Hinduism is the most preservative out of the Indic religions since it did keep the
Vedas unlike Jainism as well as Buddhism. At the end of the 4 Vedas comes the
Upanishads, the key to understanding them.
No English equivalent to the word Dharma
Hinduism in Indic languages is called Hindu Dharma, meaning religion of the
right way of living for the Hindus
Not theistic; not related to an ethical God
This system is based on the Indic worldview: samsara and karma
Papa: Sin Punya: Merit
Cosmic Level: Sanatana Dharma
o Meaning the eternal dharma, the unchanging universal law of order
which decrees that every entity in the universe should behave in
accordance with the laws that applies in its particular nature
Human Level: Sadharana
o Moral stuff (info on lecture #16)
Personal Level: Varna
o Through the family structure that the idea of the dharma is lived,
transmitted and expressed.
Pollution: a profound feeling of impurity. Each culture has different
impurities. Eg. Jews and Muslims find pork and pigs nasteh!! Halal and
Kosher only! In Hinduism death is a grand pollution. That is why Hindus burn
As long as he follows his Dharma, a Hindu is free. Of course there are certain
things he has to believe (samsara and karma) but otherwise it is quite open.
o Refuse the notion of God and speak of the Brahman.
o Bhagvan/Ishvara: notion of a God. If you answer this, you are
presupposing that Brahman is a personal God. To theistic Hindus
Bhagvan/Ishvara is God.
o Avatars: a manifestation of a God in physical reality is an avatar.
o Vishnu and Shiva are two major deities.
o Ishtadeva the chosen deity, the God you choose to make “your”
supreme God and every other deity falls in ranks.
o Most human beings need to relate to God through a symbol.
Renunciant or Householder
o Renunciant: Sannyasa Abandon home, society and all of its bondages. Don’t eat much,
don’t do sex, yoga, and the ultimate aim is moksa, salvation.
o Householder: Grihasta
Major concern is to live in the world. Final stages of a
householder is to become a renunciant but mean while he has
to fully carry or fulfil his dharma on all levels.
Hindu Practises & Sacraments
Many people suggest Hinduism is a way of daily life.
The rituals punctuate every aspect of your life and they are called samskaras.
Follows the life cycle from birth to death.
Brahman becomes the teacher or “guru”.
o Naming a child is a big ritual.
o As well as the “twice born” ritual when a child is initiated into the
realm of becoming part of the Hindu community,