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Jason Yang

on 28 October 2015

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Transcript of Hinduism

Basic Tenets of Hinduism
Turning Point #3 Hindu-Muslim Conflict
Turning Point #3 British Influence
Hinduism was founded around the time of the Indus Valley Civilization. However, there there is no definite starting date.
The Indus Valley civilization was a polytheistic society. They believed in a mother goddess and in spirits that inhabit all things. These beliefs indicated early signs of Hinduism.
The world "Hindu" comes from the the Sindhu ( which is another name for the Indus River). The suffix "-ism" was added in the 19th century when India was under British rule.

Hinduism - Over the Millennia
There is no dominant set of ideas that rule over everything else. However, there are basic ideas that are central to Hinduism:
Dharma- "duty" and "virtue", the power that upholds society.
Samsara- concept of reincarnation, the cycle of birth, life, and death
Karma- "action"; every action has an equal reaction in the future.
Moksha- the highest goal of Hinduism, where one liberates his/her soul from the cycle of samsara.
Major Deities
There is one universal spirit called Brahman.
Hindus do not believe in one god or goddess, but that there are millions of gods and goddesses who all represent different aspects of Brahman.
There are three major gods who serve as general representations of Brahman:
Brahma-the creator
Shiva-the destroyer
Vishnu-the preserver
Hinduism in Modern Day
Hinduism is currently the third largest religion in the world: about 14 percent of the world population believes in Hinduism
There are about 1 billion followers of Hinduism in the world and 966 million followers of Hinduism in India alone, which is about 80 percent of India's total population.
In the United States, there are about 1.5 million people who believe in Hinduism; about 0.7 percent of the US population
Also known as The Festival of Lights
Celebrated the return of Lord Ram, a human avatar of Vishnu, to his kingdom, Ayodhya, after a 14-year exile imposed by his stepmother, with his wife Sita and his younger brother, Lakshman, after defeating Ravana, the ten-headed demon king of Sri Lanka.
The holiday lasts over four days. Each day is separated by a different tradition, but what remains constant is the celebration of life
Samsara symbol
Classical Key Scriptures
There are two types of writing: "shruti" (heard) and "smriti" (memorized). Most of them were passed on orally until they were written down in Sanskrit. Some major texts are:
- The Epic of Ramayana - story of Lord Ram of Ayodhya, an avatar of Vishnu, defeating the evil King Ravana of Sri Lanka
- The Epic of Mahabharata - story of the Battle of Kurukshetra (located in modern-day Haryana,) in which various members of the Kuru dynasty warred with each other for the control of the divided Kuru kingdom
- Bhagavad Gita - the 6th book of the Mahabharata, in which Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, describes the transient nature of the human soul and the scope of karmic influence on it
Turning Point #4 - Influence of Swami Vivekananda
The scriptures are referred to as "shastras". These early texts state the different spiritual laws created throughout the long history of Hinduism:
- The Vedas - the oldest religious texts of Hinduism - split into four texts, which include:
- Rig Veda - discusses the metaphysical aspects of the world and the nature of God
- Yajur Veda - compiles sacrificial rituals and rites
- Sama Veda - consists of religious chants and hymns
- Atharva Veda - stores Vedic knowledge in fields such as mathematics and science
- The Upanishads - philosophical and mystical aspects of Hinduism
Ancient Key Scriptures

Sanskrit was the de facto primary language of the Hindu religion; all holy scriptures were originally written in it. However it has been replaced largely by:
Hindi (official language of India, other than English,)
over 150 other regional dialects.

Western influence on eastern religion
Abolished the Caste System
People were hired to translate Sanskrit texts into English to help the British understand Hinduism so that they can help rule the British
Prior to the translation, only the highest caste had access to these scriptures
Some Hindu practices were banned such as Sati-widow burning-, and human sacrifice; Hinduism became more contemporary
Began with the Muslim conquest of the Indian subcontinent in the 8th century. Temples were demolished and people were enslaved.
Major Muslim migrations to India begin around early 12th century CE.
Hinduism is still the dominant religion in India, but became less influential with the introduction of Islam.
Cultural mingling and clashes as well. Hindu-Muslim conflict that still continues today.
Islam is the second largest religion in India today, accounting for about 14.2% of the country's population.
Turning Point #1 - The Vedas
Hinduism was largely spread and passed on during the pre-Vedic period; the Vedas immortalized Hinduism through writing
The author or authors of the Vedas are unknown; however, they are said to have been written by the famous sage Vyasa, who came to be known as Veda Vyasa after the action
Born to attorney Vishwanath Dutta and his wife Bhuvaneshwari Devi in Calcutta, India
Lived as a wandering monk in India and in the West
Represented Hinduism in the international Parliament of World Religions
Main representative of Neo-Vedanta, or Neo-Hinduism. Incorporated Western ideas into Hinduism
Acted as a missionary of Hinduism in India and its surrounding countries as well as the West
The symbol "ohm"
Turning Point #2 - The Division of Hinduism
The Gupta Empire was a period of unity in India, in which the subcontinent more or less shared the same customs and worshipped the same gods
Gupta land was divided between various clans and sects
Aryan cultures in North India grew to specifically worship the deity Vishnu, namely in the aspect of Krishna
Dravidian cultures in South India grew to worship the deity Shiva and still do in modern-day - sometimes did this through extreme practices such as animal sacrifice and self-harm
The Caste System was never actually endorsed by the Vedas or any other Hindu texts
Derived from the concepts of varna, the division of labor necessary for a functioning society, and jati, the station of a person based on caste and geographical location - only four varnas, but thousands of jatis (e.g. Kshatriyas of Gujarat are different from those of Rajasthan)
Lost influence during the British Raj (Rule) and through the progressive efforts of the currently presiding Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
Caste still plays a role in Indian politics and social life, but this role is discouraged by progressive politicians
Hinduism has changed to adapt with the times.
More extreme practices like child marriage or sati are no longer practiced. Animal sacrifice is outlawed in some countries as well.
It has gradually shifted to a more philosophical religion rather than a ritualistic one
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