Ancient India Hinduism India’s Social Hierarchy Quiz • 1. T or F – Brahmins, or the priests are at the top of the caste system. • 2. T or F – The Sudras, or servants/unskilled laborers are considered the Middle Class. • 3. T or F – In India, women are able to divorce their husbands if they are cruel. • 4. T or F – Only males receive a formal education in ancient India. • 5. T or F – The Untouchables are considered so worthless that they are not on the Indian Caste System. • 6. T or F – The Kshatryas, or the rulers/warriors are at the very top of the caste system. • 7. T or F – The Vaisyas, or the commoners/merchants/ farmers make the most of the Indian Population. • 8. T or F – Women belonging to prominent families are expected to throw themselves into the funeral fire of their dead husband. • 9. T or F – A characteristic of the Indian caste system was prejudice against lower groups. • 10. T or F – An impact of the Indian caste system was placing each group into society with specific jobs to complete. Using the chart below, read the slides and record three important facts about the topic. Also explain how those beliefs impacts peoples lives. Hinduism Brahman Deities Dharma Karma Samsara/Reincarnation Hinduism • Hinduism is an ancient religion whose origins predate recorded history. It has no single human founder, and it has developed over thousands of years. • Its most sacred scriptures are the Vedas, which means "knowledge" in Sanskrit, the ritual language of Hinduism. The Vedas began as an oral tradition, and modern scholars have speculated that they date back as far as 6500 B.C.E. • Historians believe that the Vedas were written down around 1000 B.C.E. or earlier. Other elements of Hinduism - such as sacred symbols and the worship of certain Gods - can also be traced back to the seventh century B.C.E. Hinduism • The word Hindu was first used by the ancient Persians (Iran) to describe the practices and beliefs of people who lived east of the river Sindhu, or the Indus River. • Hindus call their religion "Sanatana Dharma" (the eternal religion) or "Vedic Dharma" (the religion of knowledge). Hinduism • Over the millennia Hinduism has continued to evolve, and in modern times it combines a wide variety of religious beliefs and practices. • Hinduism has historically been tolerant of other religions, believing that all religions can be a path to God. • As of 2005, there were nearly one billion (886 million) Hindus in the world, the majority of them living in India. Brahman • Hindus believe in a universal spirit called Brahman. • Sacred texts called the Upanishads, say, “every living being has a soul that wants to be reunited with Braham and this happens when a person dies.” Hindus believe that Brahman takes on the form of different dieties, or Gods and Goddesses depending on the situation. Of the many gods and goddesses, three principal figures stand out – Brahma the Creator, Shiva the Destroyer, and Vishnu the Protector. Vishnu – the protector Shiva – the destroyer Reincarnation • Hindus believe that a soul is not joined to the Brahman immediately after a person dies. • A person must pass through many lives to be united with Brahman. This is called reincarnation. • On its journey, a soul might be reborn into any living creature. Many dedicated Hindus are vegetarian because of reincarnation and believe that animals and humans alike should be treated with respect. Dharma • To earn the reward of a better life in their next life, Hindus believe they must perform their duty. • Dharma is the divine law, which requires people to perform the duties of their caste. • A farmer has different duties that a priest and men have different duties than women. Karma • The consequences of how a person lives are known as Karma. • If Hindus do their duty and live a good life, they will have good Karma. This will move them closer to the Brahman in their next life. • A dedicated Hindu believes that the people in a higher Varna (caste) are superior and that are supposed to be on top. • What happens to those who do not do their duty and/or live a bad life? Worship Many temples are dedicated to the individual gods and goddesses. In addition, many Hindus have a shrine in their own home, where they can perform daily acts of worship to the god of their choices. These rituals of home prayer, together with a rich and varied calendar of festivals, form the core of worship for many Hindus. Independent • Compose an acrostic poem for the word Hinduism. Follow these guidelines as you compose your poem, using the letters from the word HINDUISM. – Include a sentence for each letter in the word Hinduism. – Use all of the Key Content Terms at least once and underline them in your completed poem. – Summarize three ways Hindu beliefs have influenced life in India.