Ta and What Role Does Term Paper

  • Length: 10 pages
  • Subject: Mythology - Religion
  • Type: Term Paper
  • Paper: #9076257

Excerpt from Term Paper :

), and the five gross elements which are said to proceed from the five subtle elements (ether or space from sound, air from touch, fire from sight, water from taste, earth from smell). (68) Nature is further divided into three essential gunas, sattva, rajas, and tamas or 'the quality of being, energy, and darkness'. These elements enumerated by the Samkhya will be considered fundamental in the later literature.

8. How does one attain the highest goal of Samadhi in Samkhya-Yoga?

The Samadhi or the state of absolute 'concentration' of the soul into the soul, or of the self in its own self, can be achieved by the Yogin under the direction of a competent Guru, as a state of pure isolation from everything in the world, and even from God himself. The complete detachment can lead to an isolation of the "I" or the individual consciousness in everything, and a pure dwelling of the self in its own essence. According to Zaehner, this state can also be described as a "sleepless sleep." Also, this state requires more than mere omniscience, in which one knows and is everything at the same time: it is therefore even beyond what is usually seen as supreme knowledge.

9. What is the doctrine of Maya and how does it relate to the monistic concept of moksha in Advaita Vedanta?

The term maya literally means 'illusion' or 'appearance.' According to Zaehner, it was introduced by ?ankara and it was meant to describe the apparent relationship between the one and the many. There is a very telling simile usually used to illustrate the concept of maya: that of a rope which one may take for a snake in the dark. The 'snake' is imposed on the rope through the creative 'ignorance' of the person who perceives it. In a similar way, men confuse the real things and the essences, for their appearances or the objects that surround us in the real world. Maya defines the phenomenal world as a dream, an illusion shared by the entire collectivity of people, who have not yet attained liberation. God himself is the author of m-y?. The m-y? Of the Advaita corresponds exactly to the prak-ti or Nature of the Samkhya but the difference is that prak-ti is a separate principle independent of soul while m-y? In the Advaita is a collective hallucination. If it weren't for maya, all the souls would realize that they are one and not many, not a multiplicity. The Advaitin, therefore, does not mean that the 'soul merges into Brahman as a river merges into the sea, but that it realizes itself as it eternally is, that is, as the One Brahman- ?tman.' (75) the liberation or moksha is thus achieved only through isolation of the self, of the unity or individuality into its own essence.

10 R.H. Zaehner explains that Shaiva Siddhanta tradition holds that people suffer from the three fetters. What are they? Briefly explain each one.

The Shaiva Siddhanta is, according to Zaehner, nearer to Christianity than any of the Hindu systems, since it represents God as love, and holds that all the actions of God spring from his love for all the creatures and for the world itself. In the ?aiva Siddh-nta existence is divided into pati, pa-u and p?

a, that is, the Lord, his cattle and the fetters with which the latter are bound. These fetters are three in number, as Zaehner explains, and are as follows: m-y? which is real and without beginning in time, karma, the acts of individual souls and their good and evil 'fruits', again without beginning, and ?nava, literally 'the quality of being minute' which, being the principle of individuation, keeps the soul shut up within itself. The last of the principles mentioned is antagonistic to God, and prevents the ultimate liberation. The soul is seen as totally dependent on the divine will, without which it cannot act, being permanently fettered into the world of the real.

11. According to Zaehner, the Bhagavad-Gita revolutionized the concept of dharma. Why does he say that?

The Gita is one of most important Indian writings. Moreover, as Zaehner puts forth, the Gita represents a downright decisive turn in the history of Hindu thought. Before it, man believed that the best course was to act according to his dharma, while at the same time keeping his mind focused on the eternal being or Brahma. The Gita brings a new conception of the way to truth: the steps enumerated so far form only a preliminary stage during the accession to truth: the real way is fulfilled not through detachment or indifference, but through a loving communion with God: "Give up all the things of dharma, turn to me only as thy refuge. I will deliver thee from all evil. Have no care." The purpose therefore is actually to relinquish the dharma itself and strive to become Brahman so as to be able to draw near to God. The love of God and the total devotion of the self to God is the essence of the "secret doctrine," as the teaching is called at the end of the Bhagavad-Gita.

12. Highlight Zaehner's conception of Shiva as depicted in the Upanishads and the Mahabharata.

Zaehner points out that the word ?iva means 'mild' or 'auspicious', but oddly, this attribute is not among the most prominent ones for this god. Unlike Vishnu, ?iva is wrathful and unpredictable. As a favorite activity, Zaehner shows, Shiva loves to haunt the cremation-ground, clad in elephant-hide or tiger-skin, his neck encircled with a necklace of skulls, with serpents in his hair.(84) He is extremely austere, and one of its most important attribute is the third eye of wisdom, situated above the bridge of his nose. He is wedded to Parvat?, the 'lady of the mountains', precisely because she too performs the fiercest austerities. Another side of his character though, might describe this peculiar god as the opposite: is also the natar-ja, the 'Lord of the dance." The dance symbolizes first of all the very joy of creation and of existence. However, Shiva also performs a dance that represents the destruction of the world. Thus, Shiva is in fact reconciliation of all opposites: he is the creator, but he also breeds destruction, he is gentle but also terrible, he is evil and he is good at the same time. Moreover, in him, the masculine and feminine principles are united. Thus, Shiva is a contrastive god, with many attributes and many opposite features, representing precisely this fusion between opposites.

13. What are the principal teachings of Ramanuja?

As Zaehner shows, for R-m-nuja, as for the ?aiva Siddh-nta, the phenomenal world is real and m-y? is God's mode of operation in it (98). The soul, in Ramanuja's conception as in all Hindu thinking, is the very substance of God, an eternal and timeless essence. However, the souls do not possess their own true nature, until they achieve moksha. However, Ramanuja's thinking also has very different strands that are wholly new for Hinduism. Among these, the most important is the emphasis on the love of God, without which everything else is barren, even liberation or moksha. God is the repository of all good qualities, "all radiance, loveliness, fragrance, delicacy, beauty, and youth -- desirable, congruous, one in form, unthinkable, divine, marvellous, eternal, indefectible, perfect."(99) Also, God imprisons souls in matter only to release them and unite them with himself, in what Ramanuja calls "the adorable game." For Ramanuja, all modes of having access to the divinity, such as knowledge or worship (bhakti) are only limited and superficial. The true way is only the perfect union with God. Moreover, in this beautiful relationship established between God and the devotee, God needs the soul as much as the soul needs God, and this means that the soul is neither annihilated nor absorbed in the liberated state, but experiences unending and ever-increasing love. (99). Also, Ramanuja makes a threefold distinction between God who is absolute, human souls which are eternal, though subject to him, and matter. All these traits, point to the Christian influence on Ramanuja's thought.

14. According to Mahabharata, the proud and wicked Duryodhana, a member of the Ksatriya class, was admitted into heaven. How is this justified in the text?

Duryodhana, the antagonist of Yuddhishthira in Mahabharata, is both proud and extremely wicked. He is an usurper and he is guilty of many crimes. He nevertheless accedes to heaven, precisely because through his acts he had fulfilled the essential dharma of the kshatriya, that is, he had fought his enemies fairly and bravely. This is more than Yuddhishthira himself managed to achieve, since he let himself be taken by anger during the battle, and, as Zaehner explains, dharma does not admit any kind of anger, even if it comes from honest and righteous indignation. Duryodhana is thus admitted to paradise in spite of his lack of morality, precisely…

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