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Mohandas Gandhi
The Culture of India
• The culture and
religion of India is
neither monolithic
nor divided into
compartments. Like
America, it is a mix
of many colors.
Suffering from Ignorance
• Hindus teach that
we all suffer from
ignorance about our
true identity. What
we need is selfknowledge. The
various paths we will
study lead to this
Shiva: Absolute Cosmic Being
• Shiva is the
absolute cosmic
Being, sheer life
force, and Shakti is
the absolute power
of the phenomenal
universe, creative
and destructive.
The Wet
• For Hindus, the
“wetness” of water is
a way of
understanding how
God, “the wet,” is
present in all of
material reality, “the
• Karma also refers to
that chain of cause
of effect set in
motion by one’s
deeds in the world.
• This is moksha,
“leaping out,” finding
liberation. It is the
final quest, after all
other quests have
run out.
Four Stages of Life
• The four ashramas
are also known as
the “Four Stages of
Life”: student,
householder, hermit
or forest dweller,
and renunciant.
• The realization
comes through that
there is only OneBrahman, Universal
Being. God beyond
all personalities and that “Thou art
The Vedas
• The earliest
religious texts that
we have are the
Vedas. The Aryans
in India are chiefly
known as the people
of the Vedas, the
fundamental official
scriptures of
The Upanishads
• Our understanding
of Hinduism comes
from the
commentaries on
the Vedas, the most
famous of which are
called the
In Brahman as Brahman
• This means that
creation isn’t outside
of Brahman.
Brahman isn’t off in
some heaven
somewhere. Rather
existence, nature, &
our very lives exist
in Brahman as
Atman is Brahman
• The great inner
knowledge to which
the wise ones of the
Upanishads came is
“Atman is Brahman.”
Atman is the
innermost self, the
Playing Hide-and-Seek
• Brahman plays hideand-seek with itself
in the world,
dwelling in the
myriad things while
elusive to human
thought and dream.
One Mind
• But the difference is
that in the
Upanishadic vision
there are not many
actors but one actor
- the One Mind who is playing all
the parts and is also
the prompter.
• Prajna means that
sharp, intuitive
insight that simply
knows, without the
confusion of words
or ideas from the
world of the many.
The Laws of Manu
• The Laws of Manu
allow one to do both
by saying that there
are different things
required at different
points in your life.
• The last 3 steps are
interior: dharmana,
dhyana, meditation;
and samadhi, the
absolutely equalized
consciousness of
perfect freedom.
Sri Aurobindo
• Integral Yoga is the
path of combining all
four yogas the way
an athlete might use
cross training to
improve his/her
The Adorable One
• The English title
might be translated
as “Song of the
Blessed One” or
“Song of the
Adorable One.” The
adorable one is Lord
Krishna, who is God
in human form.
Fulfilling Our Purpose
• Krishna teaches that
it’s not what we do
but how we do it and
in what spirit we do
it. We must fulfill our
purpose to the best
of our ability.
The Dance of the Cosmos
• Then, with one’s
feelings not getting in
the way, one’s actions
are a part of the great
dance of the cosmos, of
the life of the whole
social & natural
organism, & are as
quiet and far-reaching
as meditation.
Hindu Philosophy
• The tradition of Hindu
philosophy that has
generally been most
prestigious in India & is
best known outside that
country is Vedanta. The
word literally means
“the end, that is,
culmination) of the
• Its basic premise is
that if nothing is
separate from God
then nothing is
unholy. Therefore,
all things can lead
one to God because
God is in everything.
Bhakti Blossom
• Through the love of
gods, whom one can
visualize & adore, but
who are themselves not
separate from the
absolute, one shares
their nonseparateness,
for one becomes what
one loves.
Many Paths to God
• Ramakrishna taught
that all religions are
of the same
essence and are
paths to Godrealization.
Suffering and Karma
• Gandhi said that if
someone was
suffering it might
very well be
because of his/her
karma, but
nevertheless, it was
our karma to help
• One thing Hindu
women have going
for them is that
Hindu philosophy is
very clear that both
female and male
energies are
needed, & that it is a
problem when they
aren’t balanced.
• Wherever
rears its head, you
tend to see
intolerance for those
with different beliefs.
Swami Vivekananda
in America
• The World
Parliament of
Religions at the
Chicago World’s
Fair in 1893 marked
the introduction of
Hinduism to
A Tolerant Philosophy
• In general, it’s a
tolerant philosophy.
For example,
Hinduism doesn’t
expect all Hindus to
follow the same path
or lifestyle.
Advaita Vedanta
• Its most influential
form is known as
Advaita Vedanta,
which teaches that
there is only one
ultimate reality,
Brahman, & we’re
united with that
source as our own
very being.