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RLG205 - Lecture 3

Course Code
Ajay Rao

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January 23rd, 2007
Lecture 3 - Late Vedic Society: The Caste System, the Ends of Life, Rites of
-Late vedic society – rapid changes – typical vedic traditions originated from this
time period
oMassive structural changes – b/c of increase in urbanization and new forms
of religious lives
-Purusha Hymn from the Rig. Veda
oEntry into caste
-Householder lifestyle – the most imp lifestyle stage in vedic society
-Religion is often a place for problems to arise
-emic tradition – within text
-edic tradition- outside of text
-even in text the lines don’t line up –
oex. ‘Acalavia’ – he was the son of the tribal chief and wanted to learn
archery from ‘donacharian’ – he is not entitled to take up archery because
he’s from a tribe – rejected from learning it, he had a lot of faith and
devotion and after his guru’s request, he cut his thumb - he is a very noble
character – the text kind of criticizes the society at that time.
-Veda is claimed by a lot of tradition, not just Hinduism - 1500 – 600 BC.
History – the late vedic society
-Bhudda - 563-483
-Aryans starting moving eastward from Punjab – to the eastern angelic valley.
oFirst kind of urbanization
-Magadha – name of a quish kingdom in the east
oBecame dominant with supreme power
-Kingship – with first royal rituals
oMajor changes : with philosophical ideas , renunciation , liberation (moksha)
oIn vedic – you go to heaven or you don’t – but now the moksha idea come
oSo 2 things occur: social changes and cultural changes
-Urbanization leads to social changes and cultural changes- and how people think
oLead to creation, education, economic changes
oHow can urban life be destabilizing?
Greater individualization
Different social dislocation
Purusha suktra hymn
-11th century – end for rg. Veda
-another account of creation – all oriented towards sacrifice
-different class systems – ‘varna’ systems
ovarna = literal meaning colour – but no racial reference is made
oBrahmins – mouth
oKshatriyas – arms
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