REL 340-02

*** SYLLABUS ***

  • multiple independent traditions
  • pre-Axial Age religion (no foundational figure or date)
  • extremely diverse
  • term “Hinduism” is foreign
  • there are loose “macro” categories
  • significant variation even from village to village
  • Indus Valley civ: ~ 2300 BCE
    • soapstone seals, possible early Hindu iconography?
      Shiva as yogi (yoga practitioner)
      Durga (Mahisha Murdini), the buffalo slayer
  • Vedic tradition
    • ~1500-500BCE
    • Indo-Aryan/Indo-European
    • gradually less ritualistic and more philosophical
    • move from worldly concern to ascetic
  • Samkhya-yoga
    • dualist system of thought
    • spirit v. matter
    • meditation

Epic literature ~200BCE-200CE

  • Mahabharata (maha = great, bharata = important foundational clan)
    • 90k stanzas in Sanskrit
    • contains the Bhagavad-Gita (god’s song)
  • Ramayana

Gods & goddesses

  • Vishnu (maintainer)
  • Shiva (destroyer)
  • Goddesses (devi)

Dharma (religious duty)

Moksha (extinction)

Atman (soul)

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