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The Indian Subcontinent

The Indian Subcontinent

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The Indian Subcontinent

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  1. The Indian Subcontinent The Aryans and the Vedic Age

  2. Decline of the Indus Valley Civilization • Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were the largest cities • Civilizations participated in long-distance trade • Possible causes for their Decline: • Monsoons destroyed irrigation and farming prospects • Invasions • Long distance trade collapsed

  3. Aryans • Root of the word is arya meaning “noble” or “pure” • Spoke an early form of Sanskrit • Where did they come from? • Theory One: Aryans descended from North India through the Hindu Kush. • Theory 2: they arrived much earlier, and perhaps descended from the Harappans. • Theory 3: they were the originals inhabitants of India

  4. Aryans and the Vedas • The Vedas • A collection, in multiple volumes, of hymns, rituals, and philosophies • The Vedas include stories that attempt to explain how the world was created, who the gods are, etc. • Thought to be the earliest written texts • Rig Veda • The earliest Veda • Originally was recited orally and passed down generation to generation • Children began learning the Rig Veda at an early age, would learn to chant each syllable in perfect order

  5. Importance of Aryans: Introduction of a Social Order • Each tribe was headed by a raja, or chief • Priests were next in importance • They learned complicated rituals • Rituals typically focused on honoring or appeasing the gods • Warrior class • Farmers • Non-Aryans made up the lowest class • They were not slaves • They were only allowed to perform the most menial tasks

  6. Caste System • The system of dividing society into hereditary groups that limited interaction with each other, especially marriage between castes • The hierarchical groups (classes) into which Indian society was divided is called a varna • Brahmins (priests) • Kshatriyas (warriors and officials) • Vaishyas (merchants and artisans) • Sudras (peasants and laborers) • Dalits (untouchables) outside the caste system

  7. Caste System • Brahmins • Aryan priests who supported the growth of royal power • The only caste that was permitted to perform important, sacred, daily religious rituals • Untouchables • Were not permitted to participate in or be near religious rituals • It is believed that people ended up in this caste as a result of bad karma that accumulated in previous lifetimes • Perform(ed) the most menial jobs

  8. The Beginning of Hinduism

  9. Brahmanism • Brahmins memorized Vedas and passed traditions down from generation to generation • The religion of the Vedic Age is called Brahmanism • Brahmins studied the Vedas and were the only ones that performed rituals

  10. Beginnings of Hinduism • Indians beliefs began to change • Gurus were thinkers and teachers that left their homes and went into the forest to meditate about life and its big questions: • Ex. Why are we born? • Ex. How should we live? • Their ideas were put into writing (Upanishads) • Vedas and Upanishads became Hinduism’s holy scriptures

  11. Epic Poems explained how people should lead their lives as Hindus Ramayana Mahabharata Moral lessons about right and wrong Importance of loyalty and respect 200,000 lines long Two families at war for control of kingdom Moral Issues Bhagavad-Gita:(“Song of the Lord”) is a sacred section of this poem.

  12. Beliefs of Hinduism • Reincarnation • The rebirth of the soul in a new body • Karma • Effects of a person’s actions in this and in previous lives • Determines how a person is reborn • Bad karma brings rebirth into a lower caste or as an animal

  13. Beliefs of Hinduism • There is one supreme cosmic consciousness, spiritual force, or God called Brahman • All of the Gods and Goddesses are a form of Brahman • Ex. Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti • Brahman is the source of all things • Every person is born with a soul • The soul is also a form of Brahman

  14. Hinduism: 4 Basic Goals in Life • Dharma • A person’s duty or what is right and wrong for them. • Your caste’s duties • Ahimsa: avoid doing harm to any living being • Strive for Well Being • Make a good living with dignity • Raise a family • Run an honest business • Pleasure • Physical Pleasures • Ex. Eating good food • Cannot be only goal we seek • Moksha • Liberation from reincarnation • Person’s souls becomes one with Brahman • Live forever in state of joy

  15. 3 Paths to Moksha • 1st Path: Way of Knowledge • Brahmins • True understanding of one’s soul • 2nd Path: Way of Works • Carrying out religious rituals and duties • Good deeds without expectations • 3rd Path: Way of Devotion • Path of love • Worship of Gods and goddesses • Offerings to the Gods