Ancient India
India’s Social Hierarchy Quiz
• 1. T or F – Brahmins, or the priests are at the top of the caste system.
• 2. T or F – The Sudras, or servants/unskilled laborers are considered the
Middle Class.
• 3. T or F – In India, women are able to divorce their husbands if they are
• 4. T or F – Only males receive a formal education in ancient India.
• 5. T or F – The Untouchables are considered so worthless that they are
not on the Indian Caste System.
• 6. T or F – The Kshatryas, or the rulers/warriors are at the very top of the
caste system.
• 7. T or F – The Vaisyas, or the commoners/merchants/ farmers make the
most of the Indian Population.
• 8. T or F – Women belonging to prominent families are expected to throw
themselves into the funeral fire of their dead husband.
• 9. T or F – A characteristic of the Indian caste system was prejudice
against lower groups.
• 10. T or F – An impact of the Indian caste system was placing each group
into society with specific jobs to complete.
Using the chart below, read the slides and record three
important facts about the topic. Also explain how
those beliefs impacts peoples lives.
• Hinduism is an ancient religion whose origins predate
recorded history. It has no single human founder, and
it has developed over thousands of years.
• Its most sacred scriptures are the Vedas, which means
"knowledge" in Sanskrit, the ritual language of
Hinduism. The Vedas began as an oral tradition, and
modern scholars have speculated that they date back
as far as 6500 B.C.E.
• Historians believe that the Vedas were written down
around 1000 B.C.E. or earlier. Other elements of
Hinduism - such as sacred symbols and the worship of
certain Gods - can also be traced back to the seventh
century B.C.E.
• The word Hindu was first used by the ancient
Persians (Iran) to describe the practices and
beliefs of people who lived east of the river
Sindhu, or the Indus River.
• Hindus call their religion "Sanatana Dharma"
(the eternal religion) or "Vedic Dharma" (the
religion of knowledge).
• Over the millennia Hinduism has continued
to evolve, and in modern times it combines a
wide variety of religious beliefs and practices.
• Hinduism has historically been tolerant of
other religions, believing that all religions can
be a path to God.
• As of 2005, there were nearly one billion (886
million) Hindus in the world, the majority of
them living in India.
• Hindus believe in a
universal spirit called
• Sacred texts called the
Upanishads, say, “every
living being has a soul
that wants to be
reunited with Braham
and this happens when
a person dies.”
Hindus believe that Brahman takes on the form of different
dieties, or Gods and Goddesses depending on the situation. Of
the many gods and goddesses, three principal figures stand out –
Brahma the Creator, Shiva the Destroyer, and Vishnu the
Vishnu – the protector
Shiva – the destroyer
• Hindus believe that a soul is
not joined to the Brahman
immediately after a person
• A person must pass through
many lives to be united with
Brahman. This is called
• On its journey, a soul might be
reborn into any living creature.
Many dedicated Hindus are
vegetarian because of
reincarnation and believe that
animals and humans alike
should be treated with
• To earn the reward of a
better life in their next
life, Hindus believe they
must perform their duty.
• Dharma is the divine law,
which requires people to
perform the duties of
their caste.
• A farmer has different
duties that a priest and
men have different duties
than women.
• The consequences of how a
person lives are known as
• If Hindus do their duty and
live a good life, they will
have good Karma. This will
move them closer to the
Brahman in their next life.
• A dedicated Hindu believes
that the people in a higher
Varna (caste) are superior
and that are supposed to be
on top.
• What happens to those who
do not do their duty and/or
live a bad life?
Many temples are dedicated to
the individual gods and
In addition, many Hindus have a
shrine in their own home, where
they can perform daily acts of
worship to the god of their
These rituals of home prayer,
together with a rich and varied
calendar of festivals, form the
core of worship for many
• Compose an acrostic poem for the word
Hinduism. Follow these guidelines as you
compose your poem, using the letters from
the word HINDUISM.
– Include a sentence for each letter in the word
– Use all of the Key Content Terms at least once and
underline them in your completed poem.
– Summarize three ways Hindu beliefs have
influenced life in India.