In 560 BC the world saw two great civilizations, India and Egypt, developing at a striking pace and contributing a lot to the future development of mankind. The politics, religion, and achievements played a major role in the development of these two countries in 560 BC which proved to be a period when both civilizations made big strides in these arenas.
The 26th Dynasty of Egypt existed from 664-525 BC and was a very successful dynasty. It was set up by Psamtik I, who was also called Psammetichus I. His major achievements included an incentive toward political unity and social stability which helped create a surplus in food and materials that supported the structure of administrators, soldiers, priests, and craftsmen. He asserted his independence and extended his authority as king all over Egypt. He made Montemhat the first mayor of this dynasty. Psamtik I also controlled the army that was known to be very strong and superior and was composed of Libyan soldiers. Psamtik I was succeeded by his son Necho II, as pharaoh. Necho II made the first circumnavigation of Africa, and he attempted to link the Mediterranean Sea and Red Sea by a canal. Ahmose II was the last pharaoh of the 26th dynasty to rule Egypt. He had a long and prosperous reign between 570-526 BC. Six months after his death, Persia invaded and took over Egypt.
The period around 560 BC in India was ruled by the Maghuda dynasty which was known to develop a caste system and yet have a laid back lifestyle. It was a strong dynasty ruled by Bimbisora (Shrenik) in Biher. Bimbisora was a great believer in Buddhism, however he was greatly influenced by his Jain wife. After personally seeing the practices of self-restraint and non-violence by Jain monks, he converted himself to be a Jain. His later life was greatly influenced by religion rather than political ambitions. This is when the Aryan society changed dramatically. It had 3 castes, that consisted of noble warriors, priests and commoners. This dynasty marked the end of the Aryan power. This dynasty liked to fight, and men were the dominant sex, but women got to choose their husbands. This dynasty worshipped the sun, earth, and moon. Their gods even enjoyed war & feasting. Therefore the citizens of this dynasty were also happy people who ate, drank & were merry.
Both countries were very different in their political systems. Egypt was a more systematic society, where they had pharaohs, mayors, armies, and geographical achievements. In India the society was mainly dominated by religious beliefs, but was lacking in a structured ambitious political system.
The religion played a major role in the development of the Egyptian society. Temples and priesthood were overly dominant. People of substance often dedicated land and endowments to temple. A Heiratic language( the religious language) was used to inscribe on tombs. Temples throughout the land were often made out of hard stone and were carved with great skill. Great temple statues were often erected to memorize important individuals. The greatest development of animal worship in Egypt occurred during this time. Animal worship always an ancient tradition, started gaining grounds during this period. Many species of animal were mummified & buried. Animal and human forms were often combined in one image. This was done in order to ensure a safe passage to heaven for the dead. Despite all this development, the Egyptian religion was lacking solutions to every day problems, and answers to all the people's questions.
India, on the other hand achieved great strides in the field of religion. Hinduism was already the most popular religion in 560BC, in India. But, a wealthy merchant class(largely Vaishyas) were developing in the Bihar region. They started challenging orthodox beliefs and the dominance of Brahmans, leading to the development of two religious systems Jainism and Buddhism. Hinduism was known for its caste system that consisted of "Brahmins"(priests), Ksatriyas(warriors & rulers), Vaisyas(merchants & farmers), and the Sudras(peasants & laborers). There was a fifth class called the "Panchamas" whose occupations require them to handle unclean objects. The Hindu ideal way of life is "varnasramadharma" which means the duties of one's class. Hinduism also outlines the stages of life, these are called the "asrama". The first is studentship "brahmacarya"(from 5 years old to marriage). The second is householdership "grihasthiya" which is when someone marries, raises a family, and takes part in the society. The third is forest dwelling "vanaprasthya", after the child has grown. The fourth is renunciation "samnyasa" which is when one gives up attachment to all worldly things. Everything in Hinduism is meant for men only. Women on one hand, are made as a symbol of someone that is divine and beautiful, on the other hand, they are treated as inferior people. They are traditionally expected to serve their husbands and to have no independent interests. "Samsara" is the passage of a soul from body to body as determined by the force of one's actions, which is also called karma. Karma specifies that one's type of birth, length of life, & kinds of experiences are determined by one's previous acts. Liberation is the release from this cycle of birth and rebirth. The practices by which one can achieve this are frequently termed "yoga". The period between 500BC-1000AD is called classical Hinduism. During this period, the major literature was composed, the great philosophical systems were developed and the basic vaishnava and shaiva sects organized.
Jainism is a religion which originated with Mahavira, a contemporary of Buddha. Jainism is marked by preachings from 24 founders, or Tirthamkaras, Mahavira being the 24th, and the Rishabha being the 1st. The main principle of Jain philosophy is nonviolence toward all living things. Jainism also believes that non-living matter is composed of karman or very fine particles that enter a soul and produce changes in it, thus causing it bondage. By non-attachment towards worldly things one can prevent influx of further karmas, leaving the sole lighter and able to ascend to the top of the world which is called moksha.
Buddha was the founder of a great religion called Buddhism. Buddha was born in Nepal and lived from 560-480 BC. His real name is Siddharta Gautama. One day when he was going around the city, he noticed many miseries of life including an old man crippled with age, a funeral procession of a dead person, and a wife mourning for her husband's death. This made him lose interest in worldly life, and he left the luxuries of the palace , left his wife and son, and went on a search for a way of escaping from the miseries of life he saw. Buddha went to several teachers to find "enlightenment". Enlightenment is the act to be free from false beliefs. After 6 years of searching for enlightenment, he began to meditate under a pipal tree in search for a middle path between luxuries & asceticism. At dawn he was Supreme Buddha because he found enlightenment. He preached his first sermon at Sarnath, and outlined the doctrine of 4 Noble Truths. He continued this for 45 years, at the age of 80, he entered the final state of nirvana. He founded the religion called Buddhism. Nirvana was a major belief of Buddhism. Nirvana is considered as the condition of having no desires. This is well explained in the 3rd Truth of the 4 Noble Truths of Buddhism. Nirvana refers to the cooling, or blowing out of the passions, especially the extinction of the selfish passions, a state of enlightenment that can be achieved in life or death. The 4 Noble Truths are the laws that Buddhists abide by. These ideas are what Buddha learned by sitting under the tree. The first truth states that suffering is universal: everyone suffers from pain, sickness, & death. The second truth states that the cause of suffering is desire. The third truth states that the only way to end suffering is by crushing desire. The fourth truth states that the way to end desire is to follow the Noble Eightfold Path. Karma is a major belief of Buddhism. This concept is mixed with moral notions & comes to refer to acts, good or bad. This results in good or bad outcomes in this life or the future life. It is also viewed as a metaphysical principle. It directs people to the cycle of rebirth.
As seen here , the Indian religions in 560 BC were more in touch with reality, and were able to offer solutions to mundane problems and also offered an escape from the miseries of life, which was found attractive and appealing to people. In contrast, the Egyptian religion, during this period was still dabbling with the worship of imaginary gods.
Egypt and India made many achievements during this period in time. Egypt's achievements included a development of a writing system, colossal architectures such as great temples and pyramids, and development of art including wall paintings. India's achievements included the refinement and advancement of ancient Ayurvedic medicine and the development of the Upanishads and Vedas.
The Vedas (Sanskrit: "knowledge") were the most sacred books of Hinduism and the oldest literature of India. The Vedic texts presumably date from between 1500 and 500 BC. In its narrowest sense, the term Veda applies to four collections of hymns (samhita): Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, and Atharva Veda.
The Upanishads are the latest portions of the Vedas, were also called the Vedanta. The earlier Upanishads represented the development of philosophy in the Sanskrit literature. The oldest Upanishads are the Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, Brhadaranyaka, Svetasvatara, Kaushitaki, and Maitri. They were made up of part poetry, and part prose. They contain moral stories, folk tales, and passages for meditation. The main concept of the Upanishads is the nature of reality. They teach the identity of the individual soul (atman) with the universal essence soul (Brahman). These achievements were considered as one of the greatest literary achievements of the time.
Even though Egypt was a pioneer in hieroglyphics, which gave birth to our alphabet, India developed a much higher level of literature in the form of Upanishads and Vedas.
This shows that in 560BC the Egyptian society was dominated by an organized, ambitious, successful political system, which India was lacking. At the same time India was able to offer great philosophical plus literary achievements which appealed to the public-Hinduism, Jainism & Buddhism, which later on went on to influence the future development of the world.