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Nora Moffat

on 21 September 2017

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Transcript of Hinduism

Life & Rebirth
Samsara- "wandering" or "flowing by."
The vicious cycle of life, death & rebirth
Also pertains to cosmos , which has its own cycle of creation, destruction, and re-creation.
For Hindus, this life is transitory and impermanent
Goal is to escape heaven & earth all together
Sacred Texts
"that which is heard"
Story of Purusha
From Rig Veda's "Hymn of the Primeval Man"

duty, morality, justice


Moksha-"release" or "spiritual liberation"
soul is free from bondage of samsara and the disappointment of earthly life
many will not attain this goal or even be able to attempt this goal.
four different aims...
Kama- Sensual Pleasure
Artha- Wealth & Power
Dharma- Duty
Moksha- ???? (Liberation)
How does one acheive this goal?
"that which is remembered"
VEDAS: "knowledge"
are eternal
written in Sanskrit
revealed through "seers" and compiled by sage Vyasa
Collection of FOUR books
-Rig Veda - praise (1500-1200BC)
-Sama Veda -song/chants
-Yahur Veda -prose mantras
-Artharva Veda- procedures for life, fire rituals

~broken into four categories

-Samhitas (mantras, benedictions)
-Brahmanas (priestly commentary on rituals/sacrifice)
-Aranyakas (text on sacrifices, ceremonies, rituals)
-Upanishads (last chapters of Vedas, text on meditation, philosophy & knowledge)
Worship through different paths, philosophies, and disciplines.
technical manuals instructing priests on how to perform rituals, chant, and sing.
All trying to help people create cosmic ORDER
Secondary to Sruti
consists of memories of sage wisdom
lays out rules of dharma or "duty" that have been passed down traditionally
Dharma- morality of religious law that binds us with the order of the universe.
Six Vedangas
- help one study the Vedas
- category of oral histories eventually written down
- epic containing philosophical & devotional material. Includes within it the Bhagavad Gita and brief version of Ramayana
- epic poem depicting ideal relationships
Bhagavad Gita
- dialogue b/w Arjuna & Krishna depicting diverging notions of dharma and attaining moksha
Laws of Manu
- presents discourse given by Manu, the progenitor of humanity,to seers. Lays out social law, interpreted by British to institute definitive castes.
Purusha was a cosmic man offered to gods as a sacrifice
Also interpreted as "Spirit, self or consciousness"
from his corpse came the universe and the hymns and mantras of Vedas, also the caste system
mind - moon
eyes- sun
breath- wind
head - sky
feet - earth
Created order!
If all comes from one, then all
Universal/cosmic Dharma: regulates physics of nature

Social Dharma:
prescribes duties of family, society & nation. Often from religious/moral law
sum of your karmas which are molded by personality, desires & experiences.
If dharma's are fulfilled, the world is in order
Caste System
"A social philosophy"
Hindu Life
Funeral Rites
vary by caste & location
depends on status of deceased
addressed & explained in Puranas
Also comes from the body of Purusha

Mouth - Brahmin- the priestly caste
Arms - Kshatriya- the warrior caste
Thighs - Vaishya- the merchant caste
Feet - Shudra- the servant caste
Dalits- Untouchables
Obvious from status at birth, the value of your actions in previous lives.
BUT- how can lower castes reach moksha?
The Caste System is:
Poorly defined
Visible by:
geographical segmentation

*not just entire class, but by gotra, smaller subsects
In 2007 the Supreme Court of India ruled that social organization based on caste is inherited and cannot be changed.

Arranged marriages
still common
typically within caste
set by parents
low divorce rate
Historically bodies were left to nature
Cremation now most common
(detachment & reincarnation)
(exception for infants, yogis, & sadhus)
Rivers, feet face south in the direction of the dead
Mourn for 13 days, must bathe after cremation
Ashes released in a River, preferably in Varanasi, along the banks of the Ganges.
"festival of lights"
~ deep= light, avali= row
~4 days in October or November
~perhaps started as a harvest festival
~Lakshmi & Vishnu
~ Kali
more than a thousand!
annual festival
celebrated day after full moon in March
celebrates spring, commemorates myths
people disregard social norms, indulge in general merrymaking.
least religious of Hindu holidays.
worship that honors or hosts Hindu gods/goddesses
can be performed at home, in temples, or out in the streets
can be daily, monthly, annual, or on rare special occasions.
can vary by region, deity, family, temple and method.
Often involves:

puja is main act of bhakti (devotional) yoga
emphasizes mythical and ritual dimension over doctrinal.
gods went from irrelevant to central focus
moksha granted from gods, not earned through difficult tasks/education
other gifts from gods besides moksha
gods became personally and emotionally accessible.
orthopraxy over orthodoxy
The Trinity & The Gods
Brahma (the creator)
Vishnu (the sustainer)
Shiva (the destroyer)
Mahadevi- "Great Goddess"
Also includes:
- act of engaging in an intimate eye-to-eye encounter with the deity of your choice.
aka- shakti, the feminine energy that animates all gods
Her Gentle Avatars:
Parvati (Shiva)
Radha (Krishna)
Sita (Rama)
Lakshmi (Vishnu)
Her Fierce Avatars:
Contemporary Hindu Life & Issues

Narendra Modi on Indian Muslims:

Muslim/Hindu Violence
What is samsara?
What is moksha?
What is dharma?
and karma?
3 types of yoga...
karma, jnana, bhakti
2 types of texts...
Sruti & Smrti
creation story?
caste system?
God head?
3rd largest religion
900 million followers
15% of world population

"I am ever present to those who have realized me in every creature. Seeing all life as my manifestation, they are never separated from me. They worship me in the hearts of all, and all their actions proceed from me. Wherever they may live, they abide in me." (Bhagavad Gita, 6:30-31)
"When a person responds to the joys and sorrows of others as if they were his own, he has attained the highest state of spiritual union." (BG, 6:32)
History of Marriage:
Marriage Ceremony:
-Kanyadaan-giving away of daughter by father
-Panigrahana- voluntarily holding hands near the fire to signify union and often stating vows
-Saptapadi-taking seven steps with each step includes a vow/promise to each other before fire
, the god of fire, is a main witness to the marriage.
Three distinct yogas:
karma yoga- discipline of action from Vedas (roughly 1200BC-300BC)
jnana yoga- discipline of wisdom from Upanishads written by wandering sages (500BC)
bhakti yoga- discipline of devotion or worship based on personal god preference and love, not priestly or sage-like wisdom. (1400AD-Present)
But really, Hinduism is what Hindus do, and they do practically everything under the sun to worship their gods.
Full transcript