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FYE134 and RELS105, Introduction to World Religions, Week 1 notes

by: Lindsay Kennedy

FYE134 and RELS105, Introduction to World Religions, Week 1 notes Religion 105

Marketplace > College of Charleston > Religion > Religion 105 > FYE134 and RELS105 Introduction to World Religions Week 1 notes
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About this Document

These notes cover the Indus Valley Civilization, the Indo-Europeans, and Hinduism
Introduction to World Religions
Dr. Cormack
Class Notes
world religions, religion, into to world religions




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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Lindsay Kennedy on Tuesday September 6, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Religion 105 at College of Charleston taught by Dr. Cormack in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 8 views. For similar materials see Introduction to World Religions in Religion at College of Charleston.


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Date Created: 09/06/16
FYE 134/RELS 105: Introduction to Religion  BCE=before common era  CE=common era Hinduism Indus Valley Civilization (2600­1700 BCE)  Oldest civilization (we know of) in India  Found funny looking figurines sometimes called Venus’s o May or may not be a goddess  Were usually hunter/gatherers Aryans : Indo­Europeans (1500­1300 BCE)  First evidence for a written Hindu religion: came from newcomers coming to India  Indo­European: indo=Indian European=European o Original educated language in India: Sanskrit o English colonizers affected Sanskrit to create Indo­European  They used wheeled chariots to travel  Were usually herders­ they had sheep and stuff Vedic Religion: the religion of the Indo­Europeans  Sacred writings: Vedas o Ex: Rig Veda: The oldest text that tells us about this religion  The Rig Veda is a collection of hymns to the gods  2 categories of gods o Devas: “shining ones”  Orderly  Indra: god of thunder and rain o Ashuras: opposed to the Devas. Demons?  Chaotic and destructive  Vrtra: drought demon o The gods fight and it is not certain who is going to win o People can help strengthen the gods by offering them sacrifices  Fire sacrifice: put stuff into a fire and burn it; the smoke goes up to the  gods who enjoy it and feed on it to gain strength  You sacrifice to ask the gods for something and you sacrifice to  say thank you when you get it  Agni: the fire god and fire itself  He not only brings the sacrifice up to the gods, but he is also a god  himself  When you die… o Your family performs rituals for you  Right ritual: you float into the sky and become a star  Wong ritual: you go into the realm of the dead or become a ghost o Death isn’t reward or punishment o There is no reincarnation  Purusha: social system created out of sacrificed beings o Head: brahmins (priests)  Perform rituals and know the Vedas very well o Arms: Kshatriyas (warriors, rulers, aristocracy) o Thighs: vaishyas (producers, merchants, farmers) o Feet: sudras (servants) o Caste is the social status you are born into  Not by money but by purity  Spiritual and physical purity  There can be mixing of the castes Classical Hinduism (500 BCE) Vedas are still sacred texts at the beginning Upanishads: the new religious texts, modify the Vedas Caste System o brahmins: priests o Kshatriyas: warriors, rulers, aristocracies o Vaishyas: producers, merchants, farmers o Sudras: servants o Outcastes/untouchables  It was illegal to discriminate based on caste  Caste’s CANNOT intermarry  You will have bad repercussions in the next life  You can eat only with your caste. Only members of your caste could wash your food unless someone of another caste was given permission which is  unlikely When you die… o Reincarnation o Samsara: they cycle of birth, death, rebirth, re­death…. o Caste system: not completely unfair because you can be reborn into a different  caste  Karma “action”: consequences of actions  Physical and moral consequences  Results of actions influence next rebirth o You should live a good life ACCORDING TO YOUR  CASTE  Dharma “sacred duty”: duty that you have according to what your caste is  If you did mostly good in your past life, but you still have a few bad  deeds, you still move up, but bad things will happen to you Top 3 Castes = twice born (males) o Undergo a series of rituals in different life stages  Sacred thread ceremony: second birth  Student: study whatever you’re supposed to for your caste  Marriage: householder (longest stage)  “retirement”—forest dweller: community of older people thinking about  spiritual things and preparing for the next life  You move from marriage to “retirement” when your kids are old  enough: married or with children  Sannyasi vow—renouncer: someone who has totally rejected his social  life (friends, family, everything) in search of Moksha  His previous identity and caste is erased  Completely devoted to moksha  Ascetic life: does without physical pleasures of any sort o People send sannyasi’s offerings  If they succeed, they aren’t reborn when they die  Death Moksha “liberation” o Brahmins know the most about it, are working on it, and are the most likely to  achieve it o 3 ways of obtaining moksha  Karma marga “Way of Action”: doing your sacred duty (dharma) just  because it’s your duty and not because you want to move up and get  something out of it  Jnana marga “Way of Knowledge”: what the sannyasi’s are doing  Study a lot, meditate a lot  Meditation potentially connects you to the overarching universe  (Brahman)  Brahman is the only thing that really exists  Bhakti “Way of Devotion”: you are devoted to a specific god and  when you die you go to that god o Monism: the belief that there is only one substance that exists  Advaita Vedanta: “not two” “from the vedas” (Upanishads) o Brahman  It exists  It is conscious  Ananda “joyfulness”  We are all the daydream of Brahman  Meditation breaks the barrier between their inner self (atman) and  Brahman  The atman inside you is just Brahman o They pop the balloon between themselves and Brahman Females o Female dharma: to worship their husbands as a god o They don’t become students o When menstrual cycle begins they have a celebration and teach her the facts of  life o They have a party when she comes out of the hut to advertise her as a potential  bride o If anything goes wrong in her family, it is her fault Krishna o Avatar: when a god comes to earth in human form o Krishna was an avatar:  Mischievous and CUTE  Always stealing curds from cottage cheese  When he gets older he steals woman’s clothes while they are bathing  Handsome and plays the flute   Multiplies himself and dances with all of the women  Radha: woman he does love the most, and has an affair with her  Krishna is a god that is so desirable you just have to follow him  Ex: the affair was a question of devotion to god, not morals o What kind of god is Krishna?  He is the avatar of Vishnu  People worship the god they think is most important  This god encompasses creation, preservation, and destruction  To get to Brahman most people take the Way of Knowledge  To get to Krishna (Vishnu) most people take the Way of Devotion o Arjuna was not able to see Krishna because of his devotion! —instead Krishna  was telling Arjuna to be devoted o Why is it not a problem for Arjuna to fight and kill his family?  Vishnu has already killed his family and he just wants Arjuna to be his  instrument  It was his sacred duty to be a warrior—on the right side  Even if it hurts, you must perform your sacred duty  You should not be attached to the ways of this world (love, hatred,  any emotion) o When you’re with Vishnu…  Do you dissolve into Vishnu like people do with Brahman?   No, you keep your identity but are with him  Picture of people on his knees Shiva and the goddess o Shiva: the god of destruction  He extends himself in different areas (like Vishnu) o He has a counterintuitive symbol that represents his creation  Penis and vagina represent the action that produces creation  You can’t have destruction without creation o Combines male and female  All gods have goddesses and all goddesses have gods  The goddess: Shiva’s wife  Shakti “female energy”: what Shiva’s wife is referred to as  He can be both man and woman—many think of him and his wife to be as  one  Images of a man­woman (split in half)


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