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Hinduism Hindu Basics • 3rd largest religion in the world – 837 million adherents – 13% of the world’s population • Practiced primarily in India and Nepal • ~ 80% of Indians practice Hinduism Hindu Basics • Often considered the oldest religion in the world. – Has no founder • Sanskrit is the ancient language of Hinduism. • Hindu comes from the Persian word for the people living on the other side of the Indus River. Vedas The ancient scriptures of Hinduism. A collection of hymns, prayers, rituals, chants, etc… They are not the only sacred writings of Hinduism. Concepts of god • Most Hindu believe in a single god of the highest form. • Brahman • God is everywhere, is everything, and is beyond everything. – god represents the very fabric of reality. • People are thus part of Brahman as well. Ishvara • The personal aspects of God. • Applying human traits to god to better communicate. Brahma • “Creator god” Vishnu • “preserver of the world” Shiva • “destroyer or transformer” Nandi • The vehicle of Shiva. • Often seen at the entrance to shrines of Shiva. sacred animals Hindus believe that all living beings have a soul. Dharma • Generally translated as “the law”. • Varies according to caste or class. • Also seen in Buddhism and Sikhism. • How one should live their life. – Dharma determines karma Karma • Cause and effect • “a fluttering butterfly’s wings causing a storm on the other side of the world” • Unbalance in karma will be worked out in the next life. • Goodness begets goodness and evil begets evil. Samsara Sanskrit word referring to the cycle of reincarnation. Moksha • Release from the cycle of birth and rebirth. • Realization of one’s union with god. Yoga • Mental and physical meditative practices. Practices • Shrines and temples • Singing hymnals, reciting scriptures and chanting mantras. Bindi • Help concentration and retain energy • Protect against demons or bad luck • Traditionally indicated that a woman was married • Worn all over South and South East Asia – Not only Hindus Pilgrimages and festivals • Holy cities in Hinduism – Allahabad, Varanasi • Holi – Festival of Colors • Diwali – Festival of Lights – Return of Lord Raama after defeating the demon king Ravana – ruler of Lanka Ganges River • Varanasi is considered by some to be the holiest site in Hinduism. – On the banks of the Ganges R. • Some believe they must bathe in it once in a lifetime – Cleanse a persons soul from sins – Heal the sick The caste system is a type of SOCIAL ORDER in which a person’s occupation and position in life is determined by the circumstances of his/her birth. Traditional Caste System in South Asia Brahmans Kshatriyas 4 Original Levels of the Caste System Vaisyas Sudras Showing the original caste levels in the pyramid shape symbolizes “status” from highest to lowest, but also represents the the portion of the population fitting into each level. **Remember that this social order is not based on how much $$ you have Brahmans Kshatriyas Vaisyas Sudras Untouchables are NOT a part of the caste system. Largest % of population Brahmans: priests/ scholars Kshatriyas: warriors Vaisyas: farmers and merchants sudras (artisans and laborers) Untouchables (dalits) Vaisyas: Merchants & farmers (most Woods families here) Sudras: laborers Comparisons in the “West” Kshatriyas: Military leaders and politicians. Brahmins: Religious leaders & scholars Be the change you wish to see in the world. -Mohandas Gandhi Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu extremist in 1948. He died at the age of 79.