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Lecture

Antecedents of Indic Religions


Department
Religion
Course Code
RLG100Y1
Professor
Andre Maintenay

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World ReligionsNovember 15
th
, 2011.
Antecedents of Indic Religions
Reading: NONE
Two main traditions that coalesce to form larger religious tapestry from which later
tradition emerge:
1.Indus Valley civilization (Harappa civilization) 2007 BCE
Scripts/language never been deciphered
Assumptions on basis of artifacts from excavation sites – figur ines, which suggest
might have been culture engaged in Goddess worship, e.g. exaggerated female
genitalia
Might have had significant respect for animals because all kinds of animals
represented in artworks and seals
May have engaged in forms of asceticism
Initially immediate to Pakistan; later spread to northern, central parts of India
Oldest remnant of histor y that we have for Indian subcontinent
Assumption culture was lively, interactive culturally and intercultural engaged and
persisted for some time eventually died off (unknown) many theories about it
overr un by new peoples who entered into the area, eventually destroyed the
civilization and took over
2.Aryans
Originated roughly area of central Asia
Migrated to different parts of world in tribes over several hundred years
Some went into Iran—homeland of Aryan
Some migrated into parts of Europe as far Nor th as Scandinavia, Britain, Ireland
Other migrated southward into area of Indian subcontinent
Theory – or iginally belonged to ancient linguistic family who spoke similar
languages, called Indo European
Branch that migrated to Indian subcontinent known as Aryans
Late 18
th
, early 19
th
century – Age of Enlightenment, colonialism
Many Europeans present in India for commercial and administrative reasons
British involved in certain parts of India, in position of governance
British administrators begin learning language of country – major scriptural
language of culture is Sanskrit
Discover g reat deal of affinity b/w languages of India and languages of Europe
On basis of this linguistic connection, pur pose idea that cultures of ancient India
and culture of ancient Europe, must have at some point in past been connected 
maybe or iginated at same place and then diverged? —Theor y evolved by scholars
in late 18
th
century
Max Mueller wrote about great excitement of discovering these two sets of
cousins who werenow shaking hands across the millennium, f inally being
reunited with each other”
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