Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The influence of ancient Indian philosophy Essay -- History, Classica

Think Classical India, and one instantly conjures images of an exotic land filled with mysticism and rich in lore. Now think Classical Indian politics and the first thought that comes to mind, the infamous caste system. To better understand the caste system, one must know that upon its initial introduction the caste system was foreign to Classical India. It was in actuality the political system ordained by the outsider Aryans, Indo-European nomads who would settle in and later integrate with Classical India through the conquering of its eastern and southern regions, soon going on to establish a stable and partially unified administration and spreading its influence across all of Classical India (Bentley & Ziegler 76-77). When the caste system, eventually renamed the varna [color] system by the Aryans, was definitively widespread among Classical India it provided a very detailed social hierarchy amongst the Indian and Aryan peoples which included well defined classes and roles for the people, and etiquettes regarding their respective class and role (Bentley & Ziegler 76-78). The question surmised from this context is how was it that such a discriminate system, which assigned semi-permanent unequal classes, justified? The answer lies within the philosophy practiced by Classical India itself. From sacred text, such as The Vedas and Upanishads, political declarations from the ruler, such as the Edicts of Asoka, and Hindu text, such as The Laws of Manu and The Bhavagad-Gita. Classical Indian Philosophy helped to justify and enforce the varna [caste] system by: explaining and defining the roles of the people, exaggerating the importance of dharma, karma and moksha in relation to their roles, and eventually dictating how one should act i... ...ds, or even the dictations presented in the Laws of Manu, these philosophies all helped to promote the notions of the role of the people in society, the duties one had to fulfill and the reasons for doing so, and the actions one should perform in regularity. By constantly retelling and reinforcing these concepts into the minds of the people, the philosophy was able to embed itself into the mindset of every person in Classical India. By taking away the choice of whether or not to listen to these philosophies, via repeated teachings that one had to follow dharma to find happiness, it was ensured that total dominion over a state, whether or not the subjects were aware, was possible. Humans can learn one very important lesson from Classical India, that with enough pre-programming any will could be forced upon a person, any thought inputted with resounding positivity.

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