Early Belief Systems Hinduism

Early Belief Systems

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Early Belief Systems. Hinduism. Aryans transform India. Move from Caspian Sea to India – (1500 BCE) Only major artifact remaining is the Vedas (Sacred text of prayers, songs) They were taller and paler then native Indians. The Caste. Impacted all areas of life - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Page 1: Early Belief Systems

Early Belief Systems


Page 2: Early Belief Systems

Aryans transform India• Move from Caspian

Sea to India – (1500 BCE)

• Only major artifact remaining is the Vedas (Sacred text of prayers, songs)

• They were taller and paler then native Indians

Page 3: Early Belief Systems

The Caste

• Impacted all areas of life– Level determined your career– Must marry within your caste

Page 4: Early Belief Systems

A way to think of Caste

Brahmins (priests) = Mouth

Rulers & Warriors = Arms

Peasants & traders = Legs

Laborers = FeetUntouchables

Page 5: Early Belief Systems

A Caste SystemWarriors

Peasants & Shudras (non-Aryan workers)

Untouchables – those with unclean jobs (garbage collection, gravediggers . . .)

Brahmins or priests

- Do we have a caste system?- Discuss with a partner/share

Page 6: Early Belief Systems

The Origins of Hinduism

• Resulted from the blending of Aryan and non-Aryan beliefs

• No single founder

• Mahabharata – epic of Aryans, non-Aryans and their gods– Dishonor is worse than Death

Page 7: Early Belief Systems

Hinduism Grows

• Goal is to liberate the soul from illusions, disappointment & mistakes

• Moksha – a state of perfect understanding

• Atman – individual soul (Self)• Brahman – world soul that unites all

atman (all force in universe)

Page 8: Early Belief Systems

Achieving Moksha

• The soul is reincarnated until moksha is achieved

• Karma – (the good or bad of the soul) impacts reincarnation

• Brahman is often viewed as three gods: Brahma-creator, Vishnu-protector & Shiva-destroyer

Page 9: Early Belief Systems

Gods and Paths• Three Paths

– Path of right thinking– Path of right action– Path of religious devotion

• Hinduism lead to Buddhism

Page 10: Early Belief Systems

Hindu Symbols and Art

Page 11: Early Belief Systems

Om or Aum• Represents all existence

• Holiest of all symbols

"The goal which all the Vedas declare, which all austerities aim at, and which men desire when they lead the life of continence … is OM. This syllable OM is indeed Brahman. Whosoever knows this syllable obtains all that he desires. This is the best support; this is the highest support. Whosoever knows this support is adored in the world of Brahma." ~ Katha Upanishad I

Page 12: Early Belief Systems


• Auspiciousness

• Sun’s four part circle

• Cardinal points of the earth

• Placed on homes and animals for protection (Good Luck)

Page 13: Early Belief Systems

Holy Books

• Vedas

• Upanishads – part of Vedas, stories and philosophies

• Bhagavad Gita – establishing a relationship with the eternal

Page 14: Early Belief Systems


• Hindus worship at temples and at private shrines

• Shrines are might to reflect personal devotion– Shrines are often transported with


Page 15: Early Belief Systems

Holy Places

• Ganges River – Sacred river that is viewed as a goddess

• Hindus bath in it to wash away sin

• Ashes are washed away to heaven

• Some take its water home in brass containers

Page 16: Early Belief Systems

Additional Terms• Dharma – living a

righteous life

• Yoga – meditation dedicated to transcending this world of illusion