Hinduism - Lesson 15

Bhakti Movement

The Bhakti marga is branch of Hinduism that emphasizes a spiritual journey undertaken by a devotee that will culminate in a state of union with God or mutual indwelling of the deity and the bhakta.

Lesson 15
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Bhakti Movement

I. How Classical Buddhism is Distinctive from Hinduism
II. Introduction to Bhaktism
    A. Etymology and meaning of the term “bhakti” (Bhhaj)
    B. Bhakti marga - path of devotion - A spiritual journey undertaken by a devotee that will culminate in a state of union with God or mutual indwelling of the deity and the bhakta.

Class Resources
  • Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world and one of the oldest. It is about 12% of the world population and about 95% are in India. Hinduism is difficult to define. There is evidence of civilization in the Indus valley as early as 2800 BC. The sacred literature that is the basis for Hinduism was created and developed over hundreds of years. It was originally transmitted orally and was eventually written down.

  • Introduction to fundamental ideas and literature that are basic to the Hindu religion. The first lecture given for this class is not available at this time. This lecture begins on the class outline at II, C.

  • Discussion of the influence that the Vedic tradition has on Hinduism. 

  • Mahavakyas is made up of two words meaning, “great utterances.” The creation stories are a collection of different stories with various themes. The world is created by a divine figure dismembering themself and their body becomes the world. The caste system has a racial element to it based on some of the creation narratives in the RgVeda.

  • The Upanishads are one strand of the Vedas. Brahman refers to the all-pervading reality in the Upanishads, not the Brahmin caste. The question throughout the Upanishads is, “Who or what is Brahman?”

  • Brahman is the ultimate reality of the universe. Our atman is encrusted with karma and stuck on the wheel of Samsara. A Hindu's goal, in the process of being reincarnated through thousands of lifetimes, is to rid themselves of karma so they can achieve moksa, oneness with Brahman.

  • Maya is the ability of the gods to create the world and give it the appearance they choose, thereby concealing the true nature of Brahman. Karma is the principle that what you sow, you alone reap.

  • A Hindu must work off their karma to be released from the wheel of Samsara and achieve moksa when their atman becomes one with Brahman. Yoga was developed as a way to achieve the goals of the Samkhya philosophy. Hindus see God as a material cause of the universe, not an efficient cause.

  • The Mahavakyas are “great sayings” that give you insights into core teachings of Hinduism. The Brehed Aranyaka Upanishad shows that Hindus believe that diversity can come through oneness and not be an “other.”

  • Sankara says that Brahman is unknowable and we can't perceive any of his qualities. The rope-snake metaphor is often used by Hindus to discuss the difference between perception and reality.

  • Hindu writers often use metaphors to illustrate and teach the essentials of the Hindu philosophy. In their writings, they refer to these metaphors in a way that assumes that you know and understand them.

  • The purpose of this lecture is to see the structure of Hinduism at a glance. Hinduism operates and a philosophical level and a popular level. Hinduism attempts to resolve the relationship between knowledge, works and devotion. The four stages of life and the caste system determine much of cultural structure of Hinduism. Hindus worship many Gods.

  • The three major dissent movements that area a challenge Hinduism are Buddhism, Janism and materialism. Hinduism is adept at absorbing other movements. Buddhism claims that there is a teaching that makes it possible for you to reach the state of Nirvana which is liberation from all suffering. The founder of Buddhism is Siddhartha Gautama. The content of his teaching is the four noble truths and the eight-fold path.

  • The key insight of the Upanishads is the identification of atman with Brahman. Buddhists deny both atman and Brahman.

  • The Bhakti marga is branch of Hinduism that emphasizes a spiritual journey undertaken by a devotee that will culminate in a state of union with God or mutual indwelling of the deity and the bhakta.

  • The Hindu gods have identifying characteristics that make them easy to recognize when you see them in temples or other settings. The Trimrti are the three major gods of India which are Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. Brahma is not often visually represented, so Vishnu and Shiva are seen the most. Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the destroyer. Vishnu has 10 incarnations or avatars. These are partial incarnations and don’t represent the fullness of Vishnu.

  • The Siva icon always has the presence of the Trishal, which is a sacred weapon of destruction. There is also the nag (cobra), damaru (drum), third eye, Ganges river flowing out of his head. The dancing Siva has a damaru in one hand and a flame of fire in the other that represents creation and destruction of the world. He also has dreadlocks and the trunk of an elephant.  The third eye of siva is what Hindu women have on their forehead. The Siva Lingum is the most dominant icon in north India.

  • The Brahminical branch teaches that works and devotion lead to true knowledge (Upanishadic vision, tat twam asi). Bhaktis say that knowledge and works should lead to devotion.

  • The Ramayana is an epic account of India. It is the story or epic of Rama and Sita, and is the origin of the tradition of Suti. Mahabharata is the epic of India. It’s the longest collection of poems in the world. The Bhagavad-Gita  is the most important part of the Mahabharata. It talks about both the dharma of caste and the dharma of denial and renunciation.

  • Gurus integrate different parts of the marga system. Paramahamsa Ramakrishna declared the unity of all religions. He claimed to have visions of Hindu gods and Jesus Christ and Mohammed and that all religions lead to the same ultimate reality, sat chit ananda. Swami Vivekananda was the most well-known follower of Ramadrishna and brought his message to the western world. He accepts tat twam asi, the great insight of the Upanishads, but thinks that everyone, not just Brahmans can perceive that unity. (The last point of the lecture was cut short due to a technical limitation.)

    You may download the text of Vivekananda's speech by clicking on the Handouts link in the upper left corner.

  • These are nine of the major holidays celebrated in India. Sankara has been called India’s greatest philosopher. Sankara emphasized universals and Ramanuja emphasized the particulars, similar to Plato and Aristotle in Western thought. Sankara has greater status as a philosopher, but Ramanuja has had a great influence on how the masses practice Hinduism.

    The chart Dr. Tennent refers to near the end of the lecture is the “Three Vehicle Structure of Hinduism,” which is labeled Lecture 6 in the complete class outline pdf document on the class page.

  • Brahmabandhav Upadhyay was an upper jati Brahman teacher who converted to Catholicism. He attempts to explain Christianity by using Advadic motifs. Brahmabandhav is an example of how a Brahman can address the Brahminical community using a Brahminical line of reasoning.

  • There are opportunities for preaching the gospel and planting churches, but there are significant challenges. There is a difference between being unreached and being unevangelized. Homogenus unit principle is one factor that makes it difficult for the gospel to spread in India. It’s important to send people to unreached groups and use a strategy that is effective for those groups.

In-depth survey of philosophical and popular Hinduism’s historical and theological themes. Exposure to current strategies being used to bring the gospel to Hindus and how Christian theology is being formulated in the Indian context.

Dr. Tennent occasionally uses pictures of Hindu gods or other visual resources in his lectures. You can download a document with these pictures by clicking on the Hindu Deity Pictures link. 



Dr. Timothy Tennent
Bhakti Movement
Lesson Transcript


A little parenthesis from the book. The lecture which we started last time, I felt like after upon reflection, I thought, you know, it was much better to talk about Buddhism in light of understanding the icons of iconography, the visual images of Hinduism. So what we're going to do today is actually look at the actual gods and goddesses themselves and give you some idea of the pictures that you're. I mean, this is what you would see if you're anywhere in India. So I'm going to actually show you in the past, I used to take well, I have gone through several stages of my stage. One, I used to take I had a lot of a lot of slides of gods and goddesses I took in various temples in India. And I, you know, came in with like the slide projector, you know, and all the carousel and everything, which is still fine. I could probably I could still do that. Then I went through a period of, well, maybe I should try to transition to something more digital. So this is my first attempt at showing some digital images, some of which took off the Internet, some of which I've taken digitally on a camera. And I hope to keep adding to this as I have opportunity to travel around different parts of India. So I'm hoping to visually show you what you would always see if you walked in the temples in various parts of India. This particular slide projection or slideshow I have here is focused specifically on the gods and goddesses rather than temples or whatever per se, though you'll see some pictures inside temples, but essentially all the gods and goddesses. Now there's 330 million different gods worshiped in India. You don't have to know all 330 million of them.


So what I've had to do is I've had to say, okay, what should somebody know? You know, how do you narrow this down? How do you tell somebody? What is the most essential gods and goddesses to know about India? So what I've done is I have paired it down to really the national and major regional deities that are found really in temples. I've been in hundreds of temples in India, and I think I would could say pretty much the gods you'll see here are the gods that you'll see. And in the major places now, every temple will have multiple gods and many minor deities. But I mean, in terms of the major icon of icons that you see in a temple, you'll be exposed to that today. These gods and goddesses generally have certain signs, symbols, representations, things with them that identify everybody knows and see that particular iconography. That's Shiva, that's Krishna, that's whatever. And you you learn that. Are we doing any more the stuff? Oh, yeah. We're going to go back and finish the whole Berkeley lecture. But I just thought maybe the book, the lecture would make more sense if we had visual kind of images and stuff in our minds. I'll make a list over here on the other gods that you need to know. And I will limit my testing to the gods. Show up on this chart. Okay, So they'll know. No problem here. Just to go back a little bit and remind you of a few things we had mentioned, at least in passing early on this try. 33 faces. Now, this refers to the three major gods of India, Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Those are the three major deities worshiped in the world of Sigona. If you're talking has a medical worldview, but in terms of popular Hinduism, they're the flat out the major gods.


The two worshiped in practice. As one of you mentioned, I forgot Now who was Brahma is not properly represented in Indian iconography, and it's rare to find temples to Brahma. So therefore, really we're talking about mainly Vishnu and Shiva and various identifications and representations and incarnations and associations and stories and epics with these two figures. So as a general rule, Hindus are divided into two major groups version of whites and Shi'ites. The version of whites are the followers of Vishnu or some incarnation thereof, and the Shiites are followers of Shiva or some association with Shiva. Shiva does have avatars. I think there's some who say he doesn't. It's either he has avatars or he has a very large family and there's all kinds of associations with that. I accept the idea of having 21 incarnations, but the ten incarnations of Vishnu are extremely important and much more important in the Hindu worldview. So we're only gonna talk about the ten of ten Avatars of Vishnu, and only then we're going to focus on two of them that you need to know about. You'll be happy to know. So essentially, we're talking about Vishnu and Shiva for practical purposes and for this class, you do not need to know about Brahma in terms of this. This is part of the lecture. So talking about this new and Shiva. And you'll notice that I have in parentheses three goddesses that are identified with each of the gods, each of the gods. They're married. And Brahma is married to Sarasvati, Vishnu, to Lakshmi and Shiva to Parvati. So we will talk about them somewhat, though. Again, I'm going to not require you to know about Sarasvati, but Saraswati is actually important in some places. For example, educational institutions.


If you were to go and visit Hindu places of learning, you might say, why not your tenant? Talk about Sarva Sarasvati because it seems to be everywhere, because Sarasvati is the God of learning and the God of knowledge. And so because of that it tends to be obviously very prominent in Hindu places of learning. So if you go and visit lakes, colleges or universities in India, you'll see it a lot. But for practical purposes in the villages it's not as important. And we will focus more on Lakshmi and Parvati. Okay. So those are the kind of that general framework. This is just iconography of what we just said. You don't need to know this, but this is just, you know, the same thing. Brahma, the creator, Vishnu the Preserver, Shiva the Destroyer is kind of classically the way it's presented. We're only focused on the preserver and the destroyer. And again, you can see the three goddesses that are identified with the gods, Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Parvati. If you focus on the version of Rites, those who follow Vishnu Vishnu has ten incarnations or avatars and these can be pulled out of any textbook. Many of you talked about it in your papers, much as fish, by the way. These words just mean that's what these were. Kama means turtle of these boards, so forth. Narasimha man, lion, so forth. Vomit. Parachute. Rama Rama with AKs, Rama, Krishna, Buddha and Kalki. These are the ten avatars of Vishnu. These are earthly manifestations, earthly appearances of Vishnu. One of my arguments that I made in my book is that the avatar figure is not the same as incarnation for a number of reasons. Number one, it's multiplied as many incarnations, but also these are their partial incarnations.


They're not actually full incarnations, with the possible exception of Krishna. So by their own testimony, these are partial incarnations and. Don't represent the fullness of Vishnu. In fact, in the Ramayana remain of this new incarnation of is ten different people at the same time, one of whom is Rama. So, you know, that's not the kind of thing that we would associate with Christ. Before we look at the two most important. Just this kind of overview of where we're headed, how we know what's important. You'll be surprised to find that Buddha is one of the ten avatars of Vishnu. This is a classic example of the way Hinduism has absorbed Buddhism. What happened was the Buddha was brought into Hinduism and it was said that Vishnu chose to incarnate himself into someone Buddha, who would mislead and deceive people who are not worthy of the true dharma. This is very good of God, isn't it, to, you know, go ahead and kind of close the door on people who weren't worthy of it. So the Buddha comes into it in this way. There are other interpretations of this, I admit, but that's the main interpretation of the Buddha as such a negative figure. And there's this future Kalki Buddha. I mean, sorry, Kalki avatar In the future of all of these ten avatars, the most important are these two right here, Rama and Krishna, without any doubt. These are the most important. There's no one who who who could possibly walk through India without recognizing the importance of these two particular avatars. So we're going to include them on the list for sure. Rama and Krishna, because of the epic Ramayana, is one of the great epics of India. Every child in India grows up learning the Ramayana.


This is put on the cartoons. This is put in storybook form. You grow up as a child being introduced to Ramayana all the way to most advanced literature. Some very Tulsi Das, famous poet, has a beautiful, famous translation of it, very erudite. So it goes to on every level. So Ramayana is something that was introduced along with a mother's milk. These stories are told and sung to children. So everybody, Christians, everybody alike, is aware of these stories. If you're preaching in India, make reference to Ramayana. There are exceptions. Of course. There are Christians whose parents, you know, actively participate in ways to keep them from knowing these stories. But I would say as a general rule, certainly any any Christian with a Hindu background, but even in general, Christians, if they didn't grow up in a really close community, would be aware of these stories because of the popular of these stories. The gods and the figures identified with Rama in the story have also become very, very important. So because of that, we're going to add Rama's famous, well-known wife, Sita, who is the central figures of the Ramayana, as well as the central figure who helps them end up in the epic. Is Hanuman, the famous monkey God. So that will be one that you will know because these are you'll see this iconography of of Hanuman everywhere in India. So be it, be a mistake, not include it. And also Krishna, who loves the GOP's the cow cow herding girls, but he particularly loves Radha. Right. He is the most famous, most famous love affair in India. Was preaching an Indian wedding. Were you there for John's wedding? Yeah. You remember I mentioned Christian and Radha in my sermon in that wedding and talked about comparative, contrasted it with the love of Christ or the church.


But Christian Right has those famous picture of of both of these actually Rama and Sita Christian about how very very famous for. So they come into all the marriage kind of rituals and so everything else. So right has important. And then finally we want to make sure we make allusion to the wife of Vishnu Lakshmi, because Lakshmi comes up and I cut out iconography all over India as well. So we're going to essentially not make you need to know these ten avatars, but we're going to focus on these two. We're going to I don't know if we do it today, but at some point we will give to give a brief exposition of the Ramayana. And we're going to do a more detailed look at the back of a Geeta as time develops. So we'll you'll be exposed to both of these documents when we get to the socialites. I've identified a few figures that you should know. The first would be Shiva seven himself, and that would include Shiva in several different famous forms. Shiva takes different forms, but will mainly be interested in the nataraj of form, which is the Dancing Shiva form Shiva's wife, Parvati. As important. And then their son, Ganesh, the famous elephant headed God, very prevalent all over India. In addition to this, we have kind of the ambiguities that are inherent in Hinduism. A pair of arti is sometimes also called Debbie or Maa, even sometimes called Sati. This the wife of a rama. So we have some ambiguities here between provides and version of rights. But what the way I'm going to present it to you is the great goddess you should essentially view as a separate figure. For our purposes. I think it makes much clearer to learn it, even though in in reality India, there are some some problems with confusion, confusing law on the certain lines.


But essentially this great goddess is the goddess of India itself. India is known as the mother, part of the mother India. There's various iconography associated with DV or MAA, and we're only going to focus on two of these. There's about four that are important, but two that are really important, and that's Kali and Durga. Now, just so you'll know the kind of picture of why this goddess is so important, Devi is said to have generated all of the three goddesses of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Parvati. So this kind of as divi, this goddess, kind of transcends the Shiva rights. But the two major manifestations of Debbie, that is Kali and Durga is a shiv. I think that's why I'm going to keep it within this category. So you'll need to know of the well, as far as iconography, there's no kind of golf orthography of Debbie, so we'll focus on Kali and Durga. You she will recognize Kali and dogma and that I mentioned on here. Yeah, Lakshmi there. So that gives us one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 11, 12, 13. You know, that's because of Shiv. There we have what, 12 gods or goddesses? These are goddesses that you need to know a dozen out of 300 million. So we'll start looking at pictures now. But are we clear on the 12 we need to know and their relationship with each other? Let's see if this is right. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, 11, 12. And these represent version of rights and civil rights. Okay. We are we happy with the 12? A dozen. That's nice. Even doesn't none of these are Vedic gods? Well, I shouldn't say that there's some of these have like little minor or minor roles in some early Vedic material, but none of these are important Vedic gods.


You're right. You do not need to know Vedic gods. Okay, let's begin with Vishnu. The preserver. Here are. I'm going to show you two slides. There's another a Vishnu. And I think that I'll give you enough examples of the iconography to appreciate it. Because even though these are very different icons, they're very typical Vishnu white depictions of Vishnu. There's a couple of things that you'll notice about Vishnu. He always has four arms. You actually find this in a number of God. This is not unique to Vishnu, but this is typical of iconography In India. When you want to depict a God, you show them with super human characteristics. So they have multiple eyes, multiple arms, multiple, whatever. The four arms is very typical. The blue is also typical of gods in general. So multiple arms, blue shading is a sign of austerity, a sign of their deity and so forth. So when you see something with four arms, you really know this is a god. You see, it's a male figure. So that tells you, okay, it's not going to be Durga or Kali. But then you look more carefully and you'll notice there's certain things that are in the hands of the gods. Now, that's important because once you begin to notice certain things in the hand, like a conch shell. Now if you see a conch shell, that will narrow it down to possibly three figures, one of which is Vishnu, it could also be Krishna. So we're going to again, this won't absolutely seal it as a Vishnu figure yet, but the conch shell will begin to help you narrow it down, because very often in one of his four hands, this is holding the conch shell. But the real give away is actually right here and right here that.


Is the Wheel of Samsara. It's a disc that he is spinning on his finger. If you see the disc, you know you've got Vishnu has a very, very good way to tell it. There is another way. So the conch shell is very, very prevalent. You see the disc? That's a dead giveaway. The third and absolutely dead giveaway. Sure is the lotus. Here is a lotus. But also you have this is a lotus flower. This is a lotus flower. He's always associated with a lotus. He's on a lotus throne. There's lotus flowers. Again, Lotus, as you'll find with other icons as well. But it's when you see all these come together, you know you're getting vision. Yes. Because it looks to me like this. They're also the other snake is also there. That is a snake that's called nug. The snake in another part of the iconography in this case, he's not actually seated, so he's standing on top of the nug. But this behind him is a lotus. Here is looks like he's sitting on a lotus throne. You have to look for kind of the general theme. Don't get overly focused on the details, because what'll happen is you'll see hundreds of different iconography as a Vishnu. If you always look for a snake, for example, you may be disappointed. So you kind of have to look at the whole thing and begin to observe what kind of comes together. Every Hindu would immediately recognize this as Vishnu. But how do they do that? Well, they do that mainly because a combination look for arms. The Kong, the Lotus, the disc is a dead giveaway. Those kind of things kind of all come together. But you may not always see all of these things in every icon.


You may not even always see the desk. So, you know, you have to kind of I mean, I'm not going to try to trick you in the exam. I'm just trying to give you a feel for how this works. The other thing that is prevalent and is in both of these is the mace. That's the last thing. The mace, the lotus, the conk and the disk. That's classic vaccinia in this case. And it's why I chose them to show you these icons have all four of his symbols. The basis for conquering is for ruling it power. So the conch shell represents the arm. If you blow the conch shell ball. It resonates with the universe. That's the ome sound. So conc is ome the disk is samsara. The mace represents power, authority, and the lotus always represents moksha release from the will of some sora. So the lotus flower, which blooms, represents, as you might imagine, release and beauty and all of that. Look for those four things, the lotus and mace, and you will probably be standing in the presence of Vishnu, icon of this. There is no Vishnu. I'm so sorry to say. The serpent is a serpent. Who is the word for serpent is not. This is actually a serpent called Satia. And they will usually say, say Sundog. This is a goes back to some of the chronic stories about vision is struggles with the snake, about the amaranth, the fluid of immortality. And they had a big battle. And one of the reasons why there is blue is the snake wrapped is around his neck. He turned blue because of the lack of oxygen. All kinds of theories about the blueness. But he had a big battle with it. So whenever another thing you'll notice about icons in Hinduism is that the standing on top of something, they're always on top of something.


And it's usually one of two things. It's either their mount, which this is not the case for this, but it's a melt. In other words, when the gods came into tribal beliefs in India, this well, we already worship a bird. We already works from now. So they were sure. Okay, that's the mount of this God. That's what they write or travel on. The Mount of Ganesh is a mouse. So this bizarre thing of this elephant riding a mouse, it's really weird, but it's just the way Hinduism works. Every God, every goddess has a mount. The mount will tell you the God. If one of the signs of Ganesh isn't as an owl, as a mouse, for example, more often, I think it's something they've had victory, victory over, something they've defeated in one of the periodic battles. So when they see the snake here, that's another example. I mean, this this particular icon here has everything that you associate with Vishnu, the four symbols. It has the victory over Nog. It's all there. I mean, in that sense, it's quite a remarkable thing. The only thing that doesn't have neither of these has is Garuda. Garuda is a big flying bird. You don't need to know it. I'm sorry I put on this chart. The Garuda is a flying bird, and that is the Mount of Vishnu. And so you'll sometimes see him on a bird. But yes, sir, in the air. So these are the places you have operational accounts or similar sounding to try and struggle with? You mean Vedic stories or with any linkage with your industry? Oh, right. No, not to my knowledge, though. There are people who think that any time anybody sniffs in the world that they immediately come upon Egypt, you know? So I don't know.


I'm sure there's somebody who's made some observation, but I don't I've never never sent another here's another icon. This it looks very, very different. But what do you notice? Do you notice that you see the desk? The can't see that you can recognize that is Vishnu, even though it's very, very different from this. Say, I want to make you realize that it may appear this is one inside a temple and you may find the mace in this case is still there. You know, it's just lying. There it is. It has feet. Any questions about Vishnu? Right now, we're just trying to look at the deities and gain some ability to recognize that when you walk into a temple in India, this there has to be the lotus flower. Nothing is. I mean, this case, it's here as well. This is the lotus flower. Sometimes the way the iconic iconography is done, it can be very symbolic and you may not be able to recognize it as clearly, Oh, that's a lotus flower. So you can see the leaves here, but it's pretty it's pretty obscure. Don't you think that the lotus there he is on a lotus throne? I would say that in this case, again, this is a dead giveaway. And you have the the mace, the conc and the the disk. That's pretty good signs that you have. You have any other questions about about that. Okay. Rama is the next figure. You have the arrows. The arrows is a classic of Rama. The only other thing I can think of off top of my head that would have arrows other than Rama would be Arjuna. Arjuna is the figure in the back of that Geeta that Krishna comes and talks to occasionally seen him with arrows, but he's not one of these.


So for class purposes it would be a good a good help. Arrows is important because Rama used the Arrows is famous in the Ramayana for bowing the great Shiva's bow. He was the only one. No one had the strength to pull back the bow and put the arrow, and he could do that. And also when he shot his arrows, he put mantras on them. He recited Vedic mantras and used the mantras on the arrows to shoot and kill this big demon king that he fights in the Ramayana Epic. In a nutshell, the Ramayana story and maybe we'll come back to it. But Rama Ram, the story is basically about the kidnaping of this beautiful woman, Shiva Sita, by this king, this demon king known as Ravana. ROVNER This Demon King kidnaps two, takes Sita away and takes her to this island off the coast of India, which is called Sri Lanka. KO Which, you know, of course, today is reverted back to the original name. It was called Ceylon for so many years, but now it's back to Sri Lanka, Lord Lanka. So it takes him to Lanka and holds holds her in captivity. So the remaining the epic, which is a long epic, but essentially it's about the rescue of Sita. And in the process he gets help from the monkey God. And so Hanuman comes and helps in the rescue. In the process, he carries this mountain, which gives them leverage against the king. They have his big battle. He is about to rescue Sita when he doubts whether she was actually faithful to him or not. Now, during the whole captivity, there's always interludes in the story where Robin is trying to seduce Sita. She's a very beautiful woman in Hindu mythology.


So he's cast in trying to seduce or the Demon King. She always resists. She's always faithful to Rama. She's loyal to Rama. And so finally, she gives him Vedic knowledge. He's trying to teach him the Dharma, trying to convert this demon, you might say. So when Rahmat finally rescues her, he says, Well, maybe. How do I know she has been faithful? Maybe she's been faithless, maybe she's not been faithful. So it's kind of a classic, you know, literature theme, you know, where the man doubts a woman's faithfulness and probably decides that because he can't be sure he's going to burn her to death. Welcome to Hinduism. So he takes her and he throws her onto the fire. And the fire, the lapping arms. The fire. Take her and give her back to Rama and say she's been faithful. Which is why the practice of Sati. You've heard of parts of Sutta where the wife joins the husband on the funeral pyre and is burned with her husband when he dies. This is a practice that was even William Carey observed it in his day. It still happens today in India. Last summer, I saw three of these in the newspaper reported just when I was there last summer. It's against the law now, but people still do it. So when a man dies and is cremated, the widow who does show her faithfulness will join her husband on the funeral pyre and has been, of course, done by force. This is, by the way, one of the subplots of around the world in 80 days, if you know that famous book, because this is how he gets his wife. He rescues her from the funeral pyre. That's called Sakti. It's actually from Sati, the wife of Rama that's rescued through the fire.


What essentially happens is that the Ramayana creates certain archetypal leaders and heroes in Hinduism. So Rama is the greatest example of a hero, especially if you go into any store in Army, almost any store shop in India. It's very, very normal to find on the wall. It's written in Hindi. Easy to look at the it looks like this. They'll say Ram Jairam, they'll talk about victory. The ram is everywhere. It's always present in all the I kind of a currency of the walls and whatever else on busses. You see it everywhere. So Ram is like the perfect hero. Sita is the faithful, loyal, beautiful wife. The faithful wife is always Sita. You'll see them often together in the temples. Rama And to the ultimate couple. And then Hanuman, who helps them in this experience, becomes the faithful, devoted follower. I even noticed on the internet this devotee of Hanuman, who wrote this little poem in worship of Hanuman too for English speaking people. And he said, Hanuman. And it's like when he sings like, you know, h stands for this. You know, a eight is for humility. A is for admiration in for nobility, you for understanding or knowledge. M For mastery over ego. A For achievements and for this karma, karma that means selflessness. And he use the letters of Hanuman to, to, you know, a little poem of devotion. Very, very popular thing. So in the end, I confess, you'll often will see a God again. Here's the arrow. Another classic way of identifying. It's Rama and this is Seta. The only major other pair you'll see together is Krishna and Radha. And so there's one of the ways of to determine is this. Christian and right. Ours is Rama and Seta is the arrow, but by virtue of being with her is a dead giveaway that this is Rama never by herself.


She is rarely by herself. Very rarely. The other figure is, Well, here's another Rama and Sita again. You have the the bow. There's many ways that you would know this is not Krishna and. Right. Reinhart Even though you might immediately say, Oh yeah, this is it because it's blue. Christian is often blue, but there's things that are missing in the picture. So the bow gives the way. This is Rama, and this is a very different kind of picture. This is from an epic. So this is had other things there but you can see some parallel between the two. Hahnemann is very easy to recognize because he has a monkey's face. That's the number one way the ram is often there because he, of course, was part of the Ramayana epic. So the number one way to recognize Hanuman and the only dead giveaway is he always has a monkey face because he is the monkey God. He is a monkey. Just look for that. This mountain. Another dead giveaway because Hanuman regularly appears with the mountain because that's part of the epic in the epic. He carries a mountain to Sri Lanka. The maze once again represents power. We saw that was already could be present with several other iconography. But the mountain, I think, and the monkey face are such obvious things you will have no problem identifying Hanuman. Here's one that brings them all together. This is oh, this is another really famous one. You see this all over India in statues and in all the temples, you'll see the face. You immediately recognize it's Hanuman who's inside Honeymoon's heart. Who would it be? Romance, of course. The very fact that you have his heart opened up. And then you find this all over India.


There's this God big, big statue there ripping his heart open. And sometimes you just have his heart ripped open sometimes. And more typically, you have painted inside the open chest cavity. A picture romance is very, very typical. Very, very typical. That's another dead giveaway that that's Hanuman. And of course, inside would always be Rama and Sita. No one would ever. It'll be impossible that to be Christian. And Radha is Christian, right? Will would never be found inside of Hanuman chest. It's always goes back to that epic. So if I were to ask you, who is that inside the heart of Hanuman, you would be making a poor guess if you said Krishna and Radha, even though it's a lovely couple, you see the blue, the beautiful, you know, the nose ring, you know, you know, it's great to be a part of a culture where you can wear a ring that connects your ear with your nose. That's a great thing. But we don't have that in our culture. But if any of you want to start that tradition, it's a great thing. Here's another iconography of Rama again, the blue color Sita, the devoted wife. The main way that you know that this is Rama and Sita, the way you would absolutely know is because of the bowing punishment at the feet of Rama. He has a large bow in his hand. He has the arrows there. So a lot of classic kind of rama stuff. But if you saw Ignatius his feet, that's a dead giveaway. This is Roman Sita because this is the epic. The epic is about his rescue of her to the help of Hanuman. So she represents the ideal wife. He represents the ideal hero. He represents the ideal devotee, one who perfectly adores and worships.


This figure here is a figure we have not is called Lakshman. This is a rama's brother. It is part of the epic, but for our purposes it's not. We're not going to be talking about Laxman. Here's another icon is the same figures that you had before. You have Rama Sita, Hanuman, the brother. How do you know it's Rama Eros You know it's Rama. And this is a dead giveaway because there you have Ganesh there. I mean, Hanuman, try to tell you that the wife of Bishnu is Lakshmi. This is one that always is a dead giveaway. You can definitely and quickly identify Lakshmi. Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth I mentioned. I think I remember Brahma cohort, Sarasvati, the goddess of learning. I mentioned my father in schools like. Is the goddess of wealth because she's the goddess of wealth. She's found in a lot of places because people hope that by worshiping her, they might gain wealth. Everybody likes to have money. So Vishnu represents kind of all that is male about God. Lakshmi represents all that's female. She is always painted in ways that, at least to the Indian eye, are beautiful. She has long hair. She has the bindi on her head. She has on her forehead. She has all kinds of shape and all. She's wearing beautiful clothes. She's always pictured in just radiant beauty. But there are really more important things because many of the ladies are viewed as beautiful. But what's more important that there are certain things that are always giveaways. And this this one has has them all. The lotus flower. Now we mentioned already the lotus flower is important, but in the case of Lakshmi, she is almost always seen standing on a lotus flower. That's a sure sign.


The other and even more important, I think in terms of like common depictions is she has coins flowing out of her hand. Sometimes they just come out of her hand. So they come out of a vessel like this. The coin obviously represents wealth. So the coins flowing from Lakshmi is a dead giveaway. This is Lakshmi, absolutely dead giveaway. So I would say look for the coins. I mean, you obviously have things like the desk, okay. But you're not going to be fooled by the desk and say, okay, wow. Ha, You know, this is around. No, this is this is definitely this says Debbie. This is this is saying that she's a goddess in Hindi or Sanskrit as well. Another thing that you'll notice a lot about the because it has forearms, you recognize it's a goddess. It's not just an Indian woman, but the elephants. The elephants are also frequently found in the Lakshmi pictures. This one doesn't actually show the way. It's usually done the way it's often done in the ones I've seen in India that have the elephants. Usually the elephants are spraying her with water, representing her. You know, she's refreshing, she's clean, She's, you know, so the elephants are giving her showers. So you often see water pouring out, you know, over her or Debbie spraying water. I don't think that spraying. I think it's just decorations. But maybe that's water spray now. I don't know. See the light coming from her? That's very typical as well. The main thing or the coins, the lotus, I would say coins is number one thing. You'll notice the lotus is probably the number two thing you'll notice. And then the elephants are frequently there, though only it's not here. That you may find.


Is that her mount? They all have mounts is an owl. And I'm. I'm drawing a blank on the owls name right now. But it's an owl. If you see an owl, that's another dead giveaway. But this particular I kind of have doesn't have the the owl. Another interesting thing is if Lakshmi is shown by herself as in this iconography, she always has forearms, always forearms when sent by herself, if she has shown. Well, here's another iconography of her. You have the forearms, you have the coins, and you have the lotus. So in this case, there are no elephants, but you have the two most dominant ones. So if I show you an icon that has coins and a lotus flower, you should recognize as Lakshmi, goddess of wealth. The Valley is a famous festival in Hinduism. We'll look at the Valley later. Festival of Lights. This is not true in South India, but in north India. During Diwali, they they worship Lakshmi. And so you'll see icons of Lakshmi just everywhere during that month of Diwali that was there a year ago, December during Diwali. And it's also the time when she gets married, which is another reason why, you know, you venerate one of the wives of a god and you also hope for their success and wealth and all that. So you have a strong event. Lakshmi And oh, they believe it's an auspicious time to get married. And the weddings in India are not like it is in the US. We have like a 30 minute affair. This is going all night long, beating the drums, singing. I mean, this goes on all night long. And so I literally just can't sleep at night. I mean, there's just so much noise all night long, like in Kalayaan, where the school is located, just constantly.


If you were to go into a temple and you were to see a picture of Vishnu, which was definitely Vishnu with a woman by his side, it is still almost certainly Lakshmi. So whenever Lakshmi is shown with her husband, she always has two arms. This is taken in isolation, but there's if it's proper iconography, the vision will be right next to her in this in this picture. So if I show you one image that just for Fuji, for information, but if I show you one, it'll be like this again. You have the lotus, this case, those in her hands, the coins are falling out. She's seeing this huge lotus here. And so it has all the kind of classic features of Lakshmi. There's no no reason why you would not recognize the That is Lakshmi. The Lotus represents, as it normally does, the the idea of the world opening up to Moksha. So the idea of the slow opening of the lotus flower represents the slow pathway toward Moksha, ultimately leading to to a liberation you'll notice sometimes will have her with rather large breast. And one of the reasons for that is in the epic stories about Lakshmi, one of her practices was to collect a thousand flowers every day for Shiva. Yes, Shiva, not not Vishnu. And in the course of doing this, one day she got ready to offer the petals and she found out she had two less than 1000. She'd only collected 198. So she decided that she would cut her breast off both of her breast of an offer her breast as to more flowers, as it were. So she cut her first breast off and the the God was so moved, realizing she was so moved by her obvious act of sacrifice and devotion that he stopped her and he restored her breast into the even more glorious splendor and etc.


You often see her with enlarged breast. I hope I'm not embarrassing you. But sometimes this iconography can be sensual. In fact, when they had a ruin a visit for like six or seven years ago in India developed, they were outlawing pornography. Like in the stalls and all that in this particular style in state by state in India. But this particular region was discussing it and they passed a law in the state legislature against pornography. But as a rider to the thing, they had to exempt all Hindu temples, which says a lot about the nature of a Hindu temple because there's so much porn. I mean, essentially it's not pornography. Maybe the way we would think of it in terms of like high gloss, whatever. But there's so much of sexual imagery that is in the iconography, not the ones that we're showing you, but I'm saying a lot of the lesser gods and goddesses that are outside this kind of major 12 can be extremely erotic. That comes out the lotus, the owl, the coins. Those are the main things to note. Okay. Krishna is the eighth avatar of Vishnu Major figure in the Mahabharata. The other. Great. There's two great epics in Indian history. We'll look at both of these. Ramayana means the epic of Rama. The Mahabharata is the great Mohammed's great body. Art is the word for India. This is the great story of India, and it's in the Mahabharata that Krishna plays a major role. He appears as the prince of a particular tribe and is the friend and counselor of the princess of another tribe. And one of the great climaxes of the Mahabharata is the particular poetical section of the Bhagavad Gita. The song is the longest pole in the world.


Look at it in more detail. But in that poem Krishna comes down and counsels Arjuna, and in the process you have all of the epic literature that comes out, which creates, again, new philosophical possibilities in the Bhagavad Gita based on the Geeta. The modern day is Khan. I hope we have time in this class to look at Is Khan in our society of Christian consciousness, the is Khan people believe that Krishna is the personal name for Brahman in ultimate near goona Brahman. They don't accept this no good at conception. They believe that Krishna is the highest, highest expression of God at the highest level. So it kind of shakes up the applecart on a lot of things. We'll have to come to that more later. But there's two things that you will you'll learn about Krishna. One is the flute. If you see a flute, then you know it's Krishna. So look for the flute. The other is look for a cow. In his early life, he was a cow herder. You see him with cows? He's the lover of cows. I would say if it's Christian by himself, you would look for a cow or look for a flute because he uses the flutes in his later life to lure the GOP's the GOP's of the cow herders. These are the young girls that they're going the cows. If you see a figure of a God surrounded by thousands of women, that's also Krishna Krishna surrounded by the Gopi. So that I'll show you one of those here in a little bit. So I would say the cow and the flute are the main things. The blue color is also very, very popular, maybe even just a blue throat. You'll see that's a Krishna thing.


I would say that the blue comes in. The lot of the iconography is it's particularly prominent with Krishna, so that will be a third yet not as decisive a way of recognizing the flute and the cow are the main things. This is an example of Krishna in the GOP's. This is a small number of goatees in this particular painting. Dancing around Krishna Peacock is the bird of India, National Bird of India. So that's kind of an Indian thing. But I had a man who he's the architect for the college in India, and I go to have someone from time to time and he he's a Hindu man, but he's a very friendly guy. We've become friends over the years. And so he invited his house one night. We had supper and at the end of the night he's, Oh, I want to show this new painting I have. I'm so excited about it. So we go into this room of his house and there's this huge picture on the wall. And at first I thought it was was pictures of the cosmos. And I have like a picture of, like, the Milky Way galaxy or something with this big, like, ring around it. I can't close our eyes. No, that's not the cosmos. Those were GOP's. It was like thousands and thousands and thousands of women, little tiny icons of women dancing around Krishna at the center. And it looked like the cosmos is there as of quite an amazing picture showing the transcendental and the at the very practical side of Krishna. They have ways of creating spiritual meaning to all kinds of things. I mean, one of the things that he does with the group is very simple as that. He steals their clothes while they're at the riverside bathing.


So they come around the water, the clothes are gone. So he I think I told the story and so he made them put their hands on their head as a symbol of devotion and then, of course, had to expose themselves, get their clothes back over. They turned this into the highest philosophy. You know, this represents the self and how they completely, you know, gave up all clinging to the self and, you know, all this. They have all these, you know, ways because Krishna was untouched by sensuality. Da da da da da. But it's very sensual in the way it's done. But one of the GOP's is of particular importance, and that is right off. He loves radar. This is a probably a better example of it, because even though I think this is a nice one, it's a beautiful one swinging. But there may be things you're not sure. Maybe that's Rama and Sita. You know, you may not be absolutely clear on that because I don't see a flute there. But here you had the flute. And that would be a dead giveaway for the Krishna and Radha. She's always depicted with him. It's a very only very rarely you see a picture of Radha separately brought up Krishna's wife. Or was he married to someone else? There are multiple layers of Krishna operatic material, and so there's no way. So you have to only answer within a certain tradition. So there are certain traditions that say he was only ever married to Radha, and there's in fact, a cult of that type in India. There's other groups that have all kinds, other wives and stuff as well. Krishna. So the flute, the blue complexion, the GOP's or Radha. And the other way to tell is when Christian is Narada.


The whole development of the the Bhagavad Gita. Because of the importance of the Geeta, you'll see a number of scenes that are very much a part of the Bhagavad Gita scene, especially something like the one on the left, which shows Krishna in a transcendental form. Iconography often refers to transcendental forms showing his greatness and power. And this has all kinds of gods and goddesses are all located in Krishna. The only way to know for sure. That's Krishna. You know how to know it's this. Because that could be other Koranic. Because they all believe their gods are transcendental. But this is a particular part of the Bhagavad Gita, so I think I would recognize it even without it. Because of the way this is done. In certain ways, it's done. I think for your purposes, probably the best way to reckon it is the Chariot, because in the Bhagavad Gita Krishna comes down, this is Krishna here and counsels with Arjuna and whenever you see two people in a chariot, it's always Krishna and Arjuna, virtually always. So therefore at one point he shows an intentional form and Origin is worshiping the form. So there are many iconography of Krishna that are part of the of Geeta, not include a flute, for example, who would never be a flute in this kind of picture. So you have to be able to to think about kind of the early part of Christmas life with the flute and the GOP's and all that. You see the cows and the flutes in the later part of his life, you'll either see a chariot or a conch shell. The conch shell is really important. Does he have one here? I don't see that he has a conch shell here, and this is one in his hand there.


I can't tell. Maybe there he might just be showing him. But you'll see in the other icons. Yeah. Here's a conch shell that definitely tells you it's Krishna, the blue form, the conch shell. You have Krishna giving advice to Arjuna in the Chariot. There's no question. This is those two. It will give you a clear give, give away. I mean, this not only you know, it's Krishna because of the chariot. Two figures. Which one's Krishna? The blue one. Who is that? Arjuna. I told you. Someday you'll see Arjuna with arrows. Okay. That's. That's why I mentioned before Arjuna, because he's a warrior, so he may have arrows, but don't get fooled by that. Obviously, he's not a God. You can tell by looking at the Indians to arms. Doesn't this is just a picture? I got the Internet. But there's no question there's not only the back of, I guess, a particular point in the Geeta. This is the point where Krishna tells him to kill his relatives and he's in all this sorrow about it. How should I kill them? Why should I kill themselves, etc.. So that tells you that it is Krishna. Here you have the transit of forms, another very different kind of picture. But here is Krishna and the chariot. Here's Arjuna worshiping the traditional form of Krishna. So, you know, that's Krishna. This is actually toward the end of the Geeta. When he does decide to fight, he's pulling for his arrow. Christian is guiding the chariot again. The chariot thing is always a give away. You're talking about the Bhagavad Gita, the song say as well the child. Now this is really getting to the popular level of the baby Krishna, and there's a dead giveaway that it is.


I talk about this in my book. I think I do and in passing. But it's a marvelous little story about him as the butter thief. Krishna as the butter thief. Anytime you see a small child with his hand in the butter. You know, it's Krishna and this is put on in popular place in every village in India. Every Indian knows that Krishna is the butter thief. In fact, you've seen him see him with it smeared all over his face. Because he gets in here, the bodies body's on his face. So Krishna comes in and he's this very mischievous little fellow, and he steals butter from his mother's kitchen. And they all they. They turn this into all kinds of meanings and transcendental meanings. And there's this one part of the play where Krishna comes out onto the stage and Krishna will look very like this to the crowd. Of course, it's done many different ways, but this one, the way it's turned, the Christian will say to the crowd, and it's like this the end of the whole play. I'd rather be known as the butter thief than as Brahmin. And that's the end. I mean, this is a really powerful stuff. This is a major popular critique on the whole political thing. I'd rather be known as the butter thief than as Brahmin. It's just really powerful. You have to be there to present it anyway. So if you see a child, God, blue child, especially with a hand in butter, is no question Christian or a child playing the flute. Child surrounded by little cows. Child leading cows. All of those little children. If it's the story with the cow, the flute or the butter, is almost certainly Krishna. Okay. I'm afraid we have to stop and we'll have to move to the civil rights next time.