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Transcript of Hindu Theology
The Caste System
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 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
= 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
the cycle of birth, death and rebirth only ends when one achieves
from the cycle of birth, death and rebirth
the world is the training ground for
(soul realizing ultimate reality).
through ascetic practices (
) we escape the world of illusion (
) and come to realize the reality of ones attachment to ultimate reality
Brahmin - priestly/scholarly caste
Kshatriyas - warrior/ruler caste
Vaishyas - merchants
Sudras - laborers
unpleasant jobs (i.e. touching dead bodies for cremation)
Gandhi - "children of God"
How is this lived out?
What do people want?
wealth & success (
Why doesn't this fulfill us?
pain, frustration and boredom...
Then what do people really want?
"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"
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/
The Path of knowledge (
involves cultivating the powers of discernment in order to see through the layers of "self" and to fully realize the
"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 (
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
way to God (e.g. Jesus is one of many revelations of
Hinduism's many gods/avatars become means by which one can adore the divine (again, personal)
The way to God through Work (
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."
physical, mental and spiritual disciplines (often ascetic in nature) that enable one to transcend the world of
and the surface self and to achieve
= a practitioner of
The way to God through meditation (
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
When one has so intensified the power of
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
(quiet state of blissful self-awareness).
Hindu Worship Practices
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
to temple ceremonies
(world's largest religious pilgrimage - Ganges)
(festival of lights)
"Many paths up the mountain..."
The syllable "
" 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 -
-the three sacred Vedic scriptures -
Rg, Yajur, and Sama
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,
is the root of the universe and everything that exists and it continues to hold everything together.