REL 2300 Midterm: relexam2

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11 May 2017
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Hinduism
Sacred Hindu texts: Veda shruti and
Vedas - shruti
Breath of the eternal as ‘heard’ by the ancient sages or rishis
Large body of literature in Sanskrit
Oral tradition, Brahmans/Vedic Aryans
Written 1000 years after composition, was seen as polluting
Dharma sutras= “shruti
1500-500 BCE
Four parts to Veda:
Rig veda (hymns, the myth of the cosmic man)
Brahmans (directions for ritual sacrifice)
Aranyakas (“forest treatises”)
Upanishads (renunciation, systematized philosophy that one could break free
from the cycle of reincarnation aka caste system, threatens the powerful)
The goal for hindu renouncers is to be liberated from the cycle of rebirth instead of
fulfilling their dharma in hopes of a better rebirth
Dharma tied directly to varna (caste) system
Top to bottom: Gods Bhramin, Kshatryia, Vaishya, Sudra, Untouchables
Widowed women are made outcasts “dead to society”
Foundational ideas of renouncers:
Samsara- beings are reincarnated/reborn into the world of suffering over and
over again
Moksha- liberation from samsara
Karma- law of cause and effect that governs reincarnation
Jnana- spiritual knowledge that can lead to liberation from cyclic existence
Asceticism- renunciation of pleasure; aka fasting, celibacy, poverty, seclusion,
self-mortification
The ASHRAMA or life-stages model for brahmin males (outlined in the Laws of Manu-
authoritative albeit inspired texts in Vedic societies)
Celibate student
Householder- fulfill duties to household/family, objectives are wealth
Hermit or forest dweller- start the path to renunciation
Renouncer
Vedic philosophies:
The cause of samsara is ignorance of the true Self or Atman
In vedic philosophies ethics are central to orderly social life
Samkhya- dualistic; purusha (true Self) vs. Prakriti (the cause of the material
universe)
Advaita Vedanta- monistic; one reality and one substance of which all life is a
part; atman and Brahman (the unknowable, unseen, all-pervading reality) are
one; confusion caused by maya (power by which the Absolute veils itself)
Kali baaba youtube
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Laws of manu- states that a brahmin male may attempt liberation but will go to
hell if social obligations have not been fulfilled
Prescribes renunciation for certain groups (widows)
Purusarthas Four aims of life:
Dharma- religious and moral life
artha - economic development
Kama- appropriate gratification of the senses
Moksha- escape from cycle of reincarnation, samsara
The epics:
Ramayana
rama
Mahabharata
Bhagavad- gita
Krishna reincarnated as arjuna’s charioteer
Alternative to renunciate lifestyle is devotion to vishnu aka krishna
Bhakti-devotion
Puja- worship or ritual, public or private, communal is usually performed by
pujaris (brahmin priests)
Prasad- offering of food to the deities
pandit - teacher, scholar, expert who has mastered one or more elements of
hindu tradition
Puranas- collections of mythological narratives, part of the Hindu scriptures that are
considered inspired or smrti
Collection of 18 (6 Vishnu, 6 Brahma, 6 Shiva)
Brahma (creator)
Vishnu (preserver)
Shiva (the great renouncer and the destroyer)
Parvati- Shiva’s “other”, self-sufficient/reproducing, mother of Ganesh (elephant face,
associated with great wisdom, peace, and clear mind)
Shavia- worshipers of Shiva
goddesses**
Durga- ten arms w ten weapons, vanquishes demons that threaten the dharma,
quick fix
Kali- depicted with a necklace of skulls symbolizing her aspect as destroyer
Saraswati- named for a mystical river and associated with knowledge, the arts,
and music, muse
Lakshmi- the embodiment of wealth, good fortune and beauty
Divali- festival of lights
20 days after the close of durga puja or dussehra, beginning on the night of the
new moon (late fall)
Return of Rama after exile, the puja of Lakshmi, or new year
Cleaning house, bringing records up to date, illumination, feasting, gift-giving
Holi from Holika
Approach of the vernal equinox (spring) beginning on the full moon
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Celebrates vishu’s commitment to good
Purusha- the primal man from whose body the universe was created, according to one
of the early creation myths in the Rigveda
He was sacrificer and victim
His rite was the imagined prototype for later Vedic and Hindu sacrifices
Harijan- a member of a hereditary Hindu group of the lowest social and ritual status
Jainism
Hindu renunciate tradition
Hindu and buddhist scriptures both refer to Jainism
Rooted in non-vedic indigenous indian religion
Yoga- eliminating negative karma, purifying, disciplining mind and body, and living by
strict ethical principles
Mahavir- aka The Great Hero, the last of 24 Tirthankaras
Tirthankaras- passes through continuous cycles of progress and culture
The universe is without beginning and end
Offer ethical-spiritual instruction
The 23rd Tirthankara has a resemblance to the Buddha
Hagiography- idealized biography of the life of a saint, teacher, or holy person
2 main sects:
Digambaras sky- clad left to avoid famine, only two possessions fan (used to
sweep floor before stepping on it to avoid killing any living being) and gourd,
women cannot be nude, women cannot achieve perfection
Svetambaras white- clad stayed, gender equality in theory
The goal in Jainism is to achieve samsara (wheel of birth and death), cleanse oneself of
karma
Karma is always negative
Kevala- highest state of perfection, leads to rebirth
Birth as a human is the highest form of liberation
Ahimsa- higher the life form, greater the karmic burden
No eating after sunset
Wearing cloths over mouths
Compassion for all creatures
Must be vegetarians
Clothing
No negative thinking/speaking
Non-violent professions
Global violence
Aparigraha- non attachment to things and people
Limiting consumption= way out of poverty, environmental degradation due to
using resources
Anekantwad- “manifold aspects”, many truths, elephant, open-mindedness & dialogue
Buddhism
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Document Summary

Breath of the eternal as heard" by the ancient sages or rishis. Written 1000 years after composition, was seen as polluting. Rig veda (hymns, the myth of the cosmic man) The goal for hindu renouncers is to be liberated from the cycle of rebirth instead of fulfilling their dharma in hopes of a better rebirth. Dharma tied directly to varna (caste) system. Samsara- beings are reincarnated/reborn into the world of suffering over and over again. Karma- law of cause and effect that governs reincarnation. Jnana- spiritual knowledge that can lead to liberation from cyclic existence. Asceticism- renunciation of pleasure; aka fasting, celibacy, poverty, seclusion, self-mortification. The ashrama or life-stages model for brahmin males (outlined in the laws of manu- authoritative albeit inspired texts in vedic societies) Householder- fulfill duties to household/family, objectives are wealth. Hermit or forest dweller- start the path to renunciation. The cause of samsara is ignorance of the true self or atman.

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