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. b/w 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 b/w rituals and prevalence of cosmic and earthly
order, rta(truth/justice, 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 death/reincarnation(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
lawðics(dharamasastras). Sacred books for Hindu refers to 2 epics,
Ramayana ( story of Rama, Ram seen as reincarnation of Vishnu.) and
Mahabharata(great epic of India/great sons of Bharat,war between Pandavas
and Kauravas, Arjuna, Krishna, conversation between Krishna and Arjuna-