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Who is Krishna? Hinduism in India

By | 2017-07-21T10:37:03+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

The god Krishna killing the horse demon (Guptan Empire, 400s AD,now in Metropolitan Museum, NYC) Krishna was one of the Hindu gods. He was actually just one of the many forms of the god Vishnu. People thought of Krishna as one reincarnation of Vishnu. The god Krishna doesn't appear in Indian stories before about 300 BC. Probably he [...]

What is karma? Hinduism – India

By | 2017-07-21T10:31:29+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Jataka Tales about karma: King Siva offers his body to save a dove from a hawk, and King Candraprabha is so generous that he gives away his own head (Mogao Caves, China, about 500 AD) Karma is the Sanskrit word for "action" or "doing something." It comes from an earlier Indo-European word meaning "to make" or "to [...]

Jainism – religion in medieval India

By | 2017-07-21T09:23:04+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

A Jain statue, possibly Mahavira, from about 1200 AD Nobody knows when people first began to follow Jain ideas. Some Jain traditions take their history back to about 2000 BC, in the Harappan period. The first definite evidence of Jain faith, though, comes from about 650 BC, with the Jain leader Parshvanatha. We don't know much for [...]

Indra, god of rain – Ancient India

By | 2017-07-21T09:16:14+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Indra, 4-5th c. AD (Mathura, India) In the earliest Hindu stories that we know of, from the Rig Veda, Indra is the ruler of the Hindu gods, the way Zeus is the ruler of the Greek gods, or Thor the ruler of the German gods. These stories probably go back at least to about 1000 BC. In the Rig Veda, Indra [...]

Religion in India – Ancient India

By | 2017-07-21T08:57:27+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Lights of a Diwali celebration Three major world religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam - have been important in India. Hinduism started in India in the Stone Age. Buddhism started in India and spread from India to the rest of Asia. Islam went the other way: it started in West Asia and then came to India. Nobody knows much about the [...]

What is Hinduism? A religion of India

By | 2017-10-14T16:35:20+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion, What|

Arjuna fighting Karna, with Krishna as his charioteer (Duttapara Temple, ca. 1500s AD) The word Hindu comes from the river Indus, and it just means the people who live near the Indus river (actually in modern Pakistan). The Harappa people who lived near that river about 2500 BC carved images of several different gods on their clay seals. We can't read Harappan writing, [...]

Who was Ganesh? – Hinduism – India

By | 2017-07-21T08:45:00+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Ganesh (Musee Guimet, Paris, from Tamil Nadu, ca. 1500 AD) Ganesh was one of the Hindu gods. He has an elephant head, so he's easy to spot in Indian art. Usually Ganesh also has a big belly and four arms. Sometimes Ganesh is dancing, or eating candy, or riding on a mouse. People in India first began to [...]

Rangoli – Colored patterns – Hinduism project

By | 2017-07-21T08:41:25+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

A woman creates a pattern with colored sand for Diwali All over India, women use colored rice flour or wheat flour, or colored sand, to make patterns on the ground to celebrate holidays like Diwali. People in India call these patterns rangoli After the celebration, they just sweep up and the floor is clean again. You can make your own rangoli [...]

Hinduism project – India religions

By | 2017-07-21T08:39:17+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Airavetesavara temple to Shiva in southern India (1100s AD) For a great project on Hinduism, and to learn the important vocabulary of this religion, write words related to Hinduism on pieces of paper and put them in a hat. Two kids draw a word, and then have to act it out or tell a story [...]

Diwali – the Festival of Lights – Hinduism – India

By | 2017-07-21T08:36:06+00:00 July 21st, 2017|India, Religion|

Flowers and Diwali lamps Diwali is a Sanskrit word originally meaning "a row of lights" - "dipa" is the Sanskrit word for "light". Diwali is an Indian harvest festival celebrating the end of the hard work of harvesting food. People celebrate that now there is plenty of food to last through the winter. Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains all celebrated Diwali [...]