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L16_ch04-Ancient India (South Asia


(Edited Version- Text & footnotes removed)

Timeline: 2nd Millennium BCE - Present Topic: Ancient India (South Asia) & China: Tenets of Hinduism FQ: How could the great myths of South Asia’s Hinduism offer guidance to Hindus during troubled times? Main Idea: The Hindu faith is one of the oldest (or perhaps the oldest) organized faith in history. The social structure that developed in the Indian subcontinent is intimately intertwined with Hindu religious beliefs. The faith shows the marks of a culture that draws from different groups. It has adapted to and adopted from the many peoples that have traveled the busy routes traversing the mountain passes of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is a model of stability and a source of hope for those who seek another chance to achieve eternal bliss. PO: SWBAT... ● Describe the nature of the Mahabharata. ● Explain how this text may be similar or different from religious texts of faiths already discussed in class. ● Offer an evaluation of the usefulness of a text like this for the complex world we now live in. Do Now: TBR The Human Record. Volume 1, Fourth Edition Read "Dharma: The Imperative of Caste Law", page 70 - 73. On page 71 respond to questions 1 - 4 making sure to create 'complete' responses. I. Canonical Texts A. Mahabharata: One of the longest epic poems in human history. Literally, it means "Great Tale of the Bharata Dynasty". B. Bhagavad-Gita: A segment of the Mahabharata, it is a popular epic poem all by itself. In this tale, a Kshatriya (Arjuna) and his charioteer (lord Krishna in disguise) enter into a debate before a major battle. Arjuna is troubled because he is about to fight an enemy that includes members of his family. The charioteer attempts to explain to him where his duties lie. Basic teaching argues that the enlightened person is disciplined (knows himself) and can see all things in himself, and himself in all things (unity of life universe). He can look beyond illusions (that which we perceive to be real and impactful that is neither and hence it creates separateness) to what is real/ true => creates unity. These canonical texts offer a way for the faithful to reach this 'enlightened' ideal. As in the Mahabharata, the use of myths to 'teach' is in keeping with ancient traditions prevalent throughout the world. Activity

Discuss the Bhagavad-Gita's value as revealed by its protagonists- Arjuna and the Charioteer ○ Define Incarnation and Avatar as it relates to the Bhagavad-Gita and Ramayana* myths.**

*Click on the link to read a a brief description of the Ramayana. **Avatar Derived from the Sanskrit word for 'incarnation'. In the Hindu faith, it refers to an embodiment (human form) of a divinity.

II. Summary Activity: Modern Challenges Challenges are not new to any faith, regardless of their age. The 21st century has produced its own brand of religious dilemmas for Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, & Islam. These dilemmas transcend cultural boundaries. ● Spiritual Freedom vs. Social Order ● Importance of Beliefs vs. Importance of Ritual ● Cultural Diffusion vs. ‘Purity’ of the faith.
Curriculum Linkage (PDF file) Unit One: Ancient World- Civilizations & Religions (4000 BCE - 500 CE) Sections B1 a - e, E1 b

Materials/Sources: Refer to the course calendar for additional assignments and pertinent due dates. ● Mahabharata (incl. 'Bhagavad Gita') ● Perspectives on the Past ● Hindu Vision of Life- Lecture #1: By Prof. Dennis G. Dalton of Barnard College [Text: Presuppositions on Indian Philosophy By Karl Potter.]

Google Books excerpts. Dharma: The Imperative of Caste Law

Teacher Note: Here, as in any academic attempt to study beliefs and practices of peoples, the sources include scholarly work as well as philosophical/ religious texts. Presentation of any philosophical/ religious text is to facilitate study, acquire appreciation, and enliven discussion of the traditions that produced them. In no form, content or intent, are the materials presented to ‘teach’ and/ or ‘proselytize’ any belief system. No particular denomination, if applicable, is chosen over another. The basic tenets of the philosophy or faith as presented here are meant to transcend any deviations that currently separate the denominations.