Hinduism - Day #1

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When goodness grows weak,
 
When evil increases, 
I make myself a body. 

In every age I come back 
To deliver the holy, 
To destory the sin of the sinner, 
To establish the righteous.
 
- Bhagavad-Gita, (IV: 7-8) 


DAY #1 - INTRODUCTION TO HINDUISM 
You should begin reading the Hinduism chapter in Huston Smith's The World's Religions. Try to be through page 50 by the time we resume our Hinduism unit next week. Pages 12 through 26 are a sort of introduction to the religion and its world view. Your assignment for next time, pages 26 through 50, deals with four of the yoga, or "paths" to God. You will use those pages below. 

REMINDER: At the end of each unit, there is an exam that has two parts. First, you take 25-30 multiple-choice questions in class. The other 30 points of the exam come from your answering 3 short-essay questions that you choose from a list. More details on that to follow. They are generally due the second class period after the in-class portion of the exam. 


What is Hinduism? 

Defining terms: Hindu, Sanatana Dharma, henotheism 

"Why Am I A Hindu?" is written by a Hindu believer. This relatively short essay elaborates upon her reasons for practicing the faith. It definitely comes from a pro-Hindu perspective, but it is interesting. 


Historical overview: 

Defining terms: Indus River valley, Aryans, Dravidians 

In class, we will discuss the traditional "Aryan invasion" model of Indian history. Recently, a number of scholars have challenged and refuted that interpretation. They consider it to be Eurocentric and racist. This web site attempts to refute the "Myth of the Aryan Invasion." Those of you who enjoy history will find this worth checking out. There is an excellent slideshow of the Ancient Indus civilization available for you to view. It contains 90 images which introduce you to aspects of the archeology, history, and culture of the area. 
 


Basic tenets of the faith: 

Defining terms: Brahman, Atman, reincarnation, moksha, samsara, karma, dharma, bhakti, monism 

The Nine Basic Beliefs of Hinduism: This is a portion of the website developed by The Himalayan Academy. This particular page elaborates upon the core beliefs of mainstream Hinduism. 


The Four Basic Goals of Hindu Life: 

Defining terms: artha, kama, maya 

It is generally recognized that there are four basic goals common to most Hindus. They are listed below:
  • dharma: duty
  • artha: participation

  • kama: pleasure

  • moksha: release
The achievement of these goals will help overcome the maya of life. Actions, thoughts, and intentions can be channeled in this effort. Those efforts are the yoga of Hinduism. 


The Hindu Yoga- Four (or more) Paths to the Goals: 

Defining terms: yoga 

The text does a great job of introducing four methods of seeking a closer relationship with the divine. Smith explains jnana, bhakti, karma,and raja yoga. The Yoga Site goes into a good deal more depth of a wide variety of yogic practices. 


HOMEWORK for Hinduism - Day #2 

Select two forms of yoga. One of them MUST be one of the four forms described by Huston Smith. The other can come from the web page, or it can be another of Smith's. You task is to explain (perhaps in a paragraph or two) how you would use the yoga to reach your goals. In other words, how could/do you integrate this practice into your life? NOTE: You can simply do this in your notes. You don't need to blog this. 

You should already have read pages 12 through 26, which are a sort of introduction to the religion and its world view. and 26 through 50 deal with four of the yoga, or "paths" to God. You should have that section read for Wednesday's class.

If you want to get a real early start, I've posted the Hinduism Essay Questions for this unit. These will be due at the beginning of the class on Monday, October 6th. Both the Hinduism Blog Entry and Independent Assignment #2 are due on Thursday, September 25th.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Vergin published on September 15, 2008 8:00 AM.

Day #7 - Introduction to Religion was the previous entry in this blog.

Hinduism - Day #2 is the next entry in this blog.

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