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RLG205 - Lecture 4

Course Code
Ajay Rao

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January 30 th
Lecture 4 - Upanisads and Renouncer Traditions
Ascetism & renunciation
- represented as typical of south Asian religions
- is critical in SAR
- Only in late Vedic text are there any references to this.
- The origin of ascetism
oIn the Upanishads itself and Buddhism
o750 – 200 BC
oWhy is this rejected in the beginning of the Veda?
- Renunciation rejects a lot of the rituals
oSanyasa – extinguishing of fire – which the renoucer rejects
ohas rejected all social life
oin Buddhism can see this as a whole new belief system
many terms in Buddhism are critical concepts – used in Vedic
religions – but the meaning is shifted
Pali – language of Buddhism
β€’Stylized language, not like Sanskrit
β€’Ex. dharma – is the Sanskrit darma (the sacrifice – in the
β€’Dharma is the highest good, the teaching of the Buddha.
β€’the new concepts are very much similar to Buddhism
oex. yoga, karma [idea that this world is something
that is subject to a law of transmigration (samsara)]
oin Vedic text, you die and go to heaven or not
but now idea of another option
-anchorite – vanaprastha- physical renouncer
ostill maintains the sexual relations
olive in settled communities
odied out early in south asia
-renouncer – sanyasa- idealistic renouncer
owithdraws from sexual relations
orejection of basic family life
omore proximity to civilization - in forest somewhere
odo not participate in rituals and do not marry
obecame dominant in south Asia
- Buddhist and Jain
othey are valorizing the rejection of that world – absolute rejection of
the Vedic life
ocontemplate living in the forest and rejecting the social world
- In the asrama system – domesticating renunciation; renouncer stage is just
a part of life.
- Why is it meaningful for later traditions? Like the Vedanta
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