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  • Hinduism emerged thousands of years ago in India/Pakistan. It may be the oldest "organized" religion.
  • Hinduism is known by its followers as sanatana dharm ("the eternal way/teaching""
  • Hinduism has extremely diverse worship, beliefs and practices.
  • Ancient scriptures are known as the Vedas.


Central Concepts (Pivotal values)
  • Karma: cosmic law of cause and effect.
  • Samsara: endless cycle of rebirths. This cycle is fueled by karma
  • Moksha: release from cycle of rebirths
Caste System:
  • Based on notion that one's position in life reflects one's spiritual status.
  • Impossible to move from one caste to another.
    • Brahmins (priestly)
    • Kshatriyas(rulers/warriors)
    • Vaishyas (merchants, farmers)
    • Shudras (servants)
    • Outside of the caste system are the "untouchables"
Different Paths: One Goal

Hinduism teaches that there is no single way that everyone must follow to achieve moksha. Rather there are several paths, each appropriate to different castes and personalities. All paths are meant to lead one to identify his/her soul (or atman) with the eternal soul (Brahman).

  1. Meditation
  2. Devotion to a god
  3. Dutiful performance of actions required of one's caste
  4. Rational/philosophic pursuit of truth


Ideas about God/Ultimate Reality

Literally millions of gods and godesses

All are considered to be manifestations of the One, Brahman, the univeral soul

Major gods include

  • Vishnu ("the preserver")
  • Shiva ("the destroyer")
  • Brahma ("the creator")