DMPQ: Buddhism and Jainism were the result of the dissent against the existing religion. Comment.

Buddhism and Jainism were two major sect developed in 6th century BCE and over the period of time they got sanction from both kings and followers. The dissent against the status quo was the main result of birth of these two religion. The causes are as follows:

  •                Social cause: Caste system became rigid and it created inequality in the society.  The Kshatriyas had resented the domination of the priestly class, and both Buddha and Mahavira belonged to Kshatriya origin.
  • Religious unrest:
    • Religious life in ancient India was originally very simple. But in the Later Vedic period complex rituals and ceremonies began to dominate the practice of worship. The complex rituals and sacrifices were not acceptable to the common people.
    • It became expensive and elaborate. Blind faith and superstitious beliefs confused the people.
  • Economic cause: The growth of trade led to the improvement in the economic conditions of the Vaisyas. Now, they wanted to enhance their social status but the orthodox Varna system did not allow this. Similarly, money-lending was imperative for traders, which was prohibited in Vedas. Thus, merchant class extended the chief support to these new religions.
  • Moreover, rise of agriculture raised demand for drought animals which were being sacrificed for religious ceremonies. The principle of nonviolence, suited settled agrarian community better which was brought by Jainism and Buddhism.
  • Brahminic supremacy: Priests considered themselves superior and others as inferiors. They took advantage of knowing Sanskrit, and interpreted religion according to their convenience. Whereas these new religions were open for all and preached in local language like Prakrit and Pali, which found appeal to common masses.

Hence, it can be concluded that Buddhism and Jainism were the product of dissent in every sphere.

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