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Chapter 3, Section 3

Powerful Empires of India
by

Dan Priest

on 1 December 2015

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Transcript of Chapter 3, Section 3

The Gupta Indians are responsible for the number system we use today:
Their symbols are the same number symbols we use

Today, our numbers are called “Arabic” because the Arabs took these symbols out of India and spread its use to the Middle East.

Indian mathematicians also formed the concept of zero, and the decimal system we use today.
Asoka stopped eating certain meats and limited Hindu sacrifices.

He sent missionaries (People sent on a religious mission) to spread Buddhism across India.

This began the spread of Buddhism all throughout Asia.
Asoka also preached religious tolerance
Chapter 3
Women were taught to have “shakti”
A creative energy that men lacked
In marriage, a woman’s shakti made a man “complete.”

Husbands were to channel his wife’s shakti in a proper way.
If he didn’t, shakti could become a destructive force
Shakti
Parents were responsible for arranging marriages for their children.

The bride’s family provided a
dowry
:
Payment to the groom
Financed the wedding activities

After the wedding, the daughter left her home and entered her husband’s family.
Parental Duties
Joint Family
: parents, children and their offspring shared a common dwelling

Indian families were
patriarchal
(the oldest male was head of the household)
Adult sons still lived with their parents, even after getting married and having children

A man enjoyed the authority, but he was still tied to laws and traditions:
A leader generally asked advice from the whole family
Joint Family Structure
The Empire declined because of:
Weak rulers
Civil War
Foreign invasions
The “White Huns” invaded from Central Asia:
Destroying Gupta cities

India was split into many kingdoms… again.
There wouldn’t be another strong empire again for 1000 years.
Gupta Declines
Gupta physicians were using herbs and other drugs to treat illnesses.

Surgeons were skilled at setting bones and simple surgeries to repair injuries.

They created vaccinations against smallpox:
1000 years before vaccinations were used in Europe
Medicine
Mathematics
The Gupta dynasty set up religious schools where students could gain an education.

These Hindu and Buddhist schools did not only teach religion, they also taught:
Math
Medicine
Physics
Languages and Literature
Advances in Education
The Guptas created a much looser system than the Mauryas:
Power was left to individual villages and city governments

The people are numerous and happy; … only those who cultivate the royal land have to pay [a portion of] the grain from it … The king governs without… corporal punishments. Criminals are simply fined, lightly or heavily, according to the circumstances [of each case].
- Faxian (a Chinese Buddhist monk)
Loose Power
Most powerful Indian states rose in the north.

500 years after the Maurya dynasty:
The
Gupta
dynasty united much of India
Had a strong, organized government
320 A.D. – 540 A.D.

During their reign, India enjoyed a
golden age
, or a period of great cultural achievement.
The Golden Age
When he died, much of the Maurya power had declined.
Rival princes battled for power in the Gangetic Plain.
All throughout history, India had never remained united for long:
The distance between the people of the north and the people of the Deccan in the south kept people from uniting
Asoka’s Death
Asoka was responsible for united many diverse groups of people:
Built hospitals and Buddhist shrines
Built roads and rest houses for travelers
After he died, a lot of the unity dissolved.
Building Unity
Change of Lifestyle
Asoka was Maurya’s grandson:
After becoming emperor, fought a long, bloody war to conquer the Kalinga (in the Deccan Plateau)
After war, he turned his back from conquest because so many people died
It’s said that 100,000 people died
He converted to Buddhism, rejected violence, and ruled by moral example
Asoka
Maurya kept order through a bureaucracy:
Royal officials supervised the building of roads and harbors for trade
Other officials collected taxes and managed factories
There were courts
Maurya kept a secret police to report on corruption, crime and
dissent
Ideas that opposed those of the government
Order
He gained power in the Ganges Valley.
Conquered Northern India
His son and grandson later expanded south
They conquered much of the Deccan Plateau
From 321 B.C. – 185 B.C.
Maurya dynasty ruled a united empire
Maurya
321 B.C.
Chandragupta Maurya
Founded the first Indian Empire
Capital city: Pataliputra
Had schools and libraries, palaces and temples
Had a HUGE wall around the city
The Maurya Empire
Powerful Empires of India
Farming depended on the summer monsoons
Brought rain
Landlords owned much of the land:
Farmers had to give landlords some of the harvest.
They took so much there was often barely enough food to feed the farmers and their families

Indians relied on trade to get salt and spices.
Farming and Trade
Were Everything
A woman could be reborn into a higher status by devotion to her husband.

Widows were expected to join her husband on the funeral fires:
They became virtuous, or “sati,” by doing so.
Women Rebirth
Gender roles changed over time in India.
During the Aryan times, they enjoyed a higher status:
Some wrote Vedic hymns

By late Gupta times, upperclass women were restricted to the home:
They had to cover themselves from head to foot
Lower class women worked in the fields or worked at spinning and weaving
Roles of Women
Training children in the rules and traditions of the society.
Children worked with older relatives in the fields
While young, daughters learned the roles of women:
They would obey and serve the husbands
Sons learned the rituals to honor ancestors:
Rituals linked the living and dead, making strong family connections
Family Duties
Section 3
Primal Shakti, I bow to Thee!
All-Encompassing Shakti, I bow to Thee!
That through which Divine Creates, I bow to Thee!
Creative Power of the Kundalini, Mother of all Mother Power, To Thee I Bow!

"Merge in the Maha Shakti. This is enough to take away your misfortune. This will carve out of you a woman. Woman needs her own Shakti, not anybody else will do it… When a woman chants the Kundalini Bhakti mantra, God clears the way. This is not a religion, it is a reality. Woman is not born to suffer, and woman needs her own power.”
Villages were typically allowed to do whatever they wanted, as long as they paid taxes.
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