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India's Heroic Age
Based on notes and a quiz taken in Mrs Huntley's class

Vedas are Hinduism's primary scripture. Last hymns of Rig Veda reflect changing worldview of Aryans. Concl. verses of Nasadiya capture spirit end of Vedic age, beginning of age spiritual quest and philosophical speculation. Vedas followed by Upanisads - philosophical texts, rejecting ritualism of Vedas. Written around 900-800BCE. Teachers to pupils. Single divine essence pervades universe, freedom by kno it. Heroic age is next after this, 550-100BCE - spread of Aryan civ over most N. India. Dev. of Buddhism/Hinduism & Tamil ppls in S india. Written Ramayana and Mahabharta at this time. Composed/edited over 900 years. Supp. written by "seer" though grounded in actual events its thought. Similar to Illyad and Odyssey are Mahab & Rama. Told orally and danced.

DHARMA - guiding principle of proper human conduct
KARMA - is doctrine of dharma "a deed that which is done"

Four classes of society, four cyclic ages of the universe. Though stages of life seem declining, they're spiritual growth.

  • The Aryans were a group of nomadic tribes originating in central Asia and entered India around 1500BCE.
  • Sanskit is the principal language of classical India, esp still literature, but was also in administration and all forms of intellectual endeavor.
  • India's dominant religious tradition is Hinduism.
  • Hinduism is a direct descendant of the Vedic religion of the Aryans.
  • Siddharta Gautama and Mahavira founded the Buddhist and Jain "religious paths," respectively, as radical alternatives to the Vedic religion.
  • "Classical Tamil" is the language of ancient (first-third centuries CE) literature in South India
  • Dravidian is a family of languages to which all modern South Indian languages belong.
  • The Mughals or Moguls brought the tradition of Islam and the heritage of the Arabic and Persian languages and literatures.
  • The British East India Company first became influential in India in the 17th century.
  • India gained its independence from British rule in 1947.
  • The Vedas are four books of sacred hymns that accompanied the worship of the gods who were personifications of nature and the powers of the cosmos.
  • Surya is the sun god.
  • The "poet-seers" are called rsi [r and s with dots underneath].
  • A mantra is a sacred utterance.
  • The last hymns of the Rig Veda were written around 1000BCE, and they reflect a change in the Aryan worldview: signalled beginning of age of spiritual quest and philosophical speculation.
  • The Upanisads, or Mystic doctrines, are the philosophical texts following the Vedas.
  • The three teachings in the early Upanisads are:
    1. single divine essence pervades the universe
    2. the human soul is a manifestation of this
    3. spiritual emancipation consists in mystically knowing the essential unity between self and universe
  • The three enduring motifs in Indian civilization [according to editors of NAWM] are the concepts of the personal spiritual quest, the wise teacher or "guru," and the transforming power of knowledge.
  • The dates of the literature of India's heroic age are 550BCE and 100CE.
  • India's two earliest epics are the Ramayana, circa 550BCE, and were the adventures of Prince Rama, and the Mahabharata, at least 400BCE, wars among Aryan clans, attributed to Vyasa.
  • These epics are so valued by Hindus as well as all people growing up in India that they have provided the themes for much of Indian art and literature over the last two thousand years.
  • The definition of dharma [acc to editors] is the guiding principle of proper human conduct.
  • The four classes in society are brahman (learned/priest), ksatriya (warrior/administrator), vaisya (merchant, farmer, productive person), sudra (laborer).
  • The four stages of life are student, householder, forest dweller, ascetic.
  • A woman's dharma is defined as that of a wife: allowed no identities or aspirations besides allegience to husband.
  • The basic meaning of the word karma is "a deed, that which is done."
  • The earliest descriptions of karma are found in the Upanisads.
  • Gautama Buddha was a prince of the Sakyas, an Aryan republican tribe on the Nepala border in the Himalayas.
  • Arjuna is a devotee of Krsna, the one who the values in the Bhagavad Gita are being told to.
  • Visnu and Siva are considered the two supreme deities.
  • Krsna is an incarnation of Visnu.
  • In the Buddhist tradition, Gautama Buddha is depicted as a superhuman hero-king, destined to be a "world conqueror" with teachings of spiritual perfection.