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Ascetics and Upanishads Sarah Bingham Ally Philyaw Caitlin Whiten Amy Wood Vedas • The Vedas are scriptures that are considered to be the world’s oldest writings. • The Vedas may date back to as early as 5000 BCE. • There are four scriptures in the Vedas: the RigVeda, Yajur Veda, Sama-Veda and AtharvaVeda. • The four Vedas were passed down orally for many years • They were later written in Sanskrit, which is the sacred Hindu language. • The Vedas have hymns, incantations and rituals which reflect Indian culture. The Rig-Veda • Tells about thirtythree gods who all came from Brahman. • The main goddesses, Lakshmi, Sarasvati and Kali are also associated with the Rig-Veda, • These deities are very important in Hinduism. Lakshmi • The Yajur Veda describes the process of sacrificial rites • The Sama-Veda is a collection of poems used during the Sama sacrifices • The Atharva-Veda contains many incantations and metaphysical texts • The Atharva-Veda was written much later than the other Vedas Upanishads • These are the end part of the Vedas • Upanishad is a Sanskrit word meaning “sitting down near” • They were given this name because they were only said very rarely in private settings • This title also refers to “sitting beside” a guru, since they mainly contain dialogues of a guru, or spiritual leader • They are deemed to contain a higher level of knowledge since they deal with the transcendence of knowledge about oneself • There are about 250 Upanishads at present, but the actual number is unknown since many were lost due to the secrecy of their location • They differ from the other Vedic writings because they don’t focus on status or caste • The Upanishads are meant to be inspiration for any person no matter their status • The knowledge of the Upanishads is not man made • It was realized by sages The Atman • The atman, or higher self, is a central part of the Upanishads’ teachings • The atman, a persons’ soul, must return to Brahman, the universe’s soul • A person can then realize that he is just one part of the universal soul, not a separate identity • This is achieved through meditation and selfsacrifice Yajnavalkya • The most prominent author of Upanishads • Known for spiritual wisdom and power • He is the incarnation of Brahma, who is the Hindu god of creation • Wrote a handbook on the philosophy of yoga. • Some of his many texts are: Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Pratijna Sutra, and YogaYājñavalkya “ “ ~Ronald Allen Forgie The Ascetic That’s an ascetic person with lots of hair. What is an ascetic? • A person dedicated to a life of spiritual austerity and self-discipline. Do ascetics participate in the social system? • No. Side note-the social system is that in the Hindu society that shapes it. Brahmins, or priests, are high up in the social system. What kind of life does an ascetic live? • One of a hermit in the forest or gathered with others to live lives of devotion and meditation. What is the influence of ascetics on society? • They inspired people away from dependence on priests, creating a REVOLUTION of spiritual thought and practice. Ascetic people have cool hair. How did ascetics come into existence? • In 7th century BCE, these people called the Aryans took over the Indus Valley where the Indus people lived. The Aryans were “high class” (ESPECIALLY BRAHMINS, OR PRIESTS) and excluded the “low class” Indus people from activities. This is why ascetic people revolted away from the Brahmins. Works Cited • "Introduction to the Upanishads of Hinduism." Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism and Other Resources. Web. 15 Apr. 2011. <http://www.hinduwebsite.com/upanishads.asp>. • Maheshwari, Krishna. "Yajnavalkya." Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia. Web. 15 Apr. 2011. <http://www.hindupedia.com/en/Yajnavalkya>. • "Sacred-Texts: Hinduism." Internet Sacred Text Archive Home. Web. 15 Apr. 2011. <http://www.sacredtexts.com/hin/>.