Kerala Plus Two History Notes Chapter 4 Thinkers, Beliefs and Buildings
1. In this chapter we discuss some cultural developments that took place during the period between BCE 600 to CE 600. The philosophers and thinkers of that period made great contributions to the cultural development of India.
They tried to understand the circumstances in which they lived and came forward with revolutionary principles and philosophies. Their ideas were collected orally and also in written form. Their ideas were depicted in the architectural ‘vastu’ and art of sculpture. It shows that these thinkers had exerted great influence among the people.
2. This chapter mainly talks about Buddhism. Buddhist tradition did not develop in isolation. Therefore it is necessary to know about other traditions which also grew along with Buddhism.
3. There was also the spread of Jainism in many parts of India. It spread mostly to Rajasthan, Gujarat, Malwa, Kalinga, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Simple principles, the use of Prakrit language, encouragement from the Kings, the energy of the Jain Sangha and Jain Ascetics helped its growth and spread.
4. The basis of Buddhist principles is the 4 ‘Arya Satya’s’ and ‘Ashtanga Marga’.
(a) Buddha taught 4 fundamental truths. They are known as the 4 Arya Satyas or Noble Truths. These are the 4 Arya Satya’s: The world is a sorrowful place. The reason for sorrow is desires. If one can deny his desires, he can overcome his sorrows.
By employing the Ashtanga Marga sorrows can be resisted. The ashtanga margas are right word, right deed, right life, right efforts, right memory, right view, the right decision, and right meditation.
5. When Buddha was alive and even after his death, Buddhism began to spread widely. It spread abroad to China, Japan, Burma, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Mongolia, and Tibet.
6. With the 1st century, many changes happened in Buddhism and its practice. Among the Buddha Bikshus themselves, there were different interpretations regarding the tenets of Buddhism.
During the reign of Kanishka, there was the 4th Buddhist meeting in Kashmir and in this meeting the differences became intense. It led to a split in Buddhism. One group was Hinayana and the other was Mahayana.
7. In the Hindu tradition also a messiah concept developed. The ancient Hindu religion originated from this concept. There were two traditions in ancient Hinduism: Vaishnava and Saiva.
Timeline – 1
Important Religious Happenings
- 1500-1000BC: Early Veda Traditions
- 1000-500 BC: Later Veda Traditions.
- 6th century BC: Early Upanishads, Jainism, Buddhism
- 3rd century BC: The first Stupas
- From 2nd CBC: The development of Mahayana Buddhism, Vaishnava Religion, Saiva Religion and Adoration of goddesses
- 3rd century AD: Early Temples.
Timeline – 2
- 1814: The founding of the Indian Museum in Calcutta
- 1834: Ram Raja publishes his Essay on the Architecture of the Hindus. Cunningham makes excavations in Sanchi.
- 1835-42: James Fargunan makes researches in the main archaeological sites.
- 1851: Establishment of the Government museum at Madras.
- 1854: Alexander Cunningham publishes one of his early books on Sanchi entitled “Bhilsa Topes”.
- 1878: Rajendra Lai Mitra publishes “Buddha Gaya – The Heritage of Sakya Muni”.
- 1880: H.H. Kaul is appointed as the Curator of ancient monuments.
- 1888: The Treasure Trove Act is passed. This authorizes the government to acquire all ancient archaeological properties.
- 1914: John Marshal and Alfred Foucher jointly publish “The Monuments of Sanchi”.
- 1923: John Marshal publishes. ‘Conservation Manual’.
- 1955: Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru lays the foundation stone for the Delhi National Museum.
- 1989: Sanchi is declared a World Heritage Site.