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Hinduism, Lecture 1. Circling the Banyan. The Banyan Tree. “Hinduism” Prototype. No Historical Founder—sanatana (“eternal”), no obvious unity Transcendent God, who can be worshipped in a variety of ways (one God/many gods).

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hinduism lecture 1

Hinduism, Lecture 1

Circling the Banyan

hinduism prototype
“Hinduism” Prototype
  • No Historical Founder—sanatana (“eternal”), no obvious unity
  • Transcendent God, who can be worshipped in a variety of ways (one God/many gods).
  • Bhakti (devotion) can help in a contingent way, but also may provide liberation (moksha) from actions (karma) and reincarnation (samsara).
  • Veda – Revere it or Supplant it, but it’s central.
  • Dharma – Law, Duty, Responsibility (varna-ashrama-dharma), but also renunciation (samnyasa).
hinduism prototype continued the four fours 3 1 s
“Hinduism” Prototype, Continued: The Four Fours (3+1’s)
  • Four Castes (varna): Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra (but don’t forget Dalits)
  • Four Stages of Life (ashrama): Student, householder, forest-dweller, renunciant
  • Four Goals of Life: dharma, artha, kama, moksha
  • Four Great Gods: Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Devi
hinduism major periods
Hinduism: Major Periods
  • Formative Period, c. 2500-800 BCE
  • Speculative Period, c. 800-400 BCE
  • Epic & Puranic Period, c. 400 BCE – 600 CE
  • Medieval Period, c. 600-1500 CE
  • Modern Period, c. 1500 – Present
    • Mughals, British, & Modern Nation-State
hindu scriptures
Hindu Scriptures
  • /ruti
    • Veda sa9hit1s
      • $g Veda (hymns and prayers)
      • S1ma Veda (hymns set to music)
      • Yajur Veda (sacrificial rituals)
      • Atharva (lesser rituals, local benefits)
    • Br1hma7as – Speculation on sacrifice
    • !ra7yakas & Upani=ads – Speculation on the ritual universe
  • Sm4ti
    • Epics & Pur17as, e.g. Mah1bh1rata and R1m1yana
    • S3tras & /1stras, e.g. Laws of Manu
    • Tantras & other ritual texts
the integrative vision of the upani ads
The “Integrative Vision” of the Upani=ads
  • Correlation
  • Emergence & Resolution
  • Hierarchy
  • Paradox
  • Cycles