Briefly explain the factors that led to the rise of Jainism and Buddhism.
Following are the factors that led to the rise of Jainism and Buddhism in India:
- Reaction against Ritualism - Religious ceremonies and rituals had become very expensive and were performed according to the whims and fancies of the priestly class. Hence, a need was felt for a simple and inexpensive faith.
- Corruption in Religion - Corruption had crept into religion and the priests often extracted money out of common citizens through different rituals. This was resented by another powerful community, i.e., the Kshatriyas .
- Rigid Caste System - The caste divisions had become extremely rigid and there was absolutely no social mobility left in the society. There were restrictions on the basis of caste, on food, drinks and marriage.
- Difficult language - The Vedas were written in Sanskrit and the Brahmans gave religious discourse in only that language. It was not understood or spoken by the common people and hence a need was felt for a religion which would be accessible for people at large.
- Political situation - In the sixth century BC, Magadha was ruled by Bimbisara and later by Ajatashatru. Both had definitive opinions about religion and philosophy. Later on, both patronised Jainism and Buddhism.
- Agricultural economy - Killing animals did not bore well for the farmers in the Gangetic valley as the increasing use of iron had made animal drawn ploughing popular. As a result, they were in a position to embrace a religion that supported non violence and was against the custom of animal sacrifice.