The Hindu temple of Devi
Jagadambika in Khajuraho, India
c. 1500 B.C.
The Aryans arrive
in India
563 B.C.
The Buddha
is born
B.C. 1500 B.C. 500 B.C. A.D. 500
2500 B.C. 1500 B.C. 500 B.C. A.D. 500
c. 3000 B.C.
India’s early
The Gupta
David Cumming/CORBIS
190-193 CH6 CO-875047 9/22/06 8:00 AM Page 190
Chapter Preview
Like ancient Greece, early India was a land of warriors,
thinkers, and scientists. Read this chapter to find out how
ideas from India affect how you do math today.
View the Chapter 6 video in the World History:Journey
Across Time Video Program.
Chapter Overview Visit for a preview
of Chapter 6.
Identifying Make this foldable to help you identify and learn key terms.
Reading and Writing
As you read the chapter,
write the terms from
Building Your Vocabulary
in your foldable.Write a
definition for each term.
Then turn your foldable
over (upside down) to
write a short sentence
using each term.
Step 1 Stack four sheets
of paper, one on top of
the other. On the top
sheet of paper, draw a
large circle.
Step 2 With
the papers still
stacked, cut
out all four
circles at the
same time.
Step 3 Staple the paper circles together
at one point around the edge.
Step 4 Label the
front circle as shown
and take notes on
the pages that
open to the right.
Chapter 6
This makes
a circular
India’s Early Civilizations
The earliest Indian civilization developed on the
Indus River. Later, the Aryans arrived in northern
India. A social system that determined how people
lived evolved.
Hinduism and Buddhism
Early India’s two main religions were Hinduism and
Buddhism. These two religions affected every aspect
of people’s lives.
India’s First Empires
Early India had two great empires: the Maurya and
the Gupta. Both empires made advances in the arts,
sciences, and math.
190-193 CH6 CO-875047 9/29/06 3:40 PM Page 191
Building Your Vocabulary
What do you do when you are reading and come to a word you do not know?
Here are some hints:
1. Use clues in the sentence (called context clues) to help you define it.
2. Look for prefixes, suffixes, or root words that you already know.
3. Look it up in the glossary or a dictionary.
4. Write it down and ask for help with the meaning.
5. Guess at its meaning.
Look at the word Untouchables in the following paragraph.
There was one group that did not
belong to any varna. Its members were
called Untouchables. They performed
dirty work considered polluting such as
collecting trash, skinning animals, or
handling dead bodies.
—from page 200
Context If you know
what a varna is, it will
help you figure out
the meaning of
Context The
were a “group.”
Context The fact
that they performed
the “dirty” work indi-
cates how they were
viewed by others in
Indian society.
Prefixes and Suffixes
You might know that the
prefix un- means “not”
and the suffix -able
means “to be able to.”
You might guess that the
meaning of Untouchable
is an Indian who was not
to be touched by others.
Read the paragraphs
that appear before and
after the word to help
you understand its
190-193 CH6 CO-875047 9/22/06 8:05 AM Page 192
Defining Words
What are three things you could do to help you understand
the meaning of the word subcontinent in this paragraph?
Take one word from the
vocabulary bookmark
that you make in the
Apply It! activity. Find
its definition. Then
create a cartoon strip.
Have one of the
characters in your
cartoon strip use the
word correctly.
Read to Write
Look at the map below. India
looks like a diamond hanging from
the bottom of Asia. India is a sub-
continent (
SUHB KAHN tuhn uhnt)
because even though it is part of
Asia, huge mountains separate it
from the rest of Asia. These moun-
tains are the Himalaya (
HIH muh
LAY uh), the highest mountains in
the world.
—from page 195
Make a vocabulary bookmark using a
2-inch-wide strip of paper. As you
read the chapter, write down words
you do not know or want to find out
more about.
190-193 CH6 CO-875047 9/22/06 8:06 AM Page 193
What’s the Connection?
In India, just as in Egypt and
Mesopotamia, the first civilizations
developed in fertile river valleys.
Focusing on the
Climate and geography influenced
the rise of India’s first civilization.
(page 195)
New ideas and technology influenced
the development of India.
(page 198)
The Aryans created a caste system
that separated Indians into groups.
(page 199)
Locating Places
Himalaya (HIHmuhLAYuh)
Ganges River (GANJEEZ)
Indus River (IHNduhs)
Harappa (huhRApuh)
(mohHEHNjoh DAHRoh)
Meeting People
Aryans (AReeuhnz)
Brahmins (BRAHmuhns)
Building Your Vocabulary
monsoon (mahnSOON)
Sanskrit (SANSKRIHT)
raja (RAHjuh)
caste (KAST)
guru (GURoo)
Reading Strategy
Organizing Information Complete a
diagram like the one below showing
how the Aryans changed India.
c. 3000 B.C.
India’s early civilization
c. 1500 B.C.
arrive in
c. 1000 B.C.
Aryans control
northern India
3000 B.C. 2000 B.C. 1000 B.C.
3000 B.C. 2000 B.C. 1000 B.C.
194 CHAPTER 6 Early India
Major Ways Aryans Changed India
194-201 Ch6 S1-875047 9/29/06 4:29 PM Page 194
The Land of India
Climate and geography influenced the
rise of India’s first civilization.
Reading Focus Do you have tornadoes or hurricanes
where you live? Read to find out how geography and
weather affected India’s first civilization.
Look at the map below. India looks like
a diamond hanging from the bottom of
Asia. India is a subcontinent (SUHB KAHN
tuhnuhnt) because even though it is part of
Asia, huge mountains separate
it from the rest of Asia. These
mountains are the Himalaya
(HIH muh LAY uh), the highest
mountains in the world.
Today, there are five nations
that make up the Indian subcon-
tinent: India; Pakistan in the
northwest; Nepal, Bhutan, and
Bangladesh in the northeast.
India has two very fertile
river valleys. Both are fed by the
mountains in the north. When
the snow in the Himalaya melts,
water flows into the Ganges
River (GANJEEZ) and the Indus
River (IHNduhs). If the water is
controlled, the land near these
rivers can be used for farming.
The Ganges River runs south
of the Himalaya and flows into
the Indian Ocean. The Indus
River empties into the Arabian
Sea. The area around the Indus is
called the Indus River valley.
South of the river valleys is the
dry and hilly Deccan Plateau. The
eastern and western coasts of
India are lush, fertile plains.
Monsoons (mahn SOONZ)
are an important part of the
Indian climate. A monsoon is a strong wind
that blows one direction in winter and the
opposite direction in summer. The winter
monsoon brings the cold, dry air of the
mountains. The summer monsoon brings
warm, wet air from the Arabian Sea, which
produces drenching rains.
When the monsoon rains begin, many
farmers celebrate. If the rains come on time
and the rainy season lasts long enough, the
crop will be good. If the rains are delayed, a
drought will occur. This extended period
500 km0
500 mi.0
Lambert Azimuthal Equal-Area projection
Bay of
Mt. Everest
29,035 ft.
(8,850 m)
Geography of India
The mighty Himalaya and several bodies of
water border the Indian subcontinent.
1. What two rivers are found in northern India?
2. Based on the area’s geography, what parts of
the Indian subcontinent do you think are best
suited for settlement?
Find NGS online map resources @
Winter monsoon
(dry winds)
Summer monsoon
(wet winds)
Mountain peak
194-201 Ch6 S1-875047 9/29/06 4:36 PM Page 195
196 CHAPTER 6 Early India
Necklace from
Model of oxcart from
The ruins of Mohenjo-Daro (below) show a carefully planned city.
The picture to the right shows a typical house in the city.
what material were most of the houses in Mohenjo-Daro made?
Early Indian Civilization
Early Indian Civilization
196 CHAPTER 6 Early India
without rain can be disastrous for farmers.
Few crops will be harvested and many
people will starve.
India’s Early Civilization In earlier chap-
ters, you learned about civilizations that
began in river valleys. The first urban civi-
lization in India also began in a river valley.
India’s early civilization grew up near
the Indus River. When the summer monsoon
began, the river rose higher and higher.
When the river flooded nearby land, it left
behind rich, fertile soil.
Farmers used the rich soil to grow
crops to feed their families. Because people
had a plentiful supply of food, they could
spend time doing other things, such as
making tools or building houses. As peo-
ple began to trade their extra food and
goods with other people, their wealth
grew. This allowed them to build larger
and larger cities.
India’s early civilization in the Indus
River valley began about 3000
B.C. and
lasted until 1500 B.C. More than a thousand
villages and towns were part of this civiliza-
tion, which stretched from the Himalaya to
the Arabian Sea. We know something about
the way these people lived from studying
the ruins of two major cities, Harappa
(huhRA puh) and Mohenjo-Daro (moh
HEHN joh DAHRoh). The civilization of
this time is called the Harappan or Indus
Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro Harappa
and Mohenjo-Daro were large cities for
their time. The well-planned cities had as
many as 35,000 people. A fortress was built
on a brick platform probably to keep guard
over the residents. There were wide main
streets and smaller side streets. A wall sur-
rounded each neighborhood, and narrow
lanes separated the houses.
(l)Robert Harding Picture Library, (c)National Museum of India, New Delhi, India/Bridgeman Art Library, (r)Borromeo/Art Resource, NY,
(br)Harappan National Museum of Karachi, Karachi, Pakistan/Bridgeman Art Library
194-201 Ch6 S1-875047 9/22/06 8:15 AM Page 196
Most houses had flat roofs and were
built with mud bricks that were baked in
ovens. Some houses were larger than
others, but they all had a similar layout.
There was a courtyard in the middle and
smaller rooms around it.
These ancient city dwellers had some
surprising conveniences. Wells supplied
water, and residents even had indoor bath-
rooms. Wastewater flowed to drains under
the streets, running through pipes to pits
outside the city walls. Houses also had
garbage chutes connected to a bin in the
street. In addition, residents built large
granaries to store food for the entire city’s
Harappan Society The Harappans used a
special script to write on seals and stamps.
However, historians have not agreed on
how to decipher these markings. Because
the Harappans did not leave other histori-
cal records, we do not know much about
their society or government. From the ruins,
though, we can guess that the royal palace
and the temple may have been both enclosed
in a fortress. This reveals that religion and
politics were closely connected.
Most Harappans were farmers. They
grew rice, wheat, barley, peas, and cotton.
City dwellers made copper and bronze
tools, clay pottery, and cotton cloth, as well
as jewelry from gold, shells, and ivory.
Archaeologists have also found many toys
among the ruins, such as small monkeys that
could be made to climb up a string.
It is likely that the Harappans began
trading with the Mesopotamians about
B.C. Some Harappan sailors followed
the coastline and crossed the Arabian Sea,
and others traveled over land.
Explain How is India
separated from the rest of Asia?
Roofs were used to dry crops in the
sun. The dried crops were then placed
in cool storage rooms in the house.
Almost every building had its own well.
Cool water was pulled up when needed.
Outer walls of
buildings had
no windows. This
helped prevent
the hot summer
sun from heating
the insides of
the house.
Bathrooms had an advanced drainage system.
Drains started from houses and joined the main
sewer, which carried the water out of town.
194-201 Ch6 S1-875047 9/29/06 4:37 PM Page 197
The Aryans
New ideas and technology influenced
the development of India.
Reading Focus What would your life be like without
cars or computers? Read to find out how new ideas and
technology affected the Indians.
The Harappan civilization collapsed
about 1500 B.C. Historians think that several
earthquakes and floods damaged the cities.
Then the Indus River changed its course,
killing many people and forcing others to
flee the area. In the years that followed, a
group of people called the Aryans (ARee
uhnz) began settling in the region. Soon a
new civilization emerged.
Who Were the Aryans? The Aryans lived
in central Asia where they raised and
herded animals. The Aryans were not a
race or ethnic group. Some historians
believe that the Aryans were part of a larger
group they refer to as Indo-Europeans.
The Indo-Europeans all spoke similar
languages. Some migrated south to India
and Iran. Others went west to Europe.
Cattle were a prized possession because
they provided meat, milk, and butter. Cattle
were so important that the Aryans even used
them as money. Individual wealth was meas-
ured by the number of cattle a person owned.
The Aryans were good warriors. They
were expert horse riders and hunters. They
had metal-tipped spears and wooden
chariots, which they sometimes
used to invade nearby villages
for food.
After 2000 B.C., the Aryans
began leaving their home terri-
tory. They moved in waves,
and some groups crossed
through the mountain passes
in the Himalaya. They entered
the Indus River valley around
1500 B.C.
Around 1000 B.C., the
Aryans began expanding
across the Punjab and Ganges
Plains and south into the
Deccan Plateau. Features of
their civilization mixed with
those of local cultures.
198 CHAPTER 6 Early India
2000–1500 B.C.
1500–1000 B.C.
1000–500 B.C.
Aryan migration:
Aryan Migration 2000–500 B.C.
The Region Today
The Aryans were nomadic herders who
eventually controlled much of India.
1. After crossing the mountains, what
physical feature did the Aryans follow
into India?
2. Into what area of southern India did the
Aryans travel?
194-201 Ch6 S1-875047 9/22/06 3:09 PM Page 198
The Aryans Bring Change When the
Aryans arrived in India, they no longer
lived as nomads. They became farmers but
continued to raise cattle. Eventually, the
Aryans would declare that cattle were
sacred and forbid them to be used as food.
Aryan technology improved farming in
India. They invented an iron plow to help
clear India’s many jungles and built canals
to irrigate. They slowly turned the Ganges
River valley into good farmland.
India’s varied climate supported many
types of crops. In the north, farmers grew
grains such as wheat, barley, and millet. Rice
was grown in the river valleys. In the south,
there was a mix of crops, including spices
such as pepper, ginger, and cinnamon.
The Aryans also brought a new
language to India. As nomads, they had no
written language, but in India they
developed a written language later called
Sanskrit (SANSKRIHT). Over time, the sacred
songs, poems, and prayers that Aryans
had known for many centuries were writ-
ten down.
The Aryans were organized into tribes.
Each tribe was led by a raja (RAH juh), or
prince. The rajas ran their own small king-
doms, which often fought among them-
selves. Rajas fought over cattle and treasure
and over women kidnapped from other
states. These small rival kingdoms existed
in India for about a thousand years, from
1500 B.C. to 400 B.C.
Why do you think
nomads like the Aryans were great warriors?
Society in Ancient India
The Aryans created a caste system that
separated Indians into groups.
Reading Focus Why are some people treated differently
than others? Read why this idea was accepted in India.
One of the results of the Aryan arrival in
India was the development of a caste sys-
tem. A caste (KAST) is a social group that
someone is born into and cannot change.
CHAPTER 6 Early India 199
Development of
Sanskrit c. 1500 B.C.
Sanskrit became the most important
language for public affairs in much of
ancient India. Hindi, the national
language of India today, and other
regional languages evolved out of
Sanskrit. The earliest example of orally
transmitted, ancient Sanskrit is the
four Vedas—sacred writings. Sanskrit
was in common usage until about
1100 and was used in some official
communications until
A.D. 1830.
Nava Ship
or navy
A fleet of
Dua Two Dual
Consisting of
Deva God Divine
Sanskrit Influences on English Words
two parts
relating to
Web Activity Visit and
click on Chapter 6Student Web Activity to
learn more about India.
194-201 Ch6 S1-875047 9/27/06 2:23 PM Page 199
A caste dictates what job you will have,
whom you can marry, and with whom you
can eat or drink. In India, no one uses the
word caste, which is the word Portuguese
merchants used to describe India's social
groups. Indians call these groups jati.
Thousands of jati exist in India.
Why was this system created? No one is
sure, but ideas about skin color were prob-
ably part of it. The Aryans were a light-
skinned people. They thought they were
better than the dark-skinned people they
encountered in India.
The Aryans might have created the caste
system because the people they encoun-
tered in India greatly outnumbered them.
The caste system kept groups separate and
set the rules for everyone’s behavior. This
helped the Aryans stay in control.
Social Levels of the Caste System The
thousands of different jati in Indian society
were grouped together into four classes
called varnas. The top two varnas were
Brahmins (BRAH mihns) and Kshatriyas
(KSHA tree uhs). Brahmins included the
priests—the only people who could per-
form religious ceremonies. The Kshatriyas
were warriors who ran the government
and army.
Next were the Vaisyas
(VYSHyuhs), or
commoners. Vaisyas were usually farmers
and merchants. Below the Vaisyas came the
(SOO druhs). Sudras were manual
laborers and servants and had few rights.
Most Indians belonged to the Sudra varna.
There was one group that did not belong
to any varna. Its members were called
Untouchables. They performed dirty work
considered polluting such as collecting trash,
skinning animals, or handling dead bodies.
Life for an Untouchable was very hard.
Most Indians believed that being near an
Untouchable was polluting, so they forced
them to live apart from others. When
200 CHAPTER 6 Early India
Today, Untouchables refer to
themselves as Dalit, which
means “oppressed. Why did
the Aryans create the caste
Warriors, rulers
Common people
Unskilled laborers,
Early India’s Social System
Early India’s Social System
A Brahmin
(l)Carl Purcell/The Purcell Team, (r)AFP Worldwide
194-201 Ch6 S1-875047 9/27/06 2:24 PM Page 200
Reading Summary
Review the
India’s early civilization, including
the cities of Harappa and
Mohenjo-Daro, developed in the
fertile Indus River valley.
The Aryans, a group of nomadic
herders, migrated into the north-
ern part of India by about 1000
B.C. They brought the iron plow
and the language later called
Sanskrit to India.
India’s caste system divided peo-
ple into specific social and
economic classes. Ancient Indian
society favored men over women.
1. Describe the cities of Harappa
and Mohenjo-Daro.
2. Why are monsoons important
to Indian farmers?
Critical Thinking
3. Cause and Effect What
caused the collapse of
Harappan civilization?
Cause and Effect Draw a
diagram to show how the
Aryans changed the lifestyle
of the Indians.
Contrast How did the Aryan
and Harappan lifestyles differ?
Explain How did India’s social
classes, or varnas, shape India’s
Descriptive Writing Write
a description of the city of
Harappa or Mohenjo-Daro
that could have been used to
attract residents to that city
in ancient India.
Explain how the suffix in the
word plentiful can help you
determine its meaning.
What Did You Learn?
Study Central
Need help with the
material in this section? Visit
CHAPTER 6 Early India 201
Untouchables traveled, they had to tap two
sticks together so that everyone would hear
them coming and have time to move away.
The Role of Men and Women In ancient
India, the family was the center of life.
Grandparents, parents, and children all
lived together in an extended family. The
oldest man in the family was in charge.
Men had many more rights than
women. Typically, only sons could inherit
property, and only men could go to school
or become priests. Women received their
education at home.
In families at the top of Indian society, a
boy had a guru
(GURoo), or teacher, until
he went to the city for more education.
Young men from these families could marry
only after finishing 12 years of schooling.
In India, parents arranged marriages
for their children. Even today, parents
arrange 90 percent of marriages in India.
Boys and girls often married in their teens,
but ideally not until after completing their
education. Divorce was not allowed, but if
a couple could not have children, the hus-
band could marry a second wife.
One custom shows how the lives of
Indian men were considered more impor-
tant than the lives of Indian women. In
India, people were cremated, or burned in a
funeral fire, when they died. Sometimes
when a man from a prominent family died,
his wife was expected to leap into the
funeral flames. This practice was called sut-
(suhTEE). If the wife resisted and did
not kill herself, it was a great shame.
Everyone would avoid the woman from
then on.
What were the
five major groups in Indian society?
Cause Effect
Cause Effect
Cause Effect
194-201 Ch6 S1-875047 9/27/06 2:25 PM Page 201
202 CHAPTER 6 Early India
What’s the Connection?
Much of Indian civilization is
based on Aryan ideas and culture,
which you learned about in the last
section. One of the most important
and long-lasting contributions of the
Aryans is the main religion of India,
Focusing on the
Hinduism grew out of the ancient
beliefs of the Aryans.
(page 203)
A new religion, Buddhism, appealed
to many people in India and other
parts of Asia.
(page 205)
Locating Places
Nepal (nuhPAWL)
Tibet (tuhBEHT)
Meeting People
Siddhartha Gautama (sihDAHR
tuh GOWtuhmuh)
Dalai Lama (DAHLY LAHmuh)
Building Your Vocabulary
Hinduism (HIHNdooIHzuhm)
Brahman (BRAHmuhn)
dharma (DAHRmuh)
karma (KAHRmuh)
Buddhism (BOODIH zuhm)
nirvana (nihrVAH nuh)
theocracy (theeAHkruhsee)
Reading Strategy
Summarizing Information Create
a web diagram like the one below. In
the ovals, identify major beliefs of
c. 1500 B.C.
Aryans bring early
Hindu ideas to India
c. 563 B.C.
The Buddha
is born in
c. 200 B.C.
Theravada Buddhism
spreads to Sri Lanka
1500 B.C. 800 B.C. 100 B.C.
1500 B.C. 800 B.C. 100 B.C.
202-208 Ch6 S2-824133 7/15/04 3:56 PM Page 202
Hinduism grew out of the ancient
beliefs of the Aryans.
Reading Focus Have you ever wondered why most
people try to behave properly or do good deeds? As you
read this section, find out how a Hindu would answer
this question.
Hinduism (HIHNdooIH zuhm) is one of
the oldest religions in the world, and today it
is the third largest. The basic principles of
what is known today as Hinduism were
already formulated by 1500 B.C. They are
found in the four Vedas—sacred writings.
The Aryans believed in many deities who
controlled the forces of nature. We know
about Aryan religion from their sacred
hymns and poetry, especially their epics, or
long poems.
For centuries, the priests, or Brahmins,
recited these works, and much later they
were written down in Sanskrit. Over the cen-
turies, Aryan religion changed. It borrowed
some religious ideas from the people the
Aryans encountered in India. This mix of
beliefs eventually became Hinduism.
Early Hinduism Hinduism grew out of the
religious customs of many people over
thousands of years. This might explain why
Hinduism has thousands of deities. Hindus
tend to think of all deities as different parts
of one universal spirit. This universal spirit
is called Brahman (BRAHmuhn).
The search for a universal spirit is
described in the ancient sacred texts known
as the Upanishads (oo PAH nih SHADZ).
Those writings say that every living being
has a soul that wants to be reunited with
Brahman and that this happens when a per-
son dies.
The Upanishads describe how a person
unites with Brahman: A soul that becomes
one with Brahman is like a lump of salt
thrown into water. The lump of salt is gone,
but the water tastes salty. The salt has
become part of the water.
Hindu temple
Fire sacrifice accompanied by reading
from the Veda. What ancient scriptures
describe a universal spirit?
(l)Robert Harding Picture Library, (r)Borromeo/Art Resource, NY
202-208 Ch6 S2-875047 9/22/06 8:54 AM Page 203
204 CHAPTER 6 Early India
Name Realm
creator of the world
preserver of the world
destroyer of the world
lord of existing beings; remover of obstacles
teacher of the world
deity of light, beauty, good fortune, and wealth
deity of the sun
deity of knowledge, music, and creative arts
universal mother
Major Hindu Deities
Major Hindu Deities
What Is Karma? Hindus believe that a
soul is not joined to the Brahman immedi-
ately after a person dies. Instead, a person
must pass through many lives to be united
with Brahman. On its journey, a soul might
be reborn into a higher caste. If a person
lived a bad life, he or she might be reborn
into a lower caste or life–form.
This idea of passing through many lives
to reach the Brahman is called reincarnation
(REE ihn kahrNAY shuhn). It is very impor-
tant in Hinduism and it influences how
Hindus live their daily lives. It even affects
how they treat animals because they con-
sider all life sacred.
To earn the reward of a better life in their
next life, Hindus believe they must perform
their duty. Dharma
(DAHRmuh) is the
divine law. It requires people to perform the
duties of their caste. A farmer has different
duties than a priest and men have different
duties than women.
The consequences of how a person lives
are known as karma
(KAHRmuh). If Hindus
do their duty and live a good life, they will
have good karma. This will move them
closer to the Brahman in their next life.
How did the belief in reincarnation
affect Indians? For one thing, it made many
of them more accepting of the caste system.
People believed they had to be happy with
their role in life.
A dedicated Hindu believes that the
people in a higher varna are superior and
that they are supposed to be on top. The
belief in reincarnation gave hope to many
people, even servants. If servants did their
duty, they might be reborn into a higher
caste in their next life.
How is karma
related to reincarnation?
Brahma,Vishnu, and Siva are considered the
three main Hindu deities.
1. Which deity is known as the “teacher of the
2. Conclude Why does Hinduism have so
many deities?
(t)SEF/Art Resource, NY, (b)Victoria & Albert Museum, London/Art Resource, NY
202-208 Ch6 S2-875047 9/29/06 4:39 PM Page 204
CHAPTER 6 Early India 205
A new religion, Buddhism, appealed to
many people in India and other parts of Asia.
Reading Focus What do you think makes a person
free and happy? Find out how the Buddha answered this
important question as you read this section.
By 600 B.C., many Indians began to ques-
tion Hindu ideas. The Brahmin priests
seemed to care only about their temple cere-
monies and not about the needs of the peo-
ple. Ordinary Hindus wanted a simpler,
more spiritual religion. Many would find
what they needed in Buddhism (BOO DIH
zuhm), a new religion founded by Siddhartha
Gautama (sihDAHRtuh GOWtuhmuh).
Who Is the Buddha? Prince Siddhartha
Gautama was born around 563 B.C. in a
small kingdom near the Himalaya. Today,
this area is in southern Nepal (nuhPAWL).
Siddhartha seemed to have it all. He was
wealthy and handsome, happily married,
and had a fine new son. Then one day he
decided to explore the kingdom beyond the
palace walls. As he traveled, he became very
upset. He saw beggars, people who were ill,
and people broken down by age with no
home and nowhere to go. For the first time,
he was truly aware of suffering.
Then and there, Siddhartha decided to
seek an answer to this great riddle: Why did
people suffer and how could their suffering
be cured? He left his family and riches and
began his search. At first he lived like a her-
mit, fasting and sleeping on the hard
ground. Siddhartha nearly starved, but he
still had no answer to his questions.
Then he decided to meditate for as long
as it took to get the answer. Legend tells us
that Siddhartha sat under a tree to meditate,
and after 49 days, he finally understood. It
was as if he had seen a great light.
Siddhartha spent the rest of his life wan-
dering the countryside and telling people
what he had discovered. His lessons about
life and the nature of suffering became
known as Buddhism. To his followers, he
became known as the Buddha, or
“Enlightened One.”
What Is Buddhism? To understand the
Buddha’s ideas, one first has to see the world
as he did. Like many Hindu, Siddhartha did
not think that the normal, everyday world
was real. Trees, houses, animals, the sky, and
the oceans were just illusions. So were
poverty and sickness, pain and sorrow.
Siddhartha believed that the only way
to find the truth about the world was to
give up all desires. By giving up the desire
for fame, the desire for money, and the
desire for all worldly things, pain and sor-
row would vanish.
If a person gave up all desires, he or
she would reach nirvana (nihr VAH nuh).
Nirvana is not a place but a state of wisdom.
The word nirvana came from the Sanskrit
word for blowing out a candle flame.
This shrine in northern India marks the location
where it is believed the Buddha delivered his
first sermon. With what groups of Indians did
the Buddha’s message become popular?
Rajesh Bedi/National Geographic Image Collection
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206 CHAPTER 6 Early India
The heart of the Buddha’s teachings is
contained in the Four Noble Truths. The
Four Noble Truths are:
1. Life is full of suffering.
2. People suffer because they desire worldly
things and self-satisfaction.
3. The way to end suffering is to stop desir-
ing things.
4. The only way to stop desiring things is to
follow the Eightfold Path.
The Buddha’s fourth truth says people
should follow eight steps to eliminate suffer-
ing. The Buddha’s Eightfold Path was this:
1. Know and understand the Four Noble
2. Give up worldly things and don’t harm
3. Tell the truth, don’t gossip, and don’t
speak badly of others.
4. Don’t commit evil acts, like killing, steal-
ing, or living an unclean life.
5. Do rewarding work.
6. Work for good and oppose evil.
7. Make sure your mind keeps your senses
under control.
8. Practice meditation as a way of under-
standing reality.
One reason the Buddha’s ideas became
popular was that he did not defend the
caste system. A person’s place in life
depended on the person, he thought. The
Buddha did believe in reincarnation, but
with a difference. If people wanted to stop
being reborn into new lives, the Buddha
said, they would only have to follow his
Eightfold Path.
Many people liked the Buddha’s mes-
sage, especially Untouchables and low-caste
Indians. For the first time, these groups heard
that they, too, could reach enlightenment.
Buddhism in Southeast Asia For more than
40 years, the Buddha preached his ideas.
Disciples gathered around him, and after his
death, they spread his message all over Asia.
As more and more people practiced
Buddhism, disagreements arose about the
Buddha’s ideas. Finally, Buddhists split into
two groups. The first was Theravada
Buddhism. Theravada means “teachings of
the elders.” It sees the Buddha as a great
teacher, not a god.
Buddhist teachers and merchants spread
the ideas of Theravada to the south and east.
It was adopted in Ceylon in the
B.C. Ceylon, an island located near the
southern tip of India, is now called Sri Lanka.
Theravada Buddhism also became popular
in Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos.
Morality in the
Eightfold Path
This passage describes the way a person
should act according to the Eightfold Path.
“He avoids the killing of
living beings....He avoids
stealing, and abstains from
[avoids] taking what is not
given to him. Only what is
given to him he takes,
waiting till it is given; and
he lives with a
heart honest and pure....
He avoids lying....He
speaks the truth, is
devoted to the truth,
reliable, worthy of
confidence, no
deceiver of men.
The Word of the Buddha,
Nyanatiloka, trans.
According to the passage, what is the
correct way to accept something?
The Buddha
Borromeo/Art Resource, NY
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. 563–483
Siddhartha Gautama—the thinker and teacher who
would later be called the Buddha—was born in what is now
Nepal. According to legend, his mother had a dream shortly
before his birth that was interpreted to mean that her son
would become a great leader.
The Gautama family belonged to the warrior caste.
Siddhartha’s father, Suddhodana, ruled a group called the
Shakyas. His mother, Maya, died shortly after his birth.
Siddhartha was very intelligent. According to legend,
the young man knew 64 languages and mastered all
his studies without needing
instruction. At age 29,
Siddhartha realized
that he wanted to
search for truth,
enlightenment, and a
way to rise above suffering.
He left his wife, Yasodhara,
and son, Rahula, to study
with priests.
At age 35, Siddhartha is
said to have reached full
enlightenment while sitting
beneath a tree. The Buddha began traveling to teach
others about his discoveries and about the nature of
life and suffering.
“Our life is shaped by
our mind; we become
what we think.”
The Buddha
Sculpture of the Buddha
sitting on a cobra
The Buddha
What types of present-day occupations often
involve traveling to teach others?
(l)Archivo Iconografico, S.A./CORBIS, (r)Christie’s Images, London/Bridgeman Art Library/SuperStock
202-208 Ch6 S2-824133 7/15/04 4:00 PM Page 207
Visit for
Homework Helper.
Homework Helper
Reading Summary
Review the
Hinduism is an old religion with
many gods. Hindus believe in
reincarnation and that a person’s
place in life is determined by his
or her karma.
In the 500s B.C., Siddhartha
Gautama founded the religion
of Buddhism in northern India.
According to Buddhism, a person
who follows the Four Noble
Truths and the Eightfold Path
can achieve nirvana.
1. What are the Upanishads?
2. What is reincarnation?
Critical Thinking
3. Compare and Contrast
Draw a chart like the one
below. Then add details to
compare the two main
branches of Buddhism.
Describe Explain the concept
of karma.
Explain What is the impor-
tance of the Four Noble Truths
and the Eightfold Path?
How did the belief in
reincarnation both strengthen
the divisions in Indian society
and provide hope for the lower
Expository Writing Write
a short essay describing
Siddhartha Gautama’s
journey to enlightenment.
What Did You Learn?
Study Central
Need help with the
material in this section? Visit
208 CHAPTER 6 Early India
Mahayana Buddhism
The second kind of
Buddhism is called
Mahayana Buddhism.
It teaches that the
Buddha is a god who
came to save people.
Mahayana Buddhists
believe that following
the Eightfold Path is
too hard for most peo-
ple in this world. They
believe that by worshiping the Buddha
instead, people will go to a heaven after they
die. There, they can follow the Eightfold Path
and reach nirvana.
Mahayana Buddhists also have special
affection for the bodhisattvas
Bodhisattvas are the enlight-
ened people who postpone going to heaven.
Instead, bodhisattvas have decided to stay
on Earth to help others and do good deeds.
Mahayana Buddhism spread north-
ward into China and from there to Korea
and Japan. A special kind of Mahayana
Buddhism developed in central Asia in the
country of Tibet
(tuhBEHT). There it mixed
with Tibet’s traditional religion and with
In Tibet, the Buddhist leaders, called
lamas, also led the government. When reli-
gious leaders head a government, it is
called a theocracy (theeAHkruhsee). The
Dalai Lama (DAHLY LAHmuh) was the
lama who headed the government, and
the Panchen Lama was the lama who led the
religion. Both were considered reincarnations
of the Buddha.
Today, many Buddhists live in countries
like Thailand, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka,
but few live in India where the Buddha
first preached.
How could a
Buddhist reach nirvana?
Branches of Buddhism
A Tibetan monk
Sheldan Collins/CORBIS
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CHAPTER 6 Early India 209
Capital City
What’s the Connection?
In the last section, you learned
about Hinduism and Buddhism. Both
religions developed when India was a
land of small kingdoms. These rival
kingdoms would be forced to unite,
however, when foreigners invaded.
Focusing on the
The Mauryan dynasty built India’s
first great empire.
(page 210)
The Gupta empire reunited much of
northern India and became wealthy
through trade.
(page 213)
The Mauryan and Gupta empires made
important contributions in literature,
mathematics, and science.
(page 214)
Locating Places
(PAH tuh lih POO truh)
Meeting People
Chandragupta Maurya (CHUHN
druhGUPtuh MAHooryuh)
Asoka (uhSOHkuh)
Kalidasa (KAHlihDAHsuh)
Building Your Vocabulary
dynasty (DY nuhstee)
stupa (STOO puh)
pilgrim (PIHLgruhm)
Reading Strategy
Categorizing Information Complete
a chart like the one below, identifying
the important dates, capital city, and
government of the Mauryan empire.
321 B.C.
Maurya founds
Mauryan dynasty
232 B.C.
Mauryan ruler Asoka dies
Gupta empire
350 B.C. A.D.1 A.D.350
350 B.C. A.D.1 A.D.350
Capital City
209-216 Ch6 S3-824133 3/1/04 1:56 AM Page 209
The Mauryan Dynasty
The Mauryan dynasty built India’s first
great empire.
Reading Focus Do you think political leaders should
promote religion? How might religion help a king hold
his country together? Read to learn why one Indian
emperor decided to support Buddhism.
India’s princes fought over their small
kingdoms for centuries. Then two big inva-
sions taught the Indians a lesson. First, the
Persians invaded the Indus Valley in the
B.C. and made it part of the great
Persian Empire. Then, as you have already
read, Alexander the Great invaded India in
327 B.C.
Although Alexander’s troops conquered
northern India, he did not stay long. His sol-
diers were homesick and tired and threat-
ened to rebel unless he turned back. The
invasion did have one important effect, how-
ever. It led to the first great Indian empire.
Who Built India’s First Empire? India’s
first empire was founded by Chandragupta
Maurya (CHUHN druh GUP tuh
oor yuh). Chandragupta
was an Indian prince who con-
quered a large area in the
Ganges River valley soon after
Alexander invaded western
India. Alexander’s invasion
weakened many of India’s
kingdoms. After Alexander left,
Chandragupta seized the
opportunity to conquer and
unite almost all of northern
He founded the Mauryan
dynasty in 321 B.C.Adynasty
(DY nuh stee) is a series of
rulers from the same family. To
run his empire, Chandragupta
set up a well organized govern-
ment. In such a government,
rulers run everything from a
capital city. To control every-
thing from his capital,
Pataliputra (PAH tuh lih POO
truh), Chandragupta had to
have a strong army. He also
needed a good spy system to
make sure no one was plan-
ning to rebel. Communications
were also important, so he set
up a postal system.
210 CHAPTER 6 Early India
Lalita Patan
300 km
Azimuthal Equidistant projection
300 mi.
Mauryan Empire c. 250 B.C.
Pillar inscribed with
Buddhist teachings
Height of Mauryan
empire under Asoka
The Mauryan dynasty built the
first great Indian empire.
1. Where was the Mauryan capital
of Pataliputra located?
2. What part of India did the
Mauryans not conquer?
209-216 Ch6 S3-875047 9/22/06 9:53 AM Page 210
CHAPTER 6 Early India 211
This stupa from central India is one of the best-preserved
shrines from the 200s
B.C. What other type of structure
did Indians create to honor the Buddha?
The Buddha
Emperor Asoka’s Reign Chandragupta
founded the Mauryan dynasty, but many
historians think the empire’s greatest king
was Asoka (uh SOH kuh). Asoka ruled
from about 273 B.C. to 232 B.C.
Asoka was an unusual ruler. Like many
kings, he was a strong military leader, but
he came to hate bloodshed. After one
bloody fight, he walked over the battlefield.
When he saw the dead and wounded, he
was horrified and made a vow. He would
dedicate his life to peace and follow the
teachings of the Buddha.
Asoka was history’s first great
Buddhist king. He built hospitals for peo-
ple and for animals, too. He built new
roads so it was easier to trade and put
shelters and shade trees along the roads
where travelers could rest.
Asoka sent many Buddhist teachers
throughout India and the rest of Asia. They
carried the religion to new believers. In India,
laborers carved the Buddha’s teachings on
stone pillars for people to read. Asoka also
had laborers build thousands of stupas
(STOO puhs). Stupas are Buddhist shrines
that have the shape of a dome or mound.
Although he was a Buddhist, Asoka
allowed his Hindu subjects to practice their
With a good road system and a strong
ruler, the empire prospered. India became
the center of a huge trade network that
stretched to the Mediterranean Sea.
The Fall of the Mauryan Empire Asoka
died in 232 B.C. Unfortunately, the kings
who followed him were not very good lead-
ers, and the empire grew weak.
These kings made bad decisions that
turned the people against them. They forced
merchants to pay heavy taxes and seized
peasants’ crops for themselves. Things were
so bad that in 183 B.C., the last Mauryan ruler
was killed by one of his own generals.
Why was
Asoka an important ruler?
(l)Robert Harding Picture Library, (r)Hugh Sitton/Getty Images
209-216 Ch6 S3-875047 9/22/06 9:57 AM Page 211
Reigned c. 273–232
In the early years of his reign, Asoka was a powerful
military ruler. He used his armies to conquer and unify
almost all of India under one leader. After watching a
very bloody battle that left many people dead,
however, he decided to stop fighting and follow
Emperor Asoka vowed to relieve suffering
wherever he found it. He discovered that Buddhism
reflected his new beliefs, so he became a Buddhist.
Emperor Asoka had a strong, energetic
personality. He began preaching the Buddhist ideas
that people should be honest, truthful, and
nonviolent. He preached that people should live with
compassion toward all humans and animals. Asoka
taught by example and tried to live his life with “little
sin and many good
deeds.” He ordered his
government officials to adopt
those virtues for their own lives.
Emperor Asoka regularly visited people
in the rural areas of his kingdom and found practical ways to
improve their lives. He founded hospitals and supplied
medicine. He ordered wells to be dug and trees to be planted
along the roads. He also ordered his officials to keep him
informed of the needs of the people in his empire.
Carving from top of pillar
created under Asoka
Asoka closely linked religion and government.
Do you think that the two should be combined
or kept separate? Explain, providing examples
to support your answer.
(l)Ancient Art & Architecture Collection, (r)Hulton Archive/Getty Images News Services
209-216 Ch6 S3-875047 9/27/06 3:12 PM Page 212
CHAPTER 6 Early India 213
The Gupta Empire
The Gupta empire reunited much of
northern India and became wealthy through trade.
Reading Focus What types of products does the
United States trade with other countries? Read to learn
how the Gupta empire built its wealth on trade.
For 500 years, India was not united.
Once again, small kingdoms fought with
one another and made life miserable for
their subjects. Then, in A.D. 320, one prince
in the Ganges River valley grew more
powerful than the others. Like an earlier
ruler, his name was Chandragupta. This
Chandragupta chose to rule from the old
capital of the Mauryan empire—Pataliputra.
Chandragupta founded the Gupta dy-
nasty. When he died, his son, Samudragupta,
took over the throne and expanded the
Gupta empire in northern India. Soon, the
new kingdom dominated almost all of north-
ern India. The Guptas ruled for about 200
years. Gupta rulers had one advantage over
the earlier Mauryan kings. The empire was
smaller and that made it easier to manage.
The Gupta empire grew wealthy from
trade. Salt, cloth, and iron were common
goods traded in India. Indian merchants also
traded with China and with kingdoms in
southeast Asia and the Mediterranean. The
Gupta rulers controlled much of the trade
and became very wealthy. They owned silver
and gold mines and large estates.
Trade created jobs for people in India and
made many people and cities prosperous.
Cities grew up along the trade routes, and
many people traveled. Some people, called
pilgrims (PIHLgruhms), often used the trade
routes to travel to a religious shrine or site.
Just as cities today make money from
tourism, Indian cities that were famous for
their temples became wealthy from visiting
Asoka had converted to Buddhism, but
the Guptas were Hindus like many of their
subjects. They gave their full support to
Hinduism and gave money to support
Hindu scholars and Hindu shrines. The
shrines they built to Hindu deities inspired
Hindus. They often had brightly painted
sculptures of images from the Upanishads
and other sacred writings.
During the Gupta empire, art and science
also began to develop. Earlier, you learned
that Greece had a golden age of art and learn-
ing. India also had a golden age of art and
learning during the Gupta empire.
How did the Gupta
empire become wealthy?
500 km
Azimuthal Equidistant projection
500 mi.
Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire c.A.D. 600
The Guptas controlled much of northern
1. What river valleys were found within the
borders of the Gupta empire?
2. How does the area of the Gupta empire
compare to that of the Mauryan empire
as shown on the map on page 210?
209-216 Ch6 S3-875047 9/22/06 10:16 AM Page 213
Indian Literature and Science
The Mauryan and Gupta empires made
important contributions in literature, mathematics,
and science.
Reading Focus What do you think modern movies,
books, and television reveal about our values? As you
read, try to see if Indian poetry tells a story about val-
ues during the Gupta period.
Artists, builders, scientists, and writers
produced many works while the Mauryan
and Gupta kings ruled.
India’s Sacred Texts The Vedas of India are
an ancient collection of sacred verses, hymns,
prayers and teachings. No one is certain how
old they are because for a long time they
were only recited, not written down. After
Aryan people developed Sanskrit, then the
Vedas could be recorded.
Later, other kinds of literature were also
written down. Two sacred texts are very
famous in India, and Indians today still love
to read them. One is the Mahabharata
HAH BAH ruh tuh), and the other is the
Ramayana (rahmahYAH nah). Both of these
sacred texts tell about brave warriors and
their heroic deeds.
The Mahabharata is a long sacred text—
about 88,000 verses. Historians think several
different authors wrote it and that it was
written down around 100 B.C. It describes a
great war for control of an Indian kingdom
about 1,000 years earlier.
The best-known section is the Bhagavad
Gita (BAH guh VAHD GEE tuh), or “Song of
the Lord.” It is very important in Hindu writ-
ings. In it, the deity Krishna preaches a ser-
mon before a battle. He tells his listeners how
noble it is to do one’s duty even when it is
difficult and painful.
214 CHAPTER 6 Early India
The Bhagavad Gita
In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna prepares to go into battle. He asks the deity Krishna
questions about war and death. The following passage is part of Krishna’s answer.
“Thou grievest where no grief should be! . . .
All, that doth live, lives always! . . .
The soul that with a strong and constant calm
Takes sorrow and takes joy indifferently,
Lives in the life undying!
Bhagavadgita, Sir Edwin Arnold, trans.
What does Krishna believe about life after
Painting titled Krishna and Maidens
The British Library, London/Bridgeman Art Library
209-216 Ch6 S3-875047 9/22/06 3:24 PM Page 214
The teachings in the Mahabharata, espe-
cially the Bhagavad Gita, contain many of
the central beliefs in Hinduism. They pro-
vide important religious and moral lessons.
For this reason, they have had a great
impact on Hinduism and continue to influ-
ence Indian philosophy in modern times.
An important writer from the Gupta
period is Kalidasa
(KAH lihDAH suh). He
wrote plays, poems, love stories, and come-
dies. One popular poem, The Cloud
Messenger, contains beautiful descrip-
tions of northern India’s mountains,
forests, and rivers.
Another work is the Panchantantra.
Similar to Aesop’s fables, these tales
include animal characters presenting
lessons about life.
Music, Art, and Architecture Music
played an important part in the reli-
gious and social lives of people in India.
Many of the early sacred texts like the
Bhagavad Gita were probably sung in
group settings. At annual festivals people
danced and sang. They also used music in
plays. Musical instruments included tam-
bourines, flutes, drums, and lutes.
Much of early Indian art was made of
materials that have not survived. What
exists today is mostly religious art made in
stone. There are many sculptures of the
Buddha, for example. These statues teach
different Buddhist messages based on the
figure’s pose. Buddhist temples also
included carvings of local scenes.
Hindu architecture typically had carv-
ings of people in different poses that repre-
sented different aspects of eternity. Images
of deities with many hands were created to
show that the deities had many abilities.
Indian Math and Science Indian mathe-
maticians, especially in the Gupta period,
made important contributions. Aryabhata
(AHRyuhBUHTuh) was the leading mathe-
matician of the Gupta empire. He was
one of the first scientists known to have used
algebra. Indian mathematicians developed
the idea of zero and a symbol to represent it.
They also explained the concept of infinity—
something without an end.
Gupta mathematicians created the sym-
bols for the numbers 1 to 9 that we use today.
These number symbols, or numerals, were
adopted by Arab traders in the
A.D. 700s. European traders borrowed them
from the Arabs. Use of these numbers
CHAPTER 6 Early India 215
The Invention
of Zero c.A.D. 500
Early humans
understood the idea
of nothing, but they
did not have a symbol
to represent that idea.
During the Gupta
dynasty, Indian
invented the symbol
“0” and connected it
with the idea of
nothing. The Indians’
invention of zero had
a great impact on the
study of mathematics and science—then
and now. Without the concept of zero,
modern technology, such as computers,
would not be possible.
The middle dot
is the first
symbol for zero.
209-216 Ch6 S3-875047 9/27/06 2:29 PM Page 215
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216 CHAPTER 6 Early India
Reading Summary
Review the
The Mauryan empire, under lead-
ers such as Chandragupta Maurya
and Asoka, united most of India
for over a hundred years.
The Gupta dynasty reunited
northern India and grew wealthy
from trade.
During the Mauryan and Gupta
empires, the arts and sciences
flourished in India. Several great
sacred texts, including the
Mahabharata and the Ramayana,
came from this period.
Study Central
Need help with the
material in this section? Visit
1. Describe trade during the
Gupta empire.
2. What is the message of the
Bhagavad Gita?
Critical Thinking
3. Organizing Information
Draw a diagram to show the
contributions of Indian mathe-
maticians during the Mauryan
and Gupta empires.
Analyze How were Asoka’s
Buddhist beliefs reflected in his
accomplishments as king?
Expository Writing Which of
the Indian emperors described
in this section do you think
was the greatest ruler? Write a
short essay explaining your
Math Link
Why would the
development of a number sys-
tem be important in a civiliza-
tion that depended on trade?
Explain how you could use
context to determine the
meaning of the word
prospered in this sentence.
“With a good road system
and a strong ruler, the empire
What Did You Learn?
spread through Europe in the A.D. 1200s,
replacing Roman numerals. Today, this
system of number symbols is known as
the Hindu-Arabic numerical system.
Early Indians also invented mathemati-
cal algorithms. An algorithm (AHL gohrih
thuhm) is a series of steps that solve a prob-
lem. If you follow the steps, you get the
right answer. Computer programmers
today often use algorithms to tell comput-
ers what to do.
Ancient Indians made important con-
tributions in other scientific fields, espe-
cially astronomy. They followed and
mapped movements of planets and stars.
They understood that the Earth was round
and revolved around the sun. They also
seem to have understood gravity.
Particularly under the Gupta, Indian
scientists made advances in metallurgy, or
metal technology. In addition to iron tools
and weapons, they made steel tools. An
iron pillar in Delhi, dating from around
A.D. 400, was so well made that it has hardly
rusted. The Gupta also made sophisticated
gold coins and metal mirrors.
In the field of medicine, Gupta doctors
were advanced for their time. They could
set broken bones and perform operations.
They also invented many medical tools.
An Indian doctor named Shushruta
(shooshROOtah) carried out an early form
of plastic surgery. He worked to restore
damaged noses. Indian doctors used herbs
in treating illnesses.They also believed it
was important to remove the causes of a
disease and not just cure the disease itself.
In what areas
of science did ancient Indians make advances?
209-216 Ch6 S3-875047 9/22/06 3:28 PM Page 216
India’s First Empires
Hinduism and Buddhism
India’s Early Civilizations
Focusing on the
Climate and geography influenced the rise of India’s first civilization.
(page 195)
New ideas and technology influenced the development of India.
(page 198)
The Aryans created a caste system that separated Indians
into groups.
(page 199)
Focusing on the
Hinduism grew out of the ancient beliefs
of the Aryans.
(page 203)
A new religion, Buddhism, appealed to many
people in India and other parts of Asia.
(page 205)
Focusing on the
The Mauryan dynasty built India’s first great empire. (page 210)
The Gupta empire reunited much of northern India and became wealthy
through trade.
(page 213)
The Mauryan and Gupta empires made important contributions in
literature, mathematics, and science.
(page 214)
CHAPTER 6 Early India 217
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Building Your Vocabulary
16. Read the following excerpt from page
205. Then explain how context clues
can help you determine the meaning
of the word
He left his family and riches and began
his search. At first he lived like
a hermit, fasting and sleeping on the
hard ground. Siddhartha nearly
starved, but he still had no answer
to his questions.
To review this skill, see pages 192–193.
Section 2 • Hinduism and Buddhism
8. From what did Hinduism form?
9. Which religion appealed to people in India
and other parts of Asia?
Section 3 • India’s First Empires
10. Which dynasty built India’s first great
11. Why was the Gupta empire
Critical Thinking
12. Compare How do you think the Eightfold
Path is similar to the Ten Commandments
of Judaism?
Analyze How does the Mahabharata reflect
the ideals of ancient India?
Explain How did the monsoons
affect the development of India’s first
Predict What do you think might have
happened if Asoka had approved of the
slaughter on the battlefield during his
wars of conquest?
Review Vocabulary
1. Write a paragraph about the basic beliefs
of Hinduism using the following words.
reincarnation karma dharma
Write the vocabulary word that best
completes each sentence. Then write a
sentence for each term not chosen.
a. stupa e. pilgrim
b. guru f. theocracy
c. varna g. monsoon
d. raja h. dynasty
2. Each Aryan tribe was led by a
3. In a
, government is led by religious
4. A
is a line of rulers who belong to the
same family.
5. A
travels to religious places.
Review Main Ideas
Section 1 • India’s Early Civilizations
6. What influenced the rise of India’s early
7. What was the purpose of the varna system?
218 CHAPTER 6 Early India
217-219 CH6 CRA-875047 9/29/06 4:41 PM Page 218
500 km
Azimuthal Equidistant projection
500 mi.
Geography Skills
Study the map below and answer the follow-
ing questions.
Human/Environment Interaction Why
did Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro develop
so near the Indus River?
Place The winter monsoon winds come
from the northeast. What makes the winds
from that monsoon cold?
Location Name at least two natural
features that protected Harappa and
Mohenjo-Daro from invaders.
Read to Write
20. Persuasive Writing In the Mahabharata,
the deity Krishna advises Arjuna, “Get
ready for battle without thought of . . .
gain and loss, victory and defeat.” Write a
paragraph in which you agree or disagree
with that advice.
Using Your Use the information
you recorded in your foldable to create a
fill-in-the-blank quiz for a classmate. Write
a paragraph about one of the sections,
leaving blanks for your classmates to fill
in. Also write an answer key.
Using Technology
22. Researching Use the Internet and your
local library to find information about the
varnas and jati in India today. You may
wish to investigate where the systems are
still practiced and how they affect modern
society. You may also wish to research
attempts at reforming the system and how
the system is affected by national law.
Prepare a report to share with the class.
Building Citizenship Skills
23. Analyzing Information Dharma is the
Hindu idea of duty. Is it important for
people in a society to do their duty? Make
a list of duties Americans have today.
Then write a paragraph explaining why
those duties are important.
Self-Check Quiz To help you prepare for
the Chapter Test, visit
Read the excerpt from the Buddha’s
Farewell Address. Then answer the
‘Hold fast to the truth as a lamp. Seek sal-
vation alone in the truth. Do not look for
assistance to anyone besides yourselves....
Those who, either now or after I am dead,
shall be lamps unto themselves . . . holding
fast to the truth as their lamp, and seeking
their salvation in the truth alone . . . it is
they ...who shall reach the very topmost
height! But they must be anxious to learn.’”
The Teachings of Buddha, The Buddha’s
Farewell Address, compiled by Paul Carus
24. Why does the Buddha compare the
truth to a lamp?
25. What quality must people have if they
want to reach the topmost height?
Early India
CHAPTER 6 Early India 219
Indus civilization,
c. 1500
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