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Lecture 3

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RELI 2510
Richard Mann

RELI 2510: Hinduism nd January 22 , 2013 **TA Info: [email protected], office hours Tuesday 2-3pm, 2A56 Patterson Hall **  Altar of Fire – YouTube video, training of Brahmans Creation Hymns in the Vedas  Two streams of Vedic thought 1. RV 10.129 > speculative knowledge, from the ineffable (neither this nor that) to the many, an answer beyond orders/words/structure 2. RV 10.90 > ritual/action, a sacrifice based model, orders/duty and roles - The first says that world doesn’t matter/isn’t really here, the 2 say it does matter - Not polar opposites but dynamic tension, do find ways of working together/influencing each other - The tradition doesn’t really break it into two units, professor has done so to make it clearer  Other creation hymns: RV 10.121 The Unknown God, the Golden Embyro The Vedic Sacrifice th th  Around the 6 and 4 century BCE we begin to see a re-emergence of a traceable, material culture - Vedic people beginning to settle - Ganges basin is very lush, produces a great amount of food o Well suited for urbanization o Natural cycle of rains that were very predictable o Agricultural system able to develop – water able to be stored in patty/rice fields - People begin to live in cities - Begin to see art o Significant gap o Gap filled by people doing Vedic rites  Chronology - The 4 Vedas: 1500-1000 BCE - The Brahmanas: 1100-800 BCE - The Age of Karman: 1100-600 BCE o When Vedic rites are at their heights o Can trace major religious practise – appear to be Vedic rituals - The Vedic Tradition: 1500-400 BCE o In serious decline o End of tradition is the Upanishads (develop speculative side – Vedic tradition doesn’t die out though *minority+)  The Age of Karman 1 - The Period of Vedic Sacrifice - Karman is a noun, karma is from this, karman comes from the root word of kr (do, perform) - Karman literally means the doer, performer, the one who does the rite is the Karman o Relates to doing Vedic rites (karma is initially thought to be the fruit of these rites) o Age of ritual Vedic actions - Period where Vedic rites are really at their heights - Vedic rites can be summarized as fire cults o All types o Big rites (crowning kings) and daily/weekly rites o Soma (Vedic gods enjoy it, liquid from a soma plant, don’t really know what it is [probably a mountain plant, texts worry when they move to cities because they can’t get it+, hymns of praise for Soma, maybe a deity, maybe a hallucinogen) and ghi (butter) - Sacrificial fire cult o The age of ritual action o Give up something in order to get something o Two main categories  Srauta: 3 fires, raised altar (vedi), various priests, an animal offering, a yajamana  Priests of various traditions  Biggest animal is a horse – kings, normally goats  Yajamana – karman – always a he (from top 3 varnas), must be in a productive marriage, wife must be living and present at the rite (underlying meanings of rites are fertility and prosperity)  Typically complex multi-day rites  Grhya: 1 fire, 1 priest, grain and ghi offerings, samskara  Lifecycle rites – samskaras  Priest is typically the male householder (top 3 varnas)  Very simple  Typically all of the caste groups are meant to keep sacred burning all day  Personal rites (marriage, naming, funeral, etc.) - Srauta rites regeneration and royalty o Particularly important for royalty to do o Need a king to do moon rites/pay for them, fertility rites o Kings had an important role o Kings became king by being fertile o Also thought to keep time going – symbolically sacrifice the cosmic man, organic cosmos needed energy o Universal needs - cosmos - Main concerns of the rits 2 1. Materialism o Accepted in Vedic rites o Need to give up material stuff to get stuff o Want things – which is okay in the tradition o Acceptance that wealth is a good thing o Sign of religious goodness/doing things right then you had money o Wasn’t a lot of stuff until the settled and development cities (abundance, surplus of good) 2. Performance o Doing the rites correctly really matters (accent, meter important) o Things meant to be said exactly as its supposed to be o Texts say that if you made one mistake then the Karman (person funding the rite) gets the opposite of what they asked for (wealth – poverty, healthy sons – dead sons) o Timing is also important o Very specific – spark fire with a certain type of wood, certain types of rocks enclose the fire o Perfection of performance was an issue o The Brahmanas comment mainly on the performance  Looking at the different ways that different groups do the rites  Idea that there are hidden chains/links/bonds (bandhus) between the words, chants and parts of the cosmos  Lots of competitions – each develop rationale as to why they did things better o Beginning of Hindu philosophy  How come?
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