- 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
|Central Concepts (Pivotal values)
- Karma: cosmic law of cause and effect.
endless cycle of rebirths. This cycle is fueled by karma
- Moksha: release from cycle of rebirths
- Based on notion that one's
position in life reflects one's spiritual status.
- Impossible to move from one caste to another.
- Brahmins (priestly)
- 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).
- Devotion to a god
- Dutiful performance of actions required
of one's caste
- Rational/philosophic pursuit of truth
|Ideas about God/Ultimate
Literally millions of gods
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")