Chapter 4: Hinduism continued
Chapter 4: Hinduism continued REL 101
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Date Created: 09/13/16
9/13/16 Chapter 4: Hinduism p.106 – 125 Naked holy men may smear cremation ashes on themselves to symbolize their death to society. Deities 1. Brahma – creator, isn’t worshipped as highly as Vishnu and Shiva 2. Vishnu- preserver, maintaining balance between good and evil 3. Shiva – destroyer, not viewed as bad They are constantly maintaining the cycle of life/reincarnation The second names on these are the female counterparts of these deities, to represent the balance of males and females in nature: 1. Vishnu and Lakshmi 2. Krishna and Radha 3. Rama and Sita The deities are often holding things that they represent; this is why they often have several arms – just to have enough hands to hold all of things they represent/symbolize Shiva wife Parvati, son Ganesha Yogi – someone who practices yoga “lord of the yogis” Lingam – phallic symbol Ganesha has an elephant head, story has it that his father cut his head off but parvati argues to save him and Shiva finds him a new head i.e. the elephant which is seen as strong; thus, Ganesha is often turned to as an “obstacle remover” Devi (Goddesses) Kali – an extreme form of the fierceness of goddeses Durga – a warrior Worshippers Vaishnavas – devotion to Vishnu Shaivas – devotion to Shivas Shaktas – devote themselves to the goddesses 9/13/16 Hindu Texts Shruti – texts that are divinely revealed o Vedas and Upanishads Shmriti – human authors with sacred knowledge o Epics and puranas Vedas (~1500 BCE) Many vedas Generally described as sacred hymns Written for the priests, to provide instructions for rituals Vedic Gods (a few) Agni – god of fire, personified as fire; fire is important because it was believed that by burning offerings, the smoke brought the offerings up to them Indra – god of thunder Soma – the immortal drink; the drink of the gods that allows them to maintain their immortality; some of the Vedas include how to make it Upanishads (~600 BCE) Translates as “sitting at the foot of” (a teacher) Philosophical concepts o Brahman o Atman o Samsara o Maya – an illusion; what is behind ultimate reality, get past the distractions/illusions of the world to discover the divine reality o Moksha – liberation from humanity; being united with the gods Vedanta school of Hindu Philosophy o “end of the Vedas” = Upanishads as culmination o Relationships between Brahman and Atman – the relationship between self and divine Some view Brahman and atman as the same - monism Others view them as distinct, however they have a relationship – dualistic Hindu Epics – often used to popularize the values of Hinduism Ramayana – one of the more famous epics o “Rama’s Journey” – Rama trying to rescue his kidnapped wife Ideal Characters 9/13/16 Mahabharata – probably the longest epic ever; battle between two clans, brother vs. brother, also teaches about the many ages; written by a poet, Ganesha writes it down Popularized Vedic ideas Kali yuga – the fourth and last stage of the world; the world’s most degraded form Bhagavad Gita – translates to “song of the Lord”; one chapter of the Mahabharata o Krishna – divine incarnation of Vishnu, giving advice to the main character o Bhakti – devotion to the divine Puranas (~500-1500 CE) 18 major puranas Some dedicated to Vishnu, Shiva, Devi, and Brahma Earliest History (3000-1300 BCE) Indus Valley Civilization – very loosely connected to Hinduism; there’s not much evidence of exactly what religion was practiced in this area Vedic Period (1500 BCE – 500 BCE) Aryans – the dominant group; considered themselves “civilized” Vedas - caste system was getting into place; the first 3 (highest) castes were already pretty in place Sacrifice Hindu-Buddhist Encounters (500 BCE-300CE) Buddhist starts and the religions kind of collide Buddhism starts to critique atman and the caste system Royal patronage Hindu renewal – epics; response to Buddhism; started to reinforce their religion, epics were used almost as propaganda because they are good stories Age of the Guptas (320 -540 CE) “golden age” – cultural innovation in arts and sciences Temples became a more essential part of society; people were encouraged to go interact with the gods whereas prior, it was the priests alone who visited and tended to the gods Bhakti – devotion to the gods was renewed