Hinduism by linxiaoqin


         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
 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
   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
 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
 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
   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
 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
 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
   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
   Sudras- a later class made up of Dravidians and
    the people they conquered
   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
Archeological Ruins
of Aryan Civilization
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
      Cultural Diffusion
 Hinduism is influenced by Ancient Indus Valley
 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
 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
 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
 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
 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
    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
 Shiva: associated with creative force and
 Krishna is a lover and trickster, a coward
  and hero, most importantly undying love
 Rama: commitment of family life, virtue
  and right living
  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
   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.

  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
 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

  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
  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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