Questions for Section 1:
The first piece, “Nasadiya,” is one of many creation stories in a text known as the Rg Veda. In what ways is this creation story different from the first creation story in the Bible? What characterizes this creation story? Is there anything similar to the first biblical creation story?
The difference between the Nasadiya’s creation story and the biblical story of creation is that in the Bible, God existed before universe. The Nasadiya’s creation story begins by stating that nothing existed before the creation of universe. Nothing existed that could hold life, except water. The similarity between the Rig Veda’s creation story and the Biblical view of creation is that neither sky nor space existed before creation, and the only thing that was visible was water. In addition, there was no night or day, and the life force was just empty.
Make a list of five qualities/attributes for each of the three gods to which the above hymns are dedicated. What do they seem to be related to? What are they gods of? What gifts do these gods give? Anything else you might want to add.
According to the “Hymn to Agni,” five qualities of gods are sacrificial, rich, brilliant, protective, and approachable. According to the “Hymn to Soma,” five qualities of gods are purity, liberal, sacred, illuminating, and sweet. In the “Hymn to Indra,” five qualities of gods are powerful, mighty, wealthy, guardian, and intelligent.
The similarities of the three gods are that they are powerful, sacred, protective, and wealthy. They are gods of provision and purity. They offered individuals platform for sacrifice and authority to undertake their duties. They also promised individuals eternal peace.
Questions for Section 2:
I have never practiced yoga, but I think people practice it to relieve stress and improve blood circulation. Yoga is essential for maintaining flexible muscles and improving blood circulation. By practicing yoga, individuals benefit by boosting their performance in sports, maintenance of weight, and enhanced flexibility and mobility.
By the time you read this, we will have discussed the place of ritual during the Vedic period and the priests who conduct ritual. What is the opinion of the priests and ritual according to “The Way of Knowledge”?
People who do not seek understanding are fool while those who make sacrifice have a reward in heaven. The priests perform rituals to depict their faith and penance. Sacrifice is good for those who are wise and passionate, as people who never practice good deeds suffer in darkness. Wise teachers know the reward of being good to others, as their thoughts are not troubled by filthy desires.
In relation to the above question, what does “The Practice of Yoga” advocate in terms of religious/spiritual practice?
The practice of yoga is critical in attaining Brahman, or the ultimate reality that an individual can achieve in the universe. It is through the commitment to yoga that people can rise above the unpleasantness of the universe.
Based on your response to the question posed before reading “The Practice of Yoga”, what are the differences/similarities between what the text says in regards to yoga and your understanding of modern American practice of yoga?
The similarity of the text and the understanding of modern practice of yoga is that both enable individuals to restrain their minds from any form of distraction. The feelings that individuals develop during the progress of yoga are same in both cases.
What seems to be the goal of yoga in this passage?
According to this passage, the goal of yoga is to enhance concentration and mind-body health. This practice assists individuals to cultivate inner peace by rising to the highest spiritual point in life.
Questions for Section 3:
I (1): What do you think this supreme Self is referring to?
The Supreme Self is human beings, who are made from his likeness, despite having different color, names, and origins.
(2) Who or what are we?
We are the likeness of God, his own creation.
II: (1) What do you think the Self refers to?
The Self is God, who dwells in our innermost consciousness.
What does the text advocate and what are the results of such?
We should seek God in our own awareness and meditate his presence in our hearts. Individuals should no longer identify themselves with the body, but search beyond birth and death. By doing so, they can appreciate the truth about God’s mystical teaching.
Section 4: Bhagavad Gita Questions
What is the setting of the text?
The setting is that the kingdom is about to enter into war, but the blind king is not sure of the eventuality. After losing the war, the blind king demands to know how his army lost the war.
What is Arjuna’s dilemma?
Arjuna’s dilemma is that he was destined to fight his relatives in the battle. This was revealed after requesting to inspect the army that he was about to engage in the fight.
3) What is his reasoning for his decision? List three.
The reasons for taking such decision were:
- They were his relatives, and anyone who destroys his family members is ruined by wicked act of illegitimacy.
- He did not deserve a victory if such victory was just for pleasure and greed of the kingdom.
- Immorality would prevail by destroying family traditions
List three reasons Krishna argues for war.
Three reasons that Krishna gave for war were:
- To avoid losing reputation
- To gain honor and respect
- To go to heaven if killed during the war
What is Karma Yoga?
Karma-yoga is a science of transcendental understanding where an individual free himself from bondage, or sin.
What is the result of Karma yoga?
Karma-yoga has no adverse effect. It is a self-less service that safeguards individuals from fear of birth and death. It arms individuals with resolute determination about realization of God.
How does one practice karma yoga?
An individual has to take control over his/her duty without regard of the results. One should discard all worries and self-seeking attachment to the outcomes. An individual practicing yoga should remain active without worrying about the results.
What are three characteristics of a self-realized person?
Three characteristics of a self-realized person are
- unperturbed mind
- free from the sense objects
Why should one serve others?
One should serve others selflessly as way to bind human beings. Serving others enables one to prosper while the sacrifice made for others enables one to fulfill all life desires.
When/why does Krishna incarnate?
Krishna incarnated to control the material nature, to protect the good, and to establish order in the world.
Why does one work?
Individuals usually work as a service to God. Working without self-attachment assists one to attain Supreme Bliss.
Who are the best yogis?
The best yogi is the one who devotes to meditation, and whose mind is always absorbed to God.
What is the relationship of worshipping whatever deity one chooses to worship of God?
By worshipping whatever deity an individual prefers, God manifests his faith to that individual. Having God’s faith enables individuals to attain their wishes through their personal deity.
Describe Krishna’s revelation. How is it described?
Krishna’s revelation involved hundreds and thousands of diverse divine forms with different colors as well as shapes. He was shown all extraterrestrial beings and entire creation, living and non-living, in one place.
What effect does it have on Arjuna?
Arjuna was quite amazed by such wonders, and opted to bow before the lord to pray.
Why worship a personal god?
Worshipping a personal god assists individuals in enhancing unswerving devotion to their preferred deity. By doing so, god become their savior in times of difficulties.
Name five divine qualities and five demonic qualities
Five dine qualities are fearlessness, perseverance, self-restraint, honesty, and freedom from greed.
Five demonic qualities as stated in this chapter are egotism, ignorance, insincerity, pride, and harshness.
. How do duty, discipline, and devotion relate to salvation?
Being devoted to one’s duty is a manifestation of salvation. Karma-yogi devotees are saved by God’s grace as they take refuge in God.
What is the ultimate path to God and how is it demonstrated?
The ultimate path to God is through fixing one’s mind to God and offering service to him. This can be demonstrated through surrendering completely to God’s will and setting aside all praiseworthy deeds.
Question for Section 5:
Make a list of 10 characteristics/attributes of Vishnu (i.e. in what ways is he described and what does he do?)
Ten characteristics of Vishnu are:
. Does belief in Vishnu as expressed in the text resemble monotheistic beliefs in God? If so, how and in what ways?
The story does not express Vishnu in monotheistic beliefs in god because he appeared in numerous forms. For instance, he appeared as Brahma (the supreme god), Purusha (spirit), Kala (time), and Vyakta (visible substance). Each form plays a role in creation, preservation, as well as destruction of all things in the universe. As Purushottama, Vishnu acts as both an agitator and as an object of agitation.
Questions for Section 6
Summarize what happens in this story.
The story of Brahma, Vishnu and Linga depict the three gods who endeavored to find their origin. Brahma developed from a lotus flower, but did not know the root of the flower. After meditation for twelve years, Vishnu appears to claim his son. Brahma did not believe in Vishnu. During their fight, Linga appears and orders them to cease fighting. Brahma and Vishnu began to search for Linga’s origin for many years by adopting the forms of swan and boar respectively. Their search led to appearance of Mahadeva (or Shiva). Shiva claimed that the three were of the same body, but split into three parts. Brahma was the creator while Vishnu was the preserver. Shiva admitted that he was the destroyer, but a new being named Rudra will be born, who will resemble him. After disappearance of Shiva, both Brahma and Vishnu went back to their old forms.
- What does this story seem to be saying about Shiva in relation to other gods?
This story depicts Shiva as the most knowledgeable among the three gods, although he was a destroyer. He tended to be appearing only when bad things, such as fighting, emerged. He was a bad element in the story of creation.
Question for Section 7:
Make a list of 15 qualities of the Devi. Is any of what you wrote familiar to beliefs in any other God we have discussed in class?
Qualities of the Devi include:
Most of these qualities are common among the beliefs of God, as most of them depict a caring and concerned God. According to the Biblical perspective, God is omnipresent and eternal, and is capable of protecting his people in times of calamities.