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India: Early History and Religious Traditions

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  1. India: Early History and Religious Traditions

  2. What did the early complex societies of India and China share in common?

  3. What are some differences between early Indian and Chinese societies?

  4. India - “gift of the Indus” Northern India: Indus valley Southern India: The Deccan Indo-Gangetic Plain

  5. Geography and India • Semi –isolation: More open to outside influences • Two main areas • Indo –Gangetic Plain – soil most fertile • Deccan Plateau –higher and dryer • Climate: The Monsoon

  6. Monsoons

  7. Major Themes of Indian History • Diversity—Language, Religion, Custom • A “Nation of Shopkeepers” Major success in manufacturing – especially textiles like cotton • Constant invasion! Outsiders attracted by trade and wealth • Not a tradition of political unity like China • “Fabric” of Indian Society woven together with Hinduism and caste • Family, Caste, and Village - Stability

  8. Chronology of Early Indian History • c. 2500 BCE: Indus Valley civilization • c. 1900 BCE: Harappan decline • c. 1500 BCE: Beginning of Aryan migration • 1500-500 BCE: The “Vedic Age” • 520 BCE: Darius of Persia invades India • 327 BCE: Alexander the Great invades India • 321-185 BCE: Mauryan dynasty • 320-550 CE: Gupta dynasty

  9. Harappan Civilization Est. 3000-2500 B.C.E. Two major cities: Harappa & Mohenjo-daro At least 70 other smaller settlements Settled by the Dravidians

  10. Mohenjo-daro in the ancient world

  11. Mohenjo-daro

  12. Other artifacts from Harappan sites The “Dancing Girl” Mohenjo-daro Bronze Priest-king? Mohenjo-daro Sandstone Harappan seals

  13. Mesopotamia Egypt Indus China Mediterranean Central America Fossil Fuel Civ.

  14. Aryan arrival in India: Conquest or Migration? Nomadic Aryans arrived over many centuries Rig Veda describes conflict with indigenous peoples Over time, established agricultural communities, cities, small kingdoms and intermingled with Dravidians

  15. Aryan Migrations: Four Consequences • New Language – Sanskrit • New Religious Ideas – Vedas • New Techniques of Warfare • New Social Organization - Caste

  16. The Indo-European Migrations Aryan migration into Indian sub-continent: 1500 B.C.E. -

  17. How do we know about the Indo-European migrations?

  18. Sanskrit • Aryan writing system brought with them from Indo-European steppe • Oldest living language • Same origins as Greek and Latin • “raja” -> “rex” – king in Latin • “deva” -> “deus” – god in Latin • Unrelated to Dravidian languages

  19. Linguistic evidence of I-E Migrations

  20. Similarities among some Indo-European languages: FATHER: • English  father • German  vater • Spanish  padre • Greek  pater • Latin  pater • Sanscrit  pitar

  21. Alexander the Great invades 327 bce • Invasion of India inspires political unfication • Emergence of the Mauryan Empire • Most Famous Leader-Ashoka “ideal leader”

  22. Mauryan Empire321-185 BCE

  23. Ashoka –268 – 232 BCE • Applied Buddhist principles to government -“Ahimsa”- nonviolence • Built roads, hospitals, rest houses and reduced animal slaughter • Period of great prosperity! • Missionaries

  24. Ashoka’s Rock Pillars

  25. Gupta “Golden Age” 320-550ce

  26. Gupta “Golden Age” Arts and Sciences Fully Developed • Math- zero, “Arabic numerals, infinity” • Hindu classics refined- “Indian Shakespeare”-Kalidasa; Buddism also important • Nalanda University Trade with Southeast Asia-beginning of “Southernization” Peace and Prosperity

  27. 40º North

  28. The “Vedic Age”: 1500-500bce Named for sacred texts, the “Vedas” Period important for: Assimilation of Aryans Emergence of varna distinctions Emergence of Hinduism The Rig Veda in Sanscrit

  29. Caste / Varna System of social distinctions probably created by Aryans Distinctions were based on occupations and roles in society Varna = class or caste Jati = sub-caste

  30. What is Caste? “A caste is a group of families whose members can marry with each other and can eat in each other’s company without believing themselves polluted. . .Each of these has its place in a hierarchy. . .above, or below, or equal to, every one of the others; and in theory everybody knows where each groups comes.” RGH #32, p. 109

  31. Traditional Varnas • Brahmin Priests • Kshatriyas Warriors and aristocrats • Vaishyas Cultivators, artisans, merchants • Shudras Servants ___________________________________ • Outcastes “Untouchables”

  32. Why does caste emerge?“cradle to grave security” Village Caste Family

  33. From the Rig Veda: When they divided Purusha, how many portions did they make? What do they call his mouth, his arms? What do they call his thighs and feet? The BRAHMIN was his mouth, of both his arms was the KSHATRIYA made. His thighs became the VAISHYA, and from his feet the SHUDRA was produced.

  34. Dharma of WomenFrom “Sacred Law of Dharma”100bce-200ce • “Her father protects her in childhood, her husband protects (her) in youth, and her sons protect (her) in older age; a woman is never fit for independence” • “Though destitute of virtue, or seeking pleasure (elsewhere), or devoid of good qualities, (yet) a husband must be constantly worshipped as a god by a faithful wife.”

  35. Varna ISN’T: Class Color Aryan vs. non-Aryan Occupation- Varna IS: “A group of families whose members can marry each other and can eat in each other’s company without believing themselves polluted.” Taya Zinkin “ranked, named, endogamous [in-marrying], with membership achieved by birth” TE: Throughout Indian history, caste has promoted “social stability” What is varna today?See RGH #34-37

  36. Since 1949 Untouchability is illegal India’s constitution forbids discrimination based on caste India has caste-based “positive discrimination” programs Yet caste remains important in social life: who one can marry, or eat and socialize with Mohandas Gandhi

  37. What Brings Happiness? • pleasure and enjoyment • work and fame • duty and service • being, awareness, joy

  38. Oldest religion that is still widely practiced A fusion of Aryan and Dravidian beliefs-very diverse Unique among world religions: No founder No centralized authority Hinduism Indra

  39. Emergence of Hinduism The Vedas 1400-900 BCE: Ritual and sacrifice solely by priestly class The Upanishads 800-400 BCE: Individual is responsible for his/her own salvation The Bhagavad Gita300 BCE-300 CE: Salvation possible through a balanced life and by fulfilling one’s duties Hanuman

  40. Concepts introduced in the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita (Song of God): Brahman: “the universal soul” • Everyone and everything is part of Brahman • Each person possesses anatman, part of Brahman “I am the beginning, middle, the end of creation” Samsara: reincarnation • The cycle of death and rebirth Karma: Law of “as you sow, so shall you reap” • One’s present situation is the product of deeds done in a previous life • For every action there is a consequence Dharma – moral and caste duty Moksha: release from reincarnation • Escape from samsara

  41. Artha: • Pursuit of economic well-being and honest prosperity • Kama: • Enjoyment of social, physical, sexual pleasure • Yoga: • Union with Brahman • Moksha: • Attainable through proper balance of these.

  42. Namaste

  43. Yoga: Union with Brahman

  44. Sannyasin – Holy Men

  45. Puja Table Worship

  46. Hindu pantheon: combination of Vedic and indigenous gods: Avatars: incarnations of god