Hindu, vedas, etc

Discussion in 'Hinduism' started by marb, Jun 27, 2007.

  1. marb

    marb New Member

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    Hi.

    I've got some question, and maybe someone could explain please.

    -What is Gaudiya Vaishnavism?
    Is this ISKCON, Hare-Krishna movement? Is this hinduism?

    -How can one find the "picture" of all different schools, traditions, etc. of all different "ways" in India?
    Any list? What are original Vedas, what is added later?..
     
  2. Neemai

    Neemai that's my Boss in the pic

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    Hello Marb,

    this has been my primary area of interest for a few years now so I'll hopefully be able to provide some answers: :)

    Gaudiya Vaishnavism is the name given to Vaishnavas (meaning worshippers of Vishnu) who specifically follow the teachings of a saint called Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who lived in Bengal, India approx 1486-1534. Caitanya began what we now know as the 'Hare Krishna movement' which is the popular name for Gaudiya Vaishnavism.

    Under the leadership of an elderly monk called A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada between 1966-1977 ISKCON became the first Gaudiya Vaishnava movement to experience significant sucess in spreading the teachings of Caitanya Mahaprabhu on an international basis. Caitanya's teachings are based on scriptures of Hinduism such as the Bhagavad-Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, and Vaishnavism itself is classified as one of the main sects of Hinduism in India.

    Hinduism is more like an umbrella term than a definite religion and covers a large variety of different traditions, all of which have their roots (to at least some extent) in the ancient Vedic civilisation of India. This Vedic civilisation produced or recorded the three Vedas which you asked about (Rig Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda). Although there are similarities among the different paths, there are also some quite significant philosophical differences as well. When most people think of Hinduism they probably think of Smartism or monist Advaita philosophy, which is very different to Vaishnavism. Other primary schools include Saivism (worshippers of Shiva) and Shaktism (who focus on worship of Shakti).

    In terms of dating the scriptures, no-one really knows for sure, or if they do then they are unable to provide conclusive evidence enough for everyone to agree. The Rig Veda is commonly given as the oldest text (approx 2000 BC) with the Bhagavad-Gita comming somewhat later (500-50BC) and the Puranas later again. According to traditional sources the Vedas and Puranas were all compiled around 3000 BC by a sage known as Veda-Vyasa, and before this were passed on orally from guru to disciple since antiquity. Modern scholars disagree with this dating, and base the other dates on the writing style and philosophical complexity etc... but without evidence it is impossible to give any kind of conclusive answer and there is constant debate on the subject.

    Hope the above is of some help. Good websites for more info would be adherents.com and vedabase.net. Wikipedia is good for a general overview of Hinduism in particular.

    Hare Krishna

    ... Neemai :)
     
  3. Agnideva

    Agnideva Member

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    Namaste Marb,
    Neemai has already addressed most of the points nicely.

    Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma is the overall term used to describe the various belief systems that arise from two bodies of texts: the Vedas and the Agamas. All of the systems share certain core beliefs, worship methods and rituals, and most importantly none is centered around an individual person (founder) or any central church. All the systems that exist today are theistic, but the philosophies and theologies differ vastly.

    Within Hinduism, we have four primary branches – Saivism, Vaishnavism, Shaktism and Smartaism. The philosophy and theology of Smartaism is most well-known. Vaishnavism is the religion that worships God as Vishnu (Narayana) or Krishna, and Gaudiya Vaishnavism is a branch of Vaishnavism. ISKCON or Hare Krishna movement is the western expression of Gaudiya Vaishnavism. Whether ISKCON is Hinduism or not is for ISKCON to say. The official position, I believe, is that ISKCON is neither Hinduism nor non-Hinduism.

    In addition to the links already recommended to you, you may want to check out this site: What is Hinduism.

    Of the Vedas, there are four – Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharva. The Rigveda is the first text chronologically, and portions of it are found in the others. However, Hindu writings do not begin or end with the Vedas. There are thousands of texts written over many centuries and the writing has never stopped. In Hinduism we don’t have the concept of a one-time or original revelation, but that Dharma continues to evolve and becomes “revealed” with the passage of time.

    OM Shanti,
    A.
     
  4. marb

    marb New Member

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    And i find a page that said:
    I'm interested in Vedas, how is with that?
    Do you know for a original -only one Veda, the Yajur- if i can find it online?
     
  5. Agnideva

    Agnideva Member

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    Namaste Marb,

    Some traditionalists (mostly priests) maintain that the originally there was one Veda, the Yajurveda, which was later divided into four sections. This may be, I am not sure, but no evidence suggests to indicate that there was originally only one book. For all practical purposes, the Rigveda was the original and first Veda because large parts and portions of the Rigveda are found verbatim in all the other three. There in no place where you can read the "original" one, undivided Veda because if it ever did exist, it does not any more. You can check out the English translations of the Vedic Samhitas (hymn collections) on Sacred Texts, which includes translations of the Shukla (white) and Krishna (Black) Yajurveda. In many ways, the Veda makes no sense and is not meant for beginners. The Vedic Samhitas do not elaborate doctrine or theology at first glance, and appear to be rudimentary hymns to various Gods. Part of the reason is the 19th and early 20th century English translators relied heavily on ritualistic interpretations of a 14th century ritualist commentator called Sayana. Philological, philosophical, and yogic interpretations are more popular and prized these days, but those are not available online.

    OM Shanti,
    A.
     
  6. marb

    marb New Member

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    Thanks.


    Lets take Rig-veda for example (this one Rig Veda Index)

    It's made of 10 books (mandalas); there are 1,028 poetic hymns in Rig-veda:

    1. mandala is made of 191 hymns
    2. mandala is made of 43 hymns
    3. mandala is made of 62 hymns
    4. mandala is made of 58 hymns
    5. mandala is made of 87 hymn
    6. mandala is made of 75 hymns
    7. mandala is made of 104 hymns
    8. mandala is made of 103 hymns
    9. mandala is made of 114 hymns
    10. mandala is made of 191 hymns
    _____________________________________

    This Upanishads are:

    1. Aitareya (ṚV Mukhya)
    2. Kauśītāki (ṚV, Samanya)
    3. Nādabindu (ṚV, Yoga)
    4. Ātmabodha (ṚV, Samanya)
    5. Nirvāṇa (ṚV, Sannyasa)
    6. Mudgala (ṚV, Samanya)
    7. Akṣamālika (Mālika) (ṚV, Shaiva)
    8. Tripura (ṚV, Shakta)
    9. Saubhāgya (ṚV, Shakta)
    10. Bahvṛca (ṚV, Shakta)
    _____________________________________

    There are presented The Samhitas and The Upanishads that are part of Rig-veda (correct?).

    Well, i'm interested where/what are
    The Brahmanas and The Aranyakas that are part of Rig-veda?
     
  7. Agnideva

    Agnideva Member

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    Namaste Marb,

    The information you've collated is quite correct. Each Veda is composed of four parts: samhitas (hymn collections), brahmanas (ritual texts), aranyakas ("forest treatises" which deal with theology) and Upanishads (philosophical portions). The four portions are part and parcel of the Veda, and that is what is indicated when one uses the term “Veda” within Hinduism.

    The Rigveda Samhita is a compilation of the hymns of more than 400 Maharishis
    (sages). About 30 of these sages were women. The 1028 hymns (suktas) of the Rigveda Samhita are compiled into 10 books as you noted.

    There are two brahmana books of the Rigveda - the Aitareya Brahmana and the Kaushitaki Brahmana. Each brahmana book has its own associated aranyaka book. So, there are two aranyakas - the Aitareya Aranyaka and the Kaushitaki Aranyaka. Each of the two aranyaka books are associated with an Upanishad, so we have Aitareya Upanishad and Kaushitaki Upanishad.


    The other eight Upanishads in the above list also belong to the Rigveda, but stemmed from various schools of thought that were aligned with the Rigvedic theology. In other words, the other eight Upanishads have no definite branching point from the brahmanas or aranyakas of the Rigveda.

    I hope that helps.

    OM Shanti,
    A.
     
  8. Neemai

    Neemai that's my Boss in the pic

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    Hello Marb,

    there are some 108 Upanishads in total. Other important one's would be the Katha & Kena Upanishads and the Isha Upanishad, or Isopanishad.

    Sri Isopanisad - Isopanishad

    Katha Upanishad - Katha Upanishad

    Kena Upanishad - Kena Upanishad

    Hare Krishna,

    ... Neemai :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2007
  9. marb

    marb New Member

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    Thanks.




    To stay with Rig-veda (this example Rig Veda Index).


    What is meant with-
    ...there were 21 branches (sakhas?) previously (originaly?)...

    In the example, there are 10 mandalas with 1028 hymns (suktas).
    So, what are this branches, sakhas?
     
  10. Agnideva

    Agnideva Member

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    Namaste Marb,

    The term shakha means branch and indicates a recension. In ancient times, the Vedic Samhitas were held, preserved and propagated by extended families of priests. Each extended family had its own recension. The content of the various recensions was not different. However, the order of the written matter, the arrangement of the hymns, and the emphasis on which parts are considered most important was different among them. Many of these recensions have been lost over time. For the Rigveda, there are two surviving recensions: the Shakala and Bashakala. The Aitareya Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanishad comes from the Shakala recension of the Rigveda, while the Kaushitaki Brahmana, Aranyaka and Upanishad comes from the Bashakala recension.

    OM Shanti,
    A.
     

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