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The World
cycles of expansion and collapse
big bang
black holes
island universes
Water cycle
Death - Life
Creation - Destruction
Good and Bad
Hindus do not judge in moral terms
short term versus long term
Use and cooperate with nature
No need to conquer natural world
(as Westerners do)
Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833)
•Reformer of Hinduism who
helped to create modern India
•Founder of Brahmo Samaj
(Society of God)
Mohandas Gandhi
A man respected for his
simple lifestyle, high thinking
and fearless attitude.
•Trained as a lawyer in Britain
•An advocate for the “colored”
minorities in South Africa
•He was involved in India’s
struggle for independence
from Britain.
•Worked for the welfare of
•He believed that the practice of
nonviolence as part of the
Hindu tradition was the key to
human survival.
•Gandhi fasted, was a vegetarian,
and was celibate in order to
“free his spirit from bodily
constraints, to prepare a vessel
fit for the inspiration of God”
Two doctrines
•Ahisma- nonviolence
•Satyagraha- “truth force”
Problems for Humans
•Wheel of rebirth
•Individual choice
The Solution
Reconciliation with the Absolute
Overcoming the pulls of life
Different paths for different people; all equal
Some people ask the assistance of a deity.
The Absolute
• The highest reality that precedes all else, on which
everything is dependent.
• Believe in many Gods
• Reason is it is better to have people choose among
images of many gods than to leave them unable to
feel any devotion for an abstract principle.
• Some prefer one image or god to another
ex. Either Shiva or Vishnu
• Many prefer one of the more personal deities
ex. Kali or Krishna
Absolute Cont’d
• Few images of Brahman are found.
• It is understood that Niguna Brahman is the
ground of all gods.
• Henotheism- emphasizes one superior god in the
presence of lesser gods.
• Reality embraces all experiences
• Behind all phenomena there is a source of energy
that makes it possible.
• This can be experienced in a variety of ways.
• No one way in itself is complete.
Rituals & Symbols
4 Steps to complete obligations of a Hindu
-most important ritual
-the sacraments or rites by which a Hindu is fully
integrated into the community
-initiation rite indicating that a boy is a twice-born
-beginning of the student stage
-must wear a janeu, sacred thread to remain in his
3) Vivaha
-marriage, rite of entry into the 2nd stage or
ashram, that of householder
4) Antyesti
-funerals, last rites
-most cremated in a shraddha, a wooden casket
created by oldest brother
• Between these major sacraments, Hindus practice
many rituals and use many symbols.
• Hindu worship in temples can be individual or
• Worship may be assisted by a priest.
• Worshippers may recite Vedic hymns, light
candles or other sacred flame, offer pure
food to the gods, offer money to be used for
religious purposes, and comment on a
guru’s insights regarding duties.
• The tank at the temple is used for ritual
• Puja is a form of worship that an individual
addresses to the image of one pair of deities.
• Examples of ritual festivals are:
Common Beliefs
The evolution of the physical world
The law of karma and rebirth
God working with in us
Common Beliefs con’t.
The four-fold goal of human life
Physical body
Surface consciousness consisting of
innumerable desires
Reincarnation cont’d
Deeds determine direction
Life on earth did not emerge suddenly…
Souls cannot fee itself completely free itself
and unite with its Creator…