WEB VIDEO This PBS 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.

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 PBS video 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. The discussion questions are: Why do you think there are so many expressions of the "Mother Goddess in India?" Identify the attributes of Kali. Beyond the complex symbolism associated with Kali, what do you think she represents?


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.

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.

Diwali in the Classroom: A Parent's Perspective

WEB TEACHER RESOURCE Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, is celebrated by more than a billion people all over the world. Here are a few ways you can teach your students about Diwali, and at the same time promote multicultural understanding. By Gauri Manglik Teaching Tolerance

Good and Evil? Dynamic Opposites in the Story of Rama

WEB LESSON Students brainstorm the qualities of good and evil and draw conclusions about the Balinese concept of "dynamic" or balanced opposites. Then, students will relate the idea of "dynamic opposites" in the Ramayana (Story of Rama) to present-day situations by identifying a current problem, creating a visual identify for their own pair of opposing characters, and scripting a dialogue. Elem - MS

Shiva - Creator, Protector, and Destroyer

WEB LESSON This Metropolitan Museum of Art lesson helps students understand Hindu art and its meaning. As they examine the metal sculpture of Shiva as Lord of the Dance from the 11th c., students use visual evidence to support interpretations of a work of art, make personal connections to this works of art, and build understanding of Hindu symbolism. MS-HS