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Hinduism Indias #1 religion

The Aryans were a group of Indo-European people that moved from the dry grasslands of western Asia (the steppes), into what is now India starting about 1700 BCE and captured the land and people of the Indus Valley. Archaeology tells almost nothing about the Aryans. But their sacred literature, the Vedas, tells a lot about them. The Aryans were divided into classes of people. Over time, they made many rules for how people in these classes, or castes, could interact with one another. People were born into their caste for life. These castes were initially determined by varna literally, color. The Aryans were light skinned, and comprised the upper castes, while the native peoples found in India were darker skinned, and made up the lowest caste

Caste System
The upper three classes consisted of Aryan people while the bottom two were the local native Indian people.

The Aryans were a group of Indo-European people that moved from the steppes into what is now India.

Some impure people lived in a group outside this class system. (ie. They were out-castes.) They were butchers, grave diggers, and trash collectors. Because they did work that was thought unclean, they were called untouchables.

The Caste System social class system

1. The caste system is the traditional hereditary social class system that affected every aspect of their life their job, their status, who they could marry, and even who they could talk to. 2. Hindus are born into their caste and could not get out until their death 3. There was no SOCIAL MOBILITY could not move up in social class!

Basic Hindu Beliefs

1. The Gods a. Brahman the Creator b. Vishnu the Preserver c. Shiva the Destroyer 2. Reincarnation the soul never dies, it is reborn and goes through many lives until it can unite with Brahma

Hindu Beliefs
3. Karma a persons behavior in life determines their caste in the next life 4. Dharma Your DUTIES in life to family and caste, do your job well!

Hindu Beliefs continued

5. Cremation Burn body to release soul for next life
6. MOKSHA ultimate goal - state of perfect understanding of all things, become one with the universe.

Sacred Objects
Cows Hindus refuse to eat beef ,they roam freely

Ganges River Holy river believed to wash away evil

Today 85% of all Indian people are Hindu

From Hinduism Comes Buddhism

Around 528 BCE another new religion, Buddhism, arose in India. It was started by Siddhartha Gautama. The founder, Siddhartha Gautama, has many legends and stories that have surrounded his life. While we can't be certain which of these stories and legends are true, we do know that the basic historical outlines of his life are accurate.

Beginnings of Buddhism

He was the chief's son of a tribal group, so he was born a Kshatriya (Warrior class) around 566 BC.

At the age of 29, he left his family in order to lead a simple life.
A few years later he returned with a number of followers; followers that devoted their lives to "The Middle Way, a lifestyle that is midway between a completely simple lifestyle and one that is full of materialistic goods. Siddhartha searched for a way that would allow him to escape the suffering of human life. He spent many years searching for this answer. He was looking for enlightenment, or wisdom.

Finally, he sat down and meditated under a tree. After 49 days, he had his answer. He was now called the Buddha, which means enlightened one. The Buddha began to teach others how to attain enlightenment.

Following the path led to Nirvana

Buddhist Beliefs
The Four Noble Truths

Suffering is universal everyone suffers


of suffering is DESIRE


you end your desires suffering will end (necessary to reach NIRVANA- a release from selfishness and pain.) the EIGHTFOLD PATH


How to become enlightened

Buddhists were to follow a plan of behavior called the Eightfold Path right views right resolve right speech right conduct right livelihood right effort right mindfulness right concentration. This would lead to nirvana, or a release from selfishness and pain.

Other Buddhist Beliefs

1. Believed in KARMA and DHARMA and REINCARNATION 2. REJECTED THE CASTE SYSTEM felt it was not fair, unjust!!

Not by birth does one become an outcast, not by birth does one become a Brahmin. By DEEDS one becomes an outcast, by DEEDS one becomes a Brahmin Buddha

Spread of Buddhism

Buddhism spread from India to China and other parts of the world along the SILK ROAD The sharing of religion is an excellent example of cultural diffusion.

India first Empires

Maurya & Gupta

The Maurya Empire

In 321 BCE, the founder and eventual King of the Maurya Empire, Chandragupta Maurya used his army to defeat powerful kings in eastern and northern India. By 305 BCE, he began to challenge for Alexander the Greats western territories in India, and by 300 BCE, for the first time, northeastern and northwestern India were joined under the rule of one person. Chandragupta was a harsh ruler. He charged a heavy tax on farmers one-half of the crop they grew each year. He used this wealth to build a huge army. He controlled his government by carefully choosing officials and watching them closely

The Maurya Empire

In 269 BCE, Chandraguptas grandson, Asoka, took the throne. He brought the Mauryan Empire to its greatest height. At first he was a warlike king but then he decided to accept the teachings of the Buddha. Asoka promised to rule in a fair and just way. He issued laws that urged his subjects to avoid violence. He urged religious toleration. This is acceptance of peoples rights to differing religious beliefs. He made great roads so that people could travel easily. Asoka is also known as the lawgiver because he carved the laws into stone pillars which were placed in the center of towns.

Some of the Pillars of Asoka

Sanskrit Language

The Gupta Empire

Soon after Asoka died, however, his empire collapsed. Around 320 AD, Chandra Gupta I came to power in the north. He was not related to the first emperor Chandragupta Maurya of the Maurya Empire , but he too took the title of king and began to conquer other areas in the name of the Gupta Empire.

The Gupta Golden Age

Added western coast to empire religion science Flourishing of arts

500 healing plants identified

1000 diseases classified

Printed medicinal guides Plastic Surgery

Gupta Achievements



C-sections performed

Gupta India

Solar Calendar

Decimal System

PI = 3.1416

The earth is round

Concept of Zero