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RLG205 Midterm Questions

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Ajay Rao

RLG 205 Midterm Prep Questions 1. Explain who the Aryans of the Indus Valley were. Explain any discoveries that were made in the Indus Valley and talk about any archeological findings as well as the 4 Varna System and the Rig Veda Cosmic Egg theory. The Aryans were believed to be the first who invaded the Indus Valley region. They were Indo-European, noble people who spoke the language of Sanskrit. It is believed that the Aryans came in as herders, replacing the dark-skinned people known as Dases. Along the Indus Valley two major cities, each 400 miles apart were discovered. Mohenjo Daro and Harappan were the two settlements. In Mohenjo Daro, a citadel was dug up and around the citadel, a large settlement of ancient houses was found. In the citadel, the Ghat, which was used for bathing, symbolizing the clensing of the body, was noted to be right beside the Granary. This relationship symbolizes the taming of the fertility cycle during the drought as drought was a symbol for death. Furthermore, soapstone printing blocks with carvings of various animals such as the tiger, rhino, and elephant were found. These can also be called seals which helped to identify the types of animals that existed back then as well as identifying the various families that lived in that settlement. Also, a portrait of a proto-shiva with an erect phallus ( penis) was also found. The phallus if further used to describe a lingam which was placed in a yoni, which symbolizes the female womb. Thus, this symbolizes the uniting of a male and female principle. Lastly, the RIG VEDA worldview of the cosmos came with the Aryans as well. The conclusions based on the Vedas were as follows: 1. Nomadic SocietyHerders, superior military 2. God-centered society33 deities and Indra, Varna, Agni and Yama all in the Cosmic egg. 3. Patriarichal Society 4. 4 class system (Varna)..which ranked individuals based on colourBrahmins (elite priest), Kshatriya (worriors, military people), Vaishyas (merchants), Sudras (farmers and herders) and lastly, the Untouchables (1948 constituion). The class system is further evidence for the statement; The soul is born into any of the 4 varnas according to their previous karma. 2. In the Chandogya Upanishad, chapter 6, Uddalaka Aruni, the father, uses symbolic analogies to teach his son, Shvetaketu, the meaning of Atman. What is the basic teaching that is symbolized by the bees-honey and rivers-ocean analogies? Uddalaka Aruni is talking to his son Shvetaketu about the Atman and he does that by first starting off with defining the Sat. The sat, says Aruni is the being that exists without another (advaita). Sat then comes from the word Satya, meaning the truth or reality. Thus, there is a ground base of cosmos that brought the things of existence today. Therefore, the sat (the being) who existed without another (advaita) is the essence that drives or becomes many things of existence. would I be many. This demonstrates qualified monismthe sat existing with many material qualities. Aruni further says that then we are Tat Tvam Asiif the sat or being is the essence of things existing, then that is what we are. Our soul or (atman) is of the same essence of the cosmic truth, making us merely a drop of rain, which when fallen into the ocean becomes one with the ocean. Or like the honeybeesbees bring nectar from flowers to make honey, which is of the same essence of the honey that is going to be made out of the honeycomb. Or like the riverswhen raining, the water in the rivers merges with the oceans and becomes one..thus the rivers are of the same essence as the ocean. Then his son, Shvetaketu realizes the truth and sees the mystical seeing-the one behind the manythis is intuitive knowledge. Thus, shvetaketu gets Darshana as he saw beyond the physical world and by this he gained knowledge or gyana, also known as realization of the ultimate truth. 3. Outline the beginnings of the Buddhism by stating the life story of Siddhartha Gautama. Explain important points in this pre-buddha life and as well as his struggles that he faced in his post-renouncer life. (Siddhartha to Buddha). The Buddha was born into to a kshatriya, royal family to mother named Maha Maya. He was later named Siddhartha Gautama, Siddhartha meaning He whos name will be accomplished. Gautama was his family last name. After this birth, his father called upon 8 brahmins to predict what will he be in the future. 7 out of 8 said that he will either be a Chakra Varta, a channa, meaning a charioteer, a universal monarch, or he will be a Buddha. 1 out 8 said that he will definitely become a Buddha if he sees any signs of old age, sickness or death. Thus, as every father would want his son to carry out the family name of this kingdom, he made all the old and sick people disappear from their kingdom. During his life he wasnt allowed to leave the palace walls but one day he saw an old man near the palace gateSiddhartha was astonished as he had never seen someone like him before. He followed the man which lead him to all the sick and old and dying people that were banished from the kingdom. Thus Siddhartha decided to leave his namestnd wealth to live the life of a renouncer. Since he was married to Yashodarya (1 extreme symbolizing the philosophy of materialism) and had a son named Rahula, he was free to leave as his son was there to carry the family inheritance. Buddha then when through his Great Retirement, having only 8 requisites: 3 robes, a belt, a needle, thread, a begging bowl and a water strainer. During that time he met asctetics sitting in meditation. He rejects mediation or Tapas as well as Raja yoga and then tries Jain Ascetisismduring this Siddhartha realizes that there is no soul (an-atman). Thus, it is not the soul that is reborn again and again in samsara, but it is the karmic energies, the lustful craving and desires for permanence that are reborn. The only way to get rid of such energies is through NIRVANA..the extringusihing of those karmic energies, which in the end extinguishes rebirth. The second extreme then is symbolized by the philosophy of extreme asceticism. This, after this realization, Siddhartha goes through the attainment of Buddhaship. He has received bodhi, or enlightenment as well as the divine eye and 4 noble truths. After the Enlightenement, the Movement known as the SANGHA took place. The sangha can be divided into two parts: A. First Teachings which include: dharma, 4 noble truths, 2 extremes and the 8 fold path. B. The Monestic Order: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha a.k.a THE 3 JEWELS Therefore, it is determined that the ABSOLUTE TRUTH in Buddhism is: Nothing is everlasting, therefore nothing is permanent in this world. There is no atman, or self, without or within. Thus, nothing is absolute in this world. 4. Buddhism is different from Hinduism and Jainism in that there is believed to be no soul, an-atman, whereas in Hinduism, one is said to be of the same essence of the sat, the being and thus saying that one must look beyond the physical world to see that essence. In Jainism, it believed that everything, us, plants, and animals have a soul. Furthermore, in Buddhism, it is the motive of the act that is taken to define the theory of action of karma whereas in Hinduism and Jainism, it is the act in itself that is taken into account. 5. In the cosmogony theory in the Laws of Manu, the cosmos were said to be created from a cosmic egg. The male principle is Ishvara who is both immanent-indwelling and is transcendent. He is also God, the spiritual principle as well as the male principle of either being Shiva or Vishnu. He is the first cause as well as the efficient cause and the material cause as the cosmos was created from pre-existing material which existed within him, just like the spider that has pre-existing material within it to spin a web. Ishvara first created the waters, which is the female principle and is called AP in Sanskrit. The waters also symbolize the material principle and are also called DEVI, which means goddess. Thus, Ishvara placed the seed, which represents life and consciousness, into the waters and the cosmic egg was created. The seed then became the cosmic egg, like the sun in splendor. Within the egg, the cosmos was born and from the cosmos Brahma was born. Brahma is a lesser God and was the first born of the creation. Thus, Brahma is the creator within the cosmos. In order to understand how the cosmos was created, a basic mathematical unit, called ONE MAHA YUGA was equal to 8640,000 HUMAN YEARS. This is one creation-destruction of the earth and is one divine day in the life of BRAHMA or the cosmos. Since 1 year is equal to 360 days8640, 000 X 360 = 1 year in the life of BRAHMA. Since Brahma lives 100 years, the cosmos is then created and destroyed in cycles of 311,040,000,000 HUMAN YEARS. 6. The Four Great Values that are stated in the PURPOSE OF CREATION are: a) Kama = Human Love (human relationships). b) Artha = acquiring wealth and power c) Dharma = ones duty according to ones varna (class) or jati (caste). d) Moksha = release of the soul from the cycle of deaths and rebirth (samsara). 7. The function of the Bhagavad Gita is that it acts as a manual for theories of actions as it holds many disciplines and yogas which lead to moksha, the release from the cycle of deaths and rebirths. Bhagavad = Lord and Gita is referred to song. Therefore, Bhagavad Gita is the song of the lord and it is a dialogue between Lord Krishna and Arjuna, who is one of the songs of Pandu. Arjuna, who is fighting against Duryodhana for getting back their kingdom is in a dilemmahe sees his family and
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