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HINDUISM DIFFERENTIATION NOTES.docx

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Department
Humanities
Course
HUMA 1865
Professor
Aviva Goldberg
Semester
Winter

Description
HINDUISM DIFFERENTIATION Vedanta: - 6 schools of philosophy in Hinduism: Samkhya, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, Yoga, and Vedanta. - Yoga has attracted popularity in contemporary times - Vedanta (meaning end of the Vedas) is the most important school of thought; Vedanta traditionally denoted the Upanishads….Vedanta refers to systems of thought based on a coherent interpretation of Upanishads together with the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras Shankara - * important early interpreter of Vedanta was Shankara (c 800): he believed reality is non-dual; the only reality is Brahman, and this reality is indescribable, without attributes. - Brahman and Atman (the human soul are identical); Shankara upholds the unity of what most people perceive as 2 distinct entities - Maya (supernatural power by Gods/demons to produce illusions) in Hindu tradition has profound influence in the way that makes men believe that they are different from Brahman…however, when the illusion is taken out, the soul is in Moksha when its true nature is realized - therefore, liberation/Moksha, is the removal of ignorance by the power of transforming knowledge - * Liberation can be achieved in this life, but will only come after the death - Shankara’s 3 levels of reality: dreams, life, and Brahman - Skeptics of Shankara: if maya is real, then there are only 2 realities, Brahman and Maya. If maya was unreal, it could not be the cause of the cosmic delusion attributed to it Ramanuja - The most signiciant interpreter of theistic Vedanta for the Sri Vaishnava community (Vishnu devotees) in Southern India - Ramanuja proclaims the supremacy of Vishnu-Narayana and emphasizes that devotion to Vishnu will lead to ultimate liberation - Also belief that Brahman is without attributes…however, Vishnu (all pervasive) is immanent throughout the universe pervading all souls and material substances - Moreover, since the human soul is the body and the servant of the Supreme Being, liberation is portrayed not as the realization that the two are the same, but rather as the intuitive, total, and joyful realization of the soul’s relationship with the lord YOGA - physical and mental discipline through which one “yokes” one’s spirit to a god - held in high regard in Hindu texts, many meanings - it is likely that yoga had been an important feature of religious life in India for centuries before text was written - Patanjali’s yoga is a system of moral, mental, and physical discipline and medication with a particular object, either physical or mental, as the “single- point” of focus. It is described as having 8 “limbs” or parts/disciplines - 1) yama: consists of restraints such as avoidance of violence, falshood, stealing, sexual activity, and avarice (same limits are found in Jain tradition) - 2) Niyama: practices such as cleanliness (internally, externally), equanimity, asceticism (heat, a kind of energetic concentration), the theoretical study of yoga, and effort to make God the focus of one’s activities. - * yoga teaches to disassociate mind from body - * many forms of yoga, even though Patanjali’s is considered classical form - yoga is now used to determine any form of meditation with ascetic tendencies; any path that leads to final emancipation - i.e. Bhagavad-Gita: way of action = karma yoga; and the way of devotion = bakhti yoga - therefore, Yoga = self-abnegation where the worshipper seeks union with Supreme Being TANTRA - esoteric school outside the Vedic and brahminical tradition, which emerged around the fifth century and centered on a number of controversial ritual practices, some of them sexual. - These characteristic makes this Hindu tradition difficult to define HINDUISM IN SOUTH EAST ASIA - Hindu and Buddhist texts in India refer to Southeast Asia as the land of gold and gems - Cambodia: kings with Hindu names in the 3 CE rd - Many Sanskrit inscriptions and thousands of icons and sculptures portraying Hindu deities indicate that Hindu influences were vast in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, Bali, etc. - Also, the Hindu tradition is practiced/taught differently…i.e. in Cambodia, emphasized some stories that were not so significant in India; as well as Southeast Asian Temple architecture vs. Indian Temple architectures are different - Arts: stories about Ramayana and Mahabharata are emphasized and flourished in Southeastern cultures more than in India SOUTH INDIAN DEVOTION - BHAKTI - Bhakti, a primary characteristic of many hindu traditions was established in the South and spread everywhere else. – 600 CE - Poems are a way of dedicating or addressing praise - i.e.: Puram poems = dealt with warfare
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