Introduction: In the 2nd millenium BCE, along the banks of the Indus river, the darker-skinned inhabitants of well-developed cities of the Indus Valley were overwhelmed by the lighter-skinned invaders who were nomads from Persian and areas to the west. Each group contributed ideas to the culture that emerged, and from the dynamic mix and forging of a society, came the mixture of ideas we call Hinduism.
I. Historical Development—Origins
II. Shruti and Smriti: Revelation and Scripture
a. The Four Collections for the Vedas
b. Gods of the Rig Veda
i. Agni—God of fire used in sacrifice
ii. Indra—Warrior, slays demons, preserves humans, ...view middle of the document...
Karma, Samsara, and Castes
i. Brahmins (priests)
ii. Kshatriya (rules and warriors)
iii. Vaishya (commoners)
b. Once Born
V. The Bhagavad Gita—Arjuna and his chariot driver
a. The Path of Work—karma yoga—measured by intention, not by product. Work is done with detachment, for the sake of God. You do not approach a deed for the deed itself, or for its result, but for the sake of duty and for God. (Arjuna and his work as warrior, reluctantly killing his friends and relatives, but doing so out of a sense of duty and obligation. Detachment means it is not “personal”, and realizing that it has no consequence in and of itself, apart from the intention to perform the work laid before him.
b. The Path of Knowledge—jnana yoga—internalizing the lessons of the ancients. This is not a Nobel Prize for original thought, but recapturing the insights of the ancients, and chief of these is renunciation.
c. Path of Physical and Mental Discipline—Raja Yoga—is the “royal path”. This is based on meditation, quiet, the journey in. These are the meditatives who control the body, including celibacy.
d. Path of Love—bhakti yoga—attaining union with the god a person loves. God does not “need” the universe, but exists without it and has detachment from it. The true self, likewise, is not the doer, but the witness, a spectator instead of an actor. Freedom to refuse the grace of God, but surrender is the easiest way of release. P. 83.
VI. The Laws of Manu appear 200 BCE – 200 CE. Define moral code and standards of conduct. Brahmin ideals for caste compliance are stated. p. 83, If mama ain’t happy…
VII. Duties of the Four Stages of Life
iii. Forest Dweller
iv. Samadhi—release from the body so the soul can unite with Brahman (optional 4th stage).
iii. Sannyasin—wandering ascetic
VIII. Four Goals for Hindus Today
a. Kama—pleasure (literary arts, love making)
b. Artha—politics and commercial competition
c. Dharma—fulfill duties of caste
d. Moksha—release, for those who have grown tired of life and seek release from the wheel of rebirth
IX. Popular Hinduism: Four Ways of Salvation
a. Karma Yoga—rituals, hymns.
i. Men—priest in the home, rites of funeral pyre, nourish souls of ancestors to keep them from rebirth
ii. Women—prepare food for sacrifices. Other duties in Laws of Manu are kept/relaxed in homes and families. Women are educated and lead in government.
b. Jnana Yoga—Knowledge or awareness that the Atman and Brahman are one. Problem is ignorance, solution is awareness, leading to homecoming and “peace” or “Nirvana”.
c. Bhakti Yoga—love of God...