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India's Caste System

1-Birch Ancient Indian Caste System

VocabularyDefinition
Aryan Powerful pale-skinned barbarian tribe which invaded Indus Valley from the north and established the caste system
Ashrama The four stages of life described in the Code of Manu: study (the Vedas), householding (having children), forest dwelling, and renouncing (to meditate while prepping for enlightenment)
Avatars The appearance on Earth of a god, usually Vishnu, in human or animal form. There are 10 linked to Vishnu. Avatars appeared during evil times to help restore order and righteousness.
Krishna an Avatar (human form of a young hero and lover) of the god Vishnu.
Rama an Avatar (reincarnation) of the god Vishnu. He took the human form of prince and hero.
Bhagavid-Gita an ancient writing which summarizes the main beliefs of Hinduism through an epic story. Main message: live life as a journey toward a higher level
Bhakti devotion to and worship of God in the pursuit of enlightenment
Brahma one of the Hindu Trinity Gods with Vishnu and Shiva. Brahma is the balance between Shiva and Vishnu
Vishnu one of the Hindu Trinity Gods; the good and merciful; the greatest god. Maintains a balance between good and evil.
Shiva one of the Hindu Trinity Gods; destructive and vengeful
Brahma (the god) one of the Hindu Trinity Gods; the balance
Brahman (the search) the search for knowledge and understanding.
Brahmin (the priests) Caste of high priests. The Vedas were compiled and guarded by the Brahmins
Caste the station in life or level of society which one is born into
Code of Manu Ancient group of laws and rules for behavior
Dharma Sanskrit for duty; one of the Purusarthas.
Enlightenment highest challenge and goal of existence -- takes several lifetimes to achieve
guru a teacher
Hinduism religious philosophy based on cosmic wholeness
Moksha state of bliss achieved through enlightenment; ultimate goal of all human life; takes many lifetimes to achieve; one of the Purusarthas
Karma the belief that a person experiences the consequences of his/her own actions. You reap what you sow.
Kshatriyas the warrior caste and nobelmen; 2nd below the Brahmins
Maya One of the key beliefs in the Vedas is that the world is misleading and a world of illusion
Pariahs workers not admitted into the four main castes. AKA untouchables.
Purusarthas the four goals of humans which are considered good to seek. They are: Moksha (enlightenment), dharma (duty), artha (wealth and purpose), kama (pleasure)
Artha one of the Purusarthas; wealth and purpose
Kama one of the Purusarthas; pleasure
Samsara the belief that the cycle of life, death, and rebirth define our existence.
Sanskrit the sacred Hindu language developed by the Aryans of the Indus Valley
Sudras (or Shudras) the fourth level of the caste system comprised of servants. Code of Manu suggests Sudras cannot achieve enlightenment
Upanishads a group of writings which were added to the Vedas focused on the nature of existence and consciousness
Vaisyas Third in the caste system under Brahmins and Kshatriyans. Caste contains merchants, skilled workers, and farmers.
Varna color; refers to racial differences between white Aryans of the north and the brown native population
Vedas Considered the world's oldest writings that may date as early as 2000 BCE. Traditionally, only males of the top 3 castes could read the Vedas
Hindu Caste System divides society by castes based on occupation and used the human body as a metaphor for the caste
Hindu Caste: Brahmin Brahmin: the mouth (the priests)
Hindu Caste: Kshatriyas Kshatriyas: the arms (the warriors)
Hindu Caste: Vaishyas Vaishyas: the thighs (skilled workers and farmers)
Hindu Caste: Shudras Shudras: the feet (the servants)
Created by: cougarchick13 on 2006-01-24



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