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Research Paper: Sources of Hinduism

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Research Paper: Sources of Hinduism -> click link to get pdf

Abstract

This paper talks about the different sources of Hinduism which are the Mohe-jondaro and Haparro Civilization, the Indus Valley Civilization and the theory of the Aryan Invasion. To give a basic introduction, Hinduism is one of the oldest religions that came even before Buddhism and Christianity. During from when Hinduism first started till now, it has been influenced by three main civilizations traditionally, culturally, literally and even religiously. The first one that had originally influenced Hinduism was the Mohe-jondaro and Haparro Civilization. Then came the Indus Valley Civilization which was also called the mature Haparro civilization and lastly the latest one but also the most influential one which was either called the Aryan Invasion Theory or even called the Aryan Migration theory. The 3 listed above were the main civilizations that had influenced Hinduism.

Sources of Hinduism: Different sources of Hinduism

Hinduism is one of the oldest religions in history. It came before Christianity or Buddhism. Hinduism can be traced back to as almost as 2000BC.Since the Hinduism is dated long back some of the history of Hinduism is unclear. This is the reason why scholars have to make educated guesses sometimes about what actually happened. According to some scholars, from the past till present Hinduism has been gradually changed a little by little. One of the most influential sources of Hindu tradition can be the invasion of the Aryan Culture.

Hinduism has adopted a lot of cultures and traditions from when it was first originated. Firstly, Hinduism has initially adopted the Mohen-jo-daro and Harappa’s (also called the Dravidians) urban civilization. They were one of the first traditions Hinduism originally adopted because the Dravidians were the first ones living in India. The Dravidians came even before the Aryan invasion. Secondly, it adopted traditions from the Indus Valley Civilization. The Indus Valley Civilization was near the Indus river which is now located through Northwest India to Pakistan. Lastly, it has adopted the Aryan Culture.

One of the cultures that Hinduism adopted from was the Mohen-jo-daro and Harappa Civilization. They were one of the first civilization in India.The Mohen-jo-daro and Harappa Civilization. The civilization had influenced Hinduism in different ways giving initial origins of Hinduism and influencing the culture. Even thought the Mohen-jo-daro and Harappa civilization influenced Hinduism, it quickly declined because of the next influence Hinduism got which are from the Aryan Invasion.

The Mohen-jodaro and Harappa civilization was said to be one of the oldest civilizations. The civilization was called the Mohen-jodaro and Harappa civilization because Mohen-jodaro and Harappa was one of the biggest valleys that were around the Indus river. So, adding their names made the civilization into the Mohen-jodaro and Harappa civilization. The Mohen- jodaro was also called the Dravidians and were also one of the initial civilizations that had first settled in India. They had settled near the Indus river on the south of India and were also the origins of the Indus valley civilization. The Dravidians were said to be dark, as opposed to the fair skinned blue eyed Aryans. (Jonathan 1998) The civilization was there from as early as 6000B.C.

The biggest influence of the Dravidians are said to be their language. As it stands we have to infer social and religious contents from the material culture, though Asko Parpola claims to have made significant advances in understanding the Indus script and its relation to Dravidian languages and Dravidian forms of Hinduism (Gavin 1996, pg 27) The Indus script that the passage above talks about is one of the cultures that Hinduism adopted from. Since the Dravidians came before the Indus civilization, this shows that the language in the seals from the civilization have been adopted by the Dravidians

Even though the Dravidians were one of the initial civilizations that had influenced Hinduism, soon it had declined. There were many reasons behind why the Dravidians might have declined. Beyond the climatological changes and tectonic shifts arguments for the demise of the Harappans, it has been suggested that over cultivation, overgrazing, salinity, deforestation and flooding are factors generating the decline of the Harappan urban complex (Walter L 1999, pg100). The floods had made the change in the salinity of the water making everything harder to cultivate and harvest. Also at the same time deforestation, over cultivation and overgrazing were factors that affected the declination because these had stressed the environment and its ability to reproduce more crops. All this had lead to deforestation of the place leading most of the people living there to desertify their own environment. For the Dravidians who had still stayed there, another reason why they might have declined is because of the Aryan Invasion. The civilization was destroyed by invading Aryans and they themselves reduced to the status of shudras (the lowest category in the caste-hierarchy) while the Aryans formed the master-race of three upper castes. To explain the passage above it states that while the Aryans came invading to India, they had brought their own set of rules pushing the Dravidians down to the lower cast leading the Dravidians to slowly decrease in number.

To sum up, one of the first influence Hinduism has adopted from was the Mohen-jodaro and Harappa civilization. This was because Mohen-jodaro was one of the fist civilizations that took place in India in the 6000B.C. The main influences that Hinduism adopted was the Dravidian language that were on the traditional seals and stamps; But even though the Mohen-jodaro and Harappa civilization was one of the initial sources of Hinduism, it didn’t last because of many factors that include such as over cultivation, floods, salinity which lead to declination of the civilization and also people leaving the place.

The second influence that Hinduism has adopted from was the Indus Valley Civilization. The Indus Valley civilization was one of the biggest ancient civilizations in the world. Hinduism has also adopted different traditions and cultures from the Indus Valley Civilization. Some of the traditions and cultures include such as bathing rituals, sacrifices and great divine of Gods and Goddesses. Even if the Indus Valley civilization was one of the biggest ancient civilizations it didn’t really make a big impact on Hinduism because the major influence Hinduism actually got from was the Aryan Invasion.

The Indus valley civilization was one of the greatest ancient civilizations there was. It was located near the Indus river making people living near the villages easier to get food and water. Nowadays it can be said that the Indus Valley Civilization took place near where now it is called Pakistan. The Indus valley civilization took place from around 2600BC to 1900BC. The Indus Valley civilization was also called the mature Harappan culture. The location of the Indus Valley Civilization was around where the Mohen-jodaro and the Harappa civilization were. The Indus Valley civilization was located near the Indus river which made the civilization grow easily due to the supply of water and food they always had near the rivers.

Hinduism has three main important traditions and cultures it has adopted from the Indus Valley Civilization. The first is that it is an Aryan civilization and the script is an early form of Sanskrit. The second is that the culture is proto-Dravidian and therefore a part of the indigenous culture of the Indian sub-continent and, finally, that it has no relation to either Aryan or Dravidian culture and consequently no relationship to Hinduism.(Shukavak, 2007) The passage above explains that the main important traditions that Hinduism has adopted from was the early form of Sanskrit, the part of the indigenous culture. All the above has not much affect on Hinduism since  most of the influence Hinduism got was from after the Aryan Invasion had happened. Other things that Hinduism adopted from the Indus Valley civilization can include the ritual bathing, animal sacrifice and influences of the great female Goddess figures. Based on archaeological remains, however, it seems that this was a religious world that was particularly focused on ritual bathing and animal sacrifice, elements that may be the source of later Hinduism’s attention to the purifying qualities of water and the centrality of sacrifice. (Jacob, 2009) This passage explains that one of the Hinduism’s traditions that includes animal sacrifice, ritual bathing are from the traditions of the Indus Valley Civilization.

The Indus Valley Civilization has influenced the Hindu culture in traditions. Such as worshiping in female God figures, and even learning about ritual bathing and animal sacrifice. Although Hinduism has adopted quite a lot from the Indus Valley Civilization, this civilization wasn’t the main one that had influenced the main sources of Hinduism. The main source of Hinduism comes from the Aryan Invasion which will be introduced in the next part of the essay.

To sum up about the Indus Valley Civilizations, it was one of the biggest and greatest ancient civilizations that gave influence to Hinduism; and some of the traditions include animal sacrifice and ritual bathing. Although Indus Valley Civilization was one of the greatest ancient civilizations it didn’t affect the influence on Hinduism greatly because of the same reason as the Mahen-jodaro and Haparra civilization which is because of the Aryan Invasion

The third and the most important influence was the Aryan Invasion. The Aryan Invasion was also counted as a myth or a theory in India. Some also say that the whole process wasn’t even an invasion but a migration. There were many things that happened during the Aryan Invasion such as making of new Gods and making a cast hierarchy and influencing in language. Also, the Aryan invasion or migration had given the most impact on Hinduism.

The Aryan Invasion happened during 1500BC~1000BC. Some says that the Aryan Invasion never actually happened but it was more a migration. It was proposed that the Aryans invaded India with their superior and stronger iron weapons and were therefore able to overpower the inhabitants of the Indus Valley Culture and the Neolithic tribals of the Ganga basin further east. (Vishal,2001) The Aryans were said to be European gypsies that migrated from Europe to Persia and entered into India. The reason that the Aryans have migrated from place to places was to find food and coincidentally had entered India. The Aryans were described as being light skinned Indo-European tribes from Central Asia who overthrew an earlier and more advanced dark-skinned Dravidian civilization from which they took most of what later became Hindu culture (Jonathan, 1998). Most of what the Aryans did had to become part of the Hindu culture because of the power the Aryans had that had overthrown the civilization. As the Aryans had overthrown the Dravidians naturally had become part of the lower class and had to follow each and everything of what the Aryans did.

When the Aryans first moved into India to find food they had brought with them their own language, tools, cast hierarchy and their own religion. The language that the Aryans brought from them was Sanskrit which was the origin of Hindu writing and language that affected Hinduism. Also, from that Aryan invasion, they made a caste hierarchy system that was divided into 4 different levels depending on the status the person was in. The Caste system is a hierarchy of endogamous groups that individuals enter only by birth. A caste differs from a clan or sib in being endogamous and recognizing various ranks. It differs from a class in its strict enforcement of permanent endogamy within caste groups(Mason, 1944). The first two levels were divided between the Aryans. The first one was the ones who deified to God. The second were the ones that helped the royal king and his family; and the last two included the Hindus that included the third, the merchants and the last who were slaves. The Gods were defied by the need of the people. When the Aryans first arrived they needed water which started off by the God of Water then going to Sun, and harvest and the Gods kept on growing in a big amount since the people needed God in everything they do.

The Aryan Invasion was the culture that gave the most impact on Hinduism. This might be because the Aryans had a whole new different culture since they were people actually from the opposite side of the earth. The Aryan Invasion may not even be an invasion but a migration from the European gypies. Nevertheless, it doesn’t change that the Aryans have influenced Hinduism by bring their own culture and differentiating themselves from the Dravidians who were long there even before the Aryans came.

This invasion from the Aryans has given the deepest influence on Hinduism. This was because when the Aryans had first moved into the country, they had their own set of rules they wanted and also had much more power than the Dravidians who were originally there. So naturally the Aryans overthrew the Dravidians and gained power easily over them. The cultures that the Aryans had might have influenced the Aryans because the Aryans had cultures totally different from the Dravidians.

To sum up, Hinduism was first influenced by the Mohen-Jodaro and Happara civilization in the 6000BC; but the civilization had quickly declined because of the three main floods that had occurred during that time period. Secondly, Hinduism was influenced by the Indus Valley Civilization. The Indus Valley Civilization was one of the greatest ancient civilization in history but this too, hadn’t affected Hinduism much because of the Aryan Invasion that happened. The Aryan invasion happened during the 1500BC~1000BC. During the invasion many things happened because of the new culture, religion, tradition and literature they brought influencing Hinduism heavily.

References

  1. Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, (1998) Aryan Invasion Theory. Retrieved from http://www.interfaith.org/hinduism/origins/
  2. Gavin D flood (1996) An Introduction to Hinduism. Retrieved from http://books.google.co.th/books?hl=ko&lr=&id=KpIWhKnYmF0C&oi=fnd&pg=PR10&dq=Dravidians+Hinduism&ots=5ILDWIHxsS&sig=uRuCGkoKg1nhzrVk_j8GxzLdqTM&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Dravidians%20Hinduism&f=false
  3. Edited by Walter L. Goldfrank, David Goodman, and Andrew Szasz. Marina Fischer-Kowalski Ecology and the World System. Retrieved from http://books.google.co.th/books?hl=en&lr=&id=MRX7ItTeXN4C&oi=fnd&pg=PA87&ots=J0v4k9LZ_F&sig=h5F8DHI_YGpScgycha_hkql9d-0&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
  4. Shukavak N. Dasa (2007) A Hindu Primer. Retrieved from http://www.sanskrit.org/www/Hindu%20Primer/induscivilization.html
  5. Vishal Agarwal (2001) What is the Aryan Migration Theory? Retrieved from http://www.omilosmeleton.gr/pdf/en/indology/migration_theory.pdf
  6. Mason Olcott (1944) The Caste System of India. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2085128
  7. Jacob N. Kinnard (2009) Hinduism Influences. Retrieved from http://www.patheos.com/Library/Hinduism/Origins/Influences.html
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