University of Manitoba Religion Of India Essay

Question Description

make a interpretive paper with a clear argument on subject religions of India

use only the given readings to make any argument and as sources. not use any other online sources and follow the given guidelines carefully

Excerpts of the Old Story of the Blessed One (Bhāgavatapurāṇa, Śrīmadbhāgavatam) Chapters 29-32 English translation by Anand Aadhar, with adaptations Even though Krishna was the Supreme Lord, he, resorting to his inner potency, decided to enjoy those nights in autumn when he saw the jasmine flowers blossoming. The king of the stars [the moon] at the time painted with his action the face of the east red, thus giving comfort to all who longed for him, just like a lover approaching his beloved ends her grief when he after a long time shows up again. Krishna saw how the lotuses opened to the full disc of the moon that glowed as red as the fresh turmeric on the face of the goddess of fortune. He saw how the forest was reddened by the gentle rays of that light and sweetly played his flute that enchanted the minds of the cowherd girls with beautiful eyes. That song being heard by the women of the village of Vraja awakened erotic love in their hearts so that each of them, unknown to the others, with her mind seized by Krishna and with earrings swinging in the haste, went to the place where he, their boyfriend, was situated. Some left behind the cows while they were milking them, some abandoned in their eagerness the milk they had on the stove, while others went away without taking the cake out of the oven. Some left in the middle of milking the cows, some abandoned in their eagerness the milk they had on the stove while others went without taking the cake out of the oven. Some put aside the children they were feeding milk and dressed up without thinking of the service they would render to their husbands. Some left during their meals, some while they were oiling themselves, were smearing their bodies or were making up their eyes. Others went to Krishna with their clothes and ornaments in disarray. They were checked by their husbands, fathers, brothers and other relatives but, enchanted by Krishna they, with their hearts stolen, did not turn around. Some cowherd girls who did not manage to get away, stayed at home and closed their eyes to meditate on being connected in love with him. The intolerable, intense agony of being separated from their beloved one drove away all bad-mindedness. At the same time their material virtue was also reduced to zero because of the joy they obtained from meditating upon Krishna’s embrace. Despite the fact that he was the Supreme Soul they thought of him as their lover. […] When the Supreme Lord saw the girls of Vraja coming to him, he, the best of all speakers, did not use any charming words that would confuse them. The Supreme Lord said: ‘All of you, be welcome, oh fortunate ladies. What can I do to please you? Please tell me whether Vraja is all right and for what reason you came here. This night is full of fearsome looking creatures, so please return to Vraja, oh slender girls. You women should not hang around here. Your mothers, fathers, sons, brothers and husbands undoubtedly are looking for you and unable to find you. Do not make your families afraid. You have seen the goddess of the full moon day resplendent with her moonlight. You have seen the forest full of flowers that is even more pleasurable by the breeze that coming from the Yamunā river plays through the leaves of the trees. Go therefore, without delay, back to the cowherd village. You must serve your husbands, oh chaste ladies, the calves and the children are crying for you to give them milk. Or else, if you have come with your hearts 1 overtaken by your love for me, that is indeed laudable of you since all living beings have affection for me. For women it indeed is the highest law to be diligently of service to her husband, to be simple and honest towards the relatives and to take good care of her family. […] For a welleducated woman to go astray dishonorably in adultery, is in all cases a contemptible weakness that creates fear and harms the reputation. By listening, being in my presence, by meditation and by narrating, one is of love for me, not so much with physical proximity. Therefore, please return to your homes.’ The cowherd girls thus hearing the not so pleasant words of Krishna, being dejected because they were disappointed in their strong desires, felt an anxiety that was hard to overcome. Saddened, letting their faces hang down and their red lips dry up, they sighed while scratching the ground with their feet. With their tears spoiling their make-up and washing away the turmeric on their breasts, they silently carried the burden of their great distress. Their Beloved One, not so loving at all, had addressed them contrarily, while they for his sake had desisted from all their material desires. They wiped their tears and stopped their crying and then, with their voices choked up in the attachment, in agony said something back to Him. The beautiful cowherd girls said: ‘You, oh Mighty One, oh Goodness should not speak so harshly. Please reciprocate with our devotion at your feet for which we have renounced everything else, do not play so hard-to-get rejecting us.’ […] Having heard the despondent words of the cowherd girls, the Lord of all the Lords full of mercy smiled, he who had been satisfied despite his ever being satisfied within. […] Observing that they due to their fortune were caught in an intoxicated state of pride, Krishna, as a form of grace, disappeared from the spot in order to abate that.’ [In the portion omitted here, the cowherd girls go about looking for Krishna, who reappears only for one of them, Rādhā, with whom he “enjoys himself”:] Even though Krishna was perfectly contented, satisfied and undivided within himself, He enjoyed himself with her and thus demonstrated the covetousness and selfhood of man and women who are motivated by lust. Krishna in this matter showed for the sake of which cowherd girl he had abandoned the other women, the other girls who completely bewildered wandered around in the forest. She in her turn then thought of herself: ‘He has accepted me, the best of all women, as His beloved and has turned down the cowherd girls who were led by lust!’ [Eventually Krishna returns to meet the whole group of cowherd girls and addresses them:] The Supreme Lord said: ‘[…] Despite the respect I receive from other living beings, I do not reciprocate love in order to let it increase. Someone will entertain no thought of anything else then, just like a poor man who collected some wealth and is afraid to lose it again. Because you are for my sake defying what the people, the scriptures and your relatives all say, and because of my desire to increase your propensity to love me, I have answered by disappearing from your sight, my dear girls. So do not be displeased with your Beloved, oh dear ones. I will, not even living as long as a god in heaven, be able to repay you for your unadulterated worship of me. May your own pious activities be the reward for that cutting with the so difficult-to-overcome chains of your household lives.’ 2 Guru Granth Sahib 237-6.5 Translation by Singh Sahib Sant Singh Khalsa, with adaptations First, they come forth from the womb. They become attached to their children, spouses and families. The foods of various sorts and appearances will surely pass away, O wretched mortal! What is that place which never perishes? What is that Word by which the dirt of the mind is removed? ||1|| In the Realm of Indra, death is sure and certain. The Realm of Brahma shall not remain permanent. The Realm of Shiva shall also perish. The three qualities, the cosmic illusion (māyā), and [even] the blood-sucking demons shall vanish. ||2|| The mountains, the trees, the earth, the sky and the stars; the sun, the moon, the wind, water and fire; day and night, fasting days and their fasting-breaks; the treatises (sāsat), the traditions (simrit) and the Vedas shall pass away. ||3|| The sacred shrines of pilgrimage, gods, temples and holy books; the rosaries, the ceremonial marks on the forehead, the meditative people, the pure, and the performers of burnt offerings, 1 wearing loin cloths, bowing in reverence and in the enjoyment of sacred foods —all these, and all people, shall pass away. ||4|| Social classes and castes, Muslims and Hindus; beasts, birds, and the many varieties of beings and creatures; the entire world and the visible universe —all forms of existence shall pass away. ||5|| Through the Praises of the Lord, through devotional worship, through spiritual wisdom and through [understanding] of the essence of reality, eternal bliss and the imperishable true place are obtained. There, in the Assembly of the Good (sādh saṅgat), the Lord’s Glorious Praises are sung with love. There, in the city of fearlessness, He dwells forever. ||6|| 2 Hymn to Indra, Rig Veda 8.33 English translation by Brereton and Jamison, The Rigveda, 2014. Reproduced with typographic modifications and brackets removed. 1. We who are provided with pressings, with the twisted ritual grass, like waters at the outpourings of the strainer, take our seats around you, Vṛtra-smasher, as praisers. 2. The men provided with hymns cry out to you exclusively when soma is pressed, o good one. When will you come thirsting here to our house, to our pressed soma, Indra, like a buffalo following its own track? 3. With the Kaṇvas, bold one, you will boldly tear out a prize worth a thousand. We beg for a tawny-formed prize consisting of cattle—right away, o unbounded bounteous one. 4. “Drink!”—sing thus to Indra, at the exhilaration of the stalk, o Medhyātithi, to the mace-wielder, who is linked with the two fallow bays, who, when soma is pressed, is a golden chariot, 5. Who has a good left horse and a good right one, the strong one, who is hymned as the one of good resolve, who distributes thousands, who has a hundred bounties, Indra, who is acknowledged as the stronghold-splitter, 6. Who is audacious, who is unobstructable, who is embedded within his beard, possessing extensive brilliance, rouser, much praised, in his resolve strong like an ox. 7. Who recognizes him when he drinks when the soma is pressed? What vigor has he assumed? This is the one who splits strongholds with strength, the belipped one getting exhilarated from the stalk. 8. Like a wild elephant he has established his territory in many places, through his giving. No one will restrain you; you will come here to the pressed soma; great, you wander about in your strength. 9. Though being strong, unprostratable, steadfast, perfected for battle, if the bounteous one will hear the call of a praiser, Indra will not stay away. He will come here. I 0. This is truly so: you alone are the bull for us, with the speed of a bull, unobstructable—for as a bull, strong one, you are famed in the distance, as a bull famed nearby. 11. Bullish are your reins, bullish your golden whip; bullish is your chariot, bounteous one, bullish your two fallow bays; a bull are you of a hundred resolves. 12. Let the bullish presser press for you; o bull, flying straight—bring prizes here. The bull has run to the bull in the waters. Soma is for you, o mounter of the fallow bays. 13. Drive here, most powerful Indra, to drink the somian honey; as bounteous one, drive on your own to the landing site. He of good resolve will listen to the songs, the sacred formulations, and the hymns. 14. You who bestride the chariot—let the fallow bays, yoked to the chariot, convey you hither, even across what belongs to the stranger, across the pressings that belong to others, you Vṛtrasmasher of a hundred resolves. 15. Set our praise today nearest to yourself, you greatly great one; let our pressings be most availing to you for exhilaration, you heaven-ruling soma-drinker. 16. [Poet:] “He finds no pleasure in the instruction of you or me, but only in that of Indra, the hero who led us hither.” 17. Indra said just this: “The mind of woman is not to be instructed, and her will is fickle. 18. Nonetheless, it’s the twin span, the married couple, aroused to exuberance, that draws the chariot, the sacrifice, but even so the chariot-pole of the bull, the husband, is higher.” 19. [Poet:] “’Keep your eyes to yourself: look below, not above. Bring your two little feet closer together: don’t let them see your two little ‘lips’[?]. For you, a brahmin, have turned into a woman!” Passages from the early Upaniṣads A. The afterlife Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.4.3-4: Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 6.2.15-16. This passage follows a detailed explanation of the secret equivalences of several cosmic elements: 1 B. The meaning and nature of sacrifice Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 6.4.1-3 Chāndogya Upaniṣad 1.12 2 C. Society Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 4.5.1-2 (Then follows a secret teaching of Yājñavalkya to his wife Maitreyī) Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6.1.1-4 (The “real” education of Śvetaketu continues through chapter 6 of the Chāndogya) 3 Early Buddhism and Jainism: Sayings of the Seers (Isibhāsiyāiṃ), Verses of the Law (Dhammapada), The Scripture of Velāma (Velāmasutta), The Previous-life story of King Aśoka (Aśokāvadāna) 1. Human nature Sayings of the Seers 24.4-5 Verses of the Law 62 The fool worries, thinking, “I have sons, I have wealth.” Indeed, when he himself is not his own, whence are sons, whence is wealth? Verses of the Law 338 Just as a tree, though cut down, sprouts up again if its roots remain uncut and firm, even so, until the craving that lies dormant is rooted out, suffering springs up again and again. 2. The requital of deeds (karman), rebirth, liberation Sayings of the Seers 2.3 Sayings of the Seers 30.1. Sayings of the Seers 15.19 Sayings of the Seers 6.3 Sayings of the Seers 2.5 Verses of the Law 341 Flowing in from all objects and watered by sensual desire, feelings of pleasure arise in people. Bent on pleasures and seeking enjoyment, these men fall prey to birth and decay. 3. The life of the striver (śramaṇa) Sayings of the Seers 26.8 Sayings of the Seers 28.7 Sayings of the Seers 29.7 Verses of the Law 91 The mindful ones exert themselves. They are not attached to any home; like swans that abandon the lake, they leave home after home behind. Verses of the Law 145 Irrigators regulate the waters, fletchers straighten arrow shafts, carpenters shape wood, and the good control themselves. Verses of the Law 330 Better it is to live alone; there is no fellowship with a fool. Live alone and do no evil; be carefree like an elephant in the elephant forest. Verses of the Law 326 Formerly this mind wandered about as it liked, where it wished and according to its pleasure, but now I shall thoroughly master it with wisdom as a mahout controls with his ankus an elephant in rut. Verses of the Law 211 Therefore hold nothing dear, for separation from the dear is painful. There are no bonds for those who have nothing beloved or unloved. 4. The true brahmin Sayings of the Seers 26.6-7 Sayings of the Seers 29.17 Verses of the Law 391-393 He who does no evil in deed, word and thought, who is restrained in these three ways — him do I call a brahmin. Just as a brahmin reveres his sacrificial fire, even so should one devoutly revere the person from whom one has learned the law (dharma) taught by the Buddha. Not by matted hair, nor by lineage, nor by birth does one become a brahmin. But he in whom truth and righteousness exist — he is pure, he is a brahmin. 5. Society Sayings of the Seers 32.4 Having farmed in that single mode of farming That conveys sympathy for every living being A priest, a warrior, a commoner And even a servant can become perfected. Sayings of the Seers 27.5 (Note: “saint” here is not a good translation. The original reads here samaṇa=śramaṇa) 6. What about the non-striver? From The Scripture on Velāma [The Buddha said:] “Householder, regardless of whether a gift is coarse or refined, if it is given attentively, respectfully, with one’s own hand, not as if throwing it away, with the view that something will come of it: Wherever the result of that gift comes to fruition, one’s mind will incline to the enjoyment of splendid food, will incline to the enjoyment of splendid clothing, will incline to the enjoyment of splendid vehicles, will incline to the enjoyment of the splendid five strings of sensuality. And one’s sons & daughters, slaves, servants, & workers will listen to one, will lend ear, will make their minds attend for the sake of knowledge. Why is that? Because that is the result of attentive actions. From The Previous-life Story of King Aśoka [The Buddha said:] “Once Jaya, the later king Asoka, and his friend Vijaya were playing at building houses in the dirt, as the Buddha came by. Young Jaya, thinking to himself Ί will give him some ground meal’, threw a handful of dirt into the Buddha’s begging-bowl. After presenting this offering to the Blessed One, Jaya then proceeded to make the following resolute wish: ‘By this root of good merit, I would become king and after placing the earth under a single umbrella of sovereignty, I would pay homage to the Blessed Buddha.’ The compassionate Sage immediately perceived the boy’s character, and recognizing the sincerity of his resolve, he saw that the desired fruit would be attained because of his field of merit. He therefore accepted the proffered dirt, and the seed of merit that was to ripen into Asoka’s kingship was planted Praise of the Life of the Buddha – from Aśvaghoṣa’s Saundarananda (English translation by T. Cross, with adaptations) 3.1 For ascetic practice, then, he left Kapilavāstu – a teeming mass of horses, elephants and chariots. 3.2 In the approach to ascetic practice of the various traditions, and in the attachment of sages to various restraints, he observed the miseries of thirsting for an object. Seeing harsh asceticism to be unreliable, he turned away from it. 3.3 Then Ārāda, who spoke of freedom, and likewise Uḍraka, who inclined towards quietness, he served, his heart set on truth, and he left. He who intuited the path intuited: “This also is not it.” 3.4 Of the different traditions in the world, he asked himself: Which one is the best? Not obtaining certainty elsewhere, he entered after all into ascetic practice that was most severe. 3.5 Then, having ascertained that this was not the path, he abandoned that extreme asceticism too. Understanding the realm of meditation to be supreme, he ate good food in readiness to realise deathlessness. 3.6 With golden arms fully expanded and as if in a yoke, with lengthened eyes, and bull-like gait, he came to a fig tree, growing up from the earth, with the will to awakening that belongs to the supreme method of investigation. 3.7 Sitting there, mind made up, as unmovingly stable as the king of mountains, he overcame the grim army of Māra and awoke to the step which is happy, irremovable, and irreducible. 3.8 Sensing the completion of his task, the denizens of heaven whose heart’s desire is the deathless nectar buzzed with unbridled joy. But Māra’s crew was downcast and trembled. 3.9 The earth with its mountains shook, that which feeds the fire blew benignly, the drums of the gods sounded, and from the cloudless sky rain fell. 3.10 Awake to the one great ageless purpose, and universal in his compassion, he proceeded, in order to display the eternal deathless nectar, to the city sustained by the waters of the Varaṇā and the Asī rivers – to Vārāṇasī. 3.11 And so the wheel of dharma – whose hub is uprightness, whose rim is constancy, determination, and balanced stillness, and whose spokes are the rules of discipline – there the Seer turned, in that assembly, for the welfare of the world. 3.12 “This is suffering; this is the tangled mass of causes producing it; this is cessation; and here is a means.” Thus, one by one, this supreme set of four, 3.13 The seer set out, with its the three divisions of the unequalled, t …
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