Download Lecture 7: Foundations of Hinduism

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Lecture 7: Foundations of
Philosophical Foundations of
The philosophical systems of Sanatana Dharma have their foundation in:
1. The Vedas
2. Direct personal experience of truth through meditation
3. The concern for ethics as necessary for orderly social life
4. The belief that suffering is a result of ignorance of the eternal self
Samkhya is a dualistic philosophy
It claims that reality has two distinct aspects:
1. Purusha
The pure, changeless, eternal self
2. Praktiri
“Nature” The source and cause of our material
The problem humans face according to this philosophy
is that they are confused about the difference between
these two aspects
The goal in Samkhya is to recognize the ultimate reality
of the Purusha apart from Praktiri
Advaita Vedanta
Advaita Vedanta is a monistic philosophy
It claims that there is only one reality
According to this philosophy Atman and Brahman are one and the
same thing
But they appear to be separate because of Maya
The illusory physical world which appears to be real and
separate from Brahman
For example; we appear to be different from each other and
separate from ultimate reality. But we are not
All forms of Yoga use spiritual discipline to achieve selfknowledge
Some seek Samadhi union with the absolute (Brahman)
Certain practices include:
o Regulation of breathing to increase prana (Breath/Life
o An assortment of physical postures (asanas)
o Sacred formulas (mantras) or concentration on a
spiritual symbol (Yantra)
o Focus on controlling the energy that flows through the
Varieties of Yoga
Raja Yoga
The path of mental contrentation
Jnana Yoga
The path of rational inquiry
Karma Yoga
The path of right action
Bhakti Yoga
The path of devotion to a personal deity
Q: In what way does the yoga described here, differ from the Yoga we are
familiar with in the west?
Theistic paths
Worshippers of Vishnu and his associated
deities (Rama and Krishna)
Worshippers of Shiva and his associated
deities (His son Ganesh)
Worshippers of a mother/wife goddess
(Brahmani, Indrani, Kartiki, Mahesvari,
Narasinhi, Pradhana, Raudri,Vaishnavi,
Hindu Practices
Rituals (Puja)
Darsan;Visual contact with the divine
Prasad; Food blessed by being offered to a deity and then eaten
The Hindu castes originate in the Vedic age and divides men into four hereditary
occupational groups
1. Brahmins (priests and teachers)
2. Kshatriyas (warriors and rulers)
3. Vaishyas (Farmers, merchants, artisans)
4. Shudras (Laborers)
x. The untouchables (those outside the system)
Life Stages
Brahmin males traditionally went through four stages:
a) Student; b) householder; c) meditation/study; d) renunciation (Sannyasin)
Sannyasins join monastic orders and live in retreats known as Ashram
Hindu Practices
Duties and Goals
There are four goals that define a good life
1. Dharma
2. Artha (Success in worldly activities)
3. Kama (love)
4. Moksha (Liberation from Samsare)
Fasting and Praying
Reverence of trees and rivers