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Henry Shiu

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Lecture#4 Hinduism Ÿ There is no one single belief, deity, one single practise and god in Hinduism, very diversified Ÿ One aspect of Hinduism, are the rituals, life cycle rights/rituals, from the time when a hindu is born, until the time when they are dead, and even after they are deceased if you are lucky enough to be born in the upper three class (entire life will be marked by many forms of rituals, over 40) Ÿ These rituals mark different stages and points of life Ÿ There is a fixed pattern of life that is believed and subject to be followed by all hindus to keep society in order Ÿ Being hindu also means following a fixed and permanent path Ÿ Most observed today with families at the top of the caste society Ÿ Usually life begins with the birth rituals Ÿ Pregnant women are given the gift of ‘happy pollution’ Ÿ There are many offerings for the pregnant woman, and their families will stay near and inside with her Ÿ The house must be cleaned and purified, mother and family bath, and the father shaves Ÿ These ritual practises give respect to the mother and also make sure that the home is clean for the arrival of the baby Ÿ Not just about physical hygiene but also a sense of order and cleanliness (spiritual purity) Ÿ With the coming of the baby, there may be an evil presence that might harm the baby Ÿ Coming of age rituals for the early childhood, serves to give an infant a formal name Ÿ Back 2000,3000 years ago, naming was a very important aspect and there is a special ritual which gives a formal name, after a certain date, month, etc., and there is usually a case where the father of the family will have a formal deity (naming after a known deity is common, respectful) Ÿ Sometimes the baby will be named for auspiciousness Ÿ The birth time will be used for horoscopes and used throughout life Ÿ Rice feeding introduces child to food, good life (ritual) Ÿ Boys and girls are led on different paths emphasizing male domination and female fertility Ÿ For the boys, rituals emphasize on the male dominance on the family and on the society Ÿ And girls, reproductive marks are made into a ritual Ÿ Most significant of the coming of age rituals is the accountability and responsibility of ones owns actions, around the early teenage years, 13, 14 years of age Ÿ In hindu society, act of karma is very important and therefore children will behave accordingly Ÿ Agirl is considered a woman, much earlier, usually they are held in isolation for a aweek away from the sun and men and are told their duties and about religious practises Ÿ Boys are ceremonial given a special sacred threat from the family guru, including religious acts (red threat on the left shoulder) Ÿ Now boys become a full member of the family by sharing the same responsibilities as the father of the family |(more important than the women of the household) Ÿ Marriage is usually arranged by the couples family, usually the parents that make this decision Ÿ Not something that the boys or the girls have any decision over Ÿ The relatives setting up the match must be satisfied that the couples horoscopes match harmoniously and match Ÿ Cultural belief in the horoscope, the time when one was born, this special time will tell many things about a persons life, this is a concept that is taken quite seriously Ÿ Upon marriage, a hindu woman leaves her home to live with her mother-in-law and brings her devotion to the husbands family line Ÿ Death is considered an illusion, for the kins of the family, and the family performs all the rights so that the members soul will go to a better place, even though rebirth is not proven, accepted fact Ÿ This also causes fears that the soul may be reincarnated into an evil ghost, which is why the body is cremated before sundown, with the oldest child doing so for the father and the youngest to cremate their mother, so the souls are free to reincarnate Ÿ Women stay at home and remove ornaments and clean house and clean it again Ÿ Paradox, they want the soul to reincarnate into a better life (rituals) but at the same time they must cremate the body because of fear of evil spirits Ÿ If you are lucky enough to be born in the upper three caste, rituals will not stop after your death, there will still go on after your death Ÿ They must perform ritual after 12 days up to a year to feed the soul, here hindu tradition is preserved Ÿ Once breath stops, there will be a 14 day period before the soul can be reborn in, and within these days, the guru of the family has time to find the perfect body for the soul to be born in Ÿ People will take the remains of the dead body to a holy river Ÿ Puja is a daily practise one should do at home Ÿ In addition to all the rituals, there are daily religious acts that hindus must do to preserve their religion Ÿ No matter which deity you choose, no matter which day, everyone performs these rituals which are almost like a custom Ÿ The performance of this ritual shows that religion is the focal point of how one should see other aspects of life and it is the fundamental basis Ÿ Puja involves when an inferior shows respect and entertains a chosen deity Ÿ Built upon a relationship in which an inferior, human pays homeage to a superior, deity, building a more intimate relationship Ÿ When oen is offering something to the dieties there is an assumption of offering it Ÿ All that hindus offer for the puja include Ÿ Insence which pleases the smell of deity Ÿ Flowers for pleasing sight and smell Ÿ Food for taste Ÿ Love and pace for tactile sense Ÿ Music for the diety to hear Ÿ Cloth and fine silk Ÿ The food that is given to the diety and the remains of the offerings are known as prasad Ÿ Prasad is believed to carry a suttle infusion of divine essence Ÿ The deity has taken what is offerd to them and gives you back a kind of blessing through the offered food Ÿ The deity returns this prasad as a kind of medicine Ÿ Food can be eaten, flo
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