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Classical India: Maurya ( BCE) Gupta ( CE)

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Presentation on theme: "Classical India: Maurya ( BCE) Gupta ( CE)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Classical India: Maurya (324-184BCE) Gupta (320-550 CE)

2 Geography

3 ….from Ancient India

4 Aryan Migration pastoral  depended on their cattle.
warriors  horse-drawn chariots.

5 Sanskrit writing

6 The Vedas 1200 BCE-600 BCE. written in SANSKRIT.
Hindu core of beliefs: hymns and poems. religious prayers. magical spells. lists of the gods and goddesses. Rig Veda  oldest work.

7 Varna (Social Hierarchy) Pariahs [Harijan]  Untouchables
Brahmins Kshatriyas Vaishyas Shudras Pariahs [Harijan]  Untouchables

8 The Caste System WHO IS… The mouth? The arms? The legs? The feet?
Brahmins WHO IS… Kshatriyas The mouth? The arms? The legs? The feet? Vaishyas Shudras What is a JATI?

9 Literature from the Vedic Period
Rig Veda Upanishads Lawbook of Manu Ideas found in the literature Reincarnation atman Foundation for Hinduism established

10 Religions that impacted Classical India
Buddhism Hinduism

11 Buddhism

12 Buddhism in the Subcontinent

13 The essence of Buddhism
The “middle way of wisdom and compassion.” 2,500 year old tradition. The 3 jewels of Buddhism: Buddha, the teacher. Dharma, the teachings. Sangha, the community.

14 Siddhartha Gautama (563-483 BCE)
Born in NE India (Nepal). Raised in great luxury to be a king. At 29 he rejected his luxurious life to seek enlightenment and the source of suffering. Lived a strict, ascetic life for 6 yrs. Rejecting this extreme, sat in meditation, and found nirvana. Became “The Enlightened One,” at 35.

15 What is the fundamental cause of all suffering?
Desire! Therefore, extinguish the self, don’t obsess about oneself.

16 Four Noble Truths There is suffering in the world. To live is to suffer. (Dukkha) The Buddha found this out when he was young and experienced suffering and death in others.

17 Four Noble Truths The cause of suffering is self-centered desire and attachments. (Tanha)

18 Four Noble Truths The solution is to eliminate desire and attachments. (Nirvana = “extinction”)

19 Four Noble Truths To reach nirvana, one must follow the Eightfold Path.

20 Nirvana Eightfold Path The union with the ultimate spiritual reality.
Escape from the cycle of rebirth.

21 Buddha – 19c Thailand

22 Buddha’s head : 2c Pakistan

23 Mandala: Wheel of Life Motif

24 Mandala: Wheel of Life Motif

25 Buddhist Altar

26 Types of Buddhism Therevada Buddhism Mahayana Buddhism
Tibetan Buddhism Zen Buddhism

27 Theravada Buddhism The oldest school of Buddhism.
The “Way of the Elders” or the “Small Vehicle.” Found in southern Asia. The monastic life is the best way to achieve nirvana. Focus on wisdom and meditation. Goal is to become a “Buddha,” or “Enlightened One.” Buddha was a mortal man

28 Theravada Buddhism

29 Mahayana Buddhism The “Great Vehicle.”
Founded in northern Asia (China, Japan). Buddhism “for the masses.” Seek guidance from Boddhisatvas, wise beings. Often worship Buddha Goal: Not just individual escape from the wheel, but the salvation of all humanity through self-sacrifice of those enlightened few.

30 Mahayana Buddhism

31 Seated Boddhisatva – 16c Bhutan

32 boddhisatva

33 Tibetan Buddhism The “Diamond Vehicle.” [Vajrayana]
Developed in Tibet in the 7c CE. A mix of Theravada and Mahayana. Boddhisatvas include Lamas, like the Dalai Lama. The Tibetan Book of the Dead [Bardo Thodol].

34 The Dalai Lama

35 zen Buddhism The “Meditation School.”
Seeks sudden enlightenment through meditation, arriving at emptiness Use of meditation masters . Beauty, art, and aesthetics: Gardens. Archery. Tea ceremony. Calligraphy.

36 Relieve Stress & Meditate: Get a Mantra !
Ohm...mani...padme...hung... Hail to the jewel in the lotus!

37 Hinduism

38 What is Hinduism? One of the oldest religions of humanity
The religion of the Indian people Gave birth to Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism Tolerance and diversity: "Truth is one, paths are many" Many deities but a single, impersonal Ultimate Reality A philosophy and a way of life – focused both on this world and beyond

39 How did Hinduism begin? No particular founder
Indus River Valley Civilization >5000 years ago Aryans enter years ago Vedic Tradition 3500 – 2500 years ago: rituals and many gods (polytheism) sacred texts (Vedas) social stratification (caste system) Upanishads (metaphysical philosophy) 2800 – 2400 years ago Vedic Tradition develops into Hinduism

40 What are the Sacred Texts?
Shruti (“heard”) – oldest, most authoritative: Four Vedas (“truth”) – myths, rituals, chants Upanishads - metaphysical speculation Plus other texts Smriti (“remembered”) – the Great Indian Epics: Ramayana Mahabharata (includes Bhagavad-Gita) Plus others

41 What do Hindus believe? One impersonal Ultimate Reality – Brahman
Manifest as many personal deities True essence of life – Atman, the soul, is Brahman trapped in matter Reincarnation – atman is continually born into this world lifetime after lifetime (Samsara) Karma – spiritual impurity due to actions keeps us bound to this world (good and bad) Ultimate goal of life – to release Atman and reunite with the divine, becoming as one with Brahman (Moksha)

42 How does Hinduism direct life in this world?
Respect for all life – vegetarian Human life as supreme: Four “stations” of life (Caste) - priests & teachers, nobles & warriors, merchant class, servant class Four stages of life – student, householder, retired, renunciant Four duties of life – pleasure, success, social responsibilities, religious responsibilities (moksha)

43 What are the spiritual practices of Hinduism?
The Four Yogas - seeking union with the divine: Karma Yoga – the path of action through selfless service (releases built up karma without building up new karma) Jnana Yoga – the path of knowledge (understanding the true nature of reality and the self) Raja Yoga – the path of meditation Bhakti Yoga – the path of devotion Guru – a spiritual teacher, especially helpful for Jnana and Raja yoga

44 How do Hindus worship? Bhakti Yoga is seeking union with the divine through loving devotion to manifest deities In the home (household shrines) In the Temples (priests officiate) Puja – making offerings to and decorating the deity images Darsan – “seeing” the deity (not idol worship) Prasad – taking the divine within your own being through eating of food shared with the deity

45 Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hindu Pantheon
Brahma, the creator god

46 Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hindu Pantheon
Vishnu, the preserver god :

47 Who do Hindus worship? – the major gods of the Hindu Pantheon
Shiva, god of constructive destruction (the transformer) Appears as Shiva Nataraj, lord of the dance of creation… and with his wife, Parvati, and son Ganesha (the elephant headed remover of obstacles)

48 What about the goddesses? Devi – the feminine divine
Saraswati, goddess of wisdom, consort of Brahma

49 What about the goddesses? Devi – the feminine divine
Lakshmi, goddess of good fortune, consort of Vishnu

50 What about the goddesses? Devi – the feminine divine
Parvati, divine mother, wife of Shiva

51 What about the goddesses? Devi – the feminine divine
Durga, protectress Kali, destroyer of demons Plus about 330 million other deities

52 All these deities are but
Manifest forms (attributes and functions) of the impersonal Brahman

53 And we too are manifest forms of God!
“We are not human beings having spiritual experiences; We are spiritual beings having a human experience!” “That art Thou” Hinduism is about recognizing the all pervasiveness of the divine

54 Maurya & Gupta India

55 Chandragupta: 321 BCE-298 BCE
Unified northern India. Defeated the Persian general Seleucus. Divided his empire into provinces, then districts for tax assessments and law enforcement. He feared assassination [like Saddam Hussein]  food tasters, slept in different rooms, etc. 301 BCE  gave up his throne & became a Jain.

56 The Maurya Empire 321 BCE – 185 BCE

57 Kautilya Chandragupta’s advisor. Brahmin caste.
Wrote The Treatise on Material Gain or the Arthashastra. A guide for the king and his ministers: Supports royal power. The great evil in society is anarchy. Therefore, a single authority is needed to employ force when necessary!

58 Asoka (304 – 232 BCE) Religious conversion after the gruesome battle of Kalinga in BCE. Dedicated his life to Buddhism. Built extensive roads. Conflict  how to balance Kautilya’s methods of keeping power and Buddha’s demands to become a selfless person?

59 Asoka’s Empire

60 Asoka’s law code Edicts scattered in more than 30 places in India, Nepal, Pakistan, & Afghanistan. Written mostly in Sanskrit, but one was in Greek and Aramaic. 10 rock edicts. Each pillar [stupa] is 40’-50’ high. Buddhist principles dominate his laws.

61 One of Asoka’sStupas

62 Women Under an Asoka tree

63 Turmoil & a power Vacuum: 220 BCE – 320 CE
Tamils The Maurya Empire is divided into many kingdoms.

64 Gupta Empire: 320 CE – 647 CE

65 Gupta Rulers Chandra Gupta I Chandra Gupta II Hindu revival.
r. 320 – 335 CE “Great King of Kings” Chandra Gupta II r CE Profitable trade with the Mediterranean world! Hindu revival. Huns invade – 450 CE

66 Fa-Hsien: Life in Gupta India
Chinese Buddhist monk traveled along the Silk Road and visited India in the 5c. He was following the path of the Buddha. He reported the people to be happy, relatively free of government oppression, and inclined towards courtesy and charity. Other references in the journal, however, indicate that the caste system was rapidly assuming its basic features, including "untouchability," the social isolation of a lowest class that is doomed to menial labor.

67 Chandra Gupta 11

68 International Trade Routes during the Guptas

69 Extensive Trade: 4c spices silks cotton goods rice & wheat spices
horses gold & ivory gold & ivory cotton goods

70 Kalidasa The greatest of Indian poets.
His most famous play was Shakuntala. During the reign of Chandra Gupta II.

71 Greatly influenced Southeast Asian art & architecture.
Gupta Art Greatly influenced Southeast Asian art & architecture.

72 500 healing plants identified Printed medicinal guides
Gupta Achievements 1000 diseases classified 500 healing plants identified Printed medicinal guides Kalidasa Literature Plastic Surgery Medicine Inoculations Gupta India C-sections performed Solar Calendar Astronomy Mathematics Decimal System The earth is round PI = Concept of Zero

73 The Decline of the Guptas
Invasion of the White Huns in the 4c signaled the end of the Gupta Golden Age, even though at first, the Guptas defeated them. After the decline of the Gupta empire, north India broke into a number of separate Hindu kingdoms and was not really unified again until the coming of the Muslims in the 7c.

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