D. An Introduction to the Hindu Traditions, Mark McClish, Associate Professor, Religious Studies. Thursdays, 1:00 - 2:30 p.m.
One of the largest and most ancient of all religions, ‘Hinduism’ is better understood as a family of related traditions. Over the last 5000 years, the Hindu traditions of South Asia have developed an astonishing diversity of rituals, beliefs, and spiritual practices and a pantheon of hundreds and thousands of gods and goddesses, from the elephant headed Gaṇeśa to the fierce goddess Kālī and many local deities. This course will examine the breadth of the Hindu traditions as they have developed over time, highlighting the major elements that characterize them collectively, such as ritual sacrifice (yajña), world renunciation (saṃnyāsa), law (dharma), spiritual discipline (yoga), devotion (bhakti), and worship (pūjā). We will pay particular attention to how these traditions have contributed to the development of modern Hinduism. During the course we will explore the great works of Hindu literature, such as the Rāmāyaṇa and the Bhagavad Gītā, as well as other important sources such as art, architecture, anthropology, and film.