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Session One: The Origins and History of the Hindu Religion
In this session we will first look at different views on the origins of the Hindu religion, noting the importance of the Vedas and the significance of the ancient culture of the Indus Valley. We will then explore the way in which the history of India has had an influence on its religious culture, noting in particular the impact of foreign invasions and foreign rule.
Session Two: The Hindu Scriptures
In this second session we will begin by considering where authority lies in establishing Hindu teachings, with particular emphasis on the authority and status of sacred texts. We will then conduct a brief overview of the identity, content and teachings of those scriptures that are accepted and revered by the majority of practising Hindus, noting the role they play in the religious and cultural life of the Hindu community.
Session Three: Hindu Religious Philosophy
Here we will focus on the doctrines espoused within the Hindu religious tradition, noting in particular the varying interpretations of Vedanta. Whilst Shankaracharya teaches the absolute identity of individual soul and the Supreme Brahman, devotional Hinduism maintains a clear distinction between God and humanity, and in this session we will be looking at how it is that a single religious tradition can embrace variant religious doctrines.