The Caste System

Report
Vedic Religion
• Male deities associated with the heavens
• Sacrifice-essential ritual
• Brahmin priest controlled rituals and
prayers
– Rig Veda – thousands of poetic hymns
– Brahmanas -descriptions of procedures
Hinduism Beginnings
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Evolved from Vedic Religion
Dates: 2000-1500 BCE
Founders: Arya Peoples
No individual
Process=unknown
Brahmin priests still at top
Sacrifice less central
More opportunity for direct
contact between gods and
individual worshipers
Hinduism
• Where Practiced?:
• India
• Monotheistic?:
• No => Polytheistic:
– 330 Million
Ganesh
• Religious Books:
• Vedas: collection of psalms, prayers,
chants
• Upanishads: origin of the universe,
Brahman
• Epic Poems:
• Ramayana: Life of Rama (Vishnu)
• Mahabharata: longest poem in the
world
– Contains the Bhagavad Gita
• Place of Worship
• Temples
• Home Shrines
Rel. Leader:
Brahmin
No Rel. Sects
GODS
Hinduism
has
thousands of
gods.
Families
worship
their own
god.
Hindu Gods
Vishnu
• Vishnu: preserver
• Shiva: destroyer
Brahma
Shiva
BRAHMA
• The Creator God
• Four faces stand for the
four corners of the universe
• Many Hindus believe that
all Gods originate from
Brahma
Hinduism Gods
• Brahma: Supreme force of universe
–Salt and Water Analogy
Elephant Story
VISHNU
• “The Preserver God”
• maintain balance of good
and evil
• returns to earth as different
forms (avatars) to bring
justice/balance
– Human and animal
Shiva: Visual Analysis
Shiva
• The Destroyer God
• “Cosmic Dance”
• Dances in a halo of
fire
• Fire in left hand
• He crushes the dwarf
Shiva
• Left hand holds the
flame of destruction,
purification, and
renewal
• Snake symbolize his
power over evil
Rules and Laws
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Caste System: Social Classes
Karma: good and bad actions
Dharma: Duties
Samsara: cycle of life
– (birth, life, death and rebirth)
Samsara
• Samsara: People go
through Cycle of birth,
life, and death
• Reincarnated (reborn)
at either a higher or
lower level depending
on how well they
fulfilled their dharma
Karma
• Karma
• Actions performed by each
individual during a lifetime.
• Good action = a step towards a
better rebirth
• Bad action = step towards a poorer
rebirth
• Can be reborn as an animal—it
will be harder for them to gain the
knowledge they need to escape
from samsara
Dharma
• Duties: set of rules to be followed
• Obligations to family and society.
• Determined by one’s position (caste) in
society and by the stage of life that they
have reached.
Moksha
• Liberation from samsara (cycle
of life)
• Your soul (atman) becomes one
with Brahman, the universal soul
• This happens when one’s karma
(actions) continually fulfills their
dharma (duty).
– Replace ignorance with wisdom.
OM or
AUM
• Main symbol of Hinduism
• visual and verbal expression
of god
• “a” = beginning
• “u” = progress
• “m” = dissolution
Miscellaneous Hindu Practices
• Cremated the same day you die
• Suttee / Sati
–“virtuous woman”
• Ganges = Sacred
• Cow = sacred
SRI YANTRA
• focal point for
meditation
• 9 triangles
intersect to form
43 triangles
• 3 concentric circles
• framed by a square
Hindu Meditation
SRI YANTRA
This form is the
geometric
expression of the
divine sound of
creation... OM
Conclusion
• Successful transformation based on Vedic Oral
Tradition
• Ultimate victory of Hinduism over Buddhism
• Buddhism was driven from the land of its birth
• Responded to needs of people for personal deities
• Buddhism demanded too much of ordinary people
• Absorbed Buddha as a God
• Behind the diversity and multiplicity of Indian
religion lies an ultimate unity.

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