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  2. Hindu Gods GENESHA KALI Hinduism -1 Video Hinduism-2 Video

  3. Hindu Gods KRISHNA RAMA Hinduism-3 Video Hinduism-4 Video Hinduism-5 Video

  4. Location of Hinduism

  5. Hinduism World Status • Hinduism: 900 million • 15% of world population • Third largest world religion • Christianity 32% • Islam 22% • Secular/Non-religious 15%

  6. Origins of Hindu Culture • Before the Aryans the Dravidians Indian civilization inhabited the Indus Valley. • Early tribal people, Dasas, described as dark skinned, thick lipped, possessing cattle and speaking a strange language • Advanced civilization from Harappa to Mohenjo-Daro – planned cities with a sewage system connected to some houses • Language has not be deciphered. • Religion mainly unknown but had figurines and sculptures of people meditating – fertility gods and goddess?

  7. Origins of Hindu Culture • Indo-Aryans (Indo-Europeans) began to invade the India sub-continent about 1800 to 1500 B.C. • Source of Greek, Latin, Celts, German, Slav language • Oral tradition called the Vedas • Rishi (seer) – drank “Soma” a hallucinogenic to experience the gods and wrote down in hymns that would become the Vedas

  8. Origins of Hindu Culture • Began to become acclimated to new environment and become agriculturists • Ruler (rajah=rex), private army, priests • Priests would supersede simple rituals and be the only available source for sacrifice – priests called Brahmins. • Brahmanas are the books of the Brahmins that record the sacrifices and their power

  9. Origins of Hindu Culture

  10. Origins of Hindu Culture • The term “Hindu” had its origin from the Muslims conquerors who used it to describe the inhabitants of Northern India. • Hinduism was use by the British for the diverse religious traditions of the people of India. • Today it is used popularly to describe the religious life distinct from Christianity and Islam. • There is no unified religious entity so it is best to talk of “Hindu traditions.”

  11. Hindu Religion • “We venture to predict that Hinduism is not a religion at all, but a series of loosely strung and infinitely varied sacerdotal and sociological artificial conventions to which a religious verisimilitude has been imparted by the ancient law-givers, but which is nevertheless daily undergoing endless fluctuations, not only in any given locality, but throughout the Hindu world.” (V. N. Narasimmiyengar True Hinduism, 5)

  12. Hindu Religion • Sanatana Dharma • Contemporary scholars prefer this term to describe the Hindu religion. • Meaning – ageless way of moral order, duty and natural law of the cosmos. • Hindu-ness • Political identification

  13. Hindu Religion • Sanatana Dharma Encompasses • Mystical texts referring to the formless and transcendent self • Abstract philosophical treatises that disagree with each other about the truth of existence • A wealth of ascetic meditation practices for realization of the eternal • Large pantheon of deities

  14. Hindu Culture & Religion • Extremely varied personal beliefs allowed • Cannot separate from the culture • To be Hindu, a religion has to: • Regard the Vedas as divinely inspired and authoritative • Accept the caste system • Respect the veneration of the various levels of deities and spirits, including the protection of cows • Recognizing them as authoritative does not mean accepting them as literally true or practicing them as commanded Winfried Corduan

  15. Hindu Religion • Not a creedal religion • Both Christianity and Islam are creedal religion where people may come to faith in God through belief and conviction • Islam – anyone can become a Muslim by saying the Kalima • Christianity – through faith in Christ • A non-Hindu can hold the same beliefs as a Brahman friend but is still considered an outcast • “Let him live a pious life and then, after many transmigrations, his soul may be at least reborn into a Hindu family.”

  16. History of Hinduism • Two Early Periods • The Vedic Period (1500 B.C. – 500 B.C.) • The Philosophic Period (500 B.C. – A.D. 500) • Vedas – literally means“knowledge” but basically refers to the four sacred scriptures, often includes the Upanishads and their commentaries (sometimes used to refer to all the Hindu sacred writings). • Originally revealed to holy men who wrote them down.

  17. History of Hinduism • Vedic Period (1500 B.C. – 500 B.C.) • Aryans, speaking Sanskrit, authors of the Rig-Veda (lit. knowledge enshrined in verses) • Rig-Veda – oldest collection of 1,028 prayerful Sanskirt hymns – prayers addressed devas (gods) “shinning ones” who dwell on earth, the heavens, and intermediate air (as early as 1500) • Like Greeks, practiced ancestor worship, worshipped nature gods or devas (Lat. deus). Devas invested with personal attributes, bright beings with superhuman powers dwelling in celestial regions.

  18. Origins of Hindu Culture/Religion VEDIC TEXTS • Hinduism based on Vedic Texts written between 1500 – 500 BC • Shruti – “that which is heard” distinguish from later writings • Smriti – “that which is remembered” also considered by some as authoritative (considered less sacred and non-Vedic) • Four parts of the Vedic texts • Samhitas (1500 – 900 BC) – “collection” of hymns • Brahmanas (850 BC) – Caste • Aranyakas – Later part of Brahmanas • Upanishads (500 BC) – Philosophical: Brahman, Atman, Maya, Yoga, Nirvana

  19. Origins of Hindu Culture/Religion • Other Vedas basically dependent on Rig-Veda • Yajur-Veda – mostly in prose, meant to supply dedication, prayers, and litanies recited by priests in the course of their duties in sacrifices • Sama-Veda – Chants for worship by priests derived from Rig-Veda • Atharva-Veda – Charms, incantations and spells (considered somewhat inferior and associated with folk religion)

  20. Origins of Hindu Culture/Religion • Over time the sacrificial system developed to compel the gods to grant appropriate rewards. • Brahmans (priests) alone knew how to offer sacrifice aright and extract favors from the gods and they took on a sacred position. • Aryans kept a distinction between themselves and the darker skin indigenous population the Sudras (serfs) and they as Dvija (twice born). • Varna (color) – distinction between races; source of caste system

  21. Philosophic Period • Caste system • Based on dharma (religious duty) • Each person born into a caste community • Each person has his/her duty with community • Every community has its own religion/god • Preservation of social and ceremonial purity

  22. Origins of Hindu Culture/Religion • Aryans four castes (1st three = twice born) • Kshatriyas – warriors and princes • Brahmins – priests and instructors • Vaishyas – Agriculturalists and merchants • Shudras – Workers (surfs) • Hundreds of subcastes (jati) • Twice born have full participation in Hindu life • Study of Vedas, puberty initiation, & social leadership • Aryans controlled study of Vedas • Aryans brought all of India under their control and people assimilated their beliefs with Aryan beliefs

  23. Origins of Hindu Culture/Religion • Brahmins (priests) until recently were sole custodians of study of the Vedic texts • Different brahmans: • Brahman – the impersonal pantheistic god • Brahma – the personal creator god • Brahmin – the priest & priestly caste • Brahmanas – priestly commentaries on the Vedas

  24. Origins of Hindu Culture/Religion Development of deities per Corduan, p. 193:

  25. History of Hinduism By Winfried Corduan, Neighboring Faiths, p. 192

  26. Periods of Hinduism Beliefs • Three Paths (Margas) to Moksha • Karma Marga (Way of Action or works) • Vedic period • Dependent on priests and rituals • Jnana Marga (Way of Knowledge) by Yoga • 500 B.C. • System of mystical contemplation • Bhakti Marga (Way of Devotion) • 200 B.C. to A.D. 800 • From south India – Tamil • Love of a god or goddess provides salvation

  27. Philosophic Period • Inana – Way of Knowledge • Belief system with mystical contemplation • Reaction against priests and rituals controlled by priests • Recorded in Upanishads • Vedas focused on priestly ritual • Upanishads seek a deeper spiritual reality • Yoga • Form of Sankhya system • Perfect pose by which desire is subdued • No fresh round of karma set in motion

  28. Philosophic Period • Two philosophic schools of thought • Sankhya – source of Buddhism • Vedanta • Sankhya • Dualistic and atheistic • Denies any beginning or a creator • Two eternal realities: praakriti and purushas which are both considered real • Matter (Western categories) • Spirit

  29. Philosophic Period • Vedanta • Non-dualistic • Atman the only reality, all else is illusion (maya)

  30. Philosophic Period • Way of Knowledge • Vendata or Vedantic philosophy • Search for ultimate secret of all existence • Search for release from transmigration of the soul • Epics literature – legends of gods and heroes • Rise of Buddhism

  31. Philosophic Period • Ultimate Reality • What is behind the changing phenomena? • Brahman – pantheistic impersonal god • Atman – true self • Brahman – one true reality • Unchanging something – reality • Impersonal, all-pervasive being • English – referred to as “world soul” • Only true reality • Maya – besides Brahman all else maya (illusion) • Gods and worship are manifestations of Brahman

  32. Philosophic Period • Brahman Since not by speech and not by thought, Not by the eye can it be reached, How else may it be understood, But only when one says, “it is”? KathaUpansishad • Tat, the All, Brahman without attributes • Tat tvamasi – “that art thou” • Key is to transcend world of experience

  33. Philosophic Period • Maya – Lit. “play” • Related to the word magic • Daily life is just magic play • Life seen as “illusion” • Maya’a reality is derived from Brahman • No reality within itself • E.g. image created by a projector • Everything we experience rationally belongs to maya • Feelings, emotions, thoughts

  34. Philosophic Period • Atman • Reality inside a person that is not maya • True self • Atman is Brahman – message of Upanishads • God resides in the depth of person • Soul of the Universe • Beyond thought and distinction

  35. Philosophic Period • Life of sannyasin • Leave one’s previous environment and renounce worldly attachments & discipline • Seek one’s true identity apart from the world • Attain moksha, the release from samsara and maya • If attained, at death will return to Atman-Brahman (reenters Brahman as a drop of water in the ocean) • Nirvana – a state of supreme bliss is accomplished

  36. Philosophic Period • Bhakti (loving attachment) – Way of Devotion • Mid-second millennium A.D. • Bhakti is at the heart of most contemporary Hinduism • Popular in southern India (non-Aryan or dravidians); today are Tamil people • Not through impossible works nor secret knowledge not easily attainable but through a loving relationship with a god or goddess • Devotion to a god need not exclude serving others • Roots of Bhakti is found in the Bhagavad Gita (200 B.C.) where Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu tells heroic warrior, Arjuna to attach to him and do his caste duty

  37. Philosophic Period • Two influential Hindu Philosophers • Sankara (8th century) • World is totally illusion • Only reality is “brahman” • Religion was the pursuit deliverance from deception • Ramanuja (12th century) • Absolute reality of this world • Human soul was separate from the godhead and could relate itself to god not by absorption but by devotion.

  38. The Gods • Brahman manifests itself in three gods. • Rise of three gods above the pantheon of gods. • Brahma – Creator of visible things; since work is done there is no need to worship (what Brahma creates, Sheva destroys so new universe can be made • Vishnu – Lord of protection (avatars) • Shiva – Lord of destruction • It is said that there are 330,000,000 gods • Exaggerated • Many gods and go by different names

  39. The Gods Primary Hindu Gods & Bhakti Hinduism Schools Brahman Brahma ---------------- Vishnu ---------------- Shiva ---------------- Goddess (devi) Sarasvati Lakshmi Parvati Durga, Kali -------- ------- Draupadi Avatars of Vishnu Genesha Periachi and Lakshimi Skandar Mariamman Vaishnavite School Shaivite School Shaktite School Vertical Marks Horizontal Marks Adapted from Corduan, Neighboring Faith – p. 201

  40. The Gods • Each male god is associated with a female deity, his “shakti” which means “source of power” • Generally a consort or broadly a wife • Goddess infuses the god with energy to do his work • Each god has also has a certain symbolic representation and a riding animal. • Multiple arms represents power

  41. The Gods • Brahma • Creator • Represented by four heads • Originally had five but Shiva cut it off • Images in many temples but not many temples dedicated to him • Not a major Bhakti god • His shakti, Sarasvati is a popular goddess • Receives a lot of veneration • Her representation is a musical instrument, e.g. sitar

  42. The Gods • Vishnu • People look to him for salvation • Also look to one of his avatars • Vertical line(s) on forehead • Known as the preserver • Emphasis on chanting, dancing, & meditation • Recognized by having four arms with a conch shell, lotus blossom, a discus, and a mace. • Riding animal is a bird but also shown reclining on a snake • Most concern for maintaining dharma, duty • Born into the world as heroic person or animal to put world on right track then dies to reincarnate again (avatar)

  43. The Gods • Avatars of Vishnu – incarnations of Vishnu in various forms which veil rather than reveal the god within. Usually ten avatars from myths: • Matsya – Fish • Kurma – Turtle • Varaha – Boar • Narasimba – Man-Lion • Vamana – Dwarf • Parashu-Rama – Rama with an ax • Rama – Hero of Ramayana (wife sita, Hanuman) • Krishna – Teacher of Bhagavad Gita (wife Rada) • Buddha (9th avatar) – Founder of Buddhism • Balarama – Alernate, brother of Krishna • Kalki – Horse , future avatar (period when dharma supreme)

  44. The Gods • Rama (avatar of Vishnu) • Hero of epic Ramayana • His wife, Sita • Abducted by demon king, Ravana • Rescues wife with help of friends • Brother Lakshman • Monkey god, Hanuman • Usually hold a long bow • Color green dominant • Rama Bhakti emphasizes Rama’s love and grace to grant salvation • Baby monkey school (believer clings to mother) • Cat school (believer carried by mother, all Rama)

  45. The Gods • Krishna • 8the avatar of Vishnu • Very popular god to worship • Color is usually dark or blue • Play a flute • Usually seen with his wife, Radha • Appears in the Bhagavad-Gita as a profound teacher • Myth • Victorious over demon king • Another view is a mischievous and amorous wonder-worker in folklore with amorous and erotic adventures

  46. The Gods • Hare Krishna Movement • International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKON), form of Vaishnavite Bhakti • Krishna is the supreme form of a personal god • ISKON followers are basically monotheistic • Source is 16th century teacher, Caitanya • A. C. Bhktivedanta Prabhupada popularized it in U.S. • In 1960s at age 70, retired pharmaceuticals salesman • Popular in U.S. in early 70s but has declined

  47. The Gods • Krishna - Five Essential Teachings • Krishna is the supreme personal god • Salvation can be obtained by chanting the mantra, Hare Krishna • 1000 time a day • Special worship of singing and dancing • The Bhagavad-Gita is inspired scripture • Devotee must live a pure life devoted to Krishna • Abstaining from meat, caffeine, sweets, and sex for pleasure • Distributing literature to raise the consciousness of the message

  48. The Gods • Shiva • Followed by most Bhakti Hindus • Highest god • Called the destroyer (of evil) • Worship more austere • Can cause harm • connected to early days being Rudra • Horizontal lines on forehead (tilaka) • “self-inflicted extremes of devotion” • Represented in various ways • Phallic symbol (lingam) with yoni (vagina representation) • Rides a bull • Trident is main symbol

  49. The Gods • Ganesha • Older son of Shiva & Parvati • Myth – Shiva severs head but after calms down vows to replace it with head he see, an elephant • Known as remover of obsticles • therefore his followers seek him to overcome difficulties in life • Learned in Hindu writings & wise • Skandar • Younger brother of Ganesha • God of war

  50. The Goddesses • Shaktism – goddess is the principle object of worship • Two most popular, Durga or Kali • Unfaithful consorts of Shiva • Use of sexual motifs • Durga • Conquering poses • Overcame buffalo-headed demon • One of ten arms hold trident and other war implements • Given blood as worship items Durga