Ancient China, India, Japan. The Search for Truth and Enlightenment 2500 B.C.-A.D. 1800s. Major Religious Traditions. Hinduism (India 1500 B.C.) Confucianism (China 551-479 B.C. Confucius teaches) Shintoism or Taoism (Japan 500s B.C.) Buddhism (All three regions circa 560 B.C.)
Ancient China, India, Japan The Search for Truth and Enlightenment 2500 B.C.-A.D. 1800s
Major Religious Traditions • Hinduism (India 1500 B.C.) • Confucianism (China 551-479 B.C. Confucius teaches) • Shintoism or Taoism (Japan 500s B.C.) • Buddhism (All three regions circa 560 B.C.) • Ask the fundamental questions of humanity: • Who am I? • What is the meaning of Life? • What is mankind’s relationship to/ with nature?
FOCUS QUESTION • How have the Hindu concepts of dharma, karma, the caste system, and reincarnation influenced Indian culture and literature? Consider the influence on international cultures and works of literature.
Ancient India • The first settlers of India are unknown • Advanced civilization flourished in northern India between 2500 and 1500 B.C.- The Indus Valley Civilization. • The death blow of the Indus Valley civilization: The Aryans
Major Ancient Indian Literary Periods • Vedic (1500-500 B.C.)- collection of hymns and other texts that formed the cornerstone of the Aryan culture- Aggressive, nomadic warriors of Persian descent that conquered the Indus Valley Civilization. Hindus believed that the hymns were revealed to humans directly by the gods. • The Classical Period (500 B.C.- A.D. 1000)- Sanskrit (“perfect speech”). Believed to be a sacred language spoken by the gods. Sanskrit was seen as the only appropriate form of expression
Hinduism • “Brahman”- The center, The World Soul, the unifying principal of the cosmos, and the sum of all that ever was or will be. • “Atman”- The essential inner self. Hindus must discover this inner self. • Then a devout Hindu dedicates their life to seeking ways to merge Atman with Brahman. • Three Deities or “Trimurti”: • Brahma- The Creator • Vishnu- The Protector • Shiva-The Destroyer/Preserver
Dharma • Sanskrit-“to hold” English- “religion” • Dharma= duty, ethics, morality, law, and order • Everyone is born with a unique Dharma • Dharma unfolds throughout life according to personal choices • What to do or not do in a given situation and must be determined by the individual • Requires that a person fulfill the duties of his or her station in life
Karma, The Caste System, and Reincarnation • A person’s dharma is determined in part by his or her caste (social class) • People are not created equal- segregated by occupation (thousands of subcastes) • Karma= action. One’s Karma will influence one’s rebirth and future life. • Reincarnation= “transmigration of souls”- rebirth of soul into a new body • Good Karma= higher caste
Buddhism 563-483 B.C. • Founded by Siddhartha Gautama- prince who left wealth for spiritual peace • Buddha= Enlightened One • Life is an endless cycle of suffering caused by the desire for earthly goods. • Yoga- to master the earthly desire (self-denial, meditation, postures, breathing practices, and ethical, nonviolent behavior). • By twelfth century A.D. Buddhism had nearly disappeared from India, but many Hindus still practice vegetarianism, meditation, and self-denial.
The Rig-Veda1000 B.C. • “ Hymns of Supreme sacred knowledge” • The most sacred books of Hinduism • Divinely inspired or heard directly from the gods • Performed orally by Vedic priests (also written in Sanskrit) • Revealed a lot about early Indo-European civilizations such as the nomadic Aryans. • Aryans are described as farmers, wearing wool clothing, made iron tools and developed communities • They were also drunkards, gamblers, and fighters. • Highly poetic and worshiped the forces of nature
Journal #8 • Consider the TONE often associated with night and darkness. • List the qualities that you often associate with night and freewrite a poem PERSONIFYING night. • BONUS: Vary sentence structure and diction
Ramayana 200 B.C.- A.D. 200 • One of two Hindu epics • Poet- Valmiki • Mirrors epic heroes such as Gilgamesh and Achilles • Poem of 25,000 couplets written in Sanskrit • There is not one Ramayana in India • The most common Ramayanas are in the ‘vernacular’ Indian languages. • Mirror of Indian culture
Prince Rama • Part man, part god • Incarnation of Vishnu (the protector) • Exhibits miraculous feats of strength • He is a great warrior • His wife, Sita, is abducted by the king of demons, Ravana • Rama and his brother, Lakshmana ally with monkey king, Hanuman to overthrow Ravana’s kingdom
Focus Questions • How does this epic parallel the other epics we’ve read in this class? • Compare and contrast this epic to The Iliad, The Odyssey and The Epic of Gilgamesh • What aspects of Hinduism are embodied in the text? • What aspects of Ancient Indian culture are reflected in the text?