An Ethnic Religion
Origins of the Religion
Basic religious beliefs
Classification of religion
Branches or divisions of religion
How Did Hinduism Diffuse?
Many Indians come to Haridwar which is the most popular place to bathe in the Ganges River. Many other places for pilgrimage includes Mt. Kailas, the source of the Ganges in the Himalayas. The mountain is considered holy because Siva lives there. Many other mountains can be holy if Siva was thought to have visited those mountains. There are also Hindu temples like Mandir and Deula where people practice Hinduism.
Where it is practiced today?
Number of Followers
Distribution of Hinduism
Key Figures and Important People
Hinduism does not have a central authority figure or religious leader.
Hinduism's 3 main worshipped Gods:
Vishnu: a loving God that is worshipped by 70% of Hindu adherents of Vaishnavism
Siva: a protective and destructive God that is worshipped by 25% of Hindu adherents of Sivaism
Shakti: the female consorts of Vishnu and Siva in Shaktism
(picture above is the God, Vishnu)
The primary texts are the Four Vedas:
The Rig Veda: Book of Mantra
Includes practices of meditation and yoga, prayers, and traditional medicines.
The Sama Veda: Book of Song
Includes chants used in sacrificial events and religious ceremonies.
The Yajur Veda: Book of Ritual
Includes the methods of executing sacrifices and performing ceremonies.
The Atharva Veda: The Book of Spell
Includes spells and charms.
(first syllable of prayers)
Swastika- sign of good luck and fortune
(four angles represent the four Vedas)
(variation)- the four angles represent honesty, truth, purity, and stability
Sri Yantra- symbolizes the bond and unity of male and female
(unity of everything in the cosmos)
(picture above represents Om)
Places of Worship
Pilgrimages to Mt. Kailas in the Himalayas are common, because it is thought that the God, Siva, lives there.
Bathing in the Ganges River, considered the holiest river, is common, because bathing in holy rivers is thought to help achieve purification.
Impact on Social and Family Structures
Society:Hindu Caste System:
Brahmin: The intellectual and spiritual leaders.
Ex. Priests, seers, etc.
Kshatriyas: The protectors of society.
Ex. Policemen, military, politicians, etc.
Vaisyas: The skillful makers of material things.
Ex. Craftsmen, artisans, farmers, etc.
Shudras: The unskilled laborers.
Ex. Ordinary labor force, followers, etc.
Untouchables: The social oucasts that are given the worst jobs.
Extended (many generations) families live together
Women: stay home and do housework
Men: Hold jobs and provide income for the family
(Picture below represents Hindu Caste system)
Impact on Cultural Beliefs and Expectations
Respect Towards Elders:
- Sitting to the left of elders
- Bringing gifts
- Not contradicting or being over-talkative during a conversation
Touching the Feet:
-Touching the feet of a holy, or more skilled, person
-Shows recognition of one's skills
Left Hand is Impure:
- Handing someone an object with one's left hand is considered rude
Shoes are Impure:
- Never wear shoes into religious places or places of residency
Exchange of Prana (life or spirit):
- Giving and receiving with both hands
- Not holding conversations in doorways
- Not pointing fingers (pointing fingers is an act of aggression and panic)