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Hinduism. Generally considered to be the oldest major world religion still actively practiced today. Originated from the ancient Vedic culture in as far a 2000 BCE 1 Billion followers today – most live in India Very tolerant religion There are many truths!

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  • Generally considered to be the oldest major world religion still actively practiced today.
  • Originated from the ancient Vedic culture in as far a 2000 BCE
  • 1 Billion followers today – most live in India
  • Very tolerant religionThere are many truths!
  • Central texts are contained in the Vedas



  • Among most basic tenets of Hinduism, belief in Brahman, eternal being that created, preserves world
  • Brahman all-encompassing
  • Many believe human mind incapable of understanding
  • Hindus believe each person has atman, soul, aspect of Brahman
  • Atman shapes personality, cannot be destroyed, even by death

Basic Teachings of Hinduism

Fundamental teachings shared by nearly all Hindus.


Three Main Devas

  • Brahma
  • Shiva
  • Vishnu
  • Some believe in thousands; others worship only one - Brahman.


Manifestations of Brahman, active in world, helping maintain order in nature


Rebirth and Salvation

  • Pattern of Life
  • Hindus believe universe, everyone in it, part of continual pattern of birth, death, and rebirth
  • After death atman reborn in process called reincarnation, or samsara
  • New Life
  • Nature of person’s new life shaped by karma—sum effect of deeds, actions
  • Good karma, reincarnated to better station in life; bad karma, lower station in life
  • Ultimate goal of human existence, moksha, escape from cycle of rebirth
  • Dharma
  • With moksha, atman leaves world, reunites fully with Brahman
  • To achieve moksha is to fulfill one’s dharma—spiritual duties, obligations
  • By fulfilling dharma, one creates good karma, breaks free from rebirth cycle

Read pages 106-107 -> Questions?



  • Hindu beliefs vary widely, religious practices vary as well; worship can take place anywhere
  • At temples, priests might recite, read portions of the Vedas; image of a deva sometimes carried out of temple to people
  • At home, food, drink, gifts offered for deva; meditation, silent reflection

Hindu Religious Practices


Meditation, Pilgrimages

  • To help meditate, Hindus practice series of integrated physical, mental exercises called yoga
  • Yoga teaches people how to focus bodies, minds to aid meditation, help attain moksha
  • Hindus also make pilgrimages to Ganges River to purify, remove bad karma

Hindu Religious Practices


The Vedas

  • Name means “knowledge” in Sanskrit
  • Hindus consider Vedas to contain eternal knowledge not written by humans, revealed to them by Brahman
  • Parts of Vedas date back more than 3,000 years
  • Considered core of Hinduism even today

Sacred Texts and Practices

Much of Hinduism’s evolution stemmed from a number of sacred writings produced over centuries.

  • Upanishads
  • Sacred texts that built upon the Vedas
  • Upanishadsphilosophical reflections on the Vedas, dealing with nature of world, meaning of life

Mahabharata and Ramayana

  • Two epic poems
  • Each tells story, reflects on living according to Vedic teachings
  • Included in Mahabharata, most sacred of all Hindu texts, the BhagavadGita, addressing many aspects of Hindu belief, philosophy

VEDAS and the Creation Hymn - To Do

Make a list of paradoxes within the Rig Veda text.

Make a list of unanswered question within the Rig Vega text.

Make a list of 10 things that are different about this story of creation compared with the story in Genesis.


BhagavadGita“Song of the Lord”

  • The BhagavadGitais the most important text to Hindus.
  • Part of Mahabhrata
  • Critical Ideas
  • Suppression of the Ego is paramount. Eliminate focus on our singular self.
  • Decrease reliance on the senses to reduce extremes of sorrow and joy
  • Action is more important than ritual.
  • Importance of reincarnation and the shallowness of concern for physical bodies.
  • Truth is found in Atman, the universal oversoul that binds us all. It is incorrect to conceive of the soul in Hindu religion as a singular element of one individual. It is part of a connected whole, and the individual’s soul aspires to be reunited

Ramayana (Journey of Rama)

Second of 2 epic poems. The Ramayana is one of the central Hindu myths, written close to 250 BCE. Author - Valmiki

• Centers around the efforts of a prince named Rama to reclaim his wife, who had been kidnapped by the demon Ravanna.

• Rama is the ideal hero of Hindu culture, although in books 1 and 7 he becomes Vishnu.




Rama and Ravana

  • A Brahmin on earth, Ravanna becomes a demon possessed of enormous power when he is granted power by the gods, making him immune to damage from divine agents, demons, and animals.
  • Arrogantly, he did not ask for protection from humans.
  • He is defeated by Vishnu’s human incarnation (Rama).
  • His death helps restore dharma, or order, on the earthly realm.
  • The story is about his redemption. In, death he is released by Rama—and the lusts, cruelty, desire, and ego that have consumed him fade away.
  • An avatar of Lord Vishnu (The Preserver)
  • An avatar is the bodily incarnation of an immortal being. The term in Sanskrit implies a descent into mortal realms.
  • Two of the most important avatars in the Hindu tradition are Rama and Krishna.
  • The purpose of the incarnation is to demonstrate correct living on Earth.
  • Rama is the embodiment of the dharma, always fulfilling his duties and acting in accordance with Hindu principles.
sections of the story
Sections of the Story
  • Pg.132-134. Beginning to the Golden “T”
  • Pg. 134-135. Start at the Golden “T” and stop at the Golden “R”
  • Pg. 135-136. Start at the Golden “R” and stop at the Golden “R”
  • Pg. 136 – 138. Start at the Golden “R” and stop at the Golden “W”
  • Pg. 138. Section “W” Only.
  • Pg. 138- 139 Start at the Golden “R and stop at the Golden “N”
  • Pg. 139. Start at the Golden “N” and go to the end.