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Flashcards in Hinduism Deck (26):

Hinduism is indigenous to what part(s) of the world?

The Indian subcontinent


How many Hindus are there in the world today?

Around 1 billion


What are Hinduism's three most important texts?

  1. The Vedas
  2. The Mahabharata
  3. The Ramayana


Is Hinduism polytheistic? Why or why not?


Hinduism asserts a single Supreme Being called Brahman, but incorporates the worship of several different gods that represent Brahman's different aspects.


Around when did Hinduism begin to exist?

Its roots stretch back as far as 2000 B.C.E.

  • It was codified in the Vedic texts beginning around 1500 B.C.E.
  • Hinduism is unique among major world religions in that it has no single founder


What are the Vedas?

The most important Hindu text(s)

  • Essentially complete by 1200 B.C.
  • Four collections of verses: Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, Atharva Veda


According to Hinduism, what are the four purposes or aims in life?

  1. Dharma – duty (generally meaning one's vocation)
  2. Artha – wealth (the pursuit of worldly success)
  3. Kama – physical pleasure
  4. Moksha – the most important: enlightenment, liberation, union with God


What is yoga?

Union of the self with the Hindu Supreme Being

Generally, refers to one of the many paths toward enlightenment


What three aspects of the Supreme Being make up the Trimurti, the central trinity of Hinduism?

  1. Brahma (the Creator)
  2. Vishnu (the Preserver)
  3. Shiva (the Destroyer)


What are some important attributes of the Hindu god Brahma?

The Creator

  • Has never been worshipped extensively, despite being one of the three main gods of Hinduism
  • In depictions, wears red clothes and does not carry weapons


What are some important attributes of the Hindu god Vishnu?

Protector and preserver of creation

  • Embodiment of mercy, kindness, and peace
  • Almost always has four arms and is often depicted lying on a serpent
  • Consort is Lakshmi


What are some important attributes of the Hindu god Shiva?

Transformer and destroyer

  • Destroys the world at the end of each cycle (before Brahma creates it again)
  • Associated with dance and meditation
  • Consort is Parvati


In Hinduism, what is Devi or Shakti?

The Mother Goddess or female aspect of the divine

Her many forms include Lakshmi, Kali, Parvati, and Durga


What are some important attributes of the Hindu goddess Kali?

  • Ferocious and destructive form of the Mother Goddess
  • Usually depicted with blue skin, wearing a necklace of skulls and a belt of severed limbs


What are some important attributes of the Hindu goddess Lakshmi?

  • Consort of Vishnu
  • Associated with wealth, happiness, pleasure, and good fortune


What are some important attributes of the central Hindu figure Krishna?

  • Eighth incarnation of Vishnu
  • Central character in much Hindu mythology, including the Bhagavad Gita
  • Embodiment of love and divine joy
  • Often depicted as a young man playing a flute


What are the four main levels of the Hindu caste system?

  1. Brahmins
  2. Kshatriyas
  3. Vaishyas
  4. Shudras

Note: there are many of subcastes.


In the Hindu caste system, what is the role of brahmins?

  • The highest caste
  • Priests and preservers of knowledge and tradition


In the Hindu caste system, what is the role of kshatriyas?

  • The second-highest caste after Brahmins
  • Warrior class
  • Responsible for protecting others, especially brahmins, and dispensing justice
  • Allowed to study the Vedas


In the Hindu caste system, what is the role of vaishyas?

  • The third-highest caste after brahmins and kshatriyas
  • Peasants and merchants
  • Have the right to lend money, own land, and study the Vedas


In the Hindu caste system, what is the role of shudras?

  • The labor caste
  • Their role is to serve the higher castes, and they are not allowed to study sacred texts


What is the Ramayana?

An epic Hindu poem written around the 2nd century B.C.E.

Tells the story of Rama, the 7th incarnation of Vishnu


What is the Bhagavad Gita?

The single most popular Hindu text

  • A section from the Mahabharata
  • A "manual for mankind," outlining major philosophical concepts of Hinduism, as well as several types of yoga
  • Central figure and teacher of the Bhagavad Gita is Krishna


What is atman?

The "true self" within each person, which is identical to the Hindu Supreme Being, Brahman


What is Diwali?

The Hindu "festival of lights," a five-day festival celebrated between mid-October and mid-November


What is Holi?

A Hindu holiday celebrating the arrival of spring in early to mid-March

Involves general merrymaking, most famously spraying people with multicolored paints