RG ST 3 Lecture 2: RG ST 3 Lecture #2

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Religious Studies

Hinduism (Cont.) Proto-Shiva ● Depictions on certain clay tablets from Indus Valley are quite controversial ● The tablets feature powerful male animals or other zoomorphic figures ○ Zoomorphic - human that has a form of an animal (partially animal) ● Most interesting is a figure seated in a “yogic” posture ○ “Yoga” might have predated the Indo European migration ● He is seated on a dais with erect phallus, buffalo horns and face, surrounded by wild animals ○ Uncertainty of the presence of the phallus, but it could represent creative impulse ● Some of these associations (yoga, lordship of animals, ithyphallicism) suggest identification with later Hindu god Shiva ○ Shiva becomes one of the most important god in the Hindu tradition ○ Starts off in the Indo European / Aryan traditions as a minor god ○ The need for Shiva rose, so his importance rose too Indo-European “Aryans” ● There was a striking contrast between agrarian society of Indus Valley and pastoral, nomadic, and warlike society of Aryans ○ They move from plantation to plantation after depleting the resources of an area ○ Horses are important to the Aryans because it gives them a more advantage in fighting ● Aryans described indigenous people as having dark skin, defending themselves from forts, and having no gods other than worshipping phalluses ● Aryans were a mobile, warlike people with no attachment to cities or specific locations ● Probably entered NW India in tribal waves over several centuries Vedism ● Earliest sacred literature of Hinduism is called Veda (“knowledge”), also known as shruti (“heard” or “revealed”) ● Veda compromises a huge corpus of literature that has originally oral in nature (thus “heard” ● Vedic literature developed primarily between 1400 and 400 BCE ○ Follows the Indo European invasion ● Four types of texts in Veda/Shruti ○ Samhitas (aesthetic/poetic, based on mythological ideas, narratives and exploits of gods/goddesses, strong ritual component) ○ Brahmanas (commentaries and explanations of abstract texts in Samhitas) ○ Aranyakas (important transitional texts for the movement of external focus to internal focus, composed in the Aranya [fort], trying to explain the philosophical components of the samhitas) ○ Upanishads (philosophical, written during the time Indians started t
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