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RLGA01H3 Lecture Notes - Indus River, Western Religions, Vedas

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Henry Shiu

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Ten Waves of Religion
Shamanism(oracles, medical doctors; knowledge on medicine
Connecting to the Cosmos(Some sort of answers sought to connect nature, ourselves and the
universe ; to believe that we are one with the rest of the world)
Temple Religion (Place where you can practise ideals in organised matter with professionals i.e.
monks or priests=highest class of society)
Prophetic Religion ( religions that believe in prophets=messages from God; messengers of God
or psychic abilities to see into the future)(Includes Islam, Judaism)
The Energy God( Refers primarily to the single source that brings about everything=how things
has always been, not human like, shapeless, just energy; people would identify nature as God)
Purity and Monasticism (
Mystery Religion( Initiation is required to access the religion i.e. meditate, chant (kept secret by
some religions; In this trance like state you experience this mystical ideal through this mystery
God on Earth(Means Avatar; descending on something ,deities that live in another realm who
descend upon earth into an earthly form or manifestation to help heal or aide people)
Scriptural Religion: At a time when religion was noted i.e. Jesus never wrote any of his teaches
they were wrote down by others; Once these religions are in writing than they form the
scripture religion i.e. Jesus’ teaching were only written down 10,000 years after his death) When
the teachings were available in written format they were respected by the people and thought
to have mystical power.
Fundamentalism: Ugliest aspect of religion; when people try to interpret religion literally and try
to follow the words to stone they are bound to follow these teachings with little understanding,
they only allow their own interpretation and do not allow room for other perspectives or
interpretations; People who do not share their view or religious practice are seen as sinners or
enemies, unfortunate turn in the development of religion.
“Hinduism is the dominant religion of India”
- 85% of 1 billion people in India believe in Hinduism
- Problematic terms in this statement are Hinduism, Religion in India
- These are not terms that originate from the indigenous words of India; People in the west
created this term people in India never say what they practise is Hinduism or use the term
religion, this term is a western term there was no eastern language equivalent originally
- When we refer to Hinduism as a religion we should conscious ourselves if we are
understanding this practise from a western perspective, Originally the people in India never
called there land Indian this is another western term
- Each one of them suggests uniformity and consistency that does not actually exist. When
you apply these terms to India in general we are mistaken because we are not accustoming
to understanding diversity discontinuity or difference.

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- In reality there exist a wide range diversity in what we call Hinduism, you could find almost
any type of beliefs in the one called Hinduism
- This umbrella term Hinduism covers a diverse area of beliefs and practises Contrast= In
Christianity all Christians believe in god and there is one but in Hinduism there all kinds of
beliefs on practises
- Hinduism are of Persian origin around the 12th century CE (Persians used this term to refer
to Indians in general) That’s why the word Hindu is problematic; naïve assumption that
these people in India were all practising the same thing.
- Sanatana dharma = Eternal Law (Closest word Indians have to religion)
- “Tilaks” = forehead markings (similar to wearing a cross to show you are practising
- Those who practise Siva don’t practise Visnu
- What we now understand about religion i.e. a time magazine view of religion just one of the
activities we do in our life e.g. Reading a book ( Religion would be featured weekly on a
table of contents in a magazine
- In the east religion is like the foundation in which everything comes from (root) when it
comes to how people dress, eat, weddings, horoscope, reading all kinds of things in life they
have a source in religion
- Insiders have knowledge and experience of these practises while the outsiders comes from a
different perspective, they each have an understanding that the other will never know
through their different perspective
- As a practitioner you will always become subjective to your practise leaving things from an
outsiders perspective hard for you to know
- As someone who practises Sikhism you understand that the founder was given knowledge
from god directly to teach others, from an outside perspective Sikhism is a blend of
Hinduism and Islam
- Indus Valley Civilization, Aryans due to the fact that Hinduism took place 3000 before it
makes it difficult to say where it originated and with whom, besides this Hinduism is also a
very conservative religion
- In the 1950 at an archaeological findings they found at a site in India a lost civilization that
was advanced for their civilization which is 3000 years old the homes had washrooms and
the centre of the civilization was (bath spiritual cleansing)
- Another source is Aryans
- The word India is problematic and was named by the outsiders to refer to the land
surrounding the Indus River Bharata = indigenous term for India
- Indus Valley culture flourished between 3000 to 1500 BCE (wild guess) the civilization may
have spanned over one million square kilometres
- Crafting in the caves showed concerned with procreation and purity, worship male animals
as a way of incorporating their sexual powers
- Female reproduction powers were also regarded as sacred ( this power has revered as a

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- Purification practices meditation and the well-organized cites suggest the importance of
order and restraint
- So who are the Aryans? They were not highly organized, they were nomads rather than
settled agriculturalists
- The Aryan language evolved into the Sanskrit the official language of the Hindu religion (
that’s why you here many chants or mantra sacred spells) Whatever language Aryans spoke
became extinct; people still cannot decipher there language
- Sanskrit for God = deva, akin to the English words divine and deity; all European languages
have their origin in Sanskrit languages
Slide 14 Lecture 2
- Almost everything we know about the Aryans comes from a collection of writings known as
the Veda (Sacred Scriptures)
- So important is the Veda that Hinduism is sometimes called Vaidik Dharma, meaning the
religions of the Veda
- Prana, an internal air current of the body, is often spoken of as the basic animating
- so certain moral principle among human kind peace violence truth all of these moral
principles are thought to be governed by this impersonal principle
- You’ ll find dozens of counts of how the universe came to be and how it relates to god, in
hinduism they don’t follow this a great example is Purusha
- There is no clear narative of this story it merely tells us the story of purusha who sacrificed
himself for the gods where his body was dismembered
- Everything we have on the world came from this sacrifice, if you go back again and analyse
the writing it doesn’t not make logical sense
- In slide it say that he covers the earth from all sides yet in another part it says the earth was
created from his feet which is why these hymn are not to be taken logically
- Contradiction with the Hymn of supreme person as it is another story of creation.
- At the beginning of this hymn we are taken to the extreme in the way we think because we
think in dualistic ways often but at the beginning of this hymn it is neither existence nor
inexistence, neither death nor immortality, then there is a mysterious being that is
introduce it merely states that one breathed windless by its own impulse is it God who is it,
- The origin of our universe is merely from that one, coincidence with Prana which has to do
with breathing as well
- IT is the early stage of our universe that seems to be chaos at this stage there is a life force
we are not told what or who it is just that through that life force that one arose through the
power of heat
- How desire is related to heat and that it was the first seed of mind, these are very vague
ideas it than asks question was there a below or above
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