Hindu Beliefs • Hinduism is often described as a non-dogmatic religion. • People are free to worship any set of doctrines or rules they like. • It does not believe in conversion, and does not impose its beliefs on others.
Hindu Beliefs • However, Hindus are expected to follow specific rules in their personal conduct and daily duties. • There is a vast body of rules and rituals for almost every station and stage of a Hindu’s life.
Hindu Concept of God • Some describe Hinduism as polytheistic, others as monotheistic. • Most state it is monistic – which means that all reality is ultimately one. • Hinduism reconciles these three different concepts of God, which makes it tolerant of various beliefs.
What Is Brahman? • Brahman is: • The supreme being, an entity without form and quality. • The soul of the universe, from which all existing things arise, and into which they all return. • Everywhere and everything. • The essence of Brahman is divine, invisible, unlimited, and indescribable.
Brahman • Hindus are free to imagine Brahman in any way that is meaningful to them. • They worship different deities that they consider manifestations, or expressions, of Brahman. • Page 121 (text) has a description of Brahman from the Upanishads.
Atman • The Atman is the human soul or spirit. • It is the part of our innermost self that is identical to Brahman. • A Hindu’s goal is to reunite the Atman with the Brahman. • Atman = Brahman Brahman = Atman
“Tat Twan Asi” • The famous Sanskrit saying means “you are that”, expresses the idea that the Atman and Brahman are inseparable.
Reincarnation • The Atman is: • Eternal and immortal. • Lives on, shedding the lifeless body for a new one. • For Hindus, most aspects of the personality are generally not thought to be transmitted into the next life form. • Individuals usually cannot remember past lives.
Samsara • The endless cycle of rebirth or reincarnation is called samsara. • The Hindu term for salvation, for liberation from samsara, is moksha.
Moksha • This is the liberation from the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth into this world. • With moksha, the atman is united with the Brahman.