Hinduism summary

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University of Toronto St. George
Andre Maintenay

HINDUISM: Hindu derived from Sindhu (Indus) River. Hindu tradition many traditions with regional variances. No central deity, text or teacher that is supremely authoritative. HARRAPA CULTURE: on the banks of the Indus River. 2 towns: Mohenjo Daro and Harappa. Houses show fire altar for domestic fire rituals. Seals show man sitting in low yogic position-prototype of deity Shiva. VEDAS (knowledge) comp. bw 1750-600 BCE: earliest Indo-European compositions. Sacred language Sanskrit. Not of human origin (apauruseya). These works knows as shruti (that which was heard). Vedic seers(rishis) saw the mantras and transmitted them to their disciples, starting oral tradition. 4 Vedic collections- Rig (1028 hymns), Sama, Yajur and Tharva. Each consists of 4 sections: hymns( Samhitas; earliest), directions for sacred rituals (Brahmanas), compositions for the forest ( Aranyakas) and philosophical works (Upanishads-sitting near the teacher, most recent). * Vedic Hymns: most imp deities ( Vishnu & Lakshmi) not mentioned directly in earlier hymns. various gods mentioned: Saraswati, Agni, Soma, Vac. central to Vedic culture ritual sacrifice (yajna). Domestic and community sacrifices performed with fire. Hymns of 1000BCE refer to cosmic sacrifice that began creation. Delicate connection seen bw rituals and prevalence of cosmic and earthly order, rta(truthjustice, rightness of things) ,upheld by gods. Hymn of Supreme: (purusha sukta) universe originated through cosmic sacrifice of primeval man (purusha). Various ideas originated, including origins of four classes (varnas) of Hindu society. * Upanishads: do not reject hymns and sacrificial rituals, instead reformulate them. Most Upanishads take form of conversations. Karma and Samsara: karma (action),ritual action, system of rewards and punishments for actions, which takes several lifetimes to work out. Implies continuing cycle of birth and deathreincarnation(samsara). To achieve liberation(moksha) form incarnation, requires transforming experiential wisdom, and once attained become immortal(a-mrta). Freed form reincarnation only by experiencing enlightenment, not by Vedic learning. Atman and Brahman: base of experiential knowledge is relationship between Brahman (Supreme Being) and Atman (human soul). Salt water analogy. You are that (tat tvan asi). Brahman hidden, inner controller of human soul. Many interpretations of relationship. CLASSICAL HINDUISM:literature after Vedas called smrti(that which is remembered). Less authoritative than shruit but more influential. 3 types: epics(itihasas),ancient stories(puranas), codes of law&ethics(dharamasastras). Sacred books for Hindu refers to 2 epics, Ramayana ( story of Rama, Ram seen as reincarnation of Vishnu.) and Mahabharata(great epic of Indiagreat sons of Bharat,war between Pandavas and Kauravas, Arjuna, Krishna, conversation between Krishna and Arjuna- www.notesolution.com
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