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Introduction to Hinduism. “There is only one God, but endless are his aspects and endless are his names”. The vast majority of Hindus live in India and Nepal. Indus Natives to India Aryas Invading People. Goal of Hinduism. Moksha Release / Liberation

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Introduction to Hinduism


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    1. Introduction to Hinduism “There is only one God, but endless are his aspects and endless are his names”

    2. The vast majority of Hindus live in India and Nepal • Indus • Natives to India • Aryas • Invading People

    3. Goal of Hinduism • Moksha • Release / Liberation • United forever with the universal Atman • State of being in endless bliss and awareness

    4. Vedic Hinduism • Earliest Practice • Based on Ritual • Used Shruti for ritual • Theology • Balance (Rita) is key • Affects 3 levels of the universe • Vault of the Sky • Atmosphere • Earth

    5. Sacred Texts • Shruti – What is Heard • Smirti – What is Remembered

    6. Reincarnation • Samsara is the cycle (wheel) of rebirth • The soul (atman) is reborn from one life form to another • Souls can be reborn as humans, animals, or deities – depending on the karma of the past lifetime. • “Death” is not the same concept of finality within Hinduism.

    7. Human Responsibility:Karma & Dharma • Your responsibility is to be the “best” you can be - based on your caste. • Every action creates an effect based on its moral worthiness. • Your karma is your action / deeds. • Dharma is the duty based on your life situation – created by your karma. • Dharma best seen through the caste system. • Your rebirth is based on your karma.

    8. Caste System • Four ( plus one) major castes • Brahmins • Priests and teachers • Highest purity and rank • Kshatriya • Warriors and aristocracy • Vaistrya • Middle class • Sudras • Servants and laborers • Outcastes • NOT an official caste

    9. Brahmanism – The Way of Knowledge • Devotees must obtain jnanato achieve moksha. • Jnana = Gnosis • The Stages of Life leads one to liberation.

    10. Four Stages of Life • Student Stage • Study Caste Appropriate work • Householder • Marry - raise a family • Forest Dweller OR • Retiree • Monk – Sannyasay • At one with the universal atman

    11. Bhakti – The Way of Devotion • Devotees are tied to one or more gods for help in their lives. • Help with the physical or spiritual. • Moksha is available through several gods • The Vault of the Sky is seen as heaven.

    12. Seen as the “sustainer” of life. Not the ultimate reality – can be named Gods have extremely long life spans Each day is 1000 time the length of human history Brahman: Essence of reality

    13. Ancient Vedic god of destruction Kind to devotees Modern worship focuses on moksha Masculine aspect is passive / unchanging Shiva – The Destroyer

    14. Parvati – Goddess Main consort of Shiva Reincarnation of first consort Female aspect of Shiva is active / changing Other aspects of Parvati are both positive and negative

    15. Eats the flesh of bodies on the battlefield Wears a necklace of skulls Destroyer of Enemies Loving to Devotees Kali – Goddess of Death

    16. Cares about his devotees happiness in this world – and the next. Moksha is through keeping the order of the caste system. Avatars – Vishnu’s earthly forms Vishnu – God of Sun & Growth

    17. Avatars of Vishnu Krishna Rama

    18. Arjuna is taught by Krishna (Vishnu) Teachings found in Bhavagad Gita Main text of Vishnu worship Avatars, cont.

    19. No set day of the week is holy Each days has its possibilities Religious festivals may be solar or lunar Lunar is preferred Festivals and Holy Days

    20. Festival of Lights Series of 5 festivals Family oriented Light the candle, and send it down a stream If it stays lit, a year of good luck. Festival of Lights: Divali

    21. Its source is Vishnu’s feet Goes onto Shiva’s head and out from his hair The Ganges is sacred enough to purify all sins. The Ganges River

    22. Pilgrims come from all over to 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. Banaras - Hindu’s Holy City

    23. Sacred Cow of India

    24. Social concern was deeply rooted in the Sacredness of life. All religions lead to God. Gandhi was assassinated by nationalist fanatics on January 30, l948 as India was gaining its independence. Gandhi: the Father of India

    25. One Ocean, Many Names