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Hindu traditions.docx

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Henry Shiu

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The Veda divides into four samhitas or collections:
Each of these collections in turn consists of four sections:
First, how did it think about human beings?
Second, how did it conceive the world of nature?
Third, how did it conceive the world of the gods?
Prana, an internal air current of the body, is often spoken of as the basic animating principle.
The Aryans thought the world as divided into three levels: „triloka
The world was believed to be governed by an abstract impersonal principle called „Rita
A great primeval sacrifice performed by the gods in which the body of a victim called Purusha was
Hymn to the Supreme Person
The cosmic person has a thousand heads a thousand eyes and feet It covers the earth on all sides and extends ten
finger-lengths beyond … From his mind came the moon from his eye, the sun Indra and Agni from his mouth
the wind came from his breath. From his naval came space from his head, the sky from his feet, earth; from his
ears, the four directions thus the worlds were created.
Hymn of Creation:
There was neither non-existence nor existence then; there was neither the realm of space nor the sky which is
beyond. What stirred? Where? In whose protection? Was there water, bottomless - deep? There was neither
death nor immortality then. There was no distinguishing sign of night nor of day. That one breathed, windless,
by its own impulse. Other than that there was nothing beyond. Darkness was hidden by darkness in the
beginning; with no distinguishing sign, all this was water. The life force that was covered with emptiness, that
one arose through the power of heat. Desire came upon that one in the beginning; that was the first seed of
mind. Poets seeking in their heart with wisdom found the bond of existence in non-existence. Their cord was
extended across. Was there below? Was there above? There were seed-placers; there were powers. There was
impulse beneath; there was giving-forth above. Who really knows? Who will here proclaim it? Whence was it
produced? Whence is this creation? The gods came afterwards, with the creation of this universe. Who then
knows whence it has arisen? Whence this creation has arisen perhaps it formed itself, or perhaps it did not the
one who looks down on it, in the highest heaven, only he knows or perhaps he does not know.
Indra is the most important deva in the Rig-Veda.
Brahman, the single source of all that is.
Classical Hinduism = Brahmanism
The Laws of Manu, attributed to the sage Manu, articulates the etiquette and duties of each class (varna) and
of each age group in the new brahman-dominated society.
The new texts centered on a new term, dharma.
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