Chapter 8 Study Guide

Chloë Bohan

Map of India

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8.1 Origins of Hindu India

The Aryans were nomadic herders who were often at war. As many societies, the men led most things. The women could remarry if widowed and could take part in religious ceremonies and social affairs. The Aryans never had a written language as a result, their known oral language was called sanskrit. There were four main social classes, varnas, in the culture. The varnas were the brahmans (priest), kshatryia (warriors/rulers), vaisyas (the common people), and the sundras (unskilled laborers or servants) and the pariahs (slaves) who were also known as the untouchables. The males in each varna had dharmas or duties. Two epics in India one was called a Mahabharata with 100,000 verses with multiple authors and the other was a Ramayana had 24,000 verses and was a struggle between good and evil.


Aryan's worshiped many gods and goddesses which eventually turned into Hinduism. The Universal Spirit was based on different beliefs and practices. There were three parts the brahma (the creator), the vishnu (the preserver), and siva (the destroyer). Upanishads was a religious writing from 800-400 BC. It focuses on searching and the philosophy of the truth behind the gods. Their belief was that everything has a should that are apart of the universal spirit, Brahman Nerguna. The Brahman Nerguna is to know true freedom one must part from the material world.


The Aryan's believed in reincarnation or a rebirth of the soul. They believed in karma. Karma is based on how you live your life and how you take it into your next life. Ahisma is nonviolence toward all living things to protect humans, animals, and plants. Moksha is a release from the pain of rebirth to complete oneness from Brahman Nerguna. To reach moksha, you need to be committed to prayer, religious rituals, strict self-denial, and rejection of all worldly things.


Jainism emphasizes ahimsa. Jainism was founded in 500 BC. They reject sacrifices and social divisions and farming.

8.1 Vocabulary

Vedas- holy rituals written down by priests

Rig-Veda- oldest book

Varnas- social classes

Jati- sub categories by occupation

Brahmans- preists; study and teach vedas, religious ceremonies, ensure welfare of people

Kshatriyas- warriors/rulers; vedas, lead government, head of army

Vaisyas- common people,merchants, artisans, farmers; tend herds, care for land, make and sell products

Sudras- unskilled laborers, servants; serve other varnas

Pariahs(untouchables, outcasts)- slaves; preforms tasks considered unclean, lived outside the cities

Dharma- duties of each male in each varna

Mahabharata- Epic poem that outlines one must do their duty no matter what (100,00 verses; multiple authors)

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

Universal Spirit- based on different beliefs and practices

Brahma- the creator

Vishnu- The preserver

Siva- the destroyer

Upanishads- religious writings from 800-400 BC

Brahman Nerguna- universal spirit

Reincarnation- rebirth of the soul

Ahisma- nonviolence towards all living things

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

8.2 Rise of Buddhism

Siddhartha Gautama is the founder of Buddhism. He left and wandered through India in search for why suffering occurs and how to end it. He became a hermit and he found his enlightenment in one day. He was named "The Enlightened One."


The Four Noble Truths:

- all people suffer and know sorrow

-people suffer because their desires bind them to reincarnation

-end suffering by eliminating desires

-eliminate desires by following the Eightfold Path


The Eightfold Path:

-to know the truth

-resist evil

-say nothing to hurt others

-respect life

-work for the good of others

-free their minds of evil

-control their thoughts

-practice meditation


The Eightfold Path leads to Nirvana, freedom from rebirth. There are no Hindu deities.


The Buddha spent 40 years teaching the Four Nobel Truths and the Eightfold Path. After his death monks spread out throughout Asia.

8.2 Vocabulary

Siddhartha Gautama- founder of Buddhism (Enlightened One)

Nirvana- freedom from rebirth (state of extinction)

Stupas- large stone mounds over the bones of holy people

Theravada- S/SE Asia, regards Buddha as a teacher

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

8.3 Indian Empires

Magadha was an Indian kingdom that was trying to expand north during Darius's invasions. King Bimbisara ruled from 542 BC to 495 BC. he added


The first empire was the Mauryan Empire. Chandragupta Maurya overthrew the Magadhan king and proclaimed himself ruler. He founded the Mauryan kingdom that included most of the northern and central India and lasted until 184 BC. The empire blossomed during the reign of Chadragutpa's grandson, Asoka. Asoka began his rule in 274 BC. He built roads, made rest houses and shade trees for the comfort of travelers. Asoka favored Hinduism. Asoka converted to Buddhism after seeing a bloodied battlefield. The collapse of the empire happened after Asoka's death in 232 BC. The harsh policies his successors used caused the people to turn against the Mauryas. The last Mauryan ruler was murdered in 184 BC and northern India split once again into smaller kingdoms.


The second Gupta Empire started about 310 AD. Chandragupta I began to build the empire. Chandragupta I introduced the Gupta dynasty which ruled the northern part of India for more than 200 years. Madadha ruled for more than 200 years and it was later called the Golden Age. The Gupta made Hinduism their main religion. The Gupta empire reached its height under the rule of Chandragupta II. He ruled from 375 AD to 415 AD. He wrote rules for grammar and politics. Sanskrit became major language. After Chandragupta II's death in 415 AD, the Gupta Empire began to fall. The government was weakened and the Gupta faced invasions.

8.3 Vocabulary


Magadha- the kingdom of Magadha was expanding north; under the rule of Bimbisara who ruled from 542 BC to 495 BC


Chandragupta Maurya- overthrew Magadhan king and proclaimed himself ruler in 321 BC

Asoka- Rule began in 274 BC in the Mauryan Empire; fierce wars


Chandragupta I- build the Gupta Empire in about 310 AD

Chandragupta II- ruled from 375 AD to 415 AD for the Gupta Empire



Arabic Numerals- symbols decided for the numbers 1 to 9

Rock Edicts- laws written on stones throughout empire in local languages