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Transcript
Exploring the Religions
of Our World
Chapter 5: Hinduism
Chapter 5, Introduction
Modern Religion with Ancient Origins
 World’s oldest living religion—1500 BCE
 No founder or foundational event
 Synthesis of: Indo-Aryan Vedic religion; brahminical sacrificial rituals (bhakti =
devotion in Sanskrit); asceticism & meditation (including Jains & Buddhists)
 Hindu from Sanskrit “sindhu” = river
 Originally Indus River but now Ganges River
 British who occupied from 1858-1947 saw Hinduism as any Indian religious
belief or practice besides: Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Parses, Muslims, Jews, or
Christians
 Only left subcontinent in 1800’s so 95% of Hindu’s still live in India
 Not a worldwide religion but a world religion—long history
 Categorize self not by belief but by caste, family, origin, philosophy, & rituals
 Very accepting of other religions—no one religion can attain absolute truth
 Ultimate reality others call God is unknowable
 Encourage to find own best representation even if outside Hinduism
Chapter 5, Introduction cont.
The Basics
• 95% of Hindus live in India
• Hinduism emerged as a religion, it did not
begin with a founder or particular event
• Hinduism shares no doctrinal statements
• Hindus hold that no one religion can possibly
claim knowledge of absolute truth , which is
why Hinduism is often called a lifestyle rather
than a religion
Periods of Hindu History
Chapter 5, Introduction cont.
Chapter 5, Section 1: A Brief History of Hinduism
 No founder, date, or event; emerge rather than began; non liner path back
 Thus no doctrinal statements
 Analogy of the banyan tree (up & down) = continual growth & expansion
The Indus Valley Period (3000-1500 BCE)
 Thriving civilization in the Indus Valley region of northwest India before
1500 BCE when the Aryans arrived from central Asia but in decline in 1500
 Baths (ritual purity); female figurines & seals (fertility & regeneration); few
weapons (peace)
 Hinduism is fusion of Indus Valley civilization with Aryan culture
 Main contributions were language (Sanskrit) & scripture (Vedas = divine
knowledge)
 Vedas were passed down orally by priests from ancient seers called rishis
 Spoken word is good or evil depending on pronunciation so only priests kept
 Not written down for thousands of years until Muslim arrival—fear of change
over rode the fear of defiling the sacred
 Hundreds of more years before priests released for scriptures of the people
 Not translated until the 1700’s when the British arrived
Chapter 5, Section 1: A Brief History of Hinduism cont.
The Brahminical Period (1500-300 BCE)
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The Aryans intermarried w/ the Indus people & moved to the Ganges
More elaborate civilization around 900 BCE
Brahmanic ritual sacrifice; schools; elaborate & expensive; home rituals emerge
Schools of sacrifice developed; more complex; commentaries called Brahmanas
Shruti = Vedas, Brahmanas, other Brahmin reflections, & later Upanishads
Guru (personal teacher) & bhakti (devotion) + 550-300 BCE as Brahmins –
Shiva & Vishnu gained prominence along with asceticism
Classical Perod (300 BCE – 1200 CE)
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Hinduism becomes recognized as a religion & dramatic ritual change
Temples established, home rituals grew, & vernacular replaced Sanskrit
Shruti scriptures became authoritative & smriti scriptures emerged
Shift from transcendent to immanent; cosmos to personal transformation
Karma, samsara, reincarnation, caste system, behavior regulation develop
Chapter 5, Section 1: A Brief History of Hinduism cont.
The Hindu-Muslim Period (1200-1600 CE)
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Muslims reached India by 700 CE & conquered northwest by 1021 CE
No forced conversion but taxed
Expanded to central India in 12th & 13th centuries—New Delhi capital
Islamic Mughals conquered in 1500’s & expanded even more
Some sultans were tolerant others like Akbar (1556-1605) & later were not
Hindus reacted by establishing practices that clearly differentiated them
Great creativity ensued—Islamic mysticism under poet Kabir (1440-1518) &
Sikhism under Guru Nanak (1459-1539)
The Modern Period (1600 CE-Present)
 Britain defeated Muslims in 1700’s & colonized India bringing West w/ them
 Most disruptive period of Indian history—questioned Hinduism, especially the
caste system but also the beliefs and practices of Hinduism
 Muslims broke away to establish Pakistan in 1947 to escape the West
 Some stayed in India & border in Kashmir became debated as Britain left
Chapter 5, Section 1: A Brief History of Hinduism cont.
The Modern Period (1600 CE-Present) cont.
 Christians with Thomas the Apostle had reached India as early as the 100 CE
 Steady flow only in 1500’s with Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier
 Rise of Hindu religious reformers—Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886) said all religions
are paths to God & Mohandas (Mahatma = Great Soul) Gandhi (1869-1948) said
all religions are equal & advocated ahimsa & satyagraha
 Assassinated in 1948 by a Hindu that felt he had sold out to Muslims
 Hinduism begins to expand outside of India
 1st Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893—Swami Vivekananda
 Beatles spread Transcendental Meditation of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (1960’s)
 Meditation through mantras became popular in the West
 A. C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupada (1896-1977) founds ISKON—International
Society of Krishna Consciousness aka Hare Krishnas—robes & preaching
Jainism
 Founded by Mahavira (Great Hero) in 6th century BCE as reaction to Brahmins
 Blend of Hinduism & Buddhism—ahimsa, vegetarians, most in India some outside
You Tube Video: Hinduism

National Geographic:
Religions of the World:
Hinduism

Jainism
Chapter 5, Section 1: A Brief History of Hinduism cont.
Major developments of:
The Indus Valley Period (3000-1500 BCE)
• Emphasis on ritual purity
• Focus on fertility & regeneration
• The practice of meditation
• Emphasis on peacefulness
• Contributed the Vedas of divine knowledge
Chapter 5, Section 1: A Brief History of Hinduism cont.
Major developments of:
The Brahminical Period (1500-300 BCE)
• Ritual sacrifices by the Brahmins (priests)
• Home ritual sacrifices
• Gurus (teachers) train disciples in personal
devotion to the gods
• The gods Shiva & Vishnu gain in prominence
• Rise of ascetical practices
Chapter 5, Section 1: A Brief History of Hinduism cont.
Major developments of:
The Classical Period (300-1200 CE)
•
•
•
•
Establishment of Hindu temples
Growth of home-based rituals
The Vedas become the authoritative scripture
Emphasis shifts from the transcendent to the
immanent
• Emphasis on personal transformation
• The concepts of karma & reincarnation emerge
• The evolution of the caste system
Chapter 5, Section 1: A Brief History of Hinduism cont.
Jainism:
• Founded by Mahavira in the sixth century BCE
• Contains elements of Hinduism & Buddhism
• Practice non-violence or non-injury
• Vegan, commitment to not harm any living
thing
Chapter 5, Section 1 Review Questions
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
What was the Aryan influence on the origins of
Hinduism?
Who were Brahmins & what was their main
function?
What makes up the shruti?
Describe Jainism.
Why are the years 300 to 1200 CE known as the
Classical Period of Hinduism?
What happened when the Muslims came to India?
What are some of the beliefs major Hindu figures of
the nineteenth & twentieth centuries advocated?
Describe one movement of Hinduism that
contributed to its expansion outside of India.
Chapter 5, Section 2: Sacred Stories & Scriptures
 *Shruti—more sacred; revealed by gods to ancient seers; don’t change; “that
which is to be heard”
 Smriti—“that which is to be remembered”; less authoritative; passed orally;
more popular
Shruti Scriptures
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Vedas—earliest; Aryan era; hymns; fire sacrifice; 4; exclusive; priests; memory
Rig Veda—oldest; most sacred; 1,000 hymns & mantras; Sanskrit; 1300 BCE
Soma Veda—900 BCE; sacrificial hymns
Yajur Veda—prose; priestly sacrificial instruction
Atharva Veda—700 BCE; domestic hymns; healing for sacrificial mistakes
 Upanishads—personal action & cycle of rebirth; liberation; relationship
between Brahman (Ultimate Reality) & atman (soul); “to sit down beside”; guru
to student
 Svetaketu—father instruction; being & soul not seen, heard, thought; salt water;
Chandogya Upanishad
Chapter 5, Section 2: Sacred Stories & Scriptures cont.
Smriti Scriptures
 Mahabharata—Hindu epic; 200k verses; family war over inheritance;
Krishna; avatar of Vishnu; 9 avatars & 10th end of world; supports family
 Bhagavad Gita—contained in; most popular; brother Arjuna; fight as
warrior caste or non-violence; debate with charioteer Krishna; disinterested
love in personal duties
 Ramayana—2nd greatest Hindu epic; Prince Rama; exiled with wife &
brother; Ravana kidnaps wife; Rama rescues & becomes king
 Puranas—stories about 3 Hindu gods Brahma, Vishnu, & Shiva; creation;
world’s history; popular with lower castes; miracles & personal devotion
Knowledge of the Heart
 Svetaketu—12 years of studying; head knowledge but not heart; nyagrodha
tree; fruit, seed, nothing; essence of all creation is nothingness & flow
You Tube Video: Hinduism

Hindu Scriptures
Chapter 5, Section 2: Sacred Stories & Scriptures cont.
Shruti Scriptures (the most sacred)
1. Rig Veda - hymns to various gods
The
The
Holy
Vedas
Vedasc
2. Soma Veda - hymns chanted at
sacrifices
3. Yajur Veda - instructions for priests
regarding sacrifices
4. Atharva Veda - hymns, charms, spells
& incantations for domestic use
Chapter 5, Section 2: Sacred Stories & Scriptures cont.
Shruti Scriptures – also…
 Concerned with the cycle of
rebirth
The
The
Upanishads
Upanishads
 The mystical relationship between
Brahman (Ultimate Reality of all
living things) & atman (soul)
 Often shared in a dialogue
between guru & student
Chapter 5, Section 2 Review Questions
1.
2.
3.
4.
What are shruti scriptures?
What are smriti scriptures?
What is the dilemma of
Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita?
What are the Puranas?
Chapter 5, Section 3: Beliefs & Practices
 No absolute beliefs & practices but some that most hold:
 Beliefs—deities, cycle of rebirth, sacredness of life
 Practices—communal life, caste system, stages of life
Deities
 330 million = so many that they cannot be counted
 All images of Brahman = Absolute Reality, all pervading life force of the
universe, material & immaterial, one essence
 Human attributes but not Brahman which is transcendent
 Even 5 senses fall short!
 Primary forms = life cycle—Brahma (Create), Vishnu (Preserve), Shiva
(Destroy)
 Avatars—incarnation of a deity, form of Brahman along with primary forms
 Krishna & Rama are avatars of Vishnu
 Gautama the Buddha also of Vishnu—founder of Buddhism
Chapter 5, Section 3: Beliefs & Practices cont.
Female Goddesses
 Female forms of Brahman
 Parvati—Shiva; love, fertility, devotion, divine power & strength or standing
alone Devi = Great Goddess, Durga = Warrior, Kali = justice deliverer
 Saraswati—Brahma; learning, literature, & music
 Lakshmi—Vishnu; prosperity, good fortune, & beauty
Atman

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
Individuals essential nature, real self, & innermost soul
Identical to Brahman; goal is union with Brahman = union with atman
Moksha = liberation from the endless cycle of rebirth
Hidden & elusive so physical & mental discipline
Body, mind, emotions not included since are maya = illusions & passing
Chapter 5, Section 3: Beliefs & Practices cont.
Cycle of Rebirth
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Life is cyclical not linear; nature exemplifies
Karma determines cycle; moral law of cause & effect; consequences
Samsara = cycle of birth, life, death, rebirth (reincarnation or transmigration)
Eternal atman lives on in another body determined by karma
Determined not by judge but by nature; seed
Moksha = liberation from samsara by removing karmic residue due to rebirth
Yoga = 3 disciplines or practices for doing so; training of entire person; body,
mind, spirit; goal is to make an identity between Brahman & atman
 Karma yoga (Path of Action)—selfless service to others; purge motives;
even desire for liberation; action
 Jnana yoga (Path of Knowledge)—learning, thinking, & viewing self in 3rd
person; meditation
 Bhakti yoga (Path of Devotion)—pure, long devotion to Brahman; most
Hindus; stresses immanence over transcendence
Chapter 5, Section 3: Beliefs & Practices cont.
The Sacredness of Life
 Brahman is in all things so all things are sacred
 Ahimsa = desire to not harm any form of life; basis of non-violence,
vegetarianism, & cows being sacred
 Satyagraha = application by Mohandas Gandhi to British attacks in liberating
Caste System
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Diverse beliefs but more uniform actions
4 stages & 4 pursuits of life in context of 3-4-5 castes; high to low
Tolerant of individual beliefs but not of straying from castes
Aryans introduced 3, 4th added later, 5th so low not even part of
Related to karma & samsara—caste depends on actions of previous life
Brahmins—priests; highest; pure, wise, learned families
Kshatriyas—warriors; protect & rule
Vaishya—farmers & merchants; provide
Shudra—servants; lowest; serve other castes; no scripture study
Chapter 5, Section 3: Beliefs & Practices cont.
Caste System cont.
 Asprishya—“untouchables”; defiled families; degrading work; garbage men;
vile actions in previous life; Gandhi sought to raise; discrimination illegal now
 Caste system still has a strong hold today; bound by birth until death to caste
& duties of caste (clothing, habits, religious practices)
 How one lives differs but not reasons for living
 Dharma—social & caste duties
Artha—material/political wealth
 Kama—artictic, recreational, sensual Moksha—liberation from cycle
The Stages of Life
 Ashramas; 4; general patterns of life; Hindu males traditionally; women called
to be daughters, wives, & mothers under the protection & support of a man; 1st
3 castes; most only 2; must fulfill 1 & 2 if going to pursue 3 & 4
 Bhahmancarin—learn Hindu traditions from a guru
 Grihastha—householder, marry, family, contribute to society
 Vanaprastha—”forest dweller”, slowly move away from life as a hermit
 Sannyasin—spiritual pilgrim, renounce all, pursue moksha
You Tube Video: Hinduism

Crash Course: Hinduism
Chapter 5, Section 3: Beliefs & Practices cont.
Most Hindus hold these beliefs in common, though
they are not “doctrines”:
The caste
system
Millions of
gods &
goddesses
The sacredness
of life
The cycle of
rebirth
The four stages
of life
Chapter 5, Section 3: Beliefs & Practices cont.
Brahman = one Ultimate Reality or Absolute Reality which:
Cannot be
grasped by
the five senses
Is manifested
in gods &
goddesses
Is
transcendent
Includes everything material
and immaterial
Has no
attributes
Is the “lifeForce” of the
universe
Chapter 5, Section 3: Beliefs & Practices cont.
3 primary
forms of
Brahman
1. Brahma is the Creator god
2. Vishnu is the Preserving god
3. Shiva is the Destroying god
An avatar is the incarnation of personification of a
god or goddess e.g. Krishna & Ganesh
Chapter 5, Section 3: Beliefs & Practices cont.
Atman:
• Is the “real self” (mind, body, & emotions are
“maya” or illusions)
• Hindus strive for release from maya in order to
achieve union with Brahman/atman
• Moksha (liberation) is achieved through
rigorous physical & mental discipline
Chapter 5, Section 3: Beliefs & Practices cont.
Samsara - the cycle of rebirth
Rebirth
Breaking the cycle:
 Knowledge
Birth
Karma
Death
 Good deeds
 Devotion
Chapter 5, Section 3: Beliefs & Practices cont.
Moksha
The major pursuits of life:
Pursuit of liberation
from the cycle of
rebirth through
actions, thoughts,
& devotions
Artha
Dharma
One’s duties in life,
especially as dictated
by caste
Pursuit of both
material &
political wealth
Kama
Pursuit of artistic,
recreational, &
sensual pleasure
Chapter 5, Section 3 Review Questions
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
What is meant by Brahman? How is Brahman
linked to atman?
What are the three primary forms of Brahman?
Describe the Hindu cycle of rebirth related to the
three paths of liberation.
Name & describe the four stages of life for Hindu
castes; also define “untouchables”.
Name & describe the four stages of life for Hindu
males.
What are the four life goals for a Hindu male in
the first three castes?
Chapter 5, Section 4: Sacred Times
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Lunar calendar—more complicated than Jew or Muslims
11 day difference; adjust one whole month but no name
Named for month before or after it; 7 months every 19 years added
6 seasons not 4—add Monsoon (after Summer) & Dewey (after Winter)
Each season has two months
Festivals and Life Cycle events/Rites of Passage
Many gods leads to many unique festivals but two held in common
Festivals—Diwali & Holi
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Diwali—“Festival of Lights”
Similar to Hanukkah or Christmas—start of New Year for some
No universal calendar so no universal start date; always Fall though
North India 5 days & South 1 day (also Sikhs & Jains)
Return of Rama (7th avatar of Vishnu) from 14 year exile
Oil lamps to light path but symbolic of light piercing darkness (Jn.1)
Colorful lights, candles, firecrackers, bonfires (evil deities), special food & clothes
Protection from evil spirits
Chapter 5, Section 4: Sacred Times cont.
Festivals—Diwali & Holi cont.
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Holi—love between Krishna & Radha
Riotous spring festival
Castes suspended
Pranks recalls Krishna’s youth
Red liquid & powder recalls Holika trying to poison Krishna with milk
Krishna won
Life Cycles
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Samskaras—rites of passage in the life cycles; 16; ward off bad karma
Birth—womb placing, male rite, hair parting, rite of birth
Childhood—name giving, feeding, ear piercing, hair cut, formal education
Adulthood—fit/proper season, beard shaving, settlement/word-giving,
marriage
 Funeral Rite—preparation of body, cremation, scattering of ashes
Chapter 5, Section 4: Sacred Times cont.
Sikhism
 Blending of Hinduism & Islam; Sikhs disagree, see as unique; learners
 God revealed himself to Guru Nanak in 1459 CE in Pakistan today
 10 incarnations to Geru Gobind Singh in 1708 who with community & scripture
are 11th
 Fled Pakistan in 1947 when establsihed as a Muslim nation; want own
homeland
 *Monotheistic; God transcendent; seen through nature & experience; Ultimate
Reality; formless, eternal, no beginning or end
 Mool Mantra expresses beliefs
 Believe karma, samsara, moksha, & equality of persons
 Reject caste system, ahimsa, & idol worship
 The Five K’s
 Kesh (uncut hair); Kanga (comb); Kacha (short pants); Kara (steel bracelet); &
Kirpan (short sword)
 Gurdwara (service—scripture & song) led by granthu (prayer leader if
available) in a temple
You Tube Videos: Hinduism

Diwali

Holi
You Tube Videos: Hinduism (Pd. 3)

Sikhism

The Concept of
Time in Hinduism
Chapter 5, Section 4: Sacred Times cont.
Sikhism
• A blending of Hinduism and Islam
• Is monotheistic
• Beliefs: karma, samsara, moksha, equality
• Rejects: caste system, idol worship
• Signs of devotion: unshorn hair, comb, short
pants, steel bracelet, short sword
• Many have a desire to found and establish
their own homeland
Chapter 5, Section 4 Review Questions
1.
2.
3.
How do Hindus compensate for the different
number of days between solar & lunar
calendars?
What do the festivals of Diwali & Holi
celebrate? How are they celebrated?
Name & explain at least two of the sixteen
stages of the Hindu life cycle.
Chapter 5, Section 5: Sacred Places & Spaces
 Synthetic & natural sites are sacred because Brahman is present everywhere
 Temples, public & individual home shrines, mountains & rivers esp. Ganges
Temples
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Most towns & all major cities; many gods adorn but dedicated to 1 (caste)
Individual worship; minimal participation
Brahmin offers puja—bells wake, bathed, dressed, incense, food, & flowers
Murti (depiction) is decorated & processed on “feast” days
3 fold structure—outer hall, temple proper, & womb chamber (residence on
earth of deity) each with an ambulatory for clockwise veneration
Puja = Honoring
 Honoring & gratefulness are signs of divine love—imitation, honor, love, play)
 Imitate what divine love is already doing for us in nature to offer back
 Flower (love), fruits (food), candle (sun & moon), incense (5 senses = deep
feeling)
Chapter 5, Section 5: Sacred Places & Spaces cont.
Home Shrines
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Most homes; to perform puja; room or table but always a murti of significance
Individual or collective (women)
Flowers, fruit, incense, wash, dress, prayers, hymns, texts
Receive a blessing & eat food offered
Murti NOT god but represents or may dwell in during puja
Ganges River
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Most sacred place
Symbol of life without end
Kubach festival every 12 years
Spiritual healing through ritual bathing—removes bad karma
At death, many scatter ashes in
Especially near Varanasi (Benares)
You Tube Video: Hinduism

Sacred Places

Hindu Temples
You Tube Video: Hinduism

Home Shrines &
Home Puja

The Ganges
River
Chapter 5, Section 5: Sacred Places & Spaces cont.
*
Temples
Home shrines
many images of
gods/goddesses
many images of
gods/goddesses
Ganges River
symbol of life w/o end
ritual bathing
Puja
honoring the gods
Chapter 5, Section 5 Review Questions
1.
2.
3.
4.
Why is everything sacred to Hindu’s?
Describe a home puja and its purpose?
How does a temple puja differ from a home
puja?
Why is the Ganges River the most sacred
place for Hindus?
Chapter 5, Section 6: Hinduism
Through a Catholic Lens
 NA 2: divine mystery, myths, philosophy, freedom,
anguish of humans, asceticism, meditation, love, trust
 Hindus very tolerant of religious diversity
 Accept ansolute truth but deny complete knowledge of it
 Each religious has a piece & points towards it
 Sum does not = absolute truth but gets us closer to it
 Tolerance leads Hindus to exhort all religious traditions
 Ghandi–“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.
Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”
 Tolerance does not = minimizing own tradition but does require an open mind
 Clarifying + and – is essential to dialogue
 Find fragments of truth, delve deeper into own, & deeper commitment
 Deepest base of dialogue is social issues/human dignity—esp. poverty
 India is very poor—fragile economy & caste system
 Ghandi & Mother Teresa led reforms for poor
 Deepest sources of misunderstanding are: Jesus & religious images
Chapter 5, Section 6: Hinduism
Through a Catholic Lens cont.
Jesus, The Incarnate God
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Continuous interaction b/w Hindus & Catholics since 1700’s with British
St. Thomas (apostle) in the 1st & St. Francis Xavier (Jesuit) in the 16th
As a result, Hindus have a wide variety of beliefs about Jesus
Hidden years in India learning from sages; social/moral reformer; one of many
avatars of Vishnu; a yogi (disciplined & ascetical life)
Some question his historical existence but all are attracted to his Beatitudes
Christians agree that Jesus challenges us towards love, compassion, kindness,
sympathy, reconciliation, & justice
Christians hold Jesus’ real historical existence—Josephus & Tacitus
Taught about reign of God rather than Hindu concepts
Jesus is God & the only incarnation of God rather than 1 avatar among many
Phil 2: 5-11
Chapter 5, Section 6: Hinduism
Through a Catholic Lens cont.
Religious Images
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Long history of using religious images but also misunderstanding
Assumption of worshiping idols in depiction & appreciation
Used in Eastern & Western Christianity from beginning
8th century Iconoclast Controversy b/w East & West
Iconoclasm again in 16th century Protestant Reformation
History of religious images in Hinduism—temples, home shrines, & public
Muslim destruction of images, objects, & sacred spaces in India
Ornamental (not primary), stories, education, & veneration not worship
Similar in misunderstanding but different in content
Veneration in Hinduism—honor & assists in meditation
Fruit, flowers, incense, candles, food
Devas (sitting ones) depict an aspect of Brahman—anthropomorphically
Avoid danger of too human by arms, heads, clothing, objects, animal features
In Christianity (East—icons & West statues) historical figures—human &
divine venerated but not worshiped
You Tube Video: Hinduism
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Catholic-Hindu
Dialogue
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What the East
Offers to the West
Chapter 5, Section 6: Hinduism through a Catholic Lens cont.
Similarities:
• Toleration of religious diversity
• Pursuing social issues
• Honoring Jesus and his teachings
• The tradition of depicting and venerating
religious images
Chapter 5, Section 6: Hinduism through a Catholic Lens cont.
Differences:
• Karma
• Reincarnation
• The caste system
• Jesus as the one and only incarnation of God
Chapter 5, Section 6 Review Questions
1.
2.
3.
4.
In dialoguing about human dignity, what
topic in particular do Hindus have in mind?
Name at least three views of Jesus that can
be found among Hindus.
Name similar views Catholics and Hindus
have about Jesus.
List three functions of religious imagery.
Chapter 5 Conclusion
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Difficult to define
No founder, founding event, & universal creed or scriptures
Rich variety of rituals, scriptures, beliefs, & deities
Central concepts of Brahman, atman, karma, samsara, & moksha
Caste system & personal duties are most important
However, individual person is more important than individual beliefs
This gives rise to 16 life cycle rituals or rights of passage
Not seeking to convert people—Brahman is a universal essence so all paths
towards it are valid
 Still standing after many ups & downs of history
Chapter 5: Hinduism Vocabulary
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Bhakti
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Hindu
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Vedas
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Rishis
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Brahmins
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Brahmanas
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Shruti
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Gurus
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Sanskrit
Mahabharata 
Bhagavad Gita 
Ramayana
Karma
Samsara
Caste System
Ahimsa
Satyagraha
Transcendental
Meditation
Mantra
Hare Krishnas
Jainism
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Rig Veda
Soma Veda
Yajur Veda
Atharva Veda
Upanishads
Brahman
Atman
Smriti
Avatar
Puranas
Transcendent
Chapter 5: Hinduism Vocabulary cont.
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Brahma
Vishnu
Shiva
Parvati
Saraswati
Lakshmi
Maya
Moksha
Yoga
Karma Yoga
Jnana Yoga
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Bhakti Yoga
Kshatriyas
Vaishya
Shudra
Asprishya
Dharma
Artha
Kama
Ashramas
Brahmancarin
Grihastha
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Vanaprastha
Sannyasin
Diwali
Holi
Samskaras
Sikhism
Siri Guru
Granth Sahib
Mool Mantra
The Five K’s
Granthu
Chapter 5: Hinduism Vocabulary cont.
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Gurdwara
Puja
Murti
Temples
Home Shrines
Ganges River
St. Thomas the Apostle
St. Francis Xavier
Yogi
Iconoclasm
Devas
Chapter 5 Hinduism – Vocabulary Definitions
Bhakti – personal devotion to gods; from Sanskrit
Hindu – river; sindhu in Sanskrit
Vedas – Ancient Hindu scriptures in Sanskrit from Aryan’s
Rishis – primordial seers
Brahmins – Vedic priests in charge of sacrifice; highest caste
Brahmanas – Commentary on Vedas by Brahmins
Shruti – Oldest Hindu Scriptures; contains Vedas & Upanishads
Gurus – teacher in Sanskrit; personal spiritual guide
Sanskrit – “perfected”; Ancient Indian language; Vedas in; from Aryan
Mahabharata – 1st major epic of smriti; family war over inheritance
Bhagavad Gita – part of Mahabhrata; Arjuna’s dilemma
Ramayana – 2nd major epic of the smriti; good vs. evil; Prince Rama
Karma – effect of personal actions; determines next life form of soul
Chapter 5 Hinduism – Vocabulary Definitions cont.
Samsara – the life cycle; birth, life, death, rebirth until liberation
Caste System – Hindu social class system prevalent in India
Ahimsa – principle of non violence
Satyagraha – passive resistance; advocated by Gandhi against British
Transcendental Meditation – deep relaxation through mantra; Beatles
brought the teachings of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1960’s to west
Mantra – sacred verbal formula repeated in prayer
Hare Krishnas – International Society of Krishna Consciousness
(ISKON); founded by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupafa in 1960’s
Jainism – 6th century BCE blend of Hinduism & Buddhism; Mahavira
Rig Veda – oldest & most sacred Veda; fire sacrifices
Soma Veda – second oldest; for Soma sacrifices; hallucinogenic drink
Yajur Veda – third oldest; prose; priestly sacrificial instruction
Atharva Veda – newest Veda; domestic; healing
Chapter 5 Hinduism – Vocabulary Definitions cont.
Upanishads – 2nd type of shruti scripture; cycle of rebirth & liberation
Brahman – Ultimate or Absolute Reality; 1; transcendent; present
Atman – soul; identical to Brahman; individual essence
Smriti – 2nd type of Hindu scripture; contains three epics
Avatar – the incarnation of a Hindu god; human or animal
Puranas – stories about Brahma, Vishnu, & Shiva; 3rd part of smriti
Transcendent – lying beyond the range of perception; Brahman
Brahma – Creator god
Vishnu – Preserver god; Krishna, Rama, & Buddha are 3 of 9 avatars of
Shiva – Destroyer god
Parvati – connected with Shiva; also stand alone as Divine Mother
Saraswati – connected to Brahma; learning, literature, music
Lakshmi – connected to Vishnu; prosperity, good fortune, beauty
Chapter 5 Hinduism – Vocabulary Definitions cont.
Maya – illusion in Sanskrit; everything besides Brahman
Moksha – liberation from the endless cycle of rebirth; 4th life pursuit
Yoga – Hindu discipline to train consciousness for insight & peace
Karma Yoga – Path of Action; right action for right motive not moksha
Jnana Yoga – Path of Knowledge; view self in 3rd person; meditation
Bhakti Yoga – Path of Devotion; most common; devotion to Brahman
Kshatriyas – warriors; 2nd highest caste; protect & rule
Vaishya – farmers & merchants; 3rd highest caste; provide for society
Shudra – servants; lowest caste; no Scripture study
Asprishya – untouchables; so low not caste; defiled through karma/work
Dharma – 1st life pursuit; social duties based on caste
Artha – 2nd life pursuit; material & political wealth
Kama – 3rd life pursuit; artistic, recreational, sensual pleasure
Chapter 5 Hinduism – Vocabulary Definitions cont.
Ashramas – the four stages of life; Hindu males; top 3 castes; usually 2
Brahmancarin – “student”; learn the Hindu tradition; guru helps usually
Grihastha – “householder”; marry, family, contribute
Vanaprastha – “forest dweller”; hermit; pursue otherworldly desires
Sannyasin – “spiritual pilgrim”; renounce all to persue moksha
Diwali – “Festival of Lights”; fall; return of Rama; lights; defeat of evil
Holi – spring; love b/w Krishna & Radha; color (red esp.) & pranks
Samskaras – 16 rites of passage in 4 life cycles (birth, child, adult, death)
Sikhism – 15th century blend of Hinduism & Islam; Guru Nanak; 1 of 11
Siri Guru Granth Sahib – Sikh sacred scripture; w/ community = 11th
Mool Mantra – Sikh creed
The Five K’s – five objects carried by Sikh’s to show devotion to god
Granthu – Sikh worship leader; if not available, anybody willing
Chapter 5 Hinduism – Vocabulary Definitions cont.
Gurdwara – Sikh worship service; reading & singing scripture; temple
Puja – Hindu service; temple or home; show honor & gratitude to divine
Murti – statue, picture, or other image of deity; NOT worshiped
Temples – most common Hindu place or worship; many deities depicted
but dedicated to one; usually based on local caste; 3 parts: outer hall,
temple proper, and womb chamber; residence of deity; ambulation
Home Shrines – room or table in home for puja
Ganges River – most sacred Hindu place; life w/out end; ritual bathing
St. Thomas the Apostle – brought Gospel to Kerala in southern India
St. Francis Xavier – Jesuit missionary to India in 16th century
Yogi – one who lives a disciplined & ascetical life; Jesus is for Hindus
Iconoclasm – the deliberate destruction religious images to prevent
worship of image
Devas – “sitting one” in Sanskrit; Hindu depictions of Brahman to reveal
Chapter 5 Review Questions (Extra Credit)
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.
Briefly summarize the main characteristics of each of the five
main Hindu historical periods.
What is the difference between shruti and smriti scriptures?
What was the major dilemma for Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita?
What do Hindus mean by Ultimate Reality?
How are Brahman and atman related?
There is a perfume that is sold called Samsara. Why would
Hindus find that strange?
What is moksha?
What are the three main paths to liberation for Hindus? Which
of the three paths is the most prevalent among Hindus?
How are the caste system and the cycle of rebirth related?
Name and explain the four stages of life for Hindu males in the
first three castes.
Why is the Ganges River so sacred to Hindus?
Chapter 5 Review Questions cont. (Extra Credit)
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
What is the significance of the city of Varanasi to Hindus?
What are the four pursuits in life for Hindus? Which of the four is
the most important?
What elements of Hinduism can be found in Sikhism?
Describe the various views about Jesus that can be found
amongst Hindus.
What are the “five K’s” of Sikhism?
Why can Mohandas Gandhi be called a Hindu social reformer?
Why are both Catholics and Hindus accused of worshiping idols?
List and give examples of three reasons for the use of religious
imagery.
What was the lesson Svetaketu’s father was trying to teach him?
How are karma, moksha, and samsara related?
What are the two festivals most celebrated by Hindus? Why are
they celebrated?