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India’s Great Civilizations 1500 B.C.? – A.D. 600.

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Presentation on theme: "India’s Great Civilizations 1500 B.C.? – A.D. 600."— Presentation transcript:

1 India’s Great Civilizations 1500 B.C.? – A.D. 600

2 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)

3 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

4 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

5 The archaeological sites along the dried up Sarasvati River basin (1900 B.C.) are represented by black dots.

6 Do you think the Aryans were invaders or indigenous?

7 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”)

8 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)

9 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

10 What do you think happens when people do not perform their dharma? How did the caste system provide a sense of order in society?

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