Presentation on theme: "India’s Great Civilizations 1500 B.C.? – A.D. 600."— Presentation transcript:
India’s Great Civilizations 1500 B.C.? – A.D. 600
How do we know? Vedas – “Books of Knowledge” which formed the basis of Aryan religious practices (oldest is the Rig Veda) –Upanishads – a section that addresses mystical questions Mahabharata – epic poem (100,000 verses) –Bhagavad Gita – “Song of the Lord” Ramayana – epic poem (24,000 verses) (These pieces of literature are written in Sanskrit)
The Aryans – Invasion Theory Vedic Aryans entered India between 1,500 and 1,200 B.C. They conquered the native Dravidian culture by virtue of their superiority due to their horses & iron weapons
Doubt on the Aryan Invasion Theory No evidence of an Aryan homeland outside of India mentioned anywhere in the Vedas (they speak of the Sarasvati River & other places indigenous to India) No evidence for a foreign intrusion has been found (archaeological, linguistic, cultural or genetic) 2,500 archaeological sites (2/3 of which are along the recently discovered dried up Sarasvati River) show a cultural continuity with the Vedas from the early Harrapan civilization up to present day India More than 35 sites in N. India have yielded archaeological evidence & have been identified as ancient cities described in the Mahabharata
The archaeological sites along the dried up Sarasvati River basin (1900 B.C.) are represented by black dots.
Do you think the Aryans were invaders or indigenous?
Aryan Varnas (Social Classes) Brahmans – Priests – study and teach the Vedas, perform religious ceremonies to please Aryan deities & ensure welfare of people Kshatriyas – Warriors – study the Vedas, lead gov’t & head the army Vaisyas – Common people: merchants, artisans, farmers – tend herds, care for land; make & sell useful products Sudras – Unskilled laborers, servants – serve other varnas Pariahs – Slaves – perform tasks considered unclean (also called “Untouchables”)
The Caste System Varnas were divided into smaller groups known as jati (formed according to occupations) Europeans named this system of social classes the caste system –Born into group & cannot change –Marry within group Dharma – duties of the males who belong to each varna (societal roles)
Hinduism "Ekam sat viprah bahudah vadanti" (Truth, or God, is one, but wise men call Him/It by different names) Most important gods: Brahma (the Creator); Vishnu (the Preserver); Siva (the Destroyer) Every person has an essential self (atman), which is part of one eternal spirit Brahman Nerguna Moksha - goal (reunited w/ Brahman Nerguna) Reincarnation continues through cycles of rebirth until a soul reaches spiritual perfection Karma (how a person lives his/her life) determines the form of the next life Ahimsa – nonviolence towards all living things
What do you think happens when people do not perform their dharma? How did the caste system provide a sense of order in society?