Spring 2009

Introduction to Hinduism

Listed in: Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-17  |  Religion, as RELI-14


Steven D. Heim (Section 01)


(Also Asian 17.) In Hindu traditions there has been a sustained debate about the meaning of life. Some claim that the highest human achievements are found in social engagement, in having a family, enjoying wealth and power, and in aesthetic pleasure. Others believe such worldly achievements are ultimately unsatisfactory, and that one should break free of social bonds, renounce the world and seek enlightenment. This course follows the debate, from over 2500 years ago to the present, as its participants reflect on human purpose and create different schools of Hinduism. In following their debates we will explore alternative definitions of dharma, karma, reincarnation, ritual efficacy, meditation, happiness, caste, gender, yoga, gods, food practices, politics, violence, and modernity. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer S. Heim.