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Hinduism. Chapter 3. Hinduism: Ascetic Man Praying Woman Bhakti devotion. Hinduism Terms. Indus Valley Aryan Yoga Hinduism Vedas Sanskrit Shruti Sutras Rig Veda Brahmanas Aranyakas Upanishads Brahman Atman Deva Avatar

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Chapter 3

Hinduism ascetic man praying woman bhakti devotion
Hinduism: Ascetic Man Praying Woman Bhakti devotion

Hinduism terms
Hinduism Terms

  • Indus Valley Aryan Yoga Hinduism

  • Vedas Sanskrit Shruti Sutras

  • Rig Veda Brahmanas Aranyakas Upanishads

  • Brahman Atman Deva Avatar

  • Brahmins Brahmanic tradition Puranas

  • Karma Samsara/reincarnation Maya

  • Moksha/ Release/ Liberation Dharma Santana Dharma

  • Ahimsa Asceticism Puja Mantra

  • Bhakti yoga Vedanta Tantras Prana

  • Monistic (Upanishads and Advaita Vedanta) Darshan

  • Om Brahma Shiva (Sheva) Vishnu

  • Trimurti Durga Kali Lingam

  • Caste system: Brahmins Kshatriyas Vaishyas Shudra

  • Ramayana Mahabharata Bhagavad Gita

  • HoliDurga Puja Divali

Hinduism lecture overview outline
Hinduism: Lecture Overview/ Outline

Introduction/ Overview of Hinduism

Origins to the Vedas

Classical Age

Main Beliefs

Main Sacred Texts

Main Practices

Main Divisions

Main Festivals

Timeline of hinduism highlights
Timeline of Hinduism Highlights

2500-1500 B.C.E Indus Valley civilization

1750-1200 B.C.E. Aryan migration to India

1st Vedas (texts) compiled

900-700 B.C.E. Brahmanas written

400 B.C.E. Vedas completed

600-100 B.C.E. Upanishads compiled

400 B.C.E.200 C.E. Ramayana (present form)

400 B.C.E. –400 C.E. Mahabhata (includes the

Bhagavad Gita) compiled

100 C.E.-300 C.E. Laws of Manu compiled;

caste system formalized

500-1500 C.E. Puranas recorded

711 C.E. Muslim invasion begins

1556-1707 Mogul Empire rules India

1857-1947 British rule of India

Hinduism introduction overview 1
Hinduism: Introduction Overview (1)

“Hinduism” term was applied by foreigners in the Colonial age, but many Indians call their religion Santana Dharma, “the eternal Religion” or “eternal Law”

Hinduism one of the oldest & most complex of all religions of the world

Probably the most diverse and varied of all religions; expressions & spiritual traditions of almost every form or style of religion that has been conceived or practiced ranging from extreme asceticism to extreme sensuality and from extreme polytheism, simple animism to Brahmanic Monism, some of the most elaborate philosophical systems ever devised

Part ii hinduism overview 2
Part II: Hinduism: Overview (2)

The Vedas are the oldest Hindu religious texts

Karma--moral sense and consequential effect of all action

In modern Hinduism, millions of gods and goddesses are worshipped

The Laws of Manu are the “blueprint” for Hindu society (codified the Caste system)

The Bhagavad Gita is among the great epic poems of Hinduism.

Hinduism--the source for three more world religions:Jainism, Buddhism, and Sikhism

The quest for discovering hinduism begins
The Quest for Discovering Hinduism begins…

  • From the 3rd to 2nd Millennium B.C.E. (2500 – 1500 B.C.E. in the Indus Valley…

Origins of hinduism
Origins of Hinduism

Pre-Aryan India: the early Dravidian peoples of India developed a flourished civilization in Indus Valley

Archaeology uncovered cities w/ streets, elaborate plumbing, irrigation, and amulets in “yoga”? position and fertility gods & goddesses images

Then come the Ayrans…(Aryan theory: next few slides)

The aryan theory 1 their coming
The Aryan Theory (1)Their Coming

Aryans (“Noble ones” from land of Persia) Indo-European invaders came into the Indus Valley in migratory waves 1750-1200 B.C.E.

The highly civilized city culture had worn out their land w/ agriculture, & they declined

Aryan migration in Indus Valley: assimilation into the culture

The Aryans may have moved in AFTER the decline or they invaded & conquered before the decline

The aryan theory 2 invasion into india
The Aryan Theory (2)Invasion into India

They spoke an Indo-European language

Some Aryans remained in the Iranian plateau where the ancient Iranian religion Zoroastrianism was founded

Aryan religion 1
Aryan Religion (1)

  • Best source of knowledge: the Vedic literature

  • Vedas use “Aryan” to mean a noble person, not a racial category

  • Polytheistic religion: the worship of personifications of the natural forces: storm, sun, moon, fire, & fertility of soil, as similarly did other Indo-European peoples

Aryan religion 2
Aryan Religion (2)

  • Open air altars

  • The chief manner of worship of the Aryan gods was sacrifice of animal & diary products, on altars in open places

  • Agni, the god of fire, was the channel thru whom offerings were presented to the other gods (source: Vedas

  • The horse sacrifice (the Vedas)

Aryan contributions society
Aryan Contributions & Society

Early sources reveal Aryan society began to develop into 3 basic classes, varnas:Brahmins-the priests who served the cults

Kshatriyas-the chieftains and warriors

Vaishyas-the commoners and merchants

A 4th group: Shudras, may have been the pre-Aryan conquered people and were not full members in society, but slaves, servants to the Aryans

The varna classes
The Varna Classes

Brahmin (priest)

Kshatriya (warrior)

The varna classes continued
The Varna Classes, continued

Vaishya (merchant)

Shudra (servant)

The vedic era and the vedas 1
The Vedic Era and the Vedas (1)

The Vedas:

Oldest sacred books of Hinduism

Begun as early as 2000 BCE

But others date it 1500-400 B.C.E.

The Four basic Vedic Books:

Rig-Veda-basic mythology of the Aryan gods

Yajur-Veda-knowledge of rites

Sama-Veda-knowledge of chants

Atharva-Veda-Knowledge of sage Atharva

The vedas 2
The Vedas (2)

Each Vedic book is made up of four parts

Mantras: a section of hymns to the gods

Brahmanas-a section of ritual material

Aranyakas-Forest Treatises-material for hermits

Upanishads-Philosophical materials

These hymn/mantra sections are considered to be the most ancient material, since it is believed that in the case of most ancient religions, these were conveyed, memorized, chanted, and passed from one generation to generation to the next orally before they ever got written down (Hopfe and Woodward p. 85).

Together, the Mantra and Brahmana sections are considered to be the oldest material in the Vedas.

Vedic deities
Vedic Deities

Ingra-god of thunderbolt, clouds, & rain, and ruler of the heaven, receives most of the attention in the Vedas

Agni-the god of fire, and god of the priests

Varuna-god who presides over the order of the universe & who forgives those who sin

Vishnu-at time of the Vedas, he was not an important deity, and so mentioned briefly

Post-Vedic Times: Shiva & Vishnu became two of the most popular gods of Hinduism


Behind the myriad aspects of divinity, the sages perceived ONE unseen reality

Vedic and hebrew parallel
Vedic and Hebrew Parallel?

From the Source (textbook) Rig Veda: “Maghaven with his puissance struck down Ahi, rent Rauhina to death & slaughtered Vyansa. Armed w/ his bolt & trusting in his prowess he wondered shattering the forts of Dasas.”

Hebrew Bible: Song of Deborah & Barak: “She stretched her hand to the tent peg, her right hand to the workman’s hammer; she pounded Sisera, she pierced his head, she split & struck through his temple, at her feet he sank, he fell, he lay still, at her feet, he sank, he fell….” Jud. 5:26-27

The vedas story of the flood parallel to bible 1
The Vedas: Story of the Flood Parallel to Bible (1)

  • The Vedas, besides hymns to the many Aryan gods, also contain legendary and mythological material from earlier Indian life, such as the Story of Manu:“They brought water to Manu for washing, customary for washing hands. While he was washing, a fish came into his hands. It said to him in word, ‘Bring me up, I shall save you.’ ‘From what shall you save me?’ ‘A flood will carry away all creatures. I shall save you from that flood… The flood will come in such and such a year. Take my advice and build a ship. Enter it when the flood arises, and I shall save you from the flood.’ After rearing the fish, Manu took it to sea. In the year indicated to him by the fish, he acted according to the advice of the fish and built a ship. When the flood arose, he entered it. The fish…

The vedas story of the flood parallel to bible 2
The Vedas: Story of the Flood Parallel to Bible (2)

  • Then swam to him. He tied the rope of the ship to the horn of the fish and thus reached swiftly the Northern Mountain there…. The fish then said, ‘I have saved you. Tie the ship…and descend as the water subsides.’ Thus he gradually descended the slope of the Northern Mountain. The flood carried off all the creatures, Manu alone survived. Wishing for a progeny, he began to worship and do penance. Then he performed a sacrifice of cooked meat. In the waters he offered melted butter, buttermilk, whey, and curd as oblations. In a year, a woman was created out of them. She rose dripping, melted butter collected at her footprints…he continued to worship and perform penance along with her. Through her this race was generated by him. This is the race of Manu. Whatever blessing he desired through her were all conferred on him.” Satapatha Brahmana 1:8

The religion of vedic times
The Religion of Vedic Times

  • The Brahmin priests compiled the Vedas, and were most influential over the religion

  • Worship of deities through chants, mantras, and sacrifices

  • Sacrifices, including animals, were still in practice

  • This period of early Hinduism, being controlled by the Brahmin priests, is sometimes called Brahmanism

  • Two alternatives arose… (next slide)

Two alternative paths arise out of hinduism
Two Alternative Paths arise out of Hinduism

6th cent. B.C.E., two alternative paths to sacrificial deity-worshipping Hinduism arose in India, yet within the Indian worldview: Jainism & Buddhism

Serious challenges when the Vedas were being compiled and on the verge of the Classical period

Hinduism gradually enveloped these alternative paths attests to the strength of the Hindu religion(s)

Question to ponder: How has the attitude of tolerance with multiple expressions aided Hinduism’s success?

The upanishads 1 philosophical portions of the later vedas
The Upanishads (1):Philosophical portions of the later Vedas

“Teachings from highly realized spiritual masters” (Fisher)

Date from c. 600—100 B.C.E. (Fisher)

About 200 Upanishads

Some consider these the cream of Indian thought

Became the basis of later Hindu philosophy

Ancient Indian thinkers preferred to attribute virtue or evil to choices made by individuals

The upanishads 2 meditation on brahman atman
The Upanishads(2):Meditation on Brahman & Atman

Mystical insights from the rishis (sages) who sought ultimate reality thru meditations

The Upanishads emphasize meditation as a means of worship, not the worship of deities

The rishis taught the outward senses-fleeting; what is real is the all-pervading reality found inside ourselves, called Brahman, and the self/soul (atman) is a part of the Brahman

The upanishads 4 express several doctrines central to all forms of hinduism
The Upanishads(4):Express several doctrines central to all forms of Hinduism

  • They introduce concept of Karma into religious language, from Sanskrit karma root means “to do or act”

  • Along w/ karma, Indian thinkers introduced concept of samsara, “to wonder across,” referring to souls that leave one body & onto the next, Western thinkers called this reincarnation and transmigration of souls

  • One takes birth & rebirth many times

  • Goal (ultimate goal) of Hindu and most Indian religious expressions: moksha, lit. means “release,” break the cycle of karma & samsara (=“liberation”) and be free from burden of life and merge with the Absolute Reality

The upanishads 5 points from hopfe woodward
The Upanishads(5):Points from Hopfe & Woodward

The living beings that inhabit our world are really only expressions of the Brahman

They are souls (atman) that are a part of the great ocean of souls that make up Brahman

Phenomenal existence is an illusion (maya)

A person’s individuality apart from Brahman is illusion, a dream, and ignorance

The plight of human beings is that we are bound up in this world of illusion & ignorance

It is the task of religion to reveal the divine within us and to show us how to live on a new plane.

The upanishads 6 presumption and assumptions
The Upanishads (6):Presumption and Assumptions

Some scholars assert that they operate from a monistic presupposition in contrast w/ the polytheism of the rest of the Vedas

The Upanishads assume that there is only one reality, the impersonal god-being Brahman. All that is not Brahman is not real. Humans have false knowledge (maya) when they believe that this life and our separation from Brahman are real

Fundamental assumption is that there is but one true reality in the universe—Brahman-eternal, infinite, unknowable, sexless, and totally impersonal (Brahman is neuter, lit. means “ever growing”)

The upanishads 7 influence
The Upanishads (7):Influence

Tremendous influential for later Hindu philosophy

Never extremely popular among the masses, yet its teaching has had wide influence laying a foundation for Hinduism: Karma, Samsara/ reincarnation, Brahman, Atman, “Om”

“I will tell you the Word that all the Vedas glorify, all self-sacrifice expresses, all sacred studies and holy life seek. That word is OM. That Word is the everlasting Brahman: that Word is the highest End…. It is the supreme means of salvation….”The Upanishads, trans. J. Mascaro, Penguin Books, 1965

Om or aum
Om (or Aum)

  • The most sacred syllable, first appears in the Upanishads

  • The supreme syllable

  • Regarded as the seed of all mantra

    Source: Oxford Dict. Of World Religions

  • The most important sacred sound in the Vedic & Hindu traditions

  • A symbol and expression of the Brahman

    Source: Dict. Of Comparative Religion

Karma meaning transformed from early vedic to the late vedic period early classical period
Karma:meaning transformed from early Vedic to the late Vedic period/early Classical Period

Karma originally meant to act, perform, i.e. perform sacrifices (religious/cultic context) in the 2nd mill. BCE era of open-air altar sacrifices

Upanishads introduce the concept of karma as it has since come to mean

Upanishads introduce the concept of Samsara (wonder-across) soul migration from one life/body to next

Re cap belief of karma since the late vedic classical age
Re-cap Belief of Karma: since the Late Vedic/ Classical age

  • Moral action

  • The karma one accumulates determines the nature of future existences because of the belief in reincarnation

  • Hinduism assumes that there is a constant cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth.

  • Karma drives this process, the cycle

  • Every action and every thought had its consequence, marking internally in the person, an effect felt in this life or the next

  • One may be born as a human or animal.

The atman and brahman
The Atman and Brahman

  • All things in creation flow out of the Brahman, and the Brahman is in everything

  • The atman is the soul in all beings, thus, the universal soul, whose source is Brahman

  • Some scholars call the atman is humans as the self/ Self

  • The atman or soul is what transmigrates from one life to the next, and carries the karmic consequences (good or bad) of the previous life into the next life

Hinduism key terms for this section 1
Hinduism Key Termsfor this Section (1)

  • Aryan-Skr. “noble ones” peoples fr. Persian

  • Vedas-oldest sacred texts, hymns to Aryan gods

  • Upanishads--philosophical materials in the Vedas

  • Dharma-social or moral duty, natural law, ethics, social welfare, realization, religion

  • Karma-moral action and consequences carried into next lives (reincarnation)

Hinduism key terms for this section 2
Hinduism Key Termsfor this Section (2)

  • Samsara: “wonder across,” transmigration of the souls in karmic cycle

  • Brahman: impersonal Supreme Reality

  • Atman: the universal soul

  • Varna-the 4 major divisions of the Indian Caste system

  • Brahmins—priests (class of)

  • Kshatriyas—rulers and warriors class

  • Vaishyas—merchant and farmers class

  • Shudra—artisans and manual laborers class

Hinduism foundational beliefs 1
Hinduism Foundational Beliefs (1)

The Three Core Foundational Beliefs:

Karma – that which binds one to the endless cycles of life, death, & rebirth

Samsara (Reincarnation) - Lit. “wonder across” of the soul; transmigration of soul from one form of life to the next; the endless cycle of birth, life, death, & rebirth = the Karmic Cycle

Moksha - Release of the soul from the karmic cycles of life; ultimate goal for virtually all Hindus

Hinduism foundational beliefs 2
Hinduism Foundational Beliefs (2)

  • 4th & 5th Core Foundational Beliefs:

  • Brahman - impersonal, pantheistic world-soul, the Absolute or total reality, union w/ which is the highest goal of the Upanishads

  • Atman - universal soul

    Fisher on Atman: inner self, Self, individual soul

    H. Smith on Atman: hidden self, infinite, the atman-Brahman

  • “The joyous discovery of the rishis was that they could find Brahman as the subtle self or soul (atman) within themselves (Fisher p. 79)

Hinduism foundational practices
Hinduism:Foundational Practices

  • Brahmin Rituals—source: Vedas

  • Mantra Chanting--source: Vedas

  • Puja worship—Hindu ritual worship (for people & priests) source: Vedas

  • Bhakti--devotion to deities by the popular masses

  • Meditation—source: Upanishads

  • Yoga (several kinds)

  • Asceticism-extreme self-denial

Mantras a foundation hindu practice
Mantras: a Foundation Hindu Practice

  • Origin from the priestly Brahmanas of the Vedas

  • Reinforced in the Upanishads

  • Practiced ubiquitously by all kinds of Hindus of various classes since the Classical into modern times

Classical age of hinduism
Classical Age of Hinduism

  • Marked by the compiling of the great classic works of Hinduism and Indian Lit.

  • 900-700 B.C.E. Brahmanas written

  • 400 B.C.E. Vedas completed

  • 600-100 B.C.E. Upanishads compiled

  • 400 B.C.E.200 C.E. Ramayana (present form)

  • 400 B.C.E. –400 C.E. Mahabhata (includes the Bhagavad Gita)

  • 100 C.E.-300 C.E. Laws of Manu compiled

The law of manu 1 300 b c e 300 c e
The Law of Manu (1)300 B.C.E. – 300 C.E.

Another piece of traditional Indian literature produced during the Classical era:

*Two Main Things to Remember:

1) Formalized the Indian Caste System

2) Gave divine authority to the Caste System

Valuable for its religious teachings as well as what it reveals about Indian life, culture, society during Classical era, but some scholars see it as priestly propaganda

They provide the outline for the caste system which are hereditary occupational groups

One finds ethical and social standards which were held as ideal during this era

The law of manu 2
The Law of Manu(2)

Basic Assumption: the Varna system apparently developed from early Aryan divisions of society

Description of the Varna system is based on earlier account in Rig-Veda that describes the gods’ sacrifice of the cosmic man Purusa as origin of Hindu society: “The Brahman [priest] was his mouth. His two arms became the Raja [ruler]; his two thighs are the Vaishya [artisans, merchants, farmers], from his two feet the Sudra [servant] was produced.”

The law of manu 3
The Law of Manu(3)

  • It is more explicit in the duties of the 4 varna and these 4 social groups are seen as being divinely ordained: “For the growth of the worlds, (Brahman) created Brahmanas (Brahmins), Kshatriyas (warriors), Vaishyas (traders), and Shudras (manual workers)…”

  • Members of each group have specific duties (dharma) and opportunities and must obey them only.

  • The Law also shows the state of understanding of reincarnation at this period

  • Shows also the effect the religious & philosophical teachings of the Vedas had on Indian society & roots of religious traditions in modern Hinduism

Bhagavad gita 1 400 b c e 400 c e
Bhagavad Gita (1)400 B.C.E. – 400 C.E.

Contained within the Mahabharata (ch. 25-42), the story of the struggle of two leading families in beginning of Indian history, the two of which come together in a battle

It’s a great epic poem, a dialog between Arjuna, a warrior, and his charioteer, Krishna.

Bhagavad gita 2
Bhagavad Gita (2)

  • The Bhagavad Gita means the “Song of God,” and is sometimes referred to by its short title of “Gita”

  • Term: Avatar: an earthly incarnation of a deity

  • Considered the concluding statement on Classical Hinduism

  • A conversation between Krishna & the warrior Arjuna as he ponders the folly, human,& karmic consequences of war. Krishna explains that because Arjuna is a Kshatriya (ruler caste), & obligated to fight, he will not suffer the consequences that members of other castes would in battle

Bhagavad gita 3 highlights of the teaching
Bhagavad Gita (3)Highlights of the Teaching

You should perform the duty of your caste, thus avoiding karma (bad karma)

Obligations of each caste is raised to the level of religious duties

Openness to a variety of means of religious expressions: asceticism, yoga, meditation, devotions to and worship of the gods, obedience to rules of the caste. It is for this reason that Hinduism is often described as the most tolerant of all the world religions

Quotes from bhagavad gita
Quotes from Bhagavad Gita

On the Atman:Some yogis merely worship the devas. Others are able, by the grace of the Atman, to meditate on the identity of the Atman with Brahman. For these, the Atman is the offering, and Brahman the sacrificial fire into which It is offered.

When a man is made perfect in yoga, he knows the truth within his heart. The man of faith, whose heart is devoted, whose senses are mastered; He finds Brahman. Enlightened, he passes at once to the highest, the peace beyondpassion.” Bhagavad-Gita, trans. Swami Prabhavananda, Mentor, 1972, Renunciation through Knowledge section

Classical post classical hinduism
Classical & Post-Classical Hinduism

The Bhagavad-Gita marks the close of the Classical period

Vishnu becomes one of the most popular gods in this period, almost anticipated in the Bhagavad-Gita

All the contributions of the Classical period (the Vedas, Law of Manu, & Bhagavad-Gita) became the basis for later Hinduism

Some scholars distinguish by calling the earlier period (pre-Classical) Brahmanism

Brahmanism was much like that of the religions of the Graeco-Roman world-multiple deities (=polytheism) & sacrifices on open-air altars

Post classical hinduism
Post-Classical Hinduism

In Post-Classical period, a gradual shift to emphasis on a few major deities, although they were worshipped in many forms

Worship came to be love and devotion to those gods

Temples were built to honor them

Hymns composed about their qualities

The literature of this period centered on the gods and goddesses

Scholars also point out a change in basic attitude toward life changed to a pessimistic view, negative & life-denying forces emerging, but roots appear in the Vedas

Theistic paths overview
Theistic Paths Overview

  • Brahman-the Absolute, Supreme Realty

  • Bhakti-intense devotion to a personal manifestation of Brahman, became the heart of Hinduism for majority of Hindus

  • Shaktas-those who worship of Mother Goddess

  • Shaivites-those who worship the god Shiva

  • Vaishnavites-those who worship the god Vishnu

  • Tantra devotees: worship of God/deities in feminine form


  • An estimated 50 million worshippers

  • Worship of the feminine aspects of the divine are probably pre-Vedic

  • Her great power is called Shakti

  • The goddess worshipped in many forms

  • Term “Devi” may be used generically to all her forms

  • Durga—beautiful woman but a fighter w/ 10 arms

  • Kali—fierce form of her, with dripping blood

  • Lakshmi-embodies wealth, generosity, fortune

  • Tantras—sacred texts instructs how to worship the feminine divine


  • Shiva is a personal, many-faceted manifestation of the attributeless supreme deity: Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Preserver), and Shiva (Destroyer)

  • Trimurti: Brahma,Vishnu, and Shiva

  • Shiva is also the god of yogis, for he symbolizes asceticism

  • His devoted spouse/consort: Parvati

  • The unity of the male and female: expressed abstractly as a lingam (stylized phallic symbol representing the male comic force) within a yoni (symbol of female vulva


  • Worship Vishnu, beloved as the tender, merciful deity, overpowers by goodness and generosity

  • Worshipped since Vedic times

  • His consort is Lakshmi

  • Most beloved incantations: Rama

  • Popular devotion to Krishna-regarded as the transcendent Supreme Lord

  • This form: Hari Krishna, gets exported to America

Devotion to the 3 major gods
Devotion to the 3 Major Gods

Brahman, the ultimate reality, is at the core of Hindu thought. He is one & undivided

Yet, post-Classical Hinduism sees him in terms of three forms/functions: the three deities of the Trimurti:

Brahma-the creator Shiva-the destroyer

Vishnu-the preserver

Devotees of any of the 3 gods tend to see all the functions of Brahman is their chosen deity

Devi-the great goddess, represents the feminine principle of Hindu thought; creative power, all-pervasive energy

Philosophical systems overview
Philosophical Systems:Overview

  • Samkhya

  • Advaita Vedanta

  • Yoga

Indian philosophy worldview during this era
Indian Philosophy/ Worldview during this Era

  • Time moves endlessly through various cycles

  • World was created by Brahman

  • World cycles: Peace, abundance, & morality then decay; Vishnu intervenes on behalf of humanity; but world continues to decay; Famines, wars, & general immorality become the rule. Finally, the world destroyed by Shiva; world dissolves and all souls depart into suspended being; after a period of repose, the world begins again and the souls take up new bodies.

Devotion to knowledge
Devotion to Knowledge

The Sankhya System

Philosophical system founded by sage Kapila, 6th cent. B.C.E.-basically an nontheistic approach to life

The Yoga system

Various extremes of asceticism

Fr. Root yuj, “to yoke” or “union”

It basically follows the philosophical views of Sankhya system, w/ dualistic worldview, w/ goal to yoke one’s individual spirit to atman, Brahman.

The philosophy of Yoga today was developed by sage Patanjal c. 200 C.E.

Middle ages to modern pd key events 600 1857 c e
Middle Ages to Modern Pd:Key Events 600-1857 C.E.

  • 600-1600 Rise of devotional and anti

    caste movements

  • 788-820 Shankara organizes Vedanta

  • 1510 Portuguese conquest of Goa

  • 1556-1857 Moghul Empire (Turkish

    Muslim rule, for most part,


Strength and success of hinduism
Strength and Success of Hinduism

  • Hinduism, with hundreds of thousands of practitioners into modern times attests to its strength and success through many challenges:

  • It absorbed Buddhism (3rd cent. BCE - )

  • It was not run over by Islam (8th cent. CE-

  • It did not become a Christian nation (1st –21st cent. C.E.)

Modern hinduism 1
Modern Hinduism (1)

Hinduism, like all major religions, has had to face the rigors of the modern age, with its nationalistic movements, its social reforms, its encounters between religions, and its scientific revolutions

An important factor has been its encounter with Christianity beginning w/ the Thomast Christians from 1st cent. C.E.

More influence since 20th cent.; British allowed missionaries in India in the 19th cent. e.g.

notable missionary was William Carey

But Christianity had little impact on vast majority of Indian people until recent times due to the Indians treating Christians as a caste, as they also did with Muslims

Modern hinduism 2
Modern Hinduism(2)

Hindu Reformers:

Ram Mohan Roy (1774-1833) the “father of modern India; he was influenced by Christianity, accepted monotheism (but not divinity of Jesus), and worked on reforms

Mohandas Gandhi (1869-1948) the best known Indian reformer of the 20th cent.

Modern hinduism 3 modern caste system
Modern Hinduism(3):Modern Caste System

  • Modern caste system develops after 700 C.E.

  • Ultimately, more than 3000 separate castes emerged in Indian society

  • Dalits, the lowest caste, are sometimes referred to as untouchables, perform basically the dirty jobs; but if these outcasts accept the dharma (duty) of this life and do not rebel against it, they may hope for a better caste in the next life.

  • Due to the efforts of reformer Ghandi, discrimination against the outcasts was forbidden

Modern hinduism 4 the main denominations
Modern Hinduism(4):The Main Denominations

  • The three main branches are:

  • Vaishnavism-worship of God in form of Vishnu and his many incarnations

  • Shaivism-worship of Shiva, Lord of Destruction

  • Shaktism-veneration of Goddess (Kali, Durga, Uma, etc.

    Source: Introduction to World Religions, vol. 6 Hinduism

Hindu holy days festival practices
Hindu Holy Days (Festival Practices)

Holi-the most popular festival: Feb/March

Dasehra (Durga Puja)-celebration in honor of Durga, consort of Shiva, 9 days in October

Divali-the New Year: November

The terms hindu and hinduism
The Terms “Hindu” and “Hinduism”

“Hindu” was first used by Muslim to label people in India, derivative of “Indus” (according to another source)

Only recently have the people we now know as “Hindus” begun to use the term to refer to their own religious beliefs and practices

Key terms review 1
Key Terms Review (1)

Brahman – the Ultimate Reality

Atman – the universal soul (of which individual souls are a part

Avatar - an incarnation of a Hindu deity

Deva (pl. devas) Skr. - A god or divinity usu. In feminine form

Dharma – duty, right, righteous, moral/legal code, religion

Karma – orig. act/ sacrificial act, action and effects in this life and future lives

Samara – lit. “wonder across,” the karmic cycle of souls reincarnating, birth, life, death

Reincarnation – part of the karmic cycle of a soul after death going into the next life form

Moksha – release, liberation from the endless

Key terms review 2
Key Terms Review (2)

  • Prana – invisible life force

  • Veda - knowledge or sacred lore

  • Vedas – oldest Hindu sacred texts

  • Upanishads – philosophical portions of the Vedas, teachings from spiritual masters

  • Ramayana – famous epic deals with eternal play of good & evil, battles involving incarnations of Vishnu

  • Mahabharata – famous epic includes Bhagavad Gita

  • Puranas – Scriptures which popularize abstract truths of the Vedas through stories

  • Sankrit – orig. language Hindu texts including Vedas

  • Shruti – revealed knowledge/truth, not human orig.

  • Sutra – terse spiritual teaching/saying

Key terms review 3
Key Terms Review (3)

Mantra - ritual sound, words, to evoke a certain religious effect

Puja – ritual worship

Bhatki – intense devotion to a deity

Asceticism – extreme denial of earthly comfort

Yoga – lit. “yoke” or “union,” practices for union with true Self

Maya – False knowledge; all sensory knowledge is Maya; illusion

Pantheism - belief that reality comprises a single being of which all things (e.g. deities) are modes, members, or projections of it

Brahma (Skr.) - creator or creative principle of the universe

Key terms review 4
Key Terms Review (4)

  • Hindu—derivative of Indus, term coined by Muslim invaders to label people in India

  • Caste – hereditary occupational groups, from Portuguese “casta” meaning “race,” multiple classes into which traditional Indian society has been divided

  • Brahmins – priestly caste

  • Kshatriyas – ruler and warrior caste

  • Vaishyas – Merchant caste

  • Shudras – artisans and laborers caste

  • Guru – a spiritual teacher

  • Sage - an aged man distinguished in wisdom

  • Trimurti-the three most important Hindu gods: Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu

  • Lingam – stylized phallic symbol (c.f. Shaivites)

Review of hinduism core beliefs
Review of Hinduism:Core Beliefs

  • Karma:The karma one accumulates determines the nature of future existences. Hinduism assumes that there is a constant cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. Karma drives this process

  • Samsara/Reincarnation: the soul moving from one life to the next in the Karmic cycle

  • Moksha: Release from the endless cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth

  • Earth has its endless cycles with yogas as ages within the cycles

  • Dharma: right, religious duty, duty to one’s caste, legal code, religion

Review of hinduism beliefs continued
Review of Hinduism:Beliefs continued

  • Brahman

  • Polytheism--Deity has many faces, forms, incarnations, manifestations, a total of 330 million; Most common deities:

  • Brahma, Shiva, Vishnu, Divine Mother, Durga, Kali, Lakshmi, Parvati

  • The Vedas, oldest sacred texts, are shruti (divinely revealed, not human)

  • Multiple paths of religious expression and practice to achieve ultimate goal

Review of hinduism practices
Review of Hinduism Practices

  • Brahmin rituals Mantra chants

  • Puja worship

  • Bhakti worship or yoga

  • Meditation

  • Yoga

  • Asceticism

  • Shaktism

  • Shaivism

  • Vaishnavism

  • Practicing one’ duties according to caste

Hinduism review development overview
Hinduism Review: Development Overview

  • “Old” Hinduism – Vedic Times: 2nd Millennium to 500 B.C.E. also called Brahmanism

  • Classical Hinduism – 500 B.C.E. to 500 C.E.

  • Post-Classical (pre-modern) Hinduism – 500 C.E. to 1600 C.E.

  • Modern Hinduism – 1600 C.E. to the present

Analysis synthesizing evaluating assessing comparative w other religions
Analysis, Synthesizing, Evaluating, Assessing, Comparative w/ other Religions

Analyze & evaluate the Hindu belief that all the deities are modes/ manifestations/ expressions of the one ultimate Brahman

If ultimate goal for most Hindu religious expressions is moksha (release from the Karma cycle), how does their belief in maya fit into it? Is release even necessary?

Is “Karma” meant in basically a non-theistic sense? And to what extent is it moral action?

Compare & contrast the monotheistic concept of God e.g. Judeo-Christian sense to Hinduism’s Brahman and Karma beliefs