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Social Studies
Ancient History

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Backgroundand History:The people of the Ancient Indus River Valley have rich folklore and literary traditions. Two thirds of them are Islam, Urdu is official language and most of the population lives in the lower reaches of the Vale. Ladakh, or “Little Tibet”, located in northeastern Jammu and Kashmir and was thinly populated. In lower valleys of foothills and dun regions, agriculture is possible and farming takes place It is the only place with good farming soils and rain. There are more than 100 towns and villages throughout the Indus River Valley. They have 200-250 letters in their language but deciphering it has failed. They were not violent people and did not like war. Their neighborhood wells supplied water, and every house was connected, even small ones. Some people had wells and bathrooms while others had hard time surviving. Eventually, the Aryans invaded. The Aryans came from the east in central Asia. They slowly migrated east and took over the people of the Ancient Indus River Valley. They migrated there to get a good place to live that had a river and good farming soil. They divided into three major social classes. These were priests, warriors, and peasants and traders. A fourth class was servants, laborers, and farm workers. These were kind of like the slaves. The kids followed their parents classes and you could not change your class.

Geography:The Brahmaputra river is a major river that runs through India. Throughout the course of the river, the climate varies, from harsh, cold, and dry in Tibet, to hot and humid in Bangladesh. The course of the river also changes over time. On lower courses of the river in Ganges, Brahmaputra, and along the Meghna, it erodes quickly in the monsoon months. Lots of silt goes down the river, causing some of it to not be drinkable sometimes. The Deccan Plateau is located on the entire southern part of India just south of the Narmada river. The plateau elevation is around 2000 feet, sloping slightly eastward. The climate is much drier than on coasts and is arid in spots. The plateau also has a lot of mineral wealth.The Eastern Ghats mountain range runs parallel to the Bay of Bengal. The Deccan Plateau lies to the west of the range, between the Eastern and Western Ghats. The Eastern Ghats are not as high as the Western Ghats. The higher hill ranges experience a cool and wet type of climate.The Anai Peak rises 2,695 meters and is located in the Western Ghats. It is India's highest peak. The Western Ghats trap the moisture of winds from the Arabian Sea. Lower Western Ghats have a warm and tropical climate. Elevated regions have a more moderate climate. The Ganges River starts in the southern Himalayas. It has five headstreams. The Bhagirathi, the Alaknanda, the Mandakini, the Dhauliganga, and the Pindar. Bhagirathi and Alaknanda are the most important of the five. Alaknanda is the biggest one but the Bhagirathi originates from a sub glacial cave called Gangotri which is a sacred Hindu site.The Himalaya Mountains consist of more than 110 peaks reaching 24,000 feet or more above sea level. Mount Everest is the highest one in the range and the world being 29,035 feet above the ocean. They stretch for 1550 miles from the Kashmir region to the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. The mountains pass through the countries of India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China, Bhutan and Nepal. At the bottom the of the mountains, the climate is closer to tropical than to other alpine climates. The upper parts of the mountains are very windy

HinduismThe religion we now know Hinduism is actually named after the people who lived there and still do, the Hindus. It began near the Indus river which is now located in Pakistan. The Hindus believe in a supreme god who’s personality and traits are in the gods whose bodies he inhabits. They call this being Para Brahma which means Supreme Cosmic Spirit. There are three main sects and Shaivism, Vaishnavism, and Shaktism. They all worship a different god as the most important one. The Hindus have two main groups of gods they worship each consisting of three gods. The Trimurti, and the Tridevi. The Trimurti consists of Brahma who is the creator, Vishnu who is the preserver, who followers of Vaishnavism worship, Shiva who is the destroyer, judge, and the main focus of Shaivism. The Tridevi are helpers of the Trimurti but are still immensely powerful and important. Saraswati has all of the knowledge in the universe so he assists Brahma, Lakshmi assists Vishnu since she is the goddess of wealth and prosperity, and Shakti helps Shiva because she is the goddess of power and change which is why she is the most important to the people of Shaktism. The Hindus not only created a complex religion but also a complex caste system. The system has people put in four classes or varna based on occupation. There is also a fifth class that was never formally spoke about. The varna were the Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Sudras, and the Untouchables. Brahmins were priests and spiritual leaders who represented purity. Kshatriyas were the nobles and warriors. Vaishyas were merchants and skilled craftsman. Sudras were laborers but they were treated decently. Then there were the Untouchables. This is the name people referred to them as because no one mentions them in their native tongue. They worked with sewage and making animal skins. Making animal skins may not seem bad but it was considered unclean to injury any animal. These people represented pollution and were not allowed to touch Brahmins. The Brahmin to it farther and felt that if an Untouchable’s shadow fell on them they must ritualistically purify themselves. The Hindus also created a complex system of beliefs about how to act, reincarnation, and what happens if you act well. These beliefs had two major ideas called Dharma and Karma. Dharma was considered the basic law of the universe and cosmic order. In order to be in tune with this you must become practice patience (dhriti), forgiveness (kshama), piety or self control (dama), honesty (asteya), sanctity (shauch), control of senses (indriya-nigrah), reason (dhi), knowledge or learning (vidya), truthfulness (satya) and absence of anger (krodha). Karma is the idea that you behavior in your current life determines your next life. You follow the idea to dharma to achieve a higher level of karma.

Ancient BuddhismBackground of Buddha:The founder of Buddhism is Buddha Shakyamuni. He was born as a royal prince in 624 B.C.E in a place called Lumbini, which was originally in northern India but is now part of Nepal. His parents gave him the name Siddhartha. In his early years, he lived as a prince in his royal palace, but when he was 29 years old, he retired to the forest where he followed a spiritual life of meditation. After six years he attained enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, India. The story of the birth of Buddha:One day during a midsummer festival, Shakyamuni's wife Queen Maya retired to her quarters to rest, and she fell asleep and dreamed a vivid dream. Four angels carried her high into white mountain peaks and clothed her in flowers. A magnificent white bull elephant bearing a lotus in its trunk approached Maya and walked around her three times. Then the elephant struck her on the right side with its trunk and vanished into her. When Maya awoke, she told her husband about the dream. The King summoned 64 Brahmans to come and interpret it. Queen Maya would give birth to a son, the Brahmans said, and if the son did not leave the household, he would become a world conqueror. However, if he were to leave, the household he would become a Buddha. The royal life: Prince Siddhartha’s father worried about what the Brahmins' prediction because he wanted his son to become a great and powerful ruler. The king believed that if his son saw suffering in the world, he would give up his duties as a prince and instead become a spiritual leader. Thus, Siddhartha was shielded from religious teachings and human suffering. He saw only a world of perfect wealth and beauty. His palaces contained the finest gardens, houses, education, and food. Servants looked after his every need. A white sunshade was held over him day and night to protect him from cold, heat, dust, dirt, and dew. He wore the most costly garments, and ate the finest foods. He never even thought of leaving.Buddha’s experience as an ascetic:Prince Siddhartha’s experiences with suffering transformed him. He instead wanted to find the happiness and peace that the ascetic had found. Siddhartha decided to give up his old life and become an ascetic in search of enlightenment. Becoming enlightened would mean finding deep truth and freedom from suffering. Siddhartha removed his royal robes, sandals, and jewels. He cut off his hair with a knife. He put on a simple robe and carried only a small bowl for gifts of food. Siddhartha met other ascetics as he wandered the forests and fields. They too wanted to understand the nature of the world. The ascetics also denied themselves many basic needs. For example, they stayed up all night without sleeping. They sat in the hot sun without shelter. Siddhartha continued to follow the way of the ascetics for some time. He became very thin from lack of food. It is believed that he became so thin that he could touch his stomach and feel his backbone. He traveled for six years around India, but eventually became unhappy with this extreme way of living.The transformation of Buddha and the eightfold path:1. Samma-Ditthi — Complete or Perfect Vision, also translated as right view or understanding. Vision of the nature of reality and the path of transformation. 2. Samma-Sankappa — Perfected Emotion or Aspiration, also translated as right thought or attitude. Liberating emotional intelligence in your life and acting from love and compassion.3. Samma-Vaca — Perfected or whole Speech. Also called right speech. Clear, truthful, uplifting and non-harmful communication.4. Samma-Kammanta — Integral Action. Also called right action. An ethical foundation for life based on the principle of non-exploitation of oneself and others. The five precepts.5. Samma-Ajiva — Proper Livelihood. Also called right livelihood. This is a livelihood based on correct action the ethical principle of non-exploitation. The basis of an Ideal society.6. Samma-Vayama — Complete or Full Effort, Energy or Vitality. Also called right effort or diligence. Consciously directing our life energy to the transformative path of creative and healing action that fosters wholeness. Conscious evolution.7. Samma-Sati — Complete or Thorough Awareness. Also called "right mindfulness". Developing awareness, "if you hold yourself dear watch yourself well". Levels of Awareness and mindfulness - of things, oneself, feelings, thought, people and Reality.8. Samma-Samadhi — Full, Integral or Holistic Samadhi. This is often translated as concentration, meditation, absorption or one-pointedness of mind. Samadhi literally means to be fixed, absorbed in or established at one point.

Glogster India ProjectBy Grant, Matt, and Will


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