Ch. 8 Study Guide

Hinduism in India

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Section 8.1

Indo-european groups invades India starting around 1500 BC. The Aryans as they were called swept through the Hindu Kush Mountains. Conquered the people in the Indus River valley and then moved south to the Ganges Plain. They organized into tribes led by a Rajah or chief. These people were known to wage war, gamble, and sing and dance. Cattle was the basis of their diet and economy. Men dominated their world. They had no written language and they spoke Sanskrit. India had a social structure known as Varnas. In Hinduism they believe in many deities worshipped; Agni; God of fire | Indra God of thunder and war | Usha goddess of dawn | The Hindus believe in the cycle of rebirth known as reincarnation. Karma determines what your soul comes back as in their next life.


Rajah - Chief

Epics - Long poems

Varnas - Social classes

Brahmans - Priests

Kshatriyas - Warriors, rulers

Vaisyas - Common people: merchants, artisans, farmers

Sudras - Unskilled laborers, servants

Pariahs - Slaves

Jati - smaller groups in the varnas

Dharma - duties of males;

Reincarnation - rebirth of the soul

Karma - what determines what you come back as

Ahimsa - practice requires the believer to protect humans, animals, and even insects and plants

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Above: Varnas of India

Section 8.2 Rise of Buddhism

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Siddhartha Gautama founded Buddism. He wandered around India searching for truth. He had a revelation sitting under a tree; became enlightened known as Buddha "enlightened one" Preached about the four (4) Noble truths and the Eightfold Path, he rejected the Varnas system; taught for 40 years; religion now spreads beyond India to Asia, China, Japan, Korea, and the Middle East.


Siddhartha Gautama - founder of Buddhism

Nirvana - state of freedom; in cycle of rebirth; not a place

Stupas - large stone mounds over bones of Holy Buddhist people

Section 8.3

Chandragupta Maurya overthrew Magadhan King; proclaimed himself ruler. He was a skilled administrator whose achievements included the development of an efficient postal system. His grandson Asoka took over. Took over 2/3 of the Indian subcontinent; he became Buddhist after seeing a bloodied battlefield; had laws that stressed concern for others; Rock Edicts. Many public projects: free hospitals and vet clinics, roads, rest house **continued the Hindu caste system** when he died his successor was harsh heavy taxes empire split in two. Gupta Empire 500 years later 310 AD Chandragupta II. ruled for more than 200 years "Golden age" did whatever they needed to maintain power; Hinduism was the official religion. They eased taxes, wrote rules for grammar, drama and politics; major language was sanskrit; women's rights declined. When Chandragupta II died in 415 AD faced invasion from north and by 600 AD had dissolved into small state


Chandragupta Maurya - overthrew Magadhan king made himself ruler

Asoka - grandson; rule began in 274 BC with fierce conquests

Chandragupta I - unrelated to (above) introduced the Gupta dynasty

Chandragupta II - ruled from AD 375 to AD 415; Buddhist Monk from China