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Ancient India Out of 2 groups of people – one diverse religion.

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1 Ancient India Out of 2 groups of people – one diverse religion

2 Indus/Dravidian People
Indo-Aryans Written language Industry & trade Agriculture Planned Cities Citadel Underground sewers Oven baked bricks Nomadic tribes Herded cattle, sheep goats Warriors Male dominated No cities No written lang.– only oral tradit. The Indo-Aryans maybe conquered and enslaved the Indus Valley People c.1500 BCE

3 From the clash of these two cultures came:
Structure of Society – the Varna or castes The religion Hinduism Religious writings

4 Varna (castes) divided into 3000 subcastes, jati, based on occupation
Brahmin Kshatriya Vaisya Shudra Caste System priests Varna (castes) divided into 3000 subcastes, jati, based on occupation Nobles, warriors, royalty Merchants & skilled workers Servants, peasants, slaves, laborers Untouchables: Outcaste, pariah = outside caste system

5 Hinduism One religion and many…

6 Hindu Gods + millions of other gods Brahman One Divine Essence Unity
Gods (diversity) Many manifestations of Brahman Brahma The Creator Shiva The Destroyer Vishnu The Preserver Had many earthly incarnations: Rama, Krishna Hindu Gods + millions of other gods + divine essence, “atman” in all things “Trinity”

7 Hindu Beliefs Worshiping many gods
Reincarnation – cycle of rebirth (samsara, transmigration) Atman – spirit that goes from birth to rebirth (sort of like “soul”) Karma – every action is rewarded or punished in this life or a next life

8 Dharma: one’s moral duty in life; may differ according to varna
Maya: the illusion of the material world (diversity) reality is the divine essence (Brahman=unity) Moksha: release from pain & suffering of rebirth

9 Ahimsa: reverence for all life forms
Yoga: mental and physical discipline to free mind/spirit from bodily control Asceticism – extreme self-denial Nirvana – ultimate goal; to escape cycle of rebirth

10 Guru: teacher Yogi: yoga guru

11 Religious Writings Vedas: “Books of Knowledge”
-oral tradition: songs, prayers, stories of the Indo-Aryans - eventually written in Sanskrit

12 Religious Writings Upanishads: mystical/ philosophical discussions
"What makes my mind think, my eyes see, my tongue speak, my body live?" What happens when this body dies?“ mysticism Upanishads: mystical/ philosophical discussions -reality and illusion -unity and diversity

13 Religious Writings – The Epics
Epic: long heroic tale Also began as oral tradition; teaching tools Mahabarata: great war -Bhagavad-Gita “song of God” -Krishna’s instruction on love and morality

14 Religious Writings - Epics
Ramayana – Story of Rama and wife Sita allegorical sense: represents Indo-Aryans establishing hold over north India & moving influence south religious/mythical point of view: Rama represents the noble man, following dharma and living rightly; Sita is the honorable wife

15 A Hindu’s goal Immediate goal: A good Hindu should follow the dharma of his caste. If he does this , karma will cause the transmigration of his atman into a higher caste/varna in his next life…. Ultimate goal….The Atman will recognize maya, escape samsara, achieve Nirvana and be one with Brahman.

16 Modern India

17 Today India is… The largest democracy in the world

18 “New” ideas threaten the status quo - 5th c. BCE
Jainism Mahavira Buddhism – Siddartha Gautama

19 Jainism “Jina” – the conqueror Mahavira – the “last conqueror”
Holiness of the life force Extreme ahimsa Karma & detachment Monogamy & honesty Became city dwellers; trade vegetarian

20 ….

21 Buddhism “The Middle Way”

22 Buddha…“The Enlightened One”
Siddhartha Gautama …the traditional story 6th c. BC, Born a prince, isolated into world, saw illness, death & old age Left family (Great Renunciation) in search of “truth” austere, ascetic life for years, it didn’t help 35th birthday…weeks of meditation became the “Enlightened One”

23 Four Noble Truths All life is suffering & sorrow…
suffering is caused by greedy desire To eliminate suffering must eliminate desire To eliminate desire follow the Eight-Fold Path or the Middle Way to reach Nirvana

24 Eightfold Path... “The Middle Way”
Know the truth Resist evil Say nothing to hurt others Respect life Work for the good of others Free mind of evil Control thoughts Practice meditation wisdom morality meditation

25 The Eightfold Path Expanded

26 Compare/Contrast with Hinduism
Same reincarnation - sort of… Nirvana Karma Ahimsa –reverence for all living things Dharma …. Different – Buddhists: Do not believe in worshipping gods Reject caste/ varna system Believe one can escape cycle of rebirth by following 8-fold Path – a universal dharma

27 Spread of Buddhism Asoka – 3rd c. BC ruler who sent out Buddhist missionaries Rise of Buddhism leads to a flowering of architecture and the arts Stupas – large stone mounds built over the bones of holy people Paintings/statues of Buddha Zen temples, surrounded by beautiful gardens


29 Two Branches of Buddhism
Theravada (“Way of the Elders”) View Buddha as a teacher South and SE Asia Tripitika - scriptures Mahayana View Buddha as a savior/divine being China, Korea, Japan Bodhisattvas – “saints”

30 More variations within Mahayana Buddhism…
In Nepal, Buddhists believe Buddha is the incarnation of Hindu God Vishnu Tantric Buddhism in Tibet – Buddhism and nature worship Zen Buddhism (Japan) – focuses on meditation & harmony & simplicity –


32 So…who is this??? This is NOT the Buddha This is Pu-tai or Hotei
A fertility symbol who was said to bring gifts to small children (think Santa Claus) As Hotei – one of the 7 Japanese Shinto Gods

33 cf. Mahavira, Siddhartha Gautama &
Jesus of Nazareth

34 Classical India Local Princes (rajahs) Mauryan Empire – 322 BC
Founder: Chandragupta Asoka – after fierce wars of conquest, became “enlightened” Renounced war Followed Buddhist teachings Encouraged tolerance Spread Buddhism throughout India and other parts of Asia by missionaries

35 Asoka’s Rock Edicts Laws carved on rocks and pillars throughout empire
Laws stressed concern for other human beings

36 Gov’t cont’d: Gupta Empire
320AD-535AD India’s “Golden Age” – arts & sciences flourished Began to write down rules for everything: grammar, drama, politics

37 Classical Society Caste System
Women respected but had little power or independence Polygamy many wives Suttee /sati wives’ ritual suicide

38 Classical Language/Writing
Sanskrit (ancient written language of Indo-Aryans) Vedas Upanishads & Epics Panchatantra – collection of tales that presented moral lessons thru animals who acted like humans

39 Ancient Art/Architecture
Golden Age during Gupta Empire (Drama, poetry, math and sciences flourished) Stupas – mound shaped shrines to Buddha/bodhisattvas Temples with brightly painted sculptures

40 Classical Math / Science
Principles of algebra Infinity & Zero Value of Pi “Arabic” numerals Science Earth is round Some knowledge of gravity Identified 7 planets Medicine Set bones, operations, invented medical instruments

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