Religious Movements

Table of Contents

During the period between 7th and 5th century BC, various religious movements were born. The main causes behind the emergence of the new religious movements were the brahmanical dominance and spread of agricultural economy in the North-East India.


Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, was born in 563 BC at Lumbini in the Sakya Kshatriya clan.

At the age of 29, he renounced home, this was his Mahabhinishkramana.

He attained Nirvana on the bank of river Niranjana under a pipal tree at Uruvela (Bodh Gaya).

He delivered his first Sermon at Sarnath to his 5 disciples, this is known as ‘Dharmachakrapravartin’.

 The first Buddhist council was held at Rajgriha.

He died at Kushinagar, this is known as Mahaparinirvana’.

Three Ratnas of Buddhism are Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha

Chaityas, Viharas and Stupas are important architectural forms of Buddhism.

An important Buddhist literature is Tripitaka which includes Sutta Pitaka, Vinay Pitaka, Abhidhama Pitaka.


According to Jain tradition, there were 24 Tirthankaras and Mahavir Jain was 24th among them.

Mahavira was born in 540 BC at Kundagram near Vaishali.

He attained Kaivalya at Jrimbhikagrama in Eastern India at the age of 42.

He died at the age of 72 in 468 BC at Pavapuri near Rajgriha.

He was called Jina or Jitendriya, Nirgrantha , Arihant and Mahavira.

 Five important teachings of Jainism are Ahimsa, Satya, Asteya, Aparigraha and Brahmacharya.

Three Ratna of Jainism are Samyak Vishwas (Right faith), Samyak Jnan (Right knowledge), Samyak Karma (Right conduct).

Those who put white robes are called ‘Svetambars’.

Those who remain naked are called ‘Digambars’.


Sixth century BC onwards, the widespread use of iron resulted in the development of Janapadas into Mahajanapadas.

The Buddhist texts Anguttara Nikaya, Mahavastu and the Jain text Bhagvati sutta, provides the names of the 16 Mahajanapadas.

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