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
REINCARNATION - A VERY IMPORTANT PART OF SAMSARA. BEING BORN
MOKSHA - BEING RELEASED FROM THE CYCLE OF LIFE AND DEATH
we had started with the Ramayana last class.
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:
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
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
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
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
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 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,
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
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
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