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India’s Geography and History
Location:​ South Asia
Himalayan Mountains and Hindu Kush ​isolate​ India
Indus and Ganges Rivers
India is a ​peninsula​ and so big it is a ​sub-continent
seasonal monsoons
Aryans​ arrive:
-nomadic people invade India through the
Khyber Pass
-Indus people treated them as gods
-Brought class structure to India
Hindu Caste System​ ​a rigid social structure based on birth (family)
What job people could have
who you could marry
Who you could socialize with
Even your last name
Sacred Texts:​ Vedas and Bhagavad Gita
Main Beliefs:
(1)​ Karma​ -- the sum of one’s good and bad
actions during life
(2) ​Dharma ​-- daily duties or obligations of
each caste
(3) ​Reincarnation ​-- based on karma and
dharma, passing of the inner self from one life to the next
(4) ​Moksha​ -- a state of perfect understanding, once this is reached a person does not reincarnate
(5) ​Brahma​ -- Mighty God, takes many forms
Reincarnation, Caste, Dharma, and Karma
​ is the idea that the individual soul (​atman) is
reborn in a different form after death​ and continues to
be reborn until the soul achieves “union with Brahman,”
also known as ​moksha.
A ​caste​ is a ​social class​ in Hinduism that is determined by
one’s actions in their previous life that one can only move
out of through the process of reincarnation.
The four major castes in Hinduism are in the chart below.
Not listed is a group called the ​Dalits, or ​“Untouchables.”
Who are required to do disgraceful and “unclean work.”
An illustration of the passage of one soul from one cycle of death and
rebirth to another.
Dharma​ is one’s ​duty​ according the their caste. Each
caste has jobs they are supposed to perform and rules
they are supposed to follow. One is not supposed to do
the duty of another’s caste.
Karma​ is the ​sum of one’s good and bad actions during
life​. If one follows their ​dharma​ (duty), then they will have
good ​karma​. If one does not follow their dharma, they will
have bad karma.
Directions: Using the notes above, fill in the blanks in the paragraph below.
For most of Indian history, Hindu society has been divided into ​castes​. The four major social classes in Hindu
society were ​Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and ​Sudras​. The Brahmins are at the top of the caste system. Their job is to
be ​priests​. ​Kshatriyas were warriors. Vaisyas were herders, farmers, ​merchants​, and craftspeople. ​Vaisyas were farm
workers, servants, and laborers. The lowest group in Hindu society is not an official part of the caste system. They are
called ​Dalits​, also known as ​untouchable​ and are responsible for “​dirty​ work.”
Each person in Hindu society is supposed to follow their ​dharma as determined by their caste. This ensures that
all jobs are done in the society. If a person follows the ​dharma/duty of their caste, then they will have good ​karma​. If they
do not complete their duties, then they will have ​bad karma. Karma is important because Hindus believe that when they
die, they go through the process of ​reincarnation​. If someone has good karma when they die, they will be reborn into a
higher ​caste​. If they do not follow their dharma, and as a result, have bad karma, then they will be reborn into a ​lower
caste. They might even be born as an animal.
Hindus believe that the goal of life is to escape the cycle of death and rebirth. They can do this by achieving
“union with Brahman,” also known as ​moksha​. To reach that goal, a person needs to climb the caste ladder until they
are Brahmins, then they have to fulfill the Brahmin’s dharma so they have good ​karma​ at the end of their life.