Lecture 1

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Lecture 01/ pg. 1
Shiu, Henry September 15th, 2009
RLGA01, Lec. 01
Eastern Traditions:
o Hinduism
o Jainism
o Sikhism
o Buddhism
o Confucianism
o Daoism
o Shinto
- 85% of the one billion of people living in India are known to the ZRUOGDV³+LQGXV´
Problematic terms in the statement:
o Hinduism
o Religion
o India
- These are not terms that originate from the indigenous words of India
- Religion arose from colonial/national power
- Problems:
o Each one of them suggests uniformity and consistency that does not actually
- When we study the religious traditions of the East, we must accustom ourselves to:
o Diversity
o Discontinuity
o Difference
- sanatana dharma PHDQV³HWHUQDOOD
- Most Hindus see themselves as devotees of a particular god or goddess, such as Siva or
o Shiva ± white horizontal stripes
o Vishnu ± vertical markings
- Outsiders vs. Insiders
o The insiders know things that the outsiders will never know, the outsiders know
things that the insiders cannot know.
- Bharata = indigenous term for India
- In the 1960s, India attracted the hippies from the West, seeking mystical experience and
enrichment from the Indian sages
Lecture 01/ pg. 2
- What makes the idea of India problematic is that it may suggest greater cohesiveness and
unity than it actually exists
Indus Valley Civilization and Aryans
- Indus Valley culture flourished between 3000 to 1500 BCE
- The Indus Valley civilization may have spanned over one million square kilometres
- Most important of the excavating sites are Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa
- So who are the Aryans?
o They were not highly organized
o They were nomads rather than settled agriculturalists
- The Aryan language evolved into the Sanskrit, the official language of the Hindu religion
- The Sanskrit word for God is deva, akin to the English words divine and deity
- Almost everything we know about them comes from a collection of writings known as
the Veda
- So important is the Veda that Hinduism is sometimes called Vaidik dharma, meaning the
religions of the Veda
Female and 0DOH¶V3XUSRVH
- Concerned with procreation and purity
- Worship male animals as a way of incorporating their sexual powers
- Female reproduction powers were also regarded as sacred
- Female principle may have been revered as a goddess
- Purification practices, meditation, and the well-organized cities suggest the importance of
order and restraint