REL-2320: Hinduism

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  1. Vedic Religion
    Worship of largely male gods who controlled the forces of nature
  2. Dyaus Pitr
    Vedic father god, commonly associated with the sun
  3. Indra
    Vedic god of storm and war; strong links to agricultural and military pursuits made Indra the object of much devotional and sacrificial acitivites
  4. Rudra
    Vedic god of wind
  5. Agni
    Vedic god of fire; carries the sacrificial offerings to the gods
  6. Soma
    Vedic god of altered states of mind and expanding consciousness
  7. The Vedas
    ancient Indian scriptures that tell us about the gods and how they were worshipped during the Vedic period; dates to 1500 BCE; Vedas were "heard" by rishis (holy men, likely the forerunners of the Brahmins)
  8. Rig Veda
    entails the Myth of Purusha; Purusha's mouth became the Brahmin (priestly caste), Purusha's arms became the kashakri (political/military) caste, Purusha's legs became the visha (entrepreneurial caste), Purusha's feet became the shudra (labor caste)
  9. Axis Age
    6th century BCE time period in which there were widespread innovations in philosophy and religion throughout the world; Upanishadic thinkers began to question Brahmin priestly caste
  10. Upanishadic Thinkers
    cultural critics of the Brahmin priestly caste during the Axis Age; left society and the Vedic religion and entered the forest as ascetics; developed new religious techniques: long periods of seated meditation, physical exercises -- yoga, breath cultivation, fasting, sleep deprivation, Vows of Silence, abstinence, living in dark caves, and eating psychedelic plants
  11. Upanishads
    collection of Indian scriptures about the nature of reality; redefined religious authority in terms of religious practice and experience (not heredity)
  12. Brahmin
    Hindu term for god or ultimate reality; the true and divine reality that makes up all things (redefined by Upanishadic thinkers)
  13. Brahman
    ineffable; generates all things and life itself; unifies all things; represented in three forms in Trimurti
  14. Trimurti of Brahman
    Brahma: Brahman as Creator, patron god; Vishnu: Brahman as Preserver, embodies loving-kindness, most important object of worship; Shiva: Brahman as Destroyer, brings all things to end and controls the cycle of life
  15. Saguna Brahman
    Brahman conceived personally (as Brahman, Vishnu, Shiva, etc.) with specific attributes
  16. Nirguna Brahman
    Brahman conceived transpersonally (as a universal divine reality present in all things) without specific attributes
  17. Brahman three "ultimates"
    Ultimate Reality or Being, Ultimate Knowledge, Ultimate Joy or Bliss
  18. Atman
    deep, true, real, or genuine self; Atman is Brahman; people are inherently one with divine reality that everything shares and is interrelated with all things
  19. Jiva
    surface self, provisional self, false self; karma builds on jiva and covers up the true self of Atman; jiva prevents us from realizing our ultimate reality and connection to all things
  20. karma
    determines both the quality of one's present life and the form of one's next life; law of moral cause and effect; desires, intentions, and intentional actions generated good/bad karma; good/bad karma must be eliminated for reincarnation to cease
  21. Samsara
    Hindu view of the world in which there is a constant cycle of birth, life, death, and reincarnation; karma determines the forms of reincarnation
  22. Moksha
    ultimate religious goal for Hindus; release from samsara; socio-ethical release entailing treating others with consideration, compassion, selflessness, and loving-kindness
  23. Jnana yoga
    moral preliminaries: eliminate immoral intentions and actions, cultivate and express moral intentions and actions to others; union with Brahman through knowledge; for the reflexive, intellectual, and studios person; goal is to transform the knower into what it seeks to know; Three stages: hearing (studying) the words of gurus and scriptures, thinking of one's own divine nature and unity with Brahman; Self-identification of what you already inherently are (Brahman)
  24. Vedanta
    "Vedas end"; systematized Jnana yoga by Shankara (788-820 CE)
  25. Bhakti yoga
    Union with Brahman through love; for the emotional, caring, and loving person; most popular yoga and can be practiced by anything; practitioner strives to adore the Brahman or its personifications in order to earn good karma and be reincarnated into a better existence; achieved by: directing towards the god the love that is present in one's heart, learning and passing on myths and parables of the gods, making offerings, chanting and singing praise, Japam, Ishta
  26. Japam
    for Bhakti yoga; repeating the god's name to be mindful of it
  27. Ishta
    for Bhakti yoga; worshipping a specific god and forming an abiding feeling of love and devotion to it
  28. Raja yoga
    royal path to reintegration with Brahman; for the experimental person; requires literacy, time, and sustained effort; Patanjali was the originator of Raja yoga; 8 steps: (1) eliminate immoral intentions and actions, (2) cultivate and express moral intentions and actions to others, (3) health and well-being of the body, (4) breath cultivation, (5) restraint from distractions, (6) Dharana (concentration) steadying the mind on an object, (7) Dhyana (meditation) idea of subject viewing the object disappears, (8) Samadhi (undifferentiated consciousness or nondual awareness) the object of meditation itself disappears
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REL-2320: Hinduism
2015-06-09 15:03:39
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