chapter 9 state, society, and the quest for salvation in india 1

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  • Chapter 9State, Society, and the Quest for Salvation in India*

  • ObjectivesUnderstand how the Mauryan and Gupta Empires came to be and their significance.Understand the impact that the various empires had on IndiaUnderstand the history and basic principles of Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, why they came about and their impact on India.*

  • India Before the Mauryan Dynasty520 BCE Persian Emperor Darius conquers north-west IndiaIntroduces Persian ruling pattern327 Alexander of Macedon destroys Persian Empire in IndiaTroops mutiny, departs after 2 yearsPolitical power vacuum*

  • The Mauryan and Gupta empires321 B.C.E.-550 C.E.*

  • Kingdom of Magadha*

  • Kingdom of MagadhaMost significant remaining kingdom after Alexanders departureCentral Ganges plainEconomic strengthAgricultureTrade in Ganges valley, Bay of BengalDominated surrounding regions in north-eastern India*

  • Chandragupta MauryaTook advantage of power vacuum left by AlexanderOverthrew Magadha rulersExpanded kingdom to create 1st unified Indian empireMauryan Dynasty*

  • Chandraguptas GovernmentAdvisor KautalyaRecorded in Arthashastra, manual of political statecraftStressed realism how king & government worksForeign policies, economicsDomestic policiesNetwork of spieswho does this remind you of??Legend: Chandragupta retires to become a monk, starves himself to death*

  • Ashoka MauryaGrandson of ChandraguptaRepresents high point of Mauryan Empire, r. 268-232 BCEExpanded empire to include all of Indian subcontinent except for southPositive rule--integrated Indian society*

  • Decline of the Mauryan EmpireEconomic crisis follows death of AshokaHigh costs of bureaucracy, military not supported by tax revenueFrequent devaluations of currency to pay salariesRegions begin to abandon Mauryan EmpireDisappears by 185 BCE*

  • Regional Kingdom: BactriaNorthwestern IndiaRuled by Greek-speaking descendants of Alexanders campaignsIntense cultural activity accompanies active trade*

  • Regional Kingdom: KushNorthern India/Central AsiaC. 1-300 CEMaintained silk road network*

  • The Gupta DynastyBased in MagadhaFounded by Chandra Gupta (no relation to Chandragupta Maurya), c. 320 CESlightly smaller than Mauryan EmpireHighly decentralized leadership


  • Gupta DeclineFrequent invasions of White Huns, (Hephtalites) 5th c. CE- take most of Northwest IndiaGupta Dynasty disintegrates along regional fault linesSmaller local kingdoms dominate until Mughal Empire founded in 16th c.*

  • Economy: Towns and ManufacturingManufactured goods in big demandDeveloped in dense network of small workshopsTrade intense, capitalizes on trade routes across India*

  • Long-Distance TradePersian connection since Cyrus, DariusMassive road-building projects under Persian ruleAlexander extends trade west to MacedonTrade routes through Kush mountains, the silk roads.*

  • Trade in the Indian Ocean BasinSeasonal sea trade expandsimportant to understand how the monsoons work.Spring/winter winds blow from south-west, fall/winter winds blow from north-westTrade from Asia to Persian Gulf and Red Sea, Mediterranean*

  • Society: Gender RelationsPatriarchy entrenchedChild marriage common (8 year old girls married to men in 20s)Women encouraged to remain in private sphere*

  • Social OrderCaste system from Aryan timesBrahmins (priests)Kshatriyas (warriors, aristocrats)Vaishyas (Peasants, merchants)Shudras (serfs)*

  • Castes and GuildsIncreasing economic diversification challenges simplistic caste systemJatis formed: guilds that acted as sub-castesEnforced social orderoutcastes forced into low-status employment*

  • Wealth and the Social OrderUpward social mobility possible for Vaishyas, ShudrasWealth challenges varna for status*

  • Religions of Salvation in Classical IndiaSocial change generated resentment of caste privilegee.g. Brahmins free from taxation6th-5th c. BCE new religions and philosophies challenge status quoCharvakas: atheistsJainists, Buddhists*

  • JainismVardhamana Mahavira, 540-468 BCEAbandoned privileged family to lead ascetic lifePromotes 7th c. movement based on UpanishadsEmphasis on selfless living, concern for all beings*

  • AhimsaPrinciple of extreme non-violenceJainists sweep earth, strain water, use slow movements to avoid killing insectsAhimsa continues to inspire modern movements (Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr.)*

  • Appeal of JainismRejected caste, jati distinctionsObvious appeal to underprivileged groupsBut asceticism too extreme to become a mass movement*

  • Early BuddhismSiddhartha Gautama, c. 563-483 BCEEncountered age, sickness, death, then monastic lifeAbandoned comfortable life to become a monk


  • Gautamas Search for EnlightenmentIntense meditation, extreme asceticism49 days of meditation under bo tree to finally achieve enlightenmentAttained title Buddha: the enlightened one*

  • The Buddha and his FollowersBegins teaching new doctrine c. 528 BCEFollowers owned only robes, food bowlsLife of wandering, begging, meditationEstablishment of monastic communities*

  • Buddha and his Disciples*

  • Buddhist Doctrine: The DharmaThe Four Noble Truthsall life is sufferingthere is an end to sufferingremoving desire removes sufferingthis may be done through the eight-fold path(right views, intention, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, concentration)


  • Appeal of BuddhismLess dependence on Brahmins for ritual activitiesNo recognition of caste, jati statusPhilosophy of moderate consumptionPublic service through lay teachingUse of vernacular, not Sanskrit*

  • A Buddhist Monastery*

  • Ashokas Support of BuddhismPersonal conversion to BuddhismDisillusioned after violent war with KalingaBanned animal sacrifices, mandated vegetarianism in courtMaterial support for Buddhist institutions, missionary activities*

  • Changes in Buddhist thought3rd c. BCE 1st c. CEBuddha considered divineInstitution of Boddhisatvas (saints)Charitable donations to monasteries regarded as pious activity


  • The Great Stupa at Sanchi*

  • Spread of Mahayana BuddhismMahayana (greater vehicle), newer developmentIndia, China, Japan, Korea, central AsiaHinayana (lesser vehicle, also Theravada), earlier versionCeylon, Burma, Thailand*

  • NalandaBuddhist MonasteryQuasi-university: Buddhism, Hindu texts, philosophy, astronomy, medicinePeak at end of Gupta dynastyHelped spread Indian thoughtE.g. mathematical number zero*

  • Emergence of Popular HinduismComposition of epics from older oral traditionsMahabharataRamayanaEmphasis on god Vishnu and his incarnations


  • The Bhagavad GitaSong of the LordCenturies of revisions, final form c. 400 CEDialogue between Arjuna and Krishna during civil war*

  • Hindu EthicsEmphasis on meeting class obligations (dharma)Pursuit of economic well-being and honesty (artha)Enjoyment of social, physical and sexual pleasure (kama)Salvation of the soul (moksha)*

  • Popularity of HinduismGradually replaced Buddhism in IndiaGupta dynastic leaders extend considerable support*