quarta-feira, 13 de fevereiro de 2013


The cultures of the Indus

To meet the pre-Aryan civilization, which flourished in the valley of the River Indus and Sarasvati, historians have only archaeological remains, since the few written sources that were found could not be deciphered until now.

The two main cities of this ancient civilization, urban and sophisticated, were Harappa and Mohenjo Daro. They were discovered in 1800 by English settlers, but it was only in 1921 that started the systematic excavations. Interrupted during the Second World War and then harmed because of the conflict between India and Pakistan, the archaeological researches were resumed only in 1986, with the HARP (Harappa Archaeological Project), an interdisciplinary project that brings together researchers from various fields of knowledge and different countries .

Despite having been occupied since the prehistoric period was between 2600 and 1900 BC the Indus River valley and the civilization that flourished there reached its economic peak and its maximum degree of urban sprawl. It is an urban civilization, the impressive sophistication of crafts in gold, silver, bronze, ivory and semiprecious stones, in ceramics, construction of houses and buildings that counted up to sewer systems, the size of their trade and public works etc.. Of the first civilizations - Egypt, Mesopotamia and China - the Indus civilization is reached by that cover the largest geographical area, an area equivalent to the total extent of Europe.

The two biggest mysteries surrounding the Indus Valley civilization are:

• The decipherment of their writing, which is found on seals, tablets and other ceramic objects. To date not found a Rosetta stone, which establish the equivalence with other known writing. It is likely that spoke a Dravidian language, but it is not known even today as they called themselves, not the real names of cities (Harappa and Mohenjo Daro are names later).

• The sudden decline of the Indus civilization between 2200 and 1900 BC There are two explanations for this decline: 1) The invasion of a foreign people, perhaps the Indo-Aryans, which would have destroyed the cities with violence and subjected indigenous peoples; 2) endogenous factors explain the decline, such as climate change, drought, economic and political crisis.


The ideology of caste

Hinduism traditional ideas and knows no heaven or hell, or an afterlife for which the individual soul would be sent after death. Instead, there is a belief in the cycle of reincarnation, ie, the belief that after death the soul transmigrate to another body, restarting the cycle of life. Reincarnation would be a consequence of the acts (karman) committed in previous lives. So, who was born in upper castes would have done good deeds in a previous existence, while those born at less than would be paying for his past misdeeds.

People of Indo-europe that ourselves in the Iranian plateau since the end of the third millennium BC and populated the peninsula of India around 1500 BC.

Each caste has its own dharma (moral duty) and stick to it meticulously and patiently reborn in a higher existence until all your karma is exhausted and the cycle of reincarnation ends. Thus, for example, the sudra (servant) has a duty to serve and obey the higher castes, performing with joy the most degrading jobs. It is his way of paying for misdeeds committed in previous lives, purifying up to the next incarnation. Thus, fulfilling his mission, he hopes to be reborn in a higher caste in the next life. This belief in reward and punishment in the next reincarnation became an ideology that consolidated the existing order of castes in India more than two thousand years. This ideology is so strong that even today India is a secular and modern, caste still determines people's behavior.


The Vedic culture

The end of the Indus civilization until the second century BC, almost no archaeological remains (cities, buildings, objects) to document the Vedic period or classical Indian culture. Practically the only documents we have are the texts of the Veda, the sacred book of Hinduism written in Sanskrit. Veda means knowledge. The book is divided into three sets of texts: the Samhita (collection of sacred hymns), the Brahmana (explanations and comments of Samhita) and Upanishads (philosophical texts of esoteric and metaphysical). Vedanta is the supplement to the Vedas, writing permanent until today.

The Vedic hymns were written for centuries, is the work of many authors. They were passed down from generation to generation by oral tradition and so it is difficult to know precisely when they were written. They are the foundation of all literature and Indian philosophy and can be considered the oldest corpus of knowledge of history. The book contains hymns, prayers, ritual prescriptions, magical formulas (mantras) and incantations which form the foundations of so-called Brahmanism, highly ritualized religion governed by the priests (Brahmins).

The caste system was coded slowly, you probably do not even exist in the ancient Vedic period. The traditional division includes four varieties (later appeared several other castes and subcastes):

• Brahmans (priests responsible for the ritual)

• Kshatrias (Warriors)

• Vaisyas (free peasants)

• Sudras (servants)

Only the first three castes are entitled to hear the Veda. The fourth caste was made (according to the Aryan invasion theory) by non-Aryans or Aryans disqualified. Because it is considered unclean, the fourth caste could not hear the Veda, nor participate in the sacrifices. The ritual sacrifices occupy the center of religious life, influencing all aspects of life. This gives the first caste, the Brahmins, immense power and prestige in society. There is a strict regulation of social duties of each caste. The lower castes, for example, could only perform duties and depreciated as infamous executioner, washer corpses, butcher etc.

To explain the advent of Vedic culture, we used to call "Aryan invasion theory" (TIA). According to this theory, between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries BC, tribes of nomadic warriors known as Aryans, would have left the Russian steppes and invaded Iran and northern India. Indigenous people have been enslaved by the invaders, which to distinguish the white conquerors dominated the dark color, have developed the caste system (in Sanskrit, caste is varna says, meaning "color"). However, this theory has no historical proof and may have been used to justify European colonialism in Asia in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, based on supposed racial superiority of white European on the colonized peoples. But the problem remains. Today, there are alternative models to the TIA. Some researchers argue that there was an invasion sudden and violent Aryan Warriors, they would have come in several waves of migration, perhaps far away in time and, when they arrived, would have suffered a huge organized resistance of indigenous peoples. Others argue that the invasions, if it really existed, were peaceful and led the Aryans to mix with local people, producing a fusion of cultures. Finally, there are those who argue that there was never the Aryan invasion and that Vedic culture comes from the ancient civilization of the Indus River. This is a question that remains open, that the continuation of archaeological excavations in the region may help to clarify.


The Yoga

The word Yoga means "union" (the root yuj, which gave jungere in Latin, English yoke). Yoga is a spiritual technique for joining the staff I limited, finite and conditioned the Atman (the Self) unconditional, unlimited and absolute. That is, the union between the individual and the whole. But what prevents this union? All material and social constraints that shape an individual's personality, everything that the Indians call Avidya (Ignorance, ignorance towards the ultimate reality of things).

But to reach that ultimate union must achieve mastery voluntary and conscious about your body and mind. And this can only be achieved by physical techniques and mental concentration.

According to the historian of religions Mircea Eliade, Yoga is a set of spiritual techniques that underlie all Eastern traditions, religions of the Far East to Islamic Sufism. The ultimate goal is liberation (Moksa) and knowledge (jnana), affected by mental deconditioning and body of the individual. This release and knowledge can be obtained by anyone through disciplined effort and purification, being independent of the position that a person occupies in society. In other words, this is all deceit of the Devil