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History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas (A Vanished Indian Religion)


History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas (A Vanished Indian Religion)

History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas (A Vanished Indian Religion)

Libros > Arte hindú > History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas (A Vanished Indian Religion)
Viendo del 9 de 3411

Código del Artículo: NAC169

por A. L. Basham

Hardcover (Edición: 2009)

Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd
ISBN 9788120812048

Tamaño: 8.5 inch X 5.8 inch
Páginas: 316 (4 B/W Illustration with Map)
Weight of the Book: 575 gms

Precio: Euro 26.68

From the Jacket

The book presents the history and the doctrines of the Ajivikas who formed a third heretical sect besides the sect of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism and that of Mahavira Vardhamana, the twenty-B fourth Tirthankara of the Jainas. The three heterodox sects react against the ritualistic creed of the Vedists.

The cult of Ajivikas was founded by Makkhali Gosal, the contemporary of Mahavira Vardhamana, on the basis of strict determinism with a belief in the all-embracing rule of Niyati (principle of order). According to Gosal, it was Niyati which ultimately governed our action, controlled phenomena and left no room for human volition.

It will throw new light on any interesting and significant aspect of India’s past, and will encourage further research.

This book is divided into fifteen chapters discussing elaborately different aspects of the subject matter. The comprehensive Bibliography and index are the added features for the researchers for comparative as well as further study of yet unexplored areas.

About the Author

Prof. A.L. Basham, a versatile genius, was a legendary figure in the field of Indology. He was a great teacher and produced as many as hundred Ph. D. students.

He has number of books to his credit - The Wonder That Was India, The Indian Sub-Continent in Historical Perspective, Studies in Indian History and Culture, Aspects of Ancient Indian Culture. His edited volumes are - Papers on the date of Kaniskha, The Civilization of Monsoon Asia, A Cultural History of India. He also published number of research papers I different reputed journals and volumes of the world.


It is gratifying to write a Foreword to History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas written by A.L. Basham. The book exhibits quite clearly the origin and development of the Ajivikas sect in ancient India. In the sixth century B.E. in Magadha, three unorthodox sects developed almost in the same region. All these three sects were seeking satisfying explanations of the sacrifice and the Upanisadic gnosis. The doctrines of these three sects were propagated by Mahavira, Buddha and Gosala. In course of time the doctrines of Mahavira and Buddha became famous and the doctrines of Gosala past into the land of oblivion. Basham has restored this sect in his The Ajivikas. At the time of Mahavira, the Ajivikas were powerful and Mahavira had to encounter with the views of the Ajivikas.

It is a fact worthnoting that the Ajivika sect was very much alive till the Mauryan period and it was due to the patronage of Asoka, it reached its zenith. After that the Ajivikas community dwindled rapidly in Northern India and soon became long-extinct. In South India, it, however, survived for a long period, perhaps, untill the 14th century A.D.

Though A.W.F. Hoernley wrote an article on the Ajivikas in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics (Vol. I) edited by Hastings, and Rockhill in the Life of Buddha, Appendix II, R.G. Bhandarkar and K.P. Pathak in the Indian Antiquary, Vol. XL, 1912, Basham’s contribution to the subject is the best till now.

Basham in his book The Ajivikas has nicely delineated the history and the doctrines of the Ajivikas and has restored quite authentically one of the vanished Indian religion. Every statement of Professor Basham is authenticated with lots of supporting documents culled from different fields of studies: literary, inscriptional, and even from the art pictures. A book like this has a perennial source of information.

It is quite in the fitness of things that this book is being reprinted again for the benefit of the scholars, so that this lost religion is kept alive from generation to generation.

A Foreword

Both in religious and in social life movements of extreme intensity are apt to engender opposite forces. This rule of human nature is strikingly exemplified by the development of religion in Ancient India. Here history began with the dominance of Vedism, a group of polytheistic cults autocratically engineered the Brahmans, who vigorously claimed that the welfare and indeed the very existence of the world, including even the gods, depended upon the maintenance of their systems of sacrifice, which grew to immense size and complexity. Dissent from this crude creed first appeared in the Upanisads, in which a few liberal-minded Brahmans, perhaps supported by some of the military aristocracy, put forward speculations of an elementary monistic idealism, while leaving the edifice of Vedism intact for the use of the unenlightened. But a far greater peril to Brahmanic ritualism arose about this time, and spread far and wide, affecting some few of the Brahmans themselves; for now the very foundations of Brahmanic orthodoxy were uncompromisingly denied, and preachers of what they claimed to be new and true doctrine arose on many sides. This radical movement assumed many phases. In some circles, Brahmanic and non- Brahmanic, it appeared in the form of a coarse atheistic materialism associated with the name of Carvaka. Elsewhere it took a less crude shape. Among the aristocratic clans of the North two noblemen came under its influence, and created churches: they were Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, and Mahavira Vardhamana, whom the Jains revere as their twenty-fourth Tirthankara. But besides these and some other less successful leaders of gentle birth there was a multitude of men of humble origin noisily preaching their heresies in various wise; and among these the Ajivikas played a part of some importance, if not of great glory.

The history of this queer sect is reconstructed by Dr. Basham in the following pages with much skill and scholarly thoroughness. As he shows, their reputation has been somewhat unfairly blackened by the odium theologicum of their rivals, the Buddhists and the Jains; and they deserve some credit for the obstinate consistency and intellectual honesty with which they clung to their doctrine of predestination, to the exclusion of all other principles. Logically, of course, one may ask how believers in that dismal creed can submit themselves voluntarily to self- torture and even to death in pursuance of it; But man is not a logical creature: he does not abstain from effort although he may believe the issue to be predetermined, as the example of Calvin and his Church shows.

For a long period, extending from early classical times to the middle of the Medieval period, our knowledge of Ajivika history is a blank, for no records or those years have survived. Then the curtain rises again, and we find abundant documents in inscriptions of the Tamil and Kanarese areas and in a few works of southern literature. These show that in the intervening centuries the Ajivikas had undergone changes such as are usual in the development of Indian religious bodies: the little congregation had hardened into a caste—community of considerable size, and the figure of its founder had assumed features of divinity. The story that is here narrated is indeed a highly interesting and instructive chapter in, the vast record of Indian thought.


Foreword by Prof. Satya Ranjan Banerjee xi

Foreword By Dr. L.D. Barnett xiii

Preface to The Second Edition xv

Abbreviations xxi


I Introduction 3

The Historical Background to the Rise of Ajivikism.
II The Six Heretics

The Record of the Samanna-phala Sutta… 11

Other Buddhist References to the Doctrines of the Heretics 18
III. Makkhali Gosala and His Predecessors

Ajivika Leads before Makkhali Gosala 27

Nanda Vaccha and Kisa Sankicca 27

The Immediate Predecessors of Makkhali Gosala 30

Makkhali Gosala 34

Birth of Makkhali Gosala 35

The Meeting of Gosala with Mahavira 39

The Peregrinations of the Two Ascetics 41

Gosala and the Sesamum Plant 47

Gosala and Vesiyayana 49

Gosala Attains Magical Power and becomes the Leader of the Ajivikas 50
IV. The Last Days of Makkhali Gosala

The Six Disacaras 56

Gosala is Exposed by Mahavira 58

Gosala Visits Mahavira 60

Gosala’s Delirium 61

Ayampula Visits Gosala 62

Gosala’s Repentance and Death 64

The Date of Gosala’s Death 66

The Name and Titles of Makkhali Gosala 78
V. Purana and Pakudha

Purana Kassapa 80

The Death of Purana 84

Pakudha Kaccayana 90
VI. The Early Ajivika Community (I)

The Wandering Philosophers 94

Etymology of the Term Ajivika 101

The Ajivika Initiation 104

Ajivika Nudity 107

The Ajivika Sabha 115

Song and Dance 116
VII. The Early Ajivika Community (II)

Begging and Dietary Practices 118

Accusations of Worldliness and Immorality 123

The Final Penance 127

Ajivika Laymen 131

Relations between Ajivikas and Buddhists 134

Relations between Ajivikas and Jainas 138
VIII. Ajivikas in the Nanda and Maurya Periods

Mahapadma 142

Ajivikism in Maurya Times 145

The Barabar and Nagarjuni Caves 150
IX. Ajivikas In Later Times

References in Sanskrit Literature 161

Varahamihira and Utpala 168

Silanka and the Trairasikas 174

Nemicandra on the Ajivikas 181

Lexicographical References 182

The Last References to Ajivikas 184
X. The Southern Ajivikas

The Inscriptions 186

Ajivikas in Tamil Literature 196

Appendix To Part I-The Iconoclast Ascetics of Kashmir 205

Part II. Doctrines of the Ajivikas

XI. Ajivika Scriptures

The Mahanimittas, the Maggas, and the Onpatu-katir 213

Pali and Prakrit Quotations 216

Quotations by the Commentators 220
XII. Niyati 224

Niyativada Dialectic 228

The Development of the Niyati Doctrine 235
XIII. Ajivika Cosmology

The Categories of the Samann-phala Sutta 240

The Eight Last Things 254

The Six Inevitables 255

Other Ajivika Categories 256

Mandala-moksa 257
XIV. Other Doctrines of the Ajivikas

The Elements 263

Ajivika Atomism in Relation to other Indian Atomic Doctrines 267

The Soul 270

The Gods 272

Ajivika Logic 274

The Status of Makkhali Gosala 275
XV. Conclusion

Summary 278

Dr. Barua’s Three Questions 279

The Influence of the Ajivikas 279

The Place of the Ajivikas in Indian History 283

Bibliography 289

Index 301

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Áyivika es una de las antiguas doctrinas no ortodoxas de la India. No se conoce directamente sino por las citas, menciones y críticas en textos del yainismo y el budismo.

  • ājīvika, en el sistema AITS (alfabeto internacional para la transliteración del sánscrito).
  • आजीविक, en escritura devanagari del sánscrito.
  • Pronunciación: /áyivika/.1
  • Etimología: áyivaka significa ‘seguimiento de reglas especiales con respecto a la manutención’. Es más común la forma áyivika.1

Un áyivika era un mendigo religioso que seguía las reglas del credo fundado por Góshala (Makkhaliputra); según el Brijat-yataka de Varaja Mijira.1 Esa primera ā acentuada representa lo ‘especial’. Sin la á acentuada, la palabra ayívaka significa ‘que no mantiene la vida’, mientras yívaka significa ‘con vida’ (siendo yivá: ‘vida’, alma).1

En el Lalita-vistara esta palabra aparece como áyivaka (ājīvaka en AITS), que es etimológicamente más correcta.1



[editar] Historia

Según la tradición, el fundador de la doctrina de los áyivikas fue el sabio Góshala. Se le conoce como:

  • Makkhali Góshala (en palí).
  • Maskarin Góshala o Maskari Góshala (en sánscrito), siendo maskarin: ‘que lleva una vara de bambú [maskara]’, un brahmán en el cuarta etapa de su vida, o sea un saniasin (mendigo religioso con una vara); y gó-shala: ‘establo para vacas’ (go: ‘vaca’).

Según la tradición, vivió en los siglos VI y V (f. 484 a. C.).

En las Cuevas de Barabar (en Bijar) se descubrieron siete cuevas habitadas por los áyivikas en la época del emperador mauria Ashoka (273232 a. C.).2

[editar] Concepciones

Sin lugar a dudas los áyivikas se oponían al sistema de castas de la India y a la creencia en el karma, de manera que para ellos el destino no era consecuencia de las acciones humanas. El principio de base de esta doctrina era niiati, el destino. Los áyivikas eran fatalistas estrictos, deterministas, pues consideraban que el destino era el verdadero determinante de cada suceso.3 Ningún esfuerzo humano puede cambiar el destino: los acontecimientos futuros ya existirían de alguna manera, debido a que están determinados.3

Después de veinticuatro años de ascetismo, Góshala enumeró «seis factores inevitables de la vida»:3

  • aumento y pérdida
  • alegría y dolor
  • vida y muerte

Agregó dos senderos de vida: la canción y la danza.3

Se discute si eran no teístas o si rendían culto al dios Shivá4 o al dios Visnú.5 La cosmología de los áyivikas era muy complejo, con un universo extenso que pasaba por un número inmenso de ciclos del tiempo. Según algunos, negaban la existencia del alma, según otros simplemente negaban que el destino de la yivá (‘vida’, ser vivo) dependiera de las acciones humanas.3

Al principio se hallaban relacionados con el budismo y el yainismo, del que quizás fueran incluso una variedad, pues la primera referencia conocida del áyivika se encuentra en los primitivos textos canónicos yainas.

[editar] Atomismo

El escritor Pakudha Kachaiana, contemporáneo de Buda, elaboró una teoría atomista con siete sustancias (en orden de sutilidad): tierra, agua, fuego, aire, alegría, dolor y vida, que son increados y constantes. Para esta concepción atomista existen cuatro variedades de átomos, con los que se forman los cuatro elementos de la naturaleza: tierra, agua, fuego y aire; todos poseen la capacidad de combinarse.3

La yivá (vida) no es algo compuesto de átomos, sino lo que percibe, lo que entra en conocimiento de las combinaciones de los mismos. Las variedades de átomos, las percepciones de alegría o placer y dolor y la vida constituyen las siete esencias a que queda reducido todo lo existente.3

Los átomos son eternos, indivisibles, indestructibles y no han sido creados por nadie. Las variedades de átomos no pueden convertirse unas en otras. Los átomos son capaces de moverse en cualquier dirección. Las propiedades de los cuerpos dependen de los átomos que los componen, de la cantidad de átomos por unidad de volumen y de la manera en que los átomos están combinados. La creencia de los áyivikas apareció como una doctrina realista y para algunos materialista, opuesta a las antiguas religiones indias y a las filosofías budista y yaina. (Leer más) - (read more)

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  1. Ajivika - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre

    Ajivika. De Wikipedia, la enciclopedia libre. Saltar a navegación, búsqueda. Áyivika es una de las antiguas doctrinas no ortodoxas de la India. ...
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  2. Ājīvika - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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    Ir a Ajivikas and Theism‎: Although most Ajivikas were atheistic there were many important theistic ...
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  3. LA EXPERIENCIA RELIGIOSA: Jaines y Ajivikas

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  4. The Ajivika Sect of Ancient India

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  8. Ajivika - New World Encyclopedia

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    Ajivika (also written Ajivaka; correct transliteration Ājīvika) was an ancient philosophical and ascetic movement of the Indian subcontinent. ...
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  10. Full text of "The Ajivikas"

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    PART I Published by the UNIVERSITY OF CALCUTTA 1920 ; \ THE AJIVIKAS By B. M. BARUA, M.A., D.Lit. PART I Published by the UNIVERSITY OF CALCUTTA 1920 JF» ...
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  11. Ajivika definition of Ajivika in the Free Online Encyclopedia.

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    Ajivika religious sect of medieval India, once of major importance. The Ajivikas were an ascetic, atheistic, anti-Brahmanical community whose pessimistic ...
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  15. Ajivika — Infoplease.com

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  16. Ajivika Summary | BookRags.com

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  18. Jainism Articles and Essays: The Ajivika Sect of Ancient India

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  20. Indian philosophy :: Fragments from the Ajivikas and the Charvakas ...

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    About the time of the rise of Buddhism, there was a sect of religious mendicants, the Ajivikas, who held unorthodox views. In the strict sense, ...
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