General Lecture Notes

General Lecture Notes - Lecture 2/4/08 Veda does not equal...

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Lecture 2/4/08 Veda does not equal Hinduism 1000-500 BC is the later Vedic period Mahabharata/ Ramajana both are texts that give us historical information on this time… but  difficult because they are both literary texts (known as epics because describe things that  happened on earth, not entirely religious texts). Also help describe wars, battles, heroic  feats… most likely some form of these events actually occurred though are considered  mostly mythic.  Most important event is that Aryan civilization moved from northwest Punjab/Indus   Delhi  and Ganges plane characterized by monsoon and fertile soil, but needed stronger plows  discovery of iron in Bihar   clearing of jungle and Doab.  Pastoral society usually poorer where agriculture has been ecologically excluded. But  agricultural development of N. India lead to great wealth ect thanks ultimately to Iron  almost all of S Asia becoming an agricultural economy.  Caste system in simple terms: o Caste is a Portuguese word (15 th /16 th  century) encountered system which they found  interesting/exotic and seen as a hierarchy, something the Indians had never heard  before they spoke of it as a Varna system as being the 4 great classes of Indian  society Brahmans: priestly and highest class Vshatriyas: Noble/fighting class (wealthiest and having power) but not highest  class, Brahmans on top Vaishyas: Merchants/business class Sudras: Peasants agricultural wealth and most vital from economic point of  view Untouchables: below the caste system, without caste. And don’t have  anything equivalent to that in any other culture. A category of their own and  by Ghandi’s time 1/5 of Indian population belonged to this caste. They are so  impure that they are not put into caste order, they exist below it as  outcast(e)s; cast out of society and outside caste system! People who did  dirty work of Indians, sweepers, garbage collectors, animal skinners,  undertakers, (removal of waste or implied physical contact with waste/dead)  was considered impure and wouldn’t be caught dead doing it themselves.  NOT SLAVES though some did exist in this period. Mentioned with certain  regularity within 3 rd  and 4 th  century. Untouchables had gongs so that they  would bang on approach so people could move away. 
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Sri Lanka and Buddhists don’t seem to have this system. 1940 Mumbai dude converted a ton of untouchables to Buddhism so that they would not be seen as pariahs o Divinely ordained, born into one of these Varnas and you are supposed to stick to your varna and do your caste duty. o
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This note was uploaded on 04/05/2008 for the course HIST 142 taught by Professor Wink during the Spring '08 term at Wisconsin.

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General Lecture Notes - Lecture 2/4/08 Veda does not equal...

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