'hhhh - Hindu Sacred Texts Take from Philip Novaks The...

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Hindu Sacred Texts Take from Philip Novak’s The World’s Wisdom: Sacred Texts of the World’s Religions “The ritual centerpiece of Aryan religion was a fire sacrifice, a burnt offering to the gods, performed by priests specially trained to chant sacred hymns. The hymns themselves were known as Vedas or “sacred knowledge.” The Vedas are the scriptural bedrock of the Hindu tradition….a thousand years later. ..the Upanishads came into being.” The Upanishads contain those aspects of Hinduism such as reincarnation and yoga practices for liberation. Also, important is the Bhagavad Gita which contains the story of Krishna and Arjuna. From the Vedas (although polytheistic and containing hymns to various gods, there was an underlying notion of an all-encompassing metaphysical unity which is seen in the following creation hymn). Then even nothingness was not, nor existence. There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it. What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping? Was there then a cosmic water, in depths unfathomed? Then there were neither death nor immortality, Nor was there then the torch of night and day. The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining. There was that One then, and there was no other. At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness. All this was only unillumined water. That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing, Arose at last, born of the power of heat. In the beginning desire descended on it – That was the primal seed, born of the mind. The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom Know that which is, is kin to that which is not. But, after all, who knows, and who can say Whence it all came, and how creation happened? The gods themselves are later than cration, So who knows truly whence it has arisen? Whence all creation had its origin, He, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not, He, who surveys it all from highest heaven, He knows – or maybe even he does not know.
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As you can see, this Vedic hymn deals with cosmogony. Another Vedic creation hymn is the story of the Purusha’s self-sacrifice that I read to you in class. From the Upanishads ( the Upanishads are the “Himalayas of the Soul” and discuss the “human condition as trapped in a ceaseless round of death and rebirth (samsara), due to the consequences of actions (karma), performed in ignorance of the divine ground of all life (Brahman). We also hear of the prescription for liberation (moksha) from this confining ignorance through each individual’s realization of his or her inner spiritual
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This note was uploaded on 12/13/2011 for the course RELG Z203 taught by Professor Ms.rhodes during the Fall '11 term at South Carolina.

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'hhhh - Hindu Sacred Texts Take from Philip Novaks The...

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