Answer THREE of the following five essay prompts (300+ words each). When formulating your response, you DO NOT need to answer every question posed, but can select the most salient or interesting quest

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Answer THREE of the following five essay prompts (300+ words each). When formulating your response, you DO NOT need to answer every question posed, but can select the most salient or interesting questions you can successfully answer within the allotted 300+ words. DO NOT answer more than three.

1.     Discuss the terms “śrūti” and “smṛti” (as discussed in your textbook) in reference to all the different kinds of sacred literature that we have read thus far in the class. Why have Hindu texts been organized into these two groups and what are the implications of this? For instance, what are the historical or religious implications of these categories? Do texts transmitted through chanting (eg., Vedic oral and mnemonic systems of memorization) alone differ from texts that are written down (on palm leaf or in stone, etc)? How so? The literature you should consider includes the Vedas (including the Four Vedas, the Brahmanas, and the Upanisads), the Epics (including the Mahābhārata which contains the Bhagavad Gītā), the Dharmaśastras, etc. Do the texts themselves concur with this systemization? For instance, does the Gītā recognize the authority of the Vedas over its own authority?

2.     In the “Birth of Gaṇeśa” story from the Śiva Purāṇa there is a lot of violence described in the story, from Gaṇeśa’s battle with Śiva’s gaṇas (chapters 15-16) to the beheading of Gaṇeśa by Śiva (chapter 16) to Pārvatī’s threat to destroy the universe through her śaktis (chapter 17) afterwards. Why do you think religious texts sometimes describe the divine (God, or the gods) engaging in acts of worldly violence? Does the violence serve an allegorical or symbolic purpose in this sacred text? Try to answer these questions with specific references (ie., verse quotations) from the “Birth of Gaṇeśa” story from your readings. You may also compare these to references to violence found in other examples such as the Bhagavad Gītā or the Śatapathabrahmaṇa (text on animal sacrifice). Emphasis should be placed on the Birth of Gaṇeśa story, however.

3.     Is Hinduism best described as Polytheistic, Monotheistic, or Henotheistic or something else? Did Hinduism possibly emphasize different kinds of “theisms” at different times in its history? Answer these questions using concrete examples (citations) from primary sources (Hymns of the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gītā, etc.) to prove your point. Do all these texts share the same cosmology or do they differ in significant ways?

4.      The material aspects of Vedic and Epic Period Hinduism are complex and evolved over centuries. Vedic religion did not have art but instead constructed elaborate altars and ritual implements. Non-Vedic styles of art and worship however, influenced the development of Hindu image worship that emerged in the Epic period. These Epic period art forms (images of gods, temples, etc) coincide with the rise of High gods like Viṣṇu and Śiva. Referring to examples of material Hinduism (in PPT presentations, textbook (see esp. ch. 5), primary sources, etc.), discuss the shift from Vedic religion to Epic Hinduism and beyond. You may (and are strongly encouraged), in your answer, to post pictures from course materials when writing your answer. You should not research images on the internet beyond course material.

5.     The concept of the “Self” (Atman) is important to the development of Hinduism, especially from the Upaniṣad and the Gītā. Using any material from the course (readings, lectures, textbook, podcasts, etc.) discuss what your understanding of this concept is. You can choose to discuss its historical development for example, or you may choose to discuss its symbolic, social, or spiritual significance within the tradition. Use concrete examples when answering the question. This means that you must refer to at least one primary source (Veda, Upanisad, Epic, or Purana) and at least two references to the concept of Self discussed in your textbook. You could, furthermore, also refer to the Mahabharata podcast dealing with the story of Jaratkaru since his conflict with his ancestors in part has to do with different concepts of the Self.

Answer THREE of the following five essay prompts (300+ words each). When formulating your response, you DO NOT need to answer every question posed, but can select the most salient or interesting quest
Textbooks ../Downloads/The Bhagavad Gita – George Thompson.pdf The Rig Veda Translated by Wendy Doniger ISBN – 978-0-140-44989-1 Hinduism A very Short introduction by Kim Knott ISBN – 978-0-19-874554-9 Chapter 3 – Understanding the Self ( Evidence for answering question 5 ) Readings Birth of Gaṇeśa from the Śiva Purāṇa.pdf   Animal Sacrifice in the Śatapathabrahāmaṇa.pdf   Horse Sacrifice–Brhadaranyaka_upanisad.pdf Mahabharata Podcasts Episode 6 – https://www.themahabharatapodcast.com/episodes/ynbrthor4i1dgoxji759m2c10a8f9e Episode 7 – https://www.themahabharatapodcast.com/episodes/episode-i7-the-churning-of-the-ocean Episode 12- https://www.themahabharatapodcast.com/episodes/episode-i12-philosophy-between-earth-and-sky-and-the-mother-of-all-bharatas Episode 56- https://www.themahabharatapodcast.com/episodes/episode-56-nala-and-damayanti https://getpodcast.com/podcast/vedic-worldview/upanishad-the-king-and-the-swordsmith_ac9d8916ae PowerPoint  Vedic World View-LS22.pptx Avatara-2022.pptx Yugas-Hinduism-Fordham.pptx  Gaṇeśa-Fordham-F22.pptx  Indus Valley-Hunter.pptx   Renunciation-Hinduism-Fordham.pptx  Rise of Images Hinduism-H22.pptx 
Answer THREE of the following five essay prompts (300+ words each). When formulating your response, you DO NOT need to answer every question posed, but can select the most salient or interesting quest
Hinduism—Midterm Exam Answer THREE of the following five essay prompts (300+ words each). When formulating your response, you DO NOT need to answer every question posed, but can select the most salient or interesting questions you can successfully answer within the allotted 300+ words. DO NOT answer more than three.   Discuss the terms “śrūti” and “smṛti” (as discussed in your textbook) in reference to all the different kinds of sacred literature that we have read thus far in the class. Why have Hindu texts been organized into these two groups and what are the implications of this? For instance, what are the historical or religious implications of these categories? Do texts transmitted through chanting (eg., Vedic oral and mnemonic systems of memorization) alone differ from texts that are written down (on palm leaf or in stone, etc)? How so? The literature you should consider includes the Vedas (including the Four Vedas, the Brahmanas, and the Upanisads), the Epics (including the Mahābhārata which contains the Bhagavad Gītā), the Dharmaśastras, etc. Do the texts themselves concur with this systemization? For instance, does the Gītā recognize the authority of the Vedas over its own authority?   In the “Birth of Gaṇeśa” story from the Śiva Purāṇa there is a lot of violence described in the story, from Gaṇeśa’s battle with Śiva’s gaṇas (chapters 15-16) to the beheading of Gaṇeśa by Śiva (chapter 16) to Pārvatī’s threat to destroy the universe through her śaktis (chapter 17) afterwards. Why do you think religious texts sometimes describe the divine (God, or the gods) engaging in acts of worldly violence? Does the violence serve an allegorical or symbolic purpose in this sacred text? Try to answer these questions with specific references (ie., verse quotations) from the “Birth of Gaṇeśa” story from your readings. You may also compare these to references to violence found in other examples such as the Bhagavad Gītā or the Śatapathabrahmaṇa (text on animal sacrifice). Emphasis should be placed on the Birth of Gaṇeśa story, however.   Is Hinduism best described as Polytheistic, Monotheistic, or Henotheistic or something else? Did Hinduism possibly emphasize different kinds of “theisms” at different times in its history? Answer these questions using concrete examples (citations) from primary sources (Hymns of the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gītā, etc.) to prove your point. Do all these texts share the same cosmology or do they differ in significant ways?    The material aspects of Vedic and Epic Period Hinduism are complex and evolved over centuries. Vedic religion did not have art but instead constructed elaborate altars and ritual implements. Non-Vedic styles of art and worship however, influenced the development of Hindu image worship that emerged in the Epic period. These Epic period art forms (images of gods, temples, etc) coincide with the rise of High gods like Viṣṇu and Śiva. Referring to examples of material Hinduism (in PPT presentations, textbook (see esp. ch. 5), primary sources, etc.), discuss the shift from Vedic religion to Epic Hinduism and beyond. You may (and are strongly encouraged), in your answer, to post pictures from course materials when writing your answer. You should not research images on the internet beyond course material.   The concept of the “Self” (Atman) is important to the development of Hinduism, especially from the Upaniṣad and the Gītā. Using any material from the course (readings, lectures, textbook, podcasts, etc.) discuss what your understanding of this concept is. You can choose to discuss its historical development for example, or you may choose to discuss its symbolic, social, or spiritual significance within the tradition. Use concrete examples when answering the question. This means that you must refer to at least one primary source (Veda, Upanisad, Epic, or Purana) and at least two references to the concept of Self discussed in your textbook. You could, furthermore, also refer to the Mahabharata podcast dealing with the story of Jaratkaru since his conflict with his ancestors in part has to do with different concepts of the Self.

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