The Shramana movement was a Non-Vedic movement parallel to Vedic Hinduism in ancient India.
What is the ‘Shramana tradition’?
- Shramana means “seeker, one who performs acts of austerity, ascetic”.
- Shramana is a wandering monk in certain austere traditions of ancient India, including Jainism, Buddhism, and ajvika religion.
- The Shramana tradition gave rise to Jainism and Buddhism. The Shramanas adopted a path that is alternate to the Vedic rituals to achieve salvation, while renouncing domestic life.
- The Shramana tradition was responsible for the related concepts of saṃsāra (the cycle of birth and death) and moksha (liberation from that cycle).
- The Shramanas typically engaged three types of activities like austerities, meditation, and associated theories.
- Śramaṇas held a view of samsara as full of suffering (Dukka). They practiced Ahimsa and rigorous ascetism. They believed in Karma and Moksa and viewed rebirth as undesirable.
The basis beliefs of Shramana philosophy are as follows:
- “Belief in Karma and rebirth, and Samsara and transmigration of Soul”
- “Denunciation of creator and omnipotent God”
- “Rejection of Vedas as revealed texts”
- “Belief in purification of soul to attain moksa through Ahimsa, renunciation and austerities”
- “Rejection of caste system”
- “Denial of efficacy of sacrifices and rituals for purification”