Databases that help in the Exploration of Religion:
- Religions database from Infobase is entirely dedicated to the study of religion. Find primary sources such as religious texts, videos of ceremonies, historical timelines, explanations of beliefs, etc. Report any challenges working with this database to the librarian so that she can trouble-shoot the technology issues if you face any– thanks! Changing browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari) often solves the matter. Use MackinVia to access it.
- World History in Context from Gale – access with MackinVia. Do a search for the name of the religion or religious term and see if they have an article that originated in a “Reference” source such as an Encyclopedia. The database also provides current events related to religion in the “News” section.
- JSTOR – for scholarly journals
- Proquest E-Book Central for books Use MackinVia to access it.
- Ebsco Host – click “research databases” when it opens and de-select ERIC and K-8 resources before you enter your search terms. Use Boolean Operators and the database’s filters to narrow your sources if your results overwhelm you.
- Use our “News/Current Events” Research Guide for reputable sources and analysis.
- CFR.org is a web site that analyzes international relations. It has a fantastic primary sources section with speeches by world leaders.
- Lives of Religious Figures: Biography in Context from Gale
Questions scholars ask about Religion: see list
Focus: Hinduism Vocabulary & Concepts:
Gods: Brahman and his aspects: Brahma-the-Creator, Vishnu-the-Preserver, Shiva-the-Destroyer. Others are “Devas” including Ganesh, Lakshmi.
Important figures: Krishna and Rama (both avatars of Vishnu) Sita, Ravana. Asuras are evil beings and rakshasas are demons.
Beliefs: ahimsa, Aum, karma, avatar, incarnation, vedas, samsara, reincarnation, dharma, caste, moksha
Holidays: Divali, Holi Holy Places: Ganges River, Temples and Shrines for Worship
Sacred Texts: The Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata (an epic story), Upanishads (sacred teachings)
Symbols to notice in depictions of gods: Gods are often shown with multiple heads or arms to express their power or their many facets. Vishnu often carries a conch shell, scepter, and rides his vehicle which is the Garuda bird.Shiva is often shown with blue skin; other gods might also be shown with blue skin. Shiva may be shown with many arms, third eye, cobra around neck and in a ring of fire. Evil Ravana will have 9 heads and fangs, Hanuman has a monkey face. Rama has bow and arrow.
Possible Questions to explore:
- If you look up a listing the “avatars of Vishnu,” how does it provide a more vivid understanding of the sorts of stories that are in Hindu mythology?
- How might a belief in ahimsa affect how Hindus behave on a daily basis and conduct their daily activities like eating, work, etc.?
- The Ramayana tells an epic story of Rama’s quest to find his wife who has been kidnapped and held in captivity by an evil demon (Ravana.) During that quest, Rama displays certain qualities that make him a “model’ for all men. Sita, his wife, is often held up as an ideal wife/woman. What qualities did each possess and how were they demonstrated in the epic? How might this tale uphold the values and traditions in society and are they all “good” in modern terms?
- People have claimed that the teachings of Hinduism enable its followers to tolerate other religions relatively easily… and that might explain how other religions were able to develop in India alongside Hinduism. Can you build an argument with evidence to support that point of view? You might wish to explore the spread of these religions in India: Buddhism, Christianity, Jainism, Sikhism.
- Using at least 5-10 of the above vocabulary terms meaningfully, explain what one would expect to see in the behavior of a person who is trying to live the life of a “good, model Hindu” who demonstrates a commitment to Hindu values and is on the way to achieving moksha.