He has features in common with the hindu god shiva

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Unformatted text preview: indu god Shiva, especially where he is depicted with three faces and an erect phallus. Also found in Indus artifacts are the pipal tree and the left-handed swastika, both symbols of later importance to Hindus. Terra-cotta figurines of females, often pregnant or carrying a child, are similar to female images in several prehistoric cultures. As possible precursors of Shiva’s consort (known as Devi, Durga, and by other names), they too may represent an element of pre-Aryan religion that reemerged later to figure in “Hindu” culture. Yet other aspects of Indus religion—burial customs, for example—are not clearly related to later Indian practices. They remind us, however, that the Indus peoples, like all others, had their own ways of coming to terms with the mysteries of birth, life, and death. The Vedic Aryan Civilization The Passing of Indus Civilization Sometime in the period from about 1800 to 1700 B.C.E., Indus civilization disappeared. It is not clear whether its demise was related to the warlike Aryan invaders who may first have appeared in the upper Indus about 1800 B.C.E. and later used their horse-drawn chariots to subdue indigenous peoples and move across the north Indian plains. Some scholars think it was destroyed by abnormal flooding (perhaps from careless We know more about the Aryan culture that effectively “refounded” Indian civilization around 1500 B.C.E. Yet unlike Indus civilization, it was not urban and left neither city ruins nor substantial artifacts beyond tools, weapons, and pottery. Virtually our only source of knowledge about ancient Aryan life are the words of the Vedas, the Aryan sacred texts—hence we know the culture as “Vedic.” Although the latest Vedic texts date from perhaps 500 B.C.E., the earliest may go back to 1700 B.C.E. Transmitted orally through the centuries, the Vedas were not written down until writing was reintroduced to India sometime after 700 B.C.E. (Indeed, until recently, writing down the Vedas at all was shunned in favor of memorization and recitation among the Brahmans.) The Vedas are ritual, priestly, and speculative, not historical works. They reveal little about events but do offer insight into the religion, society, values, and thought of early Aryan India. Veda, which means “knowledge,” is the collective term for the texts still recognized today by most Indians as the holiest sources of their tradition. For Hindus, Veda is the eternal wisdom of primordial seers preserved for thousands of years in an unbroken oral tradition. The Vedas are the four major compilations of Vedic ritual, explanatory, and speculative texts. The collection of 1,028 religious hymns known as the Rig-Veda represents the oldest materials of the Vedas. The latest of these hymns date from about 1000 B.C.E., the oldest from perhaps 1700–1200 B.C.E., when the Aryans spread across the northern plains to the upper reaches of the Ganges. Aryan is a different kind of term. The second-millennium invaders of northern India called themselves Aryas as opposed to the peoples whom they conquered....
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This document was uploaded on 04/03/2014.

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