Lesson video

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Hello, welcome back.

I'm Mr. Hutchinson and this is religious education, and we're learning all about Hinduism.

We already have nailed some of the key beliefs, the history, the concepts.

You've learned so much.

And today we're going to perhaps, look at the most important concept of all.

It's the concept of Brahman.

And our big question for today is who is Brahman, but as you will see, that might actually be the wrong question.

Maybe we should be asking what is Brahman? Because the Hindus, Brahman is everything.

It is the eternal ultimate purpose, the final cause, the unchanging, uncaused reality that everything is.

That's what we're going to be discussing today.

I can't wait.

Nothing better to discuss than the eternal unending nature of reality and that's Brahman, and that's what Hindus take to be Brahman.

So, you will need an exercise book, and a pencil, all of your equipment, you know the drill by now.

Make sure you've got that there and distractions away, please, so that we can just focus on this.

Might hurt your brain a little bit, so make sure that that is focused and not worrying about anything else for this lesson.

In this lesson, we're going to discuss some Hindus' understandings of God and gods because Hinduism is a polytheistic religion.

Poly, many, theism, to do with God.

They believe in many gods, perhaps millions of gods.

They believe in one ultimate reality, Brahman, and that God can have many avatars and avatar literally means descent.

So, you might have heard that in terms of video games of having an avatar.

Avatar means descent.

So, God descending coming down onto earth in some form.

And Brahman can be.

Well, we'll get to that in a moment, I don't want to jump the gun.

We'll then look at some of the feminine aspects of the divine or of God.

So, first of all, Hindus' understandings of God.

There is this idea of Brahman, and Brahman is the Supreme Spirit.

Brahman can take many forms, but it is everything.

It is the entire entirety of reality.

It's sometimes understood as an ocean.

Brahman is the oce.

So, if everything that exists is an ocean, it's all one thing, it's all fundamentally one substance.

Now, you can get drops sort of coming away, but they're still part of the ocean and they return to the ocean.

And so, Brahman is everything and everything is Brahman.

Brahman causes everything to happen, but Brahman isn't caused itself or himself, or herself as we will see.

Now, when I say that it takes many forms..

Oh, sorry.

First of all, so, what does Brahman mean? This is one of the absolute key concepts.

We've already discussed some of the other major concepts like Moksha and Atman.

Brahman in Hindu understanding is for every action there's a reaction or a consequence.

The power that supports the universe.

One Supreme Spirit, although taking many forms, or spiritual realisation and freedom, being at one with Brahma.

What is the.

what does Brahman mean? Choosing your answer? Well done if you said the Supreme Spirit, taking many different forms. Some of those other words, you.

Some of those other descriptions you may think, Oh, I remember what that's referring to, that's another key idea in Hinduism.

Well done if you did good to sort of like put all these together and organise them in your mind, but today we're focusing on Brahman.

So, Brahman is the ultimate reality, but has these avatars, takes these different forms, and these are known as gods, and there are lots and lots, and lots of gods.

There are local deities, deities in other word for God, there are local deities.

And there are some other, I'm going to say more major deities, major gods, worshipped by most Hindus and seen as more important by most Hindus.

And there are three that are often taken to be the most important.

And they're known as the Trimurti.

So, you might see the root word, tri there meaning three.

And these different three forms have specific jobs, specific functions that are very, very important.

So, first of all, there's Brahma.

Don't confuse Brahma with Brahman, they're different, okay? Brahman, ultimate reality, all of everything.

Brahma, on the other hand, is the source of creation, okay? So, Brahma is the creator God.

Vishnu is the God that's responsible for bringing harmony, keeping good things on earth.

And Shiva is the sometimes known as the destroyer God, the God of destruction, because within Hinduism, there is this idea that for new things to come about, old things have to be destroyed.

And so, the act of destruction is often seen in a sort of positive way because it's allowing new things to be created, in that same way that if a piece of fruit rots away, it's being destroyed, but what happens then is a new tree is able to sprout out, the seed and the food that sort of provided, the first licence sort of provided from that rotting away.

And so, Shiva the destroyer God is worshipped and seen as a key God within Hinduism, alongside Brahma and Vishnu.

So, can you answer this question here? Who are the three gods who make up Brahman, make up the ultimate reality, or the three gods whom Brahman takes the form of often major gods within Hinduism? Can you write down their names here? Okay, let's see if you can remember.

So, these aren't the only three gods within Hinduism, but three gods with which Brahman often acts through as avatars, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.

Give yourself a tick if you got them, well done.

Important to remember those major gods.

So, we talked a little bit in the last lesson about Samsara, and about Atman, that sort of soul, that spark of life, that spark of spirit of the Hindus, the Atman, that spark of spirit, is a spark of God, a spark of divinity, a spark of Brahman, and any living thing within, for most Hindus, any living thing has that spark of divinity, that spark of Brahman.

And that's why all living things are treated with great respect and won't be harmed because they contain a spark of divinity of Brahman.

So, it doesn't matter whether it's a tree, a butterfly, there's not like little sort of raccoons maybe, or are they lemurs? I don't know, maybe you know.

If you know the name of the animal then, well done, because I'm not a 100% sure on that animal, or people.

And so, each of them hold this sort of spark of divinity.

So, there are those male aspects, avatars of Brahman, the divine, but within Hinduism, there are also female aspects of the divine, women who are also gods.

So, there's one here, who you can see, who is the consort, which is sort of another name for wife.

This is Shiva, the destroyer God, here with Shibi.

You can tell it's Shiva 'cause there's a third eye here, which is almost always closed.

And Shiva is said to.

It's said that Shiva will bring about the destruction of the whole universe at the end times, by doing a special dance.

For most of the time, that third eye is closed, however.

So, here's Shiva, and Shiva's with his consorts and his consort is one of the feminine aspects of God.

And those feminine aspects are sometimes called Shakti, which, it means, it's translation is strength.

And so this is symbolised through the feminine aspects of the divine, within Hinduism.

So, there are a few major female gods within Hinduism, including Saraswati, Lakshmi, Parvati, who is Shiva's consort, and Durga.

So, this is Parvati here, and each of these.

In fact, lots of Hindus will take one of these feminine aspects of the divine as their major God, as the God that they most worship at the temple.

And each of them has a sort of different responsibility.

So, Saraswati is the avatar that is responsible for music, drama, science, poetry.

And so, if Hindus want help in one of those areas, they might worship or pray to, or make offerings to Saraswati.

Lakshmi, so, Lakshmi is responsible for happy family life and financial security.

And so, Lakshmi has become very, very popular amongst many Hindus today.

Parvati is all about caring for others, being patient and wise.

And Durga is a warrior goddess.

And that represents the hidden strength of women and how God is opposed to evil because there's this warrior ready to battle it.

And it's interesting that this ancient religion has this idea of a hidden strength within women that's ready to come out and is apparent and represented within the Durga.

So, take a close look at these cause I'm going to jumble them up and see if you can remember which goddess is responsible for which area.

Here we go.

So, they're all jumbled up.

Can you write the name of the feminine aspect of the divine, and what they are responsible for.

Pause the video and do that now.

Great work, well done.

Hope you got all of those written down, so you can see, there are some of the different gods within Hinduism and what they represent.

So, you can mark your own work.

I trust you.

Saraswati, music, drama, science, poetry.

Lakshmi, happy family life and financial security.

Parvati, caring for others, patience, wisdom.

And Durga that hidden, that warrior got us, that hidden strength and how God is opposed to evil.

So, can you write down the name of one of the feminine deities, and why they're so important within Hinduism? So, just choose one now, write out their name again, and write down why they're so important within Hinduism and what they represent.

I wonder which one you chose and why.

Well done for choosing one of them.

That's the end of today's lesson.

I'd be really interested to see which of the feminine aspects of Hinduism you chose.

Now, there's lots more to learn.

We've only looked at some of the three major gods within Hinduism.

As I said before, there are thousands, hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, and each of those gods is really interesting in terms of what they're responsible for, what their jobs are, what they represent.

So, please do feel free to perhaps gain a bit more understanding, and learn more about each of those different gods.

If you'd like to share your work, including which of the feminine aspects of the divinity you chose, then you can do that by asking your parents or carers to take a photo, and popping it onto social media, and I'd love to read all about it.

You should now have a better understanding of a, the understanding of the Supreme principle, the Supreme Spirit, the idea within Hinduism, that there is one fundamental stuff, one fundamental thing, one fundamental material, although it's a kind of spirit, it's a consciousness, which is Brahman, and everything else within the universe is an aspect of that.

And that Brahman can take avatars or become, take certain forms, which are gods and worshipped as gods within Hinduism, and each of those forms or avatars performs its own function.

Well done for learning more about the gods of Hinduism and the importance of Brahman.

Also, in our next lesson, we're going to learn even more.

Don't forget to do your end of lesson quiz.

It's so important to do, so please don't skip it and I'll see you in our next lesson.

Well done for working so hard.