31 terms

Topic 5

STUDY
PLAY

Terms in this set (...)

Hindu synthesis
a long term process by which elements of the brahmanical high culture, the great tradition, such as the Vedas and the Upanishads, are combined with Indian folk culture, the little tradition, to create Hinduism; the Hindu synthesis occurs very generally between 200 and 600 CE
Great tradition
in any culture, those elements of culture seen as of special value or authority, those elements which are the special interest of the learned and literate; generally more or less same as the 'classics' of any culture
little tradition
folk culture; popular culture of the people; initially oral, but can become part of the literate great tradition over time' in india that dynamic part of culture always refreshing the great tradition and brahmanical culture
Hinduism
meant as a term to distinguish the religion of India that supersedes the brahmanical religion of ritual (though ritual is still an important element of Hinduism); includes theistic elements, i.e. gods and goddesses etc. that were previously unknown in the Vedic brahmanical religion; also includes temples and icons (also previously unknown); much mythic literature can be now said to be 'Hindu'
Mahabharata
very long epic; probably oral initially but added to over centuries; form now generally accepted dates to ca. 200 CE; concerns a family feud between the evil Kuravas who believe their inheritance of the kingdom of Hastinapura has been stolen by the good Pandavas; source of many familiar stories in India; of continuing importance in India, now on video!
Pandavas
5 brothers all married to Draupadi; rightful heir to the kingdom of Hastinapura by law, but is possessed by the evil Kuravas by dubious means in the dice game
Kuravas
100 brothers who are unable to inherit the kingdom of Hastinapura because their father is blind (and so cannot himself inherit the throne); feel as though they have been wrongly treated by the Pandavas; seek any means, fair or foul, to dispossess the Pandavas
Draupadi
wife of all five Pandavas (unusual!); became the subject of an attempted final bet by the Pandavas in the dice game, but, eventually, it was decided that this bet was illegal; still became the object of Kurava attention when they attempted to disrobe her but only succeeded in pulling off endless saris; Krishna said to have preserved her modesty in the attempted disrobing
Krishna
friend, distant royal relative of the Pandavas; only character in the Mahabharata who attains god status; later seen as an incarnation of Vishnu
Ramayana
shorter of the two great epics; created around the same time as Mahabharata though with a more straight ahead story line; concerns the rescue of Rama's wife Sita from evil demon Ravana who lives in Lanka; Ramana, brother Lakshman, and monkey friend Hanuman go from north India to south Lanka, and after may adventures, rescue Sita following a big battle
Rama
hero of the Ramayana; a king; husband of Sita; later seen as an incarnation (avatara) of Vishnu
Lakshman
brother of Rama; good guy
Hanuman
a monkey knig, Ramas BFF; leads the way to Lanka; fights with Ravana; colourful and well rounded, much loved in India
Ravana
evil demon (rakshasa) who kidnaps Sita intent on making her his wife (but she's married!); gentlemanly, though evil; does not harm Sita
Maruti
a way of describing Hanuman, i.e. born from the wind (bc monkeys can jump); in later folk tradition becomes effectively a separate deity whose shrines mark village limits and/or protect travellers
avatara
'incarnation' of which there are said to be ten avataras of Vishnu, including especially Rama and Krishna
trimurti
'triad, trinity' three deities in classical Hinduism said to be responsible for creation, preservation, and destruction in the endless cycles of the univers
Brahma
the creater god; and old man often w/ many heads; becomes redundand and not much of an object of worship; married to Saraswati
Vishnu
preserver god; married to Laksmi
Laksmi
wife of Vishnu; goddess of good fortune
Shiva
the destroyer god; a great ascetic and a great lover; worshipped only as a linga in iconic form; the male energy of the universe; together with the female energy of wife Parvati, out of destruction must come creation (no need for Brahma)
Pavarti
wife of Shiva; embodiment of the female energy of the universe, very powerful ; understood in many different forms of The Goddess
Ganesh
Shiva's step-son created by Parvati by herself, much to Shiva's displeasure; Shiva cut off his head, but relented at Parvati's insistence and gave him an elephant head; happy and comical figure (rides a mouse!) god of starting enterprises and good luck; also known as Ganpati and many other names
Linga
iconic representation of a phallus, the icon of devotion for Shiva; set upon the yoni, the vulva, representing the female element that must go with the male energy of Shiva
The Goddess
a generic sense of goddesses as the source of female energy; in folk religion designated by place
Saraswati
the wife of Brahman, but known far more as patron of learning and music
Durga
a form of Parvati, but worshipped separately as a form of The Goddess; rides a tiger; especially popular in Bengal
Kali
the very demonic form of The Goddess, or seen as a kind of incarnation of parvati involved with the destruction of the universe; dances on Shiva's prostrate body (exhausted or dead); a gruesome lady of much power and given much respect who likes blood and necklaces of decapitated heads
Puranas
extensive Sanskrit mythological texts, dating after 200 CE, containing numerous stories of the gods and goddesses; contain the mythological fountain of theistic Hinduism
Bhagavad Gita
a 'mini-epic' of eighteen short chapters contained within the great epic, the Mahabharata; set at the start of the great battle between the Pandavas and Kuravas, when the Pandava Arjuna despairs of doing his kingly duty (dharma) of fighting and killing; Krishna explains why he must do his duty by describing various yogas (attachments) that are ways of doing one's duty; text brings in several philosophic perspectives, notably developing the link between dharma and the Upanishadic philosophy of atman and the Brahman; the text also introduces devotional worship (bhakti) as a kind of yoga when Krishna reveals his divine nature to Arjuna
yoga
literally 'to be bound to; attached to; committed to' a mode of dedicated behaviour, a mode of doing done's dharma; developed as a separate philosophic system of individual liberation; known best in the West for its methods of physical control, and early step on the path to moksha