Religion in classical India.

Essay by vinUniversity, Master'sA+, November 2003

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Religion in Classical India

There are 3 doctrines that came upon Indian History that tried to established Cultural order. They were Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism.

Jainist doctrines first appeared during the seventh century b.c., they became popular only when the greater teacher Vardhamana Mahavira turned to Jainism in the late sixth century b.c. Mahavira expuonded his thought to a group of dedicated disciples who formed a monastic order to perpetuate and spread his message. These disciples refer to him as Jina ("the conqueror"), and borrowing from this title his followers referred to them selves as Jains. Jains believed that everything in the universe: humans, animals, plants, bodies of water, and even inanimate phisical objects such as rocks possessed a soul. They were very careful in their movements, they also tried not to make any sudden moves, because they didn't want to harm any living thing or or physical object that may have a soul.

They were strictly vegetarians and filtered their water using cloth to prevent harming the invisible souls and to unwittingly consume tiny animals. The ethics of Jainism were so demanding that very few people other than monks could hope observe them closely. For most people Jainism was not a practical alternative to the religion of the Brahmins.

In spite of the moral respect it has commended and the influence it has wielded through the centuries, however, Jainism has always been the faith of small minority. It has simply been to difficult or even impossible for most people to observe. A more popular and practical alternative to the brahmins' cults came in the form of Buddhism.

Like Mahavira, the founder of Buddhism came from a kshatriya family, but he gave up his position and inheritance in order to seek salvation. His name was Siddhartha Gautama, born about 563 b.c.