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Hinduism Origins and Influences Mohenjo –Daro and Harappa in the Indus Valley region of what is present day India/Pakistan Ancient Indus Valley Civilization About the Region The Indian Subcontinent A Subcontinent is a large landmass that juts out from a continent – in this case Asia This subcontinent is divided into 3 regions The Northern Plain lies just south of the Himalayan Mountains- gets lots of water from the rivers Continued…. The Indian Deccan- which is a plateau that juts into the Indian Ocean The coastal plains- separated from the Deccan Plateau by low lying moutians Because of its great size and diverse languages it was difficult to unite this region Indus Valley Civilization Not much is known Emerged in present day Pakistan around 2500 BCE Flourished for 1000 years Well planned cities-Harappa and Mohenjo Daro –large carefully planned, uniformity in housing, advanced sewage and plumbing Means that there must have been a well- organized government Indus Valley Civilization Farming and Trade Most were farmers First people to cultivate cotton and weave it into cloth Merchants and traders-easy access to other regions through the Arabian Sea and then into the Persian Gulf Contact with the Sumerians gave then writing/Cultural Diffusion Indus Valley Religious Beliefs Religious beliefs based on archeological speculation Polytheistic Mother Goddess source of creation Worshiped sacred animals, including the bull Influenced later Indian veneration of cattle Influences On Hinduism Indus Valley Civilization around 2500-1750 BCE This civilization worshiped nature and animals, and used Yoga- all used in Hinduism today Decline and Disappearance of the Indus Valley Civilization 1750 BCE –evidence of a decline in the civilization Scholars speculate the decline was the result of an environmental catastrophe Overuse of environment-led to floods Volcanic eruption Earthquake Kingdom of the Ganges Aryan Civilization Indus Valley Meet Aryans In about 1500 BCE the Indus Valley Civilization- was in a period of decline Wave of Aryan invaders comes down from the Northwest to conquer the region Aryans assimilated many local practices and beliefs and combined them with their own practices Wrote in Sanskrit Used hymns in worship-These hymns are know as Vedas Aryan Civilization Group of Indo-European people migrating across both Europe and Asia in search of water and pasture What we know of them comes from the Vedas-a collection of prayers, hymns and religious teachings Vedas were transmitted orally then written down- 1500-500 BCE is the Vedic Age Structure of Aryan Society Brahmins, or priests-later gained in respect, performed ceremonies and rituals to win the favor of the gods Kshatriyas, or warriors Vaisyas, or herders, farmers, artisans and merchants Sudras- a later class made up of Dravidians and the people they conquered Castes Social groups into which people are born and which they cannot change Aryan Religious Beliefs Aryans were polytheistic and their gods and goddess embodied natural forces like sky, sun, storm and fire Aryans also honored animals such as monkeys and snakes Brahmins made sacrifices of food and drink to the gods Through correct rituals and prayers they could call on the gods for health, wealth and victory Transition in Religious Beliefs Movement towards a single spiritual power beyond the many gods of the Vedas This was called Brahman Brahman resided in all things Mystics were people who devote their lives to seeking spiritual truth Spiritual truth comes from meditation, yoga- (body and spiritual discipline) Goal was direct communion with divine forces Aryan Expansion and Change Tribes were led by rajahs-skilled warrior Mingled with people they conquered Gave up nomadic ways and practices farming and crafts By 800 BCE made tools from iron By 500 BCE a new Indian civilization emerged- consisting of many rival kingdoms Developed a written language called Sanskrit- priest began writing sacred texts Epic Literature Mahabharata – India’s greatest epic “noting or pertaining to a long poetic composition, usually centered upon a hero, in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style “ (Dictionary.com) Ramayana- Shorter poem These two epics evolved over thousands of years and priests added religious morals over time Archeological Ruins of Aryan Civilization When? Hinduism is missing what most world religions consider essential: A Start Hinduism cannot be traced to any specific individual or historical event Because Hinduism arose from no single person or institution, it is seen as eternal and unchanging in its essence. Believers regard it as having existed forever. Cultural Diffusion Hinduism is influenced by Ancient Indus Valley Civilizations The Harappans The Aryans Hinduism continues to emphasize convergence rather than suppression of other faiths This process of assimilation is characteristic of Hinduism. Key Texts: The Vedic Period Veda is Sanskrit for “knowledge” The Rig Veda, is the earliest and most revered of the holy scriptures of Hinduism- developed between 1500-1200 B.C.E Compilation of legends associated with the Aryan warriors and the Indus Valley traditions and hymns More on the Vedas Rig Veda contains the creation story, 1,028 hymns and explains the social classes Between 800-300 B.C.E. further writings were added to the Vedas: The Brahmanas: explanation of ceremonies The Aranyakas: The Upanishads: Most important Hindu concepts explained in Upanishads The Upanishads Most influential in the development of Hinduism Means “sitting near” the feet of the sage Introduces the idea that Brahman is pure in spirit and one supreme being Establish the principle of reincarnation Freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth is seen as a the most important spiritual goal Epic Poems In 400 BCE- 400 CE unidentified poets created the Ramayana and the Mahabharata These contain Hindu mythology similar to ancient Rome and Greece The most influential is the Bhagavad Gita a section of the Mahabharata, which contains the story of Arjuna Basic Hindu Beliefs Brahman (Absolute) the world’s soul- without beginning or end Braham is the supreme being, the creator of the life force Brahman exists in every living creature If Brahman is in all of us, then all life is sacred Brahman takes many forms Concept of God There is “something” divine in all of us The purpose of human existence is to discover a path that will direct towards this “something divine” Hindus believe in one god and many gods. Think of it as one god many forms. Monotheism and polytheism are compatible Hinduism Top Gods: Today Brahma: is the Absolute, the center of the world. World will last 2,160,000,000years before it falls and Brahma recreates it. This cycle is equal to one day in Brahma’s life, Vishnu: Takes many forms-(Krishna and Rama). Vishnu is the Preserver and the force of love Statue of Brahma Gods…. Shiva: associated with creative force and destruction Krishna is a lover and trickster, a coward and hero, most importantly undying love Rama: commitment of family life, virtue and right living Shiva Basic Beliefs/Tenets KARMA Karma: accountability for every thought, action, and word. Hardships and inequalities in this life may be explained by actions and decision undertaken in previous lives of a boomerang- what goes out Think always comes back in some form Basic Beliefs/ Reincarnation Every person has an eternal soul or ATMAN The Atman is part of Brahman that exists within each of us-therefore it is immortal=it cannot die It comes back to Earth to learn the lessons of life until it perfects itself This is called Reincarnation- a person is trapped by the cycle of life and death until a person attains true realization Basic Beliefs- Moksha Moksha=the end of individual existence to absorption into the absolute God Once the soul perfects itself the Atman goes to join Brahman as pure spirit and does not return to Earth Basic Beliefs- Samsara/Dharma Samsara is the Hindu belief in the pattern of life, death, rebirth. Hindus believe each person goes through 84,000 incarnations of birth and death Begins at lower life forms Humans are the highest form of life Dharma: The religious and moral duties of an individual Something to Remember By observing Dharma, you will generate good Karma and achieve Moksha, which is the release from Samsara. Humans are self-aware and choose how they behave! Still More Basic Beliefs righteousness, Life has 4 goals: earthly prosperity and success, pleasure and spiritual liberation Family life and social interaction are marked by four stages: the student, the house holder, the seeker and the ascetic= a person who dedicates his or her life to a pursuit of contemplative ideals and practices extreme self-denial or self-mortification for religious reasons. Beliefs/Afterlife At the time of death the soul departs from the body through a particular chakra. The particular chakra depends on the level of spirituality of the departed. No concept of Hell but Hindus believe if one dies full of rage and despair they are only capable of entering a spiritual realm of like minded people Afterlife…. Moksha is the goal. Hindu conception of death is that one is grateful for the chance of having life in a given body and hopeful for final union with the Ultimate after having discarded the body. Afterlife… Near death experiences that are looked down upon in other faiths are viewed by Hindus as proof of Karma. Death is not to be feared and death rituals emphasize calmness and peace Practicing Hinduism Worship is a private matter Shrines are set up in homes/along city streets Priests assist with worship-members of the Brahmin caste Hindu temples are usually devoted to the worship of one god Lifecycle Events: Infant Welcoming: Occurs when child first consumes solid food. “Rice eating ceremony” occurs 6-8 months after birth. Marriage: Marriages are usually arranged between the two families. There are 5 separate ceremonies: Funerals: Nukhagni is the cremation ceremony. Shradda marks the end of the family’s period of mourning Hindu Wedding Hindu Caste System Hinduism Today Works Cited Ellis, Elisabeth Gaynor & Esler, Anthony. World History: Connections to Today. Pearson: Upper Saddle River, 2005 George, Charles. What Makes Me a Hindu? San Diego: Kidhaven Press, 2004. Molloy, Michael. Experiencing the World’s Religions. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2005 Smith, Huston. World Religions: A Guide to our Wisdom and Traditions. United Kingdom: Labyrinth Publishing Ltd. 1994. Toropov, Brandon and Buckles, Luke. World Religions. New York: Alpha Books, 2004.
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