Beliefs About Deity and Humanity

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  • Hinduism - The Concept of God
    • Bhakti - God is love, and love is God.
      • Apara-Bhakti - for beginners in yoga. in this form of Bhakti the worshipper sees god trhough the images they use in worship.
      • Nishkamya Bhakti - the worshipper seeks to become one with god and receive spiritual blessings such as wisdom and power
      • Sakamya Bhakti - devotion with desire for material gain such as wealth and health
      • Para-Bhakti - the highest form of bhakti. the worshipper sees and feels god everywhere around them
    • Brahman And Atman
      • The Relationship Between Brahman and Atman
        • To monists, they are the same. However to some Hindus they are dual - atman is a part of Brahman. Comparisons for this are space outside and inside a jar and the story of Svetaketu and Uddalaka.
      • The Concept of Atman
        • Atman is the Hindu concept of the soul. Sometimes called 'the divine spark', it is present within all living beings.
        • Paramatman - The Supreme Self or God. This ties into the belief that the atman is a part of Brahman.
        • Jiva-atman - the individual self or soul.
      • The Concept of Brahman
        • Nirguna Brahman - God without attributes. all descriptions are limited and incomplete as Brahman is something beyond words and thoughts.
        • Saguna Brahman - God with attributes. God is given a title and a description that saves human limitedness, thus giving Hindus something tangible to worship. Ties into Bhakti - loving devotion.
        • Sat, Cit and Anada - Pure being, pure consciousness and pure bliss
        • Shankara's Two Levels - Shankara believed that Brahman could be understood on two spiritual levels. The higher spiritual level is Nirguna Brahman and the lower spiritual level is Saguna Brahaman.
    • The Cycle of Samsara
      • Karma
        • the principle of cause and effect, operating on a moral basis
      • Reincarnation
        • the process of the soul transmigrating into a new body.
    • Vaishnavism and Shaivism
      • Shaivism
        • Shaivas place great emphasis on The Vedas  such as  Rudram and Chamakam
        • Sacred ash is an important part of worship as it shows reverence and respect
        • Worship can take place in temples or at home
        • priests are called Shivacharyas
        • Shaivas worship Shiva's consort Parvarti and their two sons
        • Nataraja temple is the holiest Shaiva temple
        • Shiva is worshipped in two forms - linga and human
        • Shaivas believe Shiva to be the Supreme God
      • Vaishnavism
        • Bhakti - God is love, and love is God.
          • Apara-Bhakti - for beginners in yoga. in this form of Bhakti the worshipper sees god trhough the images they use in worship.
          • Nishkamya Bhakti - the worshipper seeks to become one with god and receive spiritual blessings such as wisdom and power
          • Sakamya Bhakti - devotion with desire for material gain such as wealth and health
          • Para-Bhakti - the highest form of bhakti. the worshipper sees and feels god everywhere around them
        • Also worship Vishnu's avatars as Hindus believe there is no difference
        • Festivals and worship are elaborately observed
        • Is full of dancing and chanting of holy names
        • Important scriptures are The Vedas and the Puranas
        • believe god and the soul are distinct from each other
        • Their main aim is moksha. they believe Vishnu is the soul of the universe
        • Vaishnavism is very devotional and stresses the personal aspects of God
    • The Trimurti
      • Vishnu - The Preserver
        • Woship
          • Supreme God of Vaishnavism not just one aspect of him
          • Often his avatars such as Krishna are worshipped like gods.
        • Consort(s)
          • Lakshmi - Goddess of wealth
        • Symbolism
          • holds a discus with six spokes - symbolizes the s six seasons, is also a fearful weapon used to behead evil demons
          • holds a conch shell - represents the five elements, symbolizes creativity. when blown makes the 'aum' sound.
          • lotus represents the power from which the universe emerges
          • Four arms - symbolize his all-powerful nature
          • blue skin symbolizes his all-pervasive nature like the sky and sea
          • mace represents the force from which all power derives
        • Avatars
          • 5. Vamana (dwarf)
          • 4. Narasimha (half man, half lion)
          • 6. Parashurama
          • 3. Varaha (boar)
          • 7. Rama
          • 2. Kurma (tortoise)
          • 8. Krishna
          • 1. Matsya (fish)
          • 10. Kalki (yet to appear)
          • 9. Buddha
      • Brahma - The Creator
        • Consort(s)
          • Saraswati - Goddess of learning
        • Symbolism
          • Four heads, faces and arms - story of Shatarupa
          • Holds a scepter shaped like a spoon - represents the pouring of holy ghee into sacrificial pyre as Brahma is the lord of sacrifices
          • Holds pot of water or coconut shell to symbolize the beginning of creation
          • Rosary beads to keep track of the Universe's time
          • Swan represents justice
        • Worship
          • Although Brahma is prayed to in all religious sites, he is the most ignored of the trimurti and has only two temples in India.
          • Jaipur - religious festival where pilgrims bathe in the holy lake in Brahma's honour
      • Shiva - The Destroyer
        • Symbolism
          • trident - represents the trimurti and past, present and future
          • drum - makes the 'aum' sound
          • third eye - represents his wisdom and omniscient nature
          • Vibhuti - sacred ash
          • Crescent - shows power of offering sacrifices and control over time
          • Long matted hair - represents him as lord of the wind
          • Cobra Necklace - symbolizing Shiva being beyond death
        • Worship
          • Shiva is worshipped directly by his followers unlike Vishnu who is worshipped through his avatars
          • Shiva-Ratri (Shiva's Night) is a festival held in his honour
        • Consorts
          • Devi, mother goddess
            • Kali
            • Pavarti
        • Titles
          • God of storms
          • lord of ascetics
          • lord of the dance
          • God of opposites
          • God of reproduction and sexuality - linga
  • Vaishnavism
    • Also worship Vishnu's avatars as Hindus believe there is no difference
    • Festivals and worship are elaborately observed
    • Is full of dancing and chanting of holy names
    • Important scriptures are The Vedas and the Puranas
    • believe god and the soul are distinct from each other
    • Their main aim is moksha. they believe Vishnu is the soul of the universe
    • Vaishnavism is very devotional and stresses the personal aspects of God
  • Shiva - The Destroyer
    • Symbolism
      • trident - represents the trimurti and past, present and future
      • drum - makes the 'aum' sound
      • third eye - represents his wisdom and omniscient nature
      • Vibhuti - sacred ash
      • Crescent - shows power of offering sacrifices and control over time
      • Long matted hair - represents him as lord of the wind
      • Cobra Necklace - symbolizing Shiva being beyond death
    • Worship
      • Shiva is worshipped directly by his followers unlike Vishnu who is worshipped through his avatars
      • Shiva-Ratri (Shiva's Night) is a festival held in his honour
    • Consorts
      • Devi, mother goddess
        • Kali
        • Pavarti
    • Titles
      • God of storms
      • lord of ascetics
      • lord of the dance
      • God of opposites
      • God of reproduction and sexuality - linga

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