[2015] Ashna Gupta: Hinduism

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[2015] Ashna Gupta: Hinduism

Beginnings of Hinduism

Hinduismby Ashna Gupta

CASTE SYSTEM1. Brahmans (priests)2. Kshatriyas (warriors, nobles)3. Vaisyas (merchants, farmers)4. Shudras (laborers)*Chandalas - lowest of Shudras (untouchables, impure)*~no marriage outside of caste is allowed~In Hindu mythology, it often happened that those in lower castes grew into a position of authority (for example, Lord Krishna)

Reincarnation:-Rebirth of soul, caused by karma-The inner body (personality, soul) stays but outer body dies-There are multiple heavens/hells to learn the lesson in order to return to Earth and start a new earthly life

"The essence of yoga is to reach oneness with God" -Pattabhi Jois

Yoga-The root word "yuj" in Sanskrit means 'to unite'-Hindus practice yoga to control the senses and mind-References to yoga can be found throughout Hindu scripture-Yoga has six limbs, known as asana, pranayama, pratyhara, dharma, dhyana, and samadhi

Karma-The sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences-Karma first appears in Rig-Veda and later in Brahmanas and Upanishads-It is regarded as the fundamental law of nature (automatic and mechanical). It is not imposed by God or a god-The purpose of life in Hinduism is to minimize bad karma to enjoy better fortune in present life and better rebirth in next lifeThere are three types:1. Prarabdha - present lifetime2. Sancita - karma that has not yet reached fruitition3. Agamin or Sanci Yama - Sown in present, will come to fruitition in the future

BrahmanThe unchanging reality amongst and beyond the world; derived from Sanskrit - meaning "highest reality"

AtmanDerived from Sanskrit meaning "self" or "breath" - one of the most basic Hindu concepts and part of universal Brahman

Dharmareligious and moral law governing the individual - everyone follows Sadharana Dharma, and there is a different Svadharma Dharma for each social class

BrahmaOne of the major Hindu gods from approx. 500 BCE to 500 CE, born from a golden egg and created the earth and everything on itUsually depicted as having four faces, symbolizing the four Vedas, four yugas ("ages"), the four varnas (social classes), the four directions, etc.

ShivaDestroyed the universe in order to re-create it.Seen as both good and evil and combines many contradictory elements.Shiva always has a blue face and throat, and is represented with a third eye, cobra necklace, vibhuti (three lines drawn across the forehead in white ash), and a trident.

VishnuWhile Brahma is the creator of the universe, Vishnu is the preserver and protector. He is associated with light and particularly the Sun.Vishnu usually appears with a human body and blue skin. In his four hands he holds a conch, discus, lotus flower, and mace.


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