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Current time:0:00Total duration:10:10

Hinduism: core ideas of Brahman, Atman, Samsara and Moksha.

Video transcript

we're now going to talk about Hinduism which is one of the largest religions on earth practiced by over a billion people and it's interesting for several reasons first it is considered to be one of the oldest religions that is still practiced some historians would place the origins of Hinduism at 5,000 years into the past it has elements that may have been practiced in the Indus Valley Civilisation you also have significant elements that come from the Vedic period in fact the Vedas for which the Vedic period is named really form the root of Hinduism as it is practiced today and is believed that the Vedas come from an indo-aryan people that many historians believe came from Central Asia and were related to many of the people who colonized Europe now the other thing that is fascinating about Hinduism and I really just referred to some of it it is a combination of many cultures that really merged over thousands of years and they merged around the Indian subcontinent as you will see there are many traditions many cultures many different ways that one can and many different ways that people do practice Hinduism but there are also four beliefs that we want to get to the heart of in this video and we'll discuss more in future videos now what's also interesting is where the name Hinduism or Hindu comes from Hindu being someone who practices Hinduism the name for what we now call the Indus River in Sanskrit was Sindhu and Sindh is still a region in the Indian subcontinent the version that the Persian said was Hindus and this got converted to Indus in Latin so really Hinduism is the term for the cultural and religious practices of people beyond the Indus River the word India really comes from the same root in this is where India comes from but in this comes from Indus which comes from Sindhu and these are all related to the word Hindu and you can see that very clearly in the Persian version now as I mentioned there's many different practices in Hinduism many different tradition and many different rituals in Hinduism but I'm going to try to focus in on what could be considered the spiritual core and a lot of this comes out of the Vedas they're a collection of hymns rituals but also philosophy and the subset of the Vedas that are very concerned with the spiritual and the philosophical are known as the Upanishads which means sitting down or coming near - some people say coming near to God some people say coming near to the actual reality or coming near to a teacher as in sitting down to get a lesson or to have a dialogue now the central idea in Hinduism is the idea of a Brahman and Brahman should not be confused with the God Brahma Brahma is sometimes you could view as a aspect of Brahman but Brahman is viewed as the true reality of things it is shapeless genderless bodyless it cannot be described it can only be experienced now according to Hindu belief we are all part of Brahman and what we perceive as our individuality is really you can consider to be a quasi illusion so this might be one individual right over here and then we might have another individual right over here and this separateness the illusion of the reality that we see around us this is referred to as Maya and Maya is not just the illusion or the quasi illusion created by our senses it is even at notions like our ego our identity and within that context that inner self the thing that is even within our that is even deeper than our sense of identity this is referred to as Atman and as you can see the way it's been diagrammed here the way we've drawn it out Atman is essentially the same thing as a Brahman and oftentimes you will you will see it referred to as Atman - Brahman they're really the same thing but it's really a it's an illusion that there is this separateness of our reality now according to Hindu belief in each life you have this core part of yourself which is Atman which is part of Brahman and when you die it doesn't disappear but it will take on or it will subjugate itself to another reality so after death this individual or this perceived in the individual might take on another identity in another reality you would perceive it as a another life and this notion of one life after another one reality after another is sometimes referred to as transmigration of the soul sometimes referred to as reincarnation or this notion of samsara which is this endless cycle of birth and rebirth it really comes from this notion of same flowing to sting this pattern that goes on and on and on and according to Hindu belief what that next life is what that next reality is is based on your actions in this life karma literally is referring to actions but it's really actions driving consequences not only in this reality but in the next reality now there's another notion of Dharma Dharma is based on what is the role you should play given the reality given the life that you are in so in a very simplified way you could say well the Dharma is the rightful role the rightful actions your Duty depending on your role depending on your reality karma is how that action translates into consequences which is going to drive what happens in this endless cycle now a core idea of Hinduism is to try to escape from this cycle to awaken to the true reality awaken from this quasi reality and this is really one of the central ideas of the Upanishads that eventually if you can awaken so let's say that this is an awakening this entity this Othman this self right over here this perceived individual has now awoken and can see through pierces the veil of that Maya now they have rejoined Brahman and they've recognized that atman and brahman are the same and this freeing from samsara from this birth-death cycle this is referred to as moksha now to make this idea a little bit clearer let's look at some quotes from the actual Upanishads so this is two versions from the Isha Upanishad and the reason why I like to show it is because it shows that if you're translating from Sanskrit into English or really from any one language into another there's going to be some room for interpretation but we concede here so this is from the Isha Upanishad with this which is considered one of the most important ones it's a subset it's a section of the yajuro veda one of the four early Vedas and they write and this is an English translation the wise man behold all beings in the self or the Atman and the self and all beings for that reason he does not hate anyone - the seer all things have barely become the self what delusion what sorrow can there be for him who be holds that oneness this is another version of the same verses from the Isha Benicia he who sees all beings in the self and the self and all beings he never turns away from it the self for he who perceives all beings of the self how can there be delusion or grief when he sees this oneness everywhere so I might be getting into an argument with someone but it deep down if I recognize that both myself and that individual that we are part of this same brahmand that he is me and i am it where i am he well then that anger seems a little bit misguided now to get a little bit more context on this notion of oneness here is another verse from the chung yoga Upanishad which is also considered one of the significant Upanishads and it's part of the sama Veda as the rivers flowing east and west merge into sea and become one with it forgetting they were separate rivers so do all creatures lose their separateness when they merge at last into pure being into brahman there is nothing that does not come from him and the use of the word him is really an anthropomorphism of this notion that has really no gender or body or form of everything he is the inmost self he is the truth he is the self supreme you are that Chevette taka - you are that and this last verse is referring it's in this Tondo gaya Upanishad it's a conversation between the teacher and his son and the son is Chevette that gay - i'm my apologies for pronunciation so once he's saying that these rivers is an analogy for you and I and we might see ourselves as different but at some point we will flow and become one with the ocean and he's pointing out to his son you are not different from that you yourself your Atman it is Brahman it is one and the same