RLG205H5 Study Guide - Final Guide: Bhakti Yoga, Para Brahman, Balinese Hinduism
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FINAL EXAM RELIGION QUESTIONS
1. The Bhagavad-Gita is a manual of yogic disciplines, yet all of the yogas, karma yoga best suits the situation
that Arjuna finds himself in. Provide an interpretation of Karma Yoga as depicted in the Bhagavad-Gita and
why does it relate to Arjuna’s situation.
Karma Yoga is the “discipline of action”. In Karma Yoga, one must regard for their own duty, Dharma is the duty of
an individual according to his/her caste. Arjuna was a part of the Kshatriya caste and his duty as a warrior was to fight
a “righteous” war. By not fighting Arjuna would receive bad karma because he would be violating his Kshatriya code.
The Bhagavad-Gita depicts that, despite the outcome of a fight, one must fight without attachment to the “fruit” or
results of the action. The fruit of the action should no be the motive to ones fighting. The Gita highlights that despite
the pain/pleasure, gain/loss and victory/defeat of the fight, this does not represent that one has commited a sin (bad
karma). The Gita also stresses the rationalism of the social structure. According to Karma Yoga, the individual is to act
for ones dharma. Therefore the Gita emphasizes that, the one ho abandons all desire (fruits – results) and acts free from
longing without any sense of mindness and egotism (basically without any attachment), he will be the one to attain
peace. Through attaining this peace the individual will receive moksha which is release of the soul from Sansara and
cycles of karma. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna is condemning a war because it is the duty of a kshatriya to fight
without any compassion. Arjuna must fight without compassion, as it is his duty to do so.
2. Although Bhakti yoga does not fit the situation in which Arjuna finds himself in the Bhagavad-Gita, in
chapter 9 Bhakti yoga is described by Krishna. What is the essence of Bhakti yoga in the Bhagavad-Gita?
Bhakti yoga is the path of devotion, the divine love of the devotion for the god or goddess “bhakti” means “to share”,
as in to share a relationship with the supreme. If the bhagavad gita, Krishna explains to arjuna that whenever there is
unrighteousness in the world, he reincarnates himself to protect and remind others of their dharma. His aim is to
destruct the wicked in the world. the essence of bhakti yoga here is that one should offer love and devotion to him ,
whether it be a leaf flower or fruit, he will always accept it. And in doing so they will be free and attain moksha. One
who does evil will not be freed and will continue in the circle of rebirth. Depending on their karma and lack of devotion
to the lord, one is reborn into lower class. All one has to do is to attain moksha, is to fix their minds to him, worship
him, and discipline themselves to only him.
He sees his friends and family on the opposite side of the battle field and he is overcome with great compassion. Arjuna
feels that this war will ruin his family, corrupt women, and cause havoc with the caste system. He throws down his bow
and refuses to fight. That is until shri krishna comes and explains karma yoga to him. The essence of bhakti yoga is the
process of making the first offering of love and devotion to god. Those who do so, through the grace of god will be
freed from the bonds of action (samsara). Bhakti yoga is not exclusively to any one caste, even members of the lowest
caste who worship God (pure spiritual devotion of love for God, food, sex, sleep, etc., are no longer important in Bhakti
Yoga); undistracted .devotion will also gain moksha. Their souls will remain in Vishnu's (or which ever God it is that
they worship) heaven for all eternity. Bhakti yoga is the shortest way and most direct method to experience the divine.
There are three steps in bhakti yoga.
•The first offering of love and smile is made
•God returns the love
•The soul is pulled out of samsara. (answer ends here)
[background information; Arjuna's situation] He sees his friends and family on opposite sides of the battlefield and
is overcome with great compassion. Arjuna feels that this war will ruin the family, corrupt women and cause havoc
with the caste system. He throws down his bow and refuses to fight. That is until shri krishna comes and explains
karma yoga to him. The essence of bhakti yoga is the process of making the first offering of love and devotion to god.
Those who do so, through the grace of god will be freed from the bonds of action (samsara). Bhakti yoga is not
exclusively to any one caste, even members of the lowest caste who worship God (pure spiritual devotion of love for
God, food, sex, sleep, etc., are no longer important in Bhakti Yoga); undistracted .devotion will also gain moksha.
Their souls will remain in Vishnu's (or which ever God it is that they worship) heaven for all eternity. Bhakti yoga is
the shortest way and most direct method to experience the divine. There are three steps in bhakti yoga.
The first offering of love and smile is made
God returns the love
The soul is pulled out of samsara
3. In Chapter 11 of the Bhagavad-Gita, Arjuna requests the great GOD Vishnu to manifest himself in his divine form.
Describe the scene in Chapter 11 as witnessed by Arjuna who had been given “A Divine Eye”
Arjuna wants to see Vishnu divine form after Krishna explains that. He is the incarnation of Vishnu. This scene that
arjuna is still not convinced and needs a teaching of a visionary rather than a disciplinary experience. Vishnu gives
arjuna the divine eye to see his cosmic form, and arjuna is stunned as what he sees, describes him as seeing all the
heads of the gods, including brahma(the creator god) and that he extends out into infinity(SA-GUNA BRAHMAN). He
uses terms from Upanishads like Imperishable and distinguishes him as the eternal law(cosmic dharma).he then sees
Vishnu in his terrible form(GHORA RUPA)as a destroyer pf the cosmos, which causes the cosmos to be reborn. He
engulfs this vision of Vishnu(ISHVARA) as ghora rupa and becomes terrified. He describes it as seeing many terrible
mouths with tusks, many arms, thighs and bellies etc. he realizes that all the warriors who are to fight in the
Mahabharata war, will all be destroyed and will then go into his mouth(they will fall into their death). Ishvara then
explains that this is not the first time this war has taken place. At the end of every kaliyuga, this Great War arises. He is
time, and sees this war within the cosmos. This war takes place in each and every cycle of creation destruction of this
world within all the cosmos. This war takes place in each and every cycle of creation and destruction. Only he knows
what is going to happen. Arjuna will fight and gain glory for the pandavas will win this war.
4. How had SHANKARA realized the state of ADVAITA (NON-DUAL) BRAHMAN and what are the
PRESUPPOSITIONS that he makes in writing his COMMENTARY on THE VEDANTA SUTRA?
Shankara (788-820 C.E) is the most famous Advaita philosopher, who had a profound influence on the growth of
Hinduism through his non-dualistic philosophy. He continuing the line of thought of some of the Upanishadic teachers,
and also that of his own teacher Gaudapada, Shankara expounded the doctrine of Advaita -- a nondualistic reality.
According to Advaitins, by analyzing the three states of experience -- waking, dreaming and deep sleep -- Shankara
exposed the relative nature of the world and established the supreme truth of the Advaita: the non-dual reality of
Brahman in which atman (the individual soul) and Brahman (the ultimate reality expressed in the trimurti) are
The presuppositions that Shankara made are:
a. Shankara had experienced thru raja yoga and intuitively realized mystical knowledge (Jnana) the state of non-
dual (advaita) Brahman; Nir-guna Brahman and neti neti.
b. Shankara holds that other mystics have had mystcical experiences of Jnana. Hence, the mystical utterances of
the Upanishads (Vedanta) are cited as the final authority in matters of right knowledge, Pramanas (theory of
knowledge). Therefore sabda (verbal knowledge) is superior to:
5. How might the analogies of LIGHT/PRISM and RAINBOW/SKY help explain what Daniel H.H. INGALLS calls,
“a logical dilemma: if AVIDYA is a real entity, then monism ends; to say that AVIDYA is unreal is to destroy the
doctrine of AVIDYA”?
Two analogies of light and prism or the rainbow and sky for avidya as anirvacaniyatva. In the light and prism analogy,
the light when it strikes the prism (here referred to as a mind) is spreaded into spectrum of colors (maya). Prakriti or
Maya originates from Brahman and is, therefore, neither self-created nor independent. Maya is His illusory power.
6. At age 29, when NANAK, the founder of SIKH tradition, was bathing, he disappeared for three days. When
NANAK reappeared, he began his mission with the words: “There is no HINDU; there is no MUSLIM.” What did
NANAK mean by these words and what major concepts or teachings did he take from MUSLIM and HINDU
Sikh tradition states that at the age of thirty, Nanak went missing, and was presumed to have drowned after going for
one of his morning baths to a local stream called the Kali Bein or the Humber Bain. Three days later, he reappeared and
would give the same answer to any question posed to him: "There is no Hindu, there is no Muslim" (in Punjabi, ("nā
kōi hindū nā kōi musalmān"). Through this statement, he was actually pointing out the differences among various
groups had overshadowed the underlying principle of all religions that the Supreme power in One. To him, Ram and
Rahim were not different; they were the same reality merely expressed differently. It was from this moment that Nanak
would begin to spread the teachings of what was then the beginning of Sikhism.
Nanak’s religious ideas draw on both Hindu and Islamic thought, but are far more than just a synthesis. Nanak’s family
was Hindu, but he soon showed an advanced interest in religion and studied Islam and Hinduism extensively. Nanak
continued to demonstrate a radical spiritual streak – arguing with local holy men and sages, both Hindu and Muslim
that external things like pilgrimages, penances and poverty were of a far less spiritual importance than internal changes
to the individual’s soul. He never asked his listeners to follow him. He asked the Muslims to be true Muslims and the
Hindus to be true Hindus.
7. In Sikh Tradition, what is the Adi Granth? How was it put together and how does it function as the center of Sikh
The Adi Granth is the holy text of the Sikh religion. The Adi Granth is the first (Adi) edition of the Guru Granth
Sahib that was put together by the fifth of the ten gurus of Sikhism, Guru Arjan in 1604. The text itself contains the
journey of Guru Nanak was proclaimed to be the eleventh guru by Guru Gobind Singh. Thus it is considered to be very
sacred and can be found in a special resting place in every place of worship. The Adi Granth is also made up of many
spiritual verses from many non-Sikh religions, thereby firmly entrenching within the Sikh ideology and practicing Guru
Nanak’s philosophy and belief of universal humanity. To be specific the Adi Granth contains compositions by the first
five gurus, Guru Teg Bahadur and just one couplet from Guru Gobind Singh. It also contains the traditions and
teachings of saints such as Kabir, Namdev, Ravidas and Sheikh Farid along with several others.
The spcriptures have been classified into many rag with each rāg subdivided according to length and author. There are
31 main rāgs within the Gurū Granth Sāhib. In addition to the rāgs, there are clear references to the folk music of
Punjab. The main language used in the scripture is known as Sant Bhāṣā, a language related to both Punjabi and Hindi
and used extensively across medieval northern India by proponents of popular devotional religion. The text further
comprises over 5000 hymns, which are poetically constructed and set to classical form of music rendition, can be set to
predetermined rhythmic beats. All text within the Adi Granth is known as gurbānī. Gurbānī, according to Nanak, was
revealed by God directly, and the authors wrote it down for the followers. The status accorded to the scripture is
defined by the evolving interpretation of the concept of gurū. In the tradition of Nanak, the guru was literally the word
of God. The Sikh community soon transferred the role to a line of men who gave authoritative and practical expression
to religious teachings and traditions, in addition to taking socio-political leadership of Sikh adherents. Gobind Singh
declared an end of the line of human gurus, and now the Gurū Granth Sāhib serves as the eternal guru, with its
interpretation vested with the community.
8. Both Guru Nanak and Emperor Akbar sought to create a “universal monotheism”. What was the center of their
Guru Nanak Dev had a mystical experience and was told by God that all humans must be considered to same.
There is no difference between Hindus and Muslims, all should be treated equally. Guru Nanak rejected idolatry and
the caste system, and taught that there is a universal, genderless and formless God, who is accessible equally to all,
irrespective of their race or religion. Through this teaching, he sought to bring together Muslims and Hindus in one
belief and started a religion of his own. In comparison, the emperor Akbar sought to create universal monotheism by
bringing together all religions so that they may converse and create one understanding. Having a greatly tolerant
attitude toward religion, Akbar preserved Hindu temples. He also began a series of religious debates where Muslim
scholars would debate religious matters with Sikhs, and Hindus. He founded his own religion, the Din-i-Ilahi or the
"Divine Faith"; the religion, however, amounted only to a form of personality cult for Akbar, and quickly dissolved
after his death.
9. Who was Akbar and what were some of his accomplishments as one of the great emperors of South Asia?
Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar also known as Akbar the Great (Akbar-e-Azam) 1542-1605) was the son of Nasiruddin
Humayun whom he succeeded as ruler of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1605. He is the founder of the Din-i-Ilahi
faith. His lineage was Turkic, and more distantly Mongolian.
Akbar, widely considered the greatest of the Mughal emperors, was only 13 when he became emperor, due to the death
of his father Humayun During his reign, he eliminated external military threats from the Afghan descendants of Sher
Shah (an Afghan who was able to temporarily oust Humayun from 1540-1555), and at the Second Battle of Panipat