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THEOLOGY: Sectarian Hinduisms: Saiva and Vainava + Devi and Sakta Traditions

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Religious Studies
RELG 252
Davesh Soneji

Bramha: Creation Visnu: Maintenance Shiva: Dissolution Match up gods with different things. But the 3 deities of sectarian hinduism are Shiva (worshippers are callled Saiva), Visnu (worshippers called Vaisnava) and Devi (Sakti) (worshippers called Sakta). Who you worship is to a large extent your personal choice. To discuss: Sectarian Hinduisms: Saiva and Vaisnava Siva (shiva) Literally “auspicious One” Originally Vedic protector of cattle, but by the time of the Epics and Puranas, is imaged as embodiment of cosmic dissolution, and as a householder-ascetic. Saivas see Siva as everything. Gods have multiple hans often and each arm has a symbol. One with drum: sound is creation in Hinduism. One hand has fire: dissolution. One hand has the fear-not sign: seek my refuge. With one foot he crushes a small demonic figure of ignorance. Each image is complexly coded and captures a number of ideas in a symbol. Also “phallic” symbol of Siva (Linga) which is more of reproduction (not human reproduction since “penis” emerges from other). Half woman god. literally half woman. Visnu “To pervade”. Origins unclear, originally identified with primordial waters, radically transformed in post-Vedic period. Illustration Identified by holding four symbols: ( ) (1) Sankha (conch shell) (2) Cakra (discus) (3) gada (mace/club) (4) Padma Visnu flanked by his two consorts, Laksmi (Goddess of Prosperity and Fertility) and Bhumi (the earth). There is also a primordial image of Visnu lying in the milk ocean on a bed made of the serpent Sesa, in the period between cosmic dissolution and the next creation. Soon the Brahma emerges out of Visnu, so Visnu wishes the world into creation. ( http:// s400/2074453056_718c6f7a4e.jpg ) Avatara Descent form of the deity. A theory fully developed in Vaisnava culture Visnu descends to the terrestrial realms in avatara form to maintain order (dharma). To discuss: Sectarian Hinduisms: Devi and Sakta Traditions Devi / Sakti Textual tradition around Devi crystallizes in with the 6th century Sanskrit text, the Devi- Mahatmya (“Glory of the Goddess”) found in a Purana called Markandeya Purana. The text includes a series of narratives and praise-poems. A number of narratives padded with hymns. It developed a Goddess Theology. There are people who view the goddess as Brahma (ultimate reality!). The goddess is more popularly worshipped outside the Sanskritic/Brahmanic context. She assumes a multiplicity of forms, but all of these are seen as manifestations of the one Feminine Principle, sometimes referred to as Mahadevi (“the Great Goddess”). Sakti (potential of power) Devi as Brahman in the Devi Mahatmya Maya (power of illusion but also to take illusion away)▯ ▯
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