RELIGION AND ECOLOGY   [Archived Catalog]
2017-2018 Undergraduate Catalog


Minimum Credits: 3
Maximum Credits: 3
The Himalayas have inspired more religious thought, given rise to more forms of religious practice and are more distinctively featured in a spectrum of epic religious literature, than almost any other geographic region in the world, with the possible ' but unlikely `exception of a small parcel of relatively dry hilly ground between Jerusalem and mecca. In any case, Siddhartha Gautham was born and taught in the shadow of the lower Himalayas, where Buddhism emerged in the 4th century BCE. Many specific mountains, lakes and rivers, as well as the broader geography of the Himalayas ' most notably sacred rivers ' define the landscape of Hindu mythology, pilgrimage and ritual. The practice of yoga as a metaphysical philosophy is intimately linked to the idea of mystical Himalayan masters. The Western watershed of the Punjab, including the iponymous five rivers ' Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, RAVI and Sutlej ' is the heartland of Sikh cultural and religious identity. In addition to being a center of medieval Hindu literary learning, Kashmir and the Western Himalayas, extending through the Hindu Kush, have defined routes of exchange, communication, conversion and confrontation between Greeks, Persians, Buddhist monks, and Mongol armies. More recently ' in terms of centuries ' Tibetan Buddhism has emerged out of a history of development in Lhasa ' relocated to McLeod Ganj in the early 1960s '- that combines elements of tantra from the southeastern Brahmaputra region with transmutations of Buddhism that have taken shape in greater china. Although not inspired by the Himalayas per se, Islam in South Asia has been shaped by geography and the environment in specific ways, and the development of a particular interpretation of the Koran in a small center of learning in the town of Deobandi ' close to where the epic battle of the Bhargava Gita is said to have been waged in Kurukshetra ' implicates the geography and geopolitics of the Himalayas in the emergence of reform oriented, Orthodox Islam.
Academic Career: Undergraduate
Course Component: Lecture
Grade Component: LG/SNC Elective Basis

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