Lecture 18: Hinduism & Literature

Links for Web assignment

(Duiker 47-49, 52-58, 250-252; Brians optional: 126-131, required: 132-141, 153-161)

Questions about Duiker: What are the main goals of asceticism in Hinduism? What is Brahman? *How does karma relate to dharma? What compensations did the concept of reincarnation provide for those lower on the ladder of life? Explain the meaning conveyed by the sculpture of Siva depicted in your book. What are some of the characteristics of the Ramayana? Describe one Indian work of art or architecture. Why are the Ellora and the nearby Ajanta caves famous, and what makes them different from each other?

Questions about Sanskrit Verse from Ancient India: What images are associated with the idea of the rainy season in the Sanskrit verse? *What does the poetry have to say about poverty?

Questions about "Love Songs to Krishna:" *How could you interpret some of the lines in the first poem in religious terms? What varied emotions are expressed in the second poem? What functions do you think such a poem as the third one might play in a polygamous society? Does it express women's feelings, or teach them how they should feel?

Question about the Bhagavad Gita: *How is Krishna's claim that "the impermanent has no reality" supposed to help Arjuna?

Questions about Kalidasa's The Recognition of Sakuntala: *In what ways are Sakuntala and the King compared to objects or phenomena in nature? What evidence is given in the poem that Sakuntala desires the King?

Lecture topics:
Meditation, sacrifice, dietary laws
Roles of women, sati
Basic concepts
Terms: atman, samsara, karma,
moksha, puja, dharma, maya
Hindu themes in the arts
The Mahabahrata
Bhagavad Gita
Classical Sanskrit courtly literature
Kalidasa: Shakuntala
Vidyapati: songs to Krishna
Music: Mirabai songs
Major beliefs and practices.
Major beliefs and practices.
Temple Architecture

Supplementary materials:

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