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DQ4 PROMPT: Read the two sources, Purusha and the Primordial
Sacrifice and The Spirit of Wisdom, then respond to the prompts below.
1. What do these Vedic and Zoroastrian documents say about the
relationship of social structure in the natural order of things?
2. What might be a positive reason religious texts spend time
focusing on humanity's "place" in the universe?
3. Why might other religious trajectories (such as Buddhism)
push back against these types of social hierarchies?
Purusha and the Primordial Sacrifice:
 Purusha is a Vedic god, who they believe is everywhere and all-knowing and
immortal (forever living). His body is the "world;" all creatures are a part of
 The Sadhyas (heavenly figures) and Rishis (prophets) both offer a major
sacrifice to Purusha.
 From the leftovers of that sacrifice, Purusha formed all land and air animals.
In Vedic thought, the entire universe was born of a sacrifice, and
furthermore the universe was maintained by proper sacrifice. It was man's
responsibility to maintain order by properly performing ritual duty.
 It talks about the Brahman being the "mouth" of the god, which is referring
to the divine creation of the caste system, wherein individuals are born to a
particular role, and expected to fulfill that role. Brahman refers to the
priestly caste, who spoke spells and performed rituals.
 It talks about the Rajanya being the "arms" of the god. Rajanya refers to the
royalty, or kshatriya, warriors who maintained civil order and fought
 It talks about the "Vaisya" being the "thighs" of the god. Vaisya refers to
the worker caste, merchants, craftsmen, farmers, etc. The producers of
 It talks about the "Sudra" being the "feet" of the god. Sudra refers to the
slave caste, most likely the darker, indigenous people of India conquered by
Indo-Aryan invaders. The Sudra who performed hard labor and served
other castes.
 The gods of wind, fire, and war were birthed from this one god also. Sky
was created from the god's head and the earth from his feet.
"The Spirit of Wisdom"
-Zoroastrian religious text; most likely memorized by followers
 A sage asks the "spirit of wisdom" what the roles of priests, warriors, and
husbandmen (farmers). The spirit responds by saying that priests maintain
religion and perform ceremonies; they make people aware of the goodness
of good works and show them the way to heaven and how to avoid going
to hell. Warriors' purpose is to defeat the enemies and keep their country
from turmoil. Farmers are supposed to cultivate the land and keep the
world populated.
 He then asks the spirit of wisdom what the role was of the artisans
(craftsman, jewelry makers, artists, blacksmiths, etc). The spirit answers by
saying that they only perform the duties that they are skilled at and
whatever their skill is that they do it well and with careful attention. They
should also demand wages lawfully.