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Aryan Civilization

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Samantha Taylor

on 17 September 2010

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Transcript of Aryan Civilization

The Aryan Civilization Geography Religion Economy Government Society The Aryans were nomadic Nordic Whites and their descendants are scattered all over Europe. The Aryans lived in southern Russia in the beginning of their development. The Aryans migrated and spread out throughout Asia, Europe and India. Around about 2000-1500 BC the Aryans invaded Northern India. They were expansionists. They conquered and subjugated indigenous peoples. Their homeland was somewhere between the Caspian and Aral Seas. Beginning around 1800 BC the Aryans conquered the Indus River Valley Civilization using horses and more advanced weapons against the peaceful Indus Valley denizens. The Aryans were adaptive to their surroundings. Indra was the god of war that wielded thunderbolts and led them into battle. The Upanishads were philosophical texts of the Hindu religion. These scriptures that taught that individual humans were part of a greater unchanging and universal soul known as the Brahman, whereas human existence was in a constant state of flux. The individual soul lived in a cycle of reincarnation, in which he would die and be reborn as another person, animal or plant. This was known as karma. This cycle was not completely desirable because you continued to encounter what all humans do, suffering and dying. The ultimate goal was to break this cycle and enter a permanent union with Brahman, sort of a "heavenly state" where the soul is one with God. This deep, dreamless sleep could be achieved through asceticism or meditation like yoga. Teachings of the Upanishads justified the caste system. One in a higher caste believed they lived a virtuous life and vice versa. It encouraged personal integrity because people believed that if they did good deeds they would be reborn as a higher being and vice versa. The Vendidad were ancient scriptures on the Laws against Evil. The Vedas were four collections of prayers, magical spells, and instructions for performing rituals composed around 1500 BC. The Rig Veda was the most important collection with 1,028 hymns to Aryan gods. The ones considered the most impure were because of their work like butchers, gravediggers, and collectors of trash. They lived outside of the caste structure. These people were called "untouchables" because it was believed that their touch endangered the ritual purity of others. The Aryans were pastoral people and counted their wealth in cows. The Aryans increased their social and military strength by taming elephants and horses for traveling and warfare. They began to build new cities and changed their aggressiveness. The Aryans traded with other civilizations like Mesopotamia, Persia, and Egypt. The Aryans used iron to make weapons and axes to clear forests for agriculture. They traded blue stones called Lapis Laluzi, which means stone of blue. The Aryans main crops were barley, wheat and rice. The Aryans' main resources came form the Indus River. Cows provided milk, meat, and other dairy products for the Aryans and were used as money. The Aryans had no sophisticated government. They were grouped in clans that were ruled by warrior chiefs called Rajas. The tribes were called Gana, literally a "collection" of people. The chief of each tribe was a hereditary job. It was the only way to become chief, to be born into it. The chief made decisions after listening to a committee or perhaps even to the entire tribe. Brahmans were the priests, the highest of the four castes. They were responsible for presiding at religious cremation as well as studying and teaching of the Vedas. Kshatriyas were the second-most honored caste. They were the protectors and the warriors of battle Vaishyas were the merchants, artisans, craftsman, and the cultivators. They were the people who were specialized or had some professional knowledge. Shudra were the bulk of the society. Their allocated and expected role in the society was that of laborers. They lived in the mountains, seashores, forests, lands, and deserts. The Aryans clans or tribes, Gana, settled in different regions of northwestern India. The Aryans were "war-loving" people, aggressive and fierce. Arya meaning "Noble". The Aryans considered themselves noble and superior. Part of the Indo-European Civilizations or Proto Indo-Europeans (PIE). They spoke an early form of Sanskrit but developed no writing system. When they arrived in India, they developed a caste system of four groups: 1. Brahmans 2. Warriors 3. Traders and landowners 4. Peasants or traders They were a war-like people that organized themselves in individual tribal, kinship units, the Jana, which was ruled over by a war-chief. The Aryans ate meat but later stopped killing animals for a living. Instead they ate vegetables and grains. Settled around the Indo-Gangetic Plains near the Indus and Ganges Rivers. During the Vedic Period, the Aryans developed the enormously elaborate rituals of Brahmanism, the forerunner of Hinduism, which worshiped nature gods. The Aryans would sacrifice animals to the gods in sacred fires. The Aryans passed down religious and literary works by word of mouth. Their traditions called the Vedas, the books of knowledge, were passed on through generations. By Samantha Taylor, Katie Whitley, Skyler Smith, Joe Reyes, and Jocelyn Romero After the Harrapan Civilization declined, the Aryans absorbed remnants of their culture and integrated them into their own to form the Vedic Culture. The Aryans' culture gradually mixed with the indigenous cultures over time as they settled in India. They began building cities and the importance of agriculture started growing. They influenced the culture we now call "Indian". The Aryans used elephants, horses and chariots for traveling. The earliest history of the Aryans in India is called the Rigvedic Period (1700-1000 BC). Named after the religious praise poems that are the oldest pieces of literature in India. At the beginning of the Epics Period or Later Vedic Period (1000-500 BC), the Aryans migrated across the Doab, the large plain separating the Yamuna River and the Ganges. During this time, the Brahmanas, or priestly book, was composed. Every aspect of Aryan life came under the control of priestly rituals and spells. The great literary epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, were originally formulated and told during this period. The Vedic Period was a period of cultural mixing, not of conquest. The Aryan's culture gradually mixed with the indigenous cultures and their war-religion slowly became more ritualized and meditative. The Aryan Civilization was around from about 2000-500 BC. During this time, they developed the caste system which made social class completely inflexible. By 200 BC, this process of mixing and transforming was more or less complete and the culture we call "Indian" was fully formed. One of the chief Hindu deities was Shiva, the transformer. He was both a creator and a destroyer, the lord of change. He is often depicted dancing in a halo of flames. The two most important epics of Hinduism, the Ramayana and Mahabharata , written around 500-200 BC, demonstrate how Aryan cultural values are being transformed by mixing with Indus cultures. The events in the Ramayana precede those in the Mahabharata. The Ramayana tells the story in which the good Aryan king, Rama, destroys the evil pre-Aryan king, Ravana. The Mahabharata was composed by the sage, Vyasa Krishna Dvaipayana and contains over 110,000 verses that have been handed down over thousands of years. The text mostly focuses on political tensions between the Pandavas and Kauravas clans as they struggle for the throne of the Bharata Kingdom, the capital in the "City of the Elephant", Hastinapura. This all cultivates in the battle of Kurukshetra that lasts 18 days, in which the Pandavas are victorious. The Bhagavad Gita is a story told, within the Mahabharata, by Krishna, a god disguised in human form. It has roughly 700 verses and the main philosophical subject matter is the explanation of five basic conepts or "truths": Ishvara, supreme controller; Jiva, living beings, individualized soul; Prakrti, nature/matter; Dharma, duty in accordance with Divine law; Kala, time. Bhagavad Gita literally translates as "The Song of God". Hinduism was a fusion of Aryan and Dravidian religious ideas. Unlike other religions, Hinduism was not started by one teacher, its beliefs accumulated gradually over time. Most of what we know about the Aryans comes from this ancient "old testament" of the Hindus. At first, clothing was made out of animal skins, but as the Aryans settled down they learned to grow cotton and weave it into clothes. The use of the plow and irrigation systems enabled the Aryans to grow enough crops to support large towns. The Aryans were warriors, gamblers, beef-eaters, and wine drinkers. They loved music, dancing and chariot racing. The caste affected your job, who you could marry and who you could socialize with. Only men were allowed to go to school or become priests and only they could inherit property. The Aryans' economy consisted of half trade and half what they took from other civilizations they conquered. Bhagavad Gita Chapter 3 - Karma Yoga

Regulated activities are prescribed in the Vedas, and the Vedas are directly manifested from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Consequently the all-pervading Transcendence is eternally situated in acts of sacrifice.

My dear Arjuna, a man who does not follow this prescribed Vedic system of sacrifice certainly leads a life of sin, for a person delighting only in the senses lives in vain.

One who is, however, taking pleasure in the self, who is illuminated in the self, who rejoices in and is satisfied with the self only, fully satiated-for him there is no duty.

A self-realized man has no purpose to fulfill in the discharge of his prescribed duties, nor has he any reason no to perform such work. Nor has he any need to depend on any other living being.

Therefore, without being attached to the fruits of activities, one should act as a matter of duty; for by working without attachment, one attains the Supreme.

Even kings like Janaka and others attained the perfectional stage by performance of prescribed duties. Therefore, just for the sake of educating the people in general, you should perform your work.

Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow in his footsteps. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.

O son of Partha, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I need to obtain anything-and yet I am engaged in work.

For, if I did not engage in work, O Partha, certainly all men would follow My path.

If I should cease to work, then all these worlds would be put to ruination. I would also be the cause of creating unwanted population, and I would thereby destroy the peace of all sentient beings.

As the ignorant perform their duties with attachment to results, similarly the learned may also act, but without attachment, for the sake of leading people on the right path.

Let not hte wise disrupt the minds of the ignorant who are attached to fruitive action, they should not be encouraged to refrain from work, but to engage in work in the spirit of devotion.

The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.

One who is in knowledge of the Absolute Truth, O mighty-armed, does not engage himself in the senses and sense gratification, knowing well the differences between work in devotion and work for fruitive results.

Bewildered by the modes of material nature, the ignorant fully engage themselves in material activities and become attached. But the wise should not unsettle them, although these duties are inferior due to the performers' lack of knowledge.

Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with mith intent on Me, and without desire for gain and free from egoism and lethargy fight.

Once who executes his duties according to My injuctions and who follows this teaching faithfully, without envy, becomes free from the bondage of fruitive actions.

But those who, out of envy, disregard these teachings and do not practice them regularly, are to be considered bereft of all knowledge, befooled, and doomed to ignorance and bondage.
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