Covet nothing. All belongs to the Lord.
Thus working you may live a hundred years.
Thus alone will you work in real freedom.
We'll start today with a look at what you all chose to do for your "Speaking of Faith" podcast assignments.
take a quick look at a couple of additional aspects of Hinduism, and
we'll wrap it up with an excerpt from a series done by Bill Moyers and
Here's an article about Lakshmi, the young girl whose "extra" limbs were removed two years ago in an operation.
Sacred Literature of Hinduism-
As I mentioned, even attempting to read a small section of Hinduism's
sacred literature might occupy a lifetime. Rather than attempting to be
at all comprehensive, we'll highlight some of the more important works
- These are the oldest and most sacred of the Hindu scriptures, the
"breath of the eternal." They were long known only in oral form, and
they deal predominantly with ritual.
Divided into four samhitas (collections):
"sitting down beside" - composed orally between 800 - 400 BCE, written
down much later. They focus on two broad types of thought:
- What is the essence of the human self?
- What is the essence of the ultimate reality?
Mahabharata - considered the longest epic in the world, tells the story of a war between two Bharata tribes. This includes the full text of the Bhagavad-Gita ,
which is perhaps the most widely read of the Hindu sacred literature.
It tells the story of the warrior Arjuna and his interaction with
Krishna, one of the avatars of Vishnu. (Here are some interesting visual images from an edition of the Gita. Scroll down past the gurus and swamis and click on the images...)
This epic tells the story or Rama and his wife, Sita. Each represents
an ideal model for Hindu life, and it is later revealed that each is a
manifestation of the divine (Vishnu and Lakshmi).
The Laws of Manu -
These were compiled somewhere between 200 BCE and 200 CE, and they
serve as a sort of "guide" to ancient Hindu life. They offer rules and
guidelines for caste, gender responsibilities, and many similar topics.
Browse a number of the links above to get a feeling for the various
types of literature. Please bookmark or clip at least three quotations
or other points of interest to share with classmates.
The Hindu Concept of Time
- I've got a couple of visual representations of the reckoning of time
according to the Hindu world view. While we are well into the "final"
portion of this cycle of the universe, you can see that we don't
exactly need to start panicking...
We can also take a quick look at a calendar and several festival periods.
Holi - This "Festival of Colors" celebration marks the birth of
spring, and it is a time of license. Divali - The "Festival of
Lights" is a five-day period in autumn.
DO THIS: Pick either
of these two festivals. Check out the web site and be prepared to explain how
that holiday might be celebrated in a Hindu community.
Huston Smith's The Wisdom of Faith: Hinduism and Buddhism
will watch the first twenty minutes of this video series. As you might
guess, they deal with Hinduism. In addition to being a good review of a
number of topics, he raises some fairly complex and philosophical
issues about art, beauty, and human desires.
videotape series lacks the "bells and whistles" that some of you are
accustomed to watching. It is not designed to "entertain" you. Instead,
it should make you think. Huston Smith is unquestionably the West's
most prominent expert on world religions. This is a chance to benefit
from his knowledge in the twilight of his career. Give it a chance.
Homework for Hinduism - Day #4
should already have read through page 63 by this point. Please read
pages 63 through 77 before Tuesday's class, as that finishes off the
Your second Independent Assignment (Measuring It - Pew Research) will be due on Monday, November 23rd.
Reminders: The Hinduism Blog Entry is due on
Thursday, November 19th. The Hinduism Essay Questions will be due on Tuesday, November 24th.