This introduction to Hinduism consists of seven sessions delivered on a weekly basis.
Introduction to Hinduism, Session One: Devotion, Worship, and Ritual
In this session we consider how devotional teachings are reflected in ritual and spontaneous worship. We also include a brief discussion of Vedic fire rituals and Hindu temple worship.
Session Two: Knowledge and Yoga
We continue our consideration of Hindu religious practice with a look at how spiritual knowledge is pursued, with an emphasis on yoga exercises.
Session Three: The Caste System
Turning to social Hinduism, we now consider the caste system, and how it is related to Hindu beliefs. We also look at examples of Hindu opposition to caste barriers.
Session Four: Gender Issues
In this session, we consider the role and status of women in Hindu religious teachings as well as marriage and family life.
Session Five: Modern Trends, Part 1
We begin to consider how a number of modern Hindu teachers have sought to reinterpret and reform the tradition. How have they challenged established practices in relation to caste and gender? How do they seek to establish forms of Hinduism appropriate for the modern age.
Session Six: Modern Trends, Part 2
We move into the post-independence (1947) era, considering how Hinduism has been affected by secularism and the pervasive influence of modernity.
Session Seven: Reading Hindu Texts
We conclude by looking at some of the most important Hindu texts, including passages from the Upanishads and Bhagavad-gita, as well as Hindu devotional literature.