Chapter Notes and Summary
• Sangha : Both Mahavira and Buddha felt that only those who gave up worldly life and became monks could gain true knowledge. They set up organisations called Sanghas where these monks spent much of their time on religious studies and meditation.
• Vinaya Pitaka : rules made for Buddhist Sanghas are contained in a text called Vinaya Pitaka from which we can understand that members enjoyed equal status irrespective of their caste and status. There were separate branches for men and women. All men could join Sanghas.
• Monasteries : Jain and Buddhist monks went from place to place, and therefore, need for more permanent shelters was felt. As a result, monasteries were built, which were known as Viharas.
• Four Ashramas : In Upanishadic times, life of an upper-caste man was divided into four stages called Ashramas. These were Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa. Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya men were expected to lead their lives according to them, but this was not followed rigidly.
• Ahimsa : It was philosophy propagated by religious thinkers, particularly by Buddha and Mahavira according to which human beings should show mercy on other living beings, including animals and trees.
• Bhikhus : Members of Sanghas went to cities and villages to beg for food during fixed hours. ‘Bhikhu’ was Prakrit word for ‘beggar’.
• Prakrit : It was language of masses which was used to propagate messages of thinkers like Buddha and Mahavira.
• Teachings of Mahavira : Mahavira believed that a person’s position in life depends on karma of his previous life. He preached ahimsa. He instructed his followers not to lie, steal or kill. His followers were known as ‘Jains’, who led simple lives and begged for food.
• Buddha : Gautama (Siddhartha), founder of Buddhism, was born at Lumbini about 2500 years ago. During those days, certain changes took place in society of Mahajanapadas. Dissatisfied with such changes, many thinkers gave up worldly life, went to forests for meditation and Buddha sought true meaning of life.
• Buddha’s Enlightenment : He left home at age of 30 and attained enlightenment under a ‘peepal tree’ at Bodh Gaya in Bihar. Buddha delivered his first sermon at Sarnath. He preached in Prakrit, language spoken by common people.
• Upanishads : Various thinkers tried to find answers to difficult questions. These thinkers were of view that there was atman or individual soul and Brahmin or universal soul. Upanishads give much importance to Brahmin, universal soul.
• Meaning of Upanishads : Ideas related to soul were recorded in Upanishads. These were part of later Vedic texts. Upanishads recorded knowledge given by teachers to pupils sittings at their feet, often through questions and answers.
• Panini : famous grammarian Panini, was one who prepared grammar for Sanskrit and arranged vowels and consonants in a special order. He used these to write down rules of language in form of short formulae.
• Jainism : Jainism was founded by Vardhamana Mahavira of Vajji gana-sangha. He left home at age of 30 and went to live in forest. For many years, he led a hard and lonely life, but finally attained enlightenment.
Chapter Notes and Summary