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Hinduism (textbook notes).doc

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HUMA 1865
Aviva Goldberg

PRACTICE (pg. 296-297) The Sacred Syllable Om → Om- used at the beginning and end of all Hindu prayers and recitations ↘ All sects believe in power, but disagree on meaning Temple Worship → No reference to temples in Vedic literature th → Architectural guides written after 4 century → Image of deity (murti) = central element to temple layout ↘ treated like a royal guest (with adornation, offerings and music) → Images in a temple are a symbol of higher reality ↘ eg: it is not Vishnu; it is Vishnu making making himself accessible. → No congregational style of prayer → Priests are ritual specialists rather than counsellors → Prasada ('divine favor') = blessed objects or food → Worship: ● walking around the temple inside one of the enclosures ● formal worship – the priest praises the deity by reciting the name ● bowing ● offerings of prasada SCULPTURAL AND PICTORAL SYMBOLISM (pg. 298-300) The Naga → “Serpent” → Fertility symbol → Important in the iconography of Shiva & Vishnu The Dance of Shiva → Shiva: portrayed as a cosmic dancer a.k.a = Natarja (king of the dance) → In this form, Shiva is both dancer AND ascetic (symbolizing mastery of cosmic balance) → Tandava: a fierce dance that gives energy Lasya: a gentle dance that represents grace The Linga → Linga: upright shaft Yoni: recepticle (represents the womb) ↓ Reminder that male and female forces generated the universe Erotic Sculpture → kama: sensual → sculptures may have been for educational purposes ↘ for men who were isolated from society, preparing them for adult life (where sensual enjoyment was a goal to achieve dharma) Forehead Marks → Tilaka: decorative forehead mark → Men (asetics and priests) can wear forehead marks too → Marks can be interpreted in many ways, depending on gender, marital status etc. → Many people think that it has nothing to do with religion (more cosmetic) → Married women see it as a symbol of their role in society DOMESTIC WORSHIP (pg. 300) → Most significant way in which Hindus express their devotion (puja) → Lighting oil lamps & incense sticks, prayers and offering food → Number of domestic rituals are specific to women in the households THE SIGNIFICANCE OF FOOD(pg. 300) → Not just what food is eaten, but how it's eaten, by who and when. → In some texts, liberation can be won by simply fasting → Vegetarianism is a matter of community and caste → Dietary restrictions & habits are based on the idea that food reflects purity, energy and inertia → Vegetarian diets are said to repress passion ↘ given to those who are cultivating spiritual tranquillity (brahmins) → Food is both auspicious and inauspicious ↘ used in some rituals and avoided in others → Food appears as an important symbol of spiritual experience ↓ Story of Nammalvar (pg 301-302) THE ANNUAL FESTIVAL CYCLE (pg. 302) → Every month has some form of festival → Most popular festivals are the birthdays of Rama, Krishna and Ganesha → Festivals differ from region to region (ex. = Holi in Northern India / Onam in South India) Navaratri → 'Nine-Nights”: begins on the new moon that appears between Sept. 15 and Oct. 14 → Tamil Nadu – Navaratri is a festival for women (celebration of womanhood) → Varanasi – Young boys acting out the Ramayana → Cars & buses are draped in garlands, computers and typewriters are blesses with poweders ↘ Ayudha Puja (veneration of weapons and machines) Deepavali → “Necklace of lights” th th → Octover 15 and November 14 → Light decorations, firecrackers and wearing new clothes → Different people celebrate for different reasons (pg. 303) LIFE-CYCLE RITES (pg. 304) → 2 important factors in discussing life-cycle rights ↘ Not all are pan-Hindu ↘ Many important rites aren't even discussed in classical texts ↓ - some were made after texts after texts were written → Central aspect to Hindu life = 'auspicio
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