Unformatted text preview: d under his authority until his death. Villages in
to ones caste.
rural India were generally self-governing under the
Moksha, or release. The end of the cycle of death
leadership of village elders according to custom.
and reincarnation can be broken through a final
These villages were usually subordinated (i.e. taxed)
realease, “moksha,” when the soul merges with the
by a local prince.
Brahman (achieves one-ness with God). Moksha is
available only to those in the Brahmin, or priestly
What preserved the unity of Indian civilization
caste, and only to those who follow the proper belief
and culture was not a ruling family or a unified state, and ritual.
but a common set of rituals and beliefs that goes
Hinduism tends to support social conformity since
under the name of “Hinduism.”
people in lower castes did not acquire sufficient good
However, Hinduism has no single authoritative
karma in their previous lives. They can be reborn in a
dogma or creed, and it has no church organization or higher caste in the next reincarnation only by fulfilling
hierarchy or system of ordaining ministers or priests. their caste obligations as fully as possible (i.e. without
There are hundreds of different names of gods in the
aspiring to rise higher than they were born).
Indian subcontinent, and whether they are all
different or are the same few gods under different
Indian civilization was highly sophisticated, and it
names, is a question for interpretation.
contributed significantly to Middle Eastern and
Among the beliefs that seem to be common among European Civilization. Perhaps the most useful import
all Hindus are:
from India was the decimal numbering system (with
Brahman: Everything in the universe is only an
the concept of “0"). We know these as “Arabic
aspect of the Brahman or world soul. The apparent
numerals”, because Europeans learned them from the
diversity of things and beings in the world is an
illusion. All things and beings are part of the one-ness
From the beginning, India had highly skilled
of God, and those who attai...
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This document was uploaded on 03/10/2014 for the course HISTORY 1020 at Wisc Platteville.
- Spring '14