Hinduism___Part_III - Hinduism Part III Classical Period of...

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Hinduism – Part III Classical Period of Hinduism (500 BCE- 1000CE) The Way of Works (Code of Manu) The Way of Devotion The Way of Knowledge (or the path to Meditation)
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Classical Period of Hinduism (500 BCE-1000CE)
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New Scriptures The foundational scriptures, Vedas and the Upanishads were called shruti, “what is heard” (from the sages) The new literature that succeeded the Vedas and Upanishads were called smriti, “what is remembered”
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The Upanishad Enigma How can one escape Samsara (cycle of rebirth) and experience the true real?
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Three Ways of Salvation a way of works (called Karma Marga or Karma yoga) a way of devotion (called bhakti yoga) a way of knowledge (called jnana yoga, “the way of wisdom”)
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The Way of Works (Karma Marga) = The way of ritual, especially domestic ritual. By performing domestic rituals one can acquire enough merit to pass at death into one of the heavens or be reborn in the highest caste (Brahmin)
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The Code of Manu Manu = “a thinking being” or “mankind.” provides a good illustration of what the Way of Works is about collection of ethical and religious guidelines for individuals and society written by priests between 200 BCE and 200 CE
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The Code of Manu still influential today, especially in the countryside Explains the dharma (duty) of the four principal castes (already introduced in the Vedas) the four stages of life for Indian men of the upper classes
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The Caste System In the Vedas four basic castes (varna in Sanskrit = color) Caste system = division of society into social classes that are determined by birth or occupation Prevalent social system of the Aryans
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The four basic castes are the brahmins (priests and sages) the kshatriyas (warriors) vaishyas (produers, that is merchants, bankers, farmers) shudras (workers or servants)
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Rules To Be fulfilled Whoever fulfils his or her dharma in one life will experience a higher birth in the next Rules: One should not marry outside of his/her caste sacramental rites should be performed at every important stage of life deities of the household should be worshiped each day and before each meal ancestral spirits should be offered memorial prayers and food
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The duties of women are to serve their husbands unconditionally At no stage of her life can a woman be independent A husband is to be worshiped as a god (even if he is immoral)
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Jati (subcaste) In rural areas the jati provides a social network in which people are employed and provided for In the cities, the caste system has weakened
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Untouchables = cremation worker, street sweepers, tanners are considered polluting Are considered to be outside the four classes.
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