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Ch 2: World Religion: Hinduism

About This Chapter

Watch online religion video lessons and learn about the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita, Hindu castes, and more. The engaging animations and graphics in these lessons bring key Hinduism concepts to life.

World Religion: Hinduism - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Whether you're interested in belief systems in general or Eastern religions in particular, professional instructors can introduce you to the history and culture of the Indian subcontinent and help you trace the development of Hinduism. Lessons in this chapter can also show you how this ancient religion influences the region's politics and social structure. By the end of this chapter, you should be familiar with the following:

  • Origins of Hinduism and its sacred texts
  • Hindu belief systems and deities
  • Four stages and goals of life
  • Hindu sects and Western culture

Video Objectives
The Origins of Hinduism: The Indus River Valley & the Harappa Culture Provides an overview of the Indian subcontinent, specifically the Indus River Valley and the Harappa Culture. Explains the Hindu ideal that the universe is continually being destroyed and recreated.
The Vedas: Hinduism's Sacred Texts Discusses the divine origin of the Vedas and outlines the content of the four different collections.
The Vedic and Upanishadic Periods: Description, Influences, & Texts Summarizes Aryan influence on the Harappan culture. Explains how the Upanishadic period introduced critical thinking into the earlier Vedic texts.
Hindu Deity: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva Surveys the Hindu deities, including Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu. Characterizes goddess and tantric worship as well as the differing avatars of Vishnu, specifically Krishna.
The Bhagavad Gita's Story of Arjuna & Krishna: The Three Paths to Salvation Summarizes the story of Arjuna and Krishna. Explains the three paths to salvation, which are the way of works, the way of knowledge, and the way of devotion.
The Epic of Ramayana: Importance of the Vishnu Presents a synopsis of this story and elaborates on the importance of the Vishnu.
The Hindu Belief System: Dharma, Karma, and Moksha Defines each of these terms and the roles they play in the Hindu belief system.
Hindu Castes and the Laws of Manu Accounts for the different Hindu castes, as introduced in the Laws of Manu. Discusses the ideals of moral law and duty as well as reincarnation through the castes.
Hinduism: The Four Stages of Life Names and explains the four stages of life: the student, the householder, the hermit, and the sannyasin.
The Four Goals of Hindu Life: Kama, Artha, Dharma, & Moksha Outlines each of the four aims: kama, artha, dharma, and moksha.
Hindu Rituals, Ceremonies, and Festivals Examines cow veneration, mantras, the use of astrology, and festivals such as Holi. Clarifies how Hindu worship is not usually done in congregation but as an individual act.
Mohandas Gandhi and the British Invasion Explores the effect of invading Western cultures, specifically Britain and Christianity. Identifies the role of Gandhi in the fight for liberation.
Theosophy and Hinduism: Reaction to the West Surveys the different sects of Hinduism that were created out of interaction with the West, such as theosophy, Brahmo Samaj, and Arya Samaj.

13 Lessons in Chapter 2: World Religion: Hinduism
The Origins of Hinduism: the Indus River Valley & the Harappa Culture

1. The Origins of Hinduism: the Indus River Valley & the Harappa Culture

This lesson will seek to explain the origins of Hinduism. Highlighting the Harappa culture and the Vedic period, it will also explore the Hindu beliefs in Moksha and Brahman.

The Vedas: Hinduism's Sacred Texts

2. The Vedas: Hinduism's Sacred Texts

This lesson will explore the ancient Hindu texts known collectively as the Vedas. It will stress the importance of the Rig-Veda, while also explaining the roles of the three lesser Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas.

The Vedic and Upanishadic Periods: Description, Influences & Texts

3. The Vedic and Upanishadic Periods: Description, Influences & Texts

This lesson will define the Vedic and Upanishadic periods of Hinduism. In doing so, it will discuss the Harappa culture, the melding with Aryan culture, the sacred Vedas and the birth of the concept of Karma.

Hindu Deity: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva

4. Hindu Deity: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva

This lesson will explore the Hindu system of belief in reference to its deities. It will explain the concept of Brahman, while also explaining the attributes of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.

The Bhagavad Gita's Story of Arjuna & Krishna: The Three Paths to Salvation

5. The Bhagavad Gita's Story of Arjuna & Krishna: The Three Paths to Salvation

This lesson will focus on the sacred Hindu text of the Bhagavad Gita. In doing so, it will also highlight Hinduism's belief in the Three Paths to Salvation, known as the Karma, Jnana and Bhakti Yogas.

The Epic of Ramayana: Importance of the Vishnu

6. The Epic of Ramayana: Importance of the Vishnu

This lesson is a summary of the famous Hindu epic of 'Ramayana.' In summarizing this great love story, it will focus on Hindu virtues, like loyalty and duty. It will also highlight the deity of Vishnu.

The Hindu Belief System: Dharma, Karma, and Moksha

7. The Hindu Belief System: Dharma, Karma, and Moksha

This lesson will explore the Hindu belief system by explaining the concepts of karma, dharma and moksha. It will also highlight the importance of atman within the Hindu faith.

Hindu Castes and the Laws of Manu

8. Hindu Castes and the Laws of Manu

This lesson will seek to explain the complex Hindu castes of Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra, and the Untouchables. It will also highlight the Laws of Manu.

Hinduism: The Four Stages of Life

9. Hinduism: The Four Stages of Life

This lesson will define and explore the four stages of Hindu life. In doing so, it will highlight the stages of the Student, the Householder, the Hermit, and the Sannyasin.

The Four Goals of Hindu Life: Kama, Artha, Dharma & Moksha

10. The Four Goals of Hindu Life: Kama, Artha, Dharma & Moksha

This lesson will seek to explain the four permissible goals of Hindu life. In doing so, it will define the ancient concepts of kama, artha, dharma and moksha.

Hindu Rituals, Ceremonies, and Festivals

11. Hindu Rituals, Ceremonies, and Festivals

This lesson will explore the rituals and ceremonies of Hinduism. It will explain the concept of puja, while also highlighting upanayana, antyeshti, Holi, Diwali, and cow veneration.

Mohandas Gandhi and the British Invasion

12. Mohandas Gandhi and the British Invasion

This lesson will explore the life of Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi. It will explain his role in India's independence while also highlighting the concepts of satyagraha and brahmacharya.

Theosophy and Hinduism's Reaction to the West

13. Theosophy and Hinduism's Reaction to the West

This lesson will seek to explain the beliefs of the modern religious movement known as Theosophy. In doing so, it will highlight its link to Hinduism and its ties to the West.

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