Chapter 8

Hinduism in India - Kate Hadley

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Section 8.1

Key Vocab Terms:

- Sanskrit → language

- Vedas → holy rituals written down by priests

- Varnas → four main social classes

- Dharma → duties of each male in each Varna

- Mahabharata → epic poem that outlines one must do their duty no matter what

- Ramayana → epic poem, 24,000 verses; struggle between good and evil

- Upanishads → religious writings form 800- 400BC

- Brahman Nerguna → idea that everything has soul that is apart of the universal spirit

- Reincarnation → rebirth of the soul

- Ahisma → (nonviolence towards all living things) protect humans, animals and plants

- Moksha → release from the pain of rebirth, complete oneness with Brahman Nerguna


The Aryans were the first inhabitants of India. They had tribes and some were nomadic herders. Their language was sanskrit and they followed Vedas. There were 4 main social classes called Varnas. India had 2 main epics, Mahabharata and Ramayana. The rise of Hinduism came with the ideas based on different beliefs and practices. Along with the idea that everything had a soul which came from Brahma. Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva were the three main gods. The idea of reincarnation also came about and the protection and nonviolence of living things (ahimsa). Jainism was brought about in 500 BC and it rejected sacrifices and social divisions.

Section 8.2

Key Vocab Terms:

Siddhartha Gautama → founder of Buddhism

Nirvana → freedom from rebirth (a state of extinction)

Stupas → large stone mounds over the bones of holy people

Theravada → S/SE Asia, regards Buddha s a teacher

Mahayana →China, Korea, Japan - Buddha as divine being and savior


Siddhartha Gautama was a sheltered Prince. At 29 he left and wandered through India in search of the answer to "why suffering occurs and how to end it" Spent 7 years trying to figure it out, then when he did he became the "Enlightened One". He created the four noble truths and the eightfold path. Followers hope to follow these rules to achieve Nirvana.

Section 8.3

Key Terms

Panchatantra → moral stories through animals

Dramas → Kalidasa wrote Shakuntala

Math → algebra, zero and infinity, Arabic numerals (1-9)

Astronomy → gravity, earth is round

Medicine → set bones, medical instruments


In 321 BC Chandragupta Maurya overthrew the king. Chandragupta's grandson Asoka's Enlightened Rule. Asoka passed laws stressing concern for others. He made Rock Edicts which were laws written on stones throughout The Empire in local languages. He also started many public projects. Under the Gupta Empire, Chandragupta I comes to power and the golden age begins. The Gupta Religion encouraged learning based on Upanishads. and Hinduism was the religion of the empire. The height was reached under Chandragupta II. Many achievements occurred in the Golden Age including advances in Math, Science, and in Medicine. When Chandragupta II died, the city was faced with invasion and by 600 BC the empire had fallen.