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11-Indian History-BC-1 (2300-500 BC)

India has a continuous civilization since 2500 BC. During the 2nd millennium, Aryan speaking tribes migrated from northwest into the Indian subcontinent Most of this material is taken frm "A New History of India" by Stanley Wolper, 2004. [Text written in green is my comments]

c 2300-1750 BC
Excavations of Mohenjo-daro - a city on the west bank of Sindhu River, about 250 miles north of the Arabian Sea. There are estimated at least 10 cities at that time. A very spacious building, 230 x 78 feet, possibly a royal court, has been found. Almost 400 different pictographic signs usually above their animal figures have been identified on the seals. Harappaa (population estimated to be 35,000, and circumference about 3 1/2 miles) along the Sindhu River show that people in those times had a written language, and no temples. Some of these seals have been found in the Sumerian dig at Ur in 1932. This shows that merchants from here were trading with their Sumerian counterparts between 2300 and 2000 BC.

A dyed cotton cloth piece, maybe of around 2000 BC, has been found at Mohenjo-daro, No graves have been discovered yet, but cemeteries have been found at Harappaa. The one found in 1946 shows the fractional burial of bones in large urns. Some skeletons found at Mohenjo-daro show that there was some kind of earthquake or flood or both and they were killed by being trapped - not buried.

Those culture seems to have disappeared as dramatically, almost as inexplicably, as it had emerged washed over by the silt over Sindhu River.

c 1500-800 BC
We have no archeological evidence for the first few centuries, about five centuries, 1500-1000 BC, but the Aaryan religious books, Ved, especially Rig Ved, preserved by each tribe through rigorous oral tradition. This Ved consists of 1,017 Sanskrit language poems, addressed to Aaryan gods. Unlike pre-Aaryans of Harappaa, the Aaryans lived in tribal villages, with houses made of bamboo, with no baked bricks, with no magnificent statues, with no sewer systems, with no seals or writings.

Since the Rig Ved was not written until before circa 600 BC, and the earliest surviving writing dates back only as far as about 1200 AD; but then how we can know that these hymns were actually composed as early as 1500 BC, when it is generally assumed the Aaryans first invaded India? 

Age of Literature Before 1909
Before 1909, the method to know it was only Max Muller's technique. By using this technique, he said that the first Ved, Rig Ved was a Shruti (heard) and the three other collections (Sanhitaa) of hymns and magical incantations or spells - Saam Ved, Yajur Ved and Atharv Ved. Next emerged a series of prose commentaries on each of Ved. Because they were more related to procedures required for Braahman, they were called Braahmanaa. Finally a third group of mystical philosophic works appeared with a new religious message, sharply differentiate them from the Braahmanaa and Sanhitaa - they are the Vedaant Upanishad.

Many of their ideas are similar to those in early Buddhism. Muller reasoned that they must have been composed at about the time the Buddha lived, or somewhere during the 6th century BC. Besides among 108 Upanishad texts, there has been significant ideological, if not linguistic, evolution, which probably took several centuries. This would move the date of their composition back  to about 8th century BC, from whence it should have taken at least two centuries for the Braahaman to have been written. If the last of the Vaidik Sanhitaa was then completed and ready for commentary by 1000 BC, it seems safe to say that the oldest section of the Rig Ved must have been at least four centuries older, hence the estimated date of around 1400 BC for the compilation of the Rig Ved.

Age of Literature After 1909
The excavation, done in 1909, has shown a tablet containing a treaty between Hittite king Subiluliumaa and his Mitannee neighbor to the east, king Matteevaazaa who reigned in about 1400 BC. Invoked as Divine witnesses to this treaty were four gods - Indar, Uruvnaa, Mitiraa, and Nasaatiyaa, whose Sanskrit names in Rig Ved were spelled virtually the same - Indra, Varun, Mitra, and Nakshatra, providing that by this date the Vaidik pantheon had acquired its identity.

This confirmation of Muller's estimates leads us to assume that, since the Rig Ved itself does not mention the Aaryan invasion of India, the process must have begun at least a century earlier, or probably around 1500 BC. This was the most important invasion in all of India's history, since the Aaryan brought with their Caucasian genes, a new language - Sanskrit, a new pantheon of gods, patriarchal and patrilineal family system and the three class social structure - Braahman (priests), Kshatriya (warriors), and commoners. 

The term Aarya means "highborn" or "noble". the commoners or "Vish" (later used to denote the largest class - Vaishya) were mostly divided into tribes or "Jana". The foremost Aaryan tribe was called "Bharat", probably by the name of its first king (Raajaa). This "Bhaarat" word has been now its official Sanskrit name with the inauguration of its constitution in 1950.

Social System -
The Vaidik Aaryan were, however, beef eaters and wine drinkers as well as warriors. One of the most common prayers in the Ved is to get a "manly heroic" (Veer) son. The word Veer in the Rig Ved, in fact, is hardly distinguishable from "son". Daughters, however, were little valued. Dowries would be required for them. Although the status of women in Aaryan society was higher than it was to remain throughout most of Indian history, they were forbidden to participate in any sacrifice to the gods, since their presence was considered a source of pollution.
[This impression seems wrong to me as most Yagya were done with wives, rather even with their statues kept if they were not there. Dasharath, Raam, Yudhishthir's Yagya are example of it. Raam kept the statue because Seetaa was not there, not because of that she spread pollution] No evidence of polygamy or child marriage is found in Ved, though both were subsequently practiced in most parts of India.

Country's Rivers -
The country, inhabited by Aarya during the period in which the Ved were composed, was known as the Sapt Sindhu "Land of Seven Rivers". It consisted primarily of the Panjaab, whose five great rivers (Jhelam, Raavee, Chinaab, Vyaas, and Satlaj) flowed into Sindhu River plus Saraswatee, now only a minor stream in the Raajsthaan desert. The River Gangaa was little known to Aarya by the end of the Rig Ved era (it is mentioned only once in a late book). This indicates that the tribes took 500 years to move towards east beyond the region of Delhi.

The Four Varn -
Surely the Rishi (sage), mentioned in the Rig Ved, were among those first approached by kings for assistance in practical as well as in spiritual matters. At any rate, the hymn of the "Sacrifice of the Cosmic Man" (Purush Sookt), in the 10th and final book of the Rig Ved, explains that the four great classes (Varn) emerged from different parts of thev original cosmic man's body parts - Braahman from mouth, Kshatriya from arms, Vaishya from thighs, and Shoodra from feet.

Metals - 
Gold, the most frequently mentioned in the Rig Ved, must have come from the rivers of the northwest and used in ritual sacrifices and jewelry. The other metal mentioned there is "Ayas" which initially might have meant bronze, but later a distinction was made between them as red Ayas and dark Ayas which might have indicated bronze and iron. So it seems that iron was not discovered in India until the Aarya had moved as far east as the modern state of Bihaar (where iron is found even today), which could not have been before 1000 BC.

Hastinaapur -
Excavations in 1950 unearthed the traces of Hastinaapur. The materials found there is of about 1000 BC, while from the later levels some iron weapons have also been unearthed.

Agriculture, Animals etc -
By the time Rig Ved was written, Arya have adopted agricultural economy and some variety of Yava (grains) were grown. These must be only barley and wheat, there is no reference of rice, however, until the Atharv Ved. Lion and elephant were known in Rig Ved times, but neither the rhinoceros nor the tiger, both so prominent on Sindhu Valley seals. The horse was second to cow in importance. Chariot racing was their leading sports. They loved music, wine, gambling, war and chariot racing. all their hymns were chanted but Saam Ved was especially for singing. Thus music and dancing were an integral part of worship too. Som Ras was their drink. Although it is not quite clear that whether it was alcoholic, or narcotic, or psychedelic, but it is assumed that it was made from a plant that grows wild in the foothills of Himaalaya - it may be Hasheesh, or peyote.

The game of dice, like chess, was invented in India, and many dice carved of nuts were found at Mohenjo-daaro [If Aarya came after Mohenjo-daro civilization was extinguished, and the game of the dice was the game of Aarya, then why dices should have been found at Mohenjo-daro site?] "Cast on the board like magic bits of charcoal, though cold themselves, they burn the heart to ashes." lamented the Rig Ved's gambler in one of the secular hymns of that sacred collection.

Varn -
There were carpenters and wheelwrights, blacksmiths and tanners, weavers and spinners, farmers and herders etc. "Varn" means color, and each Varn had its own color - white for Braahman, red for Kshatriya, brown for Vaishya and black for Shoodra. Acute color consciousness thus developed early during India's Aryan age, has since remained a significant factor. It is to be noted that there is no reference to "untouchables" in the Rig Ved. This class must have been emerged late in the Aaryan age. The three original Varn were separated through "sacred ceremony" while some were cast beyond the organized society.

Religion and Gods -
Early Aarya religion centered around the worship of a pantheon of gods. no one god ruled over the pantheon. This pantheon included some 33 divinities named in Rig Ved; but the most powerful gods were Indra, Varun, Agni and Som. Indra was the war god, youthful and heroic (like Thor), assisted by Rudra, who comes to be identified only much later as the Rig Vaidik form of Shiv. Perhaps he was the first great leader of the Aaryan conquest. He required much nourishment and drank his Som Ras greedily in three gulps every morning before going to defeat the Raakshas Vritraasur - whose limbless body enclosed all creation holding life in a state of inert suspension and darkness. With his Vajra (thunderbolt) he pierced his body and released the dawn (which is why Hindu prayers to Indra are chanted so early in the morning), leaving the Raakshas prostrate while the waters rushed toward the ocean. Indra then became the "the Lord of what moves and what remains rested". Vritra was the symbol of pre-Aaryan power - Lord of "Daas". It has been suggested, that Vritra was no Raakshas at all, but a dam constructed across the Sindhu River by pre-Aarya people to control the river for irrigation, and Indra broke it.

[If Vritra was a dam, then it shows that pre-Aarya people had the concept of farming, and technology to build the dam to control water over such a big river and use it for irrigation purposes. Besides, in Hindu scriptures, Vritr has been depicted as an Asur and he used to afflict people, that is why Indra had to think about killing him and when he had killed him, it is said that "He killed him." and people were happy. If he were a dam, this description could not fit there.]

Once Indra won pre-Aarya, Varun, initially "Rit" and later "Dharm", to take up the Aaryan religious authority. Presiding over the Sun filled sky, he spread out the earth, as a butcher spreads the hide, extended the air above the trees... put strength in the horses, milk in the cows, willpower in the hearts, fire in waters, the Sun in the Heaven, and Som upon the mountain. Older and wiser than Indra, Varun was most honored by Aarya. He was closely connected to Soorya and with one of his lesser manifestations in the Rig Ved, Vishnu, who later shared with Shiv virtual monotheistic dominance over Hinduism.

Agni was the god of fire, and as such had many forms, traversing the three realms of earth, atmosphere and Heaven. He was needed or every sacrifice, he mirrored the Sun, and he had the power to heal, save, defend or destroy. Som was the god of immortality, the nectar of whose drops impart freedom and protect one's body from disease.

To Vaidik man, the Universe was divided between earth's fair surface and the heavenly dome above it, the realm in which Sat (real) prevailed; and the Raakshasee darkness beneath this world where unreality and falsehood dominated. Soon speculations about Indra led to a question, "Who ever saw him? Who is he that we should praise him?"

Before the Rig Ved was finished such speculation created of a number of super deities whose characteristics resembled monotheistic, rather than pantheistic gods. Prajaapati emerged as a more comprehensive god than Indra. This evolution came at the very end of the Rig Ved (Book X, hymn 129), when we find a neuter pronoun, Tad Ekam ("That One"), cited as the source of all creation, self-existent, self-generating and unique.

By about 1000 BC, India's Aarya were trying to find solutions for their hypothetical problems. The Tapas or Tap (heat) was credited to creation, and later it was used in relation to Yogic contemplation, and its use in Rig Ved may reflect the emergence of Indra's oldest form of religion as well as science. "Desire" (Kaam), which later came to mean "love", was the source of "That One's" stirring to life, the force behind the creation.

c 1000 - 450 BC
This Aaryan invasion was thus a process of gradual assimilation between barbaric hordes and more civilized pre-Aaryan "slaves". It took more than 1,000 to take historic change under Mauryan rule in 326 BC, by which time the Aarya had reached more than a 1,000 miles east to Sindhu River - up to the region of Patanaa (then called Paataliputra). This is based on literary and archeological bases. Of course for the remaining India the record remains blank, or are found in fragments.

Indian epic Mahaabhaarat is probably the account of around 1000 BC times. The artifacts found at Hastinaapur indicate that by then Aarya had mastered the metallurgy of iron which they may have learned from their Indo-European cousins who ruled the neighboring area of Eeraan.

[Here I differ with this idea, because Raam was born much earlier than this, and king Janak used plough to till the ground and he found Seetaa there. In fact we have all the kings' names etc even after the Mahaabhaarat events. Yagya were done in which many kinds of food were served and used. It cannot be true that the people were not familiar with other grains than barley and wheat.]

Several elaborated sacrifices appear in Braahman commentaries on the Ved, composed from about 1000 to 700 BC. The Shatapath Braahmanaa relates the eastward expansion of the Aarya as the spread of Agni's Divine fire, consuming forests as he advanced, pausing only at broad rivers long enough for his devotees to learn to carry him across without destroying themselves in his flames. Videh Mathav was credited with having rowed Agni across the river Gandak, the natural border of Koshal (modern Uttar Pradesh), hence the region east of that wide river was named Videh (modern north Bihaar). Rice was cultivated by now in this monsoon region. Koshal and Videh were the kingdoms in which Raam and Seetaa were born.

[He talks about Raam and Seetaa here at this time, while they were born long tome ago. Even Raam ruled for 10,000 years. This sequence doesn't seem right.]

Raamaayan Period -
Less than one quarter of the size of Mahaabhaarat, the Raamaayan is attributed to sage Vaalmeeki. We assume that it was composed sometime before 500 BC, but its story is to predate that of the Mahaabhaarat, since no mention has been made of any of the martial heroes of the latter (Mahaabhaarat) in Raamaayan, though the story of Raam and Seetaa is recounted several times in the Mahaabhaarat. Raamaayan gives many insights into the character of later Aarya's court life - that how powerful was Dharm (proper behavior) even for a monarch.

Though Raavan's kingdom has been named Lankaa, it is doubtful that the island of Sri Lankaa (Ceylon) had as yet been discovered or conquered by the Aarya. Raavan was probably based on pre-Aaryan land closer to Avadh - the neighboring southern land of Maalavaa perhaps, or possibly the Deccan.

[It also seems untrue as Raam went to Maharshi Agastya's Aashram while He was in exile, while Maharshi Agastya was already settled across Vindhyaachal mountain, thus Raavan cannot be the king of  northern region of Vindhyaachal.]

We know from the Mahaabhaarat, that the Aarya had probed south beyond Vindhya mountains (1,500-3,000 feet high), since the tale is told of how sage Agastya brought it down, because of the jealousy with Himaalaya, he had grown so big that he blocked the very path of the Sun. Gods approached Maharshi Agastya, Guru of Vindhyaachal. When Vindhya saw his Guru approach, he bowed low to greet him, and Agastya shrewdly asked him to remain in the same position until he came back from south, but he never came back. [This event took place before Raam.]

The entire Raamaayan may be read as an allegory of Aaryan and pre-Aaryan conflict, culminating in the Aaryan conquest of the south.

Such a process of expansion, settled agricultural production, and pluralistic integration of new people led to the development of complex system of social organization, which was mistakenly labeled the cast system by the Portuguese. In fact what the Portuguese called "caste" in the 16th century was the ideal Rig Vaidik class (Varn) system; whereas Indians meant by that as much more narrowly limited - endogamous group related by birth. The actual social pattern which emerged in the later Vaidik period, was a combination of Varn and Jaati system. Soon a need arose to include an addition group of people, whose occupations were so unclean that even Shoodra wouldn't like to touch them; hence a fifth caste emerged as "untouchables".

Tribal fears of losing "identity", or racial fears of losing "purity" further complicated the casual pattern of the development of Jaati system. It eventually divided and subdivided into hundreds of sub-Jaati. In south India and Bangaal, for example, we find virtually no intermediary Varn between the conquering Braahman and their Shoodra converted to Braahman.

During the Rig Vaidik times the dead had been  buried in their "little clay house"; by the Braahman age, the idea of Hell was elaborated upon, as was the concept of Heaven; and cremation became more common as Aarya moved east. A new theory, at least to Vaidik thought, for it might have already been existed in pre-Aaryan communities, that one might experience pain in Hell after death, that he might reawaken only to suffer again. Thus cities in Aaryaavart echoed with chants of Braahman and the air above Gangaa filled with smoke from funeral pyres and altars - some wise men watched in silence and wondered. [I don't know, all this existed in Raamaayan period also.]

"Asato Maa Sadgamaya; Tamaso Maa Jyotirgamaya; Mrityormaa Amritam Gamaya" - such was the threefold quest of the Upanishad mystics, 108 of whose poetic-philosophic dialogs survive as the final fruit of revealed Vaidik scripture. representing the orthodox intellectual revolt against Braahmanism which emerged in 8th century BC.

Upanishad -
Upanishad, which literally means "to sit down in front of", are messages transmitted by Guru (predominantly Kshatriya) to student disciples in forest.

[This seems wrong, because normally all the teachings were transmitted by Braahman, because they were supposed to know all Dharm, scriptures etc.]

Without rejecting Rig Vaidik Mantra and sacrifices as possible aids to salvation, the authors of Upanishad stress different path, which becomes the goal of "Vedaant meditation". When the sage Yaagyavalkya is ready to leave household to be a forest wanderer with his wife Maitreyee requests her husband to tell her the "secret of immortality". Then he expounds upon the reality of Aatmaa (soul), that with the understanding of Aatmaa , this world is unknown.

In the Rig Ved, Aatmaa simply meant breath, and breath associated with life and its cessation with death. Many students found difficult to accept anything they could not see as the comic essence. Young Shwetaketu who thought himself wise after having studied with a conventional Braahman for 12 years, was such a skeptic; but his father instructed him in the reality of Aatmaa by asking him to "bring a fig". The dialog goes like this :-

"Here it is, Sir."
"Divide it."
"It is divided, Sir."
"What do you see there?"
"These rather fine seeds, Sir."
"Of these, please divide one."
"It is divided, Sir."
"What do you see there?"
"Nothing at all, Sir."
"Verily my dear, that finest essence which you do not perceive - verily, my dear, from the finest essence this great Nyaagradh (sacred fig) tree thus arises. Believe me, my dear, that which is the finest essence - this whole world has that as its soul. That is reality. That is Aatmaa. That art thou, Shwetketu."

The last line equates the cosmic soul with the individual soul with the individual soul, offering the Upanishadik key to mastering reality and controlling cosmic forces and events - learning to master and control our real selves. such mystic knowledge and understanding was intuitive wisdom that might come in a flash or might never come at all, for learning its mystery is as hard as walking barefoot across "a razor's edge".

Some of the most difficult questions are asked by Upanishadik heroines like Gaargee Vaachannaavee, whose ever curious mind drove the Sage Yaagyavalkya to lose his temper. "On what, pray, is all this world woven, warp and woof?" asked Gaargee. The wise man began by answering merely "wind", but Gaargee only asked the same question of wind, and so on through "the worlds of the Sun", "the worlds of the Moon" etc till finally Yaagyavalkya was driven to admit that all was based upon, "the Worlds of Brahmaa". "On what then, pray, are the worlds of Brahmaa woven, warp and woof?" "Gaargee," the sage replied, "do not question too much, lest your head falls off."

To understand reality, therefore, one must appreciate the identity of that cosmic equation, whose distilled Vedaantik essence is the Sanskrit formula "Tat Twam Asi", "thou art that one". Tat, the third person singular pronoun (that one) stands for Braahman; Twam, the second person singular (thou) represents Aatmaa; and Asi, is merely the present singular form of "to be".

For thousands of years. Hindu would continue to ponder that seemingly simple equation, trying to grasp its mystic meaning. Whether we call it pessimism or realism, the Upanishadik view of this world and its inhabitants was ultimately negative. as old king Brihadrath, the hermit sage, put it, "in this ill-smelling, unsubstantial body, which is a conglomerate of bone, skin, muscle, marrow, flesh, semen, blood mucus, tears, rheum, feces, urine, wind, bile and phlegm, what is the good of enjoyment of desires?" That very problem was infinitely compounded now by the fully developed belief that there was an endless cycle of existence (Sansaar), of rebirth, re-death, whereby man found himself "like a frog in a waterless well."

The one hope, the only "way to escape" was through knowledge of the mystic identity of self and all. The law posited, that every action, good and evil, had repercussions, bore fruit in kind at some future time. The sum of our past individual Karm thus determines our present life, as our current behavior would dictate our future condition, and not only in this life time, but also in future lives. If one were evil enough, he might be reborn as a mosquito. Good Karm was naturally better than bad. and simply to be born human was considered a great advantage over Raakshas, animals, insects - the higher the Varn the better.

The Yogee living around Gangaa River looked beyond such pleasures to the pure bliss. This bliss has been described in Upanishad as "a dreamless sleep", even as Brahm has been described negatively as "not this, not this" (Neti, Neti). Like human life, Time was also deemed cyclical passing through "Kalp" (epochs) and "Yug" (ages) of millions of years, each of which is measured as but a moment of Brahmaa's life whose years are unlimited. what we see is illusion (Maayaa), and to which we gave name and form (Naam Roop) that is because of our ignorance of its unreality.

One Upanishad calls this illusion-maker "the mighty Lord" (Maheshwar), a name later used for Shiv whose Yaugik powers and creative force may have been equated by this time with control over life and death. "Verily, freedom from desire is like the choicest extract from the choicest treasure", notes the Maitree Upanishad. "In thinking, "This is I", and "This is mine", one binds himself with himself, as does a bird with a snare. being the opposite of that, he is liberated. Therefore one should stand free from determination [to become Nivritt], conception and self-conceit. This is the mark of liberation.

Kingship in 6th Century BC and Gautam Buddh (c 535-483 BC)            
See also   Bauddh Dharm

Kunik Ajaatshatru (535-518 BC) 17 years
Kunik was the son of Shrenik. He ascended the throne of Magadh in 535 BC. He attacked Kaushal kingdom and took possession of most of its territory. He divided Vaishaalee Republic and destroyed it. He created a strong kingdom of his time. Devadatt misguided him and he put his father Shrenik in prison. On advice of his mother, repenting on his act, he went to set his father free. On seeing Kunik coming with a sharp weapon, which he was taking with him to cut the fetters of his father, Shrenik suspecting his murder by Kunik, committed suicide. Thus Kunik Ajaatshatru is described as "Killer" of his father Shrenik in Buddhist literature. But in Jain literature he has been praised as the follower of Bhagavaan Mahaaveer. When Mahaaveer reached Ang Desh, King Kunik Ajaatshatru went to worship him with his progeny. King Kunik went to Kaushaambee also to bid farewell to Mahaaveer.

Hearing the news of Buddha's death, Kunik Ajaatshatru of Raajgriha, the Lichchhivi people of Vaishaalee, Shaakyas of Kapilvastu, members of the Bulee tribe of Alakaapuree, the Kolis of Samaagraam and the members of Malla tribe in Pava took away his ashes with due respect. They collected it in a metal vessel and buried it and built a statue over it. Thus ended, a pious and pure life.
By the 6th century BC, Buddhist sources named 16 major kingdoms and tribes in north India, from Kaamboj in Afgaanistaan to Ang in Bangaal. The most powerful of these Mahaa-Janapad (great tribal regions) were Magadh and Koshal - the Magadh commanding the Eastern plains in South of Gangaa, and the Koshal controlling the West of Magadh and North of Gangaa. Koshal region's capital was Ayodhyaa and absorbed the independent kingdom of Kaashee - later called Vaaraanasee, and then Banaaras. With its capital at Shraavastee near the foothills of Himaalaya. Koshal had its central base just West of Shaakya tribe, whose most famous member, Shaakya Muni, Siddhaarth Gautam, the Buddha (the Enlightened One), was born in Kapilvastu around 563 BC (died in ca 483 BC at the age of 80 in Kusheenagar).

Siddhaarth, at once fascinated but repelled by the civilized trappings of Aarya's rituals and rule, was driven to search solutions to same problems tackled by Upanishad teachers. When he was about 30, he left his home and wandered for 6 years in the woods of Koshal and South through the kingdom of Magadh. Later enlightenment changed his name to Buddha and he gave a new philosophy to the world.

Magadh, with its capital Raajgeer (or Raaj Grih), was a great source for mineral resources, especially iron, so it soon absorbed Bangaal Janapad Ang; and by the reign of Bimbisaar (Buddha's great patron) became the most powerful kingdom of north India. In a deer park at Saarnaath, on the outskirts of Kaashee, Buddha was believed to have set his "wheel of the law" (Dhamma in Paalee language for Dharm) in motion about 527 BC by preaching his first sermon on the four noble truths. It became the core of Theraavadaa (teachings of the elders), or what would later be called Heen-Yaan (lesser vehicle) by the post-Christian people Mahaa-Yaan (greater vehicle).

--The first noble truth was "suffering".
--The second noble truth was "ignorance" (A-Vidyaa) - the basic cause of suffering.
--The third noble truth was "any ill which was understood, could be cured. A mention is found of Jeevak Kumaarbhatt who went 600 miles away from Raajgeer, in Ujjain in the 6th century BC, to cure the Avantee king Pradyot and was handsomely rewarded for his success.
--The fourth noble truth was the eight-fold path to the elimination of suffering.
He spent nearly 45 years teaching these four noble truths. His teachings spread to Europe, China and Japan.

Jain Dharm     see also    Jain Dharm
Another Kshatriya prince who founded an order of monks was Vardhamaan Mahaaveer (540-468 BC). Born in Besarh, near the modern Patanaa, Mahaaveer was the son of the chief of the Gyaatrik tribe, and like the Buddha, he also abandoned his prosperity to become a wanderer as an ascetic at the age of 30. He seemed first to have joined a sect of nudist ascetics called the "Nirgranth" (free from bonds), with whom he remained for 10 years. The founder of Nirgranth was named Paarshwa and may have been Mahaaveer's Guru.

After Paarshwa Naath's death, Mahaaveer and his followers had split from the parent group to establish a new sect - Jain (means follower of Jeen - conqueror). He also came to be known as the 24th Teerthankar (ford maker), after the Jain canon was finally recorded at the Council of Vallabhee in 454 AD. The Teerthankar, who have crossed over the waters to preach the faith are the Jain equivalents of gods and Mahaaveer was the last of them - Paarshwa was the 23rd.

Mahaaveer adopted a more extreme form of asceticism than did the Buddha - he not only went naked but also advocated and practiced self-torture and death by starvation as the surest path to salvation. Though it took him 13 years from the time he resolved to starve himself to death, he was supposedly the last Jain to attain the pure and perfect peace of Teerthankar paradise , which resembled Moksh or Nirvaan.

According to Jain doctrine, all nature is alive and has some form of soul, called "Jeev". Like Aatmaa, all Jeev are eternal, but in contrast to Upanishadik idealism, there is no Jain equivalent to the infinite cosmic Aatmaa, only a finite number (millions of billions) of various degree of Jeev - some much more powerful than others. The Jeev of rock, for example, has only one sense, that of touch, and is thus weaker than the Jeev of a man, god or Hell-dweller which has multi-sensory capability of touch, taste, smell, sight, hearing and mind. Jeev are not themselves created by any divinity, but have always existed as an eternal cosmic pool of souls.

At the dawn of two-Kalp cycle of Jain time, all Jeev are free, unencumbered by :particles of matter" (Pudgal), that ensnare them with invisible Karm nets and thereafter burden and tarnish them through the trillions of years it takes for the cycle to run itself back to quiescence. Is another principle is A-Hinsaa. It is probably thanks to Jainism that A-Hinsaa became so significant an aspect of later Hinduism (Buddha's followers also had to take vow of A-Hinsaa).

Its important economic result of this A-Hinsaa was that even lay members of the community rejected agriculture for fear of ploughing under living things and turned to commerce and banking, nonviolent occupations and often lucrative ones. The Jain community, primarily centered in Gujaraat, soon became quite wealthy and remains one of the greatest mercantile communities of modern India. Paradoxically, the only living being, a Jain was encouraged to kill was himself through starvation. More than 2,000 years after Mahaaveer's suicide, Gandhi was to revive the fast-unto-death as a political weapon.

Aaryan tribes from the Eeraanian plateau began to penetrate eastward, clearing forests and establishing tribal settlements along Gangaa and Yamunaa rivers. Caste system as a social order began to be formed. Aaryan and non-Aaryan cultures fused in northern India whose language groups are the roots of 75% of Indian population today, including Hindi, Panjaabee, Raajsthaanee, and Bangaalee. Meanwhile Draavidian culture in southern India remained isolated from Aaryan culture especially in its languages - Kannad, Telagoo, Tamil, and Malayaalam. Although India never had a common language, but Sanskrit was the common language for religious literature.

600 BC
By 600 BC, 16 such territorial powers, from West - Kaamboj, Gaandhaar, Kuru, Paanchaal, Kosal, Malla, Vrijji, Ang and in southern direction these countries were - again from west to east - Shoorsen, Matsya, Avantee, Cheteeya, Vatsa, Kaashee, Magadh and Ang and in central India, there was Assak. So Magadh, Koshal, Kuru, and Gaandhaar stretched across the north Indian plains from modern day Afagaanistaan to Bangalaa Desh. The right of a king to his throne, no matter how it was gained, was usually celebrated through elaborated sacrificial rituals.

500 BC
By 500 BC, most of northern India was inhabited and brought under cultivation. Gangaa River became center of trade.

The political map of ancient and medieval India of small kingdoms was of fluctuating boundaries.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 12/05/12