Vishnu – maintains the universe • Shiva – destroyer of the universe The Deities of Classical Hinduism - Vishnu - Shiva - The Goddess (Parvati, Durga, Kali)
The Epic or Classical Period: • In the classical period of the Hindu religious tradition, there was more emphasis on devotional practice. • The two great Indian epic poems, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana , tell personal stories of individual gods. • One of the most popular texts in the Hindu tradition, the Bhagavad Gita , is one part of the Mahabharata Bhagavad Gita Ritual and Practical Dimension • Yoga • Pūjā • Sacrifice • Pilgrimage • Austerity • Tantra Experiential and emotional dimension • Bhakt or devotion • Dhyāna • Sense of Empowerment Doctrinal and Philosophical Dimension • Reincarnation • Karma (action) • Samsara • Moksha o Nirvana in the Buddhist tradition o Kevala in the Jain tradition • Brahman and Atman Ethical Dimensions • Dharma – • Four Stages of Life • Studentship • Householder • Forest Dweller • Sannyāsin • Accumulating merit
Chapter two: Hinduism II • Monotheism – belief in one God • Polytheism – belief in many gods *** • Henotheism – “one-God-at-a-time-ism” • Kathenotheism – coined by philologist Max Müller in reference to the Vedas, where each deity is treated as supreme in turn. Classical Hinduism: • Post-Vedic literature called smrt (“that which is remembered”) Considered inspired human compositions Includes epics, ancient stories ( Puranas ), and codes of law and ethics The Ramayana: • Sita: ideal wife • Rama: paragon of human virtue • Performed in South and Southeast Asian drama and dance traditions The Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita: • One of the longest poems in world literature (approximately 100,000 Sanskrit verses) • Narrative framework of conflict between cousins (Kauravas and five Pandava brothers, including Arjuna) • Bhagavad Gita extracted from Mahabharata espouses devotion to a personal god (Krishna) in an important shift in Hindu theology The three ways to liberation: 1. Action ( karma yoga ): unselfish duty performed neither in fear of punishment nor in hope of reward 2. Knowledge ( jnana yoga ): transforming wisdom destroys one’s past karma 3. Devotion ( bhakt yoga ): surrender to the gods who forgive all sins The deities of Classical Hinduism: • Vishnu comes down to Earth in various forms ( avataras ) to rid the world of evil and establish dharma or righteousness • Shiva appears simultaneously in paradoxical roles: as creator and destroyer, as exuberant dancer, and as austere yogi • The Goddess (Devi) is manifest as Parvati, the wife of Shiva; she is also Durga, the warrior, and Kali, the fierce mother. Sarasvati, the consort of the creator god Brahma is a Vedic goddess later becomes the goddess of learning • Ganesha, elephant-headed son of Shiva and Parvati who removes obstacles is invoked to begin ventures
• Murugan, another son of Shiva also known as Skanda is popular in the Tamil region of South India •
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