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THE BASIICS > Worlds oldest religion > World's third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam Largely influenced later religions: Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism >837 million followers 13% of the world's population > Dominant religion in India (82%) Also found in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Bali _ 1.1 million Hindus in the U.S.

 ORIGIN _3000 BCE _Began in Indus Valley (now Pakistan) Along banks of Indus River Very developed, urban population _1000 BCE Aryans (nobles from European and Persian backgrounds) migrated into India Mixed with native peoples  Hindu God _ Believe in the universal soul or God (Brahman), as the sole reality who is present in all things. Brahman has no form, and is eternal. Brahman is creator, preserver and transformer of everything. Brahman appears in the human spirit as Atman, or the soul. _ Often believed that Hindus worship many gods. Really one eternal god (Brahman). The other gods are different aspects of the Brahman. _ Three principal gods: Brahma: creates the universe Vishnu: preserves the universe Shiva: destroys the universe.




 SCRIPTURE: THE VEDAS _ The Vedas Means knowledge Written around 1500 BCE to educate the priests about rituals Developed from oral and poetic traditions. _ Four parts, and each part is further split into fours The Samhitas: most ancient part of the Vedas-hymns of praise to God. The Brahmanas: rituals and prayers to guide the priests in their duties. The Aranyakas: concern worship and meditation. The Upanishads: consist of the mystical and philosophical teachings of Hinduism.

 The Bhagavad Gita _"Song of the Blessed Lord knowledge, work and devotion are all paths to salvation and that the central value in life is that of loyalty to God. Spiritual insight that can transform spiritual life _Setting: Battlefield Arjuna (Krishna in human disguise) does not want to fight his kinsmen, but it is his duty

 CASTE SYSTEM _ Sanksrit word is varna _ Division of social ranks and tasks developed by Aryans during conquest _ Three parts, and a fourth added later: The priests (or Brahmins) The warriors, nobles (the Kshatriyas). The merchants, artisans (Vaisya) Unskilled workers, peasants (Sudra) _ Each group has a different set of rules dealing with careers, marriage, diet, etc. The Sudra cannot be reborn  KARMA _ Relations among past deeds, present character, and future fate All actions have unavoidable consequences _ Reincarnation The soul passes through a cycle of successive lives and is reborn in a new body. The next incarnation is always dependent on how the previous life was lived Law that governs advancement or regression in physical world of deaths and rebirths  SAMSARA & MOKSHA _Samsara: wheel of birth and rebirth Continues forever Souls reborn until they reach perfection _Moksha: the release of the soul from samsara

 RELIGIOUS PATHS for MOKSHA _ Karma Yoga: path of work Doing caste duties without hope for reward Selfless duties _ Jnana Yoga: path of knowledge Study and learn the lessons of the ancient masters _ Raja yoga: path of physical & mental discipline Training the body so the soul can be free Requires celibacy _ Bhakti Yoga: path of love Devoted love to God Man is dependent on God, surrendering to Him is easiest way of release THE PROBLEM FOR HUMANS Soul Karma Wheel of rebirth Individual choice *the same things are the ingredients for the solution The Laws off Manu _200 BCE-200 CE _Ideal code of behavior for Hindus _Still have some influence on life today, thought not considered law anymore The Four Stages of Life (for men) 1. Student _ Studies the Vedas _ Between ages 8 and 24 2. Householder _ Follow ideals of wisdom, rituals of household, observe caste duties, etc. _ Can be turned over to a son 3. Aging householder/Forest Dweller _ Orients himself away from family and worldly concerns towards Brahman (to unite) 4. Samadhi (optional) _ Release of the soul (Atman) so it can unite with Brahman Laws off Manu,, Chaptter 6 1. A twice-born Snataka, who has thus lived according to the law in the order of householders, may, taking a firm resolution and keeping his organs in subjection, dwell in the forest, duly (observing the rules given below). 2. When a householder sees his (skin) wrinkled, and (his hair) white, and. the sons of his sons, then he may resort to the forest. 3. Abandoning all food raised by cultivation, and all his belongings, he may depart into the forest, either committing his wife to his sons, or accompanied by her. 4. Taking with him the sacred fire and the implements required for domestic (sacrifices), he may go forth from the village into the forest and reside there, duly controlling his senses. 5. Let him offer those five great sacrifices according to the rule, with various kinds of pure food fit for ascetics, or with herbs, roots, and fruit. 6. Let him wear a skin or a tattered garment; let him bathe in the evening or in the morning; and let him always wear (his hair in) braids, the hair on his body, his beard, and his nails (being unclipped). The Three Stages of Life (for woman) 1. Student

2. Householder: duties complement her husbands 3. Forest Dweller: she can join her husband if she wants to