RLG205H5 Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Rigveda, World Egg, Ishvara

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Published on 26 Oct 2011
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UTM
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Religion
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RLG205H5
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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 Society…Herders, superior military
2. God-centered society…33 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 colour…Brahmins
(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
monism…the sat existing with many material qualities. Aruni further says that then we
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are Tat Tvam Asi…if 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
honeybees…bees 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 rivers…when
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 many…this 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 who’s 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 wasn’t allowed to leave the palace walls but one day he saw an old man
near the palace gate…Siddhartha 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 name and wealth
to live the life of a renouncer. Since he was married to Yashodarya (1st 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 Ascetisism…during 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
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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 days…8640, 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 = one’s duty according to one’s 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 dilemma…he sees his family and
friends in the battlefield and is in great pondering if whether or not he should go
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Document Summary

Rlg 205 midterm prep questions: 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. 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.

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