Please answer one of the three questions below.
A. On p. 49, Prothero explains a famous story from the Upanishads that shows the relationship between Atman and Brahman. The story is summed up by the expression, “Tat tvam asi.” Explain this expression and the relationship between Atman and Brahman. What questions do you have? What difference might it make in someone’s life to believe that Atman is Brahman? What psychological or moral impact might it have? Explain why this is or isn’t an attractive/plausible belief.
B. Prothero tells us that “Today, the bhakti tradition enjoys a near monopoly over ways to be Hindu worldwide” (p. 58). Please identify major themes or characteristics of bhakti Hinduism? What is the bhakti form of Hinduism? What makes bhakti bhakti? Why did it become such a popular form of Hinduism – that is, why has it been so appealing to people?
C. Throughout the semester, if we have the eyes to see it, we can notice ways in which the religious traditions have influenced each other. The world’s religious history has been less a series of distinct communities existing completely apart from each other and more a story of interfaith relations in which religious communities are influenced by, or react to, each other. Describe ways this is seen in the case of Hinduism, especially in “the Modern World” (Prothero pp. 60-63). What have been Hindu responses to its encounter with other religions, especially Islam and Christianity?