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Lecture

Hinduism Lecture Notes Summary

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Department
Religion
Course
RELI 2510
Professor
Richard Mann
Semester
Fall

Description
Fall 2011 Hinduism ­ RELI 2510 Creation • Less worried about narrowing to one story, instead, “It can be any of these things, and possibly more” • Creation hymns provide fundamental being and duty, social orders are postulated. • The world is not chaotic, but ordered and predictable. • Told by Rishis and Covvis: “Seers & Poets” (interchangeable) Rigveda 10.129 • Language isn’t capable or expressing the idea of singularity • Opens with the notion that it can’t really tell you what it is • Prana: “Breathed”, that which gives you the ability to be and do • Water is introduced because it is fundamental to life, i.e. birth • Tapas: “Inner Heat”, Religious energy • Bandhu: “Hidden Connection”, the bond of existence in non-existence • Cosmic reproduction, there is duality • The gods come afterwards, and are therefore a product of creation • We don’t know everything. We have language to express duality, senses to differentiate, These are not capable of understanding singularity  Speculative/knowledge  From the ineffable (neither this nor that) to the many  An answer beyond words/order/structure  No duty, order or structure provided Rigveda 10.90 • Purusha: “Man”, thousand heads – bigger than you can imagine • The cosmos functions on food, that is sacrifices and rituals • Creatures are lesser than the immortal, we can understand a quarter of the universe • The gods sacrifice “The Man” to commence creation, everything was sacrificed and everything was provided, including the tools to redo the sacrifice, also, time begins (seasons) • Sacrifices must be precise  Ritual/action  A sacrifice based model  Order, duty, roles (there are no questions to ask) Fall 2011 Other Creation Hymns RV 10.190 – Cosmic Heat • Tapas, “Inner Heat”, yields order, truth • “The Arranger” RV 10.121 – The Unknown God, The Golden Embryo • Creation is conceived of as an egg: the sun, the sky, the earth are held inside Varna Dvija: “Twice-Born”, Can do Vedic sacrifices if married, or hire other Dvija to do them on their behalf Brahmins: “Priests”, born from the mouth. Kshatriyas: “Warriors”, born from the arms Vaishya: “Merchants”, no manual work Shudra: “The not Twice-Born”, born from the feet, unclean, working class, outcast from religious practice Jati: Context sensitive ranking system, works in villages moreso than cities The Vedic Sacrifice Age of Karman: • Karman: “The one who does rites” • All of the rites involve Ugni: “Sacred Fire” • Samskara: “Lifecycle rites” or Grhya rites (15 of them) • Srauta rites: large scale events i.e. new king • Expectations from rites: o Materialism (money, male offspring) o Performance (not treating the rites as routine) o Death (something must die for the rite to work) Upanisads: • Karma: Hidden law of cause & effect • Samsara: never ending cycle of reincarnation (not in earliest vedas o Not positive, rules by death, you are “trapped in samsara” o Pushed into the next life to pay for a debt in the last one • Dharma: Duty dependant on your place in life (i.e. gender, varna) o Ethically and morally, how do I know what is right? o Generates karma • Moksa/Mukti: Release from samsara, permanent existence of oneness Key Issues: Fall 2011 • Shift of Karman to Jnana/Vidya o The experience of oneness, as opposed to the knowledge of it o Atman Brahman • Monism o The mind distracts you from oneness due to desires o What is the hidden component in nectar, its sweet essence, that is brought forth to produce honey o Against difference, Varna, gender, in the end it doesn’t recognize which “flower” you come from • Atman & Brahman o Atman can mean body, mind, true self, or Brahman (cosmos) o Brahman is the core of the universe o You don’t really love something else, because ultimately there is only one thing o The mind is just one of your senses, not your true self o Atman is permanent and unchanging o Words rely on difference to communicate meaning and therefore can’t describe Brahman • Desires o Shift away from the age of Karman (sacrifices -> wealth) o Desire leads to duality, further away from Brahman • Nama Rupa: “Name & Form” o Shape makes you see a plate, bowl, or cup, but really it is just clay o Name and shape define reality (i.e. ourselves) *BU: Brihadaranyaka Upanisad *CU: Chandagya Upanisad Dharma Chronology Vedas 1500-600 BCE Upanisads 600 BCE Dharma Sutra 200 BCE – 200 CE Saamkhya 200 CE Dharma Shastras 200 CE and on Advaita Vedanta 700 CE Dharma: “Law”, “duty”, “correct action”, “virtue” Dharma Sutras & Dharma Shastras are Smrti, that which is remembered. Asrama The Asrama is written by priests for other male priests, it is based on the principle that one would complete all of his worldly duties before attempting to achieve Moksa. Fall 2011 Sisya/brahmacarya: “Student”, the learning phase of the Asrama, where the student learns the Vedas, spends all their time studying it, and is dependent on their Guru for lodging and food. Grhastha: “Householder”, disciple must focus on marriage, hospitability Purusartha (things you want): Dharma, Artha (wealth), Kama (pleasure), Moksa Vanaprastha: “Forest-Dweller” Samnyasa: Renunciation and strive for Moksa Suddhi & Sauca: “Purity” • Most people are born with inherent purity • If you follow the rules of dharma you gain purity o Acquire purity through ritual, knowledge o Lose purity through failing to perform rites, contact with death Sadhu: “Renunciate”, usually part of a group with a chief, and a home base, they must beg for food and do not have any possessions. Darsana: “Vision, Sight”, insight into religion Sutras: Codified teachings, like lecture notes – need to be taught Bhasya: Commentaries, dependant on the specific school • Orthodox schools recognize the authority of the Vedas o Goal is moksa, release from samsara o A transcendant reality beyond what we see o Systematic (unlike upanisads) with logic, argum
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