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January 15 Notes.docx

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Angela Brkich

RELIGIOUS STUDIES Lecture Notes January 15 on the most basic level, ATMAN is like the soul. there is a different between the true self and the body self. ATMAN is the true self. It is possible to get rid of the body self and leave the cycle. BRAHMAN is the greater fabric of reality that you want to fall in line with. KARMA - THE BALANCE BETWEEN GOOD AND BAD AND IT COMING AROUND SAMSARA - THE CYCLE, THE CIRCLE, OF LIFE AND DEATH AS DETERMINED BY KARMA REINCARNATION - A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF SAMSARA. BEING BORN AGAIN. MOKSHA - BEING RELEASED FROM THE CYCLE OF LIFE AND DEATH EPICS we had started with the Ramayana last class. RAMAYANA MAHABHARATA (BHAGAVAD GITA) MAHABHARATA written by a sage. makes claims to being a fifth veda. not found in many homes. there's a portion considered to be one of the most holy books in the hindu tradition: BHAGAVAD GITA the story of a war about who will rule India. Vishnu is incarnated as Doesn't have to do with good vs evil but about other types of questions: THE DUTY OF WARRIORS THE MYSTERY AND GOAL OF MOKSHA AND LIBERATION THE BAHKTI (loving devotion) TO THE DEITIES Krishna, the charioteer driver, is an avatara of Vishnu. He drives for the prince ARJUNA. The filling of one's Dharmic duty vs. giving up the world for asceticism. THIS WAS THE BIG ISSUE AT THE TIME, do you do your duty (as a warrior's is to fight) or do you pursue ascetisism. THE MESSAGE IS TO DO YOUR DHARMA. before this text, literature was very reluctant to discuss BRAHMAN. Krishna says to surrender yourself and love him (Vishnu/Krishna). ways of MOKSHA: 1. THE WAY OF ACTION 2. THE WAY OF KNOWLEDGE (divine, cosmos, atman) 3. THE WAY OF DEVOTION (most important. complete surrender and love for krishna as lord) THESE CAN BE UNDERSTOOD THIS WAY AS WELL: KARMA & DHARMA BRAHMAN & ATMAN BHAKTI THESE ARE THE THREE YOGAS earliest text to introduce BHAKTI or LOVING DEVOTION this concept of selfless action and wisdom and love and devotion to a deity is what is important here. BEFORE THIS, IT WAS ALL ABOUT KARMA AND GETTING A BETTER NEXT LIFE IN YOUR NEXT INCARNATION, there was also the BRAHMAN ATMAN thing. In this new way, you just SURRENDER TO VISHNU, kind of like Christ. THIS IS BAKHTI DEVOTION These EPICS are IDEALS. rama, sati, krishna, are all ideals. These EPICS are also full of VALUES. they teach about duty, relationships. they transmit all these. the stories are engaging and easy to relate to. The epics are also important for SCHOLARLY issues. they provide a source for debate on DHARMA. THE GUPTA EMPIRE saw a rise in scholarly activity. Bhuddism also developed in this time. PURANAS PURANAS were another kind of SMRTI stories about the gods that became importnat after the VEDIC period. three deities become very popular and still are: VISHNU, SHIVA, PARVATI/DEVI HINDU HENOTHEISM - the god you are currently praying to takes on all the properties of all the gods and that god is the most powerful for which all the gods rest inside of. when you finish wiht that god, you go to the next and attribute that next one with all those same qualities. there was conflict dualism between GOOD & EVIL ALL BEINGS EMERGED FROM VISHNU he is concerned with cosmic stability. he is the creator and preserver of the world. when things are really bad, he incarnates in some form and comes to earth to fix things. sometimes animal, sometimes human. rids the world of evil and establishes right on earth. maintains continuity of the cyclical creation. RAMA is 7th incarnation, KRISHNA is 9th. he's supposed to have two. may come from the DRAVIDIAN word VIN which means BLUE. He is often depicted as blue four armed deity, sometimes with a discus and club in each hand which he uses to slay demons. Sometimes depicted on a throne, sometimes on a coiled snake floating in a cosmic ocean. SHIVA is considered teh great lord of all or the ultimate one. his power is expressed by him appearing simultaneously in opposite roles: creator / destroyer, ascetic / dancer. he is the EXTREME YOGI. he can be the most ascetic god and the most sexual god. tall cylindrical cone represents him (called a LINGA). an erect fallice is his thing. associated with snakes and deers. scholars call him b
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