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Western University
Religious Studies
Religious Studies 1023E
William Acres

Hinduism What sect of Hinduism are we learning about? • Vedanta Introduction to Hinduism • It dates to 4000 BCE • It is in prehistoric times • It is difficult to give an exact date of origin • It is one of the oldest living religions • It is one of the most widely practiced inside and outside India • It developed gradually over thousands of years • It is a product of many races and traditions • There is no: o Single founder o Central authority o Leader or international body (church) o Central text or prayer book (Bible) • There are many authoritative scriptures • There is a diversity of practice meaning that there are no fixed rules in practicing the religion, and it is permissible to practice it in any way • It is monotheistic • The million of Devas are not gods, as it was mistranslated • They are someone who has evolved to the greatest status • Hinduism integrates religion in everyday life • Hinduism teaches the fundamental truth of the Brahman • Hinduism began as a ritualistic set of practices • The sacred words became more formalized with text compilations What do Indians call India? • Bharat When did the Europeans come? • They came in the 18 and 19 century • They formalized it into a semblance of Christianity The British Rule (1858-1947) • Five British men ruled over 56 million Indians • They governed India • They instituted an army • They only associated with the Brahman, the top class • They only learned of their version of Hinduism • They began to arrange the data to fit their idea of a religious system • Gandhi was a central figure in gaining independence What is Hrappa? • Every account of Hinduism religion begins here • There was an archaeological excavation in 1926 • It revealed a complex on cities on the banks of the Indus River • This was called Mohenjo-Daro • The artifacts at this site revealed rituals, a massive pool, stone sculptures • This showed a sophisticated set of religious practices and rituals • Nobody can read the language because we do not understand the symbols • This excavation gave us an idea that a part of our society comes from this very civilization • It is not in modern day Pakistan • The most closely related group are the South Dravidians • They were original inhabitants and they were smarter than Aryans • Existing culture and civilization called Indus Valley, which have the name Indu or Hindu in 4000-3000 BCE Who are the Indo Aryans? • The founders of the doctrine of Hinduism • They are white nobles from central Asia • They are nomadic warriors • They came from Persia in 2000 BC • They gave the name Hinduism in 1829 (couldn’t pronounce Sindhu, so they said Hindu) • They made an abrupt appearance • When they came, the Hrappa came to a sudden end • Their images changed to include animals • The Indo Aryans believed that their practice was inhumane, so they wanted to figure out a way to redress the system What did Sir Harold Bailey Say? • He said that the Indo Aryans arrived on horseback • He believed that this invading culture controlled several other pieces of land also • He suggested according to linguistic findings and archaeological evidence that there could have been a slow migration from Eastern Turkey What is the backwards projection? • Suggests that people from present day India left to Europe and not the other way around • Latin and Sanskrit have ancient origins and contain similar words What did the Aryans bring? • Class/Caste System • Technology (cultural warfare and horses) • Established villages and communities • Sanskrit • Doctrines and literature of this time became sacred writing of Hinduism • Oral traditions were now written down and would help govern beliefs in the community What is Sanskrit? • It is not a spoken language • It is doubtful that it was ever a vernacular (a popularly spoken language) • It shares works with ancient languages of the Middle East • It is similar to Latin because it was only spoken by priestly groups • It is not similar to Latin because it may have never been a language of use, it was just technical • A multitude of other languages emerge over the years without changing the important of Sanskrit Who spoke Sanskrit? • Higher caste males • It is the language of the Brahmans • The Brahmans spoke a different language than everyone else What is Prakrit? • It was a language spoken by women and lower classes • This language later developed into some of the most common languages spoken in India (Hindi) 3 Major Concepts • Everything is holy • The goal is liberation from the cycle of re-birth • The tie to this cycle is Karma Who was Alberooni? • He worked for the Eastern Afghanistan King in year 1000 • He was sent to India to organize trade • He observed the structure, habits, customs, and practices of the people who live there What did Alberooni find? • He could not find a Buddhist in India • People are polite and sophisticated • People have a high level of math and science skills • Every human being is in the exact same occupation as their father • Their clothing is modest • They sacrifice animals, but they do not eat meat • What you do in this lifetime has no meaning here • There is another play, not called heaven • He was aware that people were above and below him What is Maha? • Everything we see and experience is Karma • There is no way you can get away from it • It is in our bodies What is the theory for the caste system origination? • During the Big Bang, there were huge noises and then there was stillness • This stillness was replaced with motion • A giant man fell to the planet • His head was the Brahmans and his heart was the Shatria What are the classes? 1. The Brahmans. • They are the top, priestly class. • They wear all white and they have custody to the Vedas and their teachings. • They are separated from everyone else, and you cannot touch, look, or eat with them (you could face death). • They are literate. • They are the teachers of prayer • They perform sacrifices • They can only marry each other 2. The Nobility/Shatria • They are warriors. • You cannot touch them or eat with them • You go to their courts 3. The Vaisyas • They are the mercantile class • They are farmers • They touch and trade in money • They do not teach, but only study the Vedas 4. The Shrudas/Untouchables • They cannot possess wealth or position • They do jobs that people will not do, such as cleaning toilets What is the Sankhara Theory? • Before the world began there was absolute stillness and no Karma • One particle moved, and when that particle moved, it joggled something else and else, and out of this was Karma • Karma never stops so you must learn to live with it What are the three strands of energy that every person has? • Lower Energy (ground, where we sleep) • Middle Energy (steady, doesn’t move around) • High Energy (fast, awake) What are the three main scriptures in Hinduism? 1. Bhadwad Gita 2. Vedas 3. Upanishads • There is no single definitive scripture in Hinduism • Many scriptures are equally as important • They are written in Sanskrit What are the Vedas? • The term Veda means knowledge • They were written in 1500-800 BCE • They are the basis of our knowledge of early Hinduism • There are two parts: the ritual portion and the philosophical/knowledge portion • They are written in Sanskrit • The practices were formalized with text compilations • They are the oldest continuous writing in the world • The worlds survived fragmentarily (from 2,000 to 108) • The Vedas each give a “how to” book for saying and singing prayer • Each of the 4 Vedas had 4 parts as well What are the Heard of the Himalayas? • The Vedas were brought down the Himalayas by wind and they were written down • They were brought down by the voice of Shritis What is the Samhita? • It is the first three parts of the Vedas • The Rig is the grandparent text • The Sama and Yajur are taken, repeated, and set to music or ritual • There is a degree of repetition • However, the Sama and Yajur are different from the Rig despite repetition What is the Purusha Sukta? th • It is the 10 and last book of the Rig Veda • It is the earliest known text • It says that the primordial man was split into parts, but this does not indicate the beginning of the caste system What is Aranyakas? • Forest Treatises or Wilderness Books • Vedas must be learned in the wilderness • Vedas were set and used for forest meditation • This was prior to 6000 BCE What happened in 6000 BCE? • The beginning of the fourth section was starting to be written down • It is a profound philosophical text What are the Four Vedas? 1. Rig Veda • Oldest • Largest • 1500 BCE • Collection of hymns and praises to god • The mention of thousands of Vedas occurs in later sections 2. Sama Veda • Hymns for chanting that are taken from the Rig Veda 3. Yajur Veda • Incantations, sacrifice rituals 4. Artharva Veda • Magic, superstition, witchcraft, spells *Many gods were named and worshipped as certain forces of nature (sky gods, thunder gods, fire gods) *Vedic religion was polytheistic (330 million Devas) *All Vedas consist of mantras *People looked to gods as family and friends What are the three ways of practicing Hindu? • Non-Dualist • Qualified Non-Dualist o Recognize the Brahman Atman but their personal method is Vishnu • Dualist o They deny the Upanishads o They do not believe in the knowledge portion of the Vedas o They pay no need to higher metaphysics o They believe that the gods are real o The sole purpose is to worship gods What are the Upanishads? • It means sitting down near the teacher • It is the philosophical part of Hinduism • It developed from the concluding parts of the Vedas • It deals with philosophical problems (Why was I born? Where am I going?) What three central concepts do we learn from the Upanishads? • Karma • Samsara • Brahman/Atman *Each is derived from philosophical teachers who contribute to methods of the Upanishads *There are Upanishads for each of the Vedas, and for each of the sections of each Veda What is Brahman? • Absolute, ultimate reality, universal self • Brahman is one of the most important concepts in Hinduism, signifying ultimate reality. Brahman is absolute, eternal, ineffable, and impersonal. What is Atman? • The individual self, the soul • First is "atman" - loosely translated, this means "soul" or "individual soul." Atman refers to the essence of each individual living thing - its soul or primary living energy. Each living thing - people, animals, plants - have an atman that forms each thing's eternal essence. The atman is not the body; the body is not eternal. The body houses the atman until the body dies. Atman is immortal and eternal. What is the Bhagwad Gita? • It means “song of the lord” • It is the most accessible and most popular text • This is because the god speaks as a human being • It is written in poem form • It is like a bible for the Hindus • It has 18 chapters • It was written around 200 BC to 200 AD • It has two epics o Mahabharata o Ramayana • It teaches the art of living (how do I live my life?) Who are the key players in the Bhadwad Gita? • Krishna: the 9 incarnation, god in a human form, compassionate human figure • Arguna: human warrior What Happens in the BG? (What happens in the first chapter?) • There is a battlefield with two families on it • The evil family took the kingdom from the good family • They went to war to see who could retrieve the kingdom • Arguna, a member of the good famil
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