RELG 207 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Advaita Vedanta, Bhakti Yoga, Upanishads

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Introduction to the Study of World Religions Hinduism
Hindu Traditions (Part 2)
Summary of the First Lecture
1. Introduction to South Asia and India
2. Issues with Studying Religions of South Asia
3. Multiple Hinduisms
4. History
5. Texts: Vedas and Upanishads
6. Tenets: Dharma, Karma, Ashrama, Samsara, Brahman, Atman, Moksha
Key Concepts of the Upanishads
Text: The Upanishads: The latest part of the Vedas; philosophical speculations
Context: Shramanic Age (c 800-200 BCE): The renouncer tradition, life style of wandering
mendicant, asceticism
Philosophy: Vedanta: Meaning either the last chapters, parts of the Veda or the
culmination of the Veda
Philosophical Concepts of the Upanishads/Vedanta
Brahman : Ultimate reality, the world-soul, understood as impersonal, abstract
Atman: The individual self, the soul, the true essence of life
The Upanishads address the question: What is the relationship of the self to ultimate reality,
and between the universe and ultimate reality?
Example: Chandogya Upanishad; A dialogue between father and son
The Great Sayings (Key Phrases of the Upanishads)
That art thou/ You are that (Chandogya Upanishad)
I am Brahman (Brhdaranyaka Upanishad)
Brahman is Atman/Brahman is this self (Mandukya Upanishad)
Upanishads: A Revolution of Values: Liberation/Moksha
The fools who delight in this sacrificial ritual as the highest spiritual good go again and
again through the cycle of old age and death.
Those who practice penance (tapas) and faith in the forest, the tranquil ones, the knowers
of truth, living the life of wandering mendicancy they depart, freed from passion, through
the door of the sun, to where dwells, verily, that immortal being, the imperishable soul
Hindu Philosophical Schools
Six schools of philosophy
Advaita Vedanta : Advaita = non-dualism
Shankara, 8th century interpreter of Vedanta; developed the philosophical school of Advaita
Brahman and Atman are identical
Ultimate goal of life: liberation to realize that the non duality of Atman and Brahman
Bhakti: Devotion and Ritual in Hinduism from India to USA
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