Part A: see how these terms will connect or how they help define others larger/broad meanings.
- Essentially these are the statues, divine sculptures of a god/goddess.
- Part of ritual adoration of the god, goddess in question.
- This defines how a Hindu may find access to their gods through murtis.
o As statues are only statues until a sacred minister gives it prana pratishta, where the once statue, is now
a channel of the divine blessings by breathing/infusing it with air.
- Statues are required in some schools of Hinduism for worship – integral.
- Eyes are important on the statues and are usually largely disproportionate.
- Divinity is essentially captured in the artistic representation.
o Artists follow the shilpa shastra to give gods the proper attributes.
- There are over 300 million gods in Hindu belief; many many statues.
- Saguna – represents the idea that it is okay to symbolize deities in concrete form as they can be comprehended
and worshipped in a form that we as humans can relate to, from the actual abstract and transcendent deities.
- Meaning worship before the idol; but can also mean religious vision.
o R.v. meaning that one can see the deity through the image – mystic sense.
- The state is very much treated like a living being (king), presented with presents and washed.
o They come to them with concerns, in hope of them being granted.
o Therefore they perform washing the deity, as well as cleansing them, a meal is prepared and placed
before the special guest for consumption.
- Important in regards to incarnation.
- Connecting divinity and humanity together.
o Deities take on the form of human nature.
- Vishnu is mentioned here as the deity to take on human/creature form in times of turmoil.
o He had 9 avatars with a 10 (Kalki) to come. Some notable ones have been Matsya (1 /Fish), Rama,
o The descent is considered gracious into humanity.
- Connection between Christianity with Jesus and the 9 avatar Buddha.
- Meaning knowledge in Sankrit. The most esteemed and authoritative books in the religion.
- Considered as part of the important texts in Hinduism, Shruti the more important of the two.
- There is Shruti and Smriti.
o Shruti containing more devotional hymns, liturgical guidelines, existence musings.
- The books represent that which was heard; ultimate source of the ideas encapsulated in the books lies beyond
the human realm of existence. These texts were written by Rishis in advanced states of mental awareness (in
- Composed of 4 vedas
o 1. Rg (verses) 2. Sama (chants) 3. Yajur (sacrificial prayers) 4. Atharva (fire priests)
o Oldest most important is the Rg. 2
- All Vedas contain a core collection of hymns (samhita) and attachments known as brahmanas and aranyakas
that insure the ritual is carried out in proper manner. As well as these two core texts, the appendixes contain the
Upanishads (sitting at the feet) - containing philosophical musings to explore classical themes as the meaning of
existence and identity of the self.
- These were originally to be read by certain groups and have only knowledge of its contents. It was only
translated in Sanskrit. Shows a disparity that only certain groups in hierarchy were allowed to read sections.
Rg Veda (verses)
- Rg – over 1000 hymns. Most read of the 4 books. Oldest most important book.
- Contains hymns to early deities, the major deities now were only seen as minor.
Sama Veda (chants)
- Anthology of mantras
o Recited for musical recital at formal ceremonies, mantras are drawn from the Rg and rearranged.
Yajur (veda of sacrificial prayers)
- Formulas to be used at sacrifices.
- Many are gathered for a variety of different purposes.
Artharva (veda for fire priests)
- Different from the others.
- Contains magic spells and incantations.
- Not to do with sacrifice but with a book, more typical of a popular folk religion.
- The core collection of hymns to be found in all 4 vedas.
- Attached to Vedas are Brahmanas and Aryanyakas.
o Rubrics and instructions that show if ritual is carried out properly.
o Brahmana – rituals and moral principles -Aryanyaka – meditations
Upanishads (Sitting at the feet)
- Works were composed not in connection w official village ceremonies, but in the forest.
- Contain philosophical musings – exploring classical themes; meanings of existence so on.
- This vicious cycle of rebirths represent – Hindu and Buddhist tradition of Samsara
o Samsaric world views come from trees and plants that die in winter.
o Quality carried over, karma, determines the particular cosmic realm which one must overcome in the
enslaving vices against greed, and many other ones.
o Karma the force that drives the wheel of rebirth.
- (Mahayana art) – The Wheel of Rebirth; how do you determine its look? (Part Hindu concept of samsara/karma)
o 6 spoked wheel: represents 6 divisions of the universe. Realm of 1. Gods, titans humans, hungry ghosts,