Geography To the North: Himalayan Mountains Hindu Kush Mountains Two Rivers south of the mountains: Ganges River Indus River Interior: high plateau called the Deccan
Climate India’s climate is dominated by monsoons. Monsoons are strong, often violent winds that change direction with the season. Additionally, most of India lies between the Tropic of Cancer and the equator, so the sun’s rays shine directly on the land. The temperature can reach as high as 120oF.
Indus River Valley Civilization(2500 B.C. -1500 B.C.) Much information comes from the ruins of two ancient cities, Harappa and MohenjoDaro.
The Cities of Harappan Civilization: • Large and carefully planned • Wide streets • Water system with public baths and brick sewers • Some lived in two-story brick homes that had bathrooms and garbage chutes. • Strong central fortress, or citadel, built on a brick platform • Storehouses for grain—could hold enough to feed 35,000 people.
What is left over of Mohenjo-Daro today, with its perfectly uniform bricks.
Harappan Farmers grew cotton, wheat, barley, and rice. They raised cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats. Irrigation of fields allowed farmers to raise surplus crops for storage and trade.
Writing The script of Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa is called Proto-Indian. The script appears to be phonetic and has ideographic origin.
Religion No Harappan temples, shrines, or religious writings have been found. However. . . Mother goddess
Decline of the Harappan Culture Scholars are Not Certain: a. Ecological changes b. Economic problems caused by population increase, decline in agriculture, and/or deforestation c. Change in river flow patterns or flooding could have disrupted agriculture. d. Invasion by intruders ( Indo-Aryans)
Around 1750 B.C. The Indo-Aryans Nomadic sheep and cattle herders as well as skilled warriors
Most of what we know of these people comes from the Vedas. • Oldest written scriptures in India----1500 B.C. circa • The term Veda literally means “knowledge” • The Vedas are comprised of: • Sacred hymns • Poetic descriptions of the gods and nature • Rituals • and Blessings • Recorded in Sanskrit, the Indo-Aryan language
Indo-Aryan religion • Earliest gods drawn from nature: earth, fire, light, sky, storms, sun, & water • Sky = father; earth= mother • Gods were portrayed as having particular characteristics • No temples in early Vedic religion—ceremonies performed in open spaces • Foods offered as ritual sacrifices • Juice of soma plant poured into sacred fire—the drink of immortality. Brahminsspecial priests who performed the religious ceremonies
By 700 B.C. several Indian religious thinkers began to question the authority of the Brahmins. (Special priests who knew the proper forms and rules of their religious rituals.) • Began to teach their messages in the forests. • Became known as Vedanta, or “end of the Vedas.” • Teachings collected in the Upanishads.
Advanced the religious belief that there is one eternal spirit called Brahman Nerguna
The two epics—became known as: Mahabharata & Ramayana Most famous of Hindu scriptures Tells the story of a great battle in a kingdom in what is now northern India. Part of this epic is known as the Bhagavad Gita Tells the story of Rama, a great prince and an incarnation of the god Vishnu, and his wife Sita. Sita is kidnapped by a demon. Rama rescued Sita and became king. Rama and Sita became role models for men and women in Indian society.
The Caste System developed between 1500 B.C. and A.D. 500 Rulers and warriors Brahmins Merchants, Traders, and’ Farmers Peasants Pariahs, or “untouchables”
Founder: Siddhartha Gautama Buddha or “Enlightened One” Born 563 BCE Son of a wealthy prince Vowed at the age of 29 to discover the reasons for human suffering. Great Renunciation: left palace and family in search of truth and meaning 6 years later, while meditating under a tree, he felt that he understood the truth that forms the basis of life. In that moment, Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha. Spent the remainder of his life teaching his followers to pursue the way of enlightenment, the way of life.
The meaning of life according to Buddha Four Noble Truths: First, all people suffer and know sorrow. Second, people suffer because of their desires. Third, they can end their suffering by eliminating their desires. And fourth, to eliminate those desires, people should follow the Buddha’s Eightfold Path.
The Eightfold Path: Knowing the truth Resisting evil Saying nothing to hurt others Respecting life Working for the good of others Freeing the mind from evil Controlling thoughts Practicing meditation
200 B.C. and A.D. 200, Buddhism split into two branches Theravada Buddhism Mahayana Buddhism Regards Buddha to be a great teacher to be read and understood. Follows the traditional beliefs of Buddhism Accepted in Burma (now Myanmar), Siam (now Thailand), Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Laos, and other countries. Worships Buddha as a savior of the people and believes he is a god. More elaborate ceremonies than Theravada Accepted in China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan
Rise of the Mauryan Empire Ruler: Chandragupta Maurya Established: the Mauryan Empire (lasted 150 years) Accomplishments: Built a grand palace on the Ganges River Army of 600,000 soldiers (equipped with thousands of chariots and elephants) Conquered all of northwestern India Strong kingdom Great administrative structures
Asoka----3rd ruler of Mauryan Empire came to power in 270 B.C. The strongest ruler of the Empire Enlarged the Mauryan Empire until it included all of India except the southern tip of the subcontinent First Imperial dynasty to hold nearly all of India • Eventually became a pacifist and a Buddhist • Sent Buddhist missionaries to other countries • Laws carved into stone pillars • Improved living conditions • Cultural and political advances
The Gupta Rulers • This new dynasty contributed to the decline of Buddhism and the growth of Hinduism • Early years of Gupta rule called a Golden Age (lasted 200 years) • Society prospered • Hinduism—dominant religion • Learning and education (algebra, the concept of zero, and the numerals 1-9 were identified) • Astronomy-knew the world was round • By 600 C.E., empire dissolved into many small kingdoms.