Society and Culture Notes essay

The two beliefs began to fuse and this led to the development of Hinduism. This was conveyed through the scriptures of the Aryans- the Veda (more of which will be discussed later). Beliefs of the Indus people have been determined through archaeological finds. The Aryans, now with adopted Indus beliefs, extended their settlements toward the Ganges River. By 1000 B. C. E, the Aryan culture had become predominant in northern India. Even with India under Muslim and British rules, it did little to affect the grassroots level on traditional Hindu society. Nothing was able to threaten its stability.

However, Hinduism has undergone many adjustments and changes. During the period from 500 B. C. E to 500 C. E saw the establishment in India of classical Hinduism (also known as Brainchild Hinduism). Hindu society was under threat from invader and breakaway cults such as Buddhism, Brahmins (the priestly aristocracy) asserted their authority as sole guardians of the faith. They established a sense of religious orthodoxy- a right way for Hindus to conduct their lives. They also imposed a keen sense of social order. During this period a caste system was developed, which is one of Hindus most extinctive features.

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Also during this time, there was a decline in the Vivid cult of Hinduism. Classical Hinduism became the basis of modern Hinduism. The British rule of India lasted from 1 757 till 1947. India encountered Christianity, Western technology and ideas about society and education. This led to reforms within Hinduism, inspired by Ram Moan Roy, Mahatma Gandhi and others. Hinduism was returned to the purity of the Veda. Mahatma Gandhi, known for his non-violent protest against British rule believed and promoted the principle that God is also present in ironmongers, and that believers should seek to awaken that inner voice in their oppressors.

Today, Hinduism continues to evolve, a trend the Hindu political party tries to prevent and control. The extent of Hinduism in the World today Hinduism is the belief system of approximately 85% of Indian people. Due to migration, one can refer to the spread of Hinduism globally. There are approximately 863 million followers worldwide. Most Hindus are found in the South East Asia region: India (810 million), Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sir Lank. Hindus are also found in many parts of the world where people of Indian ancestry have migrated or traded.

Hindu ideas have had a worldwide impact since the 1 sass, when transcendentalists Ralph Emerson and Henry Thoreau, who brought the ideas to America. During the 1 ass’s many Hindu ideas and practices had a large impact upon the counterculture (a social movement of people who follow lifestyles that are alternative to the norm). The movement was popularized by The Battles Also, many Indian gurus came to the West and brought their ideas with them. For example, A. C Bicentennial Swami founded Hare Krishna in the United States in 1966.

This branch of Hinduism emphasizes the worship of Krishna (god of all the people) rather than Vishnu (preserver of world order). Followers vow to observe the principle of Krishna consciousness: abstinence from meat, fish, eggs and alcohol. They avoid sexual relations except in marriage and there is no gambling. They also have daily sessions of chanting and reading from the works of Hare Krishna founder. It was the influx of Hindu teachers and ideas during the sass and ass that contributed to ‘global Hinduism’.

Elements of Hindu culture- yoga, gurus, teachings, dance and USIA- have been exported to the West, where they have gained popularity. These have also become popular within India. Sacred texts of Hinduism There are two main types of scripture: crust and smite. Crust are the revealed scriptures of divine origin- Veda. The Veda are four collections of sacred hymns and were revealed directly by spoken word in Ancient times. The four collections correspond to the four stages of the life cycle and provide the scriptural foundation of their faith.

The ideas that evolved in the belief system of classical Hinduism had their origins in the Veda. The Veda portray an understanding of the universe as existing on three levels: the lowest is the earthly realm, where humans and animals live; then the atmosphere where bids fly; and above the sky is the heavenly realm, where the gods live with the dead. The Veda also contain the Hindu concepts of dharma, the principle of right living, and Brahmas, the universal spirit. Smite are secondary scriptures and are more commonly known by Hindu peoples. What do Hindus believe?

The Hindu concept of God Hindus perceive that humans and God are one. “There is one God but many gods”- while believing there is only one supreme God (Brahmas), Hindus may worship any number of subordinate gods or spiritual powers (regarded as manifestations of the one God, who each have specialized functions). Hindus personalize Brahmas, the universal spirit, in a variety of forms (egg: gods and goddesses). At the head of the Hindu pantheon is the Tritium: the trinity of Brahmas (the creator), Vishnu (the preserver) and Shiva (the destroyer and regenerator).

Krishna (an incarnation of Vishnu) is the source of all, both good and evil. Monks is the final goal for Hindus, to be freed from the cycle of rebirth, through good karma, and to become one with God. Belies that Hindus hold in common: the spiritual direction contained in the scriptures are considered the ultimate authority Brahmas is one, although his spirit has many names and forms. All of creation is tied to the cycle of reincarnation (samara), according to past actions and thoughts (karma). The path of yoga united the individual with Brahmas. This practice can lead a Hindu towards monks (freedom from the cycle of samara).

Symbolism in Hinduism Symbols are important ways of approaching Brahmas, because he has no form. Mm is both a visual and an aural symbol of representing Brahmas. This humbly encompasses the whole universe. It represents the sense of Hindu ideology and is used in meditation, prayer and yoga and even when Brahmas enters and individual’s thoughts. It can be spelt mum: A represents begin inning U represents progress M represents dissolution Its shape represents God’s power, which is responsible for the creation, development and dissolution of the universe.

Two groups, the Savvies and Vignettes, followers of Siva and Vishnu respectively, are identifies by a symbolic mark on their forehead known as talk. A vertical line indicates Visitant and a horizontal line, a Savviest. Talk also represents a Hindu who has received a blessing after praying, The bind (round mark) signifies a third eye where people focus their gaze to assist meditation. Also used as decoration in modern times. And- the bull on which Siva rides. Represents virility and strength. Any product that comes from a cow is considered sacred and purifying.

Cow- a sacred animal. They are descendants of the celestial cow Cannonade. To present a cow as a gift is worthy but to kill one is a sin. Lotus- a flower that represents the universe rising out of the primeval waters and manifesting itself in all its glory. Also represents the Sun. Spastics- savants means auspiciousness. It is a symbol of good luck and favor. Also represents the world wheel, eternally changing and revolving around the unchanging God centre. Hindus believe this symbol provides protection against evil spirits.

Important Places in Hinduism The Ganges River Rivers are perceived as the givers of life and agents of fertility, they became known as trash (holy places) because they are the bridge between heaven and earth. The most important festival that takes place on the Ganges occurs ever twelve years and attracts millions of people from all over the world is ladled the Amah Gumbo Meal (great container of celebration). The month long celebration represents a time when the river is believed to turn into purifying nectar, allowing the pilgrims to cleanse their souls as they bathe.

This festival is celebrated by everyone regardless of class, creed or religion. There is a myth explaining the origins of the Amah Gumbo Meal. Thousands of years ago gods and demons agreed to work together in order to obtain the nectar of immortality, and to share it equally. However when the pot containing the nectar appeared, the demons ran away with the pot and were chased by the odds. This resulted in a great war between the demons and gods. This Hindu myth says that during the battle four drops fell of the nectar fell where the festival Amah Gumbo Meal is now held: Allahabad, Harridan, Jinni, and Nanas.

The Hindu devotees believe that at the Amah Gumbo Meal they will receive special blessing, make a mends for the past actions or cure and illness. The people also believe that the Ganges River may liberate their soul from the cycle of reincarnation. People tend to bring the sick and dying to this river for this reason and many Hindus wish to have their ashes sprinkled on he Ganges. Other sacred places that people visit are associated with a particular god. Fore example people go to the city of Today (birthplace of the god Ram) or visit important temples dedicated to specific gods and goddesses, such as the Kali Temple in Calcutta.

Contemporary problems have caused disbelief in the Hindu people. The pollution in the Ganges River, contradicts the belief that the river is for purification. Temples and Shrines Hindus worship in temples or shrines. After the Brahmins priests perform heir special functions at temples or shrines the Hindu worshipers will make offering to the temple god or gods. These consist of flowers, vegetarian food or money, this is done with intention to receive blessings from the gods, accumulate good karma or fulfilling a vow.

The ritual of worship can take place in a Hindus home before the house hold icon, in either a separate room or in the kitchen, which is considered to be the purest room in the house. Hindus often take the deity’s blessing in the form of a mark of sandalwood paste or turmeric powder on the forehead. In addition to this incense must be lit. In the temple or shrine the ritual of worship is performed behind a retain or the inner part of the shrine or temple, away from the view of ordinary Hindu.

When the priests finish their part of the ritual, the curtain will be drawn of the priests emerge from the inner sanctum. The devotees will then receive a vision of the deity. In the final part the priests wave their lamps in a circular motion before the icons. The priests will take the lamps to the devotees, who cup their hands over the flames and touch their eyes and faces, bringing the light and warmth of the deity to themselves. The devotees accept the turmeric powder or sandalwood paste to mark their foreheads ND thus the ritual is complete.

The devotees walk away with blessed food to be eaten later. Continuity: the role of tradition and cultural heritage: Hinduism can be described as a philosophy or ‘way of life’ rather than a religion. Aspects such as work and family life are inseparable from the Hindu religion (contrasted against western society) Dharma: The concept of dharma pervades the lives of Hindus For the cosmos to operate harmoniously, each individual has certain obligations and duties that must be observed. Hind’s duties and obligations are tied to their class (Verna) and their life stage (ashram).

Dharma is the source of moral law One must follow a pattern of ideal behavior with moral, social, and ritual obligations. Dharma determines custom made sets of rules for each individual. To fulfill ones dharma duty is to love true to one’s rightful place within the universe- an individual demonstrates devotion to God. Failure to keep to the right path may generate bad karma and jeopardize monks. Baghdad-Gait: doing the work natural to one’s self, on incurs no guilt. Class and caste: Verna is one of the enduring features that have withstood the immense changes that India has undergone.

Caste affects what occupation Hindus follow, their choice of marriage partners, what food they must eat and others. Each person has innate qualities (guns) which predetermine the class they belong to, according to karma- each person gets to experience each Verna stage in some lifetime. Four Varian: Brahmins: teachers and priests Swastikas: warriors, nobles and kings Visas: commoners- farmers, businessmen Shudders: servants and laborers Other category: ‘untouchables’ their work was considered dirty and spiritually polluting, this group had to live in special districts Today, castes are explained:

Brahmins: priests and may have government jobs Other upper castes: business people and landowners Lower castes (37%): laborers and temple servants Dalais- untouchables, waste disposal burning the dead. Hindus believe they can be polluted by eating food cooked by the lower caste or drinking the same Water. Sati represent a proliferation Of social groups from within the Verna system. Role of the Government: Modern India: government attempts to crates a fairer society by providing public education and equality of opportunity, has undermined the traditional caste system.

Discrimination based on class/caste is illegal- feelings associated with belonging to a certain caste still remain. As an affirmative action strategy: the government reserves jobs for members of the lower class. This causes conflict with upper castes. In more westernizes cities, eating together and social mixing is normal. Continuity: Caste still remains important in rural areas, especially concerning marriage. Heredity and religion teaching has enabled the class (Verna) and caste (sati) system to survive. Endogamy is still observed during matchmaking for marriages- marrying someone within ones birth group.

Five daily Duties of a Hindu: As well as attending to the duties associated with work and stage in life, a Hindu must perform paunch amah wagons (five daily duties). If performed correctly, they will provide guidance in everyday life and bring peace and prosperity. And good karma! 1. Worship God in the form of family deity in the home shrine through prayers and meditation. Creates sense Of togetherness and person becomes God conscious. 2. Study the Veda and other sacred scripts. Acquires knowledge. 3. Contemplates the teachings of holy persons and the family’s forebears.

Preserves family values. 4. Provide food for those in need. 5. Serve guests with love, respect and reverence. Embodies traditional hospitality expected of Hindu. The Epics: The great epics poems- the Ramadan and the Inhabitant- are aspects of tradition that play and important role in teaching the truths associated with Hinduism. Presented through the mediums of text, film, theatre, dance and television. They convey the values and norms Hindu peoples should embrace. The Ramadan tells a story of Prince Ram rescuing his wife Sits from Human, the Monkey King.

It was written as a religious and ethical code of conduct for Hindus, conveying the values of nobility, faithfulness, loyalty, devotion, love and respect. Shadbush and sadists: An example of individual persons; life being influenced by the traditions of Hinduism. These holy persons renounce worldly life order in order to achieve salvation (forth stage life – Punished). They choose to live a life alone on the edge of society, beside banks of holy rivers or in the wilderness. They where only ochre robes or are naked.

Gender roles within Hinduism: Traditional gender roles are those that are represented in the sacred scriptures (notably, the epic poems and the Laws of Mann). Women were required to be faithful and devoted to their husbands. Also, obedient, meek and respectful A husband needed to be respectful and hold his wife in the highest regard in order for the family to flourish. Marriage: Considered the most important of all the Hindu life cycle rituals. Laws of Mann states that married life is regarded as a sacrifice and a person who enters this life stage without sacrifice (marriage). Considered half a man or woman.

Hindu women in traditional communities are exploited by men and suffer because of their position within the power structure. Their status is very low and do not own property and widows are prohibited from remarrying. Hindu Marriage and Hindu Widows Remarriage Act (1 sass) enable women to inherit property, legalized divorce and allowed to remarry. However, attitudes and actual practices are taking longer to change. Until it was made illegal, some women would burn themselves on their husbands’ funeral pyres. Traditionally, women’s role in Hindu society is one of the homemaker and mother, subservient to her husband and under his authority.

Patriarchal nature- egg: only men are allowed to be priests and only sons can perform funeral rites. Another practice that influences women’s and men’s lives is the arrangement of marriages. Parents arrange a couple of the same sati. Should be noted: not all Hindus hold fast to traditional values associated with women and family. Divorce: Marriage is a sacrament and is a permanent union. By correctly performing the domestic and social rituals, the couple’s debt to the god’s are repaid. And by having children, their debts to the ancestors are repaid. It is important to maintain the marriage bonds.

Divorce is rare in Hindu society. The man may be able to divorce his wife on certain grounds, but she can not to the same. The Kumara Goddess: In Nepal, there is a tradition of selecting one young girl to be a living goddess. To be selected, the girls are locked in a darkroom filled with severed buffalo heads. The true Kumara (believed to be an incarnation of the goddess Durra), is said to be the one who comes out at ease from the ideal. She is whisked away from her family (they can only visit formally). She is to appear several times a day in elaborate gold garments and to bless devotees.

She is forced to retire when she reaches puberty. Human rights lawyers in Nepal are calling for this tradition to end. They believe the girls’ rights are being violated The rights of the child say that you can not exploit children in the name of culture. And yet the Kumara is forced to give up her childhood. They state that there is also know counseling service for the Kumara to receive after the psychological drama she has been put through. Others believe that the tradition is misunderstood. Kumara girls now receive education form public tutors and they are highly respected afterwards.

The advises: Hindu women temple dancers: One specific role for Hindu women was to be a temple dancer. They danced for the delight of Lord Siva and were spiritually married to him. Change for Hindu women: The power and leadership of the Brahmins and the dominance of ales in Hindu society has long affected the lives of women. Laws of Mann states that women should not be independent. Today, a small proportion of women have asserted their independence by gaining tertiary qualifications at institutions such as the Women’s University in Iambi.

Some work as lawyers, engineers, accountants, journalists and managers. However, the majority of women remain subject to their men. But the emerging independence of women reflects that some women understand the possibilities for them outside of Hindu tradition. Traditional laws discriminating against women have been abolished. Girls receive equal education. There are no longer laws to prevent the rise of women to the highest ranks in India- Nadir Ghanaian showed by twice becoming prime minister. The Array Assam Movement: Early 1 sass- aimed to restore Hinduism to its pure Vivid form (rational and ethical).

Also advocated these reforms: Marriage from choice Abolition of child marriage Education for women Temporary alliance for widows and widowers for companionship. Encouragement for women to take their rightful place in Hindu society followed. They should be treated justly. Some changes resulted from this movement, but have been tempered by the dominance Of males. Gandhi: ‘I am firmly of the opinion that Indian’s salvation depends on the enlightenment of her women. To call women the weaker sex is man’s injustice to women’.

Positive women role models: Nadir Ghanaian and the holy Mother Sir Sahara Divide. They seek to challenge male dominance and speak frequently in Western countries. Women’s Movement in Hinduism: As a result of globalization, the Hindu women’s movement is being influenced by the ideologies of women’s groups in western societies (feminism). Hindu women face the challenge of implementing non-traditional ides that question he subordinate and passive aspects of traditional women roles in Hinduism. Deep Meat’s film Fire- about the exploration Of a lesbian relationship and confronts traditionalists.

Mannish- a journal/magazine that explores the notion that men and women are equal. It collects articles about women’s lives and work. Mannish sees its role as helping to make society more just and humane. The Future for Hindu Women: The challenge of the feminist movement is to balance traditional and change. Traditional Hinduism- women are seen as subordinate, nurturing, passive and giving. Recently, there has seen growth of religious fundamentalism. Change- Global Hinduism has allowed the voices of women to be heard.

There is increasing participation of women (of higher classes) in management bureaucracy. Not everyman lives out her life in the shadow of her husband- ‘l am far too busy cooking for him to have any time to waste in worshipping him! ‘ Also, the woman holds considerable authority in the home as the mistress of the household and mother of the children. Aspects Of Continuity and Change: Conflict between the continuity desired by fundamentalist Hindus and the change pursued by those who embrace Western values and lifestyles (due to libations and technology).

Globalization and technology: Global consumerism and introduction of new technologies such as satellite TV’ and the Internet have allowed western ideals to intrude on the conservative values of Hinduism. Traditional cultural values are being challenged as acculturation (learning process where knowledge is transferred from one culture to another- in this case through secondary contact through the media) brings Hindu society into contact with different ideologies. A major component of globalization is westernizes. Western-style consumerism, fashion, attitudes and music are infiltrating this on-western culture.