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Lecture

RLG100Y1 Lecture Notes - Rigveda, Islamic Calendar, Salah


Department
Religion
Course Code
RLG100Y1
Professor
Walid Saleh

Page:
of 5
RLG100
WORLD RELIGIONS
622 First year in the Islamic calendar
Shi’ism
Ismaili
Sufism
Five Pillars of Islam
o The shahada (Islamic creed)
o Daily prayers (salah)
o Almsgiving (zakat)
o Fasting during the month of Ramadam (sawm)
o The pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) at least once in a lifetime
Qur’an is not a library of books like the bible. It is its one book.
INDIA (subcontinent)
Consists of Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh
1500 BCE: Vedic Religion period, from the book of Veda
600 BCE-400 BCE: revolution in India
Axial Age Revolution, ideas changing understanding of what living is
Out of this revolution (600 BC), three religions grew
o Jainism
o Buddhism
o Hinduism
They grew out of the Vedic religions
VEDAS (which were also re-interpreted by Hinduism later on)
o Collection of hymns that constitute one of the oldest religious texts
in the world from (1500 to 800 ce)
o Hymns were the basis of the rituals of the religious system
o Written in an Archaic Sanskrit
o Hinduism preserved the Vedas but is not Vedic
o Polytheistic
4 Collections of Vedas
o the oldest, RiG Veda
o They are pure hymns (like the psalms) used in pure rituals that
preserve religion and society by God
o Veda= true knowledge
A scripture that has no author, heard from the Cosmos
5 Major Principles
o A tripartite mindset, that tends to categorize things into threes, a
way to comprehend reality
3 social classes, 3 seasons, 3 times of day,
Earth/Atmosphere/Sky etc.
o Warrior’s Society
Ethos: culture, values, habits of a warrior
Military values prevailed
Indra, God of war would be most important in Hymns
Overwhelming others was celebrated
Pray for sons and wealth
o Naturism
The Gods are nature and nature is God, eg. The sun is a God,
Fire is a God so on and so forth
They are not transcendent, they are imminent
They are on Earth
Many deities are identical to natural phenomenon
God of Fire, Agni
Vak, Goddess of Sacred Speech, pronounces the mantra,
sacred speech which is needed for rituals to function
Soma a drink that produces immortality
o Vedic Sacrifice
The only way to connect to the Gods was through sacrifice,
yajna
The offerings were milk, grain, meat (sheep, goat), horse
14-16 priests were needed for the sacrifice
Warriors could sacrifice because they were wealthy and
could afford to pay for the priests and goods
Without the sacrifice, the universe will cease to function
It was through the sacrifice that the world was created
The other of the world, Rita
Sacrifice makes Gods happy and thus people wealthier
Yajna can give you 3 Benefits
Cosmic results (allows the months to continue, the
seasons to continue etc.) Keeps the rita functioning
Personal/material: you will have wealth, crops,
beat your enemy and have sons, victory, long life
Divine self: good life in the afterlife, bribe your way
beeatch
o Vedic world is a Good world
You can make good things happen
Problems
o Too ritualistic
o Elitist
o Too dependant on transactions
o The sacrifice was questioned by all of India
o Nothing in existence was vindicated, life was tragic
o This system collapsed, thus giving us the 3 religions, which are the
direct response to the Vedic religion
Revolution
Generated Indic world view
Characteristics of the Indic World View
Common Philosophical Presuppositions
1) Anadi (without beginning)
o No moment of creation, the universe has always been there. The
world never began, and it will never end. Existence is the only
constant. No moment of creation. Transformation and transmutation
of material, the universe evolves into something or devolves into
something complex or disorder
2) Kala means time has no beginning or end
o Time has a particular pattern of movement (eg. Jainism has a wave
movement, in Hinduism circles connected like Venn diagrams)
o Decay and regeneration (Jainism)
o Circular cycle (Hinduism) grows, decays, explodes, refermentation,
regrowth
o Yuga: 4 phases
Krta Yuga: perfection, human beings are bright and intelligent
Treta Yuga: Murmurs of decay, jealousy, arrogance
Duapara Yuga: Disease, short life, poverty,
Kali Yuga: Current period, slaughter each other, full of envy,
incapable of good force, people’s minds are dull, moral decline,
wars, diseases, abuse, obsession with making money, getting
ahead of everybody else, Human beings are beyond salvage
followed by apocalypse
o Total destruction = pralaya
But material stays new beginning: Saraya
Each cycle lasts billions of years
3) Samara
o Running/flowing
o Endless process, cycle or wave of life, never ending movement of time
o Our experience of this existence, the world, continuation of each of us
o Endless samsara death and rebirth of ourselves.
o Judgement on existence awful way to be existence and being here
is the problem
o The world is unsatisfactory we suffer in our existence through
desires gone unsatisfied
o To be in samsara is the problem. It’s a world of stress and anxiety.
o Samsara: cycle of birth & death, realm of flux (continuous change)
whole cosmic existence as well as individually.
o Experienced by every creature, nothing is truly happy. This suffering
is the primary reason for attempt to answer and solve the problem of
Samsara. What to do about existence due to it being unsatisfactory.
4) Punarjanma
o Means reincarnation