Hinduism (PowerPoint)

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
The official “birth date” of Hinduism is
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
As the Indus River Valley Civilization started to decline, a group
of Indo-European nomads began to move out of the steppes of
Called Aryans
Crossed the Hindu
Kush Mountains into
Northern India
Lived in tribal groups
and had strong warrior
Came into contact with
the Indus River
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,
Religious Texts
Hindu Religious Text (s)
The Vedas (more the
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
Means “sitting near” (“upa” = near, “ni” = down,
“shad” = sit) the teacher or sage
Direct accounts of advice from spiritual mystics or
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
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
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
Role is to return to earth in
troubled times and restore the
balance of good and evil.
Has been reincarnated nine
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
 Locus flower: glorious
existence and liberation
 Mace: mental and physical
Shiva = the Destroyer
Role is to destroy the
universe and re-create
it, paving the way for
beneficial change.
Destruction is not
arbitrary but
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
“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
“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
“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
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
Artha – attain financial and worldly success
Kama – satisfy desires and drives in
Moksha – attain freedom from reincarnation,
spiritual liberation.