Sunday, October 3, 2010

What is the good/ the valued?

            India is a pluralist country which means it has many different religions, however, the dominant one is Hinduism. Hinduism teachings consist of reincarnation, samsara, which is the rebirthing of ones soul in different bodies. One can escape this cycle by doing their dharma which is doing one’s sacred duty and doing good deeds. The liberation of rebirth is called moksha. Moksha is the ultimate goal. Hinduism value is one’s dharma that leads one to moksha and can be found throughout its literature, art, and music.
           In the story of The Bhagavad Gita, a warrior named Arjuna is found on the battlefield. Even though Arjuna is in the middle of a battle, the battle actually exists with himself. The god Krishna approaches Arjuna and tells Arjuna that as a warrior it is his duty to fight in battle. This is an example of dharma. Arjuna must accept that he is suppose to fight and by accepting this he will either be born in a higher status or break the cycle and achieve moksha.
               Moksha is also found in Hinduism art, Lord of the Dance also known as Dancing Shiva. Shiva is the god of destruction; in this portayal of him he is in a dance pose and positioned on top of a dwarf in a ring of seperated fires. The ring represents the endless cycle of birth, death, and reincarnation or samsara. One of Shiva’s leg is propped up representing him being ‘‘freed from the circle“. This portrays the acheivement of moksha, however, he is standing upon a dwarf who is stuck inside the circle. The dwarf’s eyes are closed and he looks up at Shiva and smiles representing one of the major limitations of achieving moksha, ignorance. Ignorance of oneself and one’s dharma causes one to remain in the cycle of rebirth.
             Music in Hinduism is used as a way to help one’s practicing meditation. Meditation is a way for those trying to achieve moksha to become closer to god. The most popular form of music in India is the traditional rhythmical ragas. The Rhaga Bhairavi is a soothing piece making it easy for one to meditate. The raga starts off with one musical instrument, perhaps a citar being strummed in a rhythmical fashion. Later in th epiece a second instrument is added along with the strum sounding like a drumming noise. The drum has a constant rhythm that could possibly represent the continous process of reincarnation. Near the end of the raga the citar strums faster and faster which could represent the closer and closer one gets to reaching moksha. At the very end there is a completely different sound that had not been used before in the raga that may express the finale of finally reaching moksha.
              In the Hinduism religion moksha is the most important thing to achieve. Throughout the pieces of The Bhagavad Gita, Lord of the Dance, and the Rhaga Bhairavi moksha is what is valued. Unlike Hinduism, during the Archaic Greece period honor was highly valued because it was the only afterlife other than Hades that the Greeks had hope of. In order to achieve honor they must act couragously like the Kouros sculpture which depicts a young warrior that died in the front line of battle by a god. Through memory and song a person is remembered and honored. While Greeks during the Archaic period were striving to have their name live on in honor after they died, the value and good of life in Hinduism is through the liberation from the cycle life known as moksha.

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