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Ancient India - Index

Hinduism Hindu Religious Texts

Buddhism

   

Hinduism

Beliefs

Practices

Important writings

  • Vedas (ex. Rig Veda)
  • Upanishads
  • Bhagavad-Gita

Social organization

 

Caste System

Brahmins

  • Priests and Teachers

Ksatriyas

  • Warriors and Rulers

Vaisyas

  • Farmers, Merchants, Artisans

Sudras

  • Laborers

Untouchables

  • Polluted Laborers

Belief in many gods

Brahma

  • the Creator who is continuing to create new realities

Vishnu ( Krishna)

  • the Preserver, who preserves these new creations. Whenever dharma (eternal order, righteousness, religion, law and duty) is threatened, Vishnu travels from heaven to earth in one of ten incarnations (forms)

Siva

  • the Destroyer (and sometimes creator), is at times compassionate but also at times destructive

Two types of Hinduism

Vaishnavaism

  • Hindus who generally regard Vishnu as the ultimate deity

Sivaism

  • Hindus who generally regard Siva as the ultimate deity

Transmigration of the Soul

Reincarnation

  • The transfer of one’s soul after death into another body, producing a cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth.

Karma

  • The accumulated sum of ones good and bad deeds, determining how you will live your next life. Though pure acts, thoughts, and devotion, one can be reborn at a higher level.

The “supreme goal of mankind” is to, by practicing Dharma (righteousness in religious life), break this cycle of reincarnation to achieve enlightenment.

Meditation

Meditation

  • Eliminate outside distractions, achieve peace, focus – “ Om”.
  • Yoga is the most common form of meditation.
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