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Hindu Theology

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by

Chris Stratton

on 7 May 2015

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Transcript of Hindu Theology

Hindu Theology
The Caste System
Brahmins
Kshatriyas
Vaishyas
Sudras
Untouchables
Advantages?
What we would like people to be is not usually what they are. Many persons would be more comfortable in their own social class.
Unless unequals are separated into different classes, many persons would be "born losers."
Egalitarianism is the belief that privileges are proportional to the responsibilities and a denial of the tyranny of the majority.
performance of duty...
Law of
Dharma
law that maintains harmony and order in the universe
the function of a person (duty) should be directly related to their natural gifts (caste?)
better to be poor at ones own duty than to excel at another
The Law of
Karma
and
Samsara
(Reincarnation)
karma
= moral law of cause and effect
the present condition of your soul (confusion or serenity) is a product of your past decisions.
you get what you deserve...(sin?)
Your present thoughts, decisions, and actions determine your future states.
The consequences of your past decisions have determined your present state through
Samsara
the cycle of birth, death and rebirth only ends when one achieves
moksha
...
Moksha
liberation
from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth
the world is the training ground for
Atman-Brahman
(soul realizing ultimate reality).
through ascetic practices (
yoga
) we escape the world of illusion (
maya
) and come to realize the reality of ones attachment to ultimate reality
Brahmin - priestly/scholarly caste
Kshatriyas - warrior/ruler caste
Vaishyas - merchants
Sudras - laborers
Untouchables
outcasts
unpleasant jobs (i.e. touching dead bodies for cremation)
Gandhi - "children of God"
How is this lived out?
What do people want?

pleasure (
Kama
)
wealth & success (
Artha
)
duty (
Dharma
)
Why doesn't this fulfill us?

pain, frustration and boredom...
Then what do people really want?
Infinite Being...

"None of us take happily to the thought of a future in which we shall have no part"
Absolute knowledge (knowledge of the absolute)

"we are insatiably curious"
Infinite Joy...

a feeling that is "opposite of frustration, futility and boredom"
What is a human being...really?

underlying the human self (body and mind) is an infinite reservoir of being, knowledge and joy
The Atman-Brahman within allows one to move beyond the imperfection we experience
detachment from the finite self through yogic practices allows one to unite to the infinite within and throughout all (moksha)
People have forgotten who they are...
The Four Paths to God (Enlightenment/
Moksha
)
The Path of knowledge (
Jnana yoga
)
involves cultivating the powers of discernment in order to see through the layers of "self" and to fully realize the
Atman
within
"Turning her awareness inward, she must pierce the innumerable layers of her personality until, having cut through them all, she reaches the anonymous, joyfully unconcerned actress who stands beneath."
"Thou art That"
The way to God through Love (
Bhakti yoga
)
utter devotion and service towards God and others
love that is out-going
"I want to taste sugar; I don't want to be sugar."
emphasizes a personal approach to God
from this perspective Christianity is a
bhatki
way to God (e.g. Jesus is one of many revelations of
Brahma
)
Hinduism's many gods/avatars become means by which one can adore the divine (again, personal)
The way to God through Work (
Karma yoga
)
finding God through righteous action
"Learn the secret of work by which every movement can carry you 'Godward' even while other things are being accomplished..."
every thought is done without thought for oneself
"The way that leads to enlightenment is work performed in detachment from the empirical self."
Yoga
physical, mental and spiritual disciplines (often ascetic in nature) that enable one to transcend the world of
maya
and the surface self and to achieve
moksha
.
yogi
= a practitioner of
yoga
The way to God through meditation (
Raja yoga
)
through mental and physical experimentation one is able to come to a true understanding of oneself and of reality
"When the mind has been trained to remain fixed on a certain internal or external location, there comes to it the power of flowing in an unbroken current, as it were, towards that point. This state is called
dhyana
(meditation).
When one has so intensified the power of
dhyana
as to be able to reject the external part of perception and remain meditating only on the internal part, the meaning, that state is called
Samādhi
(quiet state of blissful self-awareness).
"
Hindu Worship Practices
puja
a religious ritual performed by Hindus as an offering to various deities, distinguished persons, or special guests
done on a variety of occasions from daily
pujas
to temple ceremonies
festivals
Kumbh Mela
(world's largest religious pilgrimage - Ganges)
Diwali
(festival of lights)
"Many paths up the mountain..."
The syllable "
Om
" is composed of the three sounds a-u-m (in Sanskrit, the vowels a and u combine to become o) and the symbol's threefold nature is central to its meaning. It represent several important triads:
-the three worlds - earth, atmosphere, and heaven
-the three major Hindu avatars -
Brahma
,
Vishnu
, and
Shiva
-the three sacred Vedic scriptures -
Rg, Yajur, and Sama
Thus
Om
mystically embodies the essence of the entire universe. This meaning is further deepened by the Indian philosophical belief that God first created sound and the universe arose from it. As the most sacred sound,
Om
is the root of the universe and everything that exists and it continues to hold everything together.
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