Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 10

Search results for: divinity

10 Calling Persons with Disability as Divine: Exploring and Critiquing Meanings of Divyang (The One with a Divine Limb) in the Indian Context

Authors: Vinay Suhalka

Abstract:

In India, the official nomenclature used by the State for persons with disability is divyang (literally, the one with a divine limb), a word coming from the Sanskrit language. Disability thus gets portrayed as divine, at least in the welfare sector from where it flows down even to the popular imagination where it gets equated to divinity. This paper looks at reference to persons with disabilities as divyangs and goes on to discusses what such usage for an already marginalized group achieves and misses out. The issue of nomenclature and language has always been a contested one when it comes to disability. At the same time, there is also an issue of who determines these labels for the persons with disability. Nomenclature and language used for disability can have real consequences for the population of persons with disability as it may empower or disempower them. Thus, this paper looks at the issue of what it means for persons with disabilities as ‘exceptionally gifted’ and hence divyang. Language can be a powerful tool to communicate meanings and messages associated with a term. When the persons with disabilities as a group are described as ‘exceptionally gifted, talented and the source of inspiration’, it essentially stereotypes and marginalizes them by putting a burden of performance that all of them ought to be achievers, and it is only then that they would be assimilated in the larger society. This paper also argues that such a situation creates a ‘double bind’ where the person is always trying to match up to the labels (the disabled as ‘achiever, overcomer, inspirational’) created by somebody else and looks at self through the eyes of others. This conceptual paper also presents an overview of disability labels while simultaneously looking at projecting disability as divinity which has the potential to wrongly portray the lives of persons with disability in India due to the official usage of the term. It also explores the question of visibility of disability since the idea of divyang implicitly assumes that all disabilities are visible. In reality, however, it may not be the case simply because all forms of disabilities are not visible, people may choose not to visibilize their disabilities if they can and pass as able-bodied, fearing the stigma that surrounds disability. Finally, it argues for an increased focus on understanding the everyday lived realities of those with disability in order to regard it as an important form of difference which could be a potential resource for the society.

Keywords: persons with disability, labels, language use, divinity

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9 Representation of Master–Disciple Relationship in Rumi’s Poems: Spirituality Vis-A-Vis Collective Consciousness

Authors: Nodi Islam

Abstract:

This paper critically reads Rumi’s poems in The Masnavi (Book One) and the philosophy of master-disciple relationship, as reflected as a medium to attain the higher consciousness in the poems which is considered as spiritual by the Sufi practitioners. This paper further applies the concept of collective consciousness introduced by Durkheim, which stands for a set of beliefs, ideas, moral attitudes that operate as a unifying force in a certain society, in reading Rumi’s poems. According to Sufi philosophy, in order to reach to the beloved who is the Higher Being, a lover has to be a disciple of a master and dedicate himself completely even if it means to give up the earthly desires. When the process is completed, he achieves the divinity which is the utmost happiness to be one with the beloved. As this process is considered spiritual by the Sufi practitioners, this paper suggests that, apart from being spiritual, this is a reflection of collective consciousness also. This process plays a part to construct the collectivity as a means to create masters and disciples. Collective consciousness operates in this particular belief system of Sufis who tend to follow this phenomenon as a rule of obedience and accepts the rule because this is how their particular community proceeds on. This paper offers a view of Rumi’s poems which reflect such relationship and tends to offer a general discussion on the hegemonic approach of the Sufi society especially of the Mevlevi order. Finally, this paper offers a constructive representation of Mevlevi society based upon the idea of spirituality which could be an outcome of psychological and social issues and practices.

Keywords: collective consciousness, divinity, master-disciple relationship, Mevlevi order

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8 Modernist Trends in Ilahiyat Faculties (Islamic Studies Faculties) Turkey, Post-Coup 1980

Authors: Muhammad Hamza Tariq

Abstract:

The regrouping of the Islamists and the politics of religious education was the most common debate in the last decades of Turkish history. Religious schools were criticized to be influenced by partisan politics. Within this turmoil, the faculty of Ilahiyat which was established by the Republic to cherish Islamic modernism and to raise modern clergy also underwent a considerable change. This research studies the revisions in the curriculum of the faculty over the last few decades. A series of interviews were also conducted to observe the prevalent trends, especially modernist among the professors at the Ilahiyat faculties. Lastly, a survey was done among the freshman and final year students based on the similar questions to observe the changes of opinions with regards to their views on Islam, modernity, political Islam, interpretation, etc. A shift in the curriculum was noted though it cannot be overgeneralized whereas a degree of prevalence of modernist thoughts was also recorded among the teachers and the students.

Keywords: ilahiyat, divinity, religion, Islamization

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7 Challenges of Integrating Islamic Education with Contemporary Secular System in Igaland, Kogi State Of Nigeria

Authors: Yunusa Odiba

Abstract:

Islam, from its root is a divine religion and it does not exercise anything except within the scope of its divinity-its culture, tradition morality, and the like. The damage done to the legacies, traditions, culture, morality, viability, continued existence and relevance of the Islamic religious way of life by the prevalent western secular education system in the Muslim world has become a thing of interest to many scholars especially, the Muslim scholars, hence, advocating the integration of Islamic education with the western circular educational system. The aim is to produce a new generation of dedicated Muslims whose education has prepared them for the challenges of contemporary materialistic circulation alongside real Islamic knowledge. This paper, however, examines the process of integrating Islamic schools with the contemporary western based schools that would under-take the unification which should function as basic organ of Muslim ideological revivalism, cultural retention, identity formation, socio-economic development, and scientific and ecological inventiveness.

Keywords: challenges, integrating, Islamic education, secular system, Igalaland

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6 Between Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Dying Infidel

Authors: Michael Keller

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Beyond the heterodoxy expressed in his now-famous 1838 address to the Harvard Divinity School, Emerson’s timing was particularly dangerous. Ideologically, New England faced a severe crisis of identity, as traditional categories of class and religion were growing increasingly unstable. Jones Very, influenced by Emerson, crossed the perceived border between acceptable religious zeal and insane enthusiasm. Abner Kneeland, on the other hand, crossed the uncomfortable border between post-Puritan Unitarian rationalism and blasphemous Enlightenment skepticism. More importantly, Kneeland oversaw a more overtly subversive brand of resistance (in the form of freethought periodicals) that not only threatened religious orthodoxy but also threatened to destabilize the class structure of New England. Very and Kneeland provide instructive case studies of how religious ideologies could run afoul of the social contract and the law itself. By looking closely at the social and religious forces that led to Kneeland’s prosecution for blasphemy, Jones Very’s forced committal to McLean Asylum, and Emerson’s escape from these fates, we gain a greater understanding of the shifting cultural landscape of 1830s New England. This paper will examine Emerson’s resistance to the traditional forces of class and ideology in Massachusetts by situating his early work in the context of the ideological battles of his time. More specifically, I will explore how Emerson was able to resist the conservative cultural forces of his time without experiencing the extremity of their wrath.

Keywords: American literature, cultural studies, emerson, religious studies

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5 From Lack of Humanity to Self-Consciousness and Vision in Lord of the Flies and Blindness

Authors: Maryam Sadeghi

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Civilization and industrialization are two important factors that make people believe they are just depriving of savagery and brutality. But practical studies show exactly something different. How groups of people behave, when they are put in extreme situations is the very unpleasant truth about the human being in general. Both novels deal with the fragility of human society, no matter the people who are playing a role are children or grown-ups, who by definition should know better. Both novels have got beautiful plots in which no one enforces rules and laws on the characters, so they begin to show their true nature. The present study is undertaken to investigate the process of a journey from lack of humanity to a sort of self-consciousness which happens at the end of both Blindness by Saramago and Lord of the Flies by Golding. In order to get the best result the two novels have been studied precisely and lots of different articles and critical essays have been analyzed, which shows people drift into cruelty and savagery easily but can also drift out of it. In blindness losing sight, and being apart from society in a deserted tropical island in Lord of the Flies causes limitation. Limitation in any form makes people rebel. Although in the process of both novels, any kind of savagery, brutality, filth, and social collapse can be observable and both writers believe that human being has the potential of being animal images, but they both also want to show that the very nature of human being is divine. Children’s weeping at the end Lord of the Flies and Doctor’s remark at the end of Blindness “I don’t think we did go blind, I think we are blind, blind but seeing, blind people who can see but do not see”, show exactly the matter of insight at the end of the novels. The fact that divinity exists in the very nature of human being is the indubitable aim that makes this research truly valuable.

Keywords: brutality, lack of humanity, savagery, Blindness

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4 Philosophy, Geometry, and Purpose in Islamic and Gothic Architecture as Two Religious-Based Styles

Authors: P. Nafisi Poor, P. Javid

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Religion and divinity have always held important meaning to humans, and therefore it affects different aspects of life including art and architecture. Numerous works of art are related to religion whether supporting or denying it. Religion and religious scholars have influenced and changed art throughout history. This paper focuses on Islam and Christianity because these two religions have been the most discussed and most popular of all time, starting from the birth of Jesus to the arrival of Mohammad. Based on this popularity, these religions have influenced the arts and especially architecture. Islam on one hand changed Iranian and Arabian architecture and they applied it in different places around the world. From the appearance of Islam at 622 AD to this day, Islamic architecture has been evolving; however, one of the most important periods for this style was between 1501 AD and 1736 AD in Iran. Christianity, on the other hand, changed European architecture especially between 1150 AD and 1450 AD or the so-called "Gothic" era, which begins at medieval time and reaches its peak at International Gothic ages. At both of these periods, designing buildings based on spiritual concepts and divine statements reached its peak, and architects were considering God and religion as their center of attention. This article studies the focus on the religions of Islam and Christianity in terms of architecture and presents a general philosophy of both styles to comprehend the idea behind each one, followed by an analysis of their geometry and architectural aspects derived from the best examples, all to understand the purpose of each style and to realize, which one was more successful in reaching their purpose. Subsequently, a comprehensive review of each building is provided including 3D visualizations to help achieve the goal of the article. These studies can support diverse inquiries about both Islamic and Gothic architecture and can be used as a resource to support studies and research towards designing based on religion or for divine purposes.

Keywords: architecture, Gothic, Islamic, religion

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3 The Nimbārka School of Vedānta and the Indian Classical Dance: The Philosophical Relevance through Rasa Theory

Authors: Shubham Arora

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This paper illustrates a relationship between the Dvaitādvaita (dualistic non-dualistic) doctrine of Nimbārka school of Vedānta and philosophy of Indian classical dance, through the Rasa theory. There would be a separate focus on the philosophies of both the disciplines and then analyzing Rasa theory as a connexion between them. The paper presents ideas regarding the similarity between the Brahman and the dancer, manifestation of enacting character and the Jīva (soul), the existence of the phenomenal world and the imaginary world classification of rasa on the basis of three modes of nature, and the feelings and expressions depicting the Dvaita and Advaita. The reason behind choosing such a topic is an intention to explore the relativity of the Vedantic philosophy of this school in real manner. It is really important to study the practical implications and relevance of the doctrine with other disciplines for perceiving it cogently. In our daily lives, we use various forms of facial expressions and bodily gestures in order to communicate, along with the oral and written means of communication. What if, when gestures and expressions mingle with the music beats, in order to present an idea? Indian Classical dance is highly rich in expressing the emotions using extraordinary expressions, unconventional bodily gestures and mesmerizing music beats. Ancient scriptures like Nāṭyaśāstra of Bharata Muni and Abhinava Bhārati by Abhinavaguptā recount aesthetics in a well-defined and structured way of acting and dancing and also reveal the grammar of rasa theory. Indian Classical dance is not only for entertainment but it is deeply in contact with divinity. During the period of Bhakti movement in India, this art form was used as a means to narrate the vignettes from epics like Rāmāyana and Mahābhārata and Purānas. Even in present era, this art has a deep rooted philosophy within.

Keywords: Advaita, Brahman, Dvaita, Jiva, Nimbarka, Rasa, Vedanta

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2 Defining the Vibrancy of the Temple Square: A Case of Car Street Udupi, Karnataka

Authors: Nivedhitha Venkatakrishnan

Abstract:

Walking down busy temple streets in India is an experience in lifetime. Especially the temple streets are one of the most energetic places not only because of the divinity but also because of the streets itself which provides place for people to relax, meet, shop, linger, just walk around these activities create a set of experience which results in memories that lasts longer. Thinking of any temple street in India the image that comes to anyone’s mind are the elegantly sculpted Gopurams (Gateway) that depicts the craftsmanship and the history of the place, people taking a holy dip in the water, the aroma of the agarbathi’s, flowers with the divine Vedic chants and the sound of the temple bell flock of pigeons flying from the niches of the Gopuram with the sun in the backdrop. It gives a feeling of impulse energy that brings in life to these streets. Any temple street with even any one factor missing would look dead. This will be amiss in the essence in the scene of one’s experiences. These Temple Streets traditionally cater not only for religious purpose but to a wide range of activities. A vibrant street that facilitates such activities are preferred by the public any day. The research seeks to understand and find out the definition of Vibrancy in Indian Context. What is Vibrancy? What brings in the feeling of Vibrancy/Liveliness/Energy? Is it the Built structure and the city? Or is it the people? Or is it the Activity? Or is it Built structure – city – People – Activity put together brings the sense of Vibrancy to a place? How to define Vibrancy? Is it measurable? For which a case of Car Street Udupi, Karnataka is taken. The research is carried out in two stages. ‘Stage One’ makes use of ethnographic fieldwork as a basic method, complimented by structured field observations using a behavioral mapping procedure of the streets. Stage Two’ utilizes surveys that collected. This stage seeks to understand what design characteristics and furniture arrangements are associated with stationary, social and gathering activities of people by each cultural group and all groups collectively. The main conclusion from this research is that retail activities remain the main concern of people in cultural streets. Management and higher-level planning of retail activities on the streets could encourage and motivate possible Shops to enrich the trade variety of the street that provides a means for social and cultural diversity. In addition to business activities, spatial design characteristics are found to have an influence on people’s behavior and activity. The findings of this research suggest that retail and business activities, together with the design and skillful management of the public areas, could support a wider range of static and social activities among people of various ethnic backgrounds.

Keywords: activity, liveliness, temple street, vibrancy

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1 The Evolving Changes of Religious Behavior: an Exploratory Study on Guanyin Worship of Contemporary Chinese Societies

Authors: Judith Sue Hwa Joo

Abstract:

Guanyin (Avalokiteśvara in Sanskrit), the Bodhisattva of Mercy and Compassion, is the most widely worshipped Buddhist Divinity in Chinese societies and is also believed by more than half of Asian populations across various countries. The most overwhelming reason for the popularity of Guanyin in Chinese societies is, according to the Lotus Sutra, that Guanyin would apperceive voices of those suffering from immense afflictions and troubles, and liberate them upon crying for his/her holy name with wholeheartedness. Its pervasive social influence has spanned more than two thousand years and is still deeply affecting the lives of most Chinese people. This study aimed to investigate whether Guanyin Worship has evolved and changed in modern Chinese societies across the Taiwan Strait. Taiwan and China, albeit having the same language and culture, have been territorially divided and governed by two different political regimes for over 70 years. It would be scientifically intriguing to unveil any substantial changes in religious behaviors in the context of Guanyin Worship. A comprehensive anonymous questionnaire survey in Chinese communities was conducted from October 2017 to May 2019 across various countries, mostly in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong areas. Since the religious survey is officially prohibited in China, the study was difficult and could only be exercised by means of snowball sampling. Demographic data (age, sex, education, religious belief) were registered and Guanyin’s salvation functions under various confronting situations were investigated. Psychological dimensions of religious belief in Guanyin were probed in terms of the worship experience, the willingness of veneration, and egoistic or altruistic ideations. A literature review on documented functional attributes was carried out in parallel for comparison analyses with traditional roles. Effective 1123 out of 1139 samples were obtained. Statistical analysis revealed that Guanyin Worship is still commonly practiced and deeply rooted in the hearts of all Chinese people regardless of gender, age, education, and residential area, even though they may not enshrine Guanyin at home nowadays. The conventional roles of Guanyin Bodhisattva are still valid and best satisfy the real interests of lifestyles in modern times. When comparing the traditional Buddhist Sutra and the documented literature, the divine power of modern Guanyin has notably empowered to recover, protect and transform fetal and infant spirits due to the sexual liberation, increased abortion rate, gender awakening and enhanced female autonomy in the reproductive decision. However, the One-Child policy may have critically impacted the trajectory of Guanyin Worship so that people in China prevail over those in Taiwan praying for aborted lives or premature deaths. Furthermore, particularly in Hong Kong and Macao, Guanyin not only serves as the sea guardian for the fishermen but also additional services a new function as the God of Wealth. The divine powers and salvation functions of Guanyin are indeed evolving and expanding to comply with the modern psychosocial, cultural and societal needs. This study sheds light on the modernization process of the two-thousand-year-old Guanyin Worship of contemporary Chinese societies.

Keywords: Buddhism, Guanyin, religious behavior, salvation function

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