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Jainism
Jainism
Fasting Buddha This sculpture of the Buddha, showing the effects of a
Fasting Buddha This sculpture of the Buddha, showing the effects of a
Caves at Ajanta During the fifteen-year reign of its founder, Chandra
Caves at Ajanta During the fifteen-year reign of its founder, Chandra
Ashoka's column The best preserved of the pillars that King Ashoka
Ashoka's column The best preserved of the pillars that King Ashoka
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India and Southeast Asia

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1Chapter 6 India and Southeast Asia. 25air. It weighs about 50 tons, making its
1500 B.C.E – 600 C.E. erection a remarkable feat of engineering.
2The Indian Subcontinent. India has Like other Ashokan pillars, it is
three topographical zones (1) the northern inscribed with accounts of Ashoka's
mountainous zone (2) the Indus and Ganges political achievements and instructions to
Basins (3) the peninsula. his subjects on proper behavior. These
3The peninsula itself includes further pillars are the earliest extant examples
topographical sub-regions including. (1) of Indian writing and a major historical
tropical Kerala coast in the west (2) source for the Mauryan period.
Coromandel Coast in the east (3) flat area (Borromeo/Art Resource, NY). Copyright ©
of Tamil Nadu in the south (4) island of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights
Sri Lanka. reserved. Ashoka's column.
4Peninsular India and the Ganges Valley 26Commerce and Culture in an Era of
have a subtropical climate and plentiful Political Fragmentation. The Mauryan
rainfall The Indus Valley is dry and empire collapsed in 184 b.c.e. Northern
agriculture there relies on irrigation The India fell into a period of political
staple crop of the Ganges Delta is rice; fragmentation that included rule of the
elsewhere, the staple crops are wheat, northwest by the Shakas (Scythians, 50
millet, and barley. b.c.e.–50 c.e.) and the Kushans (50–240
5This geographical diversity has made c.e.). Political fragmentation in northern
it very difficult for any political power India was accompanied by economic
to unify all of India for any great length development in which guilds of artisans
of time. and merchants played a dominant role.
6The Vedic Age- Refers to: Vedas, the 27The period of political fragmentation
oldest preserved Indo-Aryan texts Vedic was also characterized by cultural
Sanskrit, language Vedic period, in which development that included the writing of
the Vedas were produced. Indo-European the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The
warriors migrated into India They were latter includes the famous Bhagavad-Gita,
organized in patriarchal families and which addresses the contradiction between
kinship groups After 1000 b.c.e. some of duty to society and duty to one’s own
them began to push into the Ganges Valley, soul. The Bhagavad-Gita suggests that this
using new iron tools to cut down trees and contradiction can be resolved when one is
cultivate the land The oral tradition of aware that any form of disciplined action
these light-skinned Arya tribes tells of a taken without regard for personal benefit
violent struggle between themselves and is a service to the gods. The period also
the darker-skinned Dravidian-speaking saw developments in herbal medicine and
Dasas, whom they evidently pushed into linguistics.
southern India. 28During the period of political
7Caste or Varnas system. The struggle fragmentation in the north, central and
between Aryas and Dasas led to the south India experienced different patterns
development of the system of varna, of development. The Andhra dynasty
meaning “color” but equivalent to “class.” established an independent state in the
Under this system, people were born into Deccan (second century b.c.e. to second
one of four varna. century c.e.). In southern India, divided
8(1) Brahmin (priests/scholars) (2) among three Tamil kingdoms: Cholas,
Kshatriya (warriors) (3) Vaishya Pandyas, and Cheras, this was a period of
(merchants) (4) Shudra (peasant/laborer) A great artistic achievement.
fifth group, Untouchables, was outside the 29The Gupta Empire, 320–550 c.e. Like
system and consisted of persons who did the Mauryan Empire, the Gupta Empire began
demeaning or ritually polluting work such with the kingdom of Magadha. The rulers of
as work that involved contact with the the Gupta Empire brought northern and
dead bodies of animals or humans. central India under their control, but not
9The four varna were subdivided into the south. Like the Mauryan rulers, the
hereditary occupational groups called jati Guptas controlled iron deposits,
(also known by the Portuguese word caste) established state monopolies, and
Jati were also arranged in order of collected a 25 percent agricultural tax.
hierarchy; complex rules governed the However, they were never as strong as the
appropriate occupation, duties, and Mauryan Empire.
rituals of each jati and laid forth 30The Guptas used their army to control
regulations concerning interaction between the core of their empire, but provincial
people of different jati. administration was left to governors who
10Religion. The systems of varna and often made their posts into hereditary and
jati were rationalized by belief in subordinate kingdoms and kinship groups.
reincarnation According to this belief, 31Because the Gupta did not have
each individual has an immortal spirit sufficient military force, they exercised
(atman) that will be reborn in another power as a “theater-state,” redistributing
body after death. One’s station in the profits and luxury goods from trade and
next life depends on one’s actions (karma) dazzling its dependents with elaborate
in this and previous lives. ceremonies in return for gifts and other
11Vedic religion emphasized the worship favors.
of male deities through sacrifice 32We have very little archaeological
Religious knowledge and practice was the data and few contemporary accounts from
monopoly of the Brahmin priestly varna who which to learn about the politics,
memorized the rituals, prayers, and hymns society, and culture of the Gupta period.
and may have opposed the introduction of We know that the court supported
writing in order to maintain their mathematics and astronomy and that Gupta
monopoly in religious knowledge. mathematicians invented our “Arabic”
12Women. We do not know much about the numerals and the concept of “zero.” We
status or roles of women in the Vedic also have the Chinese monk Faxian’s
period They could study lore and description of his journey through Gupta
participate in rituals, they could own India.
land, and they married in their middle or 33During the Gupta period, women lost
late teens. the right to inherit and own property and
13Jainism and Buddhism. During the Vedic to participate in key rituals, and were
period, people who reacted against the treated like the lowest varna (Shudra).
rigid social hierarchy and against the They were married very young, and in some
religious monopoly of the Brahmins would places a widow was required to burn
withdraw into the forests where they herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.
pursued salvation through yoga (spiritual Among the few ways to escape this low
and mental discipline), special diets, or status was to join a religious community,
meditation. to be a member of an extremely wealthy
14Their goal was to achieve family, or to be a courtesan.
moksha—liberation from the cycle of birth, 34The Gupta period, while dominated by
death, and rebirth or reaching the best Hinduism, was characterized by religious
karma that you could actually reach. The toleration and saw the development of the
ideas of these religious dissidents are classic form of Hindu temples with
reflected in the Upanishads. exterior courtyard, inner shrine, and wall
15Jainism. Jainism was founded by decorations.
Mahavira (540–468 b.c.e.). Jains practiced 35Gupta India was linked to the outside
nonviolence and went to extremes in their world by extensive trade networks. Trade
attempts not to kill any living thing The with southeast and east Asia was
most extreme went naked and starved particularly flourishing.
themselves to death. The less extreme 36In 550 c.e the Gupta empire collapsed
devoted themselves to commerce and under the financial burden of defense
banking—occupations that, unlike against the Huns. Harsha (r. 606–647 c.e),
agriculture, do not require one to kill. whose kingdom is described by the Chinese
16Buddhism. Siddhartha Gautama founded pilgrim Xuanzang, briefly reunited
Buddhism His title, “Buddha,” means northern India. After Harsha, northern
“Enlightened One.” Alienated by both the India again fell into political
extremes of a wealthy youth and six years fragmentation.
of asceticism, Siddhartha Gautama set 37During the Gupta period numerous small
forth his teaching of the “Four Noble kingdoms ruled the Deccan and south India.
Truths” and of the Eightfold Path that The most notable of these were the
would lead the individual to southern warrior kingdoms of the Pallavas
enlightenment. and the Cholas.
17Fasting Buddha This sculpture of the 38Southeast Asia, 50–1025 c.e.
Buddha, showing the effects of a 39Geography and Resources. Southeast
protracted fast, is from Gandhara in Asia has three geographical zones: (1) the
northwest India. It displays the influence Indo-china mainland; (2) the Malay
of Greek artistic styles emanating from peninsula; and (3) the islands. The area
Greek settlements established in that stands between China and India, and has
region by Alexander the Great in the late been influenced by both civilizations.
fourth century B.C.E. (Courtesy, Robert 40Natural resources include fertile
Fisher). Copyright © Houghton Mifflin agricultural lands, dependable monsoon
Company. All rights reserved. Fasting rains, and several growing seasons a year.
Buddha. This enabled the area to support a large,
18Some of his followers took vows of dense population.
celibacy, nonviolence, and poverty. The 41Early Civilization. Early inhabitants
original form of Buddhism centered on the of Southeast Asia practiced swidden (slash
individual’s attempts to gain and burn) agriculture and domesticated
enlightenment through moderate living, important crops and animals, including
self-discipline, and meditation Their goal rice, soybeans, sugar cane, chickens, and
was to achieve nirvana—release from the pigs.
cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. 42Southeast Asia received waves of
19According to Buddhist teaching, all migration of Malay peoples from southern
things are composite, including the China. Malay migrations subsequently
individual This stands in contrast to the continued into the Pacific islands and
Vedic belief in the existence of an into the Indian Ocean. Early Malay groups
eternal soul (atman). After the death of in Southeast Asia lived in small villages,
the Buddha, some of his followers manufactured bronze tools, and were
organized themselves into monasteries and organized in small political units.
nunneries They developed a complex, 43The first large states in Southeast
hierarchical religion, complete with Asia emerged in the early centuries c.e.
worship of the Buddha, reverence for in response to the position of Southeast
bodhisattvas (people trying to gain Asia as a crossroads for trade and travel
enlightenment), and artistic between India and China. Trade brought
representations of the Buddha. business; it also brought Hindu/Buddhist
20The religion broke into two major culture.
schools: Mahayana and Theravada. Mahayana 44The first major state to appear in
incorporated the new beliefs, while Southeast Asia was Funan (first through
Theravada followed the original teaching sixth centuries b.c.e.) in the Mekong
of the Buddha more closely. delta area. Funan thrived due to its
21The Mauryan Empire, 324 b.c.e.–184 domination of the Isthmus of Kra. Funan’s
b.c.e. The core of the Mauryan Empire was decline in the sixth century may be
the kingdom of Magadha They benefited from related to the opening of new trade routes
its strategic location and plentiful that bypassed Funan.
agricultural and iron resources The 45The Srivijayan Kingdom. Srivijaya was
Mauryan Empire was founded by Chandragupta located on Sumatra and dominated the new
and expanded by himself and his successors southern trade route through the Strait of
Bindusara and Ashoka until it included Malacca as well as other shipping routes
almost the entire subcontinent. through the area of modern Malaysia and
22Caves at Ajanta During the Indonesia.
fifteen-year reign of its founder, Chandra 46The Srivijayan political system knit
Gupta (320-335) and the forty-year reigns together four different ecological zones
of his three successors, the power and and their local rulers under the authority
influence of the Gupta Empire reached of the Srivijayan king. These four zones
across northern and central India. During were: (1) the core area along the Musi
and after the Gupta period, natural River; (2) the upland Sumatran interior;
caves--like the cave temples at Ajanta, in (3) river ports; and (4) the fertile rice
central India, shown here--were turned lands of central Java.
into complexes of shrines decorated with 47The Srivijayan kings maintained their
sculpture and painting. (Dinodia Picture control over this complex system through a
Agency). Copyright © Houghton Mifflin combination of military power, diplomacy,
Company. All rights reserved. Caves at control of trade, and the techniques of
Ajanta. the “theater-state.” Kings used the
23The Mauryan government made its splendor of their capital to attract
capital at the walled and moated city of resources and labor. The temporal power of
Pataliputra The imperial establishment, the kings was enhanced by popular belief
including a large army, was supported by a in their magical powers. Kings were
25 percent tax on the agricultural associated with forces of fertility. They
products of the empire and by state also patronized Buddhist monasteries and
monopolies on mines, shipbuilding, and schools.
armaments. 48Indian culture exercised a powerful
24The most famous Mauryan emperor is influence on Srivijayan concepts of
Ashoka (r. 269–232 b.c.e.). Ashoka, shaken kingship and government, while the Hindu
by the carnage in a brutal war of and Buddhist religions became the dominant
expansion in the south, converted to faiths of the region. Srivijayans did not,
Buddhism His Buddhist policies of however, simply imitate India; they
government are preserved in edicts that borrowed selectively from Indian
were inscribed on rocks and pillars at civilization and adapted what they
various points throughout his empire. borrowed to their own culture and needs.
25Ashoka's column The best preserved of 49Changes in trade routes led to the
the pillars that King Ashoka erected in decline of Srivijaya in the eleventh
about 240 B.C.E. is this one in the Bihar century. The capital was destroyed in 1025
region, near Nepal. The solid shaft of by the Chola kingdom.
polished sandstone rises 32 feet in the
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