Hinduism There is a lot more to it than their love of cows and the caste system! Look at these pictures, do you think the subjects are participating in a ritual that belongs to a world or regional religion? Why? What criteria are you using to make your decision? What is a World Religion? Not all religions are considered world religions A world religion is a religion which: Is timeless. You can practice it at any period of history and it can “adapt” to changing demands. Transcends place. You do not need to be in a specific geographic location in order to practice it. Is not exclusive. It is not related to a profession, language or livelihood. In other words, even though their roles and access may be different, everyone in a society can participate in the religion. What is the Oldest World Religion? Hinduism! The official “birth date” of Hinduism is vague Hinduism is believed to be 3,500 – 4,000 years old (starting around 2000 – 1500 BCE) Because there is no definitive starting date or event, many Hindus believe their religion has existed since the beginning of time. No one is believed to have “founded” Hinduism. It evolved over time and assimilated many regional religions into it. 3rd largest religion in the world with an estimated 850 – 900 million followers Indus River Valley Civilization Stretched from the Himalaya Mountains to the Arabian Sea Center was present day Pakistan and parts of India Developed around 2500 BCE (although origins date back to Neolithic period) and started to decline in 1500 BCE Developed independently, did not grow out of other cultures, such as Sumer. Many common religious traits between the Indus Valley religions and Hinduism which would come to dominate the area. For example, ritual purity, sacrifice, use of dance and fire in ceremonies and goddess worship. Height of the Indus River Valley Civilization As the Indus River Valley Civilization started to decline, a group of Indo-European nomads began to move out of the steppes of Central - - - Called Aryans Crossed the Hindu Kush Mountains into Northern India Lived in tribal groups and had strong warrior traditions Came into contact with the Indus River Civilization Between 1500 BCE and 1000 BCE, the Aryans advanced Eastward from the Indus Valley Crossed the fertile plain of the Ganges Advanced southward into the Deccan Plateau On-going contact between the Aryans and Dravidians (descendants of the Indus Valley people) lead to a new culture and religion, Hinduism Religious Texts Vedas Hindu Religious Text (s) The Vedas (more the one) Most ancient religious text in the world Most present form developed between 1200 – 200 BCE and introduced by the Aryans Hindus believe that the texts were received by scholars direct from God The Rig Veda The oldest and most revered Veda to Hindus Developed between 1500 – 1200 BCE Collection of hymns of 1,028 hymns. It was influenced by the Aryan warrior aristocracy and adapted Indus Valley traditions. Four parts of the Veda Samhitas: the most ancient part of the Vedas, consisting of hymns to praise God Brahmanas: ritual and prayers to guide the priests in their duties Aranyakas: concern worship and medation Upanishads: consists of the mystical and philosophical teachings of Hinduism Upanishads Means “sitting near” (“upa” = near, “ni” = down, “shad” = sit) the teacher or sage Direct accounts of advice from spiritual mystics or guru Mark the final phase of development of the sacred vedas and beginning of elements of Hindu philosophy familiar to believers today Intended to inspire and welcome anyone, regardless of their status or caste Introduced the idea of reincarnation “The Big Ideas of Hinduism” A snapshot of a complex religion Gods Mono or polytheistic? Hindu Religious Philosophy One major or absolute God (single force of the universe) called Brahman. Central to Upanishadic belief, is the “higher self” or atman. The atman is the person’s soul which must return to Brahman, the universal soul. It is the understanding that your soul is not separate from the universe, rather part of the universal soul. If achieved, the “self” will merge with Brahman after death. There are three main gods, a triumvirate, which are believed to be all part of Brahman Brahma = the creator Vishnu = the preserver Shiva = the destroyer All three are responsible for the creation, upkeep and destruction of the world. Brahma = the Creator Has four heads and it is believed the four Vedas came from these heads. Some believe the four varnas came from a different part of Brahma’s body. His consort (companion) is Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge. Often holds a lotus – the symbol of creation. Keeps track of time on a string of beads. Vishnu = the Preserver Preserver and protector of the universe. Role is to return to earth in troubled times and restore the balance of good and evil. Has been reincarnated nine times. Believe he will be reincarnated one last time close to the end of the world. Associated with light, especially the sun. Represented with a human body, with blue skin and four arms. Each hand holds an object he is responsible for. Vishnu Continued In Vishnu’s hands: Conch shell (produces the “om” sound, the primeval sound of creation) Discus: symbolizes the mind Locus flower: glorious existence and liberation Mace: mental and physical strength Shiva = the Destroyer Role is to destroy the universe and re-create it, paving the way for beneficial change. Destruction is not arbitrary but constructive. Seen as the source of good and evil. Shiva Continued Has a 3rd eye = represents wisdom and insight Cobra necklace = power over the dangerous creatures in the world. Also presents destruction and rebirth (shedding its skin) Vibhuti (three white lines on the face with white ash) = represent his pervading nature, superhuman power and wealth. Cover his third eye. Trident = represents the three functions of the Hindu triumvirate. “Big Idea” - Yoga Yoga means “union” Important part of Hindu’s daily life as they strive for their union with Brahman Goal is to leave behind earthy life and join Brahman in your mind “Big Idea” - Dharma The ultimate moral balance of all things. There is a divine order to the universe and an individual's life. The concept of dharma requires all people to do their duty, depending on their status in society. The higher the status, the higher the expectations. Idea of duty above consequences. Promises must be kept at all price. Dharma in all areas of life: family, social and religious. “Big Idea” - Karma Karma is the force generated by a person’s actions that determines how the person will be reborn in the next life. Every action has consequences. If you live a balanced and moral life (and not disturb the Dharma) you will be happy and move onto a higher level in your next life. A person’s current status is a reflection of their past lives. Therefore, higher status people are entitled to more privileges because they have lived better past lives. Ensures full accountability for every thought, action and word. “Big Idea” – Reincarnation (Samsara) Reincarnation – appeared in the 6th century BCE Represents the cycle of life, death and rebirth in which a person carried his or her own karma. Each life represents an opportunity for balance. The ultimate goal in reincarnation is to be united with Brahman (God). Hindus believe all living beings seek to achieve this goal. Places an emphasis on individual spiritual development to better attain the release from the life and death cycle. Created a reverence for all forms of life. “Big Idea” - Moksha Ultimate goal, state of changeless bliss. Similar to heaven in the Christian faith Achieved by living a life of complete religious devotion and more integrity without any interest in worldly things. When a person reaches Moksha, the cycle of reincarnation ends. “Big Idea” – Caste System (Varnas) Varnas or castes - Social custom brought by the Ayrans to India. Would become known as the caste system (jati) – officially weren’t called castes until the 16th century by Portuguese traders Four main castes (although each caste is also sub-divided) Based off the belief that hierarchy is natural and social structure if part of the divine intention for natural order Also based largely on the idea of purity as related to profession Varnas (Castes) Each Varna has specific duties and rights Each Varna dictates professions – only certain varnas can work in certain fields. People cannot work outside of their varna. Each Varna has its own dietary restrictions based on the level of “purity” of the food. Major Castes Brahmins – Priest. Highest varna, believed to have emerged from Brahma’s mouth (God’s mouth) Kshatriyas – Warrior/Ruling class, believed to have been made from Brahma’s arms. Vaishyas – Merchants or artisans, landlords and businessmen came from Brahma’s thighs Shudras – unskilled laborers and servants who emerged from Brahma’s feet. They are the lowest caste and most populated cast – work in non-polluting jobs. Dilets – (Untouchables) – too lowly to be within the varna system, work in “polluting” jobs – any job which involves ending a life (fisher, butcher, etc.), coming into contact with body fluid (sweat, exterminate, etc.) or cows. First three castes viewed as “twice born” – a natural birth and a ceremonial entrance into society later in life. “Big Idea” – Life Goals Dharma – fulfill moral, social and religious duties. Artha – attain financial and worldly success Kama – satisfy desires and drives in moderation. Moksha – attain freedom from reincarnation, spiritual liberation.