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The Role of Religion in Shang Chinese and Harappan India Civilizations

Shang Chinese Civilization

Shang dynasty had been at the origin of recorded history in China, with the beginning in the Bronze Age. Religion contributed significantly to the rise of Civilization, its political system forming, and eventually, to the fall of the era. The Shang dynasty’s folk religion was polytheistic, which implies the acceptance of various Gods without the particular one (9b. Shang Dynasty – China’s First Recorded History, n.d.). The God, called Shang Ti or the “lord on high,” was in the center of the belief, serving as the link between eternal heaven and mortal people. The religion was complimented with the faith in the afterlife of ancestors, spirits of which had a significant influence on the physical world, benefiting or deteriorating a family’s members’ wellbeing. According to the belief, the souls had received instructions from Shang Ti, maintaining the relationship between him and living people. Therefore, it was essential for ancient Chinese to behave correctly, making their ancestors proud of them.

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On the other hand, religion often included practices of scarifying a large number of humans to please the God. It resulted in a unique attitude toward prisoners and military actions. It was necessary to conquer territories to provide enough people for rituals, which had been the dynasty’s constant politics. Eventually, it brings the ancient Chinese to the fall of the era. Shang Chou, the last king of the dynasty, was famous for his cruel reign and torture methods. The dynasty had been exhausted because of constant battles with nomads and internal rivaling tribes. It eventually resulted in accession to the power of the rebel leader Wu-wang and the end of the period. It is possible to state that the ancient culture had formed the culture and even the primitive political system based on mentioned evidence. The initials beliefs enabled ancient Chinese to maintain a specific type of society, grounded in cruel politics, intended to please God. Eventually, this attitude caused the revolution and the fall of the dynasty.

Harappan India Civilization

Harappan India Civilization, also called Indus Valley Civilization, is the ancient, urban, and Bronze Age one, presented with well-developed cultural, religious, and political systems. Ancient faith is characterized by a variety of major beliefs. Indus people worshipped Mother Goddess, which was the most significant but not the only God (Jayaram, n.d.). The father God had been considered as the progenitor of the race. The other common belief was an existence of a tree of life, protected by a guardian spirit. The ancient Indus believed in magical rituals, fertility symbols made of stone, amulets, and demons. To please Gods, people had built altars on a geometric design basis and performed sacred ceremonies (Jayaram, n.d.). It is possible to state that religion contributed to the development of the Civilization by offering people numerous activities, which led to the nation’s scientific progress. The political system was focused on the civilian areas of activities, such as farming and merchanting, which is an effect of the peaceful religion. There is no evidence of military action performed by the Civilization.

On the other hand, Harappan India Civilization’s fall is a mystery, which leaves certain assumptions. One of them is the Aryan invasion theory, according to which ancient Indus were conquered by the superior race as a result of not being able to protect territories in a battle (Jayaram, n.d.). From this point of view, religion contributed to the fall because of being unnecessary peaceful. To conclude, Harappan India Civilization was a highly developed one, with a well-formed society, political and religious systems. The fall of the period is related to the belief’s provisions that focus on civilian areas and not on the military ones.

References

9b. Shang Dynasty – China’s First Recorded History. (n.d.). US.History.org.

Jayaram, V. (n.d.). The Religion of the Indus Valley Civilization. Hinduwebsity.com.

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StudyCorgi. "The Role of Religion in Shang Chinese and Harappan India Civilizations." June 17, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-role-of-religion-in-shang-chinese-and-harappan-india-civilizations/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "The Role of Religion in Shang Chinese and Harappan India Civilizations." June 17, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-role-of-religion-in-shang-chinese-and-harappan-india-civilizations/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'The Role of Religion in Shang Chinese and Harappan India Civilizations'. 17 June.

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