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HINDUISM PRACTICE (textbook+lecture notes combined)

3 Pages

Course Code
HUMA 1865
Aviva Goldberg

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Sacred syllable “om” - om: recited at the beginning and end of all Hindu/Jain prayers and recitations of scripture - om has great power - some believe Om to represent the supreme reality (Brahman); om represents 3 worlds (earth, atmosphere, and heaven); Om is the essence of the 3 Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama). Temple Worship: - there is no reference to temples in the Vedic literature - Southern part of India, however, example of temple architecture survive from as early as the seventh and eighth centuries - A central element in most forms of Hindu worship is the image (murti) of the deity - Murti: aka idol/icon/object to be worshipped; is adorned, carried in processions, and entertained with music and dance - vishnu makes himself present in image form because he wants to be accessible - there is no congregational prayer in the style of the Sunday morning Christian worship or the Friday prayers for muslims  hindu priests are ritual specialists rather than counselors - at the centre of the temple is the garbha grha - garbha grha: aka the womb house, where the god/goddess is enshrined called the womb house because this is where spiritual regeneration or rebirth takes place - Devotees bow down before deities, idols, etc. The Naga - one of the earliest symbols in the Hindu tradition may be the naga (serpent) - nagas are also important in the iconography of Shiva and Vishnu Dance of Shiva - often portrayed as a cosmic dancer known as Nataraja (the king of the dance) -  symbolizing mastery over universal energy on the one hand and absolute inner tranquility on the other Linga - linga: an upright shaft, typically made of stone, placed in a receptacle called a yoni - yoni: symbolizes a womb - linga has sexual connotation - the union with yoni and linga is a reminder that male and female forces are united in generating the universe Erotic Sculpture - temple structures symbolizing sensual love - Khajuraho (1000 ce) most famous such art - The art is intended to serve an educational purpose for young men isolated because of studying…and to prepare them for the sensual enjoyment (kama) of the adult/real world Forehead Masks - most common visual sign of hindu culture - bindi: red dot traditionally worn by married women - women see the bindi as a symbol of the role that they play in society - when worn correctly: indicates which god they worship, and the socio- religious community of their belonging Domestic Worship - most important way of expressing devotion is through at home rituals - called puja; consisting of lighting lamps/incense, pray, food to the idol, etc significance of food - certain dates and lunar phases require fasting or feasting - one can receive Moksha simply by observing the right kinds of fasts - dietary prohibitions (i.e. vegetarianism, etc) based on idea that food reflects the general qualities of nature (purity, energy, and inertia) - offering food to
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