(a) The 6th Century BC was a century of intense moral chaos of religious agitation and reform, of mystics and ascetics. Gautama Buddha with his Godless wisdom undermined the hegemony of the priests. Confucius was openly an agnostic who gave no importance to ritual.

(b) All the civilizations worshipped nature in the form of different Gods, e.g., the Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, Siva in India and Mother Goddess in the form of Shakti, Uma, Bhavani, Annapoorna, Kali, Karali, Chandi, etc.

The Iranians worshipped Sun and Fire as symbols of Ahura Mazda, the God representing good. Their nature Gods like Indra, Vayu, Mithru, Naon Raithya and Vrethragna, were very similar to Vedic Gods. In Greece, Zeus was worshipped as the God of Sky and Thunder. Poseidon was God of the Sea and Storms; Apollo was the Sun God; Athena was the Goddess of Victory and Arts and Dionysus was the God of wine. In Rome, Vesta was worshipped as the Goddess of the hearth and home; Jupiter was the God of rain and crops; Juno protected women and Mercury carried mes­sages.

(c) All the civilizations had different beliefs in life after death. The Hindus believed in the theory of Karma or rebirth. According to the Hindu belief, the soul within a body never dies, only the body undergoes birth and death. In Jainism, every object has a soul, whether tree or stone, man or animal. To attain salvation or freedom from the cycle of rebirth, the Jains prescribe the path of Three Jewels or ‘Right Belief, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct’. The Buddhists also believe in rebirth and prescribe the Eightfold Path to achieve salvation.


In China, Confucius did not lay stress on God or death but on right conduct suited to particular occasions and social morality.

Zoroastrianism of Iran influenced both Judaism and Christianity in the concepts of Resurrection of the dead, the final victory of good over evil and the Day of Judgment when the good would be separated from the evil and justice would be done. The concept of Satan in the Bible and the story of the Three Wise Men, also owe their origin to Zoroaster.

The Greeks did not believe in Heaven or Hell, good deeds or sins and had no priests. They imagined their Gods like human beings and tried to please them to gain good harvests and success in their life. The philosophy of Democritus and Sophists denied the existence of Soul. So did philosophy of Epicureanism and of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Romans like Lucretius, Cicero, Marcus Aurelius and Seneca adopted the Greek philosophies of Stoicism and Epicureanism. They also denied the existence of the soul.