Hinduism Created By: Glenda McGee Instructor: Donna Lynn Baskin Class: English 140
Introduction to Hinduism • Hinduism is a religion that originated in India and is still practiced by most of it’s inhabitants. • It is considered the oldest religion in the world and is declared as the official religion of the country. • It is also practiced in other parts of the world which includes East & South Africa, Southeast Asia, the East Indies and England.
The Three Main Gods of Hinduism Shiva Destroyer Vishnu Preserver Brahma Creator Meaning of Equal Power
Brahma the Creator Biography on Brahma • Brahma was born from a (kamala) lotus springing from Vishnu's navel and created the world through his daughter Saraswati. Saraswati represent the vedas, their spirit and meaning. They form the subject of many tales in Hindu literature. All knowledge, religious and secular emanate from them. • Lord Brahma symbolizes the aspect of the Supreme Reality that brings forth the creation. He is the god of creation and he is traditionally accepted as the Creator of the entire universe. • He is the first member of the Hindu Trinity that also includes Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. He appears seated on a lotus. The lotus represents the Reality. Brahma sitting on the lotus indicates that he is ever-rooted in the infinite Reality. • He is a bearded, four-faced, four-armed deity. He carries a rosary in one hand, a sacrificial tool (sruva) in the other hand , the Vedas (knowledge) and a water pot (kamandal) in other hands respectively. The four faces represent the sacred knowledge of the four Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva).
Shiva the Destroyer Biography on Shiva • Lord Shiva Shiva is 'Shakti', Shiva is power, Shiva is the destroyer, the most powerful god of the Hindu Trinity. • He is both static and dynamic and is both creator and destroyer. • As the destroyer, he is represented wearing a necklace of skulls and surrounded by demons. Shiva is 'tri netra' or three eyed, and is 'neelakantha' - blue necked (having consumed poison to save the world from destruction. • Lord of the Dance who dances the world both into and out of existence. • He rides on the bull Nandi, and his consort and wife is the mother goddess Parvati, or Kali and his sons are Ganesh (elephant-headed).
Vishnu the Preserver Biography on Vishnu • Lord Vishnu the major god of Hinduism and Indian mythology, he is the second member of the Hindu Trinity, with Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva as the other two. Vishnu is preserver of the universe and the embodiment of goodness and mercy. • His vehicle is the swift-flying bird Garuda which can spread the Vedic knowledge with great courage. • Lord Vishnu represents the aspect of the Supreme Reality that preserves and sustains the universe. • Normally, he is depicted as dark blue with four arms.In His hands He carries a conch (shankha), a mace (gada), and discus (chakra). • He wears a crown, two earrings, a garland (mala) of flowers, and a gem around the neck. The dark color of the Lord represents the passive and formless ether, a great quality for a pervading god.
A Hindu Creation Story “Hindus believe that there is One Supreme Spirit of the universe. This Spirit is God. Hindus also believe that God can be seen in many different ways, so for Hindus God can take on the shape of different gods and goddesses. There are several creation stories in Hinduism. Here is one of the creation stories from Hindu mythology. • Before this time began, there was no heaven, no earth and no space between. A vast dark ocean washed upon the shores of nothingness and licked the edges of the night. A giant cobra floated on the waters. Asleep within its endless coils lay the Lord Vishnu. He was watched over by the mighty serpent. Everything was so peaceful and silent that Vishnu slept undisturbed by dreams or motion. From the depths a humming sound began to tremble, Aum. It grew and spread, filling the emptiness and throbbing with energy. The night had ended, Vishnu awoke. As the dawn began to break, from Vishnu’s navel grew a magnificent lotus flower. In the middle of the blossom sat Vishnu’s servant, Brahma. He awaited the Lord’s command. Vishnu spoke to his servant: ‘It is time to begin.’ Brahma bowed. Vishnu commanded: ‘Create the World.’ A wind swept up the waters. Vishnu and the serpent vanished. Brahma remained in the lotus flower, floating and tossing on the sea. He lifted up his arms and calmed the wind and the ocean. Then Brahma split the lotus flower into three. He stretched one part into the heavens. He made another part into the earth. With the third part of the flower he created the skies. The earth was bare. Brahma set to work. He created grass, flowers, trees and plants of all kinds. To these he gave feeling. Next he created the animals and the insects to live on the land. He made birds to fly in the air and many fish to swim in the sea. To all these creatures, he gave the senses of touch and smell. He gave them power to see, hear and move. • The world was soon bristling with life and the air was filled with the sounds of Brahma’s creation.” ~ Anon.
Wishing you a Happy Diwali • One of the most important Hindu festivals, Diwali marks the beginning of a new year in some Hindu calendars. For Hindus, the festival is not only the time to make merry but also the time to worship divine beings considered sacred in Hinduism like Lord Ganesha, Goddess Lakshmi and Lord Mahabali. In English Diwali is called the festival of lights. • Wishing you a Happy & Prosperous Diwali & New Year!