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RLGA01H3 Study Guide - Jnana Yoga, Vanaprastha, Patanjali

Course Code
Henry Shiu

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What is Hinduism:
- The most followed tradition in India.
- More than simply saying it is a religion, it is a way of life, defining the word of Dharma.
o Dharma viewed as the performance of duties, based on an individual’s nature.
o Santana dharma the eternal religion, their faith is considered to be eternal.
It transcends time and space as a tradition.
- Central to the goal of Hinduism is to achieve moksha. the process of the soul living over many
times before becoming pure enough to reach moksha.
- Believe in one god, worshipped in different forms. Some hindus believe that the various deities
are equal, representing diff aspects of an impersonal god (Brahman). Others worship specific
gods, Vishnu/Shiva, being the two main ones amongst others that can grace those toward liber.
- The tradition is based around natural and everlasting principles.
The paths towards understanding Hinduism and Liberation (3 ways):
- Yogas spiritual paths of Hinduism way to liberation, each way being a discipline.
o The main yogas are: (action/knowledge/devotion K J B
o Bhakti (devotion)
o Jnana (scriptural knowledge)
o Karma (path of undeslfish duty/way of action)
Two Hindu scriptures & the Veda
- Veda bringing religious practices and beliefs based on a set of holy scriptures. It is composed
of many traditions and schools of thought, rather than emphasizing fixed set of beliefs.
- Shruti (revealed truths/seen) to the rishis
- Smriti (remembered truths/told) from rishis to the disciples.
- Life is a journey, moving from one body to another, this one life is in itself, a journey to the next
birth to death. Idea of karma, samsara, moksha are visited here.
Life Cycles: Life is divided into 4 stages: called Ashramas
o Brahmacharya (gaining religious knowledge)
o Grihasta (householder)
o Vanaprastha (retirement/focus on non-attachement)
o Sam(n)yasa (wandering holy man with no fixed home concentrates on moksa)
The set principles known as the Yamas and Niyamas.
Place of Worship
- In a special place called mandirs (serve as temples/Hindus believe places are sacred).

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Key Terms for the Lecture on Hinduism:
The word religion is problematic.
sanatana dharma/dharma
- Ones sacred duty (dharma) is an eternal duty (sanatana dharma).
- Dharma means ones social and religious duty. Expected to fulfill as part of the duty. But it does
not mean religion, it means, righteousness, justice, faith, duty, religious and social obligation.
- The less common word, and closest word to religion would Santana dharma (the Eternal faith)
as it consists of many more aspects, it doesn’t have the same concept of religion.
tilak (or tilaka)
- Tilaks = forehead markings symbolizing the role they play in society.
- The socio-religious community they belong to along with the god or goddess they worship.
- Top down (vertical) Vishnu, Krishna or Lakshimi.
- Left right (horizontal) Shiva , or Parvati.
- Indigenous term for India
- Settlers (white) dictated name Indians in reference to land surrounding Indus River.
- The doctrine of karma assumes that a natural causal mechanism conditions individual destiny
- Reward and punishment system : God (west)
- Karma is a natural law, gravity is natural. Just a natural consequence of your action,
consequence in line with the work you did, you harm someone you get harmed, benefit another,
you will later get benefited.
- Part of the cycle of reincarnation
- It is represented by the tiring wheel of suffering and misery.
- The goal for hindus is to escape samsara and reach moksha (spiritual freedom).
- Soul must obey the law of cause and effect. Good deeds lead to a better standard of life.
- Selfish and ignorant deeds lead to suffering such as being born into a lower species, increased
bondage to the cycle of births and deaths.
- People must turn away from avidya (ignorance of spiritual truth) leads to maya, an illusion of
the truth. Attachment to material things is looked down upon,

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Indus Valley Civilization
- It is the standard view that Hinduism had grown from a fusion of Indus valley, faith of the Aryans
and the indo-european people.
Mohenjo-Daro + Harappa
- Part of the Indus valley civilization may have spanned over one mill sq kilmeters. Word
Harappa culture is included to understand it as it extends well beyond the Indus basin.
- The most important of the excavated sites in 1926- location near Pakistan for all this.
- Artwork suggesting the worship of animals/great achetechutual group “the great bath”
structure formation in the citadel mound at Mohenjo Daro.
- Procreation and the idea of statuettes of mother goddess’, showed the cherish of lives.
- Worshipped goddess images, symbolizing the female principle of the wonder of birth.
o Ability to give wife, a power, a tool of mystic power.
- Few seals show yoga posture could have been the prototype for the deity known as Shiva.
- Idea of sati cultural expectation of suicide of the widow at the husband’s death.
- They brought into india, came from central asia. North west part of central asia, they gradually
moved over to india. And conquered the people there.
- They were not highly organized.
- They were nomads rather than settled agriculturalists.
- The Aryans thought the world as divided into three levels: ‘triloka
o 3 planes of existence
Space for birds and animals
Than all the way up, invisible realm, gods and goddess’.
o Thought each world had a moon and sun. Years ago they had an idea of the solar sys.
Clustering our systems together.
- From the Aryan language evolved into the language of Sanskrit.
- They conquered and brought with them a sacred language “Sanskrit” part, containing sacred
power in its words, and the official language of the Hindu religion.
- Power lies in the sound of the words. Never meant to be written down, the system to memorize
and pass down from generations downward.
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