What were the causes for the growth of Jainism and Buddhism?



The conditions of the then society favoured the rise and growth of Jainism and Buddhism. A few of these causes were:

1. The Vedic philosophy had lost its original purity and in the sixth century B.C. it was reduced to a bundle of cumbrous rituals. The rites and ceremonies were painfully elaborate and awfully expensive. The common man developed a great dislike for these rituals.

2. The sacrifices prescribed by the Vedas had assumed a cumbrous shape. They were very com­plicated and a source of wastage of time, energy and money

3. The caste system had become rigid and bru­tal. There were strict restrictions on food, drinks and marriage. Interchange of caste was impos­sible. A person of the low caste had a miserable life. Buddhism and Jainism offered them an honoured place.

4. The Vedic religion had become very complex and degenerated into superstitions, dogmas and rituals. The Vedic mantras were unintelligible and beyond the intellect of the average person. A con­geries of conflicting theories created a chaos and the common man was in a dilemma not knowing which way to turn.

5. The supremacy of the Brahmins created un­rest. They had lost the old ideals and were no longer leading pure and holy life full of knowledge. Instead, they created intellectual con­fusion and dominated every aspect of the life of the Aryans.

6. All the religious treatises were written in Sanskrit which was the language of the elite and not the masses. Mahavira and the Buddha, on the contrary, explained to the people in simple intel­ligible spoken Pali or Prakrit, the language of the common man at that time.

These evils and ills led to grow discontent among the masses who aspired for a change. Several leading teachers raised their voice against these shortcomings. The Pali texts refer to sixty- two and Jain texts to 200 such movements, big and small, of which only two (Jainism and Buddhism) survived.