WEB VIDEO This WNET website is password protected but the registration is free. This streaming video from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly depicts Hindus of the Rajdhani Mandir Temple in Chantilly, Va., celebrating the birthday of Lord Krishna on the holy day of Janmashtami. Krishna is the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, a god of the Trimurti. During Janmashtami, Hindus often recreate the story of Krishna's beginnings with a celebration involving a live baby in a cradle. They also rotate a flame clockwise around a Krishna statue and receive offerings made of butter and milk. A printable background essay with discussion questions support classroom use of this video segment.

Hinduism in America

WEB READING & QUESTIONS This Pluralism Project activity asks users to read three short articles: Many Traditions - Many Peoples, The Rush of Gurus, and Dot Busters. This is followed by a set of discussion questions on how the Hindu community is becoming part of American society in New Jersey.

Lessons of the Indian Epics: Following the Dharma

WEB LESSON The epic poem the Ramayana is thought to have been composed more than 2500 years ago, and like the Iliad and the Odyssey, was originally transmitted orally by bards. This lesson will introduce students to the Indian concept of dharma through a reading of the epic, The Ramayana. MS - HS

Lessons of the Indian Epics: The Ramayana: Showing your Dharma

WEB LESSON The story of the Ramayana has been passed from generation to generation by numerous methods and media such as theater, comic books, and television. How do visual images of the Ramayana depict the actions, events and lessons of the epic? To build media literacy, students identify the characters and events from the Ramayana contained in visual depictions of the epic, and discuss the ways in which the images convey non-verbal information and messages, expanding their visual literacy. Using this information students then discuss the similarities and differences in the visual and verbal telling of the Ramayana, and why a storyteller might choose one or the other as their medium. MS - HS

Tracking Early Hinduism: Vedic Period, 15th - 5th Centuries BCE

WEB LESSON India remains one of the most religiously diverse nations in the world. Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jews, and Christians have a home in India. The oldest and most widely practiced religion in India, Hinduism, has deep roots in the subcontinent. Throughout the numerous political upheaval and foreign invasions, Hinduism remained the sole constant throughout the region's history. Hindu beliefs developed over the centuries and include many influences, including numerous sacred texts, thousands of deities, and holy sites that continue to draw millions of pilgrims. Students create a scrapbook of images and text that highlights a virtual tour of the development of ancient Hinduism from the perspective of a foreign traveler just discovering this religion. This lesson supports the PBS documentary "The Story of India" but can be done independently. MS - HS

Durga's Victory: Envisioning Power

WEB LESSON One of most widely worshiped Hindu deities is Durga. She frequently appears in household shrines where she is worshiped as having the power to create life and encourage the growth of grains. Students read an account of Durga is of her victory over the destructive, wicked god Mahisa. They then analyze an image of Durga for representations of her power. MS

Devotion to Kali

WEB VIDEO & DISCUSSION QUESTIONS This video from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly (free registration required) shows devotees of Kali worshiping her by bathing, feeding, clothing and comforting the deity with a gentleness they would extend a small child or honored guest. Widely worshiped by Hindus, Goddess Kali is considered "prime cosmic energy," transcending time and representing simultaneous creation and destruction. A background essay and discussion questions support classroom use of the short video.


WEB VIDEO & DISCUSSION QUESTIONS This video with discussion material from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly (free registration required) shows a reenactment of the event that most Hindus observe as the inspiration for Diwali: Lord Rama's return from exile. Diwali, the annual five-day Festival of Lights, welcomes what is hoped to be an auspicious new year. Hindus also make a "Grand Puja" or ritual prayer towards the end of the Diwali celebration using the elements of both fire and water to communicate with God. A background essay supports the video clip.

Ganesha Chaturti

WEB VIDEO & DISCUSSION QUESTIONS This video from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly describes the rituals and spiritual significance of an 11-day Hindu celebration called Ganesha Chaturthi, honoring Lord Ganesha. Widely regarded as the Remover of Obstacles, Lord Ganesha is one of the most popular gods of India. On the final day of the festival, Lord Ganesha's image is paraded through the streets accompanied by drumbeats, devotional songs and dancing, and then immersed in a river or sea. A background essay and discussion questions support classroom use of the video segment.


WEB VIDEO & DISCUSSION QUESTIONS This streaming video from Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly shows Hindu pilgrims from India and beyond gathering to celebrate Kumbh Mela, which involves the ritual of purification by bathing in four sacred rivers. The pilgrims in the video walk hundreds of miles to bathe in the River Ganges. Kumbh Mela is based upon ancient Hindu mythology and occurs four times during a twelve-year cycle. A background essay and transcript support use of the video clip in the classroom.

Hinduism - Five Faiths Project

WEB LESSON This Ackland Art Museum site of the University of North Carolina features an overview of Hindu beliefs. It links to an art object-based lesson, interview transcripts, and discussion topics.


WEB LESSON Artha, which loosely translates as "getting ahead," is one of four goals of Hinduism. Students explore this concept using a translated political doctrine from 4th century B.C.E. and also through a story about a young boy.

Dharma and Duty

WEB LESSON Dharma is a multi-layered, complex concept and belief that does not have a direct English translation. Although difficult to fully explore in a single lesson, it is one of the main themes of the Bhagavad Gita. In this lesson students become familiar with the Hindu concept of dharma as it is expressed in the Bhagavad Gita. Common Core aligned:MS-HS

Divali (Diwali Festival and Threshold Art

WEB LESSON Throughout the subcontinent of India, women of all ages, castes, and professions, perform the traditional art of threshold painting. Although the styles of design and frequency with which it is painted vary from region to region, the symbolic meaning of this art form is the same: it links Hindu women to the goddess Lakshmi whom they invite to depart her heavenly abode and rest momentarily at their thresholds upon an intricate rice flour diagram. In this manner, the Goddess brings good fortune, enveloping the home in an auspicious sphere of protection.MS-HS

What Is Yoga?

In this lesson, students examine the history and contemporary meaning of yoga. First,students anticipate the reading by assessing their prior knowledge of yoga and the religion of Hinduism. Then students read and discuss an introductory reading about yoga, its religious context in Hinduism, its use as a form of physical discipline in the West, and why it is controversial when used in public schools. Next, in a U.S. government and civics activity, students use the First Amendment to analyze hypothetical examples of schools incorporating teaching about yoga into the curriculum. In a reading activity for English-Language Arts classes, students use context clues and apposition in the reading to define key terms related to yoga. Finally, in an activity for art or world history-social science, students describe examples of religious art to reflect on the history of Hinduism.