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Lecture 2

RELS 131 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Radha Krishna, Aghasura, Atharvaveda

Religious Studies
Course Code
RELS 131
Aditi Sen- Chowdhury

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January 9,2015: RELS 131: Week 2: Lecture 3
The Epics (Classical Hinduism)
Defining the term Hinduism
The Four Vedas (need to know the names of the four Vedas)
Content of the Rig Veda
Names of important Vedic gods
The problematic tenth book of the Rig Veda
Caste System
Contents of the Atharva Veda
Difference between Brahma, Brahmanas, Brahmin, and Brahman
Aranakyas and Upanishads
The idea of renunciation of Sanyasa
Aranakyas means texts created by foresters
oCalled the foresters lifestyle (give up material culture and renounce the world)
oSystem of renunciation is called Sanyasa
Upanishads belong to this tradition of forester texts
oCentral underlying concept: Brahman and Atman
oBrahman: Cosmic orb from which all life emanates. There is no life, no death,
just a continuous emanation
oBrahman can take any form (lion, cat, bug, people
These texts are a reaction to the Vedas
Denial of the caste system
The idea of Brahman and Atman
Understanding Brahman
Everything comes out of Brahman
There is a continuous cycle
When Brahman manifests is different life forms it is called Atman
Purpose of life is to escape the cycle and being one with the Brahman
Ways of escaping the cycle
oThe day you realize that you are at one with the Brahman allows you to escape the
Is Brahman God?
oIf Brahman is God, then there is no God
oIf Brahman is God, then I am God (I am part of the Brahman)
Nachiketa and Yama
Yama does not want to answer Nachiketa question about what happens after death
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