Religious movements (6th Century B.C)
The sixth century B.C. was the age of religious unrest in the history of India. This was the time when Vedic religion and philosophy witnessed churnings and reactions from within and without. The churning from within the Vedic religion was in the form of Upnishads which gave a serious jolt to the cult of sacrifices; and gave emphasis on the knowledge as a vehicle to achieve God. On the other hand Jainism, Buddhism and various other heterodox sects emerged during this period as a reaction to the Vedic religion and philosophy.
While the Upnishads philosophy was aimed to rectify the Vedic religion and thus strengthen it, the aim of Jainism, Buddhism and various other heterodox sects was to dismantle it.
Causes of Religious Movements
1)The religious movements were a reaction against the Vedic philosophy which had quagmire into stiff dogmas, superstitions and rituals.
2)Supremacy of the Brahmans created unrest in the society and Kshatriyas reacted against the Brahmanical domination. It is not just a coincidence that both Buddha and Mahavira were from ruling clans.
3)Introduction of a new agricultural economy in Eastern India using iron implements resulted in availability of agrarian surplus and this gave the leisure time to people to indulge into philosophical discourses.
4)The economic status of Vaishayas improved but this did not result into the improvement in their social status. Thus they started patronizing the sects outside Vedic religion which could enhance their social status as well.
5)The Vedic religion gave much importance to the cult of sacrifice which involved killing of animals. By sixth century B.C. with agriculture becoming the mainstay of the economy, the animals like ox and other cattle became important assets in the means of production. Thus it is not just a coincidence that Buddhism and Jainism gave emphasis on non violence.
·Gautama Buddha, founder of Buddhismm was born, was born in 563 BC at Lumbinivana in Kapilvastu in the Sakya Kshatriya clan.
·His father Suddodhana was the king of Kapilvastu and mother Mahamaya was a princess of Kosala dynasty.
·Mahaprajapati Gautami was the step mother of Gautama.
·He was married to Yasodhara (Princess of Kolli dynasty) from whom he had a son Rahul.
·At the age of 29, he renounced home this was his Mahabhinishkramana (great going forth) and became a wandering ascetic.
·His first teacher was Alara Kalama. Another teacher was Udraka Ramputra.
·At the age of 35 under a pepal tree at Uruvella ( Bodh Gaya) on the bank of river Niranjana (modern name Falgu) attained Nirvana (enlightern-ment)after 49 days of continuous meditation
·Buddha delivered his first sermon at Sarnath (Dear park) to his five deciples, this is known as Dharmachakra Pravartana (Turning of the wheel of law).
·Ananda and Upali were his famous disciples.
·Sujata was the farmer’s daughter who gave him rice milk at Bodha Gaya
·He died at the age of 80 in 483 BC at Kushinagar. This is known as Mahaparinirvana
·Eight great places associated with Buddhism are Lumbini, Sarnath, Sravasti, Rajgriha, Bodh Gaya, Kushinagar, Sankisa and Vaishali. Patliputra is not associated with Buddha
·Ashoka, the greatest patron of Buddhism, called 3rd Buddhist council & sent mission comprises of his son Mahendra & his daughter Sanghamitra to Sri Lanka.
·Palas of Bengal & Bihar were last great patrons of Buddhism
Events associated with Buddha’s life
Great Events of Buddha’s Life Symbols
Janma (Birth) Lotus
Mahabhnishkramana (Renunciation) Horse
Nirvana (Enlightenment) Bodhi tree
Drarmachakra pravartana (First Sermon) Wheel
Mahaparinirvana (Death) Stupa
(i)Stupa – Relices of the Buddha or some prominent Buddhist monks are preserved.
(ii)Chaitya – Prayer hall
(iii)Vihara – Residence of monks and ascetics
Doctrine of Buddhism
Four Noble Truths
1. This world is full of sufferings
2. Desire is the root cause of sufferings
3. The cessation of sufferings is attainable
4. The cessation of sufferings can be attained by following the “Eight Fold Path”
· According to Buddhist philosophy the ultimate aim of life is to attain nirvana, the eternal state of peace and bliss, which means liberation from the cycle of birth and death
· According to Buddhist philosophy the world is momentary
· The interesting fact about Buddhist philosophy is that while it believes in cycle of birth and death it does not believe in the concept of soul
· “The Middle Path” of Buddhism states that man should avoid both extremes
· Triratna i.e. Three Jewels of Buddhism are
Milindapanho (i.e. Questions of Milinda): A dialogue between Milinda (identical with Indo-Greek ruler Menander) and Buddhist saint Nagasena is the only text in Sanskrit.
1.Tripitaka: Pitaka literally means ‘basket’ and it was called so, because the original texts were written on palm-leaves and kept in baskets. Tripatika refers to three commentaries, these are as:
· Sutta Pitaka – It contain the sayings of Buddha. It contains the five groups
i. Dighgha Nikaya
ii. Majhim Nikaya
iii. Sanyukta Nikaya
iv. Anguttar Nikaya
v. Kshudraka Nikaya
· Vinay Pitaka – It contain the monastic code, the most important is Patimoksha
· Abhidamma Pitaka – It consists of the religious and metaphysical discourses of Buddha
2.Dipavamsha & Mahavamsha – The great chronicles of Sri Lanka.
3.Visshudhimagga by Buddhagosha
The first Buddhist council was held at Rajgriha in 483 B.C. under the patronage of Ajatshatru. It took place just after the death of Lord Buddha. The compilation of Sutta Pitak and Vinay Pitak took place during this council.
It took place after 100 years of the death of Lord Buddha i.e. 383 in B.C. It took place in Vaishali under the patronage of king Kalashoka, it was presided by Sabakami. The schism took place in this council on the issue of rules and discipline. As a result two groups, Mahasanghika and Therivadi (Sthavirvadin) were formed.
It took place in Patliputra under the patronage of Ashoka. It was presided by Mogliputta Tisa. It is also known as the council of Therivadins. “Katthavattu” was added to the Abhidhama Patika during this council.
However, none of the Ashokan inscription gives us the information about the council.
It was held in Kundalgrama in Kashmir. The president of the council was Vasumitra and the vice president was Ashvagosha. Mahavibhasha, the doctrine of Sravastivadin was written in Sanskrit in copper plate and enclosed in the stone boxes.
During this council the two sects of Buddhism i.e. Hinayana and Mahayana were formed officially.
Sects of Buddhism
The three sects of Buddhism are Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayan
(i)Its followers believed in the original teaching of Buddha.
(ii)They sought individual salvation through self-discipline and meditation.
(iii)Followers of this do not believe in idol-worship and historicity of Buddha.
(iv)This sect treat Lord Buddha as a teacher and not as God
(v)The literature of this sect is mainly in Pali.
(vi)It is known as ‘Southern Buddhist Religion’, because it prevailed in the South of India, e.g. Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Syam (Thailand), Java etc.
(vii)There were two sub sects of Hinayana i.e. Vaibhasika and Sautantrika.
(i)Its followers believed in the historicity of Buddha.
(ii)They sought the salvation of all through the grace and help of Buddha & Bodhisatva
(iii)This sect believes in idol-worship.
(iv)This sect treat Buddha as God
(v)The literature of this sect is compiled in Sanskrit language.
(vi)It is known as ‘Northern Buddhist Religion’, because it prevailed in the North of India, e.g. China, Korea, Japan, etc.
(vii)There were two sub sects of Mahayana
1. Madhyamika or Shunyavada: Founded by Nagarjuna
2. Yogachar or Vijananavada: Founded by Maitreyanath and his disciple Asanga.
(i)Its followers believed that salvation could be best attained by acquiring the magical power i.e. Vajra.
(ii)The sect developed in Tibet
(iii)The sect believe in worship of female deities
(iv)The chief divinities of this new sect were the Taras.
(v)It became popular in Eastern India, particularly Bengal and Bihar.
Facts related to Mahavira’s life:
·Mahavira was born in 540 BC in a village Kundgrama near Vaishali in Bihar.
·His father Siddhartha was the head of the Jnathrika Kshtriya clan under Vajji of Vaishali and his mother Trishala was the sister of Chetaka, the king of Vaishali.
·Mahavira was also related to Bimbisara, the ruler of Magadha, who had married Chellana, the daughter of Chetaka.
·Mahavira was married to Yashoda and their daughter was Anonja Priyadarshini whose husband Jamali, became the first disciple of Mahavira.
·At the age of 30, after the death of his parents, he renounced his family, became an ascetic and proceeded in search of truth.
·He was accompanied by Makkhali Gosala, but later due to some differences Gosala left him and founded Ajivika sect.
·At the age of 42, under a sal tree at Jimbhikagrama on the bank of river Rijupalika, Mahavira attained Kaivalya.
·From then he was called Kevalin (perfect learned), Jina or Jitendriya (one who conquered his senses), Nrigrantha (free from all bonds), Arhant (blessed one) and Mahavira (the brave) and his followers were named jain.
·He delivered his first sermon at Pava to his 11 disciples also known as 11 Gandharas. Later, he founded a Jain Sangha at Pava.
·At the page of 72 in 468 BC, he passed away at Pavapuri.
·36 republics celebrated his salvation
·The two sects Shvetambaras (white clad) & Digambaras (sky-clad).
The schism in Jainism
In 298 BC, there was a serious famine in Magadha (South Bihar) leading to a great exodus of many Jain monks to the Deccan and South India (Shravanbelgola) along with Bhadrabahu and Chandragupta Maurya. They returned back after 12 years. The leader of the group, which stayed back at Magadha was Sthulabhadra. When the Jains (Bhadrabahu & others) returned from South India, they held that complete nudity be an essential part of the teachings of Mahavira, while the monks in Magadha began to put on white clothes. As a resut two sects were formed:
1. Shvetambaras (i.e. those who put on white robes) – under the leadership of Sthulabhadra
2. Digambaras (i.e. those who were stark naked) – under the leadership of Bhadrabahu.
Three Jewels of Jainism
1. Right faith
2. Right knowledge
3. Right conduct
Five Vows of Jainism
1. Ahimsa (non-injury)
2. Satya (non-lying)
3. Asteya (non-stealing)
4. Aparigraha (non-possession)
5. Brahmacharya (chastity).
The first four vows were laid down by Parshwanath. The firth one was added by Mahavira.
Instruments of Knowledge
1. Mati Jnana- Perception through activity of sense organs, including the mind
2. Shruta jnana- Knowledge revealed by scriptures
3. Avadhi jnana- Clairvoyant perception
4. Manahparyaya jnana – Telepathic knowledge
5. Keval jnana- Temporal knowledge or Omniscience.
1. Rejected the authority of the Vedas and Vedic rituals.
2. The Kalpa Vriksha is associated the Jain philosophy
3. God is not responsible for the creation of this world
4. The world is eternal and universe cannot be destroyed
5. Jain philosophy is close to Sankhya philosophy
6. They believe in soul.
7. They believe in emancipation of soul by penances
8. They believe is cosmic cycles
9. Did not believe in the existence of God.
10. Believed in Karma and the transmigration of soul. The enrty of Karma into the soul pollutes it.
11. Laid great emphasis on equality.
12. The Saptabhani or Sayavad or Anekantvada philosophy is associated with Jainism
1. The original language of associated with the language of Mahavira is Aradhmagdhi.
2. The oldest texts associated with Jainism are called Purvas, they were 14 in number.
3. The literature is written in both prose and verse
4. The other important texts are
(i) 12 Angas
(ii) 12 Upangas
(iii) 10 Parikarnas
(iv) 6 Chhedasutras
(v) 4 Mulasutras
(vi) 2 Sutra-Granthas.
The first council
The first council was held at Patliputra in 367 B.C under the leadership of Sthulabhadra. This council was patronized by Chandragupta Maurya. In this council 11 Angas were compiled. The 12th Anga named Drishtivada was declared lost.
The second council
It was held at Mathura and was presided over by Aryaskandilya.
The third council
It took place in 455 A.D. at Vallabhi and was presided over by Devaradhi Kshamarasana. In this council the literature was given a written form.
Royal Patrons of Jainism
1. Nandas; Bimbisar, Ajatshatru and Udayin (Harayanak dynasty)
2. Chandragupta Maurya, Bindusara and Samprate (Mauryan dynasty)
3. Pradyota (Avanti)
4. Udayan (Sindhu – Sauvira)
5. Kharavela (Kalinga).
6. Ganga Dynasty
7. Kadamb Dynasty
8. Amoghavarsha (Rashtrakuta Dynasty).
9. Siddharaj Jai Singh and Kumarpala (Chaulikya / Solanki) were the last great patrons of Jainism