This exercise requires extensive preparation from participants as well as class time to discuss. If you are unable to find a guest speaker, this may be a good alternate exercise. Although it is designed for the Hinduism module, you could substitute other readings to discuss during other modules.
Listen to a reading of the Hindu scriptures (one suggestion: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 1, Verse 1 from the International Gita Society; note that the Gita is separate from the Vedas)
Hindus revere the sounds of Vedic scriptures in the original Sanskrit, and they were originally transmitted orally. Even today, some worshippers spend years learning to properly recite these scriptures.
How does reciting and listening to sacred scripture differ from silently reading it?
If you read different translations of some of the chapters, what did you find?
Like Hinduism, many world religions, such as Judaism and Islam, place a high value on hearing or reading their sacred scriptures in their original language; translations and “sermons” in one’s native language are available, but adherents are encouraged to listen and recite in the original language, even if they do not understand the language.
How can listening to sacred texts be meaningful when you do not know the language?
What are the advantages and disadvantages to using the original language?
Compare Protestant Christianity, which prioritizes making scripture available in the common language, to Catholicism, which until recently held Mass in Latin (not, incidentally, the original language of either the Old or New Testament).
How does the experience of Christianity compare with Hinduism and other religions?