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 Long period of growth, change, and maturation and accommodation begins with early
villages and camps and ends with the transformation of the Harappan Civilization called
the “Indus Age”
 Radiocarbon dating suggests that earliest villages arose c. 7000 or 8000 BC with the
domestication of plants and animals and the beginnings of herding and farming societies.
 Mohenjo-daro and Harappa were functioning urban centers for around 500 years and can
be dated between 2500-2000 BC.
 Had heavy dependence on animals, especially cows, goats, and sheep.
 Seasonal nomadism
 First civilization in India and Pakistan covered an area of about one million square
kilometers. Southern Mesopotamia (Sumerian and Akkadian) covered 200,000 square
kilometers. Size shows how the sense of being Harappan was maintained over vast
distances given the transportation limits of the time.
 Cities of Indus valley civilization disappeared abruptly around 2000 BC but left the
image of a regimented and standardized society that still defies modern
 Transformation was rapid. Culture moved from multiple regional village and town
societies to a single urban society. Society penetrated neighboring areas with
colonies as far as Afghanistan.
 Between 2500-2000 BC at least four large cities held a large proportion of population
although many people continued to live a more familiar village life
 Rather than growing organically with winding streets and oddly shaped houses, Indus
cities seem to have been built as planned developments with a regular street grid,
modular houses, unified sanitation facilities, and other hallmarks of urban planning.
 Mohenjo-daro, located on right bank of Indus River, is best known of large Indus
 Its builders used burnt or baked, brick for much of its construction that left the buried
state in a remarkably good state of preservation. Visitors today can walk down 4000year-old streets complete with pavements and drains with the walls of adjoining
buildings rising overhead.
 M.D. was laid out in two distinct parts: a citadel and a lower town separated by empty
 Citadel rose 5 m about the surrounding plain by its giant brick platform. An
enclosing wall may have further distinguished citadel. On top sat public buildings,
probably administrative and cultic. These facilities included a large, ventilated
structure that is identified as a granary, large asphalt lined baths perhaps used during
ritual purification, a suite of rooms that were the priests’ quarters, and a large
colonnaded hall.
 Lower town where people lived and worked held probably between 20,000-40,000
people. Main streets were 10 meters wide and formed a regular, apparently planned
grid blocks, orientated towards cardinal points of the compass.
Smaller streets and alleys gave access to the buildings within the blocks of residential
apartments, barracks, and workshops. Individual residential units contained
anywhere from one to a dozen rooms with staircases leading to roof or upper storeys.
Covered drains, connected to the toilets of private houses, ran under the streets in a
sophisticated sewerage system. Estimated 700 brick-lined wells, each serving a
group of households, supplied city-dwellers with water.
Lower Town hosted many different workshops where the goods of daily life were
made; potters, jewelry makers, agricultural toolmakers, metalworkers, and
Painted pottery, stone and metal tools, seals and other inscribed objects appeared to
be identical from place to place over the 1200 km between the Indian Ocean and
Himalayan foothills. Reasons for this? Probably uniformity across the
civilization or trade amongst the cities.
Part of the modern difficulty lies in being unable to identify the social sources of
authority and organization in the Indus culture. No palace or anything that could be
described as royal has been discovered, little public or ostentatious art, and even
temples remain obscure.
Many scholars see religion as the organizing theme of Harappan society, which
priest-kings ruled by their association with rituals and gods. Ideas remain largely
Some elements of Indus art seem to evoke a spirit typical of later India. These
elements appear to imply that despite the abrupt and total collapse of city life, and the
disappearance of many typical Indus practices like the writing system around 2000
BC, experiment with urbanism was in some way connected to the flourishing Iron
Age towns in the Ganges area more than a millennium later.
Indian Texts
Hindu religious literature, the most ancient writings in the world, is of two types: primary
scriptures (Shruti) and secondary scriptures (Smriti).
The Shruti scriptures are of divine origin, whose truths were directly revealed to ancient
rishis (sages) in their deep meditations.
The Smriti scriptures are of human origin and were written to explain the Shruti writings
and make them understandable and meaningful to the general population.
Shruti scriptures include the four Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sãma and Atharva), and constitute
the highest religious authority.
Vedas are divine mass of sound that are responsible for the creation and sustenance of the
The Vedas are the ancient scriptures or revelation (Shruti) of the Hindu teachings.
They reflect into human language the language of the Gods, the Divine powers that have
created us and which rule over us. They teach humans to live with Nature without
abusing her and thus lead a healthy happier earthly life to attain Heavenly abode.
There are four Vedas, each consisting of four parts. The primary portion is the mantra or
hymn section (samhita). To this are appended ritualistic teachings (brahmana) and
theological sections (aranyaka).
Rig Veda tells us about the Devathas, divine forces, which are meant for the welfare of
the living beings.
Yajurveda dives the description of activities and prescribes procedures/mantras for the
conduct of Yagnas.
Sama Veda is a song praising the Devathas for receiving their blessings and consists
chiefly of hymns to be sung by the priests at the performance of those important
Atharva Veda explains the procedures and practices for happy living which include
medicine, astronomy, as such it gives us a better idea of the life of common people in
Vedic times. Also brings up ideas of spirits of afterlife and spirts
Became the basis of Hinduism. For the Hindu person, they serve as a summary of all of
the knowledge of the Veda as well as a commentary on them.
Philosophical sections (Upanishads) are included. The hymn sections are the oldest.
Upanishad means the inner or mystic teaching.. Groups of pupils sit near the teacher to
learn from him the secret doctrine.
In the quietude of the forest hermitages the Upanishad thinkers pondered on the problems
of deepest concerns and communicated their knowledge to fit pupils near them. Samkara
derives the word Upanishad as a substitute from the root sad, 'to loosen.,' 'to reach' or 'to
destroy' with Upa and ni as prefixes and kvip as termination.
If this determination is accepted, Upanishad means brahma-knowledge by which
ignorance is loosened or destroyed.
The different derivations together make out that the Upanishads give us both spiritual
vision and philosophical argument. There is a core of certainty, which is essentially
incommunicable except by a way of life. It is by a strictly personal effort that one can
reach the truth.
The Upanishads more clearly set forth the prime Vedic doctrines like Self-realization,
yoga and meditation, karma and reincarnation, which were hidden or kept veiled under
the symbols of the older mystery religion.
The older Upanishads are usually affixed to a particularly Veda, through a Brahmana or
Aranyaka. The more recent ones are not. The Upanishads became prevalent some
centuries before the time of Krishna and Buddha.
The main figure in the Upanishads, though not present in many of them, is the sage
Yajnavalkya. Most of the great teachings of later Hindu and Buddhist philosophy derive
from him.
He taught the great doctrine of "neti-neti", the view that truth can be found only through
the negation of all thoughts about it.
In the Upanishads the spiritual meanings of the Vedic texts are brought out and
emphasized in their own right.
Upanishads are the actual vehicle to attaining this enlightenment which brings them to a
oneness with existence.
Mahavakyas—great sayings of the Upanishads, each one is a summary of each Veda
"Intelligence is Brahman" (Prajnanam Brahma).
Our discernment of truth is the truth itself. It indicates that the Divine intelligence is present
within us and has the power to return us to the Divine. Our inmost intelligence is that
supreme intelligence through which we can merge into the Absolute.
"The Self is Brahman" (Ayam Atma Brahma).
This also states the identity of the soul with the Absolute but in a more objective and less
direct manner. Not only is our Self the Divine. It is the same Self in all beings that is the
same Absolute truth.
That thou art" (Tat tvam asi).
Whatever we see or think about we are that. Not only is the I That, the You is also That. We
are that ultimate I and Thou in all. The consciousness in the other is also the Divine.
"I am Brahman" (Aham Brahmasmi).
This states the identity of the inmost consciousness of the individual with that of the supreme
Divine. The ultimate truth of Vedic knowledge is not that some great savior is God or the
Lord or that such and such a God or name and form of God is the supreme. It is not the
worship of a person, book, image or idea. It is not even the worship of God. The Upanishads
say that whatever we worship as truth apart from ourselves destroys us. They teach that our
own Self is the true Divinity, that it is the presence of the absolute within our heart and the
entire universe.
"He am I" (So'ham).
This shows the identity of the self with the Divine Lord inherent within the natural
movement of our breath. "So" is the natural sound of inhalation, "ham" of exhalation. These
are statements of the identity of the individual consciousness with the Absolute or Divine
reality. They all derive from and merge into Om (AUM), the Divine Word of "I am all".