Paper assignment

Choose ONE of the following three topics and write a 5-page paper composed of two sections. In the first 3-4 pages, address the topic using the readings and material that we have covered in class. In the final 1-2 pages, draw on your life experience (including, if relevant, your practice of hatha yoga) to articulate your own understanding of the teachings that you are discussing.

Your paper should be double-spaced with one-inch margins and printed in a 12-point font. Please observe the academic convention of documenting your quotes and sources in footnotes. You may use additional resources beyond those assigned in class, but it is not necessary to do so.

Download a copy of the paper assignment for your notebook.

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In Journey Through the Twelve Forests, David Haberman writes:

With Vaishnava bhakti we have entered a realm where matter matters, and the senses make sense… Here desire itself is relished… It is into this kind of desire that the pilgrim must enter.

In your paper, compare and contrast this statement about the role of the senses and the material world in bhakti with teachings on the senses and materiality in Samkhya and the Yoga Sutras.

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In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna makes the following statements:

4:25    Some men of discipline offer sacrifice to the gods

            Others offer sacrifice in the fire of Brahman…

4:29    Some offer inhalation into exhalation and exhalation into inhalation

            Intent on the control of the vital breath…

18:57  Mentally renouncing all actions in Me, devoted to Me as the Supreme,

            Taking refuge in the yoga of discrimination, constantly think of Me.

In your paper, use these quotes to discuss how concepts and practices of sacrificial offering changed over time in the Indian traditions.

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In her article on dharma, Sally Kempton quotes the Yajnavalkya Samhita:

This is the highest dharma: the realization of the Self by means of yoga.

In class we have discussed the tension between dharma and moksha. In your paper, discuss how this tension plays out in the Indian traditions, as well as how this particular scripture attempts to resolve it.

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