Document 7240169

What is Hinduism?
• A philosophy and a way of life –
focused both on this world and beyond
• One of the oldest religions of
humanity dating back to 1500 BCE
• There are 950 million Hindus in the
world today-the world’s third largest
What is Hinduism?
• No single founder
• The religion of the Indian people
• Gave rise to Buddhism, Jainism,
and Sikhism
• Goal: Escape the endless cycle of
birth-death-rebirth. Achieve
enlightenment called Nirvana.
Location of Hindus
The vast
of Hindus
live in
India and
Sacred Texts
• Vedas and Upanishads
• Rig Veda: Hinduism’s oldest textnearly 4000 years old
• Karma: Total of good and bad
actions a human soul carries with it
from life to life.
• The cyclic return of a soul to live
another life in a new body .
• Samsara: constant cycle of rebirth.
• Death is not final for Hindus they
expect to be reborn many times.
• People may be reincarnated at a
higher or lower level of existence
depending on their karma from
their present and past lives.
• People may be reborn as plants or
animals or they may be elevated to a
higher caste as a human.
Caste System:
Class Division of Society
• Brahmin: priests
• Kshatriya: warriors and administrators
• Vaishyas: farmers, merchants,
teachers, artisans
• Sudras: servants, laborers
• Untouchables: live outside the caste
Places of Worship
Hindu temples exist but Hinduism is
usually practiced in the home where
there is usually a shrine dedicated to
a favored deity (god).
The Major Gods Of Hinduism
The creator god
and supreme god
from which all
other gods are
The Major Gods Of Hinduism
Shiva: God of
destruction and
transformation so that
new can be created.
The preserver god.
The Ganges River
Falling from its source of Vishnu’s feet
onto Shiva’s head and out from his hair,
the water of the Ganges is sacred enough
to purify all sins.
Sacred Cow of India
• Milk holds a central place in religious
• In honor of their exalted status, cows
often roam free.
• A citizen can be sent to jail
for killing or injuring a cow.
Banaras - Hindu’s Holy City
• Pilgrims come from all over to bathe in the
• Countless Hindus come to die near the
• 1500 temples in the city, most of them
devoted to Shiva.
• It is a gathering place for the religiously
learned and their disciples.
Ms Stewart’s Rhyme
If you follow dharma and you have good
karma then maybe in one of your lives you
will achieve nirvana!
What do Hindus believe?
• One impersonal Ultimate Reality – Brahman
• Manifest as many personal deities
• True essence of life – Atman, the soul, is Brahman
trapped in matter (“That art thou”)
• Reincarnation – atman is continually born into this
world lifetime after lifetime (Samsara)
• Karma – spiritual impurity due to actions keeps us
bound to this world (good and bad)
• Ultimate goal of life – to release Atman and
reunite with the divine, becoming as one with
Brahman (Moksha)
Mono OR Polytheistic?
Origins: The Aryans
• An Indo-European people.
• Migrated to India in about 1500
BCE from the Caucus Mountains.
• Brought the Vedas.
• No single founder-combination of
Festivals and Holy Days
• No set day of the week is holy-each days has its
• Religious festivals may be solar or lunar-lunar
is preferred
• There are 125 special days in the Hindu year
with Diwali being an extra special celebration.
Diwali-Festival of Lights
Goal of Hinduism
• Moksha: release or liberation from
the endless cycle of rebirth
• Infinite bliss and
• United forever with
the divine
What are the spiritual practices of
• Yogas: seeking union with the divine
• Guru: a spiritual teacher

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