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A good introduction to the origins and development of Hinduism. A valuable counterpoint to the presentation of Hinduism by many western thinkers, who stress its transcendent or higher spiritual qualities without looking at more problematic areas such as caste or sex relations. A little short compared to some of the other great courses.
I have started to read a summary of the Mahabharata, one of the Hindu faith’s sacred scriptures and the longest human epic ever written. When I came across the concept of ‘purushartha’ (the goal of human existence) that consists out of ‘dharma’ (conduct within society), artha (economic actions), kama (pursuit of pleasure) and moksha (spiritual activities), I knew I was in trouble. My previous formal study in the phenomenology of Religions just weren’t enough to give me an understanding of the great epic.
I discovered the Great Courses twelve lecture course by Prof. Mark W Muesse on Audible and decided to try it out. I am glad that I did!
In a mere twelve lectures Prof. Muesse takes the listener through the family of Indian faiths commonly called Hinduism. He starts of placing Hinduism within an historical context from which he introduces concepts and ideas that entered these religions piece by piece, almost like building a puzzle.
I founded his lectures on the Vedas, the oldest holy writ of the religion very insightful. The fact that there was an unknown civilisation discovered in the Indus valley with a yet undeciphered written language is intriguing. It was also interesting to hear resonances of Ancient Biblical family practises in his lecture ‘Men, Women, and the stages of life.’ I found the way a woman was always connected to a man through the various stages of life very interesting. Even the idea that most arranged marriages seems to be happier and less prone to producing divorcees than so-called love marriages. I wish there were a PDF of depictions of the Hindu gods that could be used with the lecture ‘Seeing God.”
However, Prof. Muesse opened the world of Hinduism to me with a clear and interesting presentation. It was easy to follow in very informative. I can heartily propose this course to anyone interested in Hinduism.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
I love India and Bollywood movies and have been fascinated by the temples and rituals I witnessed in my trips there. But I knew almost nothing about Hinduism. What I could see confused me. The religion seemed whimsical and imaginative, but I was sure I was misinterpreting what it was about. This series of lectures set me straight.
Dr. Muesse's lectures are informative, and he makes Hinduism's concepts and beliefs comprehensible to my Western, linear mind. Starting with the origin of Hinduism, he traces its evolution through the millennia until modern times. This might sound funny, but now I understand much better the plots and characters' motivations in Bollywood musicals.
The professor's delivery is pleasant to listen to. He has a slight Southern (US) accent and an earnestness that I enjoyed. Without reservation I recommend this college course.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful