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 • • • – • – – – 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 • • • • 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.