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Midterm

01:840:211 Midterm: Hinduism


Department
Religion
Course Code
01:840:211
Professor
Lammerts
Study Guide
Midterm

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HINDUISM
VEDIC HINDUISM
UPANISHADIC
DHARMIC
BHAGAVAD GITA
*Early form: Brahminism
DATES:
1400-1000 BCE time period
Who?
- Dominantly in south
asia (Hinduism =
people who lived
south of Indus River)
- Initially: included
Buddhists & anyone
not Muslim
- LATER: anyone
NOT Sikh, NOT Jain,
NOT Christian, NOT
Muslim
- Hinduism is
characterized by what
people ARE NOT
Brahmins: male priests
performed rituals - “Aryas” or
“noble ones”
- Brahmins performed
rituals on behalf of
male patrons who
undergo an initiation
first
- “The civilized” if in
Vedic community
- Vedas = Performed
elite rituals for upper
strata of society
- ALL other population
groups = enemies of
Aryas
Holy book: Vedas (4)
Vedas = knowledge
- Originally oral
compositions
- Written in Sanskrit
- Mantras dedicated to
deceased ancestors
Formation:
Questioned the MEANING
of the sacrifices described in
vedas & their connection
with God
DATES: 700-500 BCE time
period
Who?
Any Hindu (all social
classes)
Holy Book:
Upanishads: “esoteric
teachings”
World runs on: Knowledge
of Brahman
- Bhraman = power of the
ritual - creation of life, source
of all Gods, singular source
- brahman - not diefied ( no
attributes
- brahman = atman → “our
souls are the same as those
of the divine”
- you have to know you are
divine = self-realization
-karma = bad
- renounce karma & desire to
end cycle of samsara and
reach liberation
Reason or renounce: if you
don’t perform action, you
won’t have desires
- samsara: both good or bad
rebirths are BAD - because
you are in eternal suffering
(dukha)
- how? MEDITATION &
YOGA → technique to self
reflect & focus on self
- yoga: magical powers are
Formation:
Questioned Upanishads: how
can you be a member of
society if they renounce
everything and focus on self?
DATES: 500-300 BCE time
period
Who?
All Hindus - mainly first top 3
caste systems (“twice-born”)
Holy Books:
Dharmashastra (300-800 CE)
Laws of Manu: God Brahma
creates dharma & assigns all
beings their respective duties
-Brahma established
right/wrong @ time of
creation
World runs on: dharma
(initially Buddhist concept-
reclaimed and reappropriated
by Hindus because they lost
many followers to Buddhism)
-dharma: define social
relationships/hierarchies and
make correct divinely
ordained performance of
social duty
-dharma: “sacred law or
duty” → not universal to all
members of society =tailored
specifically to each person
based on your varna, asrama,
duty
- dharma: the term was not
very much used before this
- 3 ways of knowing what
dharma is:
1) Sruti (divine author):
Vedas
2) Smrti: dharmashastras
3) Acara(practice):
Formation:
Wants to make BOTH
discipline (karma & jnana -
knowledge) possible as the
same time through bhakti
(devotion)
DATES:
100 BCE to 100 CE time
period
Who?
Hindus - Everyone
Holy Books:
Mahabharata: 100,000 verses:
rivalry for throne of
Hastinapura between 2 sets of
cousins: Pandavas &
Kauravas
Bhagavad Gita: distinctive
change of course in
Hinduism; BhG is a portion of
the 6th book of the
Mahabharata epic
-Bhg contains approximately
700 verses
-100 BCE - 100 BE (year 0)
CH1: Arjuna's Dilemma:
- Arjunna is confused about
his dharma: he doesn’t want
to battle w/family but as a
Ksatriya, he has sacred duty
to fight as a warrior (conflict
between karma versus
dharma)
CH 2: Krishna teaches Arjuna
how to understand concepts
Krishna says…
- that Arjunna must go to war
-explains that although beings
die, their soul is eternal &
undying so he should fight.
-Arjunna cannot
ignore/neglect his dharma as a
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HINDUISM
who are petitioned to
grant rewards through
sacrifice
- Guarded access - only
male brahmins can
study Vedas
- If anyone else tried to
study, they were
decapitated
1) Rg. Veda: in manuscripts
around 1000 CE.
- legal prohibitions
against writing them
before
- 1028 mantras -
different parts
composed at different
times
2) Yajur: Prose texts/mantras
3) Sama: songs based on Rg
mantras (world's oldest music
collection)
4) Atharva: “Black magic” -
magical spells.
- recited with offerings
ex) induce sleep, safe
pregnancy, protect cattle, cure
* each Vedas has
associated branches
of Brahmins
5) Mahabharata (sometimes
considered 5th Vedas)
- New texts continue to
be added until 200
BCE - Vedic Corpus
closed
World runs on: sacrifice is
the ONLY significant karma
- sacrifice can be performed
anywhere - no structure.
- you don’t need to be good
person, you just need to
perform sacrifices correctly
- how? AGNI → Through
fire, God is fed - offerings
ex) animals, ghee, milk, soma
- only action that had bearing
on future
supposedly achieved
-karma: ALL actions you
do have bearing on after
death - you get consequence
for every action
- renounce(samnyasin):break
all attachments to world (no
food, water, economy,
family)
- will not give you reward for
your sacrifices
- atman = soul
-Dharma = laws, duty
-varna = social classes
HIGHEST GOAL:
liberation = immortality
Moksa = escape death
VERSES:
Olivelle Early Upanishad
Pg 48-51
All things--god, natural
phenomena, the human self
or “soul,” social classes, the
law of dharma are said to
have Brahman as their true
source and essence.
This indicates how the
Brahmins created the
following aspects within the
Upanisadic Orientations
(pg 49 quote)
This explains how Brahmins
created the four social classes
known as Varna. They also
created the sacred law known
as dharma
(pg 51 quote)
Emphasizes the importance
of atman, which is knowing
your inner self-soul. To get
out of the cycle of samsara,
Which is the cycle of rebirth.
Atman can help you
understand your true soul and
not be apart of the cycle of
brahmins = experts in
Vedas
** legal texts describing varna
(social class) & asrama (life
stages)
-4 varnas:
1) Brahmanas: priests,
Brahmins
2) Kshatriya: kings,
lords, warriors
3) Vaisya: merchants,
artisans,
agriculturalists
4) Sudra: servants,
slaves, landless
workers
Untouchables: non-Hindus,
foreigners, child of a Brahman
woman and sudra man
-One was BORN into the
social class, and no social
mobility within one lifetime
-if you performed your
dharma you could move up in
the caste system
-Top 3 Varnas: “twice-born”
- only they can undergo
upanayana (scared ceremony)
-only these 3 can participate in
asrama as Vedic student
-they were the only ones
considered full members of
Hindu community
Asrama System: 4 life stages
1) Student of Vedas
2) Married householder
(focus on dharma)
Majority of the focus is in this
stage; the most important
stage
3) Forest hermit
(vanaprastha) age 70
when you see the birth
of your grandchilddx
4) Ascetic/renouncer:
samnyasa: give up
everything and
renounce desire
HIGHEST GOAL:
Ksatriya - must be achieved
for liberation
-action should NOT be
motivated by desire or end
goal- action must be
renounced
-realization of atman and
realization of Brahman -
attains liberation
CH 3: Action without Desire
-Krishna says…
-karma = unavoidable bc
humans act in their need
-the atman soul does not act
- sacrifice desire/action TO
Krishna
-without dharma = chaos
CH 4-6:
- *MONOtheistic vibes
-performing dharma = NOT
sufficient - God intervenes on
your behalf - will grant you
prasad
-Krishna = receiver of ALL
sacrifices (from any God you
worship to)
CH 7-12: Krishna =
Supreme God
CH 12-18: 3 qualities of
nature
World runs on: bhakti
-Bhakti: devotion → to
attain liberation through
“divine gift”
-reinterprets sacrifice, karma,
dharma, renunciation as
modes of personal devotion to
Krishna (supreme God)
-anyone devoted to Krishna =
will achieve liberation
-karma: performing dharma
WITHOUT desire for
fruits(results) as a sacrifice to
Krishna - sacrifice desire
-jnana: knowledge that
krishna = supreme deity &
source of creation
-atman: our souls are no
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