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(äjē`vĭkə), religious sect of medieval India, once of major importance. The Ajivikas were an ascetic, atheistic, anti-Brahmanical community whose pessimistic doctrines are related to those of JainismJainism
[i.e., the religion of Jina], religious system of India practiced by about 5,000,000 persons. Jainism, Ajivika, and Buddhism arose in the 6th cent. B.C. as protests against the overdeveloped ritualism of Hinduism, particularly its sacrificial cults, and the authority of
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. Its founder, Gosala (d. c.484 B.C.), was, it is said, a friend of Mahavira, the founder of Jainism. Gosala denied that a man's actions could influence the process of transmigration, which proceeded according to a rigid pattern, controlled in the smallest detail by an impersonal cosmic principle, Niyati, or destiny. After a period of prosperity under Aśoka, the sect rapidly declined and only retained local importance in SE India, where it survived until the 14th cent.


See A. L. Basham, History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas (1951).

References in periodicals archive ?
Sahni in "The Marabar Caves in the Light of Indian Thought" shows how the snake image in the Caves episode alludes to "Hindu and other ancient scriptures", how the caves represent the "impersonal cosmic principle" common to the Ajivika sect, Jainism and Buddhism, and how they evoke "the undifferentiated oneness that lies at the root of the concept of Brahman in Advaita-Vedanta" (68).
See, for example, the issue of cave donations: "Ascetics of the Ajivika order had, as we saw, prophesied glad tidings for Ashoka, so a disinterested distribution of caves to sundry sects may not have been the idyllic scenario painted sometimes by those desiring to boost the emperor's proto-secular credentials" (p.
The question is then, does the Buddhist middle way solve the problem, and the answer again is obvious, if by causation is meant "weak" conditioning, then perhaps it does solve it, but if total conditioning of the series is intended, then the Buddhist would be no better than the Ajivika (Gomez 88).
Despite this suggestive language, Kalupahana does not unpack any account of how the intermediate position is supposed to work, except perhaps what is hinted at in his discussion of Ajivika fatalism.
As a postulate of degeneration it indeed is an instance of power, particularly when its attachments to naturalistic Brahminical ideologies become clear, but what is immediately noteworthy is the fact that such deep notions of time also abound in the staunchly anti-Brahminical Buddhist, Jaina, and Ajivika texts.
The second section comprises four articles that explore the links between Jains and other communities, including evidence of contact between Jains and Buddhists (Padmanabh Jaini), the value of studying Jain materials to understand Buddhism (Kenji Watanabe), a frame of Ajivika doctrine drawn from Buddhist, Jain and, perhaps most interestingly, Hindu sources (Johannes Bronkhorst), while Muni Jambuvijay's piece--in Sanskrit--gives a short overview of Jainism, which is interesting as an example of the manner in which a learned Jain mendicant integrates his knowledge of Jainism with those fleeting references to Jainism in the writings of others.
the Buddha), Makkhali Gosala (the Ajivika teacher), and Vardhamana Jnatrputra (a.
The Brahmin Chanakya, author of Arthashastra, declared that, "When a person entertains in a dinner dedicated to gods and ancestors those who are Sakyas (Buddhists), Ajivikas, Shudras and exiled persons, a fine of one hundred panas shall be imposed on him.
The hill where Ashoka donated caves to the Ajivikas (today known as the Barabar hills) is referred to as Khalatika in the inscription in the so-called Vishvamitra cave.
The ascetic and renunciatory movements that arose within this period (Jains, Buddhists, Ajivikas, Upanishadic seers, forest hermits) are thus commonly viewed as registering some form of social alienation, as exemplified by salvation strategies openly oriented towards world-escapism and transcendence.
Moreover, the Buddha opposed the fatalistic doctrine of the Ajivikas, who held that people are not responsible for their actions as they are driven by the external force of niyati, or "destiny": people's karma or action is a passive effect of this, over which they have no control (D.
He speculates that the occurrence in both Buddhism and Jainism of the eternally lost--Buddhists also use the category of abhavya, though they limit it to a small class of incurable wretches--is to be explained by a common background shared with the Ajivikas and perhaps occasioned by the person of Makkhali Gosala, a rigid fatalist himself and repudiator of the notion of karma.