RLG100Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Gupta Empire, South Asia, Indo-European Languages
•Indian philosophy and inter-religions debate
•Mimamsa, Vedanta, nyaya
•Proof for the existence of God
Indian philosophy and inter-religious debate
Common ground for debates
•Debates focused on epistemology as well as metaphysics and
(Terms in philosophy)
Epistemology: how does one know
Metaphysics: your core principles
Soteriology: ultimate end/heaven
•Shared understanding of rationality
•Dialectical form of argumentation involving the views of the
opponent and one’s own views
Dialectical form: texts build on debates, not a sole personal opinion
Means of valid knowledge
•Inference – critical for the proof of existence of god
All men are mortal. Samir is a man, therefore samir is mortal.
I see smoke on hill, whenever there is smoke there is fire,
example of the kitchen, therefore the hill has fire.
•Presumption: (negative inference)
This world begins with rationality and reasoning. One person should be
able to convince the other.
Philosophy and liberation?
Moksa: liberation, re-birth.
*vedic people: don’t believe in moksa
Mimamsa, Vedanta, Nyaya
Sanskrit, pre-Islamic texts.
Mimamsa: (Atheist) – focused on vedic traditions specifically sacrifice
•Vedic apologetics (when vedic sacrifice wasn’t important, they
defended it and the importance of it, they wanted to hold on to
it. They had a rational position)
•Knowledge of correct action in accord with dharma
•Rational reflection on sacrifice (don’t believe in gods)
•No belief in god
*perform sacrifice to have a son or go to heaven but there is no god
Vedanta (“end of Veda”) *Upanishads*
•Focused on metaphysics
•Relationship between universal spirit (Brahman) and individual
•Interpretation of bhagavad gita, upanisads, brahma sutras.
*Buddhists = don’t believe in gods
•School of logic, rational argumentation
•Buddhism and external objects
•Realism (developed proof for existence of god, interested in
•Argued with Buddhists
*talk about the logic/inference with Buddhists, everything turns out to
be against the buddhists. They proved that there is god on based on
Nyaya and Saivism?
•Buddhists believe in “momentaries” = from moment to moment,
everything changes, things don’t remain the same.
Nyaya proof for the existence of God
1. Cosmological: reasons from the fact that the world is an effect
to a being who can bring into existence
2. Teleological: reasons from the evidence of design or purpose
found in the world to a just and prescient agent
3. Karma: the moral/ethical government of the world implies a
governor who dispenses justice in accordance with desert.
Why would they use logic to prove existence of god?
They believe in logic. They’re debating Buddhists. They need to argue
against them and convince them.
•Comparison of qawwali and bhajan
•History of bhakti movements
•What is bhatki?
•Poetry at nammalvar
•Islam in south asia, Sufism
•Shift in south asian religious history
•Shift on the linguistic anology as in great consonantal shift in
•Shift is systematic begins in a small place or community, slowly
spreads in waves and develops a parallel existence which
refigures older forms
Temples, theism and bhakti
•Significance of Gupta period (320-540 CE)
•Vaisnava, Kingship, construction
•Vernocularization and bhakti (spoken language)
Why compose bhakti (devotional) poetry in the vernacular? To express your
What is Bhakti and possession? (dream or version)
•Not ecstast (out-of-body experiences) not enstasy (withdrawal) internal
but partaking of God
•To grasp him in a theology, devotee needs to possess him and
be possessed by him
•Frequent use of the term “veri” (craziness frenzy) in Tamil bhakti
How is bhakti similar to possession? How is it different?
Everyone has their own bhakti. It is something personal to them
Concepts in bhakti literature