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hindu notes.doc

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Walid Saleh

Hinduism Notes South Indian Devotion - new type of Indian devotion (bkahti) - main aspect is poems - number of poems were created by Sangnam Academy fall into 2 groups: - 1. dealing with the outer (puram) world of warfare, the valor of kings, chivalry and honor - 2.the inner (akam) world of love and romance of secret meetings, anguished seperation and the overwhelmingly joy of union - oldest collection of Tamil poems, known as Ettutokai (eight anthologies) and the Patutapttu (ten songs) - 108 sacred sites where Vishnu abides Classical Carnatic Music - music has been apart of Hindu worship ever since the Vedas - syllable: om - manifestation of Supreme Being of Knowledge of the nature of sound - beginning of sound in the universe - Vedas specify different kinds of pitch and tone that each verse was recited in - classical music was religious - Sarasvati: patron goddess of the fine arts - Nadopasana: meditation through sound - many devotional composers addressed their songs to deities Practice The Sacred Syllable Om - recited at the beginning and end of all Hindu and Jaina prayers - used by Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhists - three sounds; a-u-m - each sound represents three worlds; earth, atmosphere and heaven - essence of 3 vedas; Rig, Yajur and Sama - rooted from Sanskirt word av; ‘that which protects’ - according to philosopher Shankara; non-dualist interpreters of Vedanta - A: stands for the world that we see when we are awake. the person who is experiencing it, and the waking experience - U:stands for the dream world, the dreamer and the dream experience - M:represents the sleep world, the sleeper and the sleep experience - these three states we experience on this earth, while a fourth, unspoken syllable represents the state of liberation - some Vaishna devotees say - A:represents Vishnu - U:denotes the human being - M:relationship between the two - hindus agree that om is sacred but disagree on the meaning of it Temple Worship - Deities in hindu temples are treated like kings and queens - Murtis: translated as idols or icons or objects to be worshipped - given a ritual bath, adorned and carried in procession and honored, sheltered by canopies fanned to keep them cool and music and dance to entertain them - wedding rituals between God and Goddesses are celebrated - no tradition of congregational prayer like in Christiantiy or Islam - priest prays on behalf of devotees offerings of fruit and flowers or coconut to the deity Sculptural and Pictorial Symbolism The Naga - earliest symbol is Naga (serpent) - sacred trees surrounded with small stone images of intertwined serpents with have sports of red powder - women use these open shrines to worship to when they want chilren Dance of Shiva - Shiva is cosmic dancer; Natraja king of dance - master of 2 dances - Tandava; the fierce violent dance that gives rise to energy - Lasya; the lyrical, gentle dance representing tenderness and grace - 4 hands: - 1st right hand: hour glass-shaped drum symbolizing sound both speech and the divine truth heard through revelation - 2nd right hand:hand gesture that grants fearlessness to devotee - 1st left hand: holds a flam symbolizing destruction of the world at the end of time - 2nd left hand: points to foot 2 feet: represent salvation and are worshipped to create union with Shiva - left foot: representing the refuge of devotee is raised signifying liberation - right foot: on ground The Linga: - Shiva is represented by an upright shaft (linga) - creative role represented in temple Forehead Marks: - Tilaka: small like a sesame seed - Red dot: bindi(made using kumkum powder) - traditionally worn by married women - also worn by men (temple priests or ascetics) - worn in ritual situations: shape and color indicate which god or goddess the person worships and the socio-religious community he/she belongs to Domestic Worship: - rituals performed at home: puja - simplified versions of temple rituals led by family members - worshippers participate in the myths associated with the various deities - women gather together on certain days of the year ti celebrate the goddess; the fast feast and perform rituals for the happiness of the entire family Significance of Food: - hindus are not vegetarians - vegetarianism is matter of community and caster - Vishnavas are strictest vegetarians and then Brahmins - food refelcts general qualities of nature; purity,energy and inertia - strict brahmins only eat food prepared by members of their own caste - nature of food is influenced by people who create it - Tamil poet saint Nammalvar - spent 16 years of his life in yogic trance never eating or speaking - elderly brahmin guided him by vision of light - states: sustenance and support of human soul is the supreme being in his case Vishnu Annual Festival Cycle - festival almost every month - most popular: birthdays of Rama, Krishna,Ganesha - Holi: north indian festival celebrated in March or April - bonfires to enact destruction of evil - throwing colored powder to symbolize vibrant colors of spring - commemorates 4th incarnation of Vishnu; took the form of man-lion in order to save devotee Pahlada - Navarati: festival of 9 nights - mainly for women - every evening women and children dress in bright silks and visit one another to admire dolls, music and sing songs - last 2 days: special worldwide holiday large pictures of Lakshmi and Sarasvati draped with flowers are place in front of display of dolls and worshipped - Deepvali: necklace of lights - festival of lights and firecrackers - celebrates when Krishna killed Narakasura enduring light over darkness - marks return of Rama to Ayodhya - presents are exchanged and time of feasting Life Cycle-Rites - many female rituals are not discussed in texts because they were written by men - right hand is associated with auspicious activities; gift giving, wedding and eating rituals - left hand is associated with the inauspicious activities; insults, bodily hygeine, funeral rituals Birth Rituals - Upanishads have specific rituals to be followed if one wanted a heroic son/daughter - pumsavana; seeking male offspring - simanta; hair parting - jatakharma; birth action cutting umbilical cord - medjanana: birth of intelligence - father prays for intellectual well being of child - interprets Vedas in a philosophical perspective Vedas : - Mantras--> 1500 BCE? - Brahmanas--> 1200 BCE? - Aranyakas--> 1000 BCE? - Upanisads--> 800 BCE? Last word on the Vedas (last section to the corpus) - in dialogue with each other (Indic traditions) ± familiar with what other groups are saying ± whether it be critiquing or agreeing; mostly similar but develop distinct positions regarding certain subjects (e.g. the idea of karma) 2 major philosophical insights: 1) Atman ± idea that underlying all the various changes that we experience on a day to day basis, the contention is that there is a real eternal self, one stable self, that persists from lifetime to lifetime and is not affected by all the changes going around us ± physical self = ego self - brings individual peace, greater connectedness with everything else in the world - there is no vital distance between the insides of any variety of ‘being’ in the world - Upanisads contends that there is one single essence, power, spirit and this essence is called BRAHMAN (not Brahmins) Brahman - “vitality/energy/power life” - ultimate - to know my Atman is to know all Atman - ultimate connectedness ± to know oneself is to know all else - share complex interconnectedness - major Hindu critique of Buddhism and Jainism ± geared their teaching to a certain tiny subset of people (people who could learn them) - Jain and Buddhist = monastic/ascetic - 2 points/ethics that come out of Sramana practice 1) Ahimsa ± living in non-harm ± is it workable/possible? No. - Hinduism ± deal with harm/violence and determining what types are acceptable and what are not, and in what conditions 2) Celibacy ± both Jain and Budd. Were celibate religions - Hinduism ± celibacy is not practical 2 broad orientations/idenfies 2 types of peoples - 1) person who is interested in Mok
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