Now we turn to eastern religions
General world view of the monotheistic view is shared and quite similar.
Death and after life in Hindu thought:
Lectures slides from Prof…..
The Indian river had many names:
Sindhu - ancient Indian (Sanskrit) name
Indos - ancient Greek name
Hindu - ancient Persian name
The name of the river designated the country…referred to the people
Another lectures slide:
The Vedas - sacred scriptures of the Hindus
Composed between 1500 BCE and 600 BCE
Verses of praise to the various gods of the Aryan peoples - like Surya the sun god, Candra the moon
god, Agni the fire god, Indra the god of storms and YAMA the lord of death.
WE SHOULD KNOW YAMA -> the lord of DEATH!
The lecture slide called: "Stratification of Vedic Aryan Society" is just background
The Aryan were tribes from Iran?
There are 4 major classes as listed on this slide….
…the fire ritual is the main ritual…
Lecture slide: Sanatana dharma - the eternal or constant dharma (dharma has many meanings,
religious doctrine, law, truth, duty etc.)
But in term of Hindu thought, 2 aspects:
1. Social and family duty
2. Eternal cosmic law or truth
After life in Hindu thought:
There are 3 methods: (See lecture slide: "Three paths to liberation (called Moksha in Hindu
Karma = action
Marga = path
Jnana = knowledge
Bhakti marga = devotion
Lectures Slide: "Four realms of the Vedic universe"
Fire is the primary symbol for transformation
The rituals had to be carried out correctly in order to receive blessings from God. It is important to
have sons in the family to carry out the rituals for the parents.
Marriage and having kids was something they didn't have a choice, they needed to have kids to
carry out their rituals for the parents…
The Upanishads have different ideas from the ancient Vedas…they are considered to be Vedic
literature but they are the last Vedic composition
Four realms of the Verdic Universe:
1. The celestial realm inhabited by sky Gods
2. The atmospheric realm inhabited by gods of the atmosphere like the
wind and storms
3. The earth inhabited by humans and gods of the earth, ex. River
gods, mountain gods
4. Underworld or World of the fathers inhabited by the dead ancestors
Cattle, and horses were sacrificed to be given to the FIRE GOD (AGNI)
The God of Fire is like the intermediary of the different realms.
Fire sacrifices done on alters.
1. The West Alter is a round alter --> representing the earth and held
what is called the home fire, domestic fire (the cooking fire)
2. The East Alter is a square alter --> rep the sky called the
offering fire (the alter where the offerings are placed that are to be
givin to the gods)
3. The South Alter is a semi circular alter --> rep the atmosphere
called the southern fire (aka hungry fire)...at alter the offerings to
the ancestors were put
Fire is the primary symbol for transformation...also symbol for the
inter-relatedness of the cosmos
Fire in the sky --> Sun
Fire in the atmosphere --> lightning
Fire on earth --> the cooking fire
All this relates the cosmos
Rituals should be carried out exactly because it is the rituals that
granted either a good or bad after life. In otherwords doesn't matter
if you pleased the Gods, you have to have the rituals carried out
exactly correct should be in order for you to have a good after life.
(After life was not up to the gods)
After death, one went to the world of the fathers....so cremation was
the preferred method of disposal. Cremation is a form of offering to
the fire god (AGNI). Death rituals as well as post cremation rituals
were traditionally performed by the eldest son of the deceased
(important to have children especially sons who could carry out the
rituals for the parents)