The emergence of South Asian Civilization. September 26, 2013

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1 The emergence of South Asian Civilization. September 26, 2013

2 Review What was the relationship of Han China to Vietnam, and to Korea? Who were the Xiongnu? (What is a barbarian?) What was the Silk Road? Was Han China feudal? What was the governing ideology of the Han dynasty?

3 India: Vedic Civilization Around 1,500 BCE to 600 BCE Aryan culture There probably was no Aryan invasion. But the Aryans had superior military technology, and a language which was not Dravidian. Their language was Sanskrit, one of the oldest identifiable Indo-European languages Worshipped fire (Agni), soma (an intoxicating drink), Indra, and Varuna Vishnu and Shiva were minor deities then First references to varna (but not jati) --What are varna and jati? (See the Key Terms page) Trautmann refers to varna as castes, p. 46.

4 Vedic Religion A religion of ritual, which only later became a religion of moksa (salvation), and later devotion. Polytheism evolved into henotheism (the beginning of focus on particular deities) Dominated by brahmins, who alone knew how to perform essential rituals Sanskrit is the sacred language Vedas are sacred texts Brahminism rather than Hinduism Produced the monistic philosophy of the Upanishads. Probably did not have sacred cows. Did not have temples or images. which makes it different from Hinduism.

5 The Vedas Sacred texts of the Vedic period. Includes the Rig Veda, a ritual guidebook (Trautmann, 32-33) The last Vedic text is the Upanishads (Trautmann, 43) It focuses on philosophy rather than ritual. These texts are still revered in India today

6 The first Indian States States arise around the Ganges from about 600 BCE. Why not earlier? What kinds of states? Kingdoms and republics. Primary and secondary state formation aided by iron tools for cutting wood and for fighting What is a state: mechanism for extracting revenue from producers. Needs a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. Ritual hegemony adds stability and legitimacy. We have no real histories of this period. The Mahabharata and the Ramayana are epics, not histories

7 The appearance of epics The Mahabharata and the Ramayana Should these be read as history or as myths? What do they tell us about South Asia 2,500 years ago? Should we trust them or trust archaeology? Represent a change toward more human-like gods. (At the same time, more ascetic religiosity appears-buddhism and Jainism.

8 The Epics and Hinduism The Mahabharata featured Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu. Krishna became a major deity in Hinduism. The Bhagavad Gita, a part of the Mahabharata, emphasized the need for people to play their proper roles in society, even if they are warriors. the Ramayana featured Rama, another incarnation of Vishnu. He became another major deity in Hinduism, as did Sita, his consort. The Ramayana has many versions, and was very influential in Southeast Asia as well as in India.

9 The Mauryan Empire The stimulus from Alexander the Great Founded by Chandragupta by 322 BCE with a capital in Pataliputra How is an empire different from a kingdom? (See the Key Terms page) Greatest ruler was Ashoka ( BCE) Ashoka promoted Buddhism. See Trautmann, 56-61

10 Map of Mauryan Empire See map at hd_maur.htm or File:Mauryan_Empire_Map.gif

11 The Silk Road See map of Silk Road at /09/06/2012-issyk-kul-expedition-search-for-asunken-palace/silkroadmap/ or at

12 The Silk Road (Davis, 7-16) Was more than one route. Carried much more than silk. Also carried cotton and other South Asian goods to Rome, and brought Roman glassware to Asia. The Silk Road also brought Buddhism to China, and both Hinduism and Buddhism to Southeast Asia. The Silk Road stimulated the rise of the first states in Southeast Asia (outside of northern Vietnam).

13 South Asian religions Assumptions shared by traditional South Asian religious philosophies include: only that which is uncaused and unchanging is truly real diversity masks an underlying unity, which is more real than diversity the line between the human and the divine is not an unbridgeable chasm what we do and think affects what happens to us later. (karma) monism, monotheism, and polytheism are considered complementary rather than contradictory positions.

14 Buddhism: 4 Noble Truths A Religion of Renunciation (Trautmann, 53-54, Davis, 18-22) To live is to suffer. Suffering is caused by desires and attachments, resulting from ignorance of what is real and what is not. We can stop suffering by stopping our desires and clearing up our ignorance. We can do this if we follow the Eight-fold path.

15 Basic Buddhist Terms Buddhists, like Hindus, believe in karma and in reincarnation Nirvana: escape from rebirth; extinction (or paradise, in some varieties of Buddhism) Sutras: the written records of the teachings of the Buddha The Three Jewels of Buddhism The Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha The Dharma: Buddhist teachings The Sangha: the monastic community. Buddhists take refuge in those three jewels.

16 Theravada Buddhism The Buddhism of Sri Lanka and (now) much of mainland Southeast Asia Emphasis on salvation through our own efforts (accumulating good karma) Is non-theistic (in theory). Buddha (Sakyamuni) is seen as a teacher,not a god. Emphasis on insight meditation, and on donations to monks and temples Claims to be the original Buddhism

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