Aim: What does it mean to be Hindu? Period One: Technological and Environmental Transformations, to c. 600 B.C.E. Key Concept 1.3. The Development and Interactions of Early Agricultural, Pastoral, and Urban Societies NY State Learning Standards 2 Common Core RS 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 and WS 1, 2 I How did Hinduism begin? A) Aryans (Caucasian nomads) invaded Northern India in 1500 BCE. Their beliefs combined
with those of the people by the Indus river. B) Hinduism did NOT have a single founder. Even today it is not an organized religion, but rather a federation of many different beliefs and philosophies. II Hindu Beliefs A) As Hinduism is continually evolving, Many Hindus believe in only ONE god, Brahman. Other gods are just different forms of the ONE god. Similar to Christianity, Hinduism is often called monotheistic (belief in
one god), or henotheistic (belief in one god that takes on different forms). B) There is a part of God in all of us (our soul) called Atman. *The Regents Exam considers Hinduism to be polytheistic. Yes, the Regents can be wrong. All these deities are manifestations of Brahman, the one Hindu god. Hindu Beliefs Continued
Lord Brahma is the god of creation. He appears seated on a lotus (a symbol of glorious existence). He has four heads and hands. Each hand is holding a sacrificial tool (sruva), the Vedas (knowledge), a water pot (kamandalu) and a rosary. Hindu Beliefs Continued Vishnu is the preserver of the universe. He has four hands. The first holds a conch shell (sankha)
indicating spread of the divine sound "Om"; one holds a discus (chakra), a reminder of the wheel of time, and to lead a good life; one holds a lotus (Padma) which is an example of glorious existence and the fourth hands holds a mace (gada) indicating the power and the punishing capacity of Vishnu if discipline in life is ignored. Hindu Beliefs Continued
Shiva is the destroyer of the universe. Shiva is necessary to continue the cycle of life and death. Lord Shiva appears in a meditating but ever-happy posture. He has matted hair which holds the flowing Ganges river and a crescent moon, a serpent coiled around his neck, a trident (trishul) in his one hand and ashes all over his body. Hindu Beliefs Continued
Lord Ganesh has a human form but the head of an elephant. He represents the power of the Supreme Being that removes obstacles and ensures success in human endeavors. The large head of an elephant symbolizes wisdom, understanding, and a discriminating intellect that one must possess to attain perfection in life. The human body possesses a human heart, which is a symbol of kindness and compassion toward all.
Hindu beliefs continued C) There are 4 main goals of Hinduism: 1. Kama - pleasure, physical or emotional. 2. Artha - power, fame and wealth. 3. Dharma: Dharma is the path of righteousness and living one's life according to the codes of conduct as described by the Vedas. 4. Moksha: Liberation from reincarnation. On the left is a representation of the cycle of birth and rebirth (reincarnation). After death, the soul goes to the next world, bearing in mind the subtle impressions of its deeds, and after reaping their harvest returns
again to this world of action. Thus, he who has desires continues subject to rebirth. Yajur Veda, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.6 Hindu beliefs continued D) Your actions in this life will determine your karma. By having good karma, your next life will be better than this one; you will move up the caste system. According as one acts, so does he become. One becomes virtuous by virtuous action, bad by bad action. Yajur Veda, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5 The caste system is a hierarchical (ordered) system.
You are born into your caste. You are supposed to accept your place in the caste system, as Hindus believe you deserve it based on your karma from your past life. Untouchables/ Dalits The Dalits, also known as the untouchables make up nearly one quarter of Indias 1.2 billion society.. In 70% of Indias villages, for example, non-Dalits will not eat or drink with Dalits. After drinking their tea, they are expected to crush the cup on the ground so that no other person risks being polluted by the cup the Dalit touched. The
UN experts say Dalit women and girls are particularly vulnerable and are exposed to multiple forms of discrimination, sexual violence and trafficking. Hundreds of thousands of children in India are forced to eke out a living to support their families by sweeping streets, cleaning toilets and clearing garbage from public places. On 17 August 2009, some 1000 children affected by manual scavenging took part in a protest March in Ahmedabad. www.dalitnetwork.org III Sacred Hindu Texts A) The most sacred scriptures of Hinduism are the Vedas, a collection of texts written in Sanskrit from about 1200 BCE to 100 CE. Hindus believe the Vedas to be of divine origin. B) Initially, the Vedas consisted of 4 collections of mantras: Rig Veda (Wisdom of the Verses); Sama Veda (Wisdom of the Chants); Yajur Veda (Wisdom of the Sacrificial Formulas); and Atharva Veda (Wisdom of the Atharvan Priests).
C) Over the centuries, 3 collections were added: Brahmanas (discussions of the ritual); Aranyakas ("books studied in the forest"); and Upanishads (philosophical writings). D) The Ramayana, "the Journey of Rama," is a Sanskrit epic poem that tells the story of Shri Rama, while teaching the values of ideology, devotion, duty, relationships, dharma and karma. E) The Mahabharata is the worlds longest epic poem. Composed of 110,000 Sanskrit couplets, it is seven times the length of the Iliad and Odyssey combined, or three times the length of the Judeo-Christian Bible. It is often referred to as the "fifth Veda". It states at the beginning that "what is found here may be found elsewhere but what is not found here cannot be found elsewhere. Literally, it is the story of a royal family that becomes involved in a fierce fratricidal war. At this level, it elucidates such qualities as heroism, courage, and saintliness. Metaphorically, the war is seen as the perennial conflict between good and evil, justice and injustice, right and wrong; essentially dharma vs adharma. Composed as early as 1500 BC, the Rig Veda ("Wisdom of the
Verses") is the oldest of the four Vedic collections and one of the oldest surviving sacred texts in the world! IV Hindu Symbols A) The ohm represents Brahmin. B) The swastika is a Hindu symbol of good luck. The symbol imitates, in the rotation of its arms, the course taken daily by the sun. A right-facing 45 rotated swastika was incorporated into the flag of the Nazi Party representing Aryan racial purity; an obvious twisting of its original meaning. C) A mandala is a sacred shape to Hindus. The square shape symbolizes the earth, while the circle symbolizes the heavens.
Hindu Symbols Continued The bindi represents the third eye. It is a reminder to look inward to find god. V Hindu Practices A) Yoga originally began as a Hindu practice. It is a form of meditation. The goal is to unite your soul (atman) with the divine. Do Not Try This At Home Holding difficult yoga poses was necessary to loosen up your muscles. Why? The goal is to be able to sit in meditation for as long as possible.
Hindu practices continued B) Hindus pray in temples, as well as at shrines. Temples are built in the sacred shape of the mandala. Swaminarayan Akshardham The largest Hindu temple in the world, New Delhi, India Hindu practices continued C) Hindus consider the Ganges river to be sacred. Many Hindu rituals are performed in or near the river. VI Hindu Holidays
A) Diwali is the Hindu Festival of Lights, and is the most important of all Hindu holidays. It celebrates the victory of good over evil, and of knowledge over ignorance. It lasts for five days. Hindu Holidays Continued B) Holi, the Festival of Colors, is a Hindu celebration of spring. Focus Questions 1. 2. 3. 4.
5. 6. 7. What are the origins of Hinduism? What are the main beliefs of Hinduism? What are the main practices of Hinduism (including holidays)? What are the sacred texts of Hinduism? What are the sacred places of Hinduism? Do you think the concept of reincarnation and the caste system makes sense? Why do you think many people (and the NY
Regents) believes Hinduism to be polytheistic? Key Vocabulary
Aryans Atman Bindi Brahma
Brahman Brahmins Caste System Dalits Diwali Ganesh Ganges River Hierarchy Hindu Shrines Hindu temples Hinduism Holi Indus River Valley
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