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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Ancient History ****Question Bank

Try to answer the following questions:

Style: Book Based

Suggestion: Chapter VII, Wonder That Was India by A. L. Basham.



Religion of the Vedas

The Earliest signs of Religion in India:


Who were the earliest civilized Inhabitants of India?
Which deities did the earlier civilized inhabitants of India worship?
Which was the important religious rite or the activity of the earlier civilized inhabitants of India?
Did the religious faith of the earlier inhabitants of India die away?


Rig Veda and Vedic Gods, Goddesses and other Divine Perceptions

The Contents of the Rig Veda:
How many hymns are there in Rig-Veda?
Which is the oldest religious and sacred book of the world?
When was Rig-Veda composed?

The other Vedas:
What is the nature of the content of Rig-Veda?
When are the hymns of Rig-Veda used?
How many Vedas are there apart from Rig-Veda?
What is the character of the contents of the Sam Veda?
What is the character of the contents of Yajur Veda?
What is the character of the contents of Atharva Veda?
What is the main purpose of the Sam Veda?
When was the Yajur Veda compiled?
What linguistic form of the contents of the Yajur Veda is there?
Who could chant the hymns of Yajur Veda?
What type of job did Adhvaryu perform?
Who were Adhvaryu?
How many recessions are available of Yajur Veda?
What is the actual nature of the contents of Yajur Veda?
What is the linguistic category of the contents of Atharva Veda?
What is the actual nature of the contents of the Atharva Veda?
When was Atharva Veda compiled?
What are the varied features of the contents of the Atharva Veda?
What is the importance of Brahmans?
Structures and the features of the contents of Vedas:
What is the importance of Aranyakas and Upanishads?
What is the time of the compilation of Brahmans?
What is the time of the compilation of Upanishads?
What is Nirukta? What is the English word for it?
Who was the writer of Nirukta?
When was Nirukta written?
What do we know about the meanings of the contents of the Rig-Veda?
Who were the chief objects of worship in Rig-Veda?
The Vedic Divinities:
What is the root word of Deva and what is the real meaning of them?
What was the gender of the Deva?
What were the categories of most of the Rig Vedic Gods?
Name the main Rig Vedic goddesses.
Who was Prithvi goddess?
Who was Aditi Goddess?
Who was Ushas goddess?
Who was Ratri goddess?
Who was Aranyani goddess?
Genesis and the Comparative study of the Aryan Religion:
Which races had the common religious beliefs?
Which is generic source of the Aryan religion in India?
Who was the father god of Indo European people? What is his name in Aryan pantheism? Who were his corresponding gods in Greek and Latin?
What was the importance of Dayus in Aryan religion?
To what fate were Dyaus reduced in Aryan pantheism of gods?
God Indra: His functions and Importance-
Who was the war god of the Aryan warrior?
What were the two main functions of the god Indra?
Name the Greek and German gods corresponding to god Indra of Aryans?
What was the main target of god Indra of Aryans?
What was the act of Vritra in the Aryan Pantheism?
Who killed Vritra and to what effect?
What were the four main functions of Indra as a god?
What was the weapon of Indra?
What was the character of Indra?
What was the sacred drink of an Aryan worshipper?
Who accompanied Indra in the battlegrounds?
What were the main functions of Maruts?
Which are those traits of Indra, which are similar to European gods?
Which feature of Indra traits could have been borrowed from Mesopotamia?
The Sun God-The God Surya and his various aspects:
Where do one find the god Surya?
Who was Savitri?
What was the function of Pushan and to which deity he was related?
Which god was related to God Vishnu and what was his main trait?
Who was Suryaa?
Who were the husbands of Suryaa?
What were the other names of Ashvins?
What was the main function of Ashvins?
What were the three main functions of Ashvins?
Are Ashvins related to some natural phenomena? Name it.

The God Agni:
What is the importance of the god Agni?
What are the different functions of the Agni, which give him different statuses?
In which form the Agni is available and which is his home?
Concerning which god of Aryan we find the first sign of the monism
.

The God Soma:
What was the reality of the God Soma?
Where was the god Soma used?
Which the corresponding god to Soma in the Zoroastrian Religion of Persia?
What was the process of making the Soma?
Who was the king of plants?
With which celestial body was Soma identified?
Why was Soma identified with moon?
In which mandal all the hymns devoted to Soma had been compiled?
For whom was Soma a special deity?
Who treated Soma as the patron deity?


VARUNA (A Topic highly popular Civil Services Preliminary Examinations)
Who was next in importance to Indra as an Aryan god?
What was the category of Varun?
What does category of Asura mean?
Among whom was the word Asura used a respectful tittle for their deity?
Which group of people does Dasyu represent?
Which group of people does Asura represent?
Which is the god in Grecian pantheism, which resembles Varun?
What was the position of Varun at the time of composition of Vedas?
What was the status of Varun?
Where did Varun sit?
Who surrounded him at the place of his abode?
What was the disposition of Varun?
Which was the most important god, who attended him at his abode?
To which category does Mitra belong?
Which aspect of human life does Mitra dominate?
What is the Greco-Iranian name of Mitra?
How does Varun know about whole of the world?
What aspect of Nature and human conduct does the Varun dominate?
What range of intellectual achievement of the Aryans is represented in the characteristics of Varun?
As a god of Rita, what other powers was attributed to Varun?
Which god of the Aryan had the highest level of the ethics?
What was the authority of Varun?
How does the various aspects of Varun represent the theistic aspects of Aryan religion?
In what spirit does a worshipper approach Varun to propitiate him?
How was the worshipping of Varun different from other gods?
What was the strongest binding by Varun on the worshipper?
Does mere performance of sacrifice make Varun happy?
Make a list of sins, which could annoy Varun and Mitra.
What is the method of performing worship before Varun?
Is Varun strict in punishing of sins?
Can the Varun make the seeker stand for the sins of his ancestors?
What type of punishments can Varun inflict on the sinner?
What is the Aryan's heaven?
What is the plight of worshipper before Varun?
To which other ancient society does the worshipping of Varun resembles?
Which is the worst punishment that Varun can impose on the sinner?


YAMA
Yama is lord of …………. .
Who was the first man to die on the earth as the Vedic literature?
Who was the guardian of the World of Fathers?
Who could join the World of Fathers?
What do people do in the World of Fathers?


RUDRA
What is the meaning of Rudra?
What is the character of Rudra?
Which Grecian God is similar to Rudra?
What is the weapon of Rudra?
Which feature of Rudra has resembles with Indra?
Where does Rudra live?
What does Rudra's arrows bring?
To which diseases is Rudra a remedy?
What is good about Rudra?

The Different Gods:
What is Tvashtree God?
On what aspect of human life does Aryaman rule?
Was Vayu an important god? (Vayu becomes an important god in Hinduism. He accompanies Vishnu)
Who were Vishvadevas?
The Demigods of Vedas:
Give a list of demigods?
Who was Marut?
Who was Rebhu?
Who was Gandharva?
Who was Apsaras?
Who was the god of compact of marriages at a lower rank?
Who was the god of metals?
Who were the demigods of music?
Who was wind god?
The Concluding Features of the Vedic Gods:
What feature of Rig-Veda suggests that it had influence of many tribal beliefs and cults?
Do we find any god the leading god among the Vedic Gods?
What type of importance does each god has?
Which is peculiar feature about the gods, which is found in the latest Vedic hymns?



Vedic Sacrifice: Their Features and Aims
Every religion is identified with the rites attached to them. There are peculiar features in every religion like the book, the place of congregation and some of the special occasions when festivity is organized. The Aryan religion does not have books, or place of congregation like temples and churches. It was identified by the sacrifices, which an Aryan performs in seclusion or in company of more people, or in a tribe. Their sacrifices were called yajna. All the ceremonies and rites were performed around the yupa where the yajna was performed. One of the special features was that it was accompanied by chanting of hymns.
What was the basic feature of the Aryan Cult?
What is content of Grahya Sutra?
What is the significance of domestic sacrifices?
What is the significance in terms of dimensions of the Rig-Vedic sacrifices?
What are the main features of the performances of the Rig-Vedic sacrifices compared to the domestic sacrifices as suggested in the Grahya Sutra?
What was the main aim of Rig-Vedic sacrifices?
What was the motive of propitiating the Vedic gods in Vedic Sacrifices?
What were the main boons of the Vedic god?
How does a Vedic god bestow the boon on his worshipper?
Which are the two Aryan gods, who were treated differently because of their different nature?
Was there any guilt offering or thanks-giving sacrifices in Vedic religion as it was found in the Hebrew religious practices?
Why was the priest, who performed the sacrifices, was the master of great mystery?
Describe the probable scene at an Aryan Sacrifice.

'Brahman'
Which is the most fascinating divine entity of Rig-Veda?
What are the main features of Brahman?
What is the supernatural electricity in Rig Vedic religion?
Why was Brahman, the tribal priest, called 'Brahman'?
Where does the power of a Brahman lie?
Were the words and syllables also gods in the Aryan religion?
Which is the most divine word in the Aryan religion?
What is the importance of OM?
What is the second most important concept in the Rig-Veda?
The Creator in Rig Veda:
Is there any Creator mentioned in the main body of the Rig-Veda?
Who are the two gods who were bestowed with the act of creating the universe?
Who was the creator of the universe according to Vedic religion and was he mentioned in the Rig Vedas?
From whom was the universe created as per the Aryan's faith and what is the English translation of that word?
The Purushsukta Sukta-- The Hymn of the Primeval Man:
Who was the main hero of the Purushsukta?

Special question: Discuss the importance of the Hymn of the Primeval Man (Purushsukta)
How does the Brahman acquire the supremacy in the Aryan Society?
What Brahman could do by doing sacrifice?
The New Gods in the Vedic Society or the Aryan Society:
Which were the gods who acquired the supremacy after 900 BC? ( A most repeated Question for the students of history at higher level)
What was the significance of the worship of God Shiva?
Special question: Make a critical study of the pantheon of Vedic God from 1000 AD to the beginning of the Christian era. (An important question for Civil Services Main Examination)
New Developments in Doctrine in the Vedic Religious Thoughts:
What were the new changes in the Aryan Doctrines after 900 BC?
In which direction the Aryans were expanding when new changes emerged in their doctrines.
What were the material factors, which helped the Aryans to penetrate the Gangetic Valley?
With what aspect of human life are the new developments in the Aryan doctrine concerned?
Were the Brahmans literature as optimistic as the Rig-Veda? What aspect of the Social Change is reflected in the contents of the Brahmans literature?

The Doctrine of Transmigration:
In which Upanishad has the doctrine of transmigration appeared for the first time?
What is the Aryan theory of transmigration?
When did the theory of transmigration have acquired the popularity in India?
What similarity did the transmigration theory of Aryans have with that of the primitive people?
Which two main ethical principles were born out of the theory of transmigration?
What was the main central idea on the situation of soul as per the doctrine of transmigration?
What emphasis did the idea of transmigration of soul place on the unity of life?
What was the status of the gods as per the theory of transmigration?
What was the concept of regular change as per the theory of transmigration?
What aspect of the human life influenced the course of the soul in the theory of transmigration?
What was the social significance of the theory of Karma?
What was the great importance of the theory of transmigration of soul?
Which thought had emerged in contention with the theory of transmigration?
What was the basic new development in the doctrine of Aryans? Was it the theory of transmigration or the karma? What is the social significance of this theory for the history of India? ( A Question which can be asked in NET Examination of UGC)

Asceticism: A dominating feature in the Vedic Aryan Thought:
Who were the Munis and where did they find mention in Rig-Veda?
How did the Munis live?
Who was the main god of the Munis and what did they get from him?
Who were Vratya?
In which Veda is Vratya mentioned?
Who were the Vratya of Atharva Veda?
What type of a life did a Vratya lived?
What was the significance of the Vratyas?
When did the ascetics and ascetic way of life become popular in Indian history? What was its social, economic and political significance for the contemporary India?
What type of teaching did the ascetics spread?
What type of ritual practices do the ascetics perform?
Which type of the ascetics brings forth the new developments in thought?
What type of different organizations was found among the ascetics who brought about new changes in thoughts?
What was the original motive of the Indian asceticism?
What was the attitude in the Upanishads about cosmic significance of the sacrifices?
Which aspect of religion was preferred in the regions where the mighty empire and wealthy people were emerging?
What were the main incentives for the ascetics and what had made them more popular as compared to sacrificial priests?
What aspect of magical acquisition of an ascetic was highly awed and sought?
Which aspect of his magical acquisition had replaced the importance of the sacrifices?
By the end of the Upanishad period, in whom was the faith reposed that his activities were making the cosmos continue?
To whom did the ascetic life attract?
What was the course of ascetic practice?
Where does the unity lie in the results of various ascetics' practices?
What is of fundamental importance to the Indian ascetics?
Where do we find the organic unity in the teachings of the ascetics?


A Floating Question: What was the actual nature of asceticism?
Answer: It was pessimism about the world. It had taken its deep root in and around six to five BC. It was accompanied by major social, economic and political changes. The period of the history in India from six to five BC is identified with Gangetic Valley civilization. The various religious changes, which took place during this period, had been considered as an attribute or caused by the changes taking place in the social, economic, political and cultural life of the Aryans. Another thesis was that it resulted due to the in-build mechanism in the Brahmanism religion. However, the period saw varied and determinant changes in all the aspects of a social human being.

The distinctive features of the Social life and Culture of the Vedic Aryans:
Which are the main four stages of life in the Brahmanism of Later Vedic Age?
By what basis was the place found in the Aryan society for the ascetics?
Where are the four stages of life of Aryans mentioned in the Vedic literature?
Where do the views and discussions by the ascetics and mystics find place in the Vedic literature?
In what literary form do we find the sayings of the mystics in the Vedic literature?
Which method was recognized as best for the mystical training?
Make a list of the changes, which emerged in the Brahmanism when the teachings of the mystics were incorporated in the religion.
How do the emergence of the Buddhism and Jainism accounts for changes taking place in various spheres of the life of the Vedic Aryans? (A question which may find place in the Civil Services(Main) Examination and NET of UGC)
Were the leaders of the religious revolts against the Vedic religion belong only to the Kshatriya class?
Do we find Upanishads totally refuting the efficacy of the sacrifices?
Do the Buddhist literature always speaks disrespectfully against the Brahmins?
Against which aspects of Brahmanism, were the religious revolts taking place?
Which were the major changes in the social, cultural, economic and political life of the Vedic Aryans, which had emerged as a reaction against the Brahmanism?
What was the social and psychological anxiety, which caused the reaction against the Brahmanism?
What was the major feature of the social change in 600 BC?
Collect the phrases, which depict the anxiety of the time?
What was the main cause of the growth of pessimism and asceticism in spite of the rise of the materialistic growth in India?

Heading: Philosophy of Rig Vedic Aryans and Gnosis:
What was the main motive of life under asceticism?
What was the positive result of asceticism?
Were Vedas sufficient to fulfill the demands of knowledge by the ascetics?
What was the major question, which dominated the intellectual mind of India in the first millenium B C?
What was the main theory of creation as per the Rig-Veda?
Which was the other theory of the creation of universe apart from the primeval sacrifice theory of creation of universe as per the Vedic literature?
In which hymns there is the best example of the philosophical doubt? Where is that hymn located in Rig-Veda?
Which are the other important aspects of the Hymn of Creation?
In the compositions, which succeeded the Rig Vedic hymns, which was the dominating feature?
What was the positive effect of the skepticism of sixth century B C?
What was the main feature of Upanishads, Buddhist and Jain literature of sixth century B C?
Which of the counter theories on the creation of the universe, which are two in number, that survive till this day?
What is the significance of the various theories of the creation of the universe for the religious scene in India?
Who had created the world out of a pressing need as per the Vedic thought?
What was the first dominating thought after the creation of the universe by Prajapati?
What is the other name of the creator of the universe Prajapati?
Which is the creation force for the universe as per the latter Vedic literature?
What was the nature of the theories of the creation of universe as propounded by the other heterodox sects?
What were the main theories propounded by the heretic teachers?
Describe in brief a theory, which is opposite to a deity created universe, and popular as non-personal entity theory?
What is the parinam theory of creation of universe?
What was the Buddhist thought on the creation of the universe?
What was the attitude of the kings to the new theories of creation of Universe?
Who were the two main philosopher kings who took interest in the new theories of the creation of universe?
When were Ajatshatru and Janak existing on the earth?
What was the difference in opinion in the thoughts of vanaprasta and parivrajak?


The Upanishads as Vedic Literature and their significance:
By whom were the Upanishadic literature written?
What is the etymological meaning of Upanishads?
How many Upanishads are there?
Name the two main Upanishads, which are considered, as the earliest one?
What is the form of the contents of the earliest Upanishads?
What had been written on the new doctrines in the earlier Upanishads?
Name any two main Upanishads, which are of the latest times?
What is the form of the contents of the Katha and Shvetshvatara Upanishads?
What is the common theory in all the Upanishads?
Who was the sole creator as per the Upanishads?
How was the Brahman treated as per the Upanishads?
Brahman in Upanishad:
Where does Brahman reside?
When would man get himself free from the cycle of transmigration?
How will soul get the salvation?
What happens to soul in deep sleep?
What are the different imageries, which the Vedic teachers have used, to explain the soul?
Who is the character in the narration, which explains the incorporeal and immeasurable form of soul in an Upanishdic story?
Who had suggested about the soul stuff idea?
Which are the two meanings with which the word Atam is used?
The different themes in Upanishads:
Which are the three dominating subjects of Upanishads?
What is the leading theme of Upanishads?
What is the finest achievement for a man as per the Upanishads?
How do Upanishads lead towards monism?
Was the method of negation also used for describing the nature of soul?
Who is the author of the method of negation in order to define soul?
The idea of World Soul (Parmatma) in Upanishads
In which type of Upanishads is the World Spirit described?
What word has been used for World Spirit in the Upanishads?
What word has been used in Katha Upanishad for spirit?
When was Shvetshvatara Upanishad written?
Who was the World Spirit as per the Shvetshvatara Upanishad?
What are the two sources of reaching Rudra?
Which Upanishad has affinity with Bhagwat Gita on the question of soul?
What is the nature of the contents of Bhagwat Gita?
The Ethics of the Vedic Aryan as per the Upanishads:
What is the main method of salvation as per Upanishads?
Is the ethics as explained in the Upanishads pragmatic?
What is the value of good and bad for Brahman?
What is the underlying meaning of good for achieving the salvation?
Which is the biggest hindrance in the path of achieving the salvation?
Which is the main cause of the birth of the universe according to the ethics of the Upanishads?
How could a hermit achieve the salvation?
What are the normal values of life as per the Upanishads?
How far were the values of the Upanishad useful and when did they loose their importance?
How many branches of law are there and what is their efficacy?
What is the conclusion of Upanishad about all the desires?
Was asceticism as per Upanishads ethics necessary for getting salvation?
For whom was it difficult to get salvation as per the ethics of Upanishads?
What is nature of the ethics in Upanishads?
Who could never get the salvation as per the ethics of the Upanishads?
Which virtue is highly appreciated as per the ethics of the Upanishads?
What is the story of Satyakama in Upanishads? (Note: Many a time there are questions of the characters of the stories mentioned in the various Vedic literature in the Preliminary Examination of the Civil Services conducted by UPSC)
What was the moral of the story given in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad which has god, men, and demon as the main characters of the story?
In which story in the Upanishads are the highest ethics depicted? Who are the characters in the story?


A General Talk:
If You like the question bank, and desire to answer it, then as given in the suggestion, get the Wonder That Was India by A. L. Basham. Open the chapter VII and start reading each paragraph slowly. After ending each paragraph try to look at the question. If you are able to answer the first set of question under the heading
The Earliest signs of Religion in India
then you will understand the aim of this question bank. When you complete answering it, you may learn on your own that how this question bank is made.
If I get a response to this question bank, I will start answering it. In the mean time, I will continue to post such question banks.











8 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:23 AM

    Dear SIr , in the name of history ur teaching only vedas. the questions u posted here are good only to those who want admission in a vedic study school. i came searching history but i find only scraps.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Please give me answers for all the questions and help me to prepare for IAS prelims. My mail ID is priya.uec@rediffmail.com Please provide me the answers and help me to achieve my goal.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Please give answers also for all your questions in all the topics. Only that will be helpful to IAS aspirants. Mere questions may not be of much use.

    ReplyDelete
  4. please give answers also for all your questions. Only that will be really helpful for students and IAS aspirants with History as optional subject.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dear Anonymous,
    "in the name of history ur teaching only vedas."

    My dear, it is not so. Try to read the whole post in totality. In the starting it is already referred that this question bank can be answered with the help of a book "Wonder That Was India by A. L. Basham" Chapter VII. It is exhaustive way to read every chapter and making notes.

    Hence I refute your objection that it is only meant to learn Vedic Study. My dear, this may form only a part of your understanding of Ancient Period for Prelims which may give you 35 to 45 questions and out of this bank you may get two to three question. You can in a position to answer matching question, direct question, statements and mismatch only if you analyse the chapter as these question suggests you.

    Any further enquiry is welcomed.

    sumir

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous10:15 PM

      thanks for valuable words sir

      Delete
  6. Dear shanmugapriya,

    Thanks you leaving comment.

    I do not accept your objections. I suggest that you should read the whole post in totality along with the suggestive posts given in the sidebar. In order to answer them, you must read "Wonder That Was India" by A. L. Basham and Ancient History by R. C. Majumdar. Each post corresponds to a specific chapter in A. L. Basham Book. Some of the questions may only be answered with a book edited by A. L. Basham. But they can be overlooked.

    I must say, that if you try to answer these questions with the help of A. L. Basham, you will yourself learn that you can then answer Ancient History section in better way.

    I will leave message for you in your mail box.

    Kindly feel free to communicate through this challange. I may begin answering them in order elaborate that how this question can be used in an effective manner.

    Sumir

    ReplyDelete
  7. Priya,

    Read channel instead of challange in above comment.

    sumir

    ReplyDelete

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