Wednesday January 11/2011
•primary mode of expression=sacrifice
•all sacrifice happens around the medium of fire. It is an important element of
•fire- the smoke of fire, everything it produces is important part of Vedic
religion and can not be done away with.
•the Vedic man wasn’t considered whole unless he maintained an alter
within the home for the entirety of his life.
•there was a lamp that was to remain lit all the time.
•household fire is important for one to recognize themselves as an religion
•small sacrifices- the daily things
•big sacrifices- community events that draws people together from all
walks of life and take many years to complete.
•ASVAMEDHA- example of a big sacrifice. Took 12 years to perform, a royal
ritual. Performed by a king of considerable stature, had tremendous ambition.
•horses were prized animals in ancient India and an important part of Vedic
•Vedic religion and culture is all about having a concern about how you’re
engaging with the world.
•as time goes on Vedic religion becomes increasingly refined and
sophisticated and develops an ideology about upholding the harmony of the
•stakes are so high that it becomes difficult to perform perfectly.
EVERYTHING SHOULD BE DONE TO PERFECTION USING THE SPECIFIC THING
DESGINED FOR SAID PURPOSE. This is the result of the Vedic religion to become
•a class structure is developed known as the BRAHMINS- custodians of a
sacrifice. You would engage their help when performing a sacrifice. They
become a mediator between humanity and the larger powers (cosmos).
•tremendously poor, they weren’t allowed to sell the vast knowledge they
possessed, they weren’t allowed to have any other occupation. Passing on the
knowledge of the Vedas was their purpose. They had no power in society and
were powerless but had power due to their extensive knowledge of religion.
•as Vedic sacrifice evolves we start to see a backlash against the Vedic
religion. The religion was hegemonic in ancient India.
•A negative reaction begins to develop against this view. 3 major concerns
are being brought about:
•1)8-9 B.C.E- increasing concern of humanity being alienated from the
ritual. Doubts are being increased about this religions- questions are being
raised. Satisfication levels are being
•2) control of the scared sphere by the Brahmins
•3) use of animals of sacrifice- idea develops that true religious endeavours
can’t hurt other beings. True religious expression shouldn’t be harmful.
•AHIMSA- “NO HARM”
•religion is Vedic terms is a communal enterprise, but this begins to
decrease as individuals wonder about themselves more than the collective
whole. More concerned with seeking individual answers. Over the course of
time these concerns and criticisms starts to see itself evolve into a
decentralized movement. Pepole are leasving their homes and society and
living in the wild to seek answers for themselves.
•SRAMANA- comes from the root shrama which means exerting a great deal
of effort, where people are really trying to Movement inspired by the
disenchantment of Vedic religion, where people reject the norm and leave to
society for forests to seek internal answers. They are in a forest and trying to
discipline their body by ascetic means, punish their bodies by standing for days
at a time- going through harsh conditions. This is important because we see the
emergence of Indic traditions- Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. We always
need to return to this movement.
•the major difference between Hinduism and Janism and Buddishm is
Hinudism questions Vedic religion and sacrifices but says the texts are valid but
they are interpreted all wrong they were interpreted to narrowly and literally.
Needs to be interpreted philosophically and metaphorically. Buddishm nnot
only is Vedhic traditions problematic but so are the Vedas.
•HETERODOX- reverse of Orthodox. The Hindu perspective on Jainism and
•what we start to see is the whole mood of society changing. The whole
worldview of the culture begins to change. Vedic religion- were pretty happy
provided people were doing their bit people will achieve happiness. After they
die they will being supported in the afterlife provided their descendents do
•Indic tradtions (BJH) different worldview from provided in the Vedas.
•Indic Worldview there are 6 basic features:
•1) ANADI- understanding of how the world works. Beginngness. Undestands
the world without beginning or end. There was never a point in which the
world didn’t exist. Creation refers to a modification of matter, transformation
of various form.
•2) KALA- the understanding of time. The universe has always been going
and so has time. How do we understand and measure time?