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Chapter 15
Learning About
Hindu Beliefs
Text: pages 158 – 167
ISN: pages 108 -112
To discover the origins of Hinduism in
ancient traditions and how these
beliefs affected life in ancient India
and today.
Academic Vocabulary
• Law, obligation, duty
To follow one’s dharma:
• to perform one’s duties and so to live as
one should
What would your dharma be?
Dharma usually means “right
conduct or behavior”. But
remember that what is right
conduct for a king may well be
quite different from what is right
conduct for a farmer.
•Hinduism is a religion that developed
over time from ancient Indian traditions.
•Its followers have many beliefs, deities,
and practices that differ from place to
•There was no founder
Write a “tweet” that talks
about something you
learned today in class
about Hinduism.
Sacred text:
• Vedas & Upanishads
• Ramayana (famous story)
• Tells about life in ancient India
• Offers examples in dharma
Central Figure:
• Rama
• Lives by the rules of dharma
• Young boy = loyal son
• Adult= loving husband, responsible ruler
Key Hindu Beliefs:
•Aryans brought the first
parts/elements of Hinduism to India
•All Hindus follow the basic beliefs
of Hinduism that are laid out in the
15.2 the Origins of Hinduism (Key Terms)
•Vedas – Early Hindu religion which included
sacred texts, hymns, and prayers
•Sanskrit – An ancient language of India… The
Vedas were written in Sanskrit.
•Brahman – A class of priests or religious scholars
that interpret the Vedas.
•Brahmanism – Vedas develop into Brahmanism after
the Brahman priest bring a standard way of
worshipping the Vedas.
15.3 The Caste System
•The way society was organized
• A way of life
•Four main social classes are
known as varna
(Rulers, warriors)
(Herders, merchants)
(servants, farmers, laborers)
Untouchables (out of caste/outcast)
•Born into a certain caste
•Could never be changed
•Could only marry in their
own caste
Turn & Talk
1. Can you identify
each caste
2. What is each
3. What does the
middle picture
Beliefs about Brahman
•Atman = soul
•Circle = cycle of life, death, rebirth
NOT resurrection
Work of Brahman
•The cycle of birth, death and rebirth
Law of Karma:
•the good and evil done in a person’s
past life determines what happens to
one’s soul in the next life
•Determines a person’s caste
•As long as people are a part of samsara, =
people will know pain, suffering and death
•Reincarnation: when a person’s soul is reborn
into a new body after death
•Samsara ends when the soul escapes from
the cycle of rebirth.
• then your soul is reunited with Brahma, the
supreme force of the universe
•Pilgrimages: a journey to a holy place
•People travel to sacred places like
the Ganges River
•Believe the difficulty of the journey
would cleanse them of their sins
•Brahma (the Creator),
•Vishnu (the Preserver),
•Shiva (the Destroyer)
Together known as the Trimurti (3 forms)
•Brahma - the Creator
•Vishnu - the Preserver
•Shiva - the Destroyer
aspects/powers of
the same divine being
Shiva (destroyer)
The swastika is an ancient
symbol that has been found
worldwide, but it is especially
common in India. Its name
comes the Sanskrit word svasti
(sv = well; asti = is), meaning
good fortune, luck and wellbeing.
The swastika is most commonly
used as a charm to bring good
fortune (in which case the
arms are bent clockwise), but
it has a variety of religious
meanings as well.
What connections can you make from
what we have studied previously?