Lecture on World Religions-Jan 8th

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5 Aug 2010
World Religions
January 8th
- Vedas ± scared text of Hinduism
- Religious practices ± Vedic religion (oral, based on sacrifice, internal harmony)
o Through ritual (series of activities) ± support the idea of harmony
o Conscious thought ± sacrificial activities
- ritual becomes very precise as time goes on ± body of thought ± to achieve precise end
- sacrifice ± involved process ± order of ritual, how hymns were sung
- development of ritual specialists ± BRAHMINS
o study everything that had to do with Vedic religion
o hired ± job Æ make sure nothing goes wrong during sacrifices and everything is
done correctly ± perform rituals
- Vedic religion ± evolution
- 1500 BCE ± 800 BCE ± development of Vedic ritual ± increasingly defined
- dominant motifs ± rituals
- movement to descent and protest towards Vedic religion ± disenchantment ± due to 3
major considerations:
o 1. increasingly, people feel alienated from sacrifice/rituals ± develop critique of
control of religious space by one select group of people ± HAVE to delegate
others, nothing one can do to perform correct ritual practices ± middlemen create
a distance between man and religious experience
o 2. critique ± skepticism about whether ritual works at all ± entire system of
Vedic sacrifice questioned ± sacrifice is maintaining order and harmony of
universe ± effectiveness of ritual and sacrifice
o 3. ethical standpoint ± many of the larger rituals involved the use of animals
(slaughter) ± increasing ethical revulsion ± considered cruel and inhuman ± starts
to develop a mindset that the goals of religion cant be consistent with causing
harm to other beings ± goals have to be different from cruelty to any sort of being
± goals of religion must change
- movement of dissent (disagreement and protest) develop ± SRAMANA MOVEMENT
(800 BCE ± 700 BCE)
o people leave homes/families/societies ± philosophical/insensitive people ± go to
woods to search for answers
o some practice yoga and aestheticism
o others disregard the entire religion
o look for personal/individual salvation/religious answers
- the world view of society is changing
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