Lecture Notes on Hinduism-February 14th

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5 Aug 2010
School
Department
Course
February 14
Hinduism
- interprets Vedas in a philosophical perspective
Vedas:
- Mantras Æ 1500 BCE?
- Brahmanas Æ 1200 BCE?
- Aranyakas Æ 1000 BCE?
- Upanisads Æ 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
- WKHUHLVQRYLWDOGLVWDQFHEHWZHHQWKHLQVLGHVRIDQ\YDULHW\RIµEHLQJ¶LQWKHZRUOG
- Upanisads contends that there is one single essence, power, spirit and this essence
is called BRAHMAN (not Brahmins)
Brahman ± ³YLWDOLW\HQHUJ\SRZHUOLIH´± 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 Moksha ± in pursuit of highest goal (NIVRTTI
orientation)
- 2) vast majority of the world ± interested in religious goals but not in the present
lifetime, looking to live their life (PRAVRTTI)
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