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Matthew Lee 2A

Hinduism
Aryan Religion
A. Aryan gods: The Aryan religion was polytheistic meaning they worshipped more than one
god.
1. The chief deity of the Vedas was Indra, the god of war and the weather
2. Religion hosted many other gods similar to the Greek and Roman religions
3. Aryans did not defy ethics; their heavenly god was called Varuna
B. Ritual Sacrifices: Ethics did not play a huge role in deity worship. The Aryans believed that
radical sacrifices were more important than ethics.
1. Aryans hoped to win the favor of their gods
 Slaughtered hundreds of sheep, cattle, and horses from the Aryans’ herd
2. Believed that their gods would come to earth and join them in the ritual eating and
drinking
3. Aryans hoped that the gods would ensure the military success, large families, long life,
and abundant herds of cattle through these rituals.

The Intertwining of Aryan and Dravidian Beliefs


A. Aryan religion undertook major changes in rituals because they thought that sacrifices were
not genuine
1. Many individuals went to Ganges Valley to seek spiritual thirst for the Vedas
2. These mystics were heavily inspired by the religious beliefs of the Dravidians
 Believed in reincarnation thus sprouting modern Hinduism

The Upanishads
A. Definition: The Upanishads were Hindu bibles dating about 800-400 BCE which was in the
form of dialogues that explored religious concepts.
1. Taught that everything was part of a greater soul called Brahman
2. The Upanishads taught that the highest goal of the individual soul was to join Brahman
B. Teachings: The Upanishads explain the Brahman with religious doctrines
Some Major Doctrines and Beliefs
1) Samsara: After death, one goes to the Worlds of the Fathers and reincarnates shortly after
2) Concept of Karma
 If you act well, you’ll retain a pure good soul. Expect a more honorable incarnation.
 If you act badly, your soul will be a pure bad soul. Expect a difficult existence.
3) Moksha
 Cycle of rebirth was painful, so one had to escape this cycle by becoming moksha
4) Historians though Hinduism was a caste system
 Disrespectful because the authors of Upanishads sought spiritual truth not social class

The Emergence of Popular Hinduism


A. Modern Hinduism started departing from the traditions of the Brahmins
1. Modern Hinduism gained a lot of inspiration from the Vedas and Buddhism
2. Hinduism got lots of changes in doctrine that expressed the needs of the people

From the Old Epics Emerges a New


A. A lot of old Hindu epics experienced changes throughout history
Matthew Lee

B. Ramayana
1. Ramayana was originally a love story between Prince Rama and his wife Sita
 It was a tale about a demon king kidnapping Sita, and Rama and Hanuman had to
work together to take Sita back
 Brahmin editors mad Rama an incarnation of Vishnu and made Rama and Sita the
ideal husband and wife of Hindu standards
C. Gita
1. Gita promised salvation and made the foundation of expectations for Hindu individuals
 Gita changed at various points between its existence from either 300 BCE to 300
CE to the modern Gita of 400 CE
D. Mahabharata
1. Mahabharata narrates Arjuna’s actions in the Kureksetra War and what Krishna
advises Arjuna to do to bring salvation through faith

Changes in Hindu Ethics


A. Old: Upanishad’s Ethics
1. Upanishads taught that one can reach moksha only through renunciation and
detachment from worldly material and values
B. Bhagavad Gita
1. Taught one can reach moksha by holding the promises of salvation and met their caste
responsibilities
 Krishna taught you should perform your duties faithfully and carefully
C. More Modern Approach
1. Hindu principles recognized 4 important values of human life
 Dharma (obedience to religious and moral laws)
 Artha (the pursuit of economic well-being and honest prosperity)
 Karma (enjoyment of social, physical, and sexual pleasure)
 Moksha (the salvation of the soul)

The Rise in Popularity of Hinduism


A. Buddhism
1. Buddhism was the dominant religion until Hinduism gradually took over
 Buddhism eventually was remote in large population areas
 Monks disobeyed tradition and lived in the comforts of monasteries
B. The Adoption of Hinduism in India
1. Gupta emperors were attracted by Hinduism
 Gupta emperors gave grants of land on Hindu Brahmin and helped fund a Hindu
educational system
 Gupta emperors helped Hinduism become the dominant religion in India
C. The Decline of Buddhism
1. In 1000 CE, Buddhism was in a decline as Hinduism gained popularity
 Buddhism was losing followers in their homeland (Buddhism was founded in
India)
2. Islam
 Islam eclipsed the remnants of Buddhism making Buddhism nonexistent

Discussion Question: How did Hinduism become the major religion it is today, and how does it compare
with the development of other dominant religions like Christianity?
Matthew Lee

Discussion Question: How did Hinduism become the major religion it is today, and how does it compare
with the development of other dominant religions like Christianity?