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A Brief Introduction
For 100’s of free powerpoints
• Hundreds of scriptures
Oldest scriptures: the four
All scriptures divided into
two broad categories:
shruti and smriti.
Most popular scripture:
Bhagavad Gita.
What “ism” is Hinduism?
• Everything from Atheism to
• Different interpretations of
the same scriptures led to
differences in belief
• Sanatana Dharma Eternal
Concept of God
• Nirguna Brahman = God
without attributes
• Saguna Brahman = God
with attributes
• Saguna Brahman can be
worshipped in any
shape or form… human
or otherwise
Hindu Trinity
• Brahma = the Creator
• Vishnu = the Preserver
• Shiva = the Destroyer
• Three aspects/powers of
the same divine being
Basic Beliefs
• Karma = the law of
cause and effect; “you
reap what you sow”
• Reincarnation =
eternal soul traverses
through different
bodies till it finds
Symbolism in Hinduism
Holy Cow!
• Hindus have always had
great respect for Mother
Nature and its
• The cow is especially
significant because it
symbolizes gentleness.
Four Goals of Human Life
1. Kama = fulfillment of
2. Artha = accumulation of
3. Dharma = performance
of social and religious
4. Moksha – freedom from
Four Paths to Moksha
1. Karma Yoga = Path
of righteous action
2. Bhakti Yoga = Path of
selfless devotion
3. Jnana Yoga = Path of
rational inquiry
4. Raja Yoga = Path of
Temple Worship
• Temples provide an
atmosphere conducive
for spiritual progress.
• Centers of social and
cultural activities
• Provide a place for
collective worship and
Six Philosophical Schools
1. Sankhya = Sage Kapila
2. Yoga = Sage Patanjali
3. Mimamsa = SageJaimini
4. Vedanta = Sage Vyasa
5. Nyaya = Sage Gautama
6. Vaisheshika = Sage Kanada
History of Hinduism
• Originated between 4000 and 2000 BCE
• No single founder
• Vedas: the oldest scriptures of Hinduism
• Veda means “to know”
• Rig, Yajur, Sama, and Atharva Veda
• Upanishads explain the philosophical ideas
in story and dialogue form
Veda Vyasa
• 1500 BC
• classified the Vedas into
the four traditional
• composed the 18
• composed his great
poetic work, the
Mahabharata, in a period
of two and a half years
• Advaitha philosophy
• 7th century AD
• traveled all over India
having public debates with
other philosophers
• true happiness can be
attained by removing
avidya (ignorance) and
maya (self deception)
• 10th Century AD
• Vishistadvaitha
• wanted everybody
irrespective of social
standing to enjoy the
eternal bliss of Lord
• Bhakti = complete
surrender to the Lord
• Dwaitha philosophy
• 12th Century AD
• the world is not an illusion.
• solitary study of the
scriptures, performing one’s
duty without self - interest
• practical acts of devotion
• First Hindu leader to visit
• Famous address at the
World Parliament of
Religions in Chicago on
September 11, 1893
• Spent three years
preaching the Vedanta
philosophy in America
and England
• Founded the
Ramakrishna Mission
Contemporary Hindu Leaders in
David Frawley
Satguru Sivaya
Mahesh Yogi
Mata Amritanandamayi
• Hinduism is a celebratory religion
• The motive: Festivals keep us close to Gods,
invigorate our household and renew our
personal life.
• Festivals signify victory of good over evil.
• Every month of Hindu calendar has at least
• one significant festival. Each festival has
• regional significance also.
• Celebration of diversity.
• The first day of the year according to
the National Calendar of India.
• The day falls in the beginning of spring
• Vasanta Ritu – When the Goddess of
Nature gets bedecked as a divine
Sri Ramanavami
Birthday of
Lord Rama,
the prince of
Ayodhya, and
his coronation
as a king.
Mahavir Jayanti
Buddha Jayanti
Birthday of Mahavira,
the founder of Jainism
Birthday of Buddha,
the founder of Buddhism
Guru Purnima
Lord Muruga
• Worshipped mostly in
South India
•Guru: One’s teacher. The day
commemorates the birthday of
Veda Vyasa.
•Time to remember and felicitate
one’s teachers.
Raksha Bandhan
Symbolizes the love between
brother and sister.
Birthday of Lord Krishna,
favorite lovable God of many :)
Ganesh Chaturthi
Birthday of the elephant God,
Durga Pooja/Navaratri
A nine day celebration signifying
the victory of Mother Durga
over the evil demon King
Deepavali: The festival of lights
Mother Lakshmi
•Mother Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity is worshipped
on this day.
•Beginning of the Hindu financial year.
Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti
Birthday of Guru Gobind
Singh, one of the Sikh Gurus
Celebration of the
harvest festival
Birthday of Lord Shiva
Holi, the festival of colors
commemorating the victory of
Lord Krishna over the demon Holika