saraswathi, Lakshmi and Parvathi.



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Concept of God (Bramhan)

However, on the personal level, its up to individuals to create a form/view of the same Supreme Bharman to pray. Hindu accepts only one God, the Supreme. Because of this flexibility in giving a shape or form, it appears as if there are many Hindu Gods/Goddesses to a non-Hindu. Hindus see divinity in all living creatures.  Animal deities therefore, occupy an important place in Hindu dharma.  Animals, for example, are very common as form of transport for various Gods and Goddesses. This is dues to the concept of Atman and Brahman being the same. We will discuss that in later slides…..

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hindu concept of the individual
Hindu Concept of the Individual

Just as a man living in a house is called a householder,

Atman (meaning “God within”) living in a human body is called an individual. When this “human house” becomes old and irreparable, Atman leaves the house and we say that the individual has died. But Atman is immortal and is part of Brahman, Supreme God. Atman is divine so all the beings are divine.

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh

hindu concept of the individual cont d
Hindu Concept of the Individual, cont’d.
  • Atman is uncreated, immortal and divine.
  • Although Atman is generally translated as soul or spirit, Atman and soul do not mean the same.
  • Atman and Brahman is same. So individual can reach the state of divinity. “Aham Brahmasmi” – I am God.
  • In the human body, Atman is deluded by cosmic ignorance, called Maya in Sanskrit.
  • In Hindu view, WE ARE CHILDREN OF IMMORTALITY and may commit sin under the influence of Maya. Thus, the purpose of Hindu religious life is to transcend Maya.

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Hindu Concept of the Individual, cont’d

Why are individuals different form each other?


Human Body








just as

Electricity + Type of Appliance = Type of Application

Electricity + Refrigerator = Cold



Electricity + Oven = Heat

Electricity + Television = Audio & Video

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Hindu Concept of the Universe

Brahman (Infinite, Undivided and Changeless)

Cosmic Energy

Divine Mother




(Heavenly Father)

Cosmic Ignorance








Appearance of Brahman as things and beings of the world

The Infinite, Undivided and Changeless

appears as finite, divided, and changing

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Hindu Concept of the Universe

Hindus believe that the universe is without a beginning (anadi= beginning-less) or an end (ananta= end-less).  Rather the universe is projected in cycles. Each cycle is divided into four yugas (ages of the world).

Satya yuga (golden age) 4,000,000 years

Treta yuga (silver age) 3,600,000 years

Dvapara yuga (copper age) 2,400,000 years

Kali yuga (iron age) 1,200,000 years

Pralaya (cosmic deluge ) 4000,000 years

New Creation 400,000 years

Duration of One Cycle 12,000,000 years

Total duration of the four yugas is called a kalpa.  At the end of kalyuga the universe is dissolved by pralaya (cosmic deluge ) and another cycle begins. Each cycle of creation lasts one kalpa, that is 12,000,000 human years ( or 12,000 Brahma years).

Hindus believe that there is almost a universe hidden in each Atman and

that can be explored looking inward with the help of Yoga and Meditation.

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10 avatars incarnations

Lord Vishnu's preserving, protecting powers have been manifested to the world in a variety of forms, called Avatars, in which one or more of his divine attributes were embodied in the shape of a human being or an animal or a human-animal combined form, possessing great and sometimes supernatural powers.that are innumerable.

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Basic principles of Hindu Dharma

  • Divinity of the Atman
  • Unity of Existence
  • Ahimsa
  • Harmony of Religions
  • Law of Karma
  • Doctrine of Incarnation
  • Freedom of Thought
  • Law of Dharma

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divinity of the atman
Divinity of the Atman
  • Each human being, regardless of religion, geographic region, gender, color or creed is in reality Atman clothed in a physical body. Since Atman is inherently pure and divine, every human being is potentially divine. In Hindu view, a man is not born a sinner, but becomes a victim of ignorance under the influence of cosmic ignorance, called Maya. Just as darkness quickly disappears upon the appearance of light, an individual’s delusion vanishes when he gains self-knowledge.
  • Practical Significance: Eliminates fear of God, encourages freedom of thought, and removes psychological barrier to human growth. No fear of eternal hell.

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh

unity of existence
Unity of Existence
  • Science has revealed that what we call matter is essentially energy. Hindu sages tell us that the cosmic energy is manifestation of the Universal Spirit (Brahman). Brahman has become all things and beings in the world. Thus, we are all interconnected in subtle ways. “All is One and One is in all,” declare the sages.
  • Practical Significance:

Encourages universal brotherhood, reverence for all forms of life, and respect for our environment. Hindu scriptures address earth as Mother Earth.

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  • Ahimsa means non-violence, non-injury, or non-killing. Hinduism teaches that al forms of life are manifestations of Brahman. We must, therefore, not be indifferent to the sufferings of others.
  • Practical Significance: Creates mutual love between humans and other forms of life, and protects our environment. Ahimsa provides basis for Hindu notion of morality. “That mode of living which is based upon a total harmlessness towards all creatures or (in the case of necessity) upon minimum of such harm, is the highest morality.” (Mahabharata Shantiparva 262.5-6).

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh

harmony of religions
Harmony of Religions
  • Hinduism believes that there is no one religion that teaches an exclusive way to salvation. All genuine spiritual paths are valid and all great religions are equally true. “In whatever way humans love Me (God), in the same way they find My love. Various are the ways for humans, but in the end they all come to Me.” (Bhagavad Gita 4.11)
  • Practical Significance: This doctrine lays foundation for universal harmony. The attitude of religious tolerance is one of Hinduism’s greatest gifts to mankind.

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh

the law of karma
The Law of Karma
  • Hindus believe that God, who is all-loving and merciful, does not punish or reward anyone. He molds our destinies based upon our own thoughts and deeds. Every action of a person, in though, word, or deed, brings results, either good or bad, depending upon the moral quality of the action, in accordance with the adage, “As you sow, so shall you reap.” Moral consequences of all actions are conserved by the Nature.
  • Practical Significance: Eliminates fear of God and hell; enhances self-confidence and strengthens the concepts of righteousness and fairness.

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doctrine of incarnation
Doctrine of Incarnation
  • Hindus believe that God incarnates Himself on earth to uphold righteousness, whenever there is a decline in virtue. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, “Whenever there is a decline in righteousness and predominance of unrighteousness, I (God) embody Myself.

For the protection of the good and for the destruction of the evil-doers and for the re-establishment of righteousness, I am born form age to age.” (BG 4.6-4.7)

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh

freedom of thought
Freedom of Thought
  • Hindus believe that wisdom is not an exclusive possession of any particular race or religion. Hinduism, therefore, provides everyone with absolute freedom of thought in religious matters. One is free to approach God in his or her own way, without conforming to any dogma or blind faith. An open mind is all that is needed to study Hinduism. Hindus place the greatest value on experiencing truth personally.
  • Practical Significance: Eliminates blind faith and dogma. Encourages reason and logic for mutual understanding. Hinduism is a God-loving religion and not God-fearing one.

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the law of dharma
The Law of Dharma
  • The thought of dharma generates deep confidence in the Hindu mind in cosmic justice. This is reflected in the often-quoted maxims: “The righteous side will have the victory.” “Truth only prevails, not falsehood.” “Dharma kills if it is killed; dharma protects if it is protected.” “The entire world rests on dharma.”
  • Dharma is the law that maintains the cosmic order as well as the individual and social order. Dharma sustains human life in harmony with nature. When we follow dharma, we are in conformity with the law that sustains the universe.

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The Law of Dharma

“Don’t do to others what you don’t want done to you.”



Individual Resp.


Social Resp.

Laws of the Land


Ahimsa (non-violence)

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3 debts 4 stages and 4 ends of human life
3 Debts, 4 Stages, and 4 Ends of Human Life
  • Three Debts:
    • Debt to God
    • Debt to Sages and Saints
    • Debt to one’s parents and ancestors
  • Four Stages:
    • Brahmacharya (Studentship)
    • Grhastha (Householder)
    • Vanaprastha (Retirement)
    • Sannyasa (Renunciation)
  • Four Ends:
    • Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha

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progress of human thought towards dharma
Progress of Human thought Towards Dharma










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who is hindu 9 point test
Who Is Hindu? – 9 Point Test

Hindus believe many diverse things, but there are a few bedrock concepts on which most Hindus concur. The following nine beliefs, though not exhaustive, offer a simple summary of Hindu spirituality.1) I believe in the divinity of the Vedas, the world’s most ancient scripture, and venerate the Agamas as equally revealed. These primordial hymns are God’s word and the bedrock of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal religion which has neither beginning nor end.2) I believe in a one, all-pervasive Supreme Being who is both immanent and transcendent, both Creator and Unmanifest Reality.3) I believe that the universe undergoes endless cycles of creation, preservation and dissolution.4) I believe in karma, the law of cause and effect by which each individual creates his own destiny by his thoughts, words and deeds.

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who is hindu 9 point test27
Who Is Hindu? – 9 Point Test

5) I believe that the soul reincarnates, evolving through many births until all karmas have been resolved, and moksha, spiritual knowledge and liberation from the cycle of rebirth, is attained. Not a single soul will be eternally deprived of this destiny.6) I believe that divine beings exist in unseen worlds and that temple worship, rituals, sacraments as well as personal devotionals create a communion with these devas and Gods.7) I believe that a spiritually awakened master, or satguru, is essential to know the Transcendent Absolute, as are personal discipline, good conduct, purification, pilgrimage, self-inquiry and meditation.8) I believe that all life is sacred, to be loved and revered, and therefore practice ahimsa, “noninjury.”9) I believe that no particular religion teaches the only way to salvation above all others, but that all genuine religious paths are facets of God’s Pure Love and Light, deserving tolerance and understanding.

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Code of Conduct – DO NOT’s

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Code of Conduct – DO NOT’s

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Code of Conduct – DO NOT’s

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Code of Conduct – DO’s

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Code of Conduct – DO’s

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Code of Conduct – DO’s

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four major religions of the world have originated from india hinduism jainism sikhism and buddhism

Hindu Temple

Jain Temple

Four major religions of the world have originated from India: Hinduism,Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism.

Sikh Gurudwara

Buddhist Pagoda

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Some Facts

  • Probably the first written language with complete grammer is Sanskrit. 5000 years+.
  • Oldest civilization to exist on the earth today.
  • The science of Yoga and Meditation was developed in the Himalayas
  • Birthplace of 4 major religions Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism
  • World’s first University in Takshila in 700 BC
  • Vedas are the oldest texts available to humans

Sanskrit: Source of numerous languages

  • No Human Founder.
  • No known beginning
  • No One Scripture of authority
  • One Supreme God/ Ultimate Reality
  • Emphasis on personal experience
  • All Paths deserve equal respect
  • Whole world is one family
  • Let every one be happy, healthy and peaceful

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Sacred Cow – Why?

Everything is sacred for Hindus. Cows, Like in all societies of all times, have been considered to be “wealth”.

Cows provide milk which helps sustain life, life of adults and children alike. The by-products of the milk, yoghurt, buttermilk, butter etc were an integral part of their daily diet. Their dung was a useful, year around fuel supply. By pulling carts and ploughs, they were partners in technology that helped develop new frontiers in the Indian sub-continent.  

Their usefulness meant they were valued as highly as any gold, gem or sometimes even kin. By giving it a very special place in our society, that of a pseudo mother, we made sure it was respected at all times. By giving it the same divine status as parents, the ancients made sure the humble cow had the same legal and social protection as humans ! All this to protect our wealth !! 

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Caste System

Vedas speak of nobility of entire humanity (krinvanto vishvam aryam), and do not sanction any caste system or birth-based caste system. Mantra, numbered 10-13-1 in Rig Veda, addresses the entire humanity as divine children (shrunvantu vishve amrutsya putraha). Innumerable mantras in Vedas emphasise oneness, universal brotherhood, harmony, happiness, affection, unity and commonality of entire humanity.

Veda Mantra numbered 5-60-5 in Rig Veda declares, “All men are brothers; no one is big, no one is small. All are equal.” Mantra numbered 16.15 in Yajur Veda reiterates that all men are brothers; no one is superior or inferior.

Hindu scriptures speak only about ‘varna’ which means to ‘select’ (one’s profession, etc.) and which is not caste or birth-based. As per shloka numbered IV (13) of the Bhagavad Gita, depending upon a person’s guna (aptitude) and karma (actions), there are four varnas. As per this shloka, a person’s varna is determined by his guna and karma, and not by his birth. Chapter XIV of the Bhagavad Gita specifies three gunas viz. satva (purity), rajas (passion and attachment) and tamas (ignorance). These three gunas are present in every human in different proportions, and determine the varna of every person.

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Additional Resources

Idiots Guide To Hinduism

By Linda Johnsen

On The Internet:

This is a presentation by Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh(HSS). For more information, email at

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