Chapter 9: Expansion of Civilization in South Asia

Chapter Objectives


Bhaktidevotion, central concept in evolution of Hinduism, belief that religious devotion brought the possibility of improving one’s karma


Bodhisattvas:  in some schools of Buddhism, individuals who have achieved enlightenment but, because of their great compassion, have chosen to renounce Nirvana and to remain on earth in spirit form to help all human beings achieve release from reincarnation


Caste system:  a system of rigid social hierarchy in which all members of that society are assigned by birth to specific "ranks," and inherit specific roles and privileges


Gamelan:  orchestra composed of percussion instruments


Gopurasgreat towers, found in India


KampongsMalay villages


Hinduism:  the main religion in India, it emphasizes reincarnation, based on the results of a previous life, and the desirability of escaping this cycle.


Mahayana:   a school of Buddhism that promotes the ideas of universal salvation through the intercession of bodhisattvas, predominant in north Asia.


Moon:  Indian Ocean, blows from southwest in summer and northeast in winter


Nada:  physical vibrations of music, related to Indian spiritual world


Nirvana:  in Buddhist thought, enlightenment, the ultimate transcendence from the illusion of the material world, release from the wheel of life


Nuclear family:  a family group consisting only of father, mother, and children


Parsis:  Persian Zoroastrians who fled to India, they became a major economic force in Mumbai (Bombay)


Purdahthe Indian term for the practice among Muslims and some Hindus of isolating women and preventing them from associating with men outside the home


Raga:  Indian musical scale


Reincarnation:  the idea that the individual soul is reborn in a different form after death


Sati:  the Hindu ritual requiring a wife to throw herself upon her deceased husband's funeral pyre


Sikhs:  “disciples,” religion founded in Punjab by Nanak, integration of parts of Hinduism and Islam


Sitar:  stringed instrument


Theravada:  “teachings of the elders,” a school of Buddhism that stresses personal behavior and the quest for understanding as a means of release from the wheel of life, rather than the intercession of bodhisattvas, also known as Hinayana or the “lesser vehicle”


Varna:  Indian classes or castes, term also appeared in Southeast Asia


Wayang kulit Southeast Asian shadow puppet play