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RLG100Y1 Study Guide - Maurya Empire, Transcendentalism, Puranas

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Lecture 1
Two ways of looking at religion
Historiography: writing of history
-how ideas and practices change radically over time?
-looking at religious history from the outside
-how is Islam as a religious tradition different from Hinduism as a religious tradition? (not in
Hindu term comes from a Persian term. Historically it referred to the people who lived beyond
the Indus River (geographic)
Sultan- emperor
1830 the term Hinduism came about
Cast disabilities removal Act, 1850 developed on the basis of property. Everyone is the same in
the eyes of the law
Lex Loci Act, 1845
Warren Hostings’ Judicial different sets of law for hindus and muslims
Lecture 2
Looking at : Indus valley civilization and Rg Veda and the sacrifice
Indus valley civilization
(one of the 3 oldest civilizations in Indian history) = [Mesopotamia, Indus valley]
Indus river = in Pakistan
Evidence available in ancient civilization = material objects eg structures, buildings, pottery,
seals etc
No texts in ancient civilization
Two major ancient sites (cities) : Harappa and Mohanjo-Daro
Mohanjo-Daro: 4th millennia BC (3000-4000BC)
Central planning, similar layouts in both cities
Mohanjo-Daro Great Bath: in Pakistan, underground.
Mohanjo-Daro Granery: remains have been withered away with time. Agricultural production,
sophisticated economy
Indus Valley Seals: have symbols, found in museums
Dravidian: language spoken in southern part of India
Theory: all languages in southern India are part of a family
Theories for the collapse of Indus valley:
Internal collapse (famine, natural or economic disaster)
there must have been a conquest of the Indus valley people by the vedic people
Vedic civilization: Vedic people came in after the collapse, so there was no conquest and they were
called the Aryans.
Debate: origin of vedic (did they come from within or outside of India)
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arguments say that they either migrated to india from central Europe vs came from India
they came from OUTSIDE India because their language was sanskirit
Indo-european language family : French, german, greek, sanskirit, latin, Spanish, Russian,
old english
People must have had contact with each other : their words for mother, father etc sounded
very alike
Vedic/Aryans travelled from place to place
They were hunters and gatherers and did not show interest in agriculture
Vedic Culture documentary
o Clay, wood and grass
o God of fire was kept alive
o Fire was celebrated in ceremonies
o Sacrifices and rituals survived but declined
o Squares, rectangles and triangle woods used
o Around 10 BC, fire was built from a 1000 bricks
VEDIC SACRIFICE: [RG Veda = oldest text of vedic Aryans]
Done by Brahmans
Sacrifice died off, people now go to temples
Sacrifice was “recreated” in the documentary
FIRE: very important, animal is offered into the fire or usually a “symbol” instead of animal
Ancient sacrifices: animals eg deer, horse etc.
Rd Veda: reciting the text (words) and the fire are important. They recite different verses which are
in the massive text called “The Veda” its like an encyclopedia. Rd Veda is the part where they are
praising the God. Other part of Veda contains instructions on how to do the sacrifice. They sacrifice
because they think they have an “Exchange” relationship with the god. They offer the animal to the
god and the god is expected to do something for them. “a person who wants to go to heaven,
sacrifices”. Person who usually wants a son, sacrifices. Men perform the sacrifice.
Lecture 3
Summary of lecture
Personal relation to the lecture personal reflection or reading material
Looking at:
Renunciation in ancient india
Historical background on late vedic society
Buddhism and other renouncer traditions
Renunciation: giving something up or to renounce
Renouncers: gave up the vedic sacrifice (giving up fire) and giving up marriage (ritual and social
life) [things that we do not do]
Asceticism: set of practices (things that we do) eg fasting, yoga practices, meditation etc
Life of the Buddha : marks transformative moment in ancient india
556-486 BCE or 448 368 BCE (date that the scholars adapted)
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