Category Archives: Geography of Religion

Geography of Religion Wk 4

The Hindu Way of Life

According to the Vedas, life began as a great cosmic sacrifice. The sacrifice of the creator god Purusha created the world as we know it. His eye: the sun. His mind: the moon. And so forth. According to Holy Scripture, humans are born into one of four classes, each represented by some part of Purusha. The highest class (varna) is the Brahmans or priests and came from the creator god’s mouth. The next highest is the Kshatriyas, those men born to be warriors or nobility, and were created from his arms. The third class is the most populated and made up of farmers, merchants, and craftsmen and were crafted from his thighs. The last came from his feet; the Sudra, slaves and serfs. Women’s role in this group tended to assume the status of their husbands or fathers. Continue reading

Geography of Religion Wk 3

Hinduism’s Holy Books

The Vedas–Ancient Holy books of the Hindus–reveal eternal truths and wisdom, and are believed to have existed eternally. (They date back to 1200 B.C.) Altogether there are 4 Vedas. 2 are collections of laudatory hymns ( Rig Veda and Sama Veda) while one is a manual for performing rituals (Yajur Veda) and one is filled with prayers and charms for health and fortune (Atharva Veda.) Several deities are recognized, such as Varuna, Indra, Rudra, Vishnu, and Agni. The gods and goddesses of the Vedic universe are associated with specific aspects of the natural world, such as the rivers of India, which are all represented by a different goddess. Offerings to these gods and goddesses of things such as plants and sacrificed animals, are burned by Vedic priests according to precise instructions in the Yajur Veda in return for “peacetime harvests and wartime victories.” Continue reading

Geography of Religion Wk 1&2

ORIGINS

Humans have always known there was a force greater than them in the universe since the beginning of time. We respond to this knowledge by worship, attempts to gain understanding, or the realization that we cannot in fact truly understand. Dreams have always brought us closer to our beliefs and inspire us to ask some of the oldest questions: Who am I? Why am I here? Every culture has a different answer. There are other unanswerable questions as well. Humans have always seen the power of the ocean or a storm or the birth of a human and wondered “if something was powerful enough to create all of this, is there some way for me to also control this much power?” The idea of a higher being has also been used to enforce laws and ways of living together in harmony since the very beginning of civilization. Punishment or rewards after death for living a certain lifestyle are a powerful motivator in all cultures to obey the rules and stay in line. Evidence shows that even people as ancient as the Neanderthals may have placed special items in the graves of their loved ones to accompany them to the afterlife. While there will never be a way to prove or disprove the existence of any God(s) there is no denying that ancient civilizations┬áhave depended on their beliefs to grow and prosper, and without the confidence that there is someone higher up than us, we would not be where we are in the world today.

GODS IN THE PHYSICAL WORLD

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