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India & the Aryans Aryans Invaded South Asia 2000 BCE – 600 BCE Nomadic Pastoral Economy: Cattle were highly prized Principal measure of wealth Became sacred centuries later Military: chariots Contributions of the Aryans… Sanskrit – sacred language

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india the aryans

India & the Aryans

aryans invaded south asia 2000 bce 600 bce
Aryans Invaded South Asia2000 BCE – 600 BCE
  • Nomadic Pastoral Economy:
    • Cattle were highly prized
    • Principal measure of wealth
    • Became sacred centuries later
  • Military: chariots
contributions of the aryans
Contributions of the Aryans…
  • Sanskrit – sacred language
  • Religious oral tradition
    • Extensive collection of poetry & religious stories were memorized
    • Vedas – 1028 hymns to the gods…
vedic period or heroic age 1500 bce 300 bce
Vedic Period or Heroic Age1500 BCE – 300 BCE
  • Tales of war-like society*
    • Aryans clashed w/Dravidians
    • Fought among themselves
    • Led by rajas
  • Recorded by priests after 600 BCE
the four vedas
The Four Vedas
  • Sacred traditions of the Aryan people
    • Rig Veda circa 1200 BCE 1028 hymns
    • Mahabarata
    • Ramayana
  • Caste systemracial and economic system set up by the Aryans to control the social system
  • Dharma which is the code of conduct that is set by the castes
mahabarata written down 400 bce
Mahabarata written down ~400 BCE
  • Long, rambling tale of in-fighting between two branches of royalty
  • Encyclopedia of mythology
  • Religious significance
  • Regarded as a tale of the ideal man and woman
  • Main characters:
    • Prince Rama, wife Sita, demon king of Sri Lanka, & Hanuman
aryan migrations
Aryan Migrations
  • 1000 BCE settled in Ganges valley
  • 750 BCE established city-states
    • Evolved into farmers
    • Developed formal political organization
  • 500 BCE moved into Deccan Plateau
aryans had sharp social divisions
Aryans had sharp social divisions
  • Varna
    • Sanskrit word meaning “color”
      • Wheat colored v. darker skinned
    • Refers to major social classes
    • 4 main varna established by 1000 BCE
hinduism the caste system
Hinduism: The Caste System
  • Brahmin – priests
  • Kshatriya – warriors
  • Vaishya – herdsmen, artisans, merchants
  • Shudras – servants, menial laborers
caste deeply influenced indian society
Caste deeply influenced Indian Society
  • Over time caste became very complex
  • Based on occupation
  • Could accommodate social change
    • Resulting from group achievements
dharma divine law
Dharma: divine law
  • Requires different

Actions from

different individuals.

  • Those high on the

social scale must meet higher expectations.

hinduism the gods
Hinduism: The Gods
  • 3 forms of the Supreme universal soul (god).
    • Brahma the creator
    • Vishnu the preserver
    • Shiva the destroyer
brahma the creator
Brahma the creator
  • Born from the

navel of Vishnu

(heads represent 4 Vedas)

  • Consort of Brahman
  • Goddess of learning
  • Rests on the cosmic sea on a 1,000 headed cobra
  • Image source:

krishna and the peacock
Krishna andthe Peacock




  • Goddess of wealth
  • Consort of Vishnu
  • Source:

  • Shiva’s wife in destructive form
  • Requires human sacrifice
  • God who removes obstacles
  • Most popular god
  • Son of Shiva
hinduism achieve union with the universal spirit
Hinduism: achieve union with the universal spirit
  • First
  • Perform religious duties
    • Prayer
    • Respect Brahmins
    • Pilgrimage to the holy Ganges River.
hinduism 2 nd way to achieve union
Hinduism2nd way to achieve union
  • Live Righteously:
    • Avoid lies and envy
    • Seek knowledge
    • Give charity
    • Practice non-violence
    • Obey laws of caste (dharma)
hinduism reincarnation
Hinduism: Reincarnation
  • The soul or atmanrequires many lifetimes to reach a pure state of reunion with the truth
  • Disregarding Hindu teachings will result in reincarnation in a lower life form.
  • The force of a person’s actions in this life determine his or her place following reincarnation.
hinduism rewarding the holy
Hinduism:Rewarding the holy…
  • Through many reincarnations called

samsarathe soul reaches a state of purity

ending the cycle…moksha

  • This is the final stage of samsara.
  • You have reunited yourself with the final reality of truth.
  • You have reached the state called nirvana.
ii the mauryan empire 321 184 bce
II. The Mauryan Empire (321-184 BCE)
  • Chandragupta drove out the Greek garrisons left by Alexander the Great
  • Highly centralized government was modeled after that of Persia
  • Became a Jain
    • Focused on non-violence sacredness of life (ahimsa)
  • Renounced his title in old age and joined a group of wandering monks
the grandson ashoka s empire
The Grandson…Ashoka’s Empire
  • Emphasized truth, justice, charity, religious tolerance
  • After many wars, he became a devout Buddhist
emperor ashoka
Emperor Ashoka…
  • Implemented principles of ahimsa
    • banned hunting and violent sports activity
    • Ended indentured and forced labor
  • Had contact with Greeks
gupta empire 320 535 c e
Gupta Empire (320-535 C.E.)
  • Golden Age for:
  • Indian Philosophy
  • Science, math, astronomy & religion
  • Trade links with Rome
classical civilization
Classical Civilization…
  • Historians equate Gupta Empire with the Roman Empire & Han dynasty China as a model of classical civilization
gupta mathematics
Gupta Mathematics
  • Indian numeral system
  • decimal system, & zero, infinity
  • Arabs adopted these from India
    • Europeans replaced the Roman system with them…
gupta medicine
Gupta Medicine
  • Advanced beyond its time…
    • free hospitals
    • pharmacopoeia
    • caesarean section
    • bone setting
    • skin grafting
art of the gupta period
Art of the Gupta Period
  • Head of Buddha
  • 6th century CE
  • Musee Guimet, Paris


1.founded by Siddhartha Gautama-vowed to discover the reasons for human suffering. He wandered in India for 6 years seeking wisdom or enlightenment. He tried many different “paths” including eating just six grains of rice a day. If he was poked in his stomach his backbone could be felt. He came close to starvation.

  • Suffering is caused by desire.
  • Desire can be eliminated by following the Middle Path.
    • Righteous living
    • Renouncing materialism
    • Controlling emotions
four noble truths
Four Noble Truths
  • 1. Life is suffering.
  • 2. Suffering has a cause: cravings and attachments.
  • 3. Cravings and attachments can be overcome.
  • 4. The path toward the cessation of craving and attachment is an Eight Fold Path.
eight fold path
Eight Fold Path
  • Right understanding
  • Right purpose
  • Right speech
  • Right conduct
  • Right livelihood
  • Right effort
  • Right alertness
  • Right concentration
  • Siddhartha Guatama, founder
  • Considered a philosophy
  • No individual soul
  • Rejected the caste system
  • Physical surroundings are illusion
basic buddhist concepts
Basic Buddhist concepts
  • Not to kill
  • Not to steal
  • Not to act in an unchaste manner
  • Not to speak falsely
  • Not to take intoxicants
buddhism spread
Buddhism spread
  • Devotees exported the religion to China, SE Asia, Japan and other nations
  • Rarely found in modern India
thervada buddhism
Thervada Buddhism

One of 18 schools of Buddhism

  • Reach Nirvana alone
  • Withdrawal from the world
  • Stay close to Pali language original teachings / Tripitak
bikkhu name for nun or monk
Bikkhu - name for nun or monk

Property allowed to a Buddhist monk

  • robe – 3 pieces of cloth
  • alms bowl & cover (plate)
  • rope to be used for a belt
  • water strainer
  • razor
  • needle
monks vow
Monks vow:
  • Not to eat at time not appointed
  • Not to view entertainment deemed as secular…dancing or singing
  • Not to wear perfumes or bodily ornamentation
  • Not to sleep in beds that are too high or too wide
  • Not to accept money
  • Not to live in a luxurious way
  • Buddha reaches toward the Earth asking it to witness his goodness while in a meditating posture
mahayana buddhism
Mahayana Buddhism
  • In Sanskrit & other languages
  • Accepting of change
  • Believers reach Nirvana by working together
  • Bodhisattvas (enlightened Buddha's) return to the world to help others attain Nirvana