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RLG280 - Lecture Mar 12.docx

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Arti Dhand

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RLG280Y Lecture Nirguna-Brahman Saguna Brahman = god Saguna Brahman  Getting from N to S is a choice - not necessary  One way we might think of it as a stage in our development, our way of thinking of things o Not that objectively there is a god o But that my understanding is that there is a god  Eventually, will drop the concept of god o Will come to a point that the deity that I worship/regard as love is ultimately none other than myself, no different from me o That we're made of the same stuff Concept of god  Hindu theism is quite diff from Western theism - more complex  Emits varieties of personality in its conceptualization of what god looks like  Varieties of ways of interacting with god  Example: How do we approach god, our relationship with god to that we understand the concept of god o They worship god - some have one deity for any sense o If a devotee of Shiva, that's all they worship o No serious consideration of other deities o That's the closest thing to Western theism o But not quite the same - that "there is one deity and other ones don't exist" o Instead - "Shiva is a high god, and all the others are under him" o Creates a hierarchy of the gods rather than saying the others don't exist  This allow them to absorb different people's practices all the way o When Christianity became major source of encounter (missionaries) o Very easy for Hinduism to accommodate Christianity  "This is just another one"  Can understand why someone would worship Jesus o Understanding Christianity within the Hindu theme  Can be considered monotheism in that sense o But never a statement that others don't exist  Some will approach god as that is the only one they worship  Another typical form of worship: o Go to Shiva for this, to Visnu for something else o Reflect the quality of different gods depending on different things o Common and appropriate for Hindus  Hindu approaches to god is different  Also admit a greater variety to interacting with deity Interaction with deities  In Christian tradition o "Our Father, who art in heaven" o Conceptualized as a paternal figure  In Hindu RLG280Y o Relationship can be conceptualized in different ways o Best friend, guru, father, mother, lover, child - whole variety of ways Concept of god in Hinduism  Western tradition o Masculine figure  Hindu tradition o Masculine or feminine o Classify functions in many ways o God has three major functions => both masculine and feminine  Creation (Creator)  Maintaining/sustaining world (Maintainer)  Destruction/bring the (Destructor)  Hindu evolves through stories o For each of the three, there's certain personality Associations  Creator - associated with Brahma (replaced by Ganesa)  Maintainer - associated with Visnu  Destructor - associated with figure of Shiva Bakti = devotion; worship; love of god  Happens through emotions, all about development through emotion  How to nurture that emotion of god  Emotion is easier to nourish when you have specifics of something  Hence Hindu evolved great many stories regarding the diff functions of god o Christian - n
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