RELIGION 205H5F INTRODUCTION TO SOUTH ASIAN RELIGIONS
Instructor: David Miller, Associate Professor (Emeritus) Concordia University
Telephone (416) 658-5022
Office: North Building, Rm 151A
Office Hours: TBA
A.ADDENDUM TO THE CALENDAR DESCRIPTION
This course examines the historical development of Hindu Thought and Institutions in
South Asia from the beginning of Indian Civilization in the Indus Valley Period (2500-
1500 BCE) down to the Modern Period. The course, also, highlights the interactions of
Hinduism with Early Buddhism, Islam, Sikhism and Christianity.
B. REQUIRED TEXTS TO BE PURCHASED AT THE UTM BOOK STORE:
GAVIN FLOOD. AN INTRODUCTION TO HINDUISM
SELECTED READINGS TO BE PURCHASED AT THE COPY CENTRE IN
THE SOUTH BUILDING.
M. HIRIYANNA. ESSENTIALS OF INDIAN PHILOSOPHY
DAVID MILLER. “THE GURU AS THE CENTRE OF SACREDNESS” in
RELIGIOUS STUDIES, 1976.
DAVID MILLER. “MODERNITY IN HINDU MONASTICISM” in K.
ISHWARAN. ASCETIC CULTURE: RENUNCIATION AND WORLDLY
HENRY CLARK WARREN. BUDDHISM IN TRANSLATIONS
ARTICLES ON AKBAR, ASHOKA, JINNAH AND NANAK IN THE
ENCYCLOPAEDIA OF RELGION
1) IN-CLASS EXAMINATION October 26 (40%)
2) FINAL EXAMINATION DURING FINAL EXAMINATION PERIOD
3) VISITATION AND A REPORT OF A SOUTH ASIAN INSTITUTION.
Each student must visit a South Asian institution; witness and ritual or
worship service or interview a religious specialist; and submit a report of
approximately five (5) pages typed of his/his experience. DUE NOV. 30
D.LECTURES AND EXAMINATIONS
Sept 14 Introduction to the course. Definition of Religion. The Indus
River Valley Civilization (2500-1500 BCE). The coming of the
Aryans (1500 BCE); social structure; the Vedas; Vedic
gods/goddesses; Vedic rituals.
READ: FLOOD, CHAPTER 2, pp. 23-40; CHAPTERS 3, pp. 57-
Sept 21 The Philosophical breakthrough of the Upanishads (800-200
BCE): theistic and monistic world views: forest retreats and
READ: FLOOD, CHAPTER 4
Sept 28 The beginnings of Buddhism and Jainism: rejection of Vedic
authority and social structure (500 BCE); the life and teachings of
the Buddha (563-438 BCE); Buddhist monastic life. King Ashoka
and the spread of Buddhism.
READ: WARREN. Buddhism in Translations (course pack)
ASHOKA: (course pack)
Oct 5 The Triumph of Hinduism, Part 1: The Cosmogony of the Laws of
Manu; The Epics: The Mahabharata and Ramayana. The Bhagavad
Gita as a manual of theories of action (Yogas) (200 BCE).
READ: FLOOD, REVIEW CHAPTER 4; CHAPTER 5
Oct 12 NO CLASS. THANKSGIVING
Oct 19 The Triumph of Hinduism, Part 2: Hindu Sectarianism:
VAISHNAVISM; SHAIVISM, and SHAKTA. The Beginnings of
Hindu Temple Worship and of Hindu Monasticism. MOVIE:
READ: FLOOD, CHAPTER 6, pp. 128-141; CHAPTER 7, pp.
Oct 26 MID-TERM IN-CLASS EXAMINATION (40%)
To cover lectures and readings from Sept 14 through Oct 19.
Nov 2 The Life and Philosophical Thought of Shankara
(788-820 CE); ADVAITA VEDANTA, Hindu Absolutism; Discuss
Visitation Report (20%)
READ: FLOOD, CHAPTER 10
SHANKARA (course pack)
DAVID MILLER. “The Guru and the Centre of
Sacredness” (course pack)
Nov 9 The advent of Islam into North India (ca 700 CE); Guru Nanak
(1469 – 1538) and the Sikh tradition; The Mughal Empire; Akbar;
Return Mid-Term Examinations
READ: NANAK, AKBAR (course pack)
Nov 16 The impact of British Christian Missionaries and scholars in
Calcutta area ca. 1800. Ram Mohan Roy and the Brahmo Samaj;
Sri Ramakrishna; Swami Vivekananda, the Parliament of
Religions, 1893. Debates and Dialogue.
READ: FLOOD, CHAPTER 11
DAVID MILLER “Modernity in Hindu Monasticism: Swami
Vivekananda and the Ramakrishna Movement”
Nov 23 The lives of Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948) and Muhammad
Ali-Jinnah (1876-1948); The INDIAN NATIONAL CONGRESS
and THE MUSLIM LEAGUE; INDEPENDENCE and the
separation of INDIA and PAKISTAN
READ: FLOOD, REVIEW CHAPTER 11
JINNAH (in course pack)
Nov 30 PANEL of RELIGIOUS SPECIALISTS representing the
RELIGIONS of SOUTH ASIA; Discussion and Questions.
VISITATION REPORTS DUE (20%)
Dec 7-18FINAL EXAMINATION on lectures and readings since Nov 2.
(40% of total grade)