Ideas for Your Paper on the Vedas

1.  Choose a Vedic hymn not covered in class, read three translations, and write an analysis of the hymn focusing on its religious and philosophical significance.  Herman will be a good guide.  If you choose a hymn from Doniger's translation and is not found in the Source Book  or Zaehner, then look for other translations in the library.

2. After rereading all of the assigned selections, try to find as many examples of polytheism, henotheism, monotheism, agnosticism, and monism as you can.

3. Read and analyze all the hymns dealing with soma in Doniger, then research the library and web for references to sacred mushroom (the fly acaric, amnita muscaria) and R. Gordon Wasson.

4.  Write a paper on the Vedic goddesses.  The best resource to use is Pinchtman's book The Rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition (chap. 1, on departmental reserve).

5.  Write a paper on the Purusha hymn and its various incarnations, such as the first hymn of the Atharva Veda in the Zaehner trans.  Also see  Spiritual Titanism  for comparisons between Chinese Panku and Purusha (208-211) and for an analysis of the Purusha hymn (104-109).