Trade Spreads Indian Religions and Culture

A More Popular Form of Buddism

The Buddha had stressed that each person could reach a state of peace called nirvana. Nirvana was achieved by rejecting the sensory world and embracing spiritual discipline. After the Buddha died, his followers developed many different interpretations of his teachings. Although the Buddha had forbidden people to worship him, some began to teach that he was a god. Some buddhist also began to believe that many people could become Buddahs. These potential Buddhas, called bodhisattvas, could choose to give up nirvana and work to save humanity through good works and self-sacrifice.


*A Hindu Rebirth*

Hinduism, like Buddhism, srated to become more isolated from its followers. Priests were, by the time of the Mauryan Empire, getting all of the ¨privileges¨ of the religon, including a set of sacrifices or devotions towards the religion, where normal followers couldn´t do such a thing. But, after being exposed to other religions and ways, Hinduism started to evolve.


Though most followers were still embracing many gods, a new course was shifting towards monotheism. People started to believe there was only one God to follow and that there were other gods whom represented him. Among the most important gods are: Brahma, the creator of the world, Vishnu, the preserver of the world, and Shiva, destroyer of the world. Out of the 3 gods, Vishnu and Shiva were seen as the most important.

The Spread of Indian Trade
India has always been rich in resources. in India you can find spices, diamonds, sapphires, gold, pearls, and beautiful woods have been important resources for trade. Trade between India and Africa begun since 4,000 years ago. Trade even expanded after the Mauryan Empire ended.

Effects of Indian Trade

We have always had a lot of Indians involved in trade, because of India’s location between China, West Asia, and Europe. They have traded with West Asians things like gold, cotton, cloth, and spices such as cinnamon and pepper, all of this which made India a really rich country.

Indian trade led to the following consequences:

• Rise in commerce, which was the key thing to the idea of charging interests.

• Commerce bringing profit to India, indicating a rise in the country’s economy, as well as its stability.

• Rise of banking in India due to the fact that since bankers started noticing all the profits they could gain through lending money to merchant and charging interests at the same time. During the Mauryan Empire the interests could even reach like 240% a year, since trade at the time was really dangerous, meaning that they lent money to these merchants, who could just loose it all and not have a way to return that money to them. During the Gupta Empire, on the other hand, they started to see trade wasn’t that dangerous, just charging merchants 20% and 15%.

• Indian culture spread throughout Asia, Indian merchants spread through trading, meaning that they took their culture with them, which was appealing to many peoples. They changed other peoples’ cultures by art, architecture, and dances. They majorly influenced Thailand, Cambodia, and Java.

• Indian Religion spread throughout Asia, traders got new religions to Asia, mainly Hinduism and Buddhism. They traveled to Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Borneo, and eventually got to China. These religions were also spread through nomadic monks.

Achivements of Indian Culture

India developed a high level of literature, art, science, and mathematics. While Hinduism and Buddhism were developing, India’s culture was taking its course too.

Literature and Performing Arts

India had a lot of great writers that today are well-known. One of the India’s greater writers was Kalidasa. Kalidasa’s most famous play was Shakuntala, which was a love story of a beautiful girl who falls in love with and marries a middle-aged king. His play was so well-written that even after his death there were people continuing doing more versions of the play.


Indians were also very good at drama. In southern India, there were always a lot of actors that put performances in cities across the region. Women and men will both join the performance combining drama with dance.


The development of "Astronomy, Mathematics, and Medicine"

The expansion of trade spurred the advanced science. Because sailors on trading ships used the stars to help them figure the position at sea, knowledge of astronomy increased. From Greek invaders, Indians adapted Western methods of keeping time. They began to use a calendar based on the cycles of the sun rather than the moon. They also adopted a seven-day week and divided each day into hours.
During the Gupta Empire (A.D. 320 to about 500), knowledge of astronomy increased further. Almost 1,000 years before Columbus, Indian astronomers proved that the earth was round by observing a lunar eclipse. During the eclipse, the earth’s shadow fell across the face of the moon. The astronomers noted that the earth’s shadow was curved, indicating that the earth itself was round.
Indian mathematics was among the most advanced in the world. Modern numerals, the zero, and the decimal system were invented in India. Around A.D. 500, an Indian named Aryabhata calculated the value of pi (π) to four decimal places. He also calculated the length of the solar year as 365.3586805 days. This is very close to modern calculations made with an atomic clock.
In medicine two important medical guides were compiled. They described more than 1,000 diseases and more than 500 medicinal plants. Hindu physicians performed surgery –including plastic surgery- and possibly gave injections.

{ Ely Perez }


Groups who invaded India after Mauryan rule ended helped to expand India's trade to new regions. For example, Central Asian nomads told Indians about a vast network of caravan routes known as SILK ROADS. The Silk Road hugs the southern edge of the central Eurasian steppe, where the dry flatlands meet the mountains and runoff streams provide a reliable water supply. It was across this ecological transition zone that some human migrants settled and eventually established oasis towns where subsequent travelers could rest, resupply, and trade. The Silk Road acquired its name from the east to west traffic in Chinese silk, which was popular in imperial Rome. In return, merchants brought gold, silver, and wool to China. A silk fragment that was discovered in an Egyptian tomb dating from about 1000 bc is among the earliest evidence of such traffic, but some scholars believe the route was active centuries earlier.

Once Indians learned of the Silk Roads, they realixed that they could make great profits by acting as middlemne, which are go-betweens in business transactions. This mayor discovery helped India grow economically and get wealthy. Trough this trading, an exchange of culture and ideas may have occured, like mostly throughout history. India may have not only been influenced in exploring & improving commerce, but also culturally.

World History Book - patterns for interaction by:McDougal Littell…/Religion_and_Overland_Trade_in_Asia_1000_BC_to_AD_1400.html

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License