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Sanatana Dharma

The Eternal Religion
(aka: Hinduism)

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Foundations

uty

Et ics

Natural L w

Transcendental ealization

Cos ic Order

Soci l Welfare

The roots of Hinduism

Harappan Civilization:

  • Indus river valley archeological ruins
  • At least 4500 years old
  • The Great Pool

Ancient Images still a part of Hinduism today

Lingams

Prefiguring Shiva

(from the Harappan civilization)

The roots of Hinduism

The Aryan Invasion Theory:

  • Outside invaders
    enter India from
    the northwest
  • Beginning 4000
    years ago
  • Bringing their
    culture & religion
    with them
  • A hotly debated theory!

The Vedic Tradition

Elements presumed to be of Aryan influence that continue to be a part of Hinduism today:

  • Sanskrit language
  • Vedic texts (composed in Sanskrit)
  • Patriarchal rule
  • Social class distinctions (caste) & the role of the priests (Brahmins)
  • Polytheism
  • Rituals & the Fire Sacrifice

The Vedas

  • First written around 1500 BCE
    but composed and transmitted
    orally long before then
  • “Heard” (shruti) by ancient sages
  • Four parts, developed over time:
  • Samhitas: hymns of praise in worship of deities (Rig Veda is oldest)
  • Brahmanas: directions for priestly performance of rituals
  • Aranyakas: “forest books” written by hermits
  • Upanishads: metaphysical teachings of spiritual masters (Vedanta: the end of the Vedas) (composed 600-400 BCE)

The Fire Sacrifice

  • Burnt offerings made to the gods through Agni (ignite), the god of fire
  • performed by the brahmin (priest),
  • Maintaining the cosmic order
  • through recreation of the original sacrifice made by the gods to create this universe
  • Purusha: the primal being dismembered by the gods out of which all was created

(Rig Veda 10.90)

Philosophy of the Upanishads

  • Spiritual instruction, focused on inner experience, as a path to realization and immortality
  • Brahman: The transcendent, all pervading, infinite and everlasting Ultimate Reality
  • Atman: that Reality as it is found within ourselves – our soul is one with the “soul” of the universe

Reincarnation

  • Samsara: continual cycle of birth-life-death-rebirth
  • Into any life form – human or animal
  • Only human rebirth affords the soul the opportunity to advance toward the goal of liberation from this cycle = moksha

Karma

  • Consequences of our actions
  • In this life and beyond – carried over to our future lives
  • The law of cause and effect:
  • Past actions affect our present life
  • Present actions affect our future life
  • Good deeds  good karma  good experiences
  • Bad deeds  bad karma  bad experiences
  • Karma keeps samsara going

Yoga – The Paths to Moksha

  • Moksha: ultimate goal is to eliminate karma so as to be liberated from Samsara – the limitations of space, time and matter
  • Yoga: The path to Union with the divine
  • Four options:
  • Raja Yoga – the path of meditation
  • Jnana Yoga – the path of knowledge
  • Karma Yoga – the path of selfless action
  • Bhakti Yoga – the path of loving devotion to god

Review Activities

The Vedic Tradition

Upanishadic Metaphysics

Yoga

Access these and other review activities at:

http://www.nvcc.edu/home/lshulman/religions/Hinduism/index.html

IDENTIFY these terms

The people who invaded India bringing their Vedic sacrificial religion with them

The cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth as well as the realm of space and time wherein this takes place

Release (liberation) from this cycle

The true essence of the human self, identified with Brahman

The impersonal Ultimate Reality in Hindu philosophy

Aryans

Atman

Brahman

Moksha

Samsara

The oldest of Indian sacred texts is:

Upanishads

Rig Veda

Adi Granth

Bhagavad Gita

Do you know the difference between…

Brahma

Brahman

Brahmin

Brahmana

The creator god of the Hindu pantheon

The priestly caste of Hindu society

Collection of early sacred texts

The impersonal ultimate reality of Hindu metaphysical philosophy

MATCH the yogas:

Karma

Jnana

Raja

Bhakti

The path of knowledge

The path of devotion

The path of meditation

The path of selfless action

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