3/07/08 - MMW 2 - Chamberlain - Notes � Professor Chamberlain

3/07/08 - MMW 2 - Chamberlain - Notes � Professor Chamberlain

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MMW 2 Notes – Professor Chamberlain, Winter Quarter 2008 07.03.08 Upanishad (someone sitting near a teacher) – tend to take the form of a teacher instructing a pupil (could be a young man or a ruler or grown up) The priests claimed knowledge and power over the all important fire sacrifice Came with the Vedic-Aryans, and originally anyone could do it, but as time went on, the power to conduct the sacrifice was claimed by the priests as the only ones who could do it properly. Fire sacrifice – mark out a place on the ground, Agni the god of fire Oblation – another word for an offering (food or drink) bring food and drink for the gods. Also an animal sacrifice, which means people got to have meat, and the god had a bit too. In the old days of the Vedic-Aryans any male could perform this rite, but as time when on the priests claimed it as their exclusive rite. It appears that there was a power struggle, where the priests claimed power over something which had been more widespread earlier. In order to buttress their claims they made the ceremony more complicated, need lots of priests. The priests claimed that the whole universe was dependent on them performing the sacrifice properly. This leads to the view amongst the priests, that they have power over the gods, and leads them to speculate about how this state of affairs could come about The priests class gets the name brahman brahmin Brahman (the holy power of prayer, what gave them the power over the gods) Three conclusions apparently made: The reason that speech has power over the universe in this way, is because at the root of all that is in the universe, prior to it is something that they call Brahman with a capital B. And now Brahman becomes a God. At first it seems to be the priests conception of what underlines everything, and the reason their prayers are affective is because their prayers contain Brahman.
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Relating to Brahman (something underlying all reality), within each of us is the Atman (or Self). Brahman on the larger scale, Atman on the personal scale (not soul, bellow that, deeper). The Upanishads date to around circa 5 th century BC In the Upanishads there are people who are not priests, from some other castes, who claim that you don’t need all this high falutin stuff that the priests claim you have to have if you want to get in touch with the higher reality. What you need to do is to find a teacher, but you don’t need to study the Vedas as the priests claim. 1-5
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course MMW 2 taught by Professor Chang during the Winter '08 term at UCSD.

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3/07/08 - MMW 2 - Chamberlain - Notes � Professor Chamberlain

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