Mohenjodaro and Hindu Beliefs Presentation by Mr. Tsolomitis Mohenjodaro A city located in the Indus River Valley Part of the Indus-Sarasvati civilization Also part of the Harappan civilization (named after another nearby city, Harappa) Mohenjodaro and Harappa were two great centers of this civilization. Ruins were found in 1922. The city has two main parts. Two parts to Mohenjodaro The main part of the city is the “citadel,” a fortress built to protect a city. Raised above the rest of the town. Surrounded by a wall, it probably served as a gathering place for defense. The lower city has many shops and houses A key, unique feature… streets! Nine of them, in fact! And they made “city blocks.” About 50,000 people lived here at one time. The city layout and technology leads us to classify Mohenjodaro as an “advanced civilization.” There’s… just one problem… No one knows what happened to them! After about 1900 B.C.E., the great cities of the Indus River Valley disappeared. Hostile invaders from Central Asia? Floods/earthquakes? A change in course of the Indus River? Almost without a trace, these great cities were abandoned. But they did leave behind many clues about what life was like there… Stone weights Inside the walls, several stone weights and a scale were found near a large building. Inside the ruins of this building, they found bits of grains like barley and wheat. This lead archaeologists to the conclusion that the building is a granary (a place to store grain). What do these weights and scales mean to our studies? They suggest these ancient Indians might have used grain like money. Weigh the grain and a certain amount of grain is worth certain amounts of other goods. There are other granaries outside the city, so the citadel’s granary could have been used to collected taxes in the form of grain. The Great Bath The Great Bath Made of waterproofed brick 39 feet long 8 feet deep Small dressing rooms circled the bath One of the rooms contained a well that supplied the bath with water Dirty water was removed through a drain Community “pool” for bathing Warm or cold water, depending on the season Because bathing rituals are important in Hinduism, the bath may have also been used for religious rituals. Statues and Beads This statue may have been a priest or a king. The beads were worn as necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings. Beds could be made of stones Were also made of clay and then baked in hot ovens called kilns. Seals What’s so special about these? Found in large numbers throughout the city ruins. Carved with pictographs (pictures used to stand for objects, sounds or ideas). More than 400 have been discovered. We don’t really know what they are for. Many have a small loop on the back, suggesting they may have been worn as necklaces or charms to keep away evil. May have been pressed into wax to make a kind of tag, possibly to use to mark who owns which goods. Sewer System A sewer system: a network of pipes that disposes of sewage. Two thousand years would pass before the next advanced civilization would create it… the Romans! Clay pipes connected buildings and homes to the main sewer system. This would send waste in channels along the edges of streets and then empty into the Indus River Deep wells of brick would store water and rainfall to be collected by the people of the city. Homes The lower city is three times the size of the citadel Houses had flat roofs and were usually two stories high. The houses faced narrow alleys, while the backs of the houses opened into courtyards where people would gather. Made of mud brick They even had windows, sometimes covered with screens of terra-cotta (a hard clay) or alabaster. Windows were almost never on the ground floor. Homes had between one to a dozen rooms. Poorer people probably lived in the smaller homes Richer people probably lived in the larger ones or had several rooms together. Games and Clay Models Uncovered many objects that appear to be toys or parts of games. These include dice, stone balls, grooved clay tracks, and stone game boards. The game of chess is believed to have been invented in India, but used dice and was called pawns. Most models are made of terra-cotta Believed to show how farm goods were transported to the city’s market. Hindu Beliefs Hinduism: India’s first major religion Dharma: law, obligation, and duty Brahman: The supreme power/divine force that is greater than all other gods Karma: the importance of living according to dharma. The law of karma explains what happens to a persons soul after death. Samsara is a continuous cycle of birth, death and rebirth. Reincarnation: the belief that a person’s soul is reborn into a new body after death Origins of Hinduism Began before recorded history, but it is believed that no single person founded it. Early Hindu religion is called Vedism, after the Vedas (a collection of Hindu sacred writings, including verses, hymns, prayers and teachings in the language of Sanskrit, the ancient language of India). The Vedas were taught orally (aloud) for hundreds of years before they were finally written down. Rituals and sacrifices honored a number of deities (the forms that represent various qualities of Brahman), but became more and more complex. Later Vedism is often called Brahmanism, which is defined as an ancient Indian religion in which the Brahmins, or priests of Brahman, are the dominant social class. Hinduism and the Caste System Brahmanism taught that a well-organized society was divided into social classes. Europeans later called this the caste system (a class or group in Hindu society) The caste system affected all aspects of people’s lives. You could not change your social class or marry outside of your class. Four main social classes: Brahmins (priests and religious scholars) Kshatriyas (rulers and warriors) Vaishyas (herders and merchants) Shudras (servants) The Fifth Social Class A fifth social class later developed, called the untouchables. These were people whose jobs or ways of life involved activities Hindus considered lowly or “dirty.” This included garbage-men, butchers, homeless people, etc. Segregated from the rest of society. Brahman Only Brahman exists forever, everything else changes and eventually dies. Time goes in a great circle: the same events return, much like the cycle of the sun and the seasons. Everything in the world is a part of Brahman, including the human soul, which Hindus call atman. Connected to Brahman. The other deities are various forms of Brahman. Hindu temples always face east, towards the rising sun. Filled with carvings and sculptures which usually show deities. Deities In ancient times, the most popular and powerful deity was Indra, the deity of Thunder. Fiercely war-like, used lightning bolts as weapons, drove a blazing gold chariot across the sky and riding a white elephant. Most important deities today are: Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer. Another important one is Devi, who embodies the female powers of the universe. Appearances are intentional: extra arms symbolize strength, extra eyes indicates the ability to see great distances or into your mind. Hindu sacred texts are often filled with the heroic deities fighting the forces of evil. Example: the Ramayana describes Rama’s intense battle with Ravana, a demon. The stories also present basic beliefs of Hinduism in an entertaining manner. Many holidays and festivals celebrate events from the Ramayana, like Divali (means “row of lamps,” is essentially the Hindu New Year), which shows Rama’s defeat of Ravana. Dharma To follow one’s dharma means to perform one’s duties and to live as one should. Each social class had its own duty. Hindu’s called their system of social classes varna dharma (the way of one’s kind). If everyone followed the dharma of their varna, society would be in harmony. In addition to the dharma of their varna, Hindus are expected to follow a common dharma. Marriage, sharing food with others, and caring for one’s soul are part of the common dharma Another basic value is nonviolence, due to the fact that all living things have a soul. Karma The importance of living according to dharma. Souls have many lives and is reborn into a new body, the kind of which depended on the soul’s karma. Status in society is dependent on your karma. Criticized by many over the centuries, including Ghandi, who called the untouchables “Children of God.” Today the law protects the rights of everyone and the caste system is much less strict, but the ideas of karma and rebirth remain a central part of Hinduism Samsara A continuous cycle of birth, death and rebirth Ends when the soul escapes the cycle of rebirth. You can escape the cycle of pain, suffering and death by following the basic beliefs of Hinduism, follow their dharma, worship Brahman and other deities faithfully, and strive for direct, personal connections with Brahman. Reincarnation: the belief that a person’s soul is reborn into a new body after death Connect to Brahman through pilgrimages (a journey to a holy place) to places like the Ganges and Sarasvati Rivers. The difficulty of the journey and bathing would cleanse their soul of sins. Still made today.