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RLG Quiz 1 Notes + Chapter One.doc

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Henry Shiu

RLGA01H3 2012 Fall Key Terms for Hinduism: sanatana dharma – eternal law tilak (or tilaka) – A dot or mark on the forehead made with colored powders Bharata – indigenous term for India karma – action , good and bad, as it is believed to determine the quality of rebirth in future lives samsara – the continuing cycle of rebirths Indus Valley Civilization • Flourished between 3000 to 1500 BCE • Spanned over one million square km • Important excavating sites are Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa • Concerned with procreation and purity • Worship male animals as a way of incorporating their sexual powers. • Female reproduction powers were also regarded as sacred. • Female principle may have been revered as a goddess. • Purification practices, meditation, and the well-organized cities suggest the importance of order and restraint. • No one knows why this culture/civilization disappeared • The great both for cleansing purposes o Cleansing is used in many cultures; Many dos and don’ts may overlap when you compare different religions Aryans • They were not highly organized • Nomads rather than settled agriculturalists • Language evolved into Sanskrit, the official language of the Hindu religion o The Sanskrit word for God is deva, akin to the English words divine and deity. o Almost everything we know about them comes from a collection of writings known as the Veda. o So important is the Veda that Hinduism is sometimes called Vaidik dharma, meaning the religions of the Veda  The four collections of hymns and ritual texts that constitute the oldest and most highly respected Hindu sacred literature  The words of the Veda, according to traditional conviction, were revealed to ancient seers called ‘rishis’.  Divided into four samhitas (collections) • Rig-Veda o Contains 1028 hymns; Aitreya Upanishads • Yajur-Veda o Hymns largely borrowed from the Rig o Brihadaranyaka and Taittiriya Upanishads  Taittiriya • Associates Brahman with existence or truth (satya), knowledge (jnana), infinity (ananta), consciousness (chit), and bliss (ananda) • Sama-Veda o Meant to be sung o Hymns largely borrowed from the Rig o Chandogya Upanishads • Atharva Veda o Contains materials that scholars consider non- Aryan, such as incantations and remedies to ward of illness and evil spirits o The hymn chants were used for purposes other than sacrificial rituals (such as call for harm to befall one’s enemies)  Where each of these collections in turn consists of four sections • Samhitas – hymns • Brahmanas – directions for the performance of sacred rituals • Aranyakas – ‘compositions for the forest’ • Upanishads – ‘sitting near [the teacher]’ (philosophical works); most recent sections of each section Sanskrit – official language of the Hindu religion; from the Aryan language Puranas – a new collection of texts composed to the extol glories of deities and specify the forms of worship • Revere it as the “fifth Veda” • Asserted the existence of 330 million deities Bhagavad-Gita – a section of the Mahabharata epic recounting a conversation Krisna and the warrior, Arjuna, in which Krisna explain the nature of God and he human soul; desireless action is possible only through egoless bhakti faith; true suspension of all karma is impossible. Prana – an internal air current of the body; often spoken of as the basic animating principle. Atman – the individual self, held by Upanishadic and Vendantic thought to be identical with Brahman, the world-soul. Brahman – the world-soul, sometimes understood in impersonal terms Rita – an abstract impersonal principle the world believed to be government by Purusha (or Purusa) – a great primeval sacrifice performed by the gods in which the body of a victim called Purusha was dismembered; to create the world; The Laws of Manu - attributed to the sage Manu, articulates the etiquette and duties of each class and of each age group in the new brahman-dominated society • The laws of Manu gave women a low status; they were denied independence; not allowed to learn the Veda or even hold it • The dharma of women as a faithful wife (pativrata) Varna – “class” (ex: the Brahmin class, sudra class) jatis - castes (in Sanskrit, jatis, or “births”) are hereditary occupational groups The Caste System • Brahmin – the priest • Ksatriya – the rulers and warriors • Vaisya – the common people • Sudra – a class of menials (slaves) • There are the untouchables, who are considered to be the most impure. Dharmasastra – new texts; assume that one’s birth location is the most telling indication of one’s karma Asramas – the four sages of life are four stages of increasing dignity (student, householder, forest dweller, and the sannyasi stage) Samnyasin – a religious ascetic; one who has reached the fourth of the classical stages of life for Hindu males after student, householder, and forest-dweller The Four Aims of Life • Artha – worldly success; wealth and power; • Kama – sensory pleasure • dharma – religious and social duty, including both righteousness and faith • moksha – liberation from the cycle of birth and death; one of the three classical aims in life Three ways to Liberation – from the cycle of birth and death • the way of action (karma yoga) o the path of unselfish duty, performed neither in fear of punishment nor in hope of reward • the way of knowledge (jnana yoga) o through scriptural knowledge, one may achieve a transforming wisdom that also destroys one’s past karma • the way of devotion (bhakti yoga) yoga – a practice and discipline that may involve philosophical system and mental concentration, as well as physical postures and exercises • the ultimate goal in yoga meditation is to reach an awareness that is perfectly at one with and centered in the atman • the practitioner who reaches this state is said to put an end to all past karma and experience moksa • refers to eight-stage meditation discipline, attributed to the ancient sage Patanjali o moral restraint o mental discipline o posture o breath control o withdrawal from sense objects; focus internally o steadying of attention o meditation of religious insights o concentration on the mystical merging with the ultimate samskaras – life-cycle rites puja – ritual household worship of the deity, commonly involving oil lamps, incense, prayers, and food offerings Namaskara (or Namaste) – gestures of respect; “I place my hands at the centre of myself, the atman in my heart, to salute your same holy centre.” Prasad – the remains of a puja offering; seen to carry infusion of diving blessing • Prasada – a gift from the deity, especially food that has been presented to the god’s temple image, blessed, and returned to the devotee. bhakti – devotional faith; loving devotion to a deity seen as a gracious being who enters the world for the benefit of humans Kali Yuga • The post-Vedic age begun in 3102 BCE • A period of degeneration
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