Overview • Hinduism differs from Christianity and other monotheistic religions in that it does not have: • a single founder, • a specific theological system, • a single concept of deity, • a single holy text, • a single system of morality, • a central religious authority, • the concept of a prophet. • Hinduism is not a religion in the same sense as Christianity is; it is more like an all encompassing way of life -- much as Native American spirituality is.
BEEN AROUND FOR AWHILE.. • MAJOR RELIGION OF INDIA • FOLLOWERS IN AFRICA, EUROPE, & WESTERN HEMISPHERE • A COLLECTION OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OVER 1000’S OF YEARS • WORSHIP SEVERAL GODS, WHICH REPRESENT DIFFERENT FORMS OF BRAHMAN. BRAHMAN IS THE MOST DIVINE SPIRIT OF THE HINDU RELIGION
Basic Beliefs • Karma - the law of cause and effect; “you reap what you sow” • Reincarnation - eternal soul traverses through different bodies until it finds liberation
ritual • Each year, 1000’s of Hindus travel to the Ganges River in India. It is a sacred river- used for bathing, drinking, healing. Hindus believe that the Ganges will cure them of all their physical ailments • Worship in temples or at home, by themselves or with others, but not in a congregation • Temples usually contain a shrine devoted to a god or goddess and worshippers believe that the god/goddess actually inhabits the images • The shrine is the center of family worship
Leadership • The Brahmin is responsible for the spiritual leadership in the community. • Brahmins have earned the “karma” of their place because of good deeds performed in their past life(s). They were born into the highest social class/caste. • Brahmins take on roles as priests, philosophers, & teachers in the Hindu society • They are responsible for performing sacrifices in the temples; they also care for the shrines • They are believed to have the gods’ words revealed to them.
Sects/Divisions of Hinduism • Shaktism – worship of the supreme goddess Shakti. She represents energy or force; she may take on merciful or destructive tendencies. • Vaishnavism- worship Vishnu the Preserver. • Shaivism – dedicated to Shiva the Destroyer. Worshipers try to rid themselves of all that is earthly and be more like Shiva.
Scriptures • Hundreds of scriptures • oldest scriptures: the four Vedas (means “to know”) • Hindu religious literature is divided into two main categories: • Shruti – that which has been heard • Smriti – that which has been remembered • Most popular scripture: BhagavadGita The BhagavadGita, often times called, The Song of God, is the eternal message of spiritual wisdom from ancient India. It was originally spoken by Lord Krishna at the holy land of Kuruksetra.
Hindu Trinity • Brahma - the Creator • Vishnu - the Preserver • Shiva - the Destroyer • Three aspects/powers of the same divine being • These are the 3 main gods
True enlightenment • People will reach true enlightenment & happiness when they let go of their earthly desires • Goal can be achieved through worship, attainment of knowledge, and a lifetime of virtuous acts. The sound “om” is the most sacred syllable of the Hindus (above)
Celebration • Each spring, the Hindus celebrate the festival of Holi. • Holi symbolizes the triumph of good over evil.A lot of dancing, showering one another w/ colored powder and died water. • Diwali- the beginning of the Hindu new year. Involves lighting many lamps which frighten away demons. Light is used to welcome back the god Rama, who was driven out of the kingdom. • Coming of age ceremonies for boys includes sacred thread draped over shoulder. He is said to be twice born now, once into the world, and then into the religion.
Holy Cow! • Hindus have always had great respect for Mother Nature and its creatures • Cow is especially significant because it symbolizes gentleness
Four Goals of Human Life • Kama – fulfillment of desires • Artha– accumulation of wealth • Dharma – performance of social and religious duties • Moksha – freedom from want
Cool facts: Capital Punishment There is no official Hindu line on capital punishment. However, Hinduism opposes killing, violence and revenge, in line with the principle of ahimsa (non-violence). India still retains the death penalty, and the reasons for this are likely to be similar to be those suggested in the Buddhist section. • The “red dot” on the Hindu women’s forehead represents that she is married, although now it is used as an adornment. • Main symbol (on 1st pg) means entire universe • Hinduism is therefore generally opposed to abortion except where it is necessary to save the mother's life.
More Cool Facts Euthanasia War Like most religions Hinduism includes both teachings that condemn violence and war, and teachings that promote it as a moral duty. • Most Hindus would say that a doctor should not accept a patient's request for euthanasia since this will cause the soul and body to be separated at an unnatural time. The result will damage the karma of both doctor and patient
Vivekananda • First Hindu leader to visit America • Famous address at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago on September 11,1893 • Spent three years preaching the Vedanta philosophy in America and England • Founded the Ramakrishna Mission
Ramakrishna Mission • The Mission/Center seeks to stimulate the growth of the individual's innate spirituality through lectures, discourses, publications, and individual guidance. (pictures of center) http://www.ramakrishna.org/activities/bldg_dedication/Building_Dedication1.htm
Vedanta Philosophy • Vedanta teaches that every soul is potentially divine, and that its divinity may be manifested through worship, contemplation, unselfish work, and philosophical discrimination. • According to Vedanta, Truth is universal and all humankind and all existence are one. It preaches the unity of the Godhead, or ultimate Reality, and accepts every faith as a valid means for its own followers to realize the Truth.
http://answers.ask.com/Society/Religion_and_Spirituality/what_is_the_bhagavad_gitahttp://answers.ask.com/Society/Religion_and_Spirituality/what_is_the_bhagavad_gita • http://www.religioustolerance.org/hinduism.htm • http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/ • http://www.ramakrishna.org/