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A. P. de ZOYSA, B.A., Ph.]). (l.ond.)

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Chapter Page

1\' \\'OMKN" 16


ANCIENT INDIAN civilisation and culture have undergono so many

changea and modifications that it ia no eaBy task to trace the state of
society in India during the daya of the Buddha.
Gotama, the Buddha, lived about two thousand five-hundred years
ago. There is no recorded history of that period. Tbe edicts of
Emperor Asoka and other monuments, together with the archaeological
disooveries, corrohorate the evidence of references to ancicnt India by
the hiBtorillns of other countrieB. Histories of CeyIon, Burma, Siam,
Tibet, China, Japan and other countries into which Buddhism Wtll!l
introduced at different periods, leave records and references to B\lddhist
India. The traditional teaching of the Buddha and the mode of life,
customs, art and literature of the Buddhist countries keep up the early
Buddhist traditioIl8 even up to this day. In Ceylon, Burma and Siam,
Buddhism is well established.
In traoing tb.!, history of ancient customs and institutions in most
nations in Asia, it is not difficult to discover the influenoe which Bud-
dhism had on them. Anoient Indians had a civil dreM similar to the
Roman toga. The Buddha a.nd his disciples evidently wore that dr6l!s.
The Buddhist monks oontinued to wear it. In all Buddhist countries
",e fmd the form of the anoient dreM still kept up with very little
modification or altoration, while the dreM of the ordinary people in
those countries has undergone changes and traIl8(ormations.
Buddhist [ndian traditions arc oonfirmed by the seripturel!. Theae
scriptures which are called the Tripitako, though written after the
death of the Buddha, are regarded by the Buddhists as the words of the
toacher as handed down by his chief disciples. Tho subject matter
of these scriptures contains many references and allul!ions to the mode
of life of the people, their ways of thinking and their activities. Hence
the I!cripturcs form the most reliable source of information rolating to
the days oftho Buddha.
To see that ancient aociety in its proper perspeotive it is'necE:sll8ry not
merely to I!ift and Relect the relevant facts from the vaat amount of
information embodied in the soripturcs, but also to apply the critical
method of inquiry before attempting to generalise.
In the literature of a country the poets and other writers have
recorded, though not consciously, the aaoial history of their times.
Sometimes a word or a phrase will be a sufficient clue to reveal subject
matter uf importance to the hiHtorisll or to the anthropologist. When
we deal with ancient literature'8pecial interpretation of certain pa88ages
beoomes necessary. since the writers of differont agos had tlloir IlecuJi-
Il.rities of expre88iofl. Some of their allusiolls and references are not
clsar. Their humour and their sUbtlety of t.hought and expre811ion are
SOlllctinHlslost to thc mouern reader of anci(lJlt text.rl. Another danger
to be avoided in rosearch work of tlds nature ill the tendency to attach
etymological meaning~ to words which in their usage had different
meanings. The word" deva" originally connoted the idea of a god.
In the Buddhist scriptures the word is used in several senses so as to
include the ruler of the people and also enlightened persons. 'rhe word
.. aryan " was used to indicate l\ cultured or enlightened person and
not a race. The ·Buddha speaks of his disciples a8 "Arya-putta"
meaning thereby "cultured" 80n8. Similarly the word8 "Ariyo
a.ttangiko maggo" mea.n the eight-fold method of the oultured.
The diffioulties ofinterpreting a.noient 8criptures oan be overcome to
alatgeextent by referenee to oommentaries3nd traditiunal explanatiolls
The unwritten laws Ilnd the obscrvallce of oertain customary practices halided down from generation to generation. Such customs alld
usages oOllsiderably help in the proper understanding of the scriptures.
'The tro.dltiollo.l mode oC life foll~wed by the Buddhist monks shows
with what caro very allcient customs are ~ept alive. The precepts
laid down by the Buddha for the membors of his Order define in detail
the mode of life whioh embodied many a oustom of the Buddha's own
day. Also the 8ame precepts give all insight into the life of thoM times.
Scanty records of pre-Buddhist India and thoso of the. period after the
Buddha throw light upon the India ofthe Buddha'sday. The influence
of the Veuas 011 the life and oustoma of that time is evident. So is the
influence of Buddhism 011 the sub8equent period. ~Ieg88thene8 and
the Chinese writers such 8sFaHien oonfirm the faOM which are disclosed
in the Buddhist soriptures regarding the life and customs of BU(ldhist
To judge India ncconling to the Buddhist scriptures is to come to the
oonclusion that the Buddha lived in the Golden Age of India. In
culture of the mind, in the freedom of both men a.nd women, alld in
8O~ial progress and prosperity, India at that time had attained a high
8tandard. That was the perilld when India ~ave to the world a philo-
sophy which subsequently influenced the life and thought of most of
the civilised I)eoples of the age.



FREEDOM, TOLERANOE and intellectual movements in the days of the

Buddha were essentially favourable for religious, social and philo-
sophical speculations. People in all conditions of life took part in
public matters. Women were not kept aloof. Differences in points
of view were accepted and tolerated. Various schools of thought on
religion and philosophy contended with one another with enthullissnt.
The religious teachers looked for adherents to their precepts or dogmas.
The philosopherll put forward their theories on cosmology, world
systems: and the soul. Cl
The social reformers preached against the existing aocial evils. Some
teachers had established centres for their teachingll, while othenl
travelled throughout the eountry to propagate their doctrines. 1 Their
aim was not to convert a select few, but to teach the general publiC",' It
is significant to remember that the method of most of the tcachet1l was
persuasion by appeal to reason. Hence there was no bloodshed, riots
or rebellion amollg the adherents to different schoolS of thought:
Those early disputants and theorists served the useful purpose, 80 far
as they were able, of sharpening the intellect and deepening the thought
of the people. The inevitable result of such early training was that
whcn the Buddha began to teach, he found an audienoe advanced
enough to understand him.
From the clouded atmosphere of speoulation on vain dogmllll, the
Buddha directed the attention of the people to matt.on which explained
the mode of life that t.ondcd to real happineSll. It was the material
comfortB that were generally considered to be the ohief source ef
pleasure. With such an ideal before them t,he ancient Indians had
accumulated wealth. In the days of the Buddha. while the rich lived
in luxury; the poor groaned under the struggle for exilltehce. Side by
sMa"with the great prosperity of the country there was much suffering
and disoollwnt. Those who lived in luxury discovered that the very
plcaaurcll they indulged in were a cause of boredom and dill8atillf&ctioni
They tried in vain to find the purpose and the meaning oflife. Old age,
I. Pll.ribijakM
deoay and death were Iloted all the undellirable and ulilLvoidabltt
obstacles to the enjoyment of the ple88urea of life. Por liCe'slufIerings
no teacher had so far found a rational remedy.
Led by the cORljlalJllioll for humanity, the noble Prince Sidbartba,
the heir to the throne oC the SakyslI8, left his royal comforbJ and went
in Rarch of the caUll6 oC human euffering. Although he visited t.he
reputed teachers and philO8Ollhenl, they were not sble to satiRfy him
"ith their theori08. They explained suffering as the work of God,
taught him to ]Iay ponallce and torture the body to expunge The
sellro!ler after kllowlooge, like other honest belic\'ers of his day
Itudiously followed the etrcnUOUll practiCil until he was nearly etarved
and tortured to death. With the realisation of the futility of such
practices, he began to think independently. He attnined enlighten-
ment and disoovered the cauee oflufJering. Then he was known RI the
Buddha, tlie enlightened tCBcher, who wall able to ehow the people the
path to perfection aull enlightenment.
The Buddha tnugh tthlltthe olLn/loof suffering Ilhould be looked forill
the sufferer. lIe taught that people lluffer"or enjoy according to the
rellulta of their actions in their past and prescnt livcs. The sum total
of the reactive effect of the activiticll of the past and the present deter·
mine the future. The only way to remove lIuffering and to attain to
perfection and enlightenment is by one's own effort. SACrifices and
prayers to gods "ere pointed, out to be in no way u86ful to remove
human lIuflering. The lIiriver after the true happineu of perfection
and enlightenwent.ehould first of all remove the caUIIe which produces
suffering. The condit.ioDll of this cause are selfieh cravings, pa&!ions
luch aa anger, hatred, iII-"iII, jealousy, IUllt and ignorance. Selfish
oravingaare to be destroyed by rulising the truth of lluffering, pa88iODS
by loathsomeneM of t.i1e Impurities of one's o"n form; Ignorance by
invelltigation of the real aSJlecte of so called exist-cnce and the universe.
Man's happiness or unbappinMll is a subjective lltaf,e of mind. Hence
the attainmentofhappinell8 is poB8ible only by the culture of the mind.
The obstacles to mental development are the attachments to scDllual
pleasures, based on, greed, hatred, wrong vicw, delusion, pride, conceit,
envy, shamelessnesll, recklesllness, eloth, torpor, eelfiehncflll, doubt,
perplexity and distraction wJlich keep the mind in bondage. TJle mind
freed by breaking the fetters call be cultivated by the Buddha'll method
which ill termed hy him" the eight-featured method of the cultured". I
This inetbod, which only the Buddha teaches to the world, is not a
theo~y but a practice. It is also described as the" middle path"
wruch teaches the avoidance of extremes of sensuality and aSl<6ticism.
The method demands that the striver after enlightenment should
have the right view l so llS not to be led asuay by delusiolls and decep-
tions through wrong views a~d opinions. 'fhen he should have the
right Rspiration,2 which eOllsists in aspiring for the path and fruition of
deliverance. The right view enables him to discard the wrollg ideas of
salvation. Such views being untainted with greed, hatred and delusion,
give risl.' to feelings of liberality, amity and higher knowledge. The
right sJ>66cll B is to avoid falsehood, slander, abusi\'e language and
frivolous talk and to U86 true, kind and correct words. The right
action' is to refrain from killing, stealing, dcfilement through sensual
pleasures, and from the use ofintoxicant8. Acte ofservice and charity,
learning the truth or teaching it to others are examples of right action.
Tho right mode of lifo 6 is a lifo of avoiding ten kinds of wrong liveli-
hoods. The right effortS consists in the avoiding of the pain of the
body by changing the four postures and in the four-fold right efforts
of the mind leading to milldfulness of mind and body. Suoh efforts
consist in the attempt to prevent evil thougll.ts, words and deeds, to
remove t~e ills that havc already arisen in the mind, to develop right

t.hought.s, deep insight, energy, keen interest, tranquility, deep concen-
tration amI equanimity, and to maintain and brillg to perfection the
developed qualities. The right mindfulne8ll 7 ill c~nt,emplation on
the visible form, feeling, conllcjoullne88 and lIlen!.a1 fadors, continually
like the ticking of 11. watch for the acquirement of right concentration.
The right concentrat.ion s is to make a deep examination into the nature
of existence and to remove lIolfiIJI,\ orl\ving, pall8iOlllJ Rnd ignorance.
to be free from lust, anger, indolence and doubt, alld to acquire. the
cultured mental serenity whieh cOllsitll in concentrated IJcrfeotion,
equanimity and freedom from sensual pleASure or p8!n.
According to another analysis of the method, perfection IUld enligllten-
ment are to be attainod by leading a virtuous life, It by the control and
purification of the mind,l 0 Rnd by the development of true kn?wledge
and wisdom. ~ 1 A teaching based on mental culture of this nature can
I. 8(J111nta.Dilllli 2. 8"rnlfla,SI"'wppa
3. Bamma· Vaca 4. Saml7l(l.Kllmll\lJmM
5. 8lJmma.Ajiva 6. 8"mlna· Yiyoygma
7. 8"mma-811111i 8. Snmma·Samad1li
9. Sila 10. Snmiidhi 'C.
11. P"ib1..
I, Dltammapllda 2. A "9'"Uara NilWy(J 11. XIX,
:I, AllglllillUJla SNlla 4, AbhinYllnu
revealing the hidden powers of the mind was a startling d.i6COyery and
thollO who achieved such mental powers were ready to teach others how
to attain them. A detailed account oC the method of acquiring special
psychic powere is given in the Buddhistscriptureadealing with iLcquire-
ment of supemormalstate8.
By thus reducing what. the people held to be superstition to natural,
and by showing wbat. were considered inspirations and revelations to
be acquisitions, the popular faith in gods W&.ll shaken. The Buddha's
method and its practice proved that goda are not necessary to attain
to the highest achievemenu. lie denied the immortality oC the god.
since they are themselves liable to impermanence and suffering.
With the spread of Buddhist thought people became iconoclasts and
dispensed with temples, priests, rituals, vows, sacrifices and prayers.
The Buddha pointed out to Amagandha, a reputed Brahmin teacher,
thll.t" neither the aMh, or fish, nor fasting, nor Ilakedness, nor tonsure
nor matted bair, nor dirt, Jlor wllaring skins, nor wo~shippillg firell, nor
the many continual penances, nor sacred hymns, nor oblations, nor
eacrifices, nor observanoe oC llnored days, purify a person who has not
oonquered his' doubt'." 1
Hitual, vows and sacrifices to gods was an important part of religious
worship during the B\tddha's life in India. Buddha preached against
the existing practioos to enable I>cople to dispense with futile pract.icell
which lead the mind astray. It was easential that such religious rites
ehould cease before the mind could be free to be properly trained.
The Buddha's teaching was t.hat. the individual bae to get enlighten-
ment wit.h determined effort, and enlightened men beeome peraolla of
veneration and honour even by the gods (devas).
The chief feat.uree of t.hi. enlightenment are: It. wu a teaching
intended to make man greater than his gods. The novelty of the
teaching itself was sufficient. to attract public attention. The Bud-
dhists openly l,Ieclared themselves in no way inferior to gode for they
had realised that they had the potentialities to make themselves evcn
eUI>crior to gods. Hence the popular fear of the gods was,removed.
This removal of fear and tlle servility of mind is essential to the culture
of the mind. The mind tainted with fear and servility cannot break
the fettcrs tllat keep the mind in bondage. .
Prior to this teaching; and even during the days of the Buddha, there
were di fJerent secll! who worshipped gods and hoped to propitiate them
I. S"UfI Nipafltfl AmagandhaSutta

and avert their anger by sacrificing animals. When the King of KOIUI.ltl.
had an tl.wful dream, according to the advice of the Braoomin priests
he: began to sacrifice a large number of animals. I
., "Lcf4tbere be slain fOI sacrifice so many bulls, so many steers, heifers,
goats and rams. Let there be felled so many treedor sacrificial posts.
Let su much kusa grass be cut to strew round the place of sacrifice".!
Such WI!.S the order of the Brahmin priesb. This sacrifice was avoided
by the timely visit of the Buddha who persuaded t.he King to become
one of his followers .
. With the spread of Buddhism the kings used to penalise the killing
of animals. The Emperor Asoka, the Great, through his edicts prohi-
bitocl the slaughter of animals. Olle edict says: .. This Dharroa-lipi
has been caused to be written by King Priyadarsin, Beloved of the
Gods. No life should hence be immolated and offered as a sacrifice.'"
The sacrificcs to the gods by the priests and other practices in the
name of gods thnt time cnslaved thc minds of Borne people
with superstition. Removal of supcrstitions from the mind was a
preliminary step to real mental culture.
When the futility of sacrificcs wae realised by the people a new
humane movement was introduced by extending kindness and com-
Jlassion even to the dumb and helpless animals. Prevention of cruelty
to animals became a social institution nearly two thousand five-bundred
y~ars ago.

By discarding the worsllip of gods, thc Buddhist Indiane do not seem

to have lost anything either morally or mentally. It was considered
a greater service and a more important duty to help and bonour their
fellow-men and women than to worship gods. The Duddhists directed
their energy to uplift the fallen and the less fortunato. The daily
meditations of univeflltt.l love,' compBMion,1 approeitt.tion l Bud
indilIerenoe 7 towards pleasure Bnd pain took the plfl.CIl of prayer.
. A' general idea of the culture of the time call be gathered from tbe
account ot what Wt1.8 accepted as things worthy of rejoicing. When
t~ere were difierences of opinion as to what wcre the true blc88ings of
life, the Buddha, being questioned, summed them up thus :-
. : ., , '~. To avoid the compallY of the fuol and the wicked,
To associate with the wise and the virtuous,
l. Ma1uJ8upiMBwtla 2. KandarakaBulla
3. AAoka Ik>ek Edie~ I. <t. Mdlha
Il. Karuna 6. Afudiw
1. Uppthha


I. Suffering, the ')!'''!I(l of ufforing, dClltruetion of e"fI"oring IInd the way to

dClllroy eufl"oring
2. Malio MOIlga}.o S""o

character. It-ia only in an enlightened age alld in RIl equally enlightened
aociet.y t.hat. t.he people will have courage t.oent.ert.ain the view that man
ill greater t.han his god.
Aceording to Buddha, t.he perfectly enlightened peffJOn is the higheat.
being. To him even the greatest. of goda pay homage. The enlightened
men are themselvea devB8. a claM of god8. The 8upematural beings
who are k.nown as gods are not superior to the enlightened men. To a
people who had faith in goda thia teaching muat havo boon ahooking.
But when people understood the Buddha's teaching they feared
neit.her god nor devil and yet. lived lL life of aervice and virtue.
The of t.his teaohing enabled people to develop unselfiah
charBct.ers. Their mental achievements, their love of liberty and
freedom, aneI t.heir uprightne68 created a diatinct culture which subse-
quently inl1uenoed practically the whole of Asia, until other in8uencca
polluted or removed that culture.



I. Doot.rinll of Kamma

wrong lIiews and wicked actions t.o ignornnoo. Hence the thoughts
and deeds of tho ignorant were regarded with Ility and compfl88ion.
The method of reducing ignornlloo WI\S to educate the people IUI(\ train
their minds. In order to do thi8 the nud<UlIL and hi8 disciples travelled
over different parts of India teaching the doctrine of enlightenment and
With. the arrival of the Buddhist missionaries in different countries,
the new teaching became acceptable to all those whose minds were
~e~eloped enough to understand and appreciate it. 'fhat humani8m
l:Jad IL direct effect ill uniting the peollle with love and afIection instead
of dividing them into petty secta under deities. "May all beings be
happy"1 was the common cry of the Buddhists. This univer6ILllove
W8S the sOllndest hMis on which indillidualliberty could be built in any

progres8ive 80ciety, for suoh 10lle breeds mutual regarlland rcspeet,

The Buddha WlLS one of the earliest propou,uders of the equality of
man. During his day slavery was not k'iown in India. McgcBthcnes
was impressed by this fact. The same writer tells us further thi8
remarkable fact about India, tliatall the Indians are free, Rnd not OIlC
of them is IL slave. The JAlkedaemolli.allSlLlld tlte Indians are here eo
far in agreement. The Lakedaemonians, howevcr, hold Helota as
slaves, and these Helot8 do eerllile labour; but the Indians do not
ellelluse aliens as slallee and much leS3 a countryman of their own.!
The Buddhist scriptures speak of selleral clsS8es ofeefvantB, but there
is no reference to slaves. When castes came into being there was
nothing to be identified 8S a slave caste. The caste system as it exista
today is the outcome of Brahamin priestcfaft. Itis based on the ancient
olass system. The Buddha laid the foundation to free 80ciety from the
social evils of the c1ase system which hindered i ndillidual progress. To
a proud llralllunin the Buddha said: .. For whosoeller, Ambattha, are
in bondage to the notions of birth or of lineage or the pride of eocial
position, or of .eOlUlection by marriage, they are far from the best
wisdom and righteousness. It is only by having got rid of all such
bondage that ope can realise for h.imeolf that supreme perfection in
wisdom and in conduct.'"
He preached that people are not to 00 honoured according to their
hirth but according to their actions.. Those perfect ill purity of life
and enlightened through mental culture were the moet worth)' of
1. SablJe SaUD nlllllxmtflU Sllklli·tflatlla 2. Frllgm. XX V. Strabo XV.
:I.Amoouha S"Ua 4. I'Mala Sidfa

I. A6l1dMaJiital:a 2. Gmlil«Jiifu/m
3. Cll1dlalra-BdlhiJataKa oi. C'aMkaJ<i101ra
.6. Malla Vogga-Vin.aya

him n. Beribe wOllld be to his lillgcrs sore, t.o make him all account·
Rnt would be to make hill heart achc, and to Illn.kc him fl. money-chSJlger
would bc to spoil his uye-siglJt.&
In Ilncient India it appl1ll.rS that opportlluitieFl were givel! for people
to follow what.e\'er profession they liked. There were iJlst:mces of
some following more Mwn ono profeSllioll al\(\ of otllers changing from
one profession to lUl0ther. .1 ivaka. was a fumous surgeon and phYBician
and was afw a minister to King Aj:i.sll.tthu.
Individual freedom was heighulIled by the freetlom of thought and
of action proclaimed hy the Buddlm.. As for freedom of thought, the
Buddhn's words might he construed aB the great.est charter of freedom
given to lIIankind, whell he said: " Do not believe anything beeau86 it
is believcd by parents, teachers, feamed men, men of high rauk or by
the public, or because it is thought to be giveJl by divine inspiration, or
by l\n oraclc, or becll.u8e it is handed down by tradition, or because it is
{oulld in books, or because someone proclaims it to Le true, but believe
anything if it agrees with reason, iU\lel!tigation and experienced
Freedom of action was taught by the doctrino that each individual is
responsible for 11;S own nction!" without ally fear of punishment from
godll. '1'he natural consequence Was to free the milld from pricstcraft,
to make the prl1.ctice of religion Il. private alld persollalmatter. TIle
recognition of this fact created no religious discussions. Members of
the same family belonged to various religioll/! faiths. Followers of onc
teo.clIer went to discuss with and learn from other tea'chers. Ministers
of the K;ng hold ditTeront te'ligiotl/! creeds, yet along with the rest of the
king's flU bje'cte th",. ',.. eM ~vcrned by tIlC Bamc lawB and rights.
No maD or woman "'as punished by the state for his or her religious
views. Relj.gion was no bar to' hold office or perfonn publin duties.
Tolei'lll:i.c~q;,-eligioll was practised in Buddha's day and Buddha's
philosophy emphasised tIle need of sbch tolerance.
l'ersonal freedom was brought to its higllCst developmcnt during tllO
days of the Buddha, thereby dirccUy building up individual character
and indirectly influencing natiollal character and culture.
.Emperor Asoka m-stated the Buddhist COJlCellf.ioll of tolerance in his
rock edicte.
1. An.g«/ta,rll Nihy" I[ XX. Prinoo SllttA

" King Priyadarsin, BeJo\'cd of the Gods, honourll 81l1lCd-8, allcetics
and hOUllcholdcra and honours with gift and manifold honour . . . .
For one who hononrs one's own sect and COndelJUl8 another's sect, all
through attachment to onc's own scct.-why l-in order that one may
iUuminate onc's own sect, in reality by so doing injures, more s88uredly,
one's own sect. Concourse is therefore oommendable--why l-in
order that they may hear and desire to bear one another's Dhammc.
For this is the desire of the Beloved of the Gods-what l-that all seotll
shall be well-informed and conducive of good. And those who are
favourably disposed towards this or that sect should be informed:
"The Beloved of the Gods does not so mile!) think of gift or honour 8S
-what 1-AB that there mlLy be a growth of the c88ential among all
sects and also mutua! appreciation." . . . .
.. And this edict of Dhamma has been engraved for this
purpose-why I-in order that whosocver may be, my sons and great-
grandsons, lllay not think of a new conquest 8S worth acllicvillg, that
in regard to aeonquest. possible only through (the use) of arrows, they
may prefer forbearance and lightness of punishment, and that they
may regard that to be the conquest which is a conquest through
Dhamma. That is good for here and hereafter. May attachment to
Dhamma develop into attachment to all kingdoms. That ill (good) for
here and hereafter."



Tn ... (KIN IHTION of WOlllOII ;n 0. country is to a grcat extent 1Il1 index to

the social progrcss oHhe country. Enlightened society rebels against
tyranny nnd bondage whether thlly arc applicable to women or to nny
class of people. It;5 an admitted fact that intellcctllalllnd cultural
development of women is CS8elltinl to social progress.
1'hc freedom elljoyed by the women of Uuddhist India shows the
IHlvalleeu state of society at the time and tlu,t progress lUny be attri-
bllted to " certain extent to the work of women. The activities of
Indian mothers then wero not confined to their llousehold duties and to
tho bringing up of childrell. '1'hey took nil active part in the JlUblie
affairs of the cOllntry. Tlleir freedom nnd their publicospiritedness
wore the outcome of a liberal educntion.
The object of ancient fema le education seems to be cultural. In the
Ther(J-Gafa there are references to learned womeu. Mutta, a student
was the child of nn eminent BmlUlmill at. Savnuhi j l'UJUl:l., 0. studl'nt.
was the daughter uf a lending burgess of the same city, and Thissa,
1\ student, was frolll the Snkyall race.

Rhetoric and elocution wcre practised tileD as fin accomplishment

Dhnmllta-dinnii was tll6 foremost teacher among the sisters of the
Buddhist order. Sukkii, wllo uecame well versed iu the teachings of
the Buddha, wne a ready speaker. She becamo a famous preacher of
the day. Nnlldlltt.nrii, (rom the Kingdom of Kurus, wasleaTllcd in arts
Ilnd fJOillnce8. She WllII 1\ renowned orator and toured I\bout India.
debating. Bhnddii. KIllldalnkesa wont wherever there were learned
teachers and carefully learnt tho methods of their knowledge. She W8S
a keen debater who challenged and defeawd most of the well-known
Extemporised versification was considered a ma.rk of oulture a.nd
learning. Tracos of this custom still exist in India. On specia.l
occas;ons "orso was Hsed 0.5 the effectivo mode of giving expresgion to
emotion or sontiment. The songs sung by womcn on the attainment
of enlightenment arc spontaneous eXJlresgiolls of joy. I At the dodica-

tion of Pubiiorama, " well-known residence of the Buddha and hill
disciples, the rioh lady Visiikii sallg a sOllg of her own composition,
expressing her joy.'
From the many iillltances which are casually mentioned in the
Buddhist scriptures it is clear that education was not denied to women
of ancient India. Thero wero women who had sJleciali.sed in certain
branches of knowledge.
The chief method of Illost teaohers was to pay individual attention
to each pupil. Bhadda Kundo.lakesa, in her thirst for learning, went
wherever there Wf1.8 a teacher famous {or his learning or wisdom. With
fa.mous teachers to teach her, she became well known as one of the
most leo.rned women of her day.
Sometimes the parents themselves attended to the educo.tion of their
" A man skilled in five-hundred theses married 11. woman skilled in
five-hundred theses. Their son, Saehchaka and their {our daughters
were taught 0. thousand theses by toe parents.2
Although learning at the feet of the teacher was 11. well·established
oustom in ancient India, yet other avenues of learning were not ignored.
Men and women went to hear great teachers or philosophers addreseing
public meetings in parks or halls. They met renowned people whom
they invit.ed into their homes, where they were listened to by entllU-
siaatic audienoes after meals.
Talented a.nd learned women went about the country RS teachers.
Without the general education of women it would not have been
possible in Buddha's day and later to send out women missionaries
from India to other parts of the world. Princess Sangamitta, the
daughter of Emporor Asoka, left the sbores of India as a missionary.
She was" learned and well versed in Buddhist philosophy ".s Even
up to thi,s day she is remembered with venoration hnd g!.lLtitude by thil
Buddhists of Ceylon.
With such varied and public activities women could not have been
confmed to purely domestic werk, therefore the" purdah" system of
caging women must be of later origin and growth. Nor is there any
reference to rmch practices in the Buddhist scriptures..
Women in Buddhist India went into "homeless life" just as their
husbands, bore great hardships,4 and with determination ami effort
succeeded in attaining enlightenment. 6
l. Dhammapod.1 AUa.rot"'a 2. Culla KalingaJiilak"
:J. 1'hl.lpavtl'MtJ Ilnd MtJMmm$a 4. Vu,altlaraJ<i/"kiJ,
5. Tkra Oii/ha

They did not he~itnte to fl./lnpt themselves to ndverse circumstanccs.
Whon lIece!lsary they workell nnd eawed their livelihood without any
feeling of degrnllntion. Uttama, the daughter of a wealthy landowner
becamo poor and began to work 88 a domestic servallt.! A husband
who wildH~d to renollnce family life in oruer to become a reel use said to
his wife: " Wife, yOIl will to earn your living ".2 The wurds of
the hushand Sllggll~t that it w!\B customary for women to work for
Women used. to he employed as maids or llurses in rich families.
Vaddhesi Wf\8 n lIurse to Maha-Prajiipati. Other popular occupatiolls
for women werc selliJlg fruit and flowers, dancing, playing muaic,
nursing, spilUling, wenvillg cloth, dreM-making, gathering firewood
and vnrious kinds of light work portaining to agriculture.
'fhe amusements and Ilnstimes of the ladies differed according to
their rank nnd means. Parks and pleasances used to be visited by
royalty and the ladies of the court for recreation or water-sports.! A
special day WA,S observed 3S the ladies' day for water-sporls when the
river banks wore crowded with women of 0.11 ranks. 4 The parks and
pleasure gardeIUI saw men and women in their best attire 011 public
On certain {estive occasions some women used to enjoy themselves
by indulging in strong drinks. There is the record oCsome ladies under
the influence of intoxicating liquor disturbing a meeting at Savatthi,
by singing and dancing Bo as to disturb the speaker.' Music and
dancing undoubtedly must have been popular aMusements, for the
Buddha had to warn hiB disciples not to indulge in danoing and singing
for" men and women used to dance and sing and play mU8ic together,
and they used to take and semI garlands and n08ego.ysto each other.'"
It wa9 not unusual for ladiea to go for ploasure drives on elepllfmts or
in chariotll. There is the instance of womellllot only driving their own
chariots, but evell racing with men. "Ambflpnli drove lip BgBinst the
young I.ichchavi princes, pole to pole, yoke to yoke, wheel to wheel,
axle to Bxle."8
The established fonns of etiquette and propriety were generally
observed alllong womell. It was custolllary to Bend a bevy of yOUJlg
girls to greet a great perSOIl visiting It city i so ViSiikn, the daughter of
a rich nobleman was sent with a large number of other young girls in
1. TIt~ra aalltd 2. BlInd.halUlgor" Jiila/rn
3. Mcllltan!1« J 'llac" 4. I'i8a/rn-DTkI"''''''pOOatta Kallta
5. I'UppMrlJUlI JlIIlJCo 6. Kltmbflll Jatll/rn
7. VinBYlJ-ChuU"\·,,gglll 1 8. I'inaya-Ma.hangga. VI

order to welcome the B\I(ldha to the city. Visiika, though she W8S only
seven years old at the time, was selected for thill as IIhe was reputed to
have eourf.eollsllilumers. 1
The dignity of a lad y did 1101. permit her to trudge along the streets.
A man in straightelwl circllmstances once snid to his wife: "It is not
becoming for you to trudge along the streetll with me. Wait here for"
short time until I sC/lll for ll. carriage with 11. servant to bring you into
the city in a proper manner".! II. w:as considered ungraceful for a young
lady to rUIl. A party of young girls were going to the river when a.
sudden shower of rain came 011. Visii.ka walked in the rain while her
companions ran for Rhelter, for she knew that it was not dignified for a
king, or a royal elephant or a lady to rUll. Paying visits at unusual
hours or bathing without suitable costumes were deemed improper. S
It was also a well-established custom for the lady of the house to serve
her guests. 4
Amollg other rights of women, the right to own and dispose of
property was acknowledged. Villiika got 0. large storied residence built
at great expense I\nd presented it to the Bmldha and his disciples. 5
Ambapali was allother who caused 11 similar gift of a residence to be
built in the beautiful gardens attached to her house. She is also
described as the owner of a number of magnificent chariots and horses. 5
Jivaka, the famous surgeon and physician was given 4,000 khavanus 7
by a rich lady for curing a chronio disease in her head. Her husband,
son all(l daughter-ill-law each gave him a gift of 4,000 khav8nus. s
Life of women generally in all ages seem!! to be closely associated with
vanity, remonal decorations and a{lornmenta. The prosperity of a coun-
try often encouraged this feminine love of ornament and decoration.
Enormous sums of money had been spent in ancient India 011 dress and
jewellery. Women were described as" decked with jewels and garlands".
They wore a robe or elollk when they travelled.' The cloak of a rich
lady was described thus: "This garment was finished in four months.
Its thread was made of silver. It extended from head to foot. Around
the hem were dccoratiolls of gold and silver. On the top of the head,
by the sides of the ears, at the neck, at the knees, at the elbows and at
the sides of the waist there were gold ornaments. A part of the cloak
consisted of a pCl\cock and tllore were a hundred feathers of gold 011
1. Dlwmmapada AU,o,atalna 2. A&ampad"'''aJotaka
3. J'illaya-Mlllhtl.vagga VIII 4. l'i"aya-MlIhangga VIII
5. Vi""ya-ChuUaVIIgga VI 6. T"'er, Gillh,;
7. An allcicnt gol,l coin 8. J"'laYII-Mah.......gga VIII
9. TAu.. GalM-Bhfultlll Klmd..l....
elloh lIille. ItoR !Jenk wl\lIlJ111de of coral, tile eycs were gems, and so were
the neck and tail-feathers. The ribs of the feathers were of silver, and
110 wero pnrtB of the legs. Whcn it is placed in position on ViSiiko.'s
head it I\ppeared like 1\ peacock dancing 011 the top of a hill, and the
sound which came from the mid ribs was heard like heavenly music.
This oloak wall worth ninety milliong and a hundred thousand were
spent on making it" I
Thie was the type of cloak which noble ladies wore on ceremonial
ocolllliollS. It was also used as a bride's dregs. The bead-dreM seemll
to have been attached to the cloak as a part of it.
There is all instnnce where a sen-ant girl of the rich nobleman,
Anatha-pindika, 86ked her mistress for an ornaDlent to wear on a
festive occasion when she had to go with the other servants to the
public park. The lady gave her an ornament worth a thousand
" pieces" of gold."
Of the numerOU8 kinds of jewellery, the most oommonly worn were
bangles of ivory, llilvct and gold and jewelled bracelets,' ear-dropll,
strings of beads, gir<lles, necklaces and rings.' The precious stonee and
gems used for jewellery cOllllieted oC beryl, crystal, agaw, coral, pearl,
diamond, cats-eye, mby, chank and cornelirm. Also ladies carried
about with them failS made with beautiful feathers and ornamented
with gems and precious stones.
Silks and BeJ\iLree muslin, both blue and white, were valued all
materials for dresses. The bright colour of fine muslin is compared to
the purity of a precious stone by ancient writers when they said: "A
gem on Beuares muslin, where both being pure, neither defiles the
There were also different kinde of woollen and cotton olothe. ]t was
then a custom to perfumo silk or other gnrmellts with perfumes and
incense. 5
L.. . dies' footwear vn.tied in shnl'e and de.'lij!1l anti was morc elaborate
than that of the mcn. 'l'IH~ diffcr('nt kinds th('n in URe can be judged
frolll those prohibited to disci!Jles of the BUlldha. "Neither doubly
lined, lIor trebly nor lllallY lined shocs are to be worn. Slippers of a
IJIlIe, yellow, red, brown, black, orange or yellowish colour should be
avoided. Also shoes with edges with thuse coluurs, or with heel
co\-erirlp:ll, nre prohibited. Other prohibited kinds cOllsist of moccRsins,
l. Dfw,"mapad~A!!Ilakat<> Vi8l)k", 2. Std/UQ-S"Ua
3. Kfl3l!VeJii/alw,lI11U KarabaJiilom 4. I'illllyn-Chulla.vaggll, V
5. Aruhariy" Abbhtd" lH" .....".8,,1I" 6. Afaylluka.Jijlda

taced boots, boots lined with cotton, or those made like the wings of
pl~rtridges, pointed with rams' or goats' horns, or ornamented with
~corpiolls' tails or sewn round with peacocks' feathers, or shoes adorned
with different kinds of skins, or ornamented with gold, silver, pearls,
beryls, crystals, copper, glass, tin, lead or bronze. I
The use of perfumes, scents and Bweet-sccnted oils Wall common
among women and mOll. 2 The demand for gnrlands Rnd flowers must
have been great in cities. TIlC nobles and kings had their special
garland-makers. Garland-making had been a remunerative art.'
Hair-dressers used to be employed by both men and women. A
barber at Vesalj was described as "a man who used to do shaving,
hair-dressing and eross-plaiting for the royal housellOlds of kings,
queens, princes and princesses."~
Each age has ita own conception, not only of fashions in dress Rnd
onlnment, but also of typical beauty. It will be interesting to note tbe
accepted conception of beauty according to the writers in Buddhist
ilndia. "The perfect beauty is graoeful in figure, beautiful in face,
charming in manner, of tbe most fine complexion, neither very tall nor
very short, neither very stout nor very slim, and neither very dark nor
very fair."r.
Also the five characteristic features of beauty in women were known
to be the beauty of lwir, of flesh, of bone, of skin and of youth. To
possess beautiful hair was to have hair like the peacock's tail ill grace,
and when loosened the locks should readl tIle lady's ankles with the
cnds of the hair curled up. Smooth lips of bright colour signified the
beauty of flesh. White teeth with even interstices resembling a row of
pearls WIlo8 the beauty of bone. 1'he beauty of skin WRe the skin
naturally glossy like the blue lot\1s flower. 'rho possessor ofthe beauty
Qf youth wRslively and fresh in youthfulness in spite of age.8
The Buddhist scriptures describe the well-known beauties of those
days BS the possessors of the five characteristic features of feminine
1'he fame of tho women of those ancient days was not confined to
such feminine charms alone. They were not barred from attaining to
the hignest mental culture and enlightenment. i'he conditions
favourable to the progress of women as existing tllen were justified by
L V'lWya-MRlu,vllggll. V
3. K1f.mJiila/ca
5. MaAo. SKda8&aM Bulla

the achievcmclIU! of women in the different, spheres of life. The long
list of examples given in l'heri Catha is but n. slllall number of women
who had r~tt.'1.inecJ to that high state of merltal culture which demands
ullllflunl cffort, ill conl>entrn.tion and strength of l>harl\cter.
The lives of remarkable wumf'n of Buddhist India dcscrvc special
stmly nnd attention. There W:lS Queen l'ajapathi Gothami, wbo
renounced the pleflsllres of the royal court llnd bel>ame the leader of
women who sought perfection nnd enlightenment. She W8S a renowned
preacher of the doctrine. She had attained enlightenment or the
highcst mental culture ill the practice of Buddhism.l Her example was
followed by Princess Ya80dharii. who was noted for her devotion and
love to hcr husband who became tIle Buddha. She was well known as
olle who haclattaincd to the highest psychic powcrfl. 1 Dbamma-dilllla
Wag the foremost of the Buddha's lady disciples who could preach.
She w!l.8 known RS a lleep thinker and philosopher who was able to
teach her husband to develop his mind. 1
Nanduttarii, the orator and debater, W88 "learned in arts and
Ilcionccll ". She toured in lndia carrying" the rOBe-apple hranch of
vi.ctory". She was invincible in argument and debate until she met
Maim Moggalliina, who defeated her, thereby shuwing the new mode of
life taught by the Buddha. Bhadda KUlldnlakesii. was another debater
and dialectitian reputed for her great IMTllillg. 1 Prescnting a person
with a rose-apple hTl\llCh waB analogous to the granl,ing of a laurel
wreath among the Greeks and tho Romans. The rose-apple branch
was given to a champion orator, who carried it with him and stuck it
in the Illllrket place as a challenge to a dcbate.
Sihii, the sister of a great warrior, was reputed for her strong willll.nd
determinatioll. She was known to have practiiWd her meditation with
sltch determined effort tbat she kept herself awakc by tying a rope round
her lleck to prevent her from nodding. I
Addhakiisi, Vimalii. and Ambapiili were well known actresses of the
day, who being converted to the mode of Buddhist life, IIttained to
perfection nlld enlightenment. Among otherB who developed tllCir
minds and were enlightenod were domestic IIcn·ants, daughters of kings,
noblcs, brahamill8, 1Il0rdllmts, goldsmiths and others of humbler rank.
Bandllln Mallika, the wife of a commander-in-chief showed her self-
control in looking after her guests at It feast without showing any signs
of emotion, although she had heard the !lews of the death of her husband
and sons. 2
2. l1hatMcHiUa S..Ua
Ano!'her Mallika, the daughLer of a garland-maker wall exalted to the
pOllition of the Queen to King Kosala. 1 Queen Mallika, and Visak&
were very popular figures in Indian society in the Kingdom of Kosala.
Lady Visflka, the daughter of one of the richest noblemen, was well·
known for her kindness and generosity She was !'he friend of the
poor, and ono of the most publio·spirit.ed ladies of !,hat time. The
Buddha once described her as" learned, able and sensible."!
The spirit of service to the poor snd ignorant was the outcome of
Buddhist culture in India. Even during the lifobme of the Buddha
lady Buddhist teachers traveiled about the country teaching tbe new
mode of life as taught by the Buddha. The spirit wss kept up even to
a later date. Princess Sangamitta, the daughter of Emperor A80ka,
left her na.tive land and the pleasures of a royal palace to spend her life
AS a missionary to serve the cause Qf humanity.

1. Kuml7l<Uapilldo: Bldla 2. Vi"aya-Mahvagga VIII



MAltRIAGE AS a social institution e\'0Ive8 from the CUStOIllS of a country.

Conceptiolls of marriage vary with the progrc8.!I of society. Marriage
customs, while revealing the past history of a race, indicate tbc Ilature
of its family life.
During the days of the Buddha, marriage was a social contract with
obligatiolLs re(:ogni81ll! by law. There were lIO religious ritcs pcrformed
by priests. Tile marriage ceremony took place in tile presence of
relations and friClld8 wllO becallll"J witllesses to the marriage. The
pllblil:it,y J.:iv{,ll tn the cl~relllollY wa~ the ackllowlellgment of tile
llIArriaJ.:e hy th<.' l'articll to it.
In Blldf!lli.~t and pre-Bllddhi~t Ill\lia, 1l\011ogamy WitS the Ilstablillhed
lIystem of l11arril1ge. The wCllterJI COlllmcntators OH UUlldhist scrip-
tures 111\ vc fallen into the conlHWII error about Buddhist marriage whcll
t.he)' t.r)' to reprcllcllt marriagc in Blldllhillt India as polygallloull. They
have mislluderlltood tlte l'ali words for" girl", " maid", " woman",
"house·keeper"," quecn ", as inelllting wife. The result is that they
give in sOllle illlltanecs five hundred, or even sixteen thOU8Illid, wiv(,1l to
a king. In Pali scriptures" mehellika" ill the word used for the wife
of n king, for Ilhe is the head of the household women, and" bhojini "
is l\ woman attenuant or a lady of the COllrt.
Apart from etymological mellnings of word~, examination into the
mode of life a tTords sufficiellt evidence to cOllie to a defillite conclusion
about the form of marrillge tllllt existed in Buddhist India.
Ln the" birtll stories"l of the Buddha, the striver aftcr Buddhahood
is representellas going through life after life with Prince811 Yasodarii as
hi8 wife, thereby illustrating the continuation of a love by an ideal
oouple lllltil the attainment of Nibbuna. .Following this example it is
the pious wish of married couples in Buddhist cOUlltrics, even up to
this day, to be wife and husband birth after birth, until the attainment
of Nibbiina.
According to the teachings of the Bllddllll, complct.o chastity IS tho
principle in life for those who renounce the household life in order to
attain enlightenment. The pr!,ctice of strict monogamy was believed
to produce special super-normal powers in men and lV0Il1!ln. 2 Que of
the ftve precepts to be observed by a by Buddhist was to ahst.'lin from
2. Pou,~tS of 1',Jlh'valh Dhamma

sensual depravity. Committing adultery is a meaJiS of violating this
precept. The early commentators on t1lis precellt speak of a" lawful
wife" Bnd not" wives ". In Signlovada Suttn, ""Idch is cOllsidered
to be the moral code for the laity, the BuddlJa, spenking of the duties
of wife and husband, pointed out that it was one of tbc duties of a
husband ll,nd wife to be faithful to each other. In another sermOIl,
tbe Buddha taught that it was l~ blessiJlg to be able to flUpport oue's
children and wife. l
rn ellumerating things that degrade man, the following are Illentionec\
as examples :-" '1'0 be given to women, drink amI gambling, IImlnot
being sntisfied wit.h one's own loife, to l!Cl'k llll.rJol,/l Illld tile wives of
htherll ". z 'I'h('n there arc f1(1vl~ml caflell wll{H'c a /llan IUIlI rellouneed
his family life, his wife (1llHlnoL his wives) Lri"d to Will him back. III
the .JlltllkRil there fHe instances whero married couplflll who had no
children Ulwd to make prayers and vows to Gods, but there is 110
mention of a mall marrying a second wife for the sake of i9..'lue wbile the
rust wife wos alive.
'fhe following paSBage from Mllha-Paduma Jataka will sbow that it
was not customary to lJlarTy another while the first wife was living.
" Once \I pon a time when Brahmadatta wns King of Denares, the Bodhi-
gatta was born as the son of bis queen. Because Ilis fRee hRd the
splendour of a lotus flower he was llamed l'aduma-Kumara. When
he grew, he was educated in all the arts and accomplishments. Then
his mother died. The king took another consort aJld appoint-od his
son viceroy. "
In addition to the internal evidence of the scriptures, the countries
into which Buddhism was introduced ndopte{l the monogamous form
of marriage. In Ce},lon, monogamy was the form of marriage under
Buddhist influcnce. The idca of a harem was unknowJ} in CeylOll.
'In other lluddhist cO\llltries also the same influcnce on marriage can Ire
Polygamy can exist only in communitics where the women are kept
in bondage. With the development of their conditions they begin to
lli~8ert their rights. Evcn today 1101}'gBmy cxists BS a recognised social
Institution only among races in which women's characters are depraved
'for wanb of education or culture.
In Buddhist India the freedom enjoyed by women, coupled with their
progress, could not have possibly given room for polygamy as the

recognised form of marriflge. The Buddhist rwriptures abound ill
instances which /lhow the independent spirit of women. Pabiivathi,
the Queen of Kusa, went bflck with hrr retinue to her parents when she
did not like to live with her ugly-faced husband. 1 Visika, the daughter
of a rich nubleman, Wl\8 prepared t.o go back to her parents when her
father-in-law tried to impose his views of religion on her. Ultimately
he gave in to his Ill\uJ::hter-in-law. 2
According to the evidcnce of Buddhist scriptures, there had been
cases of both e;oto,laIllO\1I1 and indogalllous marriagcs. Tt was not
I1liCOl1l1ll01l for a of onc kingdom to lllarry that of anotller.

Although tile geneml principle 8CCIIIS to Illwc bCCUllniOJ\ between those

of equal rank or of the same clas.'l, yet there were no social
barriers to IJ1l\rringcs between people of di ffercnt classcs. For instance,
King Kosola married a flower-girl without any dillll.pproval from his
people, and th.ere were marriages between the Kastriyas, the Brahamins
and the Vaishyas.
'nlC minimum age for marriage was sixteen. Child-marriages were
unknown to Buddhist and pre-Buddhist Jndia. The consent of the
parents was takenl\8 a duty which the parties to marriage owed to their
Ilatcnts, yet the a.bsence of such consent had no legsl effect to dissolve
llIarriage. Before the parents gave their conscnt they Illl.tisfied them_
selves as to the youllg man's character and ability. A father said,
commenting on 11. marriage proposal to his daughter, "] will test the
virtue of these youths and will give her in marriage to him that most
e;otcels in virtue.'"
III the moml code for the laity, gambling was disapproved of, and
the gambler was described as " one not sought after by those who give
or take in ffifLrriage."·
A yOUllg man had to show that he was proficient ill the arts and
learning which are expected from his Bocialsta.tus. Prince Siddhnrtha,
the son of King SuddhfidhanD, had to display his skill in princely arts
before obtaining the conscnt of Princess Yasodhara'fl parents. The
bride was also expected to possess certain accomplishments. The
parents of Eraka, the son of a prominent citi1.en of Siivatthi, wedded
him to "a Illaiden noted for her beauty, virtuc, years Ilnd
accomplishments." 5
l. KlI~a JiiIoJ", 2. Dhamrnapada ArthakalM-ViflikhJl.
3. SilaDimammna Jiilah 4. Siadlo.ada Sldla
6. T1tfr<! Oolll-i

Depending on the importance of tlleir COlIsent. the !larents often
arranged the marriagcs for their dutiful and obedient children. 'nOTe
•• are also instances of yOlmg men who arranged their own marriages
when they met young women llnd fell in lo\'e with them. King
Kosalll.'s meeting of l\Ialika, the Hower-scller, in a pleasure-garden is
well·known in Buddhist history.
It was a cOllversation between Mnhaausadha and AIllBrii that led
them to admire each other.' A young JloblClIlRn of Savstthi was
inducefl hy hislncly-lo,'c to make friclllls with the prominrllt Jleople of
the city.2
Tuc marriage proposal cRme as a rule from the uridegroolll or Ilia
parents either by cOIllDlullicntiug the matter directly to the bride or
her parents. A girl ""'88 not forced into marriage against. her wish.
When girls did not like to be married they became bhikkul}is, thereby
tnking the vows of celi bacy, even against the wislles of their parents. s
The proposed marriaKe used to be IUlllOU1loed by garlanding the future
bride in a ceremonious 1Il1lJUler. "1t is 1Iot proper for maidens to
return home 011 foot when decorated with a betrothal wreath or garland.
The daughters of inflnelltia.1 families return home in chariots. Others
cither go by ordinary carriages, or walk under 1I. IJlllm-leaf Jlarasol, or
if that is lacking they cover tlleir shoulders with n. garment."·
The marrige cercmony, which was not religious, consisted of celtain
customnry rites. The bride wore a /lpecial dre88 011 tile occasion. The
wedding dross of Vis:1kii, a rich noblclllll.ll's daughter, was worth )Iinety
millions. The ceremony cOlIsisted in making the bride stand 011 a heap
of gellls and jewels, and in ll.nnointing her,S Rnd pouring water 0)1 the
claSltCd hands of the couple ill the preSOllCO of friOIl(11I and relatiOIllI.
Pouring water was the ancient, formal symbolical procedure used in
parting with the pOSilession of 311ythiJlg. I I, was customary to invite
friends to attend the ceremony. Such guests usell to spend weeks or
even months in feastiJlg and merriment at t.he residence of the bride
before the marriage ceremony took place. If !'he private houllC was
not large enough temporary paviliolls or halls \lsed to be built for the
purpose. Sometimes puhlic halls were used. .Prince Nanda's wedding
was to be celebrated at the coronation hall at Knpilnvasthu. B
l. Ummaggfl Jatab 2. lIfaha UUlUll Ja/.l:rlca
3. Thai GaIM-S"lJliidhii. 4. Dllamnwpoda A!!halcalhii-Vip,ikhi.
5. KumIMMpillr!a.J"'ll.l:a U. Thtrll Giilhd-N8ndll

III most IlIlltters of sigllificallce, including marriages, importance
Wllll attachetl to the auspicioll!l 1ll0lllPlIt for the ceremony. for which
the astrologer's nid WllS sought.1 Tlmt faith in astrology was dill-
nppro\'ed by the Buddha.
The married couple oocame the recipients of nIany presents on the
occasion of the marriage. The wealthy partmts used to give their
daughters property which was called" the perfume·money ". King
K08ll.Ia. gave a district to King llimbis3.m as the" perfume-money" of
his daugMer at her marriage. Lt was this eustom which evidcntly
Ilegcnerated into the prespnt dowry llystelll. The presents received by
Visiika at hcr marriage were distributed by her among the poor folk
of the city of Sii,vusti.
There are other references to wedding preflCllts. "Mitta-Gandhaka.
made friendship with the four gaw-keepers, town-wardens, astrologers,
1l0blll8 of the court., viceroy find the king. The
king dowllwards sent Idm gifl.s. Mitta also received prescnts Bent
by the king, viceroy, etc."2
TakiJlg the bride in procc'lSion to the bridegroom's residence was an
event of great mirth alld splendour. The llLusic, the s01lgs of joy, the
dancers alld the linc of elephants and carri'ages and the streets crowded
with spectators made tho oCCllsion sensationa!.
Tbe dissolution of the marriage depended upon the consent. of t.he
parties to it. There were no obstacles preventing a man or womall
llIarrying again if the marriage WIlS dissolved or if one of the sponses
Wll.l! dealt. Buruing of widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands
or restrictions on widows who wished to marry again were not heard of
in Buddhist India.
A Chinese travcllcr, writing about marriages in Ta-Tang-Si-Yu-Ki
(the Buddhist Ucconls of the Western World, llk. 11) Mid: .. When
they marry they rise or fall in position according to their new rela.tion-
ship. They do not allow promiscudus marriages between relations.
A woman once married can never take another husband. Besides
these, there are othcr clallBCS of many kinds that inter-ma.rry according
1.0 their several cllllingll."

I. /l'd""'l(l-J"I,,!,,,



Wrl'lJ TIrE growth of a community its members begin to group them-

selves into classes or social orders. This takes pll\ce imperCeIJtibly in
the beginning. TIle proccss is slow. It is volunt-nry when peollle
attach them.<wlvcs to certain trades or occullatioJis and form tbemllClvcs
into groups. It is a selective prOOOS8 when people chosen for special
work become a class by themselves.
With the eillux of time the class distinctiOllS in a community become
prominent and when the distinctions begin to be observed with rigidity
tendencies to claim special rightB and privileges become noticeable.
When religion recognises the superiority or the inferiority of a cl3ss tile
evil is done "ud the class sysl;em turus into a caste system.
In the days of tile Buddha, Illost Indian kingdoms pOBllCssed four
cla98es of people. The roynlty /'Illd the nobility formed the order known
0.8 KBhatr)'a. Kings, governors, vicero)'s and conunanders of armies
were generally chosen from this class. 1'he Brahamins have become
the cla98 that was engagcd in pursuit of knowledge. They were reputed
to be the intellectual class, 80 most of them followed the learned profes-
sions. The merchant class was knowll as Vaishya, aml the fourth class
of Sudras consisted of manual labourers. The four social orders,
therefore, were those of the rulers, of the learned, of the mercllants and
of the labourers.
In some other countries at that time there were only two social orders.
" [n Yona, Kn.mboja, and other adjacent countries there were only two
classes~the masters and the servants. There masters could bl)come
servallts and the servants could become masters."1
'1'a.Tang-Si-Yu-Ki (the Buddhist records of the Western world)
speaks of the four classes as mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures:
"With respect to the division of families, there are four c1assificatiOllS.
The first is called the Brahman, Illell of pure conduct. They guard
themselves in religion, live purely and observe the most correct
principles. '1'ho second is called the Kshattriya, the royal caste. For
ages they have been the governing class; they apply themselves to
1. Aualavuna-Sultll

virtue nnt! kindlle~~. Tllll third i~ callell tile Vaisya~, the merchant.
dll.8R. The fourt.h is called the Sudrn, tho ngricult,urnl c1aSll; they
lahour ill ploughing alld tillage." Bk. II.
Mege~thelle~' c1a~sificatiOIl was according to tho occupation of the
people. "Tho wholo population of India if! divided into sevcn CRstes
of whicll 1.1111 lirllt ill fonnell hy the cnllcc!.i\·e "udy of tlllll'hilOflOphers,
which ill point of llulllhcr ill inferior to tllo other c1allfl("~' hut in point of
dignity pre-emincnt over nil.
•, The second ca~to cOIIsist8 of the husbandmen who appear to bo far
moro IIllmcrous tllllll the others. Being, moreover, exempted from
fighting nnd other public 8ervices they devote tho whole of thoir time
t.o tillagfl.
"The third consists of tho nell.therdll nllll shephonlll. The
fourt.h, Il.rtisnlls, 1111(1 the fifth military. The sixth consists of the ovcr-
seers and seventh councillors and aSSCMors. "-Fragment 1. Strabo.
In early [lldian society the classes were based on oceupatiolls, while
thero wns 110 rigid social influence to prevent a person of one cla88 doing
the work of another class, for" one of the labour c1aflS could have as a
servant a noble or a llralmmill."1
A killg once worketll\8/\ gllrlllI\U-llI11ker, n. cook nud n. mcnialscrvn.nt
without being disgraced for doing SO.2 There were instances of Braha-
millS who had 1.H~en lIlerchnnts and manual labourers. Also descrving
persons had been raiscd to positionll of high honour, irrespective oftbo
clMs to which they belonge{L Jivaka, the 80n of an actrell8, became
the royal physician and was subsequently made the prime-minister to
the killg. 3 A mall from the labouring class WRS raised to be tho lord
protoetor of the city. 4 In certain kingdoDls wllen the king died without
an heir, the method of selecting the sovereign from the common people
shows that there had becn no class barriers, even ill the choice of a
person for the throne.
When the Buddha appcnred in India, there was a strong feeling of
clasS'COllscioIlSIlCSll, for in the Kingdom of l\1adhura. the l3rahamins hall
asked for special privileges. The king went to Mahii. Kllccanll, a
disciple of the Bmhlha, nud inquired of him about the Brahamin claims
to superiority. 'I'he king, being questioned by the sage, confessed that
a person of onc class could cmploy one of nnother as servant. Also the
king admitted that law ""nsno reslweter of Rny class, for he said:
I. Nadura 8ldJa 2. K"nJlilda
3. 'l'Aml Olilha. & Somllllllptila Sldla 4. Chat'<1}" Jotat"

" 1f a lIoble is l\ burglar, tide£, house-brt'll.kt'r, robht'r or adulterer
and ifl1ly people cntch him and bring him hefon' llW, J ",hould put him
to d('l\th, or confiscate his goods, or banish him, or otherwise denl with
him as circulllstances required, for the noble is 1I0W turnei.1 i1ltO a lIlale-
factor. 'fhe Sll.lne princ; plc I\pplics to utltl'r c1aRllf'll. "1
'1'1if'1I the king admittefl thllt he would sulut.c, hOllour I\llfl defcnd a
person who has renoullced temporal life to become enlightened, irres-
pective of the class to which such a person IJelonged bdore renouncing
the life of a householder. 2
The Buddha saw the weakness of the claims of superiority of the
Brahllmins Ma c1fl88, and pointed out tl18t a true intellectual or cultured
Jlersoll should be "onc who has removed frum himself all unrighteous-
ness, who is free from pride Bud impurity, who isself-restrained, who is
accomplished in knowledge, and who has f utfilled the duties of holiness.
Such a person may justly call himself a Brahamin."3
The Buddha, with Ilis characteristic humour, taught that the Braha-
millS of his da,}' who called themselves the intellectual, the cultured a!ld
the wiw were not 80; but the Ilame could be applied to those who had
acquired those qualitieg by their own effort sueh liS his followers. The
Buddha gave a special meaning to the term' Brllhamin '. "1 do nol;
call him a Brahamin who is merely the off-spriJlg ora llrahnmin mother.
Neither through matted hair, nor through clan, lIor through birth is one
a Brahamin. In whom Ilrc truth and right and purity-he, he is the
" Whosoe\'er has severed all bonds, who tremhles no more, who ia
done with all ties-him I call Brahamin.
" Who has cCflsed from all hurt to any living beiug, who neither slays
lIor cnuses to slay-him do J call Brahamin.
" Friendly among the hostile, tmnquil among the turbulent, amid
the grMJling, ungrasping-sllch a person I call Brahamin.
" lfrorn whom lust alld hatred llnd pride and envy have fallen away
like the mustard seed from the point of the awl-him I call Brahamin.
"Whose even voice gives utterance to words kindly, instructive, and
true, words that give pain to nOlle whatsoever-him do [call llrahamill.
"Whosoevertakcs naught that is lIotgiven, be it small or great, be
il; good or bad. 00 it bill or little, him I call Brfl.hfl.miJl.
l. Madura Sulla 2. Madura SuI/a
3. Vinaya-Mahl\ VIIggll., Ch. I and Samuihla 1'lIala Bulla

"Wise with deep wisdom, wllll kll\lwillg the' right way' :md' wruJlg
way', attairlOd to tho 'Suprome oLJjeet', such 11. person do 1 call
" In whom is found 1\0 desire, through 110rfect knowledge ceased from
all doubt.q, nttained to the seat of deathleS8 Nibbfma.-Ilim do J call
By such ten.ching the lluddhn and his cliseiples removed tho provailing
notion of claM Illlperiority as a birthright. J uto a new order esta.blishell
by tile Buddha, were admitted Illt'!\ ami women from 11.11 ela8BCS. There
were kiugs and queens, prillcos and princessC!~, Ilobles, Brahamins,
merchant,s, actors and actresses, courtesans, lIcnvengers, fnrmcrs,
carpenters, servants nntl others. 'l'hill coslJlopolitan group that
gathcred roHml Llle Buddhn Weftl hOllourell by the rich and the poor for
the pu rity of thci r li ve.q ami for the service they reudered ill teaching tIle
peopln. They created the public opinion that peoplc arc not hig-h or
low acconling tu their wealth, parentage or muk, hut according to thcir
deeus. 2 People were Illude to realise tlult it was oue's deeds that lIlade
n personlloblc or ignoLJle.! People began to honour Olle another for the
nobility of their character 11.11\1 the purity of their lives. 'I'his brought
nbOllt:l rc\'olut;ion in thn 1l10ml /ltnlldanl of the people and led them to
respect cHch other Hlld be I'Nlpccted by others. Thi" l1:111 a ullifying
effect on suci('ty. Indill, thu'I united by Buddhist culture, enabled
Emperor A.'1oka to build his great fHnpirc based 011 righteousness.
As the iUIlIlClllill(.e reMllt of the lIew culture, wherever the BlJddhists
wont thc.v wcrc honoured. Other nations welcomed Buddhist leneller!:!
from India. With tho fall of Dharma-Asoka's l3uudllist F~llIlJirc and
the ri.qe of Bralmmin influence and priestcraft, the noble character and
honour intrQ(luced by Buddhist culture began to W1I.1Ie. In J)lace of the
e1ass system which WllS broken down by Buddhillt influence, the
Brnlmlllin pricst!! introduced the caste system which has cver since
di\·illell India ami m:Hle moral imbeciles of most of her cllildren.
Religiorl and nationalism, while trying to unite their adherents, IllLYC
nxcluded and alieuated othcrs from them. lluddhil'lm was free frolll
both these influcnees. There was no god taught ill Buddhism, hence
there wa!! no llarrownnss of I,he theilltie mind in it. The Buddha,
discurding ritual, emphasised the imporl.nucc of Illllmm actions llnd
their reactioJUl. So the people were directed to pay attentiOll to their
I. Dham....apoda 2. (.',ila-Ka viMml9n-811l1a
3. VQ~(IIQ-.svlt<l

t.Iwughta, words anti deeds. As to lIationalism alSQ, the I3mldha gave
a wider interpretation. During his time /WlIle Indians lIllCd to call
themselves Aryans, and the rest.. not.. being cultured were the nOD-
AryaIlll. This was similar to the Roman couception of the OO,OOr'.
Buddha conceived the word" ArJan " as above geogra)Jhirsl, racial or
political limitations. J le interpreted the word liS " cultured or enlip:ht-
ened" aud called his followers irrespective of race or e1R38, the
.. Arya+putta ", tho cultured or enlightened SOilS. Also, the mode of
life for pcrfoction and enlightcnlllcnt. Il8 taught lIy him wall callcd .. the
eight.featured method or the cullured or the enlightened." I
Whon that view was currcnt in India, to become an Aryall was not
to be bom or particular<l. but to acquire the qualities or the
.. culture,1 and the ellli~htl'nr(1 " ones.

I. Ariyo-Allflangihr"'oggo




TIIF. NATURP: of cerelllonies andlllllusemellts at social gatherings give!<

an insigllt illto the cultural progress of a eommuJlity. At such
assemblies 110t only the group psychology, bllt the individual mentality
Cllll be studied. As in every progressi\'e society, in ancient India people
gathered t.ogether for religious, political anti social 11Ilrposes. Such
gatherings multiply and their acti\'it.ies and procNlure become refincfl
with tlte progress of tlte cOlllmunity,
In all COIllI1l11nitif1S at births, marriages and deaths people gather
together. On such occasiolls customary ceremonies are observed. ])1
the days of the Buddlla it was a current practice to predict the future
of the child by observillg its fentures aJld the marks of its body. When
Prillce Sidhllrthn. was born, se\'en " wise men" wcre consulted. Six
of them were of opinion that the baby would grow up to be either ~t
world emperor I or the BuddlHI. The seventh had no doubt that he
would be the Buddha.
The future of a new-born baby wllS also predicted by consulting the
stars.: The birtll of a child lIsed tu be celebrated by in\'itillg the holy
men or a \'ellcrable teacher for a b:tllquct, lInd from theRC thfl c!liltl
reccived blessing~,
A child received its name on a speci81 day amidst fCllsting lIm!
rejoiring of friends and relations who brought presents for the child,
The nnllle w,,~ often selected by COl1SUltiJlg a respected elder member of
the falllily. Oil the day of naming a certain prince" the king /lent ll.
mes~l\ge tu the chilrl's grand·llIother asking for a lIalJle for the child. "S

Somc childrell were mUlled after their relations. Visakr,'1l son

recei \'ed his grand-father's name, Migiira. Some 1111.111eS were associated
with memorable events that occurred at the t.ime. A ehild wa~ named
Mnha-ILus.'Hlha (the great remedy) for at. its birth its grand·father was
cured of his chronic headache, When the father of a SakYllll prince
was informed that a SOil was born to bring joy, the fat.her /lamed bim
AJIl\lulll (joy).

I. Oloakhl-VlIllhi Z, 'J'hlra UiiI....,i---Angu]irniil..

3. Bl",dda J(;II1I((1

At. the weddings of the rich, the guests used to be entertained with
feasting for weeks or months. Musie, dancing and singing were the
principal methods of cntertainlllcnt. Special halls and pavilions were
built and decorated for tile occasion.
Different in temperament were UlOse who gathered to pay tlle laat
respects to a. dying or a dead man. At the death bed of a person his
friends would visit him. -Before the pussing awny of the Buddha,
" Mallas of Kusilliirii. were presented ill groups. Each family in a group
was presented saying; , Lord, A Malla-so and so by name-with his
children, his wife, retinue and friends, humbly bows down at the feet of
the Buddha'. '" Also the IUalla!{ of Kusil\:i ru. thought that tlley should
not give roolll for self-reproaeh in thinking that" in our own kingdom
did the death ofthc Buddha take place, we did 1101. take the 0ll]lortunity
of visiting the 13mhllm in hil:! la.'lt IIO\lrll."2
The custom of honouring the dead with flowers, wreaths and perf\lmes
existed at the time of the Buddha. The mourners l'Iolllctimes gnve
expression to their grief by composing verscs in praise of the deceased
which were sung at the crematioll. This WIIS done at the Ilassillg away
of the Buddha by AnllT1Hldha and Anallda.
The following passage which describes the rites obseryed at the
pasSillg away of the Buddha ilJustrll.u,s the prcvaleJlt CU8t01l18 at
cremations. "The Mallns of Kusiniirfl order('d their attcndnllts, saying,
, Gather together perfu me!t nlid garlullIls and all till' lllw~ieal instruments
ill Kusillarii. '. The !\I11lla.q Look pcrflllllell and gal'lands llnd musical
iUlltruments, awl IllUIl}" gllrments /lnd WCllt to the Siilu gr{l\'e, where
tllc body of the Buddhn lay. They passed six days in paying honour,
reverCIlCO, respec,t Rllll hOlllage, with dnncing, hylllll", 1Jlu"ic, gllrllllldll,
perfullIcs IlJld in IlHl k i IIJ!" cllnopies of p:llrmenb llnd pre).1l rillg ornamcntal
wrenth!! to hand thereOIl . . .. Flowers were strewn kl1ce.deep."3
In the fUlleral of kiJlgs and distillguishell men, tlle corpse was wrapt
illllCW cloth, theu in carded wool, and uglliJl illllCW cloth ill WlIlly such
layers. Then :lfter placing it in an oil vessel it crCllllltcd 011 Il pyre
with all kinds of pcrfumcs. Before tile crclIllltioll peoplc wcnt thrice
round the pyre ill reverence. Thcn the Ilshes were sprinkled over with
scented watcr. A memorial was erected ill a public place enshrining
the ashes, after whicll a feast W:IS held ill honour of the dead.'
L Ala..w-pari!'libb<"ina Sulla 2. Ibid
3. Mahii-pari..ibbUna Stut" 4. lbW.

Irea~t.~ and 11l111<PlCt~ \\· ... r~ \"~IY l'''lurlar. Privatc lWlIqul)ts were
gi\'cn in hnllonr of g:n'Ht m...n and tl'lIrlll'n.<. TI,c disti1lglliRhcd guest
often at'W/l!lcd thc banquet with Ilis retilllle, ,list.:lJllcA or friclHls.
'fhr:re wcre forl1l~ of invitntillll. A prince who wished to i1l\'ite tlte
BUlld ha 1111<1 hifl ,liflci Illell till/A ordrr...d hiR chil'f attcndont: "00 to the
I~orll. (Il1ll in lily ll(llHfl bow your heallnt hifl feet. Ask ofter his hcnlth,
ami il1\'ite him to bc flO goml fill to take his1,'(lal witl. me tomorrow, Ilnd
to brillg the mCllluers of Ilill oroler with hilll ".. The Buddha by silence
accepted ti,e invitation.
At private banqllel,,~ the guests wushe,l their feet before entering the
hall. The host and h01:\tess scrvcd the guests. It WIl!' cOllsi,lered a
lUark of IU'gligellce to allow the servan Is to atteml on JlOlloured J.\"uesW!.
The banquet O\'cr, a l'lI\rI\ed di.~cussion or a talk Oil some topical subject,
or even a llermon, en.~uc(L It was not ltlwoltunOI\ to give presents to
guest.~ "efore p:Htillg.
Banqueting and feft!!ti,,/; fllf\(] took place ttfLcr the GOlnpletioJl of n
newly built rcsidcnce, for" when l~ house wall huilt mOll held in high
veneration wero invited into it first.":
SpecinllhYR for merry-making fUlll fellstilll{ wcn1 olmerved ns publiu
holidayf',. Sorne of thoso fcstil'nls Ift,~Letl only for a day, whire there
were others which went 011 for seven daYII.3 011 e:ttraor<!inary
occasions, public holidays were alUlOunced by proclamation. A pllblic
festival wall held in honour of the coming of thl;l Buddha. to Hiijagllha.
Mo.l1as of KusinfHu also, in order to celebrate the arrival ef the Buddha
to their COlllltry prochlimed, "thnt whosoever did not go forth to
welcemc the Buddha should pay a fine."
Malty kinds of nJll1uul fcstivals wero observed as publm holidays.
There were the" dl\Ys of nuspiecs" when people performed certain
Mtrologienl ritell.5 At the fcsth'al of water-sports, the women in their
best attire went to bathe ill the ril'cts or tallks. lI At the festival of
elephants" a hundred elephants were !let in array, with golden trappings
and golden fiagA. All ti,e palaee court-yard was decorated."?
One festival wns known as' the drinkiJlg festival '. At a drinking
festival, which WfiS proclaimed at &i.vfitthi, man)' women after providing
8trong drink for their husbands, at the end of the festival thought that
they, too, would keep the fellst. 8
I. 8odIti.JI(jja K'H1\(j~a SUUa 2. lbid
3. Um'""ygaJiilata 4. YiMy-a-Sixth Kandll.kll
6, T"ui (hilfl,i-SiYllttll 6. V""mmapad.. A!/hakaIM-VilIiilr.hl
7, Suima-Jatllka 8. Kwmblla-J(jlah.

At eel'taiIl festi vllls tile significance or the meaning of the observances
canllot easily be tnl(;ed. There wall a feast l where cows were yoked
to vehicles with a bull between t.lleJll. 2 At a fcast held in the village of
Pilidngama the children celebratillg it wore ornnmeJltal Uref.\8eB and
garlands. S Some of these merry-makings took plnce at night. In
Benarl'S n festival known 88 the night fe6tival of Kattika was held.
The city W!\8 decoratl'd and all the people kept holiday. They put on
their best attire on tlte occasion. 4 At these various festivities there
was dallcinK, singing and reciting fi and even dramatic performances. t
Just as 011 festive days, large crowds assembled together jn ple!Ulure-
gardens and parks of the cities, when peO}l!e listened to oratiolls,
debates, sermons, musical contests, or witnessed wrestling and sports.
It WIIS a popular intellectunl entertainment to listen to an addreR8 by
an able speaker or to a debnw between two well-knowJl sages. "Five
l11l11dred Lichavis wern in their Hsscmbly 111111, mct 011 some hU/liness,
when tiley wcre to the debate wJlich SacllChnkn. was to llfJ,ve
with the Bluhlha ".7 A hriJIiCLnt spt'cch on such an occMion Wn8
termed n 'lion rOllr' alltl the speaker CL" lioll roarer."R
'file procedure ut public mcetings of those days deserves attention.
The speaker, being scawd, addre88Cd hig audience. He also acted as
the elmirm/l.lI of the meeting. TIle Ilcopll', as t.hey assembled, took
their seats by greeting t.he speaker and president. A mceting is thus
described in the scripturel!: "The king, Juwing approached and
respectfully saluted the fluddha, sat down Ileal' !Iim. Of tile rest, some
respectfully !lfIluted him and sat down near him. Some excJlanged
greetings amI pleasant words with him and sat down near him. Some
bent their clasped hands towards }lim and I!at down near him. Some
.I!houted their Ilame and family nune and sat down llelU him. Some
silently sat down neM him.'"
The speaker did not begin until one of the audience invited llim to
speak. Clapping of hanus and shouts of joy were the usual forms of
applause at the end of tlle specc1J. The title of a sermon or speech
used to he given by the speaker himself at the conclusion of hig speech.
Some of the audience expre88Cd their appreciation witb words of praise
addre88Cd to the speaker. If the speaker were a t.cacller of a doctrine
1. The feast of Gallga.malli-KilikoYfI 2. I';noya-Mll.b&ngga V
3. /bid 4. Pnpp-krn .Mlab
5. 7'/ura·G';I1Id-Vajji-l'uH" 6. Tllt.lJ_Oa/hli----Ti\laplJtII.
7. CMilll-S"cfld.d:a-8ultl, 8. 7'htro-Giilh i-Pin'lol" Bhll.tlll! ...ja
9, l'i""ya-1oIah.. V"ggll

cxplniuillg the rigllt Illode of li f(', •. 11(' cum-iur,'.1 hell. rl'r~ (Ieclnred t Ill'm-
8el\"l.'s his follo\\'en'l.
'I'he following p!lBSage from IJrohmo-J fila Sui/« illustrates this:
" When he hnd thus !I'pokeJI, the VellernlJle Amlllda !laid to the
Jllesseu One: 'Strn.ngc, Lord, is I.his and wunderful! Ami whnt
nRllle IHls this exposition of the truth l' 'Anallda, you may remem-
ber I.his exposition as the Net of AdvantnJ!:c, ami ns the Net of'I'ruth,
nnd as the Supremo Net, Imu M the Net of Theories; remember it
eV6111H1lhe Glorious Victor}' iJl the day of bnttle!' "1
" And when they hau thus sJloken, Ajiita-Sattll, the King, said to
thc Blc~~d One: ' Most excellent, Lord, mOllt cxeellent! Just as
if a Illllll wcre to set up that which has been thrown dOWll, or were to
re\"eRI that which is hidden away, or were to point out tile right rond
to hi III who has gOlle !Istray, or were to brillg IL hUll pinto the l!arkneBR
80 that thoSl' who have e}'es could see ext.ernal forms, just even so,
Lord, hns thc truth been made knowll to me, ill Inany a figure, by
tllC Blessed Ono. And now I betake myself, Lord, to tho Blcssed One
as my l"Cfuge, to the Truth, nnd to the Order, May the Blessed One
accept me as lL rlisciple, I\S one who, from this day forUI, liS 1001g as
lifc cndures, hall Lllkl'l\ hill refuge in them '."2
Megcf'lthenes gives /\11 interesting: reference to meetings in India:
"The philosopher~ have tlll'ir bode iu It grove in front of the eity
withill/\ moderate-siwd enclosure. They live ill IL simple style, and
lie on bells of rushes, or skins. They l\hst.ain from animal food amI
sexual plcal\url'lI, IlIllI spend their time in Ii!lt<.'nillg: to seriou!I d iscoll rse,
"nd ill imparting kllowl('{lg~ to I'luch :I!I will lil<""1I to t1HlIll. The
hearer is lint. 1l1loweJ to speak, or evel' to eougll, and lHudl lel'lI to
spit, Ilml if hI' nffelldl'l in ally flf the.qe ways Im if'l out from their
society t.hllt n'ry day, as being IL Wllll who is wanting ill self-
There were pnulie aud Inivate gatherings to perform SA.crifices to
the godl'l, Just all illallcient Rome. Before the custom disappeared
through Buddhist illflucllce, tIle Brahamin priests used to tleclare:
" fAlt there be slain for sacrifice, so many bulls, so many steers,
heifers, goats l\ud rams. LP.t there he felled so mallY trees for
sacrificial posts. Let so much "kusa " grass be cut to strew round
the sacrificial spot."4
I. Bmlll'llaj6.ltJ Sldll! 2. 8,.I1ItJiilltJ l'!ww SId/a
3. Slr,.oo u I 68-60 4. Ka'lldamka811lla

Various slIujed.s for cOllverllatioll used to ue taken up at 8ocia.1
gatherillgll. Low alld vulgar cOllversntiOlls from which the disciples of
the Buddha were asked to refrain from were: Tales of kings, ofrobbers,
of ministers of St.ate j tales of war, of terror, of battles, talk about
food and drink, clothes, beds, garlallll8, perfumes; talk about equi-
pages, villages, towllS, cities, J1fl.tiOIlS; stories about women and ller06s
~os8ip at J11urket places Rud at tanks and wells; ghost ",tories, boastful
talk; speculations about the creation of the world or about existence
Slid non-existence. The sbove c\·jtlently comprised the list of
fri"olou8 talk among the common folk.

OnAl'TIl:R I.:IGII1'


ATTEMPTS 1'0 get an accurate conceptiun uf nn Indian home of 2,500

years ago woulo. ueccs.~urily he llLet with o.ifJicnlties. Descriptive
reforeneos in scriptures Alld other writings can give \18 Ollly a PIHt of
the picturo. llow far these parts will enable a reader to form the whole
lJicture is a matter to be left to the individual imagination. Archaeo-
logical discoveries of the ruins of allcient buildings will 110 doubt be
helpful in this respect.
Aeconling to Buddllillt scripturell, stone, bricks and wood were used
for buildings. There are constant references to seven-storeyed build-
ings. A hall was lIameo. " lhick Hall" because bricks were used for
its construction. t In houses of ~everal storeys t.he pilla rs were carved
out of stOllC. % The roofing in comTllon use wOl'l brick, stone, cement,
straw and leaves.! Also plastered roofs and walls were llOt uncollunon.•
The doors, wit.h their decorated door-posts rind lintels, 4 8Jld the windows
with railings, network, curtains and shutwrs,' cnhallced the external
nppeatnnco of those IllHlicnt mansions. Some houses were deeorated
with la.ttice-work. 8 Thc bnf>crnents of the housdl werc surrounded with
fencing of brick, stone or wood. 7 lIore are 1I. few descriptions of the
exterior pnrts of houses:
•• Now this houso enclosed by 1I. wnll ill colour like vermilion, furnished
with gntell and tower WRs a beautiful ann charming place."s This was
a minister's house.
A nobleman's mansion in Siivutthi W8sseven storeys high and· had
lIoven portals. g Also the residellflc of Ilo councillor in the country of the
Kurus had seven gateways. 10
From tho poctill description of the Palace of HighteoliRlieas all idea of
a royal pR lace can be deduced:
"The PalaCfl of HighLeollsuess is surrounded with a double railing
with cross-hars and figureheads of silver. It was built of bricks of
four kinds. There are 84,000 pillars with fixed seats, twenty-four
I. MaAii I'ari NiMJ,ina $ulla z. l"il'la!/lI-Kullllvnggll VI
3. l'iMya-K"UAv""8gll. V 4. Ibid
5. Vinaya-K,,1l31'llggn VI 6. 'l'kri-G,;IM
7. Yi""ya-Kulltlovaggll V 8. Ummadanli JiitaJ:a
9. K hadirlltllJ<fra JiililkIJ. 10. T"'~ra-GiiIM-RA~lhApii.l ..
stll.ircnllCi'I witl! bll.llli'ltl·auci'I with cruMB-ban and figureheadll. The
Ilumber of cluunbera iB 81,000. At the door of every chamber is 8.
palm tree, and Do grovc of palm trces stood at every entrance. The
palace was hung round with a nctwork of silver bells. The divans
are made of gold, silver, ivory and s8lld8hvood. 'nley are spread
with long-haired rugs, cloths embroidered with Rowers and antelope
skins. Each divan had lofty canopies and purple cushions."t
Att.a.ched to each palatial building or mansion were parks or plel\sure-
gardcns, and at the severo.l cntrances to the houses of distinguished Or
wealthy pcople there were towers and ornamental gates with gate-
keeJ1era to guard them. 2 'I'he grandeu:r of some gate-towers may be
judged from the following passage:
"On seeing the gate-towers of Jeta\'ana. which Prince Jeta had
built at a cost of ninety millions, one asked whether that was the
place where the G'otama lived. They said: 'It i8 only the gateway
Some hom~e8 had a portico over thc outer door. 4 The balconies of
80me buildings afforded a good view of the atreeh or country around.
From sl1ch balconies the inmates greeted the distinguished people that
passed by with " sbowers of fiowers ".6
BefOre entering a house it was 01lstomar.r to wash ono's fect, so there
stood outside the threshold of the house 0. vesscl oC water and a stool
with a matlloud cloth for wiping the foet. 6 On entering, one found the
floor8 inlaid with brick, stone or wood, 7 and generally covered with rugs
and mats of silk, wool or 8kill. 8 Rich mallsions had their st.aircascs
docorated with jewelled slabs. t The stairs of the hOMes were generally
made of brick, or wood. 1 0
The complexity of life in ndvnnced society demands all equally
oomplex arrangement of accommodation and apartment.s in a housc.
The rcsidence built by Aniithapindika. for the Buddha and his disciples
consisted of "dwclliug rooms, retiring-rooms, stOre rOoms, service halls,
halls with fireplaces ill them, storehouses, closets, cloisters and halls fOr
exercise, wells and sheds for wells, bathrooms and halls attached t6
bathrooms, and ponds and open-roofed sheds". 1 1
1. "laM SlulaumM .')"'la 2.
j'1Icra Ga/M Ds8llk....
3. I'alflyi J;;/f1!«J 4. Vinaya-Bodhi's mansion
6. U"'lnlidallli )ii/ak,. 6. Sangit; suu,~
7. Vinaya-Kulln'l'sgga 8. ViMya l'irakll Rulu
9. SulmraJiilah 10. VifWya-KulllL'I'IlGGIl V ,
11. Vinaytl_Kullll'l'lIgg.... VI

III the scriptures there are instances where the various parts of a
house "ro onurnernLod. We read of storeyed houses with "attic,
basement, cellar, sture-room, refectory, lire-room, warehouse, privy,
an opcn IJlaco l<l wlllk in, ll. hall to walk in, a well and 1\ well-house. \
Thero are also refercllces to a tower, sleeping room, kitchen and stable. Z
The Toom llIentioned 8S "frn.grnnt room "s W8S probably a bedroom.
Ananda, wbo undertook to attend on tho Uuddha, did not want a
sCIJRrate "fragrnnt room" (or himself. 4
The bedrooms had curtains and moveable screens, Tho wallso(these
rooms were painted with human figures and floral de!ligns. 5 There were
lofty and largo couches. IS 'fhe !>eds were stuffed with cott-on. 7 The
bedsteads, which were eovcred with mosquito curtains, s contained
mattresses, pillo"'s, ma~ and sheets. g It was a common luxury to
sleep 011 beds strewn witb sweet-seented flowers. lOIn sOllle houses there
were long IJf'nches on thc vernndnh. I 1
J~!lch hOIlIl(' hlvl its scpamtc apartl11('II1.'l. There were the rooms
sot. apart for womell. '('hon there w~r~ t.he dilling.roornll, the sitting
rOODUI, the halls known as asselUbly-room~, the sorvant..s quarteI8,
and c'·en apn.rtlllents or halls with firephces. I I
In palaC1ls and huge mansions, underground cellars constructed
within the hom~clI were the depositories of gold and silver and other
articles of value.
The walls were usuall,r plastered, with "imagillative drawings
and figures of melt and womell and with wreaths {Uld creepers". I 2
The ceilings wero covered with a 'ceiliug cloth. '1 S
The construction o( bathroollls was elaborate. The floors wete
laid with brick, stone or wood. 'J'he walls were allY} lined with
brick, stone or wood. In bat.hrOOIllS with firopll1oOtlS, thero were
chimlLcys, for ill small bathrooms the fireplace was at one side of
t.he rOOIll, whereas in larger onos it was in the middle.
The water was kept in RIl ante-chamber to tho bathroom unless
there was a well with fencing round it. Most baturoOllls had troughs
or basins. There were stools, scented clay, stands and vessels for
I. l"illllyu-l\ll.havAgga (HesidcllCll during railly season) 2. lbid
3. Olllldllll KldiYll
l'inlJYI,-Kullangga VI
1'humi GatAii-All11Uda

l"inaYlI l'it"ktJ-Rules
riMyu-Mll.h"vllgga 1
rillllYIl~KulJavllggll VI
rifl<lytl-Kullo.vaggo. V
1'Mro GiilM_Mll.ha Kll&'I&pll.
13. l'inu.YIl-Kul1a\"llgga V
water, Pots of brass, wood or clay Vo'erc used to draw water. Some
mansioll8 had swimming baths where the tanks had fencing, lltairs and
baIlustrades. Pipes were used to lay on or to drain otT the water. 1
Bud{lbist Indian houses were richly furnished with various kinds
of chairs, tables, stands, couches and divans. There were rectangular
chairs, armchairs, sofas, sofas with arms, state chairs, cushioned
chairs, chairs raised on a pedestal, ohairs with many legs, cane-
bottomed chairs, straw-bottomed chairs lLnd chairs with upholstered
cushioJls to fit them.!
The divan.s and couches were covered with cushions, coverlets with
long fleece, counterpanes of many colours, white woollen coverlets or
coverlets with designs of flowers, cotton coverlets with figures of animals
ami rugs with hair in one or both sides. 3 Also, skins o£JioJls, tigers and
panthers were cut and laid out to fit couches and chairs. S Some conches
~md chui rs were covered with callopies. 8
III nrahmaJ(ilaSuttc~ the following tYill's of luxurious IICI~ts "IIII rug8
were disuppro\'etl for the 11se of the Buddha'l! diseiples; 1\Iovuble and
high settees six feet long, divans with supports carved with animal
figures, sofas with cm~hiOlls for the Ilead and feet; coverlets made of
fleecy goats hair or coverlets embroidered with flowers or with figures
of lioll8 or tigers, or those ornalJlented with gems, or those made of silk,
many-coloured cou IlterpuIle8, wllite blankets, quilts 8tutTed with cotton-
wool, rugg wi th fllr on buth sides or on Ol1e side, rugs of antelope skins,
rugs used ill elephant or horse chariots, carpets with Il.wnillgs about
them and carpets large enough for sixteell dancers.
A Chinese record gives the following account of seats and thrones:
" When they sit or rest they all use mats; the royal family and the
great personages and aSllistant officers use mat:! variously ornamented,
hut ill sir.e they are ti,e llllTlle. The throJle of the reiglling sovereign
ig large and high, and much adorned with precious gelllB; it is called
the lion throne (sillhiisatw). It is covered with extremely fine
drapery. The nobility use painted and enriched seat-s according to
their tl\8te." ~
Wooden and wickerwork stands were used as OfJllImellts. Sometimes
they held a howl or a vose of clever workmallBhip, or a lamp on Q jar, or
an oil lamp which burnt all night. 5 There were also cases of
ivory, bone, horn allll hoxes of gold and si Iver and howls of slllldalwOOII,
1. J'i"llya-Kulla. Vnggll. V 2. rilWya-KuUn Vagg& VI
3. Ibid 4. .7'a·1'ang-Si.]·a,K i-fill. IJ.
5. J'iftaya_Maha \'lIgga I

V"lu"ble bowlll ur cnskct~ of gold or Ilih'cr WflrO sct wilh jcwels. Somo
of thern WNIl llHlode of heryl, eryMal, copper, gln!l~, clay nr of Illeln 18 8uch
Ill! tin, INlll, hmmw allll irOll. 1 There were nlRo flower VIlBCB of cliffercnt

design lInd workmallllltip. It Wll~ a COlllll\On custom nmong both mell

llnd women to greet one another with f1owerl:!.
'rho floors of some of the rOOIll!! wero covered wit.h earpetl> inwrought
with gold or with silk, or with woollen carpet.s or skiml 8udl afI those of
the panthcr or of the untelnpe. I
"Cnvo Canem" was a warning not 1lI11;tlIl1mon in ancient India.
Hence the clog was a flLVourite pet.! III a palaco ll. fierce anu savage
tiger was kcpt fllstrlled hY:l RIfling dHlirL' AlJwngother auimalll kept
as pets, tho most popular werc parrots,4 Jmrtridgc8,/; pigeons, tl alld
monkeys. 7
It was cllstomary to nallle houlJell. The resiuellces built for I.he
Buddha had names. 8 VrillCc Bodhi's palace W1I8 called" The 1~otu8".'
A Brahomin built an aAAcmhly hall at I'iltaliputta wllich wall named
after him,l 0
The rich people in those days had as a rule three residences built in
different parts of the cOllntry to suit different sens01ls of the yeaL ll
The grRmleur of the rich mal\SiOllfl eould not destroy the charms of the
poor cottage8. '['he following quotation frolll tbe IJCripturcs illustrates
"There was a hut beside a hamlet. It wawa pretty, charming
cottage with floor and walls well made, surroumled by a llllrk nnd
tank, and enclosed by tl path of smooth pearly sund."12
In tOWJlR and villages t.he hOllOOR of the poor were generally COll-
8tructed with wood. Except in citicR, howe\'er small till,} hOlloo he
there was n garden and a compound attaohed to it. Sometimes a wall
or usually a fence separated a house and its premises from other houses.
In poor homes the g'arden WflIl lltilised to plant fruit, vegetables and
flowers. 'fhe compound in front of a house was a bare patch of ground
strewn with 8l111d. To allow grass to grow on the compound WIlS a
lllark of llcRleot and untitlinell8,

1. "'Mya KulllL VlIgga V 2. SllfWka J (ifaka

3. [(ull/a"i Jiitaka 4. KaludilJw hitaka
li. Til/imJ6taka 6. Lala.lalaka
7. UpiiliSutta 8. Jtlam1t/1riimaya, elt.
9. B6d1li-R6jah"'iira Slllla IQ. Gola",u.l:ht1 S ..fla
11. T1IeraOiiIM-Valla"n<! Bhuta 12. T/ttra OntM-HIIIDlluiya Kutika

CUSTOMS CIIANGE Rnd MC liablc to change wiLh c1uLllges in the mentality

of the people. In matter!l relatiJlg to private life the tendency is for
tho individual to be guided by his vRnity and comfort. 1n cOllformillg
to the ostablished standard of 1J10wls he shows 1,110 ildlllence of society
upon him.
'fhe morning bath, which WRB a daily Illtbit in ancient India, was
often taken bcfore sunrise. Therc wcre bnthiJlg costumcs. 1 "Red
bath-balls "2 and bath powders,3 took the place of 80lLp.' Also the
body IIsed to be rubbed with fine lime, ointments, chunam and red
arsonic. 3 Small wooden slabs or strings of beadll were also IIsed for
rubbing the body. 4
The hair was combod with combs or lIJ1loothing instrumente lIhaped
like the hood of a suake. There was a pumade made of bees-wax.
Applying oil to the head and touclling up the face with paint ""as a
.common usage. 4
III Brahmaj(jla Bulla the Dllddha declared the following methods of
adorning and beautifying oneself to be vulgar viz. :
"Shampooing, rubbing in lIcented powders, the limbs with
clubs, use of eye ointments, rougc, eosmct.ics, bracelets, necklaeell,
garlallds, head,dresses, diadems, whisks of t.he yak's t.ail white robcs
wit.h long fringes al'd ornamented slippers; or carrying about walking
sticks, reed eases for drugs, rapiers and sunshades,"
'fhe barbers usually did the hairdressing. 6 They ullCd mirrors, but
a common substitute for mirrors was a bowl of water. (I We r/lad of the
1IS6 of nail-cutters, nail-polishers, razors and pincers. (I Many kinds
of perfumcs, ointments, and scents, which were kept. in boxes of gold,
silver, bone, ivory, horn, bamboo, wood and lIhell, were popular toilet
requisites. 1 A lIccnted powder was used also to polish bowls and
lIucb vessels. 11
I. Vi....ya-Mahavagga VIIl 2. A&&alay<>RII But/a
3. BaHlula Bulla 4. I'inaya-Kulluagga V
6. Thua G<ilha-VitMoka 6. Villay,.-KuUBvagga V
7. Vinoya_Maluwaggll VI 8. Th~r; G,itM-DhaddhA

I. Up(ili Sulla 2, Vinnya Kulhwaggll. V
3. 1(MaroJtilaka & Villuyu_Kulhu'agga 4, Tltua Gii/Aii-80na Kutibnna
6, Kiili,;ga Bodki Jii/aka 6, VinuyB_Kull"".gg,, V
7. TlurB G,il.\ti-V.ddha

sandals ". I The expen~ive robes were lluHle of cloth of gold. Z Tile
different colours and patterns of robes in use arc suggested by the
followilllZ passage:
"They wore robes of bluo, light yellow, crimson, brown, black,
brownish-yellow, or dllrk-yellow colour. They wore rohes with skirts
to them which were long and had flowers Oll thcm".' The kinds of
cloth commonly used for garments wore linen, cotton, silk, wool,
eoarse cloth and hempen eloth. 3 KflSi cloth and Benares muslin
were expen~i\"e. Special dyes were used to give colour to cloth "lid
garments. 4
To clean clothes the" w(UlherWOlllall rubs the soiled cloth smooth
with salt, earth or lye or eowdry, find rinses it in pure clean water.
Then the owners lay it lip in a sweet-scented coffer",5 Garments were
also perfullled with incense. 1I
There was elaborate footwear. The slloes had one or more linings.
'fhe edges and tile heels of shoes were of different colours. The slilJIlCrs
and moccasins were blue, yellow, red, brown, black, oraJlge or yellow
in colour. Thc boots were also of different colours. Tlley were laced
or lined with cotton and were oTlllunented with horns and feathers,
Both boots ami shoes were adorned with skins. The ornaments for
shoes were of gold, silver, pearl, beryl, crystal, cOJlper, glass, tin, lend
or broll1:e. Among otller kinds of shoes were those made of wool,
talipot leaves and different kinds of grass. 7
The lndika of ArriCfln gives the following account of ancient Indill.n
dress :
" The dress worn by the Indiuns is made of cotton as Nearehos
tells us. They wore an undergarment of cotton which renches below
the knee, halfway down to the ankles, and also all upper garment
which they throw partly over their shoulders alld partly twist in
folds round their head, 'I'he IndiallS wear also cnr.rings of ivory,
but only such of them do this as are very wealthy for all ]ll(lians do
not wear them. Their beards, Nearchos tells liS, they dye of one
hue and another according to taste .. ,. Such Indians, he also
says, as are thought anything of, use parasols as a screen from the
heat. They wear shoes made of white leather and these are elabo·
rately trimmed, while the soles are varigated and made of great
thickness to make the wearer so much the taller."-Ch. XVI.
I. P(ltaliya StltlQ. 2. ldahopa,;nibboi_Sul/a
3. Vi"'lIya-Maha Vag«", VU) 4. l'ill(l'ytJ-Mnha Vagga V
6. Sanyul/a Nikoya XXIl 6. May1lflka Jdlam
7. Vinaya-Mahavagga V
The description of dress in the Chinese recordll shows that dreB8e1l in
the days of tile Buddha IlUd not lIIfl.terially Ch[lIlgcd :
" The Kshattryiyll.s and the ]jralnnans are cleanly and wholesome
in their dress, Il.lld they live in fL homely fLnd frugal way. ']'he king
of the country and the great ministers wear garments and ornaments
different in their character. They use flowers for decoratillg their
hair, with gcm-decked CllpS; they omament themselves with brace-
lcts and necklaces. There are rich merchant8 wJlO dt'al exclusively
in gold trinket.8 and so OIl. They mostly go barefooted; few wear
sandals. They stain their teeth red or black; they bind up thcir
hair 'Hid pierce their ears; they ornament their noses.
" Their clothing ill Jlut cut or fashiolled ; they mostly affect fresh
white garments. They esteem little those ornamcnted or of
mixed culour. 'L'he /lien wind their garmenu round their middle,
then gll.thcr them Hllder f.he arml'il..'4, allll let them fnll down aero8ll
the hody hanging to the right. The robes of the women fall down
to the ground; they completely cover their llhouldofll. They wear a
little knot of hair 011 their crOWllS and let the rest of their hair fall
loose. Some of the lHell cut off their moustaches ami have other odd
custOI1lS. On their heads people wear caps (crOWDS) with flower
wreaths and jewelled necklets. Their garments are made of Kiau-
she-ye and of cotton. Kiau-she-ye is the product of the wild silk-
worm. They hrwe garments also of Tso'-mo which is a sort of hemp ;
garments also made of Kielq)o-lu which i.'4 woven from line goat
hair; garments also llLade from llo·la-li. 'fllis stuff is made frolll
the fme hair of a wild animal; it is seldolH this can be woven, and
therefore the stuff is very valuable, and it is regarded as fine
clothing." I
The vn.riety, reiinOlllent and even luxury of food arise out of a
oountry's prollJ>erity. Copious examples of slleh marks of prosperity
Rrc fOllnd in the scriptures. A refinement in diet WRa brollght about
by Buddhist culture. Uefore and after a meal everyone wl\8hed their
mouths and cleanod their teeth. This habit ill kept Ill' to this day by
Duddllisls. A Cllinese traveller has recorded this fact:
" They IIrc "er)' particular in their personal cleanline8ll and allow
no remissness ill this particular. All wasll themselves before eating;
they never use that which has been left over; they do not pa8!l the
dishes. Wooden and sLone ,·essels when used must be destroyed;

l. Ta-Tall'J-Bi- )",., Yi (Blld,lhiJIt UellOrda of tho WCBtern World) Bit. Il

veBBCls gf gold, silver, copper or iron after each meal must be rubbed
and polished. After eatillg they cleanse their teeth with a willow
stick and wash their hands and mouth. Until these ablutions are
finished they do not touch one another. Every time they perform
the functions of nature tlley wash their bodies and use perfumes of
sandalwood and turmeric. When (,he king wRshes they strike the
drums and sing hymns to the sound of 11l1lsical instruments. Before
offering their religious services aJld petitions they wash and bathe
themselves." 1
In the days of the Buddha there were three ehiefmeals a day. People
had meals in the morning, in the evening and in tile afternoon. "The
dainty dishes all came ill the evening". 2 'l'hoBe of the .!3mMha's order
took only the lllorniJig and the mid-clay meals. They were prevented
from over-indulgence in food. Jt was a habit among sOllle Indians to
eat their fooU lying Oil decoraled divans, S just 11.II the ancient Romans.
Even tlmt habit was disapproved of for the followers of the Buddha.
Anoient Indians were great Illeat eaten. Large Jlumoore of animals
used to be slaughtered as sacrifices to gods by the Brahamin priests.
That custom reminds us of the Roman sacrifices to the gods. At a
banquet given by an Indian minister of the king two-hundred and fifty
different dishes of meat were served. 4 also, a prince of Kapilaviistbu
wall able to enjoy food of [l hundred fi[lvours at every meal. 6
It was Buddhist inflUCll6e that made vegetable diet popular in India.
The Buddha preached agaulst killing animals even for feod and subse-
quentl.r I~mperor Asoka made it illegal to kill animals.
Apart from special dclicacil's, some popular dishes cOll.llisted of rice
snd junkets, & rice porridge prepared with honey or sugar, 7 rice cakes'
and honey, 7 soup aJlcl hoiled rice, and rice boiled in milk. Ghee, butter,
oil, sugar and honey were \Ised for food in many ways.8
Food was served in howls and dishes of gold, silver, copper, iron or
clay, according to tllO nmk and wealth of the person. As fingers were
used instead of forks, washing of hands before and after meals was a
habit. It was also a long standing custom to wash the mouth beforo
and after every meal. o The water used for drinking was strained. 1 0
Taking meals together was a sign of equality slld friendship. 11 As a
L '1'a-Tang-Si_]·u_Ki_Dk.1l 2, /,ldulci Kopama SUlla
3.. Vinal/a-Kullavsgg", V 4. Vill<'lya-Mal"w~~ga VI
6. TM~IJ Galhii-Paripunnaka 6. Malta SIJa<JA-aSul/a
7. TAn-IJ Ga/Aa-Gogala 8. TM:ra Giith..i-Dh"teya
9. V;t1mla-Rule~ 10. Vinaya-lIlllhavagg" VIII
11. Jllwida&,i/a J ,ilai:a
IlIRrk of regpect the hu~t or ho.~\,e!l!l lIen'e(1 the f!:llests, t anti" nothillg
would he uskell frOIll lL strnnger R\'01lt himself before he finillhell his
meal." 2
Vinaya rules contain the bible IlHlIlIlerS of Uudtlllist India.! Though
the rules were meant for members of the order, they could be counted as
the generally acccptcd forms of propriety at meals.
The prohibition of the uso of intoxicants WAS another social reform
brought about by the Buddha. He made abstinence from intoxicants
one of the I;\'e precepts to be observed dRily by RlIllllddhists. The
habit of taking intoxicating liquors was so popular at that time Rmong
certRin classes that a 8pecial day was observed as a {lrinking festival.
Many kinds ofswcet find un-intox icating drinks Wl're lIsed daily. 'rJiere
were drinks made from the juice of fruits such lIll mangoes, bUllflllllS,
grnpes, from syrups and honey, Rml from roots, com, leaves llnd 8ugar
Cillle. { Various kill{l!l of drinks were made of milk. "Milk with lL
pungent drug wall (IrUIl k to avoid get,ting lL cll i11 after water-sports. "6
Book I I of 'I'a-TaJlg-Si- Y11- Ki gi \'NI till' followillg aCCIJllII 1. of bldi:ul
"Among the product., of tllO groulItl, rice and com Me IIIOS!;
plentiful. With respect to edible herbs and plants, we may Ilame
ginj::er find Illustnnl, melOJlS and plllllllkins, the helln-lo Illant and
others. Onions Rnd garlic are little grown and few persons eat
them. If UllY one uses them for food, they are expelled beyond the
walls of the tOWI1. The most usual foud is milk, hutter, cream, soft
sugar, sugllr-candy, the oil of the Illustard-seed, llnd of cakes
Ilulde of corn ate used Il.S food. Fisll' muttoll, gazelle and deer they
eat gellerally fresh, somelilJle8 salted; they nre forbidden to eat the
flesh of the ox, the llSS, the elephant, the horse, the pig, the dog, the
fox, the wolf, the lion, the monkey, llnd all the hairy kind. Those
who eat them are despised and seomed, and are tlJliverslLlly repri-
manded; they live outside the walls, and are seldom seell among
With respect to the different kinds of wine and liquors, there arc
vllrious sorts. The juice of tile ~TIlpe and the sngar cane, these are
used b)' the KshattriYlls 38 driJlk ; the Sramans and llrahamans
drink II sort of syrup made from the grape or sugar-cane, but 1I0t of
the nnture of fermented wine."
I. l'iflaya-MalllH"llgga I ~ TaUa Jiitaka
3. Vinya-&kkiyll Uhamm" 4. r".y«-Mnha Vllggll V
o. KaIundaka Jiilaka
The ancicnt. mdhodll of COllvt)"RIICfl ami trallllport. tilled were
dependent. Oil the IlilltaJlc:e to be travelled and on the wealth and rank
of the traveller. l'alanquiJls, sedan c:hail1l, and lit.ters bome by servantll
I or attendant.'! were ill gelleral use for informal and short. ,·isitA. I Lollg
journeys were u811ally undertaken 011 horseback.! On state occasions
and important functions, kings and wealthy nobles rode on elephantll.'
In riding elephants it wsa the master or the chief who had to alight.
first. from the elephant.'
Caravan partics COil veyed mcrchalllJi6f! from olle kingdom to anot.her
by carts drawn hy bulls. (i There were also carringes, II chariots find
state carril~ge6 which were draWll by horA6s. 7 People of di8tinction
went. about. in carriages drawn by four horaea aa ahown by the following
.. Killg Videha happened to be ill a magnificent carriage drawn b)'
fOllr milk-white horse8."8
"The Bmhamin JanuS80lli, was coming out. of the cit.y early in the
day in a carriage which was all white and wns drawn by four white
A chariot WA!l JescrilJed in the scriptures all "adOrlloo with jewels
alld gold RIllI drawn by high-bred horses." I 0
llere ill a grnphic de!ICri'pt.ioll ofa king's e\'cning villit lo the Buddha:
" King Ajatas8ttu had five hundred she·elephants made ready and
I1lso thoStute elephant which the killg was wont to ride. Then the
king had five hundred of the ladies of the court. mounted 011 t.he she-
elephants, olle on eRch, and he himllelf mounting 011 the state-elephant
went forth, with the attendants bearing torches, ill royal proce88ion
from HajagaIJa to the pleasure·garden known 83 ' Oivaka's Mango
Grove '."11
Large numben of attendant4l and retainers often accompanied the
men of distinction 011 their journeyll, so it was cUlltomary for lIuch
persons to have many carriages or chariots. For instance, .. Biha, t.he
commander-in-chiefwentout of the city ofVesiili with 500 chariots". I!
A young lady, Villiikii, went. with a large number of maidCllIl in their
chariots to welcome the Buddha to their city. 13 There were also

1. Vi"aya-A1l1h.. VllgglI V 2. 7'km G~t1la-MBhi Kappinll

3. Ju.,,1Ia JatQl:a 4. KllJla J,itaka
6. Vinay_MahllvlIgglI V 6. CiUa·UalfipadQpama .sulla
7. M amipariflibbdl\(l ,sill/a 8. Yi"ilaA:/lJiil/lka
9. Cula.Aa/li.padoparll(l Sldla 10. MayAaka Jiilab
I L Sa"IGnM-P1lal/t Sill/a 12. Yillaya-lIJahangga VI
13. DIia_pada JI,'labIM-VitJikhi

exnlllples of WOIllt'1I tlri villg t.heir own chariot-s, or even rncing wit.h men.
Ambnpiili made 11 IWlnuer of lIIagnificent chariets to bc prepared Il.nd
mounted 011 olle of t.hem and went out of Vesiili to visit tbe Buddha.
She drove 111' against the young LicLlChavis, pole to pole, yoke to yoke,
wheel to wheel, axle to lude." I
rn some \'ehicles musicians wero takcn so that t.hey miglJt play their
music 011 tho journey. !fthe chariot containcd the owncr or the chief
rider, tho Hluflicinns flat in tho front. part of the carriage, ot.llllrw;sc t1H~
musicians snt IJcllind MIC cllrrillge.
Whon gnosts were cxpected the host weut to meet Rnd accompany
them home. If 116 wont in a chariot he would stop it and walk It short
distance to greet his gllellls.! gxpressions of greeting nnd complimcntoll
of civility were usual at mcctings and partings. S
Wben visiting, a person's presence WRS announced through II servant
or porter. 4 Alllo n person would knock at a door before entering a
privato room. 5 The guests often took flowers to tho host. lt was a
common custom to greet with flowers or send wreaths and nosegays to
one anothcr,tl or throw flowers from the balcony to honour a distin-
gllisuod passer-by.7 lt was a mark of civility to rise to meot Il. person. tl
Towards guosts or. strangers the people were particularly civil, " for all
recluscs and BrahnllliJls who Cl\Jn6 within the precincts of a village were
eonsidered guests, to be treated witu honour Slid reverence, with
devotion and worship.'"
Whcn taking leave of one's bctters, after bowing down, one would
pass rOtOld them with one's rightside towards them. 10 In a stranger's
house it was thought to be decorous to be properly clad, the body to
be under proper control without swaying the botly, arms or head, not to
walk. on heels or tocs, nnd not to laugh 10ud."1 1

I. Vina!fll-Mll.h",vagga VI 2. AlaA.. Jallalra Jdlaka

3. JIT!Ui"ra S"lla 4. Upiili Sulla
6. I'in.aya-M"hav"gga VI 6. l'i1\(lya-Kulla1'llgga 1
7. Vmmadant; Jdf4lra 8. ..'hampadiina Jii1ab
9. OanH S"lla 10. Villllya-Mahaval'ga I
11. r,,,aya_&kbiy,, Db"mlDa


THE N ATIONA L sports and amUSCmeJlt.8 evolve from cXllCriellce. Games
aud pastimes reveal t.l1C, not only of thosc who partake in
them, lout also of thosc who witness them. Different games appeal
differently to different minds. While the undeveloped mind CRn be
nasily satisfied, the cultured mind demands a higller standard of skill
Imd effort in sport and amusement. Also, some games arc maintained
by the interest whioh the public hare in tllClJ\. Such games die out
with the loss of that interest.
Music, dancing and singing, Ilfl in all COIlUllllJlitics, were in ancient
India popular forms of entertainment. ".l\Ien and WOJIicn used to
dance and sing and play music together". 1 Dancing wns evidently
done on special kinds of carpet which were described aa "large woollen
carpets slIch as the dancing girls dance IIpon."2 Another type was a
carpet large enough for sixteen dancers. S
Although the rich nobles had in their houscs fcmale musicians and
danccrs to cntcrtain them, yet the nrtists of reputation dis/played their
talent ill thcir own hou8Cs to Lllc IHldience that came to t,hcm. Such all
artist was Ambapiili, who was" beautiful, graccful, pleasant, gifted
with thc highest beauty of complexion, wcll-....erned in dancing, singing
and lute-playing". 4 An cqually clever artist was Siilii.vathi of
Riijagaha, who charged enormous sums from those who wished to be
entertained by her music and dancing. 5
Tii.1aputta. of lliijagalm was thc famous actor of his day. He toured
through India with his company of actorn. "With 500 actresses and
with spectacular grandelH he attended fcstivals in villagcs, towns and
palaces and won great fame". S Also festive occasions attracted
another class of strolling pla.yers. 7 Just as the actors, dancers and
musicians strolled about the country, there were the jugglers, 8 sllake-
charmers and acrobats who showed their feats of danchlg through four
or five javelins. I)
1. Vinay,,-Chullll.vlI.gga I 2. Vinaya_MlI.hll....aggll. V
3. Braltmajiila Stttta 4. Vinaya-M,.h,.vaggll. VTIl
5. if/id 6. TltfflJ l1iila-Til a putta
7. Ka7\(l'Mra Jatalw 8. S"nyuUa Niiiiya XXII
9. Dubbt.U:6 Jalalw
TIle populnr elll.('rLninlllcntll of tllOse dRY~ ('on~i~ted of dancing,
sillging, il\J'ltrurm.H1tal lIlusic, showlI, at fairs, recitations, Illnying on
cymbals, chanting of bards, combats of elcplmIlt8, 1lOrscs, buffaloes,
bulls, goat.~, rllIJ1S, cocb and quails, bonts at quarter-staff, boxing,
WrcSUiIlg, sham figh~, forces urawn up in hnttlc array, manoeuvres,
anu reviews Ilf the army. I
Thcllc amll~ement~ attrnctclllargl' cro\\'II.'l to the parks and pleasure-
gardens, especially Oil holidays.!
On sllecinl uCCllsions IJfOCell8iolls rOl\lld the city wefe arrangcd, 8 when
numhers of gaily decorated elephants joined the procession. 4 'The
visits of kings or nobles to the plcnsure-gardens with the ladics of the
court was a graud spectacle. 5 The pleasure-garden~ were also places (If
all\usement for children and anilllallovers, for Birds and animals kept
there uscd to be fed by the visito~s. Feeding UIC peacocks in the
., Wanderers •• PlellSannce, \I and the sq uirrels ill the Bamboo Grove, 1
was an amusement of the visitofs to th08e IJll.fks.
Out-door sports had their champiolls, Vira won fame tllrough his
athletic aceompli8hmcnts Rnd became a warrior. s A favourite sport of
athletes was wrestling which created much public ellthusill.8l1l. The
following pas8age shows the excitemellt of the people over 'Hestling
"So they scnt for two wrestlers, Canura and Mutthika, and I)ro-
claimed through the city by beat of drum that 011 the seventh da)'
there would be a wrestling match. 1'he wrestling fing was prepared
in front of the king's palace. There was all enclosure for the sport.
The ring was decorated gaily. The flags of \'ictory were mised. The
whole eit}' WllS in a whirl. The seatll rose line over line, tier above
Boxing as a sport seems to IHll'e been of Illlcient origin for mention
was Illade of boxillg with fists. 1 0 Some out-door sports aimed at
different IllCthods of physical training. There were the water·sports
when COI!test-ants vied with oun another in feat.~ of swimming and
divingY YOUllg IIldie8 also appearetl to have enjo}'e{l water.sports. 12
l. Brahrnaj'ila Su//a 2. Sul<Ua Jiilak..
3. D"",rnrdda J'il"hJ. 4. SlUi",a Jiit"ka
5. MiilaRl}aJala/w, 6. ,l/a/t;j,Su!:lIludayi SlItla
7. CJw/a·S"kullldayi Sulta 8. Thera Uri/rl-Vira
9. Ghata J,ilaka 10. I'inaya-Chullavllgga J
11. Kallllld!lkaJ,;lak.. 12. Dhll",mapada Afthakaw-ViJJikA.
'('he abUlldance of indoor and outdoor games and sports shows an
uspect. of social activities. Some of the popular games or sports were
" wssi/lg up eight. or ten objects, hopping over diagrams 011 the ground,
removing objects from a heap without moving the rest, games at. dice
t.rap-ball, skelchillg figures, tossing balls, blowing trumpets, mock
ploughing, matches with mimic ploughs, tumbling, guessiJlg at measures,
chariot. races, contests in nrchery, shooting marbles with fingers, gucssing
other people's thoughts, lIlilllickiJlg other people's acts, clephant. riding,
horse-riding, carriage driving, archery, 8wordsmanship, runlling to and
fro in front of elephants, horses and carriages." 1
A game is {leseribed us played on boards with eight or ten rows of
squares. This might be an early form of chess, for ROmo of the pieces
used in the game are called kings and men. The same game W88 played
Oil imaginary boards. Throwing dice and marking the score8 on a
board wss another popular game. 2
There were children's games, Il.S ploughing with toy ploughs, playing
with toy windmills, toy carts, ~oy bow8 or toy measures. Playing on
pipes was a common amusement. 2
Of the outdoor games, the common ones were games with balls,
hopping over diagrams drawn on the ground, hitting Il short stick wit.h
a long one and turning somersaults. 2
In ancient. India, chariot races and horse racing attracted crowds
to the race courses near the principal cit.ies, for driving chariots and
riding horses were pmctised both as an art as well as an accomplish-
ment, chiefly by the warriors, for whom archery and swordamauship
were considered essential arts. There had beeu contests to display
feats in archery.3
Of the many kinds of contests, the most popular were the musical
contests. I t was customary for those in the audience to shower presents
011 the winner.
A well-known musical corltest. between a teacher and his pupil was
thus described:
" The kinf( sent a proclamation by the beat of drum that on the
seventh day Guttila, the teacher and Miisila, the pupil, willmcet
before the palllce to show t.heir skill, and aske{1 the people ofthe city
to assemble to wit.ness the contest .... At the gate of the palace a
pavilion wall erected with a throne set apart. for the king. The king
I. VillaYll-ChuUavagga 1
3. A,,<Jd"'a }citak!l

came down (rom the palnce And took his scat in the gorgeously
dccora'tcd pavilion. All around llim wcrc thousanus of attendants,
beautifully drf'fl9CU women, courtiers, Brahflmins alld citizens. The
whole city had come togethcr. The Reats were fixed, circlc 011 circle
and t.ier above ticr." I
To ~llOse with any 1I.\'ersion W the gay amusements, there wcre the
intellectual ones. Thcy crowdcd to list.en to learned men and philo-
8ophers. Thcy touk keen interest in able "Once five
hundred o( the Lichchavis were lllet in their assembly JlOuse on some
business. They werc invited to thc debat.e which Saccaka was to have
witlt the lluddha".2 'fhe men and women dialectitians who went
about the eountry also were listclled to by the cit)' or village crowds.
Gamei'! which in course of time came under taboo were duc to social or
religiolll~ iuflucnces. Gambling of all kinds was conde/lUled so that the
gRmbler (u1llltl it dinicult to contract ll. good marriage. Thruugh the
influence of the Buddlm's teaching the rights of alliIJmls (or kilHl treat-
ment was recognised. All games nnd IIports involviug the wOIlIll!ing or
killing of animals were considered wiekcu and cruel. Thus hunting as a
sport becamo unpopular.
Games give an insight into the minds of not only tllOse who take part
in them, but also th080 who witness them. Among children's games
were such as rUllning against tIle wind objeet-s that turn with the wind, S
or removing healJCd up pebbles or objects onc b}' OlLe so that tile other"
do not tumble down, or team games where n. small stump thrown hy
onc party is hit with" stick by those of tlLO other party in tUnt and
scoring according to the distance the}· llit the stulllp.4 A game of
guessing for children was to place tiny sticks in shapes of animals or
objects and covoring them with the hands, asking those taking part in
the game to guess what the sticks represented. 1'hose who guessed
correctly won. 5
There was a game similar to blind man's buff where a child played 8S
blind or lame by hopping on oue foot. 8 Some children amused them-
solves by asking others to guess the letters they traced with their finger8
in the air or on the backs of other ehildren. 7 The gnllle of gucssing
numbcrs or the thoughtll of other children was Jlopular with the bigger
children. s
J. G"tli/(lJiild·a 2. Cilia S=.l:a S"Ua
3. C"ing"kJktJ 4. Gali.l:a
6. Salaka Ral/ha 6. ralhaMgga
7. A.l:.l:"n.l:(I 8. JlI<11n~~;.l:a

Whon ollt-door play-grounds could not be used owing to bad weather,
halls for play wore arranged for c1lildren. 'fho following passage from
the seriptures is noteworthy:
" A hall for play ought to be built hero, we willllot play in this
way", and he said to tho boys: " Lflt U8 build a hall here where we
can stand, sit or lie in t.ime of wind, hot sunshino or raill."l


TJlF. LESS enlightened members of n. COllUll1111ity 1I0t only cherish lLlHI

cling to the superstitions of their forefathers, but they even hand down
their own adllitions and modificatiolls. Throughout the ages, the
beliefs and faiths of people do not remain the Rllmc, but arc modified or
e\'011 rejected according to the changes in religion or advaneemcllt of
knowledge. Scientific kllowledgc and reason ore the enemics of
superstition and blind faith, The rational stundpoint of Buddhism
tended to destroy superstitions. With the decay of Buddhist culture
in India lIew faiths and superstitiolls began to grow and with the aid of
the priesLs they even received religious Slllletioll, Most superstitious
IIlId bcliefg which existed alllOllg ancient people were not reeorded but
hUILded down from generation to gelleratioll, There arc incidental
records of some superstitions in tile scriptu res,
Dreams have puzzled people of all timeB, In the days of the Buddha
the [ndians cOJlsidered dreams to have a significance as indications of
impending good or bad fortune. The BtTILllge dreams of King KOBala
were interpreted a~ premonitions of t.he coming dangers to his kingdom,
and the nugurers ad\'ised the king to prepare a great BlI.crifice of various
killdB of animals to avert the danger by appeasing the gods. The of animals WIIS stopped by the Buddha's advice to the killg. I
The mot.her of Prince Siddhiirtha dreamt. of 1I. 8ma]] white elephallt
01L a lotus prior to her conception. Princess Miiddi dreamt about the
loss of ller C)'CS alld her husband knew that this meant parting from her
children, yet consoled her by sayiug; "Your mind InnBt have been
disturbed by ulleasy Bleep or by indigestion; fear nothing,"!
Here is a dream that clisturbed the mind of a king: "Four columns
of fire blar.ed up ill the rour corners of the royal court as high as the
great wall, fUld in the midst oflhclll rOlle a flame of the size of a firefly,
aud in a momcnt it smllleuly exceeded the four columns of lire and rose
up RS high as the Brahma world and illumined the whole world; even
a grain of mustard seed lying on the ground is distinctly seen. Gods
'Unl men worshipped it with flowers ami illCCI1!IC. A vast multitude
passed through this flame but not even a hlli r of thei r Bkin was singed, "3
3, Atall,; UmlNawa Jiilalm
The four wille men of the king came in the moming to interpret the
dream. They 8aid: •• 0, king, a firth sage will be born who willllUrpa8ll
liB four, we four are like the four coluJIIlls of fire, hut i'l the midst of these
there will arise AS it were a fifth co1Ullln of fire, one who is unparalleled
and film a P08t which is unequalled in the whole world ofgodll and men."
QUei:n Khemii of Bl'nares saw in n dream A deer of golden colour and
Mhe thought: ,. If there were no sllch creature AA this, J should not ha\'e
lIeen him in my drealll. Surely tltere must be 8uch JI ol1e." 1
Akin to prophetic dreams were omeJlA. 'l'hey were clt18sified as
omens of sight, Ol1lellS of 1l01lJ1l1 and omells of touch. "The sight of
anything with a. hnppy look is a good omell ; suppose n man rises be-
times alld sees a perfectly white bull, or a WOIllAn with child, or a red
fish, or a jIlT filled to the brim, or new melted ghee of cow's milk,
there is no omell bet~r tha.n these."!
.. What you hear is the omen. A lIlall heartl people saying" full ",
then he hears" full-f{rown "or" growing" or he hean them MY" eat"
or " chew" there is 110 omell better than these." J
.. WhAt you touch is the ameli. If a Illan gets up eArly Rnd touches
the earth, or toudll'1I green graM, fresh cow dung, R c1eRIl robe, a red
fish, gold or silver or food, there ill 110 better omcn thalll.helle."·
Such diverse opiniu/ls II'd to 11 controversy when the Buddhist expla>
IUI-tion of things to be considered fortUllRte was given ns the 110SSessiJlg
of a kind flnd eomp1\SSiOJ11\te henrt towlInls all beillgS, heiJlg cheerful
nnd modest, not despising otherll Rmlllot being 11roud of birth, wisdom.
wcalth or c1IU18, ha.vinp: true ami good friends, IIll.ving a wife of e<l"ul
yeRrs de\'oted, faithful, virtuous and the mother of IIIRII)' children,
ha\'ing a king who lo\'es bis people, being generous alld charitable aud
trying to purify olle's life by strenllOIlS effort. It wsa declared that
there was no truth ill omens. 5
Among unlucky thingll were tile Right of 3 IIIlll1 of low 1I\("lItalit}·,' the
evil efTI'd of which w38 remo\'e,1 hy wflshing the eyes witll perfumed
wnter. 7
Quei'll Miiddi believed tile fol1uwill,l( to be bfld ome118 ll8 slle had
experienced them hefore her chil\lren were tnkclI awn)' frOIll her when
they were li\'ing is n forest herlllituge :
I. RuruJei/rd:a 2. MaM;.Ma,i!i'ala J!ila/ca
3. lbid 4. Jbitl
6. lbid 6. Aliilaftl/a J,if,,/ca
7. Cilta·S.mbluda Jei/ab
.. The spade fell froUl 1ler Ilfllltl, the bMkct fell from ller sbouldell!,
her right eye went a-tiJrobhing, fruit t.rees appeared 38 barren oml
bnrren trccs as fruitful and she could not detect the right direction."l
Many supersl itioJl8 also arose from the notion that certain things
were lucky or unlucky. Good or ill-lul' k wns even attached to n'/unes, 2
for a person became pros)lerolls or ot herwise according to the Ilame
given to him, There is an instance where it wns believed unlucky for
the residents of a certain IlOuse to use nil inmate's name as " Kala-
knulli" (the miserable). 3
A king employed 11. 13rahnmin who profeslled to know the lucky and
unlucky sounds, When the sllliths forg:('(!swords, he by smelling them,
would declare those swords lucky wllich were made by smiths who
bribed him. A smith put pepper in tile sheatll of Il. sword whicb a
Hrahamin put nCRr his lIose and Hlleezcd, thereby inj llI'illg his nose. 4
Some nnillmls wcre n.lsu IJelievcd tu PUSflCSS special powerR of luck.
Prince Vessiintarn. had l~ pure white elephant IUHl in wlll~tever country
it lived ~Ilere was lIO (Irought. 6 People uscd to blnlne the king if their
hll.rvests fatled or other misfortlUt('s fell upon the country. 'fhey
believed that if l\ killg wns unright.eous thl'l gods either .sent no rain or
sent it out of season. 6
There were professors of the knowledge of signs in tho following
things, denoting health or luck to their owners: gtllllS, car-rings, staves,
dresses. swnrds, arrows, bows, dangerous weapons. women, men, boys,
girls, servants, elephants, horses, buffaloes, bulls, o~ell, goats, sheep,
fowls, iguanas, tortoises and other animals.'
A per80n'sluck they sometimes attributed to I\ll object possessed by
that persoll. This notion was developed into a transference of luok
from one object or person to another. So a Brahamin went to the
lDansion of Aniithapilldika, who from pO"crty had risen to be very rich.
He thought the rich man'sluok Wllll. in his wllite oock, and when he took
the fOlvl, tlte luck went to a jewel, and when thnt WIlS stolen the luck
went iuto a club and with the removnl of 1.he club it went into the rich
man's wife's head, so that the good luek could not be stolen. When
the Buddha heard about it he said: "Nowadays the good luck of Olie
mall does not go to another. Formerly, the luck belonging to those of
small wit went to the ..... ise."s
L I'UM"tam Jiil"k" 2. Niitha"iddhi Jiitam
3. K,jla.h",,,j Jr'il"l:,. 4. ..hil"k/cllat](l Jut"k"
5. l'luanl,..rIlJ,jlok" G. .M ainror" J,it"ka
'I, BraJunrJ-Jala 8.dl,.. 8. Sir; Jiitak(l

There were different methods of prognostication. A llmhamin ""ho
saw doLhes gnawed uya mouse thought: " Jf thesll clothes remain in
the hOllse they will bring ill-luck, and such SI\ ilI-owelled thing is sure to
bring a curse. 1
Two young men afwr their education were travelJil,g when they came
to Bennres. 1'hat day sOllle mOll thought of offerinl,! food to Brahnmills
aud seoing the YOlln~ lHen they brought them into the house where seat.,
were prepared. On one lleat a white cloth was spread, on the other a
red woollen rug. On seeing the omen, the friend who sat on the red
rug understood that Ilis friend who sat 011 the Beat with the white cloth
would be king, and that he would be thc cOlnmauder-in-chief. 2
PrognosticatioJls were also dono by reading the lineaments of the
body.3 :From the persollalappeanuJOe of a prince of Donares it was
known that he was to undergo groat danger.
Physiogllollly was the hasis fur rcading chnracter ami luck. 4 Guttila,
the royal musieill.ll, at the first sight of Mftsila knew him to be of ungrate-
ful disposition.
'felling fortwles with the aid of stars wns popu Inr. At the birth of a
child a certain Brahaminlooked up to the sky to divine his son's destiny.
Because tllC child was born under 0. certain conjullction of stll.rS the
father knolV that the boy would be the chief archer in all Jndia.'
A marriage was once prevented by Rn ascetic who was asked to name
an auspicious day. He answered that the stars were not favourable
and that the nuptials oug:ht not to be celebrated Oll that day, ll.nd that,
if they were, great misfortune would come of it. The Buddha taught
that it was the fools who wawhed for" lucky days". e
Fortune telling was a vulgnr prlletice. There were maJly women
fortune.tellers. 7 SceinK the futility of the practice the Buddha COII-
deDUled the following as low and vulgar:
"Palmistry. divining by means of omens and signs, auguries drawn
from thunderbolts and celestial potents, prognostication by int-crpretb'g
dreams, fortnne-telling from Illll.rks on the body, auguries from cloth
gnawed by mice, sacrifices to the god of Fire, oblations from special
spoons, making offerings of husks, grain, ghee ami oil to gods, throwing
mustard seed into the fire out of one's mouth RS a sacrifice, drawing
blood as a sacrifice, muttering charms and divining people to be lucky
l. M", 2. SOl1tlka .fatl7ka
3. Umflt{ldanJlti 4. G"Uifa Jii/ak,.
G. Sat~,bJw"g(, .!ii/aka 6. NaUhatla J olalr,.
7. Sa".","l" Ni1:riya

Hr tint, lldrrmining till' Ai/l' fur n 1101ISf' to he luc'ky or not, ndvisill~ on
t:ustmnBry riw.s, layill~ IlrllLOI1.'t in c!"metcrirs, laying: ~hoSt8, clmnns
used whcn lodgiuj! in n houllt', sllllk!" charminl!, poison emU, 8OOrpioll
cmrt, mouse-crdt, birtl-cm.ft, crow-craft, i.c" curing their bites or
undcrstanding their langlln~e or divining from their sounds, foretelling
the len~th of 1\ rmr8OI\'R lifl', Jl:i\'ing charms tu wnrd off arrO"·R and
IllldcrstnmlillfZ l!1(" lanp:lInp:e of nil crf'ature"","1
There werc also 1)C0llle who profcSllCd to foretell ecliJ'!'l("IJ of the SUII,
llloon or Iltars, fnll of IlIrlt'ors, rllrlhqllakcs lIm1 thunder, 8nd ahm
IlrctlietinJ{ more nr Irss rain, ~()od Iwrvcst or hnd II:ln'efl!, Iwslilellec or
hrnlth)' 8l.'nSOIlIl nlllltimrs uf pence or of distllrbnllce. 1:
Chnrms were used to mnke prol)Ie prosperous or "oor, nnd to make
them dcaf or dumb. III the Ilrnctice of magic it is sRid that magieinlls
were Bble to SpOilt forth flRmes from thrir 1ll0utlll'l, OmClllar BI\SWrrS
were obt.ained through magic mirrors or from p:odtl Ill' from girltl in
trances, Auspicio1l6 or lucky daYII were selected fm' Vo.riOll/l pUl'pose8
such us rtlnrriBge, cOlLchHlillK pence treut.ies, or 6t[lrtillg wars, cnllillg in
of debls ur i1\vestil1~ mOIll'y. Siri, tllC God of Lllck, tllletl often to be
invokcd. 3 Sacrifices Rnd VOW8 to p:ods were made before going on ;\
journcy or 6tartiJlp: nlly importllnt unl!rrt;\kin/!. Tra.dition says that
in thos(' days people, when ~oill~ on II journey 011 busineM, llsed to slay
livin,l( crcatul"Cll nnd offer t hcm as sacrifices to god8, IInd set out with
this vow: .. If we come bllck lIafely with success "'I" shall make another
sacrifice ", I Sacrifi('("s of Ilnimllls used to be macle at II feast called the
feast for tll(' deat!.
The disciples askrd the Buddha; "Just IIOW, Sir, the I~ople lire
kil1illJlIIIRnJ li,·ing erc.'lturr.'llllld are offering them RI, what is CAlled a
fCA.!It for the <lent!' CAll it. Im, Rir, thAt there illlllly good in it 1"
" No, disciples ", replied the MlI8tcr. .. Not ('veIl when life is taken
with the ohj('et, ..f "ro\'idillK B feast for the Ilead doell RIl)' good IIrill("
In KUladanla,Sutlu, the Blltltlhll rcferreJ to tlmt sacrifice whiclJ WIl8
done without killing or hnrm to Illlyone, At that sllcrifice neither were
Itll}' OXCI1 !llain, neither goats, 1101' fowls, nor flitted pigs, lIor were /1.IlY
kinds of livillg: creaturc" put to d('ath, No t.rec6 were Cllt down to be
I. 8rt1hmajcila Sll/la 2, IJrahmajtjla BUlla
3. Brohmajiila Bulla 4, Ayt,eilub1lollo Jiilaka
6. MolcdcabAatla J,jfoia

used as posts, no ' dabbho. ' lo!raS8eS wo\"en to strew Rround the sacri-
ficial spot. And the mental servllnt.s and mesS('lIgers antt workmen
there employed were driven neither by goads nor fear, nor carried on
their work weeping with tears upon their faces. Who so cho&e to
help, he worked, who SO chose not to bell', worked not; what each
chose to do, he did, what they choM! not to do, that was left undone.
With p;hee, and oil, alllt but.ter, and milk, and honey, and sugar only
WlUJ that SAcrifice accompli,hcd.
Then he explained what a real sacrifice is. When a wan with trusting
heart takes "lK1n himself the precepts-abstinence from destro)'ing
life; abstincncc from taking what has not beell given; abstinence
from evil conduct i/\ resped of unl8wful sensual plessureR ; abstinence
from intoxicants; that is " sacrifice better thall alms, gifts, ele.
The Buddhists had no fliith in divination, spells, omcns, natrology,
s80rifices to gods, witch-craft and <Iuackery, which were considered low
arts. 1
III tho days of tho J3udd ha there were ascetics and others wha believed
self-mortification to 00 a method ofBalvalioll. Some IlsceticslJreferred
to be llnked, others wore blankets or hides or coarse cloth woven from
hemp, or dresses made of the bark of trees, or of grass, or of feathers. 2
Solf-mortification IUI.d taken peculiar forms of depravity. There
were filth eaters, non-drillkc"" those who alwars stood up, rejecting
the Usfl of seats. Some would always sleep on one side, while others
would orouch down on their heels or sleep 011 thorny or spiky beds. s
It was a popular belief in those days that people posse8lled occult or
mystic l)C)wers. He who had such powers became multiform, from
being multiform he became one; from being visible he becamein"iaible;
he pall&ed without hindr8uce to the further side ofa wall or a battlement
or 11. mountain as if through air; he penetrated up fmd down through
solid ground AS if through waLer; he walked through water without
dividing it as if on solid groUJld; he travelled cr088legged through the
sky like birds on wing; he touched alld felt with the hand evcn Moon
and Sun, beings of mystic Jlower and potency though they be; he
rcached e,·en in the bo<ly Ill' the heaven of Brahma, made manifest the
heart and the feelings, the reasonings and thoughts of otherhldividuals. 4
1'he Buddha condellUlcd all such practices and pointed out the middle
path which is free from indulgence in sensuality and self-mortification.
I. JlilVlytl-Cullav&gl!'a V 2. KO.'~tlpa.
Sih""fid" Sldla
3. KfJJImpa Sihuatk 8.110 4. KnaddhaBul/CI



TUE STANDARDS and methods of education adopted at various epoch8

in a nation's history depend partly Oil the requirements of the times and
partly 011 the culture of the people. The system of education in
Buddhist nud pre-lluddllist India is sumeient to prove the high culture
of the time.
The Buddhist influence brought free education withill the rcaeh of
all. Wberever there was n residence of the monks or nuns (Bikkus
Bikkunees), there wns Ilrovision made for education of thOS6 who
lived near them.
In tlte Buddhist Unler two patlJs arc open to lllemheNl. Some under-
took to teach while leading the life of disciplille, wllile others devoted
most of tll(~ir time to IHcditation and /I1ellt~\f development.
Free schools began to be 0IKJlLed in almost e\'f'~y village, and for
higher or sJleeinfiscll education culture centres us resid~lltil1l1Jlliversitie8
wero opcned, of wlli~h Niifrmdii wns the most famulIll,
In pre·Buddhist IIHJia a learned man's qualification was his knowledgo
of the three Vedas. I\10st tenchers were described as masters ill the
Vedas. Pilldoln Bhiiruu\"aja wns learned in the three VedM amI was
a 8uceesaful teadll,r of tlte llralU\ll\in yOJJthR, also Tissa of HajngallR,
an expert in Vedll.s. taught hYllU\S to five hundred boys.'
The knowledge of the Vedns was an edlleational <Junlificatioll in
pre-Buddhist India. After the spread of Buddhism, scholarship began
to be gauged hy the knowledge of the 'l'hree "Pij;aka.s" (Buddhist
teachings). Hence people came to be known as the master of one or
more of the three" pit.akas".
'l'ripi~aka consists of :

I. Digha Nikiiya Long DiscoursclJ

2. Majjhima Nikiiya Middle Discourses
3. Saltyutla Nika.ya Kindred Sayings
4, Anguttara Nikiiya Qualitative (claS!lificd) DiscoutsCs
5. Kuddaka Nikiiya Smaller Collections

1. Thera G,ithii-Pindolll & TillSll

Tbe 5th illllltb-divided into:

(I) Kuddaka pli{a Short Texts

(b) Dhamma paJa Words of'fruth
(c) Udiina l~xclamatioJ1H of Joy
(d) Itivultaka, " Thus Said" Discoursos
6. Bulla Nipiita Collected Discourses
7. Vimatw. Valthu Treatise on Abodes
8. Pet(llIllUhu Treatiso 011 Spirits
9. Them Giitha Psalms of Brethren
10. Theri Ga/ha l'Sllhns of the Sist.ers
11. Jiitaka Birth Stories
12. Niddesa nX'lOsitiolls
13. Parisambhi,himagga .Path of Analytical Knowledge
14. A p(l(lana L;vos of ArnhantfJ
Hi. BuddhawlIf.nsa The 11 istory of the Buddhas
IG. Ch(/riyii-pi~aka ~Iodes of Conduct


I. PiiTiijik(i Piili Major Offences

2. Pa.ciaiY(l Piili Minor OffeJlces
3. Mahiivagga Piili Greater Sections
4. Cullavagga Pali Smaller Sections
5. Pariviim Pii!i gpit,omn of the Vinayll.


1. IJhalllma Sluigmtl Clallsificu.tion of Concepts

2. Vibhlulga The Book of Divisions
3. DlIiitukathii Diflcuss;oJl with Heference to
4.. Puggalapaffffatti Types of Individuals
5. KatMoot/hu Points of Controversy
6. Yamaka The Book of the Pairs
7. P(ll~hiina The Book of Relative Condition

'fhe principalmothod of instruction was by I'llying personal attention

to each pupil so that a teacher witb a great reputation attracted pupils
from even remote kingdoms. 'fakkasilii and Biir;i,llesi (Bcnares) were
cities noted for clevor teachers who trained their JlUllilllsucccssfully.

ACter the period of study under the supervision of the tcncher, as a.
part of thei r etlucatioll the students tra \'elled to gain experience. Here
is a typical descrip'tioll of n student:
" lie studied under a teacher of world-wide fame at Takkasilii. He
learned the three Vedas and the ei~hteell uranclles of knowledge.
After completing his eduCll.tion he came to AndhfHn country in search
of practicnl cxperience."!
Some keen students completed their studies under one teacher and
then went to others to fiud out whether they had anything more to
teach them. So Ufladdha Kumlalakesa in her thirst for knowledge
went wherever there were learned peolJle and learnt from them. 2
Children received their early education usually at home or in schools
near their hOlllcs. The rich werc aule to employ special private tutors
for their childrert. Heference to t.he custom is made in t.he following
"When thc rich llIan's SOlt wall being taught to write, the child of a
servtmt llsed to go with his young llI38ter's table!.'!, and he himself
learned to write at the same time."3
In large cities the Leachera of children had their schools Ilear the city
gates; for instance, StLbbuya had bis school by the city gaLe where he
gave lesaons to the children of noblemen and others. (
The following extracts from the Uecords of the Western World by a
Chinese traveller shows the state of cducation since the days of the
" To educate Dnd encourage the young they are first taught to
study the book of twelve challters.
" Afte( arriving at the age of Beven years and upwards, the young
are instructed in tho five Vidyns, Sastras of great importl1nce. The
first is called the elucidation of sounds (Sabdavidya). This treatise
explains and illustrates the agreement of words and it provides an
index for derivatives.
"The second is called Kiau-ming (Sitpasthiina-vidyii) ; it treats of
the arts, mechanics, explains the principles of the Yin and Yang and
the calendar.
"The third is called the medical treatise; it embraces formulae
for protection, accret charms, medical stones, acupuncture, and

1. BlIr"""~~1IQ: Jiilda 2. TJtera Oatha-Bha<ldo. Kundalakesa

3. KaJaMlm JiilQca 4. T"~ra G,ilJui
"The fom:th Vidyii is cntlcd the science of causes; its name is
derived from the charncter of the work, which relates to the determi-
nation of the true and the false, and reduced to their last terms the
definition of right and wrong.
" The fifth Vidyii. is called the science of" the interior" (Adhyiitma-
vidyii); it relates to the five vehicles, their causes and consequences,
and the subtle influences of these.
" ']'he teachers must thenuwlves have closely studied the deep and
secret principles they contain, and penetrated to their remotest
meaning. They then explain their general sense, and guide their
pupils in understandilJg the words which are difficult. They urge
them on f\nd Bkilfully conduct t.!1f'1lL. 'rhey f\dd lustre to their IJoor
knowledge and stimulat.e the dell/wlJ(lillg.
" For higher education youths wcnt to reside with a teacher of
, great fame', 1 or of 'world-witle fame'. 2 They had to take the
teaOhlll"S' fees with them, which were given as ' the first offering to
the guru·. Of sueh resident pupils some were free scholars' who
. attended 01\ their teacher by day, and at night they learn of him, but
those who brought a fee are treated as his sons in his house.'"
The poor students had at times to depend on public charity, for" in
those days the people of Benares used to give day by day food and
clothing to the poor lads and had them taught freo."(
Althougb pupils from different classes of society resided with their
teacher as comrados and friends, k. was not uncommon for them to be
rivals for the hand of tho teacher's daughter, who often became the
much coveted prize for schofarship and virtue of the pupil. 5
The teachers with n great reputation were able t.o charge higher fees,
for the rich paronts tried to get their children taught by them. .. A
brahamin after perfecting his education at Takkasilii. became a teacher
of world-wide fame in Benares. To him flocked, as PUIJils, young
nobles, and brahmins from all the rOYlll and wealthy families."Cl
The question that wa8 asked from a learned perwn was not what
his university was, but who his teacher was.
. Specialists in various bmnches of knowledge and in art8 where
practical skill was necessary took pupils as apprentices. In some cases
knowledge was handed down secretly from teacher to pupil. This
1. Ko.tiya Jatai:tJ. 2. BMma-le"",Jatoka
3. Ti/a MmthiJataka 4. LO$aN Jiitalm
11. 8ilavirnaMana Jiitoi:tJ. 6. l;rMiya Jataka

prncticf', tllollgh it m:vle /WlIle type of knowletlge tlJe exclusive right
of n chO,~t'll few, yet createtl an emotional reverellCf' for the tf'lldlCr by
his pupir~. Hence the tCllcheJ1! wcre helll in gre1lt csteem and were
honoured :t.s one's OWll parellt.s.
The duties of thc pupils t.owards t.hcil' teachel's were, rising frolll their
seats in salutation, waiting UI'011 thew being el\g1't to learn, paying
:ltklltion when they were taught lU1I1 rcnd/·ring pcrsonal service.
The duties of the teacher... were to love their pupils, to find out
what pupils did not how, to perfect the knowlege wnich they already
posses.'>Cd, not to hide knowledge frorn IHlpils. to praise thcir good
qualities !lolld to provide for their snfety. I
Under strict diseipline and personal guidrl.l1ce of a teacher, some
pupils eompletcd their education quicker than otbers. As Il. rule the
preliminary edUclltioll before a student began to specialise, had to be
completed before sixteen years of nge.
Prince Siddhilrtlm had received his education before he was sixteen.
Another prince completed his education at the age of sixken. 2 A
brahsmin of sixteen WRS well verood in the vetlRR. 3 When n youth uf
sixteen, versed in the vedas, was rebuked for interrullting the elderR in
n conversation witbout wnitiJlg for his turn, one of the elders remarked:
"Do not rebuke him. lie comes from good parents, is well-informed,
a good 8penkcr Rnd a scholar who is quite able to hold his own in the
discussion. ".
The return ofa child after his education was looked forward to witlJ
delight by his pnrents. "When Janasandha, the SOil of the King of
lknares, eame of age and returned from TRkkasila where he had been
educated in nil accomplishments, tile Ring gave n general pardoll to all
The subjects for IItudy val'ied nceorJing to the course followed by
Mch pupil. Ancient Indian classics refer to wcll·edueated persons as
posscssors or the eighteen accolllplishments. & Also the epithet " master
of the sixty-four arts and seiences " is not uncommon. (See AppendiJ().
The general subjects fur study can be gathered from the description
of learned Illell of I.hose du)'s : " Brahmaya was versed ill all vedas,
he was perfect in the ritual with the glo,.~cs thcr(,ull, in phonology 1l.Ild
in etymology, with lJistory as a fifth branch; he knew cJ(egesis and was
I. SifJii/Ovrida 8hlla 2. MaM 81Iat~' J,;tn.b.
3. Aualiiyan" SlI1la 4. Canki81lU{I
5. J"nawnda J(jlnfw 6. "'aM Vllalftntapiil" .ljj/"iLl
I. }Jr"hm(;yu 8"11,, 2. O""ak" Mog'J"IIii"" S,lIla
3. G"N,,1-,. Af"'J'J"lla"" 8ul/(l 4. Udiill",-~,,"rl...
6. C"nH Sull,. 6. An!lwUartJ !l'it!iy" II-XIV
7. 7'lIt'raGatltd-Pind6Ia Ilhiira(hiij", 8. TA!ra GiiJhd-Itahllo
9. TMri Olilltd-DhlLmma J)illnA IQ T""ri GiilM-SukkA
J I. 7'lkri G6tM-Nllnduttarii. 12. Tlkri Golllo-BhAdd" Kun41111lkClm

enjoy a good delJat.e. 1 The intf'rest tnkell by thel'e0l'le in debll(,cs and
public llpf'lIking hll.t1ll.lrCll.\1 y made rlwtOl'ic nut! d iale<:tics pOpUhlf. 2
The wRud"ring toncher!'! know" as the Prauiijikl\ll were in sOllle wayg
like the Greck ~Illlist.s. 'I'he ncquisition of kno ..... ledge and .qkill ill arts
cea!'led to UP. the objects of cd llcation .....ith the introduct,iOll of new modell
of life originated hy t.he IlifTllrcnt tenf'llerll. The _Buddha taught the
imJlortance of the culture of the mind. I-le amI his fol!ow('rll Illld Il
followiJlg in I}\'cry part of f.lle cuuntry wlliclt tlt\\y viAitcd. 'the resi·
dences built fllr them in different IJlll.ces became gcats of learning.
Unlike the teachers who used to charge fees for instfuctioll, 1.110 Buddhist
cultural institutions were opened free for all willing students. BuddhislJl
introduced a free general educatiOllal system to India. The succells of
tho system WM ll.lJsured by the fnct thnt the t.enchers did their work for
the love of it and Jlot for gRill. Side by side rose lip the n\Ona8teries or
residences for women Buddhists who devoted themselves cutirely to
the lieW oulture. Female education became as popular and equally
general as the eduoation of the males. Not only in India, but e\'en in
o~ber cowltries where Buddhism was introduced, male Rnd female
education developed.
The method of the Buddhist teacher was the direct tfaiJling of the
pupil's mind and the de\'elopmen~ of his character. Correct thinking
and right understanding were highly valued, it being the object of the
teacher to bring out the llighest Jlowers latent in the individual so that
he might attain to perfection and enlightenment. This system of
training was known as the" eight-featured method of the cultured."3
Cultivation of the memory wl\.8 an eS!Wlltill.! part of the education for
it was considered the safe1lt mode of carrying knowledge. Although
there were books in form of malluscripts, yet the students preferred to
trust to their memories Rnd they were able to recite the very words of
their teachers 011 any subject of importance. There were students who
were able to recite nil the teachirlgs of t.he Buddllll.. 4
.With the IIllre[l{1 of Lhuhlhist culture, the tendenoy was to bring
learning within the reach of all, irresJlecti\'e of c1a8ll or creed. J~very
resilience of 1.11\\ BUlldhist mOll ks became not only a cu1tuml centre, but
s school, for in each residence there was 11. lecture hall for Ilreaching to
the public. The disciples of the Bmhlhll. readily instructcd thO/1e who
came to them lInd cleared their doubt,'i and difficultiell.

I. 0"1,, S=1:" Stlll" 2. Them Gall\(i-l'unnllo

3. A,iyo AI/"ng;ko Moggo 4. 7'h~r" GiilM-Suhem/lnta

'fhe women disciples followed the 8IIme COUfsc I\.S the men and made
female education popular. The Kprcad ofeducation led to the establish-
ment of Buddhist uJlin~rsities in countries int-o which Buddhism waa
introduced. The allcient university of Nilandi, with itsleetu~ halls
and large buildings, had ten thousand students residing there.
new~lIl1ell of hundredll of villAges were used to endow the uni,'ersity.
Nillmdi became the home of atudentll, logici3Jls, philosophers, poet-a
anti artistll.
A Chinese pilgrim gives an account of a great statue of the Buddha.
at Nilandi. He also mentions that he found an artist painting a
picture of MetteY:rl\. Buddhn (the Ilext Buddha).
Like Nilandli, many universities sprang up in different part.fl of India.
The Univel1lity ofVikramasilli on the Ganges was one of them. Other
countries got tenchers frOIll the univer8itie8 of great reputation. Into
those /!Cats of learning aud cu llure, IItudents flocked from China, Japan,
Cambodia, Greece, Tibet, CoylOll, Burma, SiaDl and many other parts
of t110 world.
The universitiell gradually lost their influence due to Hindu persoou-
tions to disestablish Buddhism, And the ruthless intolerance of the
invaders destroyed the institlltiolls that once moulded character and
regulated life in India.

QUA"TP'lt ·1'1I1ItTP.~:N


Tu'" KXISTfl:NCP. of literature in a COl1lllUlIllty is the mark of the tYlle of

culturnllJrogrells in thut community. TllC standard of literature ill a
reflection of the standard of culture. Before any klnd of literature can
00 produced the 8rt nfexprellsioll has to be developed. In the Buddha's
day, although great !!cholurs dopcnded on thrir memories, wl'iting
had "IRO been IIsetllls a means of recording thought.
T.&tter-writillg WIl8 well·kllowJl ill anriellt. Imlia. 'J'here are IJIAIlY
references to the practice ill the Buddllist scriptures. For instance.
" Isidll.tta and Citta bocame friend!! through corre!!jlondenee, although
they had not metcach othcr ". Oitta wrote to himabout the excellence
of tho Buddha. and sellt. t.o him RIL account or tho Bll{hlha's tOllohillg. 1
The noblemun, AnnUm Pil.ll;likli, had a lHerrhunt fricnd whom hc knew
through correRpundcncr. 2 Letters used to be carried frolU onc person
to another by I1If'ssellgcl"l!. Bin18 wrro 1I0mctimes employed to carry
letters. s
The use of writing in daily lire lIluSt ha\'e !>cen a recognised fact, for
children IIsOlI to be taught t.o write.
"A 1l0hlemalL's son and Il. sernl1\t-girl's lion weT(} born on the same
day in the nobleman's house. When tho nobleman's son \\'118 boing
taught to write. the llerv/l,nt'ssoll used to go with his master's tablets
and so learned at the s,'\lI1e time to write. When he grew up he was
employed flII ll. private secretary. He wrote Il. letter to a merchant
friond of the noblolllaJl, rooomllvmJing hilllllfllf. 'l.'116 lottor was 8Cfl.led
with hiSllllI.tcr's private SCll.I."4
The cmployment. of secrotn ries, scri bes and clerks, shows the common
lIse of writillg. Owing to the pressure of work in the residence of the
Buddha's disciples lit Jetawma, ll. clerk Wll.S appointed to allot tu
oitil,eJlII the various days for accepted invitntiolllJ. 6
The work Hf scribes or clerks was rol1owcd as a profession. The
)lBrcnUJ or 8 child in ehoo:>illg all occupation for thoir Ron dirlnot wish
to train hilllas "a writer for writing 1','011111 make Ilis lingers sore ".8
I. T!I~"fl
(l!iJ!li-S"hcrn:lnh. 2. Abll"nnt<.!ii1Ilko.
3. Kmtlami .I,ital",. 4. I«(JfI/"haka .},il"h•.
!i. K'Ud,d;.I' f\urr!li Sin1mI'R ."ilak". 6. Vi""'yll-M"llii. \'1I~gn.

A clerk must. 1Ia\'e had" p;rcllt. deal to do if it wall generally believed
that their fingers Rchcd through work. There is al80 a reference to
" yOIUlg mell who eamed their living all clorks of the signet, of account
compute", and as e8tate agt'nt8."!
The writing was generall)' done on ola leaves, which, like p"pyrus,
lasted for centuries, or on tablet3 or on meLaI plates. Hoyal procla.
mations and publio edict8 were inscribed on metal plal.ell or on rocks,
or on stone slab8 or stone columllll.!
The 8Criptutes give clear evidence of the materials usOO. for writing.
III ono plaoo it is writWn, .. J will compo86 a vel'llC of poetry ami write
it. on all ola leaf".' In another place we read, "The king IlCnt him the
liff' of the Buddha on a painted pnnel, and thc conditioncd gCJlcsis on a
gold plate especially in8Cribed.'·4
Writing must have boen 101lg in lIse Ilrior to the Buddhist ero., for
during the days of the Duddha there WIl8 literature. The Buddhist
soripturos mnko roforollOO to liternturo Ilrodllcod nt 80ntl of 10fl.rlling'
Iluch 8S Takkasila. 5 Not only do thc J3uddhistscriptureslllake mention
of bookB, but the scripturos tholllselves were writton in thc form of
bookB, divided into ehapteltl.
Tho following quotation from the Records of the Western World hy
Cl Chinese traveller shows that writing was popular ?o·hen he visited

lndia :
" The letters of their alphllbetwere arranged by Drahmadevll and
their forms have been handed down from the 61t1t till no"",. They are in number. . .. ftliddlo India Ilreserve8 the original
character of the language in its integrity. Hem the Jlronunciation
ill &oft and agreeable and like the language of the Deva.s. The
prolllUlciation of the words ill clea r and pure and fit as a model for all
U With respect to the record of e\'entll, each province has its own
ollicial for preserving them in writing. The rceonl of thclIe events in
their full character is called Ni-lo-yi-cha. III these records aro
mentioned good alltl evil eventll wit,h calamities II.nd fortunate

I. Malta /)1l1tAJ:" K"'mdh SuJllI. 2. A~vka f.'did~.

3. NfldiJiilak".
l'HflRlI 4. 1'Atm OiitM-Til58ll.
6. 8flkk" P,,,.,,,.

To written or memorised doctrines Wl're g-Ioslles illld eOlJlITl<'lllllril'S.
" Bralmu\ ", for instllllce, " was well versed ill all tbree \'cdas. He was
aecompli;,hed ill the ritUll1 wit.h glosses thereoJl in phonology and in
etymolog-y, with history liS n fifth hmndl."l
It. seems that even the ancicnt lawyers could Hot do without their
books of referCIICC, as suggested by the following passage:
"lie causell a book of jl1dgmentfl to he written and said: ' By
observing this hook you should settle flllits '."2
The de\'elopmellt as wellns the decay of a language takes place by
certain marked stages. The language of the Buddha was M,agadhi now
known as Pali. J\Iagllllhi was often spoken of ill the writings
as the first or the originallnnguage. At that time the lallguage of tlle
vcdas had already oocome classical. Judging from the resemblance of
wordB, there is good reason to believe Magadhi to be tho language of
the people of Magadha, i.e., " Magadesha Basha, Pali Basha. " or the
language of the Brahmas. Pali language is the original language.
And "S311skrit" is derived from it.S The development of the ISllguage
can also be judged from the rules and set forms of composition both in
prose and verse. In the study of the l'angusge it was considered
essential to learn rhythm and metr!.', grammar, style, philology, analysis
of words and the figurcs of speech. 4
The various forms of composition used in the Buddhist scriptures are
classified as " sermons in prose, sermons i 11 prose and verse, expositioll8,
hymns, solemn sayings, maxims, stories of re-births, accounts of the
super-normal and long or short discourses. s
Poetry was much appreciated ill those days. Vcrsification had
become pOl'utar and even fashionable. Its free ose Wl\8 the mark of
culture and learning. On formal occasion.'J questioJl.'J used to be asked
in verse to which a ready answer should also he given ill verse. Distin-
gu;shell persons were greeled and prailled in songs often sungtomusic.
Also, OIl festive occasions, or for the celehration of great eVl\nt.'J, sl}Ccinl
versesllsPl! to he composed. 'flw high estecm in whieh poetry was held
'Can be gathered from the controversy which arose as to which was the
greatest of the art.'l, when some maintained that there was no art
greater thul1 IlOetry."
I. BrI;Jhmoya Sulla. 2. 'l'un4il/. Jiitako.
3. Oldenberg's Poli Didio'1lary 1'1llroom:1ion.
<t. (,'Iu"uw. l"ya1arI;J'1l/I ••hJlhi~. SikkJ. Nindhi and Auuihira.
5. A tlgultarl;J 11, XIX Navli,gallofthe Uruid/i{, R""Q"I1.
6. Ud/i"a-Nallda.
Composit.iolls offamOllS poets used to be learnt and sung or recited in
public. It was not uncommon for a person to burst forth into songs of
jo)" after:J, great achie\·ement. For instance, there are the songs of the
disciples or the Huud ha, sung at the attainment or enliglltenmeJlt. 1
The lady Visnka expressed her joy in song, to the surprise of her
children llnd grand-children, at the opening ceremony of Pubba Rama,
the magnificcnt residence which she caused to be built for the Buddha
aud his disciples.!
Such songs, often in the form of ballads, were attempts atexprell6ions
Qf joy. They were used also to exp"fess the lbeling of love, fpith and
sorrow. They serve as a mirror to life, wherein the sufTerings involved
ill life and the deliverance from 8uch 8ufferings, are shown. These songs
are remarkable for thei'r simplicity of style, spontaneity in diction and
directness of appeal to the emotions. The metre was often selected to
suit the theme. In most ballads there are refrains which are oft-en
repeated with variations. In the .Buddhist scriptures themselves there
Me various types of metre which the poets have adopted to suit their
themes. 'l'he ease with which the philosophic thong}lt in Buddhism was
versified was remarkable. The didact.ic element ill poetry is prominent
in the ethical part or the doctrine.
Indian didactic poetry was brought to perfection in the choice of
words and thoughts in the telling coulllets which are found scattered in
the Buddhist scriptures. Dhammapada (the words of Truth) is a book
of Buddha's maxims in verse.
The tragic element in the renunciation or in tbe emphasis given to the
sorrows ofHfe is relieved by the joy oC enlightenment and the perfection
of life which is free frolllall suffering.
The poct's imnginRtion was not restricted to religion alld philosophy
alone. For the boauty of nature, or of the human form, or tender
affections and emotions have not escapl'd his notice. Once IL king
ad"ertised the beauty of his dRughter by the poets to sing of
her beauty.'
The heights of l)octic imagination can be j mlged from the accounts of
the four who visited heaven and returned ill their human form. Of
these, three were kings, namely, Mapamnndathu, Nimi and SAdhina.
'1'ho befit account of heaven is that givell hy the mnsician Guttiln, after
his perrormance amongllt the gods and goddesses.
I. Tltc-aGiilluillml Th~iGt1lM. 2. Dhmnmapaoo Af{ft.akathd-Visiki.
3. ..llah,; Umagga Jii.l«J,:u.

The intelleetualislll and rationalism of the Buddhists pervaded their
liternturl'. The poets who Sllllg of the beauty of the human figure or
of tho plr-asures of life rarely forgot to conclude their songs by showing
the impermanl\lley and tile of human plensurcs, thereby
suggesting that what one should strive to enjoy is beauty and hll.ppineS6
of mind.
III the lll't of ComlJTc8sin~ their thonght8 into 11 minimum of words,
the Bllddlii~t poets will hllve few rivals. This is OIl!Y possible when a
language is developetlllntl wllell writillg IIlIS become nn art. The best
examlllcs of compressed style Me evident ill the lllaxims and couplet8. 1
The lllasterl.y mllllller in which the" bleB8illgs or things worthy of being
rejoiced at" are summarised ill Mahamangala Suffa, calUlOt fail to rouse
the admirat,ion of allY lover of the compre88Cd style.
The art of story-telling, both ill prolie and in verse, were well known
in India during the days of Ule Buddha. The Buddhist writers deve-
loped that art llml the standard to which it IHIS been fIIise(l by them can
be judged frolU the Jii.takn stories.
Ah~o, both ill poetry alld ill prose, writ.ers have Il0t neglected Iloetic
justice. 'rhe IlUnishment of the \'il1ain and the triumph of the hero
were looked upon liS u part of a writer'l\ duty. In this way, hn}lpy
endings arc given to stories, for oven the innocent who suffers from the
tyrallny of the villllin is born llgtlill in better conditions, while the
villain is showll to sulTer for his WfOllg deeds. Hcnce in Buddhist
literal,ure there arc no tragic ends to fltories.
An ;mportsl\t evidence of the dcvclollmcnt of the language is the use
of myths as such. During the days of the Buddha there were the
traditional myths which the Buddhist writ.ers made use of just as the
modem writers in European literature mak!"! use of the allcient Greek
or Reman myths. The mytlls about gods and i1upernatuml beings
were used by the Buddhist writf'rs for oTllament or other poetical
devices, or e\'ell for Innnour.
Bright and cheerful are the characters lIud incidents COllnected with
gods (devIlS) in Buddhist literature. Sakka was the King of the Gods.
He could in a moment thillk of or sce 1I thousand matters, hence he was
called the" Thousand·eyed ". By his marriage with the Asura maiden
SUjll, he carlLf'd tho nllllle of SlIjallljlathi. It \\'llll after the war hetwceJl
the Gods and the ASllrlll\ (a type ofTitfillS) tlHlt Sakka CRme into power.
'fo prevent the Asuras from coming back to hellven, Sa kka set 1\ five-folll
I. Dltammopada.

guard with serpents (nagas), vultures (gurulas), spirita (kumbhandas),
goblins and the four great guardian gods of the fo-ur comera of the
On his triumphant. return from that war, he built Vijayanta, the
palaoe of Victory, .. which hlUl a hundred towers, each with seven
hundred high storeys, and in each storey there am Be,'cn hundred
godd68llC8, each with 86ven attf'ndantll ".1 The palaces in heaven were
built by Visvakamma, the architect of the godB, who at Sakka's bidding
came down to earth to ('rect BI)f!(lial buildings.! Sakka presidcll at the
aMembly of tbe gods, which consisl.Jl of thirty-three other gods. As the
King ofOods sits on his throne in all his glory, the throne begins to get
warm and uncomfortable whenever II good IllAn is in trouble. So
SakkR, taking the human form, COlllell down to earth in order to help
the good or to save them from danger. When a roynllllllsieian, a good
old !nan, was challenged by hill pupil to 0. contest, tllereby trying to
doprive him of his sCfvice with I,he king, tIle old mall in despair went
into the wilderness; Sakka appeared to him IInd promised help. At
the contest Sakka, with n host of ~ods and goddesses was IJrCsent and
nine hundred of the gOtldCKBes dancc(l to the music of the old musician
.and helped him to win the contest.-
At the request of thf' J[Olltlf'II8C8, the musician wallllllbklJlIl'ntly tDkCll
alive to hea\'en by Matsli,thc divine chariotier, who drove the chariot
to which WI\3 yoked a thousand milk-white horses. 4 Them he played
the' vena' better than the celC8bial musician, Panchasika.'
The clever treatment of the mythA about Sakka ifl evident. from the
manner in which tl,e Buddhists represented the King ofthe Godfl. lie
was considered inferior to the perfectly enlightened man. So we fmd
Sakka worshipping the Buddha in the ea"e of Indra'f1 pi-tree.· J\lso
011 the Buddha's visit to King Bimbisara Ilt Rajagflha, Snkka all8umed

the "PI)C3rallce of " handsome young mall and went in front of the
proce88ion singing the praise of the Buddha. 7 Tb is clearly show8 that
at the time there was the custom of impersollllting tho Rnciellt gods by
people in fancy costume oJlsuch oceasiollll 3S processioll8.
By the time of the Buddha, the" thrico eleven " gods, of whom
olovcrl were of cartll, sky ami wntor, hud hccollle mythical or symbolical
I. Cula '1'/luh/l 8/1nklu1ya S'1l1p.
3. Gttllikl Jiilafw.
5. IJi/cri KCHiytl Jilld/l.
7. Vi"lI",V(II(13).

chnrnct.ers. Yet at t.ho.t time ~ome people hao fait.h in Indra, Agni,
Varuml. nnd t.he SUlI Deity, so tl1nt offerings t.o t.h('Ul were not
Buddha tnught tlHl.t. the gods were and subject to sulTcring.
When ilnkn, the Brnhma god, had erroneous notions of permanency
and immortality, the BlIIJdha helped the godll to cllRnge their views. 1
Also, the Buddha pointetl out that according to the very teachings
about gods, they wore represented as not ouly having IHIJl\RJ\ frailties,
but evel1 as being debauched by pleasure, or illlTlind, or as ullcollscious
boings. 2
To lIlallY premiling ideas at the time the Buddha gave lIew and
original meanings. One of these was the extension of the conception
of god (deva) to human beings of noble character ami enlightenlllent.
So, according to the Buddha, a "superman" is a. god.' J1Ist llll the
good and the virtuous were called gods, so the devil and the wicked
were termed devils (yakkas).
Bven Rome beings of other worlds arc spoken of as gods, for instance,
ill onc place we relit! " the gods of tell thousand IIpheres were gathered
AUlOng the mythical df'ities were the gods of fire, water, earth, air
and clouds, lino the Hrahmas, the IJhulldharvss and the Miirss. 5
The poets IlIHI the creators of mythll had givenllllllies for the celestial
abodes, of which tJlere were six,8 besides the Bruhllla worlds. Corres-
ponding to the worldfl of enjoyment there were the places of torture
fl.llllsuffcring of which there were eight ~reat 011es. 7 In the heavens
there w,'re fi\'e trr'~1l of wOllderfull'0wrrs. Oue nftllf'lli named KlIlpa-
vurkshaYll yields whatever Olle wishes.
Thc descriptiolls of the worltls of torture ure full of horrors. As in
most myths, A\,jchi, hell was gUllrded by dogs. "'1'wo dogs, Sabals
and S£l.Illll, of enormous 8i:>;o, mighty lIllO strong, bite with their iron
teet,h those who arc driven hf'l1ce. s
The devils were 1I0t confined to t.heir own worlds. Some of them
inhabited the eart.h. I\lrl ra, the E\·i lOne, wafl rf'prescnted 3S the mighty
l. SPllyNlfo YI_Brahma Suttll
3. AmM'1I'
6. Alpha SIMlliidfl Sulla.
7. (p) Sr>ttjir:aya. (b) K(Jlp~llIlhray".
(cl S'"'!lha1h(ly''' (") 'l'rn'p<lya.
(.) f'ml1wJI(lya. (J) R(Ju,,"aWy(J.
(gl ,I[(JMm't:raraya. (h) Avichiya. 8.

king and leader of the devils. He had his host of followers who could
take monstrous forms and shapes to frighten folk from their good
undertakings. They occasio.\alty created showers of dreadful and
noxious things to harm those who did not give in to them.
Mara came with his ten-fold army to prevent the Buddha from
attaining to enlightenment. Among Ilia army were those who had
taken the form of Gods of Death, of devils, of great devils, l?f vultures,
or serpoll~, of quadrupeds, of goblins, of human beings and of Titans.
Tbe Buddha ronted Rlld overcame them with the aid of his ono of
the ten Sublime Virtues; The ten Virtues are: Virtue of Benevolence;
Right Conduct; UellUllciatioll; Virtue of Truth; Wisdom; Virtue
of Strenuous Effort; !latience ; Determination; Univeraal Love; and
Virtue of Impartiality. The defeated Miira returned home dejected and
disappointed, when his three beautiful daughters, the embodiment of
sensual pleasure, tried in vain to conquer where their mighty father
failed. The story of Mara is all excellent example of Buddhist allegory.
']'his blending of myths with personifications of abstract ideas has
given a special charm to the ancient Indian literature. The use of
other figures of speech as similies and metaphors, Iluns, allegories,
parables and proverbs was cnrrent in Bllddllist literature.
The figure of the chariot in the following passage is a typical example
of a literary dovice :
"Thy body is called 1I. chariot, swift and provided with the mind
as a charioteer, ImviJlg the abstinence from all iIljury as its axle,
liberality as its covering, a careful walk with tJle feet as tbe circum-
ference of the wheel, a careful handling with tllO hands RS the sMe of
the carriage, watchfulness over the helly is tIle name of the wheel,
watchfulness over the tong1le is the l'rcvelltioJI of the wheel's mttliJlg.
Its llllrts are all complete through truthful speech, it is well fastened
together by the absence ofslander, its frame is allSffiooth with friendly
words and joined well with well·measured speech; well constructed
with faith Itud the absence of coveteousDess, with tlle respectful
salutation of humility as tbe earriltge-pole, witb the shaft of gentle-
ness and meekness, with the rope of self-re8traint, according to the
five moral prece}Jts, and the key of absence of anger . . . . having
humble speech as the thong, and with absence of vainglory as the
yoke, with the cushion of unattachcd thoughts, following wisdom and
free from lust,-Iet memory be thy goad, and the ready application:

of firnlllll88 thy rein" ; 11lillJ I'unmcs the path uf IIelf-contrul with it,.,
Bteod!!, all equally trnincd, desire and lust arc all c\'ill'ath, lHlt sclf-
control is tho straight ['oad. As the RtI:cd r.l"hclI along after forms
amI sounch and smells, intellect IlseS the 8CO\lrgc al\t\ the mind the
c\llniotecr." \
Umldhist writings MO remarkable for the careful arrangement of
thought, for tlte application of the logicnl methods, and the cOIDJJrcssion
of Lhought. '1'110 repetition8 that occur are for li(;(-rnry rfract. l~ na-m~
pbules ~jICY arc used as refrains to songs while ill other plnccs it is done
for cl1lphn.~i8. '1'110 atlnptillll of the language to exprClIS philo8o])hy in
verso is clever and is only pos.~iblc where the philosoph<'r bad become
the literary artist.
'rile charm or the dl:scriplivp, 1'1l.'t'mges in the scriptnres is the vivid
imageT)' cTeated by thelll. The IIpirit that pervades the J3udllhist
lIeriptuTe8 makeR tlte lit",rntuTe (lUTe and in.~pirillg.



A high standard ill line arts signifies a high standard of eulturc. It is

not p088ible to eonceive of the existence of clever arti8ts among people
who are mentally not evolved enough to produce works of merit. The
moro uncultured a nation is the more crude is the mode of life of the
people. ']'ho mode of life and the experiences gradually develop the
aesthetic SOllse which ultimately finds its l'Xprc88ioJl in art. Hence it
eall be concluded that the more cultured a natiOll iM the more refined is
its art. This conclusion is supported by facts which can be shown by a
comparillon of the nr't of different JHltiolls. Also ill the Ramc nation at
different periods Itll literature and art have 111'11 !l1lt1 dowJls according to
the riso or fall of the culture of l.he people. The history of Indian art
alTord!l an excellent eXllmple to illustrate thi!l fact. India in the days
of the Buddha had talented artists, but with the dcterioration of the
people her beautiful art disappeared as in the case of ancient Greecc.


MU!lic hall boen very pOllular in Buddhi!lt Jndia. It was practised

both IlS llU accomplishment and a8 a profession. The uudue devotion
tu it engrossed the millds of most pocple that the Buddha had to make
IT. precept for the members of his order to refrain from it. '1.'0 the rich
musie was a fashionable IUltury. They were sent to bed with music
anti were awakened by it. At their lIleals. or even when they travelled
about they took their musicians to entertain them on the way.
l\hlsie wa.s rarely misscd at festivo occasions, at proees!liolls, at
marriages and at fuueral!l. It was also customary for the strangers
who sought entertainment to inquire (or the musicians and to pay to
hear them.! AI!lo, the public musical contesta show the interest people
had in mU!lie.
Certain pllssages ill the scriptures show that the people's ears were
trailled to appreciate good lUu!lic. III speaking o( the music of the lyre
it was said, " the sound of your strings so harmonise with thllt of your
song, and the sound of your voice with that of the string!l that your
I. Gllllj{1I .Tafaka.

lyre (Ioe~ lIot ton l1luch cnlnur your WlIlg, nor your SOIIg: too IlIllch colour
your llhly"} '1'0 tuue nn iustrnllwut hefore playi1lg WIlS the usual thing,
for" when the lItrings were too mucll stretched or when they were loose,
R strillgell instrument waSJlot to be Jllayed upon".2 The high technical
skill of thosc ancicnt musicians cnn Vc judged from the fact that in a
musical contest the two contcstant.'" werc ablc to produce thc nccessary
tOIlCS from one strill/! after hreaking the otber strings onc by 011C.'
The Jlo(lulnr instruments were vClla (a stringed infltnnnent), lute,
I\ule, tabor, drum ami COl\c\\. 11\ OtcheBtral am\ band. U\U'i>\C w\\ic\\ \1'::\8
~h)'cl.\QI\ ~cBt\\'C OCCaB\O\\B \\\\1\ \ltQceBBiO\\B, \'\\ete mu'i\\' \,w\'e been o\:'\:iet
instruments. Both mell (Lnt! women had then taken up music as a
profession. Therc wore professional conchblowers 4 lInd drummers.5
Music had been a chief 1I0urce of pleasure to the riclt 80 they employed
well trained girls to play the vena, lnte, tabor, drum and such instru-
ments at their residellces. e
Singing was even OlQrc popular titan thc music of the instruments.
Expression of cmotion was not its only use. Songs of praise Illld been
sung on spccial occasions 8S coronations and weddiugs, fUllerals and
important meetings.

Throughout the ages dancing wall a pOl)ular al·t ill India. '1'rained
artists danccd, sang or rccited at pu blic festivals. 7 Javclin dancers and
acrobats amuscd the crowds.8 Dancing for private entertailllnent was
usually done on sJ1ecinl carpets then known as "carpets for dancing".1I
Jt was customary for melL and women to dance together.
In the prindpal citio8 at that time there w{:re girls noted for their
dancing, singing ami playing Oil the vena. They gavc perforwllllccs for
whieh they oharged exorbitant prices. Public attelltion attracted b}'
those young womell was somewhat silllilar to that of modern film stars
and actrcsses. Ambapali of Vesali was the IIIOSt well known. She was
"gifted with the highest heauty of complexion, well versed in dancing,
singing and playing 011 the vena ".10 Through her the city of Vcsali is
supposed to have become more and more fiourislling. At Rajago.l18
the famous danccr a.nd musicillll was Siilavati, who rivalled Ambapali
both in bca.uty and in the practice of her art. Among the actors
l. Sa/rka Paillla Sulla. 2. Vina.'1a-Mahli. Vagga. V.
3. Gut/ita JiHalm. 4. Sam1:lwohanwllaJiita1:a.
5. Bheri~-ada Jatah!. 6. l'inaya-llIahA. Vagga I
7. TheTa GatAii-Vfl.jji PlIU.a. 8. Dubbaca;a.
9. Vinaya-Mahii. Vagga. V. 10. I'inaya-Mahi V"gga VIll.

TiiJaputa had 1'0'011 grent renown. He came from an l~ctor'8 family of
Rajagahll.. 'I'hrough IliB early trninillg he became very proficient in
theatrical jlCrfOflrLnllccs. "His famc WCJlt tllrollghollt the lengtb and
brell.Jth of India. I-le wns the leader of fL comllllJlY of actors which
cOJlsisted (If 50u women. Wit,h great splendour he tlisplayed his
dramatio skill."]
The absence of dramatic compo!litions makes it difficult to conceive
the nature of tile drunH~ of the times. 'l'IJC few facts blown about it are
that at the theatrical performances there were dallcing, music, singing
and recitations, that the actors had special costumes and the stage
which WRS oarpeted and gorgeously deoorated was ill the centre of the
In Buddhist India painting and sculpture were developed arts. The
refcreneeB to them in the Buddhist soriptures indicate tllat a high
standard was reaehed by the ancient artists. Buddhist ruins and
archaeological discoveries add lllore evidence to the references in
scriptures. Thcre had been a class of artists who copied the hunian
figure with care and exactness. Tile' imagination had not failed
to conceive and represent the perfect forms of beauty which when
generally accepted became the standard of beauty. So we fmd in the
scriptures illStnnces wllCre the figures of mcn and women wero compared
to stl~tues of perfect form and figure. A young man was described to
be "like a golden statuo of exquisite workmansllip".2 King KII8a
mado n. draped imnge of a princess wllich resembled her so much that
her llurse mistook it to be the very princess.' Also, a Brahamin named
Pippali l\lanawaka who later was known as Maha Kassapa, a disciple
of the .Buddha, made a gold statue wJlich was the exact image of a
lxmutiful maidon} These refcrences suggest that the artists' concep-
tions of beautiful figures Jmd thcir living counterparts.
The Gandhara School of l~rt shows that the ancient Indian sculptors
like the Greeks lmd attempted to copy the hUUJan form closely. The
resemblance between the two schools is so marked that some art critics
believe that one school had influenced the other. 1f in language and
philosophy tlte Greeks were influenced by the ancient lnuians it is most
probable that the ancient Indian art influenced the ancient Greek art.
I. TMra Giitha-Tilllputtll. 2. Samidd!liJiilaka.
3. KWluJiitaka. 4. Th~ra GiiJhii-Mnhll. KlI&'!apa.

Under BlId(lhi~l. Gult,ure !mlir\ll pailltillg, sculpture I\nd architectnre
had\Cd to 1\ height of excellence which Indian nrtist8 have not 80
fllr beon able tu snfllnSll. Tho remains of BlItldhist art at AjaJ\tn and
other ruins roveal tu 801110 extent the progress Illade by tllo artists.
Their work ~holVS !,hem to have been talented mOll with a special train.
mg. Art was lIut tlte monopoly of the professional artis!', for it was
followed as rH\ accomplishmellt in which even kings delighted t.o excel.
King KtIlm '/I statuo of (I princess was admired even by professional
artists. I Some of the 11 rtish had I,heir trnining in the lluddhist centres
of learning or in the universities. A ChillCSIl pilgrim recorded that
whon he vil!ited the University of Iif' fouIHl1l. Areat statue of
Avolo-kitt:Hvara nrul llll nrtiHt WlIf! paintillA il picl.ure of MetWYII,
Blltltlhll. 2
Although lHtists wu!"k fur cellturies it is I'lIl'dy that a mnsterpiecn
attracting universal admiration is produced. The accumulated effort
of gcneratiolls of progressive work give to the world a great work of
exceptional merit. Thon the following generations, 10llt in their
admiration of it, keep on imitating the masterpiece. The Greeks,
comuinillg ucaut)' and love, produced Venus Rud evcr since the idea
has not heen better depicted by tlte subse<luent imitators of the original
work. The Buddhist artist-s represented peace and enlightenment in
the IItatue of I.he Buddha. That conception hal'! not ooen !HlrpllSSed by
any sub.~equellt effort. The representation of II high abstract idea by
a wonJorfll1 blending of the real and the symbol so that the effect of
one is not lost by unduc clIlphasis of the other, cnn only be made nt a
time whell art hll8 reached a \'ery high stnndnrd.
The art of any period is tu a large extent a true iudex to the culture
of the times. AllY oue observing the ruins of once flourishing Buddhist
art will not fail to apprecillte the charm of the cultural splendour that
pervadel! the Art of BUtltlhigt India. With the dccll}' of that culture.
lndian art began to decline.

I Painting was popular in nncient India. Mural paintings were a

poplllar form of dccoratiolls, for walls uscd to be llccorated with draw.
iugs and paintil1~". 'L'he Buddha advised his disciples not to have

fnntMtio d ra Willgfl III11l paintings of men IlIId women 011 the walls of their
bedroomll. 3 III Buddhist India l'ictutclI were valued not only as works
l. K~IJJril/l/rI1. 2. Tho next Uud,lhll..
3. l'i'/l<lya-ClIlIR V"ggll. VI.

of art but even as objects for enjoyment llnd inspiration. In the day!
of the Buddha. King BimbisA.ra sent tu his friend, King Tissa at Roguvll,
"the life of the .Buddha Oll a painted panel."l
Very little information is available about the technique of the
painters. Scriptures allude to a "show piece" of the painters.! Jt
was evidently a drawillg to show the design Rnd composition of R
proposcd pllinting. In a Sinhalese epics the beautiful movement.'i of
tile dancers are compared to the movcmcnts of tIle painter's llRnds,
thereby suggcsting the freedom and grace with which artists llsed to
,draw The Iligh standard of their drawings ean eMily be dewcted in
tho powerful yet. charming-lines of l,he fresno pailltillgS.
By the timc of the HlHlllha snme art.~ nlld crafts were pursued fur
earning: a li\'ing lInd eertain CIIlIlB Ill" fHlnilirs Ilfld spcciali8cd in thcm.
There were the ffunilicB nf I'Htters,4 garhmd makers, goldsmiLhs, eto.
Such oraftsmen turned decorntiOll inLo an arL. DiITercnt household
utensils and vases were decorated wiLh designs and figures. 5 "There
werc painted circular linings to the bottoms of the bowl.~ with painted
figures llCll.Lterod over Lhem or painted with patches of colollr. ft Bowls
used to be carved ollL of s3ndal wuotl. ft There were uowls of gold and
of silver, set with jewels, besidell those made of heryl or of orysLal or of
copper. ft Jewellery and especially the elaborate dresses of women show
the developed state of llpplied arts Md crafts.
Glimpse.'1 irlto the archiLecture of ll11cient India as given in the
Buddhist scriptures display Lhe same high stalldnnl reached by otJlOr
allied arL..,. Palaces and mnnsioJ18 wcre builL in pleasure gardens with,
shady trees. In tholle gnrdens there were stone benches round the
tanks which IHld steps leading to them and which were surrounded by
balustrades and rllilillgS. 7 Some palaces Imd seven storeys. Five-
storeyed buildings hnd been commOll in tIIO rich cities sUell as S:1vathi
and Riijagaha. Large buildings had turrets alld towers. Somet.imes
towers used to be built for ornament over gates or entrances to a palllce
or manSiOll, The gllte towers of Jet.avn.l1/l. (n rl'sidence of the Buddha)
were built by Prince Jctn at n cost of ninety milliollS.s
It was not IIllUSlHtl to hear of buildings noted for Lhcir towers.
There wore the Ambala tower,g the Hound tower10 Illld the peaked-roof
l. Thera Glilhii--1.'iSM. 2. Sanyulla XII.
3. Gut/ila Ktivya. 4. Kumb(lkrira JiU{lb.
5. KUlfaJriu,b,. 6. FifMya~KulJlI Vaggll. V.
7. IndalllMa1\;'r---Guttn .Iii.t"kll. 8. "al//!li.Jalal;a.
11. SlIooka Jrifak". 10. aha(aJii1ah.

builllillgs. 1 Puubiiori'ima (the galll('rll M:\llsion) uuilt by the ~ellerOllR
Lndy Villf,kii ((IT t1lC Buddha ant! his dilll:ipll'.'<, wa... "a lar~c storeyed
lJuiltliJlg wit.11 a \'cT:llltlah to it, lUll] it waR supported 011 pillars with
capitals 0 (elcphant."I' Ilelulll".1 Tlte I'a \'ilioJUI nttachcd to some houses
had been gorgeouslr IIl'corated l'\'en with jewels, am] the jewlllled
paviliolls often cOlltained thrones or stately seats.! Here arc two
ilJustratin: passages from the scriptures:
"It is just as jf there were ~~ palace, and in it a galJled pavilion,
plnstered within and without, sheltered from winds, complete with
well barred doors and windows that fasten."·
"Just as in a gabled palace the gable is the roof-lie on high which
kllit-s the structure together."4
COllstruction of hou~8 with projectiJlg balconies was knowll to
al\uient architecls. 6 Also porticoes wcre held IUI valued decorations
to houses. The architects must Ila\'e had a special training to be able
to erect buildings to suit different purposes. There were asscmbly halls
for meetings. Preaching hall8111HI be(!J1 erected for tllo iluddllllo nnd. his
disciple... ut groat e.'fpcnse. To ju\lgc f{Qm the accounts of large
aut!iellGCll lit. special meetings some halls must have been enormous in
si7.e. Large halls had also heell huilt for judiciale or for legislative
purpo8('~. The Ma(Jas Imd nSllembll·\1 in their hall when Anallda. went
t.o announce t.o them the pas."Iing aWI~)' of the Buddha. Also, the
J,iclu:wi princes were assembled ill their hall to transact business of the
Stato when Sachaka wellt to inform them of a debate to be held with
the Bmldlw.. In Kapilavll.8tu t.he people were assembled to celebrate
the wedding of l'ril1ee Nanda in the Coronation I:I all where the Buddha.
met Nanda who forsook his bride to follow tbe Buddha. 7
The monumental buildiugs formed a. special tJ pc of architecture, It
has been the custom to build huge ca.irns entombing the ashes of sages,
kings :md other people of importance. TheJ were usually built in a
}lUblic Illace. In all Buddhist countries the ancient structure was
copied witb little local alterations, Tlleso monuments arc as a rule
very high with a dome and a. pinnacle tapering to the skies. It is
undoubtedly an artistic development of the Illound (t,uDlulus) built as
the tomb of the ancient Ilf'rocs. Arollnd the bl\8e of the monument
were the drcorativ(' panels depicting the Illemomble incidents in the life
.. Vinay« Ch"lll\ \'l\llg" VI.
3. MalK; SfAaNiida Slllt".
5. UmffladaNti Jii1al:a.
7. JifUlriija Va,!""",


of the deceased. l Then the whole monument was surrounded by
railings cnr~·ed out of Btonos. At the fOUl entrnnces to it tbere were
onllulIental porchcfI of beautiful dosign and clover workmanship.\!
The skill and the architectural def!.ign of ancient artist!! can be detected
in the monasteries'und the Buddhist art g'J,lIcries curved out of rocks.
The following description of a tunnel may also show the talent of the
ancient architect!! :
"'rho entrance to the greater tUllnel was in the city. It was
provided with a door eighteen cubits high, fitted with machinery, 80
that onc button being pressed nil were closed up. On either side,
the tunnel was built up with bricks and worked with stucco. It was
roofed over with planks and smeared witll cement and whitened. In
ull there wore eighty great doors and sixty-four small doors, which
by the pressure of olle button closed, and by the pressure of one
button opened. Ott either side there were sOlUe llllndreds of lalllp-
cells also fitted with machinery, so that when one was opened all
opened, and when onc was shut all wcre shut. .. The great
tUJUlC1 and the littlo tunnel Rml tho city were finisholl in four
months. . .. They opeMd the door of the tunnel and all the
tunnel shone in a blaze of light; like the decorated hall of the gods".(
This pUflRage haB given rise to a theory tlw.t electricity was known
and used ill ancient India.

1 A_lioolfl'Dagoba. 2. Sliiici Sliipa.

3. Villii,a. 4. AlaM. Utnllgga Jiita~.


IN Till': dars of t.hl! Hudlllm lIlathematics "\'lIS Ull uJllllicd scicncc. Its
de"'eloprnellt can be inferred from the o.rcbitecturul remaius whOlle
coustructioll lle"ew;itntCll 11 knowledge of mathematics. The evidence
fWIll tlu) IIcriptuI'I'S illllot I('.~l< (,(lllvinciug. JJlI~ llisputo wllich arose all
to which il< tile ~rcatellt uf applied llCicllccs, "sumc &lid it wus thu
kllOwlcrJge of Iw~thema!ics, uf rno.kulg estimates, of engraving, of
writillg puetry, etc ",1 A few rXllllll'les will be sufficiellt to get an idea.
of thc dC"'clolllllent of uumoors. For instancc, Visaka'lI dress was
estimated Ill. Ilinct,y million gold COil\s.2 'rIle gate towers of JetaVfl.llU
were built at a cost of nil1etr milliollS. 3 The world periods consist of
the 1110 haknlpa six InkiJs forty-thollsand billions, the AS811kya Kalpa
sixty-four thouSllnd billiollS and the AJlthrnkknlpn hundred billi':lJl8. ~
Alsu tile conception of infinity was pOJlularly kllown. 'rhe Buddha
described the d ilTerellt world systems allll also the IlilTerent forms of life
as illfinitl.'ly large.
In those ancient days knowledge WIlS sought not for its OWII sake but
for its prnelical USll or applicatioll. Hence, there were more nrh than
SCIences, Agriculture with an elaborute system of irriga~ion had been
Cflrried Oil na IIIl art. Nuviglltioll WIIS studied with care. A master
mnrillN WIlS ,ICllcribetl as having:" a completn /Illl.ster)' over tho 3rt uf
seamanship. With him abroad llO ship e"'er Cllme to harm."!>
Archery find tire l11HnagelTlcllt of horses and of elephallts were the
occupations of experts. Of such llrts thero were eigllteell, Ilud Illso
there w('ro eighteell SciOllCf'S or brunches of knowledge. The mental
culture tauJ!ht in Buddhist psychology was 1l1\ art or practice rather
tha.n a. mere theory. The special Jlsychic Jlowers to be achieved were
clairvoyance, c1air-lHldilll1ce, performance of supernormal acts, know-
ledgo of utJlers' mindll, Illcmories of )lllst lives Ilud frredom from
I. U,Mtw_N'uUl.l. 2. V!lOII"""]"'!U' A!I!la!rol!lii-Vi8Jikii.
3. 7'!IeTll G,;/!Iri_l'il"yi. 4. "It is nut CMy tQ reckun how 10llg
nu I\oon is by snyiug so many
ye.'H8, 80 mnllY cClIturiCll, so Illany
th"".'!llr"l cClll"riCfl."- Sanytdfa
Niki;ya~Nida"a Vawa.
U. /d,lhi Hula.

Medical science had t,hroughout the figes a practical bUllis. Along
with it had developed surgery. Royal Physiciall Jivaka was the be8t
of the Surgeon8, who oporaws the brains ami the heart and intestines.
'.rhe common types of disease, in the days of the Buddha, llad been
leprosy, boils, tlry leprosy, cOllsumption and fita. I There were nursing
homes! and as a result of Buddhist innuellce hospitals were built evcn
for animals. s S\1rg~(llls, oculists and doctors for children were not
uncommoll. (
,Iivl~kn., a rontellll'urar)' of t1w BUlldlla, has Leen known as the
cleverest surgeon and phpicinll. lie llad to cOl1\lllnin of his heavy
work in attending to a large number of paticlltB. 6 He was the pupil
'Of a "world renowned phpicill.ll". When he had s}lent seven years
with the teacher, Jivaka thought, "1 learn much and leam easily,
and 1 understand well and do not forget what 1 have leamt. J have
studied 1I0W seven years, and 1 do not see the end of this art. When
shall r see tile end oftllisMt 1"6 This doctor cnred a chronic headache
of 1\ noble lady at Saketa by administering some medicine through the
nose. At Hiijngllha he performed an operation 011 the head of a patient
who was given up a~ ;lleuTl~ble. "Jivaka ordered him to lie down on
his bed, tied llim fust to his bed, cut through the skin of the head, drew
apart the flesh on each side of the incision, pulled two gcrms out. He
closed up the sides of the wound. Stitched up tile skin on the head and
anointed it with sah·e. He was cured within twenty-olle days".'
Another of his surgical feats wall the operation on the son of a nobleman
at Benares, "who used to amuse hilll~elf by' turning over and o·ver' ".
That brought upon himself an entanglement of his intcstilles, in conse-
quence of whicll he could not lligest his footL lie grew lean, disfigured
and discoloured. Having examined him Ji\'Rka cut through the skin
of the belly, drew the twisted intestines out, tlisentangled and put them
back. Then he stitched the skin together, Hnd aUllointed it with slll\'e.
Before long the patient gained Ilis health.' MIUty are the recorded
surgical operations and cures done by J'ivakn.
The use of remedies for animals had fouml work for \"tltcrinary
'Surgeolls and physicialls. There were doctorll who treated elephanta. 7
The uso of herbs for medicine was COllllllon. A fllll\otlll physician
wishing to test his pupil's skill once llsked Ilim to find out about 'l'nkka-
l. Villaya-Mahii V/lgg:L I. 2. 7"11_ ... (Jiitll,i.
':J. In!ll,ription$ IIrHl M,d";'·(I,!I.$(I.
A~ok ... ·1. lI...h"'flj,illl 8,,11<1.
!i. I'inaya-Mah... VlIgga I. 6. Vi.. ay,,~Mah'" VlIgglI VIII.
7. K"ta .Jiitata.

. 89
!!ila I\ny plAnt or hcrb which il'l not u~ed for ~OJJ1C mediCAl 11Ilrflm~e.'
'('he pupil fnunt! cV(lry plnllt he CAllle :lCr()s~ 1.0 he uMfnl. Of Illlldionl
value were fats (If LCfHll, of fislt, of Il.lligators, of I'IWiJle and of aAAell. 2
Also, various oils, ointments ami perfumes bad been used. Oil wns a.
common purgative. 3 Of salts the most useful for medicine were
"80a-salt, black-salt, rock-salt. kitchen salt amI red-salt".4 Adminis-
tering emetiell or purgatives was known. Some ancient medicines
ordinarily used nrc worth mentioning.
Hot baths, use of steam baths and baths in which medicinal herbs
had been sweped were prescribed for rheumatism.
tJl~tting of blood WHIl ll. cure for intermittent ague.
For constipation a decoction was made of llshes of roasted rice. The
remedy for wind in the stomach or forsiekness W1lS sour gruel with salt.
l~or fever a drink was made of edible stalks of tho lotus. To relieve
lleadache medicino was given to make people sneeze. Anointing with
perfumes walla remedy for skin diseases.
Cow's urine wns used for jaundice.
For 8nakes bites dung urine ashes and clay were applied.
Drugs Rnd decoctions made of herhs [llHl toots were given for many
ailments. They were ndmiJlistered for caulling ...·irility or impotency.
Drugs Rnd oils used to be auministered through the nose. Oiling ears
or droJlping medical oils or RPl'lyillg collyrium or medical ointment to
the eres was COllllllon. There were medical practitioners ss oculists,
surgeoll8 811d doctors for children. 6

I. Viooya-Mll.hii. Vll.ggll. VIII. 2. Viooya-Mll.!Jl Vagga Vl.

3. MI1m&a Jiilah. 4. Viooya_Mahi Vagga VI.
5. Bralumwjiill1 SuILa.



iN lNDlA before tbe Buddha the chief philosophical thought was

embodied in the Vedas which were interpreted and preserved by men of
learning. The scholar or tIle teacher in those days was often described
as " learned ill the VedflS ". The philosophical speculators had already
begun to form various theories on diverse matters. Hence different
schools of thought, each with a teacher aud his followers, had sprung up,
among whom there was a class of philosophers known as" the wandering
teachers." 1
Once during the millY season wben the Buddha was at Riijagaha the
well-known philOfwphers of the time Imtl met in the discussion hall at
"Wanderers' Pleasaunce". Among them were: Purana KJi.saapa,
Makkhali Gosrda, Ajita Kesa, Pakudha Kll.CCI\)'Rnn, Sanjaya
the 80n of Belll.ttji, Niitllputtll. and Nigll.lltha. Each of them was a
propounder of a doctrine. Kiissapn, was the head of nn Order well known ami of repute
as a Sophist, revered by the people, n man of experience and well
advanccd in years. He taught that to him who kjlls, commits dncoity,
or robbery, or lldultery, there is no guilt. In generosity, in self·
masicry, in control of the selllles, ill IIpenking truth there is neither
merit lIor increase of merit. 2
Mnkkllali ofthe Cowpen, declared there wus no cause either ultimate
or remote for people becoming depraved or virtuous. They become 80
without reason and without cause.!
Agita of the garment of, taught that there was no use ill giving
alms or making offerings nlld sacrifice for there was no result of good or
evil deeds. A human heing was composed of four elellumts and when
he died the earthly parts retumed to earth, the lIuid to water, the beat
to the fire, the wind to the air, and his faculties pass into spnce. 2
pakudha Kaccayalla said that the four elements, earth, water, fire
a.nd air-ease pain and soul, were neither created lIor caused to be
created. They do not move and do not vary. No onc could depri\'e

I. l'rabajikru. 2. SllmlllW·phlltll Srdlll.

i~nyone nf liff'. Wlll'J\ f\ 11I'atl ill tmt "n' with a shnrJl Rwonl, 1.111' swonl
has only IlI'llcLrnl.t·tl inion !,Iw illtt'T\'1'l1 bcLwet'Jl Revell OlcltlClI£nry Ilub-
!ltnnces. I
Nigalltha uf the Nfltha dUll Ilad 11 doctrillc of a four-fold restraint
I1S regards all evil. I-Lc t'aught his llilll:ip!C8 to live cOlltcnted with the
8ensc of having restraincd M'i1.2 Bodily nction taken to 00 the princilJle
action and that. of t,he mind allllspeech to Le secondnry.
Snnjaya of 1.he Jklntt,ha "ll1n f<Jlitlthat t.ILCrtl I\rither WIIS 110r wall lwt
allotlwr world.!
The t!worirll 1'111. fnrwlIrd Ly thl' allci('llt philosollllers about the ROU!
nnd the world arc that the soul allll the world IU'e eterllol, that they arc
1101. eternal, they are buth ewrnal and not eternal, they }mve a special
purpose, tlHly have 110 sl~cial purpose, they arc purposeless, they have
OlUl form of cOlllleiousllcSS, they ha ve lIlally forms of eOIlIlCioUllllC8Il, they
have limiwd cOllsciollsness, their eOllllciuusncsR is not limitcd, they are
Jllea,~l\llt, they Are not pl(,OSllllt, they nre hoth pleasflllt and unpleasant,
and they Arc neiUUlr pleRe.nllt nor IInplol\Sllllt. 2 Of theRe theorillh 80JIl6
were ewtllalist,q.
Eternalists nnirmed that the lIolll is ewmaland the world creatiug
nothi/lg new is firm liS the mountain or the pillar firmly fixed. Thongh
the li ving creatures tl"lHlsmigraw antI die, au,l tllOugh t.hey change from
one existenre to allother yet they arc etcrwd. Tlwre werc other
ctcrnnlists who thought thai there were !lreviolls existences extendillg
through 101l~ periods of tell or more world aeon!;. Another elll.SIl of
cternalist.~ held that ollly some things are ewrnal. According to thelll
worlll systellls pnSll aWlIy. When that happened beings IUlll mostly
heen hom in the World of Light. 'L'llere they lil'ed feeding on joy,
radialinJ:: light, moving through the Rir continuing ill glory. Whcn this hegins 1.0 CI"olvo tho palnce of Brahma appears.
Thell those in tile World of Light. come to life in tho PAlace of Bl'ahma.
They form the beginning of n fr('sh world-SYRtem. 3
Semi-et.crnn.lists maint,nillf'd that the Boulllllll the world are JlIlrtly
etemalll.lld partly not. 3
Extensionillts (A1!/Ollf1lltihf) W(,I"I' tli\·illcd ill their views about the
world. It was Ill.:ld to I~ fiJlite by Rome, or illfinite by some. Some
(Ieclured tIle world to be limited lIpwanla and downwards but infiniw
across, whilc otheTll tllll~ht. Ill{' world to be neither finite nor infinite. 3
I. SlImmllla.phaia SnUIl.
3. Bmhmaj6i1l Silt/a .

Equivocatorllllaill tJlfl.t thcy IIcither knew the good nor the evil as it
really is, and that there was neither Rnother world nor ill not. 1
OriginalistslTlaintainud that the Boul and the world originated witllOut
a cause. According to them the BOIII and the world arc fortitollB in
origin. 1
Another set of thinkers held that the soul after death is unconscious
and 1L0tllubjeet to decay. They said that the soul had form, is formless,
has alld has 1I0t forlll, neither lull'! nor has not form, is finite, is infinite,
ill hoth rlllite nwl infiniLe and illneithcl' finite nor infillite. 1
More conflicting viewll had arisen about the soul, 80 that it was held
to be eternal, not eternal, neither eternal )Ior nOli-eternal, both eternal
and non-eternal, self-made, made by another, and not self-made and
not made by another. 2
These soul theories were exploded by the Buddha. eU<luiriJlg" What is
80u11" While the other thinkers R8sumed there is a soul and based. their
theories on that assumption, the Buddha questioned the 88sumption
itl:lClf; and pointed out tha.t when the conception of the 80ul was
critically examined there was nothing in the individual mind or in the
body or in both to corresp(Jnd. to a soul, a.nd. that the individual himsclf
could not be the solll as he was constantly changing both IJhysically and
mentally. To the Buddhist all individual is the combination of body,
feeling, perception, volition and cOllsciolllllleSll-the five skaudhas.
Seeing life liS a continual proccBIl governcd by its own activities the
Buddlla tl\ught it to be BOullcBIll\lId 8ubjected to change and suffering_
'l'he Buddha denied the existence of a soul but taught that the activities
of living beiIlg8 lit their death lellve 11 residuary IInd reaet.iollary force
..... hich determines the next existence. This force which is not static is
termed Kamnla. 'rhe IlroceBll of life is continual until it is stopped by
the attainment uf enlightenment, i.e., Nibbima.
India at that time IlRd a large number of thinkeN! llnd speculators on
various subjects. Not only their numbers, but the Bubject8 of their
speculations should show the standard of social progress. There were
eternalilltll who proclnillwd both the sOlll and the .....orld are eternal,
Of them some were eternlllistB with regard to some things, and in regard
to others they were Jloll-etemalist.'l. There were the theorists 011 the
finitenellll or the infinitene88 of the world. The equivocators
arglled that "there is not another world, tbat there both is and
is not another world, and that there neither is, nor is not anotber world ".
I. Ilmnmajiim SKUa. 2, Pa~adilta 8",lIa.

Speculators 011 t.l11) future existence asscrted that the soul after death
was cOll8cious or that tll(' SOil I after death is neither cOllscious nor
ullconsciousllCSR ur that there was ncither COllscious or ulIconscious
exisLenoo aftN fleath. Opposed to the IlJl"ihilisls were the Leachers of
material IHl.IJpiness in this life. There were al50 theorisLs concerning
the future and those who reCOll.'ltruct the past and arrange the fllturc. 1
The realists decla reu that everything is, whilc thc dclusionists contended
that everything was (Ielusion and that nothing is. The Buddlll~ ~~lJght
both to 1m extrcme \·iews and therefore untrue.! The mctaphysician
attempted tn cxplllin the Jlature of lire, water, earth IInd air, while thc
ps)'chists attempted to explairl perceptions, feelings, SCll&'\tiolls find
consciousness. There were theorist-s about realms of illfwite space, of
infinite mind, of infinite naught, llnd roolms of neither perccIltioll lIor
non-perception. 'I'he "mathematiciaIL'l" had their philosophy of
unity, plurality and univcr!!n.lity.3
'rhe Buddha appearing in the midst of this turmoil of speculations
and theories, critioised thcm and was ablc to correct and direct them in
the right view by 0. IJIctllOd of analysis and reason. Buddhist philo-
sophy may roughly be divided into logic, ethics, psychology ofthe mind
and matter, of tile pllilosopl,y of causn.tio/l and relati\,c conditiolls.
Seeing the attachment people )JRi(l to authority of the tradition and
teacher, the Buddha introduced the scientific method by insisting on
the examination of cause and effect in explanations of phenomena.
Rcnsoning was based Oil subjective expericnce rather than Oil objective
authority. Hence he ad vocated the freedom of thought as the basis of
ratiollll.l thinking when he taught: "Accept not on hearsay, 110r by
tradition, nor by what people say; accept not because it is in the
scriptures by lIlerc rhetoric, nor by inference, nor by consideration of
appearances, 1I0r because it accords with your view, nor because you
think it might bc right out of respect for a teacher; but accept if at
any tillle you know of yourself". • 'rhe methods of reasoning are dealt
with in detail in l3uddhist logic. Reasoning in terms of cause and effect
is 0. fundamental feature of Buddhist philo60Jlhy. There is th3 well
known chain of Causation: Ignorance of lIot knowing and discerning
the Four Noble Truths is the cause of formation of arising and passing
away phenomena; formation is the cause of consciousness; Conseious-
nes., at hirth is the cause of miJld IIlld body; mind ant! body are the
cause!! of six senses; six senses are the causc of contact; contact is
I. Brllltnwjiilo 8"11,,. 2. BmiyutJo /l'ift;(iYfl Ch. XII.
3. Brll/llnnjiiitl 8,,110. 4. KtiI(i>NO 8uUo-A,iguttam Nikiiya 11, XX.

the cause of fccliJlg ; feeling the cause of cravillg ; craving is the cause
of grasping; grasping is Ule cause of becoming; becoming is the cause
of birth; birth is the cause of old age, death, misery, lamentation, pain,
displeasure and despair.
TJle Buddha discllrdillg theological explanatioJls oflife gave a rational
one. The life of the individual wasl1nalysed into body and mind, the
mind being taken liS consisting of perceptions, feelings, volition and
consciousness. Life is characterised by impermllnency, suffering and
sOllllessness. 'ne force IJchinu life is its OWllactivities which react on
tho individual then'by makhlg him suITer or eJljoy according to his own
actions. Hellce cOllle the differences in people. WlLllt one Ims done
in II previous life monifest.s itself togeUlCr with what he does in 0.
subsequent life. So the sulTerings or joy!'. in hUllllln beings are not due
to gods or de\'ils, but to their own activities both ill the past and in this
life. People I1re naturally influenced by their cravings, passions and
ignorance. These ills cause suffering. To avoid suffering and to
perfect oneselt become8 the purpose of life. Buddhist ethics are based
upon these data.
Since the sufTerillgs Ilre caused by craviJlgs, passions and ignorance,
the way to remove suffering is by dest,roying the cravings, passions and
ignorance by the practice of benevolence, right conduct and right
concentration on things-as-they-are.
There are thirty-seven constituents of enlightenment, when morality
is purified and viewed straight, thellsuIlportcd by right action, right
mode of life, right effort, right meditation, and rigllt concentration.
Tho standard of right and wrong in Buddhist ethics depends upon
the ideal of life as perfection and enlightenment. All aotions which
help the individual towards tha.t ideal are considered meritorious and
good, whilc all actions which obstruct mental perfection and enlighten_
ment are demerits and therefore wrong.
The Buddhist community is divided into two groupsll.ccording to the
mode of life people prefer to lead. Those who prefer to lead the higher
life renouncing the Cllres and mjserics of the home life thercby becoming
homeless and dcvoting their time and attention to the practice and the
teaching of the method to perfection and enljghtenment. The rest are
the laymen or the worldly minded. Each group is to some extent
dependent Oil the other, and each has its own obligations and duties,
and a. moral code of its own. l

J. I'inaya l'i!"ka and Gilt. Vinay....

Admi~i(lll to the ordn takes place in the open R8Bembl}' of monks
(Bikkhus). Persons seekiJlA admission must be free from tUlnour,
white 'el'ros~-. IJhthi"ill. epilel'l'I}". lie must be a freemRn and not a
fflJRIll('r\·Rnt. lie 1Il1l11t RI'«) he free froUl debt. His 1'0."'111-3' lM'rmis-
sioll is IlceesSllr}'. lie must be RUo\'e tWeJJty years of age.
The No\-ices owrve ten precellUl, "iz:. :
To refrain from takiJl~ life, from tRking whRt is not giYf'n, from
incontinellre, fRlsehood, stroll~ drink Rnd intoJticantll, from lmtimely,
food, from dallcing, singing, Illusic Rnd seeing 8ho\o\'s, the U!le of garlands
llCCnUlall{! ungucllUl, high or IRrge luxurious beds, Rnd to refrain from
accepting gold or silver. I
The precepts for the laity ore th'e, viz:.:
To from taking life, from stealillg, from unlawful plelUlure8
from falsehood and from intoxicants.
Thc four Jt:Ta\'C nets of dOlllcrit for a Blllldhist are t.o cause !I. wOUJld
anl! bleed tho Buddha, to kill Ull cnlightelled pCTSOIl (Arahat), to kill
fnt\u.'r or mother, or tu bring aoout IL I>chisIU of the Order. Ueganljng
this last demerit thcre is 1111 inscription on the Snnchi Pillar Ily Emperor
.. Tllc SaJlgIH\ of monks alld of IIUlIS has been mAde whole and
l'lItire, Ill)" sonll and ,lZrand~onll (continuing ns Ion,!\: as the sun and
moon endurt'). Whosocvcr breaks the Sangha, be lIe a. monk or \I
Ilunshall he ('(all in white raiment Rnd compelled to live in "'hat is not
R residence (of the monks). for my desire is--wllat. is it 1-that the
SSlIfl:hn mal' remain whole Rnd entire and IIUloy 00 of lon~ duration."
Religious dogmas and superstitious rites and practices werc dispensed
willl. According to the Uuddhs's teaching, .. neitller the flesh nor fish,
nor f~tinR:, nor Jll'kedn~s,. 1I0r WIISUTl'J, Dor ml'tter hair, nor dirt, nor
rouJl:llt skins, lIor worshipping of the fire, nor the mony penances, 1I0r
!,ra}"f'rs, nor oblntions, lIor sn.crificcs, no{' obsernUlce of 8el'l.8OIlS, purify
a mortal who has 1I0t cOllqu(.'refl his doubt."!.
The Uuddhist ratioIllllism begl\n to influence Lhe social institutiolls,
educaLion, art, literaturo, /oI0VCTlllllcnt and the customs of IlIdin. bt
n.ddition a lleep rooted hUlIlanitaril\n movement arose throll~h the
Buddhist practice of "univcrsl\l-lovfl, compassion, Ilpprecilltioll lInd
oqlll\lIimity"8 towards all boings. Thc outcome of this WIIS the love
of pel\ce and the ullwillingllellll to hRTm others.
I. ri'I<.yn-Mahii V"SS'"
3. ,II,tlp. K"T1110'i. Mo"fi/'>, U,,,b1r{J.

In Buddhist ethics, liS mentioned above, tIle root cause of humlln ills
ill due to ignOrltJ1Ce lllltlnllvillg. 'I'he rell.llmppiness is to be achieved
through the dfi\·l'lopmcnt. of tile mind. Then·fore mcntal culture is of
parall\ount importallcc. l'hill produced a practical psychology which ill
remarkable not only for its minute exumillntion of the working of the
mind and of the nature of con~ciousneS8 but for rfn·enling the Ruper-
IHltlllll1 powerl< of the mind such all clairvoYH IICC, clllirnudielice, pcrfor-

lJIanCH of llup('tnorlllal IIctll, knowlellge of other milHh, memories of

pallt e.',,:i.~tfinces, and freedom from illusiol1s.1
Two of the references to ancient Indian phi losopllers in Greek writings
arc noteworthy.
" Megusthencs, the a uthor of a work Oll llHlia, wlIQ li ved with ~leukos
Nikll.t.or, writes most dearly 011 this point, and his words are these :-
" All that has been said regarding nature by the fllICiCllt.s is asserted
also by philosophers out of Greecr, 'm the one pnrt in India by tile
llrachnlanes and on the other ill Syria. by the prople called the
There are two sects of these rndian philosophers: onc ca.lIed the
Sarmalli llnd the other thc llrachmanai. COJlnccted with the Sarmanll.i
are the philosopher~ called the Hylobioi who neither live in cities nor
even in houses. They clothc themselves with the bark of trees and
sulosist upon acorns and drink water by lifting it to their mouth with
their hands. 'I'hry neither marry nor beget children.

I. Abhinltd.'l.



JL~;r.I'IN{l TilE Ifour llJHltlle wl'ak is n hlllllHlt i'lSlillok Under lluudhist.

influellCo it becume IL fundamcntal principle ill social life to look after
the pour; fllr according to Buddhism helpiug tile poor ami the needy
was con.qidered not llU'rel.... It Rocial dllt..... hut allllct of merit. lluddlJiRL8'
act.s of Ch:lrit .... rllnge from tlll' lllightesl Hct of kindness to the !!;iving uf
the grt'ntl'st gifl.-" the gift of truth ". 1 "H<llllov<l selfish cravings "
fllIIl "00 uuselfish" for cr1\villgs find selli~lllless cause suffering, lire
words of wnrning repeated agair\ IInd agllill in the scril'turcR. 'I'his
spirit of service to others maue Buudhists very gcnerous8nd hospitable.
Even today the Buddhist countries are noted for their hospitality. Onc
noteworthy fenture of Buddhist sense of scrvice to others is that they
cOllsider the person liS a sufferer nlld in J}eed of help.
From tl,e pre-Buduhistic Ilgcs teachersllnd their followers used to be for bllllquets by their Admirers. 1\t those hllnquets tiley often
explained th('ir teachings. It was usual to lJuild I'csidenccs and prcach-
ing llIlll~ f',r 1I1~ tcachers. The custom was cont.inue" when the .Buddha
and his dillciplclI trllH'l1ed from une part of the COlJlLtry to ltllothcr
teacl,iug the pl'ollle. As long as the 1I1l.~dfish followers of the Butldlll\
t.'\ught the iJ.!lIoraut fur no rewllnl ur IJrofit tile public wore willing to
look to their immediat.e Ileccssari('s of life.
Budllhist missiolls were startl'll dllr'in/l: tlle life time of the Buddha,
for he Mill: " Bhikkhlls find wll!Hlel' forth, for the gain of the
mall)'; for t.he welfare of the mallY ; ill cornpassioll for till' world, for
the ~ood. for the gain, for th(' welfare of gods and lI\('n. Ilroclnim the
BmillhiRIH 11('('11\1'1 to be the ('arli('.~t 11Iillsiullal'.r "TI'ligion" on r<'conl
Twu ami 11 half el'utlll'iclI aft('r t.h{' BuddlHl, ";IIl[lrrur Asoka. I'(nnindell
his sulJjrt:l.q nllt t.o fur-get t.he Bllddllist duty: fur lie prod:limetl :
"Thern is no higher tluty Illllll the welfare of the \'I'orlll ".3 The
r~rnperur's 11011811(1 dallght{'r renOUllc<,1! thcir l'o)'all'lcllsures to b<'come
missionarics and left Jntlia to llclp the less fortunate eountriclI.·

I. JJham"lIlpada. 2. Jlina.'1a-M"hii Vllggf<.

3. Rook Edict VI. •. J!amh"".'l&a .

The spirit of generosity Rnd charity of the Buddha's times CRn be
judged frolll a few Imecdot.ell. Yasa, olle of the richest young men of
Si1.vll.~ti, gave lip nil his wCll!th and joined tJlC BuddhA.'s onler. Aniitha-
pinclikn, a lllulli-miltionnire, became IlOOr by sJlcudill,Q; all his wcalth
for t.Il(~ cause he espoused. Lady Visiikii'lI gcnerollity has become
dall8it'al. Once [l poor old woman of Siivasti W:l.l! allll:ious to iuvite a
discipl(' of thc Buddha for a Illeal. 111 her enthusiasm she made the
invitation whil)h wall accepted by Sariputta, olle of the chief disciples
of thc Buddhn. When the guellt Cl\llI(' till' poor WOlllall found that she
had not I)('cll aull' to p:ct anything for him. The news soon spread
throl1g:hout, the cit,y. Amollg.~t those who heard it was King }'asenadi.
]-lc at once sent her food of all sort.s together with a garment and a purse
of 1,000 "Jlieces of gold". Others sent her JOO or 200 according to
their meaus. On that day the woman got 100,000 gold coins.!
What young Visiika did with her wedding prcsents is also noteworthy.
She, being the daughter of one of the richest noblemen, was the recipient
of presents from people of all ranks of lifc, including the king. She
gave away those presents to the poor families of the city,\!:
Marriages, births and deaths were some of the special occa.sions for
giving allllS. A nobleman's son, inheritillg the estate at }lis father's
death, ordered to hold a ceremonial alms-giving nnd a great assemhly
gathered together.'
In some cities special halls had been built to provide food ami other
necell8n.ries of life to the poor. At Bennres all onc occasion a rich man
"built six halls of BOWlty, one at each of tile four gates, olle in the
middle of the city and olle before the palace. In thcm every day he
distributed ill gift,,, 600,000 gold coins ".4 Other towns bnd set up
similar institutions. "There stood at that time three~fourth8 of a
league from JetaVlulll a Illarket town where a great deal of rice was
distributed by ticket and special meals were gi\"en free",5 Some
families had established almonril's and had kept them 011 for generations.'
There were nlso "rest houses" huilt Ilenr great cities where travellers
or strangerll to till' cit,Y could take their IOllgi11bTll," for instance at
Bennnll1 "t1HJr(' Wll!l I\. resilience Olltside till' city in which !,he WR}'-
farers todgell when they came late t,o the cit'j",8
Among the social services can be reckoned the establishment of
infirmaries ami hos(.litals. In describing a visit of Sariputta, the great
I. Kunda,l;Il-Kucehi Silld"a~'fJ Sulta. 2. Vi&iki-Dhamm<lJXi<Ul ArloolmlhO.,
::I. ThuIJ GdO"i-l'lI.ooll.ya. of. Cula l'aduma Jiilaw.
5. Glllful J'1I1«! Jiil!JL'(l. 6. IUi8a Jii/aw.
7. SU1!<lhJ .1d4lw. 8. Gag'J<l Jiilaka.

dillt'iple of the BudtllHl, 1.0 l\ hospital, the scriptuTI'S Slly: "When ho
WIl..'1 ill the Iwspitnr, Sfaril'lltto. WI'1It nil his roulld of illquiry, l\sking
aftCl' this nnd that "irk Bhikkhu ".1 J~lllltl'rOr A~ka in QIlC nf hill
cdiet-s der;llarcd tlmt IIORpit.alll wrrr l'stabli:-;Iu'd in nllpllrt..'l of hill
"I';nlrywlil'rc in the dominiolls of J<illg PriYfldarsill (AsoklL) rIS well
as ill those of tho frlllltil'r 8OVCI'f';~I1S, arc cstablished Ilollpilnls for lllCIl
HUl! rInimrlls."2
I\IRo in othl'r BUllilhiRt eOIlJltr;l'S as <":flylOll thcTll \\'cre hosj,itnls fnr
mcu nnd animals. 3 l<induoRI'I to lillinmls Imd LCI'1l n FljJ{'cinl feature "f
Budllhist culture. El1qlcl'or Allokn by lnw prot,('ctcd tile livoR of
llllim.als. 4
Tlw snme Empl'ror alRn did IIllll1y nets of public sflT\'icc whidl \\'('1"0
lluusI'quontly copied by othe!" coulltri<,s. III ol1e edict we find," I have
~rowll l11ango orehnrds. I lJnvo eaused wells to Lo dug nt onry eight
'koooll '. 1 have bad rost-ltoulIcs made. I lHl.\"e made nlllllY wnitillg
sheds at tliffcrCllt V1accs for tIle cnjoymrnt of mllll lllld bcllllt." ~

I. '1'AeTa Gdlhd-8amitigutl... Z. Hock J~di<:t It

3. MaAfhYl'TflJ6. 4. Hock Edi"t J.
15. Rock Edict VII.



IN tll(' dn}"llof Ih" HlIIldlm a /-tl"l'nl pnrt of India ('xwndillj.( from the
(lrmj.((l~ Villl"y Wll~ a IlI'twflrk (lf (lititl~ llllll vil11l1{1'1'I cm1Jwcl"d will. nne
11llf,tllf'r hy roadf'. Takinl{ t1lfl Bodlti-tr("e, tho III'<)t wllen' tile Bll,!dhl\.
lItl3in('fl enliglll('nll1("JII, liS Ihe oel1lr(', the great cities I>f 111\Iin were
described 38 ai.x 011 the Mat, I'il-:ht Oil the north, !>,well 0/1 tile sollth ami
1\0\'('11 011 till) W('l'It.1 There W(ire tllo Illlluller tOWJlII 1I1U.l villaJ,J:('1I which
nros!' with growing populatioll. i\lost of the ancient citi("1I di,1 1I0t
origiuate with a llllmber of people forced by circmnstmlC("s to li\'e ill
pnrticular sjlot',!, bill, they were methouically planned Dnd built. So
the lIite selected depended 011 the purpose for wlJich the city was built,
eithcr MI the C'~11it.1\1 of 1\ kingdom or liS 1\ centre for cOlllmerce. The
cities derived their I\Il.mC8 eitller from tlleir foumlers or frOlJl8ome otber
incident. Each city lmd its rampHrt.~ wiLlI four gates. At the gaLes
wore large I'illars surroulllled by rows of palm treos. 1 The gaLes thelll-
IIClvcs bore JUllHes ei~her according to tho direction ill which they lie or
commemorating Il memorable event COllll('cted wilh tIle cit}'. We hear
of tILe" Southern (lnte" or the "f<~RStern Gn.Le" of Sii"ll-sti. ]n 1\
nowly built city, the ~ate through which the Ihlllllha went out. was
11lultcd the" Gotnmn (late."2 Thero t,,,vern S o\'cr the city gates
which usell to 00 locked nt night. 4 WIIl.'n the were closed there
was outside the city a buildillg for the use of the strangers who CRlIle
late.' To Il.voill the noiReS And the disturhl\nCf'fl of the city, sehool"
a"d sents for cOllc('ntmtf'([ thol1Jtltt Rnd m.. ditalion uscu to he built in
the suhurbs. 'I'he flChools in some cities WI'rl' nenr tllo city gl\ e and
the rosidollces for the .Buddha 1\1Id his disciplcfl \\'("ro built not fllr from
Siivasti. 7 The race-courf'(', tho parlule Et:rollllds for soldiers, find the
l;rllleLery w,'re ouMidc tho {'ity. Within t,],r ('it)' arc t,he pril10il'nl
rOIlUB loading t" the gatefl; aml the llli1lor rOlltl,~ Ill:lrk out Ihe ""rioIlR
sectiolls sueh liS 1he palllcl', IIn(1 tllO reflidont.inl quartcrs of the nobles,
the" Hall of Justice" aml the IUIII for le~il!lature, which were mmfllly
I. JJtalrii. 811da-ufJIIIl 8~"a. 2. I'i,l(lyn-Mllhil. V"g8" VI.
:I. Paltry; JiiJabJ. -t. Aliwl Gill" Jrilafw.
5. (,'aYfJ" J(UilIro. (I. 7'1«:ra Ooil"'I'-_S",bhiy".
7. J<ltoa'-R1\uriima IInd 1'f1rvariimll.

llf'llr tho palflcl\, 1,111' qllflrl.\·r nftllf' IJIltlker~ IInd 1,lw Gent,re of f;Oll\ll1C1"C<',
the homes uf tl,c WOlrkll1\'JI nl1d till' burrllcks nf thc sohlierl!. The
towon,\IIIIHI f'.toried IHlildillgs, the I'aviliollll, tho pllblic i'l\.rkll, flqUflt/'S,
grovcs Hmi tllnks, Illl\dn thollC atlcirllt eili08 picture,~lpll',
I'ark!! ami l,kasure gnnlPll11 had 1'('l'll attadwd lu I he Jll\lacm~ of !.Ill!
,..,)'alt)', or tI,.. mHllsi"llll of tIll' 1wbi]it)' r\lld' ri"h, Some of the
park!! or ['1(,illluro g:lnlcllll w('1l kllnwn in the BllIl,lhillt Ilcripl.ures Me
the" Old I'lcaea\lIlCe", I the Mango Gro\·c,2 the Oro\'(' of TrfllIquirity, 3
thc BIIIlYflll Pnrk,· thc Bamboo Urove whero s'luirrdll are flld, l\ the
W1LlIdercrll' L'II'llIIlIlltlCII. where pClwocks Ilre fcd,e Anathllpindika'B
PICIiSllllIlCC,7 (nIl! Ambnpii\i's Urnve. B "'hese pnrks, though situated
in or about cities, pos.o,csllerl places for solitude IImi rost, In a park a
king OIl!J(l" ohsen·(',1 ddi~l1lful nl1l1 flttrlictil'(l nookR llt the foot of the
trees, pcuceful 111lll quiet, sheltercd from wind.~, the very hn.unts of
solitude nnd lIeatJ! for 1lU'{litation,"lI
The I'll hlic pnrks and pleasllunees wero the scenes of natioJ\ld festi vals,
the haunts fur pleasure-scf'kers alld tire places for Jluhlic glltherings.
The pllrks Bnd cities nlfl(l had thcir tlinks with lilies und lotuscs
growing ill them. There was fI tank in the city of Vesali Ollt of whioh
tire royal fami lies got water for ceremonilll sprinkling.ll) Like the parks
the tlinks had their caretuhrll. The LotufI tank ill Benares was looked
after by 11. watcher. t1 From the following description 11. general idea
of the ci ty tUllks Illay be ~Hther('d :
"The Lotus tanks hetwef'11 1.11(' plllm treell were lit distallces of lOO
l>ow-Iengthll. J<~liC h had four nights of stepll wiMI balustrades of silver,
with double Tailing with cross-bars and capitals. In the ponds were
plauted blue wllter-lilies, white wllter-lilies and lotuses. People Ilsed
to bathe in those pondB."'2
As for the huirrlillgs of the city, the priVAte houses where the lIohles
m the rich ,Iwelt had five or sewm store)'fI. The flcriptllres even make
mention ofnill(,-llwreyed buildingll. '1'110 hOUl\(J1l wit.11 their Iligh pillam
ami portieoc.~ llIld tUl'l'ets with deeomtt',1 tuplllJlllflt have b"oll the pride
of citicll. AlI,aehl'll to the builrlillJ(f1 or in plirks highly ol'llllll1cnt1l1
I. }Jahilil'(18,#/". 2. 7'heri G<illtIi-.''luLllli.
3. Gltola .... ~lJta 8ull(•. 4. 7'hfrtl Gtitltd-Godhik/l.
5. Cilia SflhllffUlyi StJlta. 6. Maflll Sokl'ludayi Sull/I.
7. Angulimiiw Sl'lIa. 8. Maha /'ari Nibbiina Sulta.
9. Haiti/ita SI,lIa. 10. BltaAda-Siila JdJaka.
11. Pmiuma Jiit"ko. 12. Malta Suda.l~ana SuUu.

I)avilioll~ IIsell to he built. Thoy were described n/l. "the jewelled
pavilions ".1 801110 such pn\'ilions wcrc made of sandnl wood. 2
Each city Imd it~ llB8cmbly houso/l. for legislativc alld administrative
purposo~.S Thcre were nlao the ~uild houses,· Some hnlls were used
for social ~ntllerings nud otherll [IfI lecture hnllll. "Tho ILnll IJIlt tlJl jn ...
Queen Mallikn'/I. ]'ark fur Ihe discuB8ion of IIY/l.tCIJl..~ of philoS01Jhy-t.JH~
halll;et rouml with la row of" timluka tree/l. "_was knOW}1 hy the name
of" the Hall". ~ 'l'here were also the Mote Hall of the Mnlll1l'l,lI the
Buck .I-Iall,7 the CorUJlntion HlIlI of Knpllo.vltsthu,8 /lIld the Gabled
Hall at Vl:lsiili. 1I Some rcst-houtWs of citie8 were termed" the Royal
He/lting HOUllCS", 10 evidently because they were established and IllRin-
tRilled b}' kiJlgS for the llse of the public. Some tllfge buildings were
built, t.o Ilerye a number of purposes. A buildiJlg was 80 llftRJIJ/:ed tlmt
there was ill oue pnrt accommodation for ordinary stranger8, in anothor
a lodging for the destitute. One sootion of it was for the lying-in of
destitute women, another part had lodgings for strSJlger nhikkl1Usll}l(1
Brubamills. Also there 101'1\8 lodging for other sorts of men. A 8pecial
section wa~ sot apart for foreign mercllllntR to Btow their goods. A
part of the same huilding waR uACd fur Rport.'l. Also, 80me sections of
the building were used as a Court of Justice and as a hall for religiou8
This paS8age BUggflsts the nature Rnd UI\CS of some lnrge buildings in
those days. There were occasions when spacious buildings had to be
erected for public shows, "A wrest.lin~ ring was erected in front of a
palace gat.e ". 12 Similarly a large paviliol1 was cnused to be made for 11.
public musical conte8t,11
A prominent place of the city such as the jUllctioll of chief roads
contained the memorials built enshrining the remains of great kings or
tcachera. u The Ill.aill roads cOlmected olle city with another. The
COllstruction of bridges was knowJl at that time. Tbe principal streets
of cit'eB must havo been Bufllci('.lItly wide 111111 atrollAly mlu!6 for the
trallic of clll\riots, carriages, elephants RIllI horses. It wall through the
lJlain Iltrl'ct.'llhllt large pl'OccsBionB and triumphal marches of kings or
grcat Leachers paB8Cd.

2. 7'hwl Galoo-Isidinna.
4. Jatam IV, 27,
6, Smigiti SuUa.
8. Thml GlitM-Nnmla.
10. Jf6hii Jlfaligula Jlilafca.
12. Gha{a JiiI6/ta,
14, M6ha l'arinibOOna Sttlla.

On Il. feHLi\'al dny Llto killJ;! wuuld ClltlSfl I,he city to Le dccotllt.ed like
"the city of I;od~". LLe 1V0uld mount OH the IIleplmllt in all itiJ trappings
anti make sololl\n procession rouml tho oity a tt'\/ltled by 1\ weal, retinue}
Though on State OCCll.SiOllf> killgS rode 011 ol(lphants, at otlll'r times thcy
uscd othor IIwdof> of I\Oll\'l\)'alLoo to I<uit the circUllUlt:lllCCI'I. ".King
Vidclia Ilro\"O.: in a 1Il1lguififlpnt carriagfl drawn hy fonr milk-white
IlOr8es",2 Thl! enthusiaslll displayed by the l.lCoplo at tho coming of
t,he Buddha to Siivusli 1I1I11 the briJlJ;ing: of Visiikii to the city arc
For C0111I1U'I"fl(\ ll\f"rdllmts 1IIust IIII.\,II Il('eded good roads, for the)'
used to takl' n large number of ClIrt IOal!,~ of goods for trade from one
city to Illll/tlll'r. 1{('ferl'llces likl' tll(' folll/wing fire fouw!;n the 8Crjp~
Lures: "He !HHk [;00 GuLs of IIlOfchnndisfl to Hiijngaha ".s 1\larket
tnwns hntll)O'crt huilt. 11('ur 1J:f!·at "ili"s. 'I'h,'r(' was a IlInrk('t. 111'01')1 1\('l\r
.Iijt,avana.~ Mitllitll '"1H.'l'\i'I.~,'d f'lIll" llIark"j. j<lwI1S.~ :lIId 1.111: lIlilrkf't,
I,own lI:l1lWl1 V,'hlllillga 11':11'1" "pull'nl" wlmlt.hy, populous au,l t,hn'lIgl:t1
wit.h people."~
The lIoisclI callscd by traflle and Oth('f activitiell of citieR were well
known throughout the ages. Hence arose the idell that the prosperity
of II ci!,\' MII be k!lown h." "thf" tf'll ~nnll(ls". "Thc Hoyal city of
KU!:Ifl\'lllhi rl'.~"llIldl'd with !h,' 1\'11 !:IVllll\!K of th., lloille of elephallt.8,
of horlles, of chariots, of drullll', of tlHl tubor, of tllo vcna. of singing,
of cymbal, (lf the gon~ am! the cry of' Ollt, Ihink 11lHl be merry ,."e
Tile kill!!, nobles, minister!! lIntl rich lllt'rChHllls l'cflided ill the best
part of the city. RUlrle of them hud three rl'sidollCefl to illlit tho different
:sensum. 7 Kerping of peaee :md order in cities was entrusted to
officers, whOM chief WRIl appointed by the killg and entitled" the .LQrd
l)rotector of tho City".8 'fIHl police supervision was entrusted to
another olliel'r kllOWII Ufl " Governor. ,.
"A robb('r WBs plumlering the city, 1'he King onlrrcd tho
governor of tIlt' city to sei7.e him. So ill thll night thc governor
posted mell here lIllll there in detllclllJlCntll."Q Alf>o, each city had
its city-wlI rdells lo and tax-gatherers. II
I. /Ju""lI,dIi<oJ,'I"k". 2. !"illil"bt Jal"k<1.
3. 7'MfiI (,'al"-Riij,,,latla. 4. U"lha PtnUl Jiil"k".
U, (J!uJ.H/w.m SIt'IU, {j. Moh" "arinibb"1la S,IUO.
7. Prince Silhlh/trllul. T~ra UiU/IC;- 8. Gh'I~I/"" Jlila/ca.
Anurud,lhn. YIlAA. LlhutlL, ~~rn.
l"cror A&\lk".
9. K"""",,m .";1"1,,,,. 111.
J I. GII!/'JI/ J"l"ka,

'J'uwnlifc in India '1'0'1\8 not new ill the days of the Buddha. It had
been known for centuries before the Uudllha; thcrerore cities had
ample op(lOrtunitic8 to impro\'c through experiment and experience.
The Buddha 81>okc of cities known as '-cry ancient in his day. He yid:
.. J)and"kR, Kalinga, lIlejjllll, and Malunga were cities turned into
wildcrnCM in days gone b)'.'"
Some suburbs of large tOWIlS contained reserved (oreat.8 and ~arden8.
The Corest.8 provided fire';'O<K1 for cooking and heat (or the cold season.
The gardells produced the fruit. ,-egetahJes and flowers for the city.
ExwIl8ive fit"lds of corll crops, cspeciallr of rice, llurrounded most cities.
Small Mllllemcnts outside the cities had grtldually turned into villages
.....llOfIC inhl\lJiwnts dcpcmlcd on agriculture or Jll81lufactuTc for their
I ivill~. Thc nCArest citil'K were thc bllycrll of Iheir produC(!. IJlstn.nccs
of Kllt'll vil1ng~s IHI' lIIentimll'd in the Ill·riplurell. "'I'ho Ilmhn.min
"j Illlgl~ nnllll'd ~lllill,liya WIlII lln '!In !'nfllllidt\ nf Hli j:'gn lw. '1'he 11'1<1 hi-
IIJl.lhvr, WlUl horn ill thnt. vitrll,l.:c ill Jl. f::J.rlllf'r's family."!
" Tllere wus a villngc of CJl.rpI'JIWrllllot far from LIlO city in which 500
onrpent.ers livod ".3 NeAr wooc15 there were villages of hunterll.·
• ,. The vi Ilago of Opnsaoll was teoming with life ami abounding ill grnll8-
lamh, wfJfJlllulH.lI'l, wat"r 1II1,l !'orulllllrlll". r. Tlwr': wf'p' villuW'1I tJlllt
stondl!'!1 indl.'pendl'ltt, unit!! with llIost of their IICCe8llariCll JIIupplied by
the I>eMllnt8 Lllemll('h'es. Ancient. \'illagcs were celcbrated (or their
hospitality; for it was colIsidered that all teacher'll of religion Dnd
learned IIlOIl who cnm(' within the p~inct.s of a village are guests who
were to be treated with hOllour and re\·erence. r; Thl.' administration
of villages and minor towns were left in the hands of responsible men
usually sent (rom the capital city. So we find AnitB-Pindika. ab8enting
himself from the eit), in onlor to administer the village entrusUd to his
care. A few extracts from the SCri!ltuT08 wiJlseT\'e as brief de8Criptive
notes o( 80me prominent towns of Buddbist hJ(ua.
VtMli.-" At that time Vcsiili was an opulent, proR~rous town,
populoml, crowded with pcople, nhundant with food. There were 7,777
st.oroyed buildings, 7,777 pinnnrled buildingl'l, 7,777 pll'A8urc gardens
n1\11 7,777 8 lo~ug ponds. Thero wero niso lh~ dancer allt! musicilln,
AmbnpUli, who W1\S beau~ifll', graceful, pkasant, gifted with tile IligJlellt
Uci~lIty of complexion, well veTl'm£! in dnJ1Cing, sillging, nnd vena (a lute)

I. Ull(ili Sulla. :? '~lIvannaL:a.l:katBJiiJ<I.\:Q.

3. 11 iMCilla J<ifaro. 4. J. IV., 257.
6. C..nki .jull.., 6. 7777 Wll!I a form of cl(!lrlllJllion_
denoting a largo number.

playing. . Through her, Veliiili I)l'Clllll<' lIIore and more prospcrous.
Morchnnt~ from ltiijngaha w!'nt to Ves:ili ".1 In Mllltavana gardens
wns a wcll-known park ill V<'Billi whf'rf' t!lcre was 11 large building called
the Gabled Ual1. 2 AllOther hall thel'c was known at tho Hull of Truth. 8
This city also vosse~'led l~ tank frOIll whidl the royal families got water
for ceremonin I sprinkling. ~ "I n those days Vestlli enjoyed marvellous
prosperit}·. A t.riple wnll encompassed the city, oach wall a. league
distant frOIlL tho ncxt, nnd there were t.hree gates with watch towers.
In that city there werc nlwnys 7,777 Hiijas (rulers) to goVeTJI tIle
kingdom, amI a liko number of viceroys, genernls and treasurcNl."5
f(apilut'tls/hu wns the c(~pital of the Snkyan kingdolll. By this eit.y
WIUI n wooll known as the Great Wood. The city hatl sevcral pnrks.
Tile HllllY111I Grove,7 and tlte Fig Tree PllTk,8 were two of tho well-
known parks. It WllS also 1Iowd for its palatial buildings. Thc
Coronation Ilall of the Kings in the city was also used for thc oelelJration
of royal wetMings. 1I When till} Sakyans built their New Assembly Hall
it WIlS opened by tho Buddllll. The ancient method of opening a
bllilllillg wall gf'ttil1g 1\ wort!ly person to \I~e it for thc fiTllt time. 10 It
WM the AfI1:lel1\hly Hall that W3!l used to wf'lcome foreign princes or
!'('rsollll of re}I"W n. lI
Kll.!i,liim WII.8 the c3J!itnl of tile l\Iallas.
Riijuga!w wus one of the most lJl:autiful towns of lIncient lndia,
"with all it..~ b!'nutiful pl!'asa\lIlces and woods, and open spaces and
lovely lako~."12
Rajagaha Wall surrounded by hills. Thero was the Hlack Rock Oil
Rishis' 1Iill,13 the Vulture Peak,l( 11l\d OimggaslllJlajja where hill-top
fniTS usell to be held. l (; Snknrakhnta. Cave was Oil ono oftho hi!\s.t 6
It WflS H. well fortified city. We read of its dcfellces which were being
repaired. 17
The well-known pleasure gardens at Rajagaha were Veluvllna
(Bamboo Park), Satti,'ana,18 and thc !\lango Grove. 11l A tree planted
by Anllnda, the disciple of the Buddha, stood at the end of Sisters'

1. YiMya-MII!Ii VlIgga VIII.

3. Ekapan1lll JiiJ.aka
5. El:apanItaJalaka.
7. VaH:hina Vibflan9aSNlla.
9. Thera GdlNi-Nandll..
11. Bhadda-Siila Jiilal:a.
13. Thera Gdlhii-VIII'gisa.
Hi. Themaiilh.ii~..>ii.rillUtta.
17. I'inaya-Mllbi VlIgglI.I.

Terrace. 1 In the city there were squares at which I>wple preached or
addressed the crowds. I In a I'romillent part of the city WlUlo the Royal
resf...-housc. t There were f"ightecJl monlUlotf"ries round Rijllgaha.· AJeo,
the Brahamin villa&>e called SalimUya WlUlo towards the north-east of it."
Sal'l.luhi, the capital of the Kingdom of Kosala, was noted for ita
prosl)Crity and wealth.. Jt bad been one of the busiest cities. .. Braha-
minI' from diverse countries clime to the city on huaincss ",' There
were !,owel'll 011 the city gates. s One towcr Wall known as Ambala.
Tower. 7 It W/l.8 a city noted for ita palatial building" of five or seven
,storcys. She surpnssed other eities in her grandeur of large halls,
residcl\ccs and public buildings, The famous Jetl~wRnn Park Wall in its
suburbs. There WMS a market town lIear Jetawana. ll
$avatthi had four gates, three of which were named as the Eastern,
Northern ami Southern Gatea. The great residence built by Lady
Visaki for the Buddha was near the Eastern GaUl.' The nobleman
Anathapindika's house in the city had seven storeys and seven gates.'
The Ring's palace alld Lady Visiki', mansion were equally magnificent
buildillgfl ill thl' city.-
Benare& ill one of the most. ancient cities of India. It WIl8 the cal,ital
of the Kingdom. It WIV! reputed as a scat of leaming from \'ery early
timcs. Just I1S the other great cities, BenllrefJ had lll.rge buildings.
tanks and pleasure gardens. There were bll.lls of J~o\llll,y at each of tho
four gates lllld 0110 in the middlo of the city.1O The lotus tank was
looked after by n caretaker,ll The decr park at l"ijlllthnnB was lIoar
the city.l! Bonnres was famous for its muslin. ls She had clever
craft.slUen in ivory work. u 1t W8.8 customary for lllcrchllllt8 of other
towns to bring their merchandise to BCllarc8. u "JII J3enarea when the
night-fe8tival of Kattika Will! held the cil}' W88 decorated and all people
kept holida}'. They put on their best attire on the OOOIl8ion. l I
Ta1:1ro&ila WIl8 the moat famous scat of learning in ancient India.
Jh'o.ka wellt to learn under a .. world renowned physician who at that
time li\·ed at Takkasila. 17 Rich I'arenill Bellt their children to TakkWlila
to be taugllt by the fAmous teaehol'll.
I. T~ri OeifM-Sulr:kIt.. 2. AfaAa Mangolo Jeil(lI«..
3. Ctd/ahaJn4C. J(iI.o.ka. •• Soli1w.b:ua JiiWka.
5. A88(lIayana Sul/a, 6. Palayi JiiW!«J.
7. SUlUd:uJ<ilulw. 11. On/ha Plll1aJiHqhl,
9. DTtammapudtl AII,Iwka1ha-Villikll. 10. Cnla PadUfIUI Jdl<d:a.
11. Padl<7II/lJ,j1aka. 12. Yinaya·Maha Vagga I.
13. f'iyaJatikaSllita. 14. KO¥lvaJ(jlaJta.
Hi. OwJIUa Jcilafm. 16. P"l,pAarallg JliJafm.
17. VilKlya-ltIt.hl Vlll.

Nalrmda UPt'lIme tile ]Iollle of !,hilol101'hf'r~ allll ~cholnr8. The
U/liIlCl'~it}" of Nalflll(ln witl! it,q IN·ture llltllfl and lodgillg~ for 10,000
residC/lt ~tltdelltfl, was the seat for iltlulelll,ri. The Ullillersity was
cndowml with the reVC/lues of 100 \'illages,
Thc thick pOl'ulntioll of the alH;icllt (;itiCf~ of IllIlia eall he gatherel!
{roil I tllo al1w,joJHI to thmn ill the scriptures. J~orl'igll writers wllO had
visited :lnciCIIL Ilulia mnkfl rl'{cn'I1Cl'fl to the brgl'IlCAA of population,
Megcsthcrll'1I dl'~cribcs I'ntnlipurn afl a fort,ress witll a gnrriwn of a
milliun rLrllll'tllllcn,
Fn Hicn IlefICribr8 l'urUflR!JUfa, the cnpit.'ll of Gandhara, a~ (Iotted
with It thousand lltOllastcri\'s.
"According to l\Jl'~nstllelles the mean breadth (of the Uallgcs) is 100
stndil~ and. it, Icast depth 20 fathoms, At t.l11l mceting of this ri\'cr
and allother is ~ituated Palibothm. a city eighty stadia in length alld
si~teeJl in breadth. It i.~ of the sllape of a parallelogram and is girded
with a wooden wall, pierced with loollholefl for the discharge of arrows.
It has a ditch in front for defence ami for roceiving tllo sewnge of Lilo
city . . . , Tho wall (of the city) was crowned with 570 towers, and
had foor and sixty gates ". (8trnbo XV. 1-35-36).
Ta-TlIollg·8i-Yll-Kin (Uuddllist Records of Western World) gives tile
fnllowing account:
"The t.own~ awl villages 11ave inncr gates; tIle wl~l1s Me wide and
high; the strcets lInd lanes tortuous and the roads winding. The
thoroughfares are dirty and the st311s arranged on both sides of the
road with a ppropriat.c sigus. Butchers, fishcrs, dancers. executioners.
scavellgers and so 011, hnve tlu·ir abodes witllOut the city, In coming
allll going tlJese persons lIrc bound to kee p 011 the left side of tho road
till thcy arri\·c at their homes. Their Ilousell arc surrounded by low
walls ami form tho suburbs, The earth being soft and muddy, the
walls of tho town are mostly built of brick or tiles, 'rho towers on
the walls are constructed of wood or bamboo; tho houses
halconies and ulllvedercs, which arc Illade of wood, with a coating of
lime or lHort·M and covered with tilcs."



IN TIn: sixth century B.C. Inuia was divided iuto n Jlumber ufkil\gdullls
and republics. Some of the minor kingdoms wero semi-dopemlent on
the powerful ones, while the othorl'l were independent. Kosala,
Magadlm, Udeni. Snkya, Vathsa, Rasi nlH!. Avanthi were the most
powerful kingdoms. The republic of the Vajjinlls, and the federation
of the Mallavas were eqnally powerful. Some of the less important
kingdoms were Alvl~i, Kuru, Sivi, Kampila, Oandhnra, Kalinga,
Candahar, VamAll and Dnmila.
Aocording to Dig(ra Nikaya I,he central region of the North wall
divided illto seven states. TllCre were the oUler lltatcs as the
of Sllkiyas of Videh38
of Koliyas of Bulis
of Mal1as of Kusinflrn of llImggas
of Mallns of Pava of Moriyas
of Lieeha\'is of Kiilrunas
According to finol.her verSion the following sixteen are classed as
great, States :-
l. Angii. 9. Kuru
2. Magadha 10. I'ancala
3. Kiisi 1 L. Maeoha
4. Kusala 12. 8urascna
5. Vajji 13. Assaka
6. Alalia 14. A\'anti
7. Ceti 15. Gandhara
8. Vamsa 16. Kamboja
Thoro had existed friendly inter-course between kings. They
exchanged lotters and presents. 1
The extent of territory varied, land bciJlg added on or lost through
conquests or kingdums being united by succossion, throngll marriage.!
After a war the defeated kingdom genorally undertook to pay 0. tribute
I. There were inler·marriage6 between the royal falDiUllII of different kingdOJll6.
2. Them GUih<i-Ti66",

to it,s CUIHjllcror llllll t1lemhy nchowlellgell its alll'Sinllce. Yet the
conqueror did lIO!. interfere wit,h the guverlUllell!. of the cOlHluered
kingdom. King BimlJisnrn of Mag:uJlmlleld rule and sovereign!.y over
80,000 villages. :From time to !.imc he held a conference of 80,000
governors of thuse villuloll1S. 1 '!'he kingship was Il herediLary right in
most kingdums. 1f fl killg died without an heir then tlte choice of the
suveroign fell 011 tile peuple. Qnc uftheir methods WIlS to delegate tile
royal ekl'hnllt wllich WItS "liken in IJrocl'sllioJl to do the selccf.ioll. The
person IJcforc whom the elel'hnnt knelt duwn wns chosen king. Tllis
method is analll~ous to fasting lots, or the people thought that tlU)
instinct of the elcplulJlt WM nbol'e corruption. Anot.her method was
to entrust the !relection to physiognomists who foulld out the person
worthy of the crown by t,he royal signs Oil his hody.
"The King of BClHlfCfI hnd been dead !revcn clays. The family priest
had performed funeral rites, and IIcnt out the festal Cllr for seven days
as there wall no heir to the thrOlle. 'l'llis car rcached the gate of the
pleltsurc garden. Alollg with it went the army of the four divisions,
accompanied by the music of Olle hundred instruments. By ob8erving
the special marks on the feet of a person he WitS elected king."\!
The corOllll.tion of a killg was performed with grent ceremouy for
which there WI\fla Rpe(linl hall in the kingdom of the Sakylts known BS
the Coronation Hall. 3 Here is a brief descrilltioll of It. coronatioll.
" When the kinwlom luul beell orre,r(,ll to the J30dhisnttl~ hy till' people,
and when he hull accepted it lIIul heell alloilltcd kiug, the peoplc
decornled the town like a cit,y of the gods Itlltl the royul pnlnce like the
palace of Illdm. 1~llteriJtg 1.11(1 city, the BOllhisatt.a IlURRcd into I,he
spaciolls hall of the palace nmllhere seatcd hilTL!relf it! nil his
beauty Oil hiR jewelled thrOllc a white utlthrella of kingship.
Hound him ill glittering slllpllJour stood his ministers nnd brnhnmins
and nolJles, whilllt sb:teell t.IlOUSfltHl girls, fair as goddesses, 8allg and
danced IInd gave music till the palnce WIlS filled with sOllnds liko the
ocean, when the storm bursts in thunder on ita waters."4
The above paS8age 11180 suggpsts that the killgsllip dep('wled on tile
Wi8h of the people; before electing their king the people sometime8
tested him. Aft('r a king's death, "his 80n was very young, so the
peollle thought he could not be made king. Before they made him
king they would test him."s
1. ViOluya-Mo.hii Vagg'" V. 2. lJarimllkl:a Jlilaka.
3. Them Giilhii-Nnncln. 4. Panclw GamJ<1taka.
5. Ganlall; GUllda Jiilaka.

Depemling 011 the choice of the people a king owed certain duties.
For example :-
"A king ought to rule vigilant in all kingly duties to his suhjecta,
like mother or father, forsaking all e\'il courses, lIever omiUing the ten
precepts of a king. When a killg is righteous, those who surround him
are righteous al.&o".1 The ancient idea that a king is the father of his
IKlOIJle was relKlated by Emperor Asoka in his Kalinga Ellict I. :
" All my IKl<:Jple are Illy chilflrcn, ,Just as for my ofTslJrillg I desire
that they may be united with all welfare and happiness of this world
!\lld the next, so do I desire it for n.U mell, 110 thn.t they might uJlder-
stand, ' the kill/{ is to \IS even 8S n father, he loves us evell 38 he loves
himself. We are to tlle king even us his children '."
Several plL8Bages in the scriptures speak of the duties of kiJlgs.
"A king should remember the maxim that kings should not.. walk
aooording to lust and otber evil Jlassiolls in ruling their kingdoms.
Kings should ne\'er act without examining and Irno""ing the whole
The following is IlIl advice to a king:
"Learning, honouring, respecting and revering the (Dnummu)
Truth, with truth and righteousllc88 as thy guide, protect thy people,
army, Ilohlcs, RN\'antll, brllhnmills, houscholders and animals. Let
no wrong-doill~ pre\'ail. Whosocver is poor in thy kingdom, lot
wcalth be ~iven to him. You should llcar spiritual teachcrs and bid
them take lip wlllltc\·cr is good. Obt3erve the fi\'e precepts of ablltain·
ing from killing, stcaling, unlawful scnsual pleasures, falsehood and
intoxicants. "a
King's power wall restricted. Once a king said: .. In no way do all
the subjects of my kingdom belong to me, nor am I their lord, only o\'er
those who rise against the sovereign. and do wrong 1 am lord. Therefore,
1 callnot give you unrestricted power over the whole kingdom.'"
The rulers were expected to protect their subjects with the four kinds
of beneficence, IIlI.mely, liberality, affability, impartiality and good.
rule.' In Buddhistlmlia the ideal king is characterised by ten royal
precodents, whioh cOllsisted in ohll.rity, well disciplincd righteous life,
gonerosity, uprightness, compassion, reservcd Ilaturc, IInrcvengefulno8s,
I. Ja_lldfraJrilolw. 2. K,ih Jiilako.
3. ClwUooolti S'fraMda SuUa. 4. Jaliika I, 398.
5. JalW.fa'l&dlw JIJloks..

harmle!lSlIess, patience ll.lld impartiAI;t},. I The ri\"(, emlJlenls of reynlty
were sword, whito canop}·, crowlI, "lipllel'll and fan. 1 There were also
cert.ain treMures known 88 roysltreasurcs.'
Ancient kings of India took nn acti\'e )lart in the go,·rrnm{'nt of the
countr}", fQr whidl they were often eardull}· trained. '!'heir time WRs
well occupied with t.he dut.ies of thC' Sf1lte. Palrelladi, .King of Kosala,
oneo !'laid: "No"', Sir, 1 lIlust 00 goillg, for 1 havo mllch to do nlld
attend kJ"'~
Enq'llror A.~oku proelnirn{'d thlB fact:
" Thlts Bllit h Kiug l'l'iyndnrsiu, Bt\lol'etl of thl1 ~odll-l('or a long
time past previously thero WIHJ IIfI dis)lateh of businoss and 110
roportin/( At all hours. '!'hil'l, thNefore, I have dOlLe, namely, t.hat
at all hours Rnd in 11.11 plr1ct'8--whether I am eating or am in tho
eloscfl apartmentll, ill the ;Illl<'t chamber. in t1u" ro}'al rancho 011
hOt!!elmck, or ill pleasure ordulrds, the reportt'l'lllllny report people's
business to 11I('. Pooplc·s business I do 3t all plac(,,1l . . .. J am
ne\·er s,'Jti!'lried with exertiolls or with dispatch of business. For the
welfare of the ",holl' world is 811 es~med dul.y with me. And the
root of that, llj:tlliu, is this" nRl1Il'ly, exert iOIl aJ,d dii'lpstch of lJus.incS8.
There il'l 110 hiJ[;hcr duty than thc welfllre of the whole world. AJ,d
whllt little elTort I lIlakQ-what;s it. for ?-that J mllY be free from
debt to the creatures, that 11110y rf'}HIf'r s.ome Imppy here RmI that
they II1l1y gain lmppiness ill thc ncxt world."-[Hock I~dict \'1.]
It was a common eus.tom in Ihose daYK for kings to send their SOilS to
be educated under well-known lenl'!Lers. So when in tum the SOilS
succeeded their fnthcrs" the kinEtIl had the uccessary training and
educatiOIl. "Whell the SOil of tile King of .lknare8" retuOled from his
studies, the kjllg granted l\ gCllcral)lordol\ to all pri80ncl'll 8Jld g8\"e him
the vioo-ro}'alty ".' Another king entrUl~ted to a sepArAte courticr to
teach his childf("1I wbat the}' ought to IrAtIl. AfU"rwRrda he made each
son the gO\'crnor of l\ pro\'iIlCC,ll
The appointment. of prilwt'!'I tQ rc"pHllllihle ol1il.,"'/I ~a \'0 thcllI opportu<
nitics of geLI.; Ill-: early cxpcri(,llce in the lIrt of ~UWtllllll'l1t.
" Pussa, tllo SOil Off~ ruler of a provincp., WRS trllillet! in 1111 nccom!llish-
mallts of II youth."7
I. DaM.r<ija.dlulmma. 2. DaJarathu Jiilaka.
3. IJiilap(H.I1jla Sltlla. 4. Arigullllllila S"lIa.
5. JOIla¥lNlha Jtilaka. 6. Salflrc.ra Jiilaka.
7. ThUII Giifha-)lulllltl.

The example of King Rusa RllOWS that a royal prince was taught lIot
ollly the art of government allll military 8cience, but he was a good
mURician, clever sculpt.or and a mallaccolllplished in tIle Bixty-four arts
and Rcicnccs.t C(lrtnin members of the royal family specialised in some
brunch of knowledge. The adopted son of l'rince AbhaYI~ thought
thus: " lJI these royal families, it is not easy to find one's livelihood
without knowing all art ".2 So ba became a studmlt of medicine under
a" world famed physician in Takkasila". "Vajjiputta, the son of a.
Licchavi Raja at Vesali, was a yOUllg man who became un expert ill
ttltining elephll.llts."3
. Some kings bad been very kCell to impro\'c their knowledge. "Maha-
Kappilllt succeeded to the crown at Ilis fat/lee'a death. He, to extend
hifl. knowledge, would send men in the mowing out of the four gates 1.0
cross roads, orderillg them to stop scholars Jlassing that way and to tell
Ilim. 4 When a great, teacher or philosopher visited a kingdom the
kiuj2: .....ould extend his hospitality to him. On occaaiolls in which
famous speakers addressed meetings the king with Ilis courtiers would
go to hear them. Even at the meetiugs Qf kings, their convereation was
of an intellectual nature. "Once five killgfl, Pascnlldi being one of
tJlem, were discussing which of the pleasures of sonse was the
highest." 5
Five wishes of King Seniya Billlbillara wore well-known:
The King Mid : "Formerly, Lord, when! wns a boy, J had five wishes
they arc now fulfilled: to be consecrated killg, Jnay a Buddha, all
enlightened teacher, come to my kingdom; to do homage to him; to
be taught by him Doctrine; and to understand his teaching."~
WhelL a king wisued to retire from his duties as a ruler, either OWillg
to old age or because he wished to renounce worldly cares,7 then lIe
abdicated the throne in favour of his heir. S
Ancient kings did not despise their su bjeottl. The people had a right
to appeal to the king individually to get private wrongs redressed, or
colIeoti vely in times of public danger or calamity. " Thc Jlortals of the
king's inner plllace WitS beset by 1\ huge crowtlloudly shouting that there
was a robher in tile realm. . .. "SuJlpress llim, Sire ", they cried. ~
Jnstances of private llppeals to the killg were not uncommon. Visiikii,
the mother of Migiira, desirous of obtaininR a favour, importuned
I. KU3t1 Jdlo.ka. 2. Vi'l<lya-Muhii. Vll~ga VIII.
3. 'l'htra Gutlt<i-Vll.jji.putta.. 4. 'l'ht.ra Gath<i-Mah" KaPllina.
6. Rtlityul/a Nilwya Ill. 6. Vinaya-Mahii. Vll.ggll. L.
7. Mtlkhiidn·aJii!aka. 8. Vu,ro"ltlffl ./ii!aka.
9. A ,ig!lli-'" ala Sulla.

King Pasenadi IIf Kosala. Tho king did not accede to her re(pl!.. ~t.1
Whellcver tile king Ilsed hill prerogative, it was for tlte publie good,
otherwi~e tho IlCt of the ruler would be eOlldenUled as unrighteous Ilnd
the peoplo made a collectivo appeal. 2 The rulers of Uuddhist India
were not despot.~. They rCllpectcd the wishes of the peollle and made
the basis of their govrrJImellts the welfare of the people. Rings diu not
depend elltirely on their ministers for the good administration of tlte
kingdom. When the king nppcnred before his people on formal
occasiolls, he ll~l.'d t.o l\fIk whether they had any complaints to make
flgflinst thu governnll'llt. Not satisficll with this inquiry, the king
hill\80lf informally or in disguise llsell to visit different parts of his
kingdom to find out whuther the people had allY grievll.llces. Once a
"kin!{ hlll\(lill!{ over tho J(overlllHcnt to hill ministers HIlll tnking a
Ilhaplaill with him truvI'rl>Cu the kin,glloln of Rasi, in disguise. y('t he
fnlllld no-"Im with a Ilnmplailll.l!gnitlst tile gOVCrlllllOllt ",
Tlw kill/{ 111111 rule I;"I1.~IlIt",d hislIlillifltl'rfl and Imd cO/llidf'IJ('c ill tlu'llI
" Mflgntlha Killg Soniya Him!Jil\ll.ra said to his minister ill chnrge of
general affllirs; • Go, good sir, and find out about this. W11611 you
have seen it, it shall be the same as if I myself llad seen it '. ~ On
important matters tile killg acted on the advice of his counsellors.
" King Brnhl1lfu.lattll. of Kasi, Imving entered .Il('Jlares, COJ1\'okell his allll (,01ln~l'lIor~ and IItlllr!'~~ed them.'·5
The vl\riO\l~ !l('f\·iccl'l (If the Sta te demanded lItlllly ministers. HCllce
we rOfld of tlte Kill/{'s Trcll8urcr, 0 Chnplaill,7 Administer of Justice,'"
a Chief Counsellor or Pri me MinistN, 9 fllld a "Price (Issessor", lO
alllollg other officcr's of tIle f3IUtl1.
The" Price lI.sses.~or·s" dlll.y WfiS to make cstinu~te8 of the values of
things bOIlAht for the kill~ or his household, so that t.hey may be paid
for without enusing 108s to the sellers of I.holle flrt.ieles.
Pillar Ellict 1 V. of A~oka IIhows the confidence he had in GO\'CTIllllent
"'J'llIls saith King Priyndarsill, lleloved of the gods: This
.IJhammalipi Wall caused to be writl.cll by me wJ161\ .I had been
cons6crated twenty.six years. The Hajukas have been set by me
over people (consisting of) many hundred thousRndll of soul8. AllY
2. l't.Wltltara Jiilaka.
4. ri.lOya-MlIhi Vagga VI.
Ii. Theri Giitha-Bhnrldn KlllHjalnkeAA
fl. SelWka f'at0ilcl Jalaka.
10. Them Gatfld-JIIalunkll.ya'8 lIOn ami Ajita.

rownnl or I'lIl1i~IIIl](,l\t by thrill has been Illaccd by me under their
sole control-why 1-in ordcr that the llajukas may perform their
duties with confidencc and without fear, cause welfare I\nd halJpiness
to the people of the provinces and confer benefits (UPQll them) .. "
The Kalinga edict sllOws tlll1t the Emperor sent high govomment
officers every five years to inquire into the work of the judiciaries.
For this purpose Jlas this document been here writtell :
ill onler that the l\Iahamatras who are the City Judiciaries may be
devoted to the etcrnal rule of conduct, and that causeless imprison-
ment or causeless hnrnssment of the toWIlS people may not take place.
AJ1d for this purpose, I shall cause a Mnhamatra to go forth on tour
ever}' five years, who will be neitJler htlrsh lIor fiery, hut gentle in
actioll. ~o that being al'.'are of this objret !,he city judicinrics will act
~weortlill~ t.o my ill~t,tIlC!i()Il,q. . ... WIWH l.huNl} 1\h\hnmat,tIJ8 ~u
fHrlll UII tuur, withnut lll'glccting t.heir UWll fundiull, th!'y willlllinc(
this nl~o. 111~1Jtely, whethcr judiciaries are acting according to the
instructions of the king."
'I'he kings of old li ved in great splcndour. They lmd three palaces to
suit the different seasons. They had their golden thrones beneath the
royal whit.e (parasol) canopy decked with gem!!.l
"The King of Benares caused n pavilion adorned with jewels to be
!let lip at the door, Hnt! at the time of entiJlg he had this Ilecol'ated, and
there sut UpOIl a ro}'al dais made 11./1 of gold, uuder a white parasol.
There were princcsses all around him. He ate the food of hlllldred
delicate flavours froUl a dish which cost n hundred thousand gold
'J'he)' rode on elephants or in carriages drawn by horses. 3
Witll the ladies of the court they visited pleasure gardens or parh
Oil sunny afternoons. 4 They took Ilart in the different festivals. "1'lle
festival of the elephant-s was prepared. A hundred elephants were set
in array, with golden ttll.llpillgS, golden flags, all covered with a network
of fine gold; and all the palace court-yard was decked out."~
The kings were keen in attending to socisl services.
" Thus saith Priyadarsin, Beloved of the gods: On the
roads I have planted banyan trees. They will ofTer shade to man
and beast. I have grown mango-orchards. I have caused wells to
1. 1'JmpanaJulvka. 2. l)ula JrUd,a.
3. l'ill'laktlJiiluktl. 4. .Ma/mifl" J,ilalta.
fi. SU8u"",Jlilam.

pe dug at every cight-koscs ; ll.llIl 1 have had rest-houses. I have
llIade lllfU1Y wi~tering IIbclls Ill. difTcrcnt placcs for the cnjoyment of
man and Uell.'1t. 'l'his Cl1 jOJlllent is, however, indeed, a trifle, hecause
mankind has hecll blessed with many sueh blcssiJlgS by the previous
kings liS by me. But llll)se done this with this intent, namely, tllat
they may practise Jlraeticcs of the Dhamnm."-[Pillar Edict VH.]
There was 1L popular cOlLeeptioll of a "universal monarch" wllo
appenred ill. \'er.v long intern~ls in 1.]10 world's history. He possessed
super-nl't"IlHI] 110II'el'lI. A1. the birth ofl'rinee Sidtlhartha some wise men
predieled that he woulll he tl "u/liv('rsa] monarch" or a Buddha.




LAWS and governmelltB of the different killgdolUS in hldia were tlOt

aliko. Yet there WllS the gellel'31 tendonc}' among t.he los8 developl:1d
statos to copy the leading ones in important matters. When the
Buddha taught in India there wcre rOllUblics alld confcdcTflcielllike that
of the Mallas, tllere were llemocracies with elected 1ll0narr,hll and UU:'re
were kingllollu:I with hereditary kings.
Jnlarge kingdoms there WM a central gOVl1l1lmellt find local goverll-
ments. The killg and his ministera and coulIselJlIT8 formed the centrlll
government. The appointments of tlew millisters and counsellors were
dOlle by the king on the advice of the old coulIsellors and millisteT8. A
clear instance of this is whore a killg, hearing the fame of the wisdom of
a young man, was anxious to appoint him as 11 counsellor, }'et the king's
four olfl eounllcllors kept him off time after time, sug-gp-still,!!: to the king
that tile young man'!; ahility lJiust be tested fllrthcr. l
'1'he 3(lministmtivo work was done by the king with the aid of his
ministeIII. A king Imd coullsellors apart from his ministers. In the
Them Giila many persons in the city of Sii,vatti were desoribed lIB
couJLsellors who evidently formed the legislative or consultative bodies.
There arc also instances where those described as counsellors had done
admuustrative work. 1 From this it can be inferred that either the
ministers were selected from the counsellors or in some kingdoms the
counsellors did the work of the ministeIII.
The existence of the different ll.IIsemblies is suggested by a passage in
the scriptures which enumerates them. They are the assemblies (I) of
nobles, (11) of Braltamins, (ill) of heads of houses, (JV) of religious
teachers and their followers, (V) of the four great regents, (VI) of the
thirty-three gods, (VU) of 1llarns (Vll1) and of Brahmas.2 The last
four are tlte assemblies of gods and" snper-llIItural beings". There
is also 0. reference to eighteen guilds of n city.s
L Maha UmmDugIJJtitda. 2. Anallgtl'M 8u1la.
:I. Al"'!1IJ FokJ,/la Jiilaka.

Before matte.'s of importance to the pul>lic were ,lone, they wero
disc1HlS<'ll in their 1'I"Ilper assemhlies. l\S for examples, it is recorded
that five hundred Lieeh:lvi princes used to meet in th('ir Il.Sl!embly hall
to tranllllet bllsilles.~ of the state.· Also, wllen Ananda went to UJmOllllce
the passing away of tlw Uuddha., Malliis of Kusiniira were assembled in
thei.' Council IInll to diBCU8S about the same matter.! Thero are other
references, "'I'he J\Iullii.s of KusilHlra were assembled in the Council
Hall Oil some public utTair."z
When K illg Kosllla sent II marriage proposal to the Sakyalls, "OIl
rcceipt of the message the Sakyans gathered together and deliberated." S
When the I3ralmlllin IlO1liJo-holders were a88embled in their meeting
place to transact some matters, the Buddha with llis disciples went to
the Hall. 'fhe Brahamin8 thought" who were those recluses and what
can they know about council rules ".' The quotlltion suggests the
existence of rules to regulate the proceedings at specitl1111eetings. Somo
rules from the Vinaya Pittlka might be q lIoted to illustrate the proceduro
at the meetill.ll;s of the Buddhist monks:
"To an assembly they do not come uninvited."6
At lllflctill.'!:!t tIle speak<'Ts stund up and address tile audience.'
" A ll10tiull hruught before nil ll!I~(>mhly hnd t.o be :ulllressecl to that
a!'..~emhly, 7

"Certaill prul.{\.~h were held inem'dual,s

If il formal aet is performed unlawfully by a complete or an
incomplete congreglll,ioll, it is 1101. valid, but the lawful acts performed
by complete cOllgreglltiollS were valid. II
The fOl'lllll1 words Qrdillaril}' used ill the c1ectiQll of /Ill oflice bearer
were ns follows :-
"Let the venerable members of the assembly hear moo This
assembly aplJOints the Venerable Dabba the MalJu. liS regufator of
lodgings IInd npportioner of rations. 'Vhosoe\'er of the venerable
ones agrees that Dabba. should be appointed, let him remain silellt.
Whosoever does !lOt. agree let him speak."IO
This wns repentet! thrice IImI if the members were silent then the
Venerable DaLba WllS declared appointed by UIO n88embly.
I. Cilia Sr,,:ca.w Su.fla. 2. J/llh<i Pori...ibMft4811Ua.
3. Blwdda SMa J6taht. 4. Sllnyulla VIII.
5. Udu.llib<l1:arikJl Sfltanrida Sulla. 6. Putil.:a Sld/ll.
7. FilWya-eulll\ Vaggl\ I. 8, Vinaya-MahiL V"ggl\ IX.
lJ. Ibid. IQ. VilWYll-Kulla Vaglll. LV.

Whtm the hOIlRe was divided in opinion, the matter was settled by
the votes of the majority.\ The three methods of takiJlg votes were:
the" secret method ", the" whispering method ", and the" Opoll
method". In the secret method the teller of votes made voting tickets
of different colours, and as each voter came he said to him: "This is
the ticket for the man of such all opinion. Take whichever you like.
Do not show it to anybody". In thc whispering tnetllOd, the teller is
to whisper to the voter. "This is the ticket for wch an opinion. Take
whichever you like". The tnker of votes shall possess five qualities.
He must be impartial, wise, without malice, without fear and able to
perform his duty.1 'l'he meetings were conducted by 0. presidellt.
When olle speaker addressed a special meetillg he became the president,
i.e., the chief of the assembly.
The GoverlUnent of the early Indian kingdoms involved many
respollsible duties. There was division of labour, and division of
responsibility. Each king had IJUU1Y ministers and other officers of
the state. Their JH\mes themslves would suggest the Jlature of their
duties. The prime minillterof the kingdom of Magadha was Vassakara 3
and .Iivakll was the chief miJlister to King Kosnla. 4 Theh there wero
a trcllsurer,L 1\ chaplllin,e and a steward. "Jotipllla, the Lord High
Rteward, divillcfl the land ami appointed govcrnonl who were given
instruction/J by him". 7 A SI)(lcill.l minister WllS in charge of general
afTairs. s There were the commandcr·in-ehief of the army and other
militllry ofliocrs. 9 Some uit-ies had a "lord-protector" n.ppointed by
the king,IO guards, wardens, and viceroys." '1'he finllnces of kingdoms
were in the hands ofsper.illl finallcial officers. I!
" As the administration of tIle Govctlllllent is founded on benign
llrinciples the executive is simple. TIle families are not entered on
registers, and the people are not subject to forced IlIbour. The private
demesnes of the Crown arc divided into four principlll part-a ; the first
is for carrying out tllc affairs of the State and providing sacrificial
offeril'gs; the second is for providing subsidies for the ministers and
cllief officers of Stllte ; the third is for rewarding men of distinguislled
11. Ibid. 2. Ibid.
3. jfahii Pari Nibb(j..a. Bulla. 4. Elrol!(lIUUI Jiilaka and BamoWl PMla Bulla.
G. .Mahii BKdMtouna 8m/a. 6. Tlura GiilM--PiQ<Jol. and Bhirad\"ija.
7. MahiiGoflillda8u/la. 8. V'naya-Mahl Vagga I.
9. AfiUa Gandf"d;a JiiWk4. 10. CMml:a Jiilaka.
,11. Nilla-GaJldfJam Jci/am. 12. Chal:mvalli Bulla.

ability; Ilnd the fOI1l'th is for ell/I.!'i"y to religiouR hOtlieR, whereby the
field of nterit is eultivated."-(1Juddlllst Recordso!t'lC Western World
Book I!.]
The government of the pt'ovinces was carried Oll by Lhe governors
llppeinted by the kin,!!:. Thoso gon:rlloTl; cvitlelltly followed the central
government in matters of general policy. The noblemllll, Aniitha-
pindika, had Lhe gO\'cflllHfint of a Jlrovincn under him" COIIRulhl.l,ioJls
and eonferellces of I,he goveruors uf the provillcell took place frolll time
to time. 2
In the following ext.ract the dutics of the IUllgistrates are described:
" (The City Mngistnltes) who IHlVe chnrge of the city nre divided
into six bodics of jivc each. The lTlcmbers of the first look afwr
e\'crything rclllting to the industrial art-8. TllOse of the Becond
attend to the cutel·l.a.inlJlent of foreigllcrs . 'I'he third body
cOllsists oftl10oo wllo inquire w!.ten lInd how births lllld deaths occur,
with a view 1I0t Ollly of levy ill,'! a tax, but nlso in order that births
and deaths fllllOllg both high !lmllow may not escape the cognizance
of gO\ The fourth class sUJlcrintemls trade and eOlllmerce.
The fifth clsss supcrvioos manufactured Articles. The sixth and Inst
das:'! COllsists of thoRe who collect tile tenths of the prices of the
article sold. . Next tv the city magistrates there is A. third
gO\'emillg body wllich directs military IlITairs."-(Strabo XV.,
2. 50-52.)

11. LAWS
The Inw6 of Buddhist Illtlin were nol, the COlJllllllllds of despot.s. Tlley
were lIOt imposed by kin.ll:s Oll II11Willillg Ileo]Jlc. 1'110 princill!o undcr
l.rillg the lllws WllS that thry were for the good ofthc people and not for
the bOllelit of /lll imlividllnl. 13ll8od Oil the adl"iee of the cOllllllel1ers
and othor IlssClnblic8 the king lInd the mir\i!!tcrs frllmed the lnw8. To
judge frolll the manlier in which the Buddha gave out his rules of
conduct to his disciplr!!, the Ilncient laws were lIot theoretical codes
which Ilnticilll\te crimes, but they were Jlfllcticnl ill 80 far liS they werQ
paS3ed aeconlinR: to tho cirClllllstnnee8 which gave rise to the law. The
lnw!! wcre llOt kept secrct by allY religious or political sect, but were
made public. The prillcipalmet.hod of lUaking the laws knowll to tho
public wt\!! to illl!cribe them ou IHetnlslahs, lltonrs or rock IlilhlrB erected
in publi(J plaer8.~ In atlditinn to this the lIOW ll~w8 ulled to be

I. Kiilo/ronni .Tiilal.:a.
3. A!tQk..'e Edict8.

1. JII~"
Jiilaka. 2. YiMy~-Mllhll. Vaggo. VI.
3. Yiowya-Mllhll. Vllggll I. 4. Rul1wlalhi Ja/aka.
U. .Madum Std/a. 6. Alaha Umtll(l!l!l'"J(llaka o.nd StnakaJalaka.
7. Ibid.

the accllse~1 pcr;:nn has becl1llenrd ".1 This awl otlu}r pnAAflgcssuggest.
that all accused person is gi \'cn 11 fai r chllnce to defcJld himself. ., Head-
illg the Charge " wa~ a preJimiJlIlry 8lol1 of t11(' tl'illl. l Once a person
of illfluencc Illot.ting t.o kill allot,her snid : ".TIow can wc put him to
death wit.huut h(\\"ing foulld him guilt,J' of !lome great. crime 1"2 At-
trials counter-charges had boen Illlol\'rd. 3 Getting evidence WAS Illl
import.alll. pnrt of a trial. I{illg .Kosnla OlH::e said: "1 have been
sitting ill I,ho Judl!lneut lIall ami saw how eminent lloblcs and Bralm-
mills (llId uurgcsses and me/I of ll.ut.hol'ity OWJlillg great treasure, great-
wcalth, imluellsc aids to enjoyment, immcnso supplies of J!:oods and
corn, ~lclihernt.eJy told lies through their worldly desirell."~ Those
who .'(I\\'O fahle cyillcllCe were trrrnCtl ignoble,6 and often punished."
As all inr-taJlce of unrighteo1l8 speedl, it is explained that persons
r-oll\eti!Urs uttered flllsehoods. "When cited to give l,estinLOny before
an asscllluly or viJlnge meeting, or family eOllneil, or rOYlIl household,
or his guihl, he /IUIY say that he knows, whell he tloes /lot know, or that
he dnes not know when he knowfl, or that III~ saw when he did not sce,
or that he (lid not see when he did 8('f'."t\
The prllfe8flional lawyers 7 evidl'JlUy advisl'll their c1ic/lts Illld helpetl
them in the conduct of IIlW-Sllit,q. Unllcccsslny illterrupl.iOlHI during
the course ofa trilll were disco\lnl~ed. l'llsenlldi, King of Kosala, said:
" While J alllllcllrillJ.( H t:asc, pcoJllt~ interrupt the proceedings. J have
to forbitl intl'rruptillll whilc the I·MC is OH, ami to tell them to wait till
it is settled."8
The judges were Ill'l'0illtetll,y I lie killg-. 'I'here were tillles when the
killg himself ncted as II judge. The tlut.y of It judge was explaineu nil
"to judge a cause with justice and impnrtiality."9 A judge wss once
bribed to de(rautl the rightful OW/lers. A minister of the king who
heard of it went t.o the t:ollrt-hollse IlJltl reversed tIle Bentenee in that
case. IQ
'rile judge decided car-es without the nid of a jury. In the adminis-
tration of justice rigid ndherellce to law did not exclude equitable or
mornl consideratiolls. The Killg of Kosnla was described as hn\'ing
passetlscntc/lce ill a Ycry tliflicult case im'oIviJlg Illoml Wrllllg. 11 Also,
the judges had often rcsrll'eted precedent" all the followiJlg lluotation
I. 1';nayll-enll:1. VlIgg~.1.
3. l'in"y<I-~llIa VlIgga IV.
5. I'<lA"l" Sulta.
7. G"{J~I J,j/<lku.
9. Rajovad" .hi/d".
11. Rajol'lidt, Jiilako.

flhowfl: "He causeu. a book of judgments to be written and said, 'by
observing this book you should settle suits' ".1 The different kinds
of verdicts lHul been-a summary \'erdict with parties present, a
venliut ofinllocence or of insanity U1HI a verdict of ~uilt, or verdict OIl
confeAAioll of guilt.! There were appeals from jllllgments, the filial
appeal being to the king. In exceptional cases requiring special
rlHnedies or redress there was a public aplleal hy t he citizens nppearillg
before the king's palace.
Punishments depended on the nature of the cri lIles. The chief cri 1ll6S
were murder, burglary, robbery. and}·.3 PO!l8ellllion of st.oJell
goods was a erime. 4 The punishments. had been capital punishment,
banishment, imprisonment, whipping, confiscation of goods and fines.
A person was outlawed by shaving him and pouring" ashes over his
bead./; When the punishments were meant to be deterrent, they were
carried ont in public. "Ollce a robber was plundering the cit},. Wben
he was captured and eondemned, the governor of the city !lad his Mms
tightly bound behind him, and having tied a wreath of red kanavera
flowera about his neck, and sprinkled brick dust on his head, had him
scourged with whips ill every square, and led to the place of execution
to the music of harsh-sounding drmns."6
Punishment for slander was 1\ fine. 1 Arres'tillg and
8upprr..~si.. ~ crimes lmd hcen cOllsidered 11 public duty. So the robbers
and other criminals arrcstcd by ordinary citizcns used to be brough.t
before the proper authorities. 8
In laws relating to property, transfer of immovable property required
formal acts or ceremonial rites. Thcre was also" distinction between
comllllllllt.1 property, public property and private property. Communal
property I,lllongl'rl to a class of persons slleh as the property givcn to
the Bllddhist Order. Any member of the Order had common rights in
such prollerty. Public property such as parks, cemeteries and woods
were for the general uso of the public. Diffcrcnt individuals including
the king had private property. 'I'he landlords granted their Jall'ds to
tellllntll who held them, ill some Cll.8es, in hereditary IIllccession. o The
tenants held the land in payment of 11. rent to the land owners. The
property went to the descendants aR. heirs at the death of the owner. 1D
If there were 110 heirs, it went to the Crown. "At Savatti a mIser
I. '1'undila.Jlilah>.
3. Maim Dd"'" Klw1ld1l<. Snlla..
5. AmbtllI1'fJ,Sul1a.
7. UbliawblulW", Jlilaka.
!I. Thtra Gath,i~lIcrannnk"'lti.

millionaire (licll without Hll lwir, lIi~ wea]l;h, I\lnountiug to eight.
mill ions ill guld, went to tile killg. "I The ferclllonia! riw ill alienatioll
of prnpert.,)' call he nntiC('11 in t1w giyillg away of Vc]nvanll plea..m re
garden" 'I'lu'. king t,ook a gnl<lf'/1 \'f'~~t'1 uf water and pourillg the waler
said to the Buddha, "ll;inl lip tllis VC!uv:lni1. pleasure garden, Lord,
to the fraternity of Bhikkllull with tlJf' Blldllllll. at its head ".2
lJamag<'s WCI'll grantf'd fOl' illjury dom) t.o goods U1lder anothcr man's
watch and ('arc. S
I:".. \\,s of a nntion llrf' iml'OI'tant cluf's to discorcr the spcciallines in
which national f'lltrrprise was llirectetl. .Also, with the dM'clopment
of 1\ Icgn 1 sy~tf'rt\ fine llistind iOlls hrgin to be ,lrawll find ]rga r IJfinciplcs
become l1Ior(' illtricalc nllu suhtl.. , In Hlld(lhist, India law llad reached
tbat finel1ess nllt! subtlety. trill' instalHlC, h\1\' relatillg to COlltractll
IIppear to II:H"o den·loJlcd a gn·at denl. 1\ eontratt was taken as
complete when there was an otTer followed lJy an acceptnncc. When
AJlii.thapindikll offered to buy the fumoulI Jetl\wanlt pnrk for l). rcsidcnce
(or the Buthlha, the owner said thnt it willlHJt be sold unless tho buyer
could pn\"e it with gold coin~ as its price. fhii.thapindika otTered to do
80 and cOlltended t.lmt the contract "'liS complete. Tlll:l defendant
pleallcd that lie lllellllt not to sell it. ThiR case which lIlust have betln a
SCllsntional onc in its day, was dcuidcII in fu\'ollr of tIlC plaintiff on the
~rollnd th:lt the contract was complete on the acceptance of tlHl, price
llamel! by the OWJler!

1.8a.iyllltalll. t. Villaya-Mllhii. VlIgglI.

3. a"h"p',li Jiilak". 4. J'i'llIya-C"Ull Vllgga VI.



A COMPLETE army in ancient IJl(lia eomisted of four sections. There

were the squadron of elllphants, tll{l eavlllry, infalltry Ilnd the war·
ehariots. l Elephants had special armour with shields for their t.runks. 2
Fighting from chariot.s or frurn elephantll' back wns wiLh miS.':li le weaponS
Buotl liS javelins and arrows. 'l'hese fllct.~ Ilre corrohoratetl by the Greek
lint! Chille~ writers.
" There are royal stables for the horses Ilnd l'lcphantB, and also a
royal magaziJle for the arlllS, because the soldier has to retllrn J)is
arms to the magazine, and his horse and his elephant to the stables.
They use the elephants without bridles. The chariots Ilre drllwn on
the IlIllrch by oxen, but the horses are led along by a halter, that
their legs may not be galled and inflamed, nor their spirits damped
by drawing chariots. In addition to thc chariotecr, there are two
fighting men who sit up in the chariot beside him. The Will' clephant
carries four men-three who shoot arrows Slnd the driver."-Strabo
XV. 2.50-52.
"'l'herll arll four divisions of the army viz., (1) the infantry;
(2) thc cavIIlry; (3) the chariots; (4) t,he delJhants. The elephants
are con:rod with strong armour, 0.11(1 their tusks are provided with
flharp spearfl. A leader in a Cllr gives the commllnd, whilst two
attcndaJlts on the right Imd left drive his chariot, which is drawn by
four horscs abreast. The genom I of tlm soldiers remains in his
chariot; he ifl surrounded hy n filt' of guards who keep close to his
chariot w heds."
" 'rIm cavlllry spread themselves ill frollt to resist an at.tack. and in
oases of defeat they carry ordersll ither and thither. The illfalltry by
their quick movements contribute to the defence. The8e men are
chosen for their courngo and strength. They carry n.loJlg speRr ami
a greRt shield; sometimes they hold II sword or a AAbre, and advllllce
to the spot with impetlloflity. All tlwir weapons of war lire sharp
and pointed. Some of them are these: spears, shields, bows,
2. Don/a BltumiRuUa.

arrows, ~\Vords, ~ahre~, hattle-axes, lances, haluerds, long javelins,
and vArious kiwis of s1il1g.~. All these they have used for ages."-
Hecords of the We8tern World Bk. 1 L.
Ihery fHlll)' has its hand to produce martial music from tom-toms,
kettle drullls, conches Anll drums.! Each section of tile army had its
COlllllllmdel' lllHl it~ ~lIhonlillnte officers. 'I'he whole army was under
its cOlHmauder-iu-chief. Wllel1 the kinK leel the forces he acted as the
commalHler-ilHJhiof. 'rhe COlll1lIHIH!CrS \lnd other oflieors were well
trained or eXlll'.riollcell II\l'n j for they hall to learll tile different methods
of (ightill~ IInder fUlIlons tCllehor.~. The truiuinl'( of the army was llone
by the cOllunanders, who " drilled the soldiers at Jlight explaining them
tile art of wlIrfnre ".2 I)rI\Willj.( 111' of armies ill battle array 011 special
occasions W!\S It public speetnGic. Jt was Ilsnally done for numbering
the forces or for review. 3
In Buddhist kingdollls there was 110 compulsory military service,
and even those who had joined the nrmy wel'e free to leave the service.
When the sohlierll of the army hegan to leave their service and join the
jjuddhillt Order, Ht the rCfluellt of the kinj.(, the Buddha uth'ised IllS
disciples not t.o ordain a di8Ci!lle under the l:Ienice of the king without.
the king's permi8llion. 4 Some kingdoms employed mercenary soldiers.
When King KO.'lala favourell the foreign soldiers, his wnrriorsllegJected
a fight. 5
Athletic accomplillllllleJ!ts had been fl qllalifiention to join the army.
VIra, the son of:~ minister of Killg I'nsclLadi, aC(lllireu athlet.ic accom-
p1islllll('nt.'l und hecame a warrior. s J'iynlljaha, n. Liechnvi priJlee who
WI\S l1Iall for \VII r, Was un unconquered fighter. PersOllal merit counted
for jlrolllotiollll ill the nrmy. Sona, tIle son of 0. landed proprietor,
worked lIJl hIll way to become the commander-in-chief of the forces. s
There had l~eJl Il1Hny wnrriors of fame such 1\11 Si ha, It llalldhuln,lo and
Upal\!\Iula. l1 Whl"JI 1\ wlHl'ior had earned fame he had opport.unit.iell
of getting grl'Ht snlllrics in roynl service. Also skilled archers had been
employed by kill.':S at great expensc. 12 Each army hnd " leech e}[J!ert.'l"
to denl with arrow wounds, for it had not been uuusuul to U80 poisoned
I. Van/a IJlI.ii,,,,i Sulla. 2. Vadd/laJ:;iSilk"rll Jiilaka.
3. l'inaya-PlIkittiyll. RulCll. 4. IlinaYII-MlIhiVllg811.
5. flAIIIIl(lwri Jii/alm. 6. 'l'A~ra Giil!Vi-Vlrn.
7. Th~ra Giilhii-Pi.l'nnjah. 8. 1'A~r(1
GiilAa-8onn PotiriYllputta.
9. 1'A~m Gtil!Vi-8n",. 10. IJAadda·S,l/"Jiila!<a
11. Go/ml:tc Moggfllliina SIlUa. 12. A""dil" Jmah.

l The chief weapons lIsed ill allcient warfare werc sword find buckler,
bow find o.rrows,l shield, lance, long-shaft.ed f1pCllt, and jllvelin.2
Two kinds of bows, known 3S ,. long-bows" and" croSll-bows" were in
use. The shaft of the arrow was made of wild reed or plant shoot
feathered with plumes. The gut used for bindilll( the shaft was taken
from ox, buffalo, hart or monkey. The arrow W!l.S plaill Ut barbed with
horn or iron or calr's tooth or with an Olcllllder thon1. a The nature of
some of the wcapons call be inferred frOIll the descriptions of weapOllS
I attributed to mythical persoJlS. Sakka, the King of the gods, had 1\
circular wcapon (Chakra·iiudha). Ya1ll8, the King of the Worlds of
Torture, bad a weapon in the shape of" cobra, find ?If am, the Evil Onc,
r had a huge ring of mighty force for destructive pnrposes.
Those mythical weapolls could not have been purely imaginary. The
ideas llIust have been uased Oil solTle forllls of weapons in reRI existence.
The I ndika ofA rrion (Chapter XV J.) contains a description of ancient
" The foot·soldicrs carry a bow llIade of e(llIRllcngth with the JIIRn
who beRrs it. 'I'his they rest upon the ground, anti !lressillg against
it with their left foot thus discharge the arrow, haviJlg drawn the
striJlg far backward; for, the shaft they usc is little short of being
three yards long, and there is nothing which can resist Rll Indian
archer's ahot-neither shield nor brell8tplate, nor any stronger
dcfence ifsuch there be. In their left hand they carry bucklers made
of undressed ox-hide, which are not 80 broad as those who carry
them, but are about ll8 long:. Some are eqlliplted with javelins
instead of bows, but all wear ll. sword, which is broad in the blade but
liot longer than three cubits, and this when they engage in close fight
(which they do with reluctance) tJley wield with both hands, to fetch
down a lustier blow. The horsemen are equipped with two lances
called' 8almia ' and with a shorter buckler than that carried by the
foot soldiers. Rut they do not put saddles on their horses, nor do
they curb them with bitB like the bitB illllse among the Greeks or the
Kelt.s, but they fit on round the extremity of the horses mouth R
circular piece of stitched raw ox hide studded with pricks of iron or
brass pointing inwards but not vcr)' sharp."
The three methods of drawill~ up an army in battle array were
known as 'the lotus army', the' wheel army' and the' wagon army'.
I. A otgtllillUiw SWla.
:'I. C.d,/.Malu.llky(l Sull".

'I'lle 'loldls IIrm,\" eOll.~illlt'd in ananging I,he forccs, so that the
eOllllllll.ndC'r1l hc iu the eClltre of the army aruJ tho 1I0ldierll wore
arran.c;ed !Ill petnlll of a lotllll, projecting olltwards. Whcn the forccs
were arranged in a circle with some lined as Ilpokes of a wheel, the
COllHllH1Hlers rellla;ned in the I:('utrc. Thil'l was called the' whcel
Ilrmy Thc arrangllllleut in 1\ redungular fonll with two wings on
eithcr side WlIll kuowlI us the' wagOll army '.1
The flll10wing dCitl'tiption of II light;1I 1I0tewol'll,y :
" It. ;s heClmse of selfish cravings, that nU~ll, girdiJ,g on swonlllnd
buckler, bow nml sheaf of arrOWll. c1ll1rge in battle arm.y, while llrrowll
find javelins ll\lrtle tbrough the air, 1I1l11 swords flash and hack.
With arrows Rnd Ill,cnr they denl woulIds, wilh tiJeir swords they hew
off heads, so that Illell may cOllie by their deatbs or deadly hurt.
Mell clult,l!e up Illippery ballf,ionll whill' llrrOW8 and javelirul hurtle
through the lLir. The hesil'W'd pour dtJwn hlal\ing emhers on the
besiegerl'land crush t11em with the fall;Jlg portcullis."\!
When the battle WlIS fought and won, those imlll\llle from any
punishment were those who hlld renounced the household life, i.e., the
pricst!! and recluscs, tllO~fl t'lItirely devoted to intellectual pursuits, i.e.,
Brahminll. pal,iellts, aged parents, women amI cllildren.
According to ti,e following JlRs~l1ge hllllbaJldll\Cllllll~o come limier the
privileged l'!11Sf\ell :
" .For wherl'M among othcr nations it is usual, in the contests of
war, to taVlIge the lIoi I. fBIII thus f,o reduce it to an llllullltivated WlIste,
Rrrwng the Indinn.~. on tll(l eOlltrary, by whom husuuml.mcn arc
reganlel! as a ulllss tlwt il'l sacred and inviolahle, the tillerll of ti,e soil,
evcn whon hllt.tle ill m~in[t: ill their lIeighbourhood, IIrll unJillturbod
by UlIY Ilenf\e of dan~er, for tile combatants OIL either side in waging
tile connict lllllke cllrnll~e of nRch other, but allow those ong0!led in
husbandry tu rfll11ain (Iuij,e ulIlllolested. Besides, l.hey Jlcither
fflVtlgfl UlI elH'llLy'll land with fire, nor eut uown its trecll."-Frag-
meut r (Diod 11. 35--42). The Jndika of .Megesthenc8.
After cOllquest, the allne~atiOI1 of a Gountry was of rare occurrence.
Tbe conquered country often untlertook to pay n. yearly tribute to the
conquerors. With the payment of that trihute the kingdom WIHI left
to ~overn itself.

The Buddhist inAllelloe had been to 8UpprC$Il militarism and hi
propagate peace and fricndship among nations. The Buddhist
monarclls are expected to act ll.()cording to the Buddha's teaching that
" hatred ClllllIOt bo overcome by hatred hut by lovo ".1 The Buddhists;
if they fight at all, fight for d(lfonsive purposes only.

I. Dftam11Wpada.



llUDDIIlST JN1VlA wnslJy 110 IlLcan~ 11 purely HgrieulLural eOllllky, She

had many industrieH allt! manufacturers. Sume villagcs hud cumcd
the llalllC uf' villagc or n 11Illlt.cI"S' village owiJlg to tbe
occupation of Llle people. There w('re cl'rla;lI tlistricts noted fur ngri-
culLufe, In the sul.mrbs flf ciLics there W('I"C t:unt fieJ!ls; urt.:hHl'lls and
reserved woods. Nellr each eiLy Lhere were market tUWIlS beclluse the
city itself W!lH !lot eOllvcuienL fur tile IIIlIlly lllercllHnts whu \' isited from
other killgdoms to come to the city it:;clf ill their cnmw\lIs.
Commerce, manufacture Mul ugricultul'e wore tile t'hicf lIt"lnrc('1'. of
India'lI wealth at that time. '''hem Ilad li'lJt111 I"l'glllar trade 011 a largo
IIcalo uotweoll the /{rtJut citit·s uf the kingt!ollLs. Mercho.uh took GOO
cart loads of merchandise to their trading celltres or cities. 1 A leader
of 0. cam \":tn was :~ Illf\ll of special talent 1l1ll0Ul:\ llIerchants. 2 Tho horse
dealerg hrought their hor8Cg from the nor~iI. B Thc merchlluts from KiBi
brought their e1uth 4 Ulld BOIUlrCll Bcnt her fUInoUS lJluslil\5 Ilnd other
mallufactlll'Cll. B There were also pedlaz's aut! lmwkers of ncedles,
trinkets and other articles.1!
Commerce was I\(,t muro illllividulll effort. fur thol'(' IUIII h('cll till'
f10llecti l'O cntcrprisc of not less t hall t'i~hteell !!lIi1d" ill onc city, Skilled
workcrll gllch as mtlriJ1CrS, gllrlandl1lllkNl>, (,lIl'UI'Ull tmdcrfl, IllHllIl-
troopers, maSOllS, hlack!:al1ithg, oarpenterll, Jluintcl's, etc., belonged to
thosc eighteen guildll.~ At tlnother cit)' a rich lIlall WHs described a:'l
hlwing done "~ood scn'ice both to the King and to the Merchautll'
guild,"8 Rich IHcrehant.ll of cities had already formed th61.Melvefl
into a class that they were designated as "members of merchant
Althougll the o\'erhmd trnllf1 Wag chiefly confined to distributitlll:
goods by cnravans, thero had heen a considern.ble amount of over-sca
trade. There arc references to \'oyageflllnd sea. faring ve880[8.'0
l. Thm. GiiIM-Mahik1illl.. 2, 7'hrra Gii/M-PonD[!"
3, SUWIII1I Jii/(lh. ... Smiyulla XV.
5. ViMya-Mn.hi VRggll. VIII. 6. SangulltI XV andSuciJ!itahJ
7. MUg<l Pal:HmJataka. 8. 1I;llaya-MIIhil, \'8gga VIII.
9. Thtri (hjJfI.d-hidlL'li and 10, SariyuUa XXII.
TAtI'm GlitM-Mahi KAla.

"Ordain Illerdlltllt!l fir Kasi got an eXjlrrirJ\(:cu. crew and st,firted n.
"Then it came into his mind to pro\'ide a ship and do business
with it."!
"A certain man from Kasi country wbo had been turned out of
doors by his parents 8S an incorrigible had made his waytoasea-port,
where he embarked on the ship-board 8S a. sailor's drudge."s
"1'hcre was It sea-port town lIamed Bhnrnkaeclln. At that time,
the 130llhisut.tll wus born into the family of n mnster mariner there.
He grew up with great distinction; Rlld even wllen ho was 110 more than
sixt.een yeaTfl old, hc had gailled a complete mastery over the art of
seamanship. Aft.erwllrds, when his father died, he became the head
of the IHnr;ners, HIl(1 plied the mariners' calling: lIe WIIS wise and
fu 11 of intelligence. With Ii im lluroad no shi Jl cver CllJtle to ha rill. ,,4
Some of the voyages might have heell long, for" l\ disciple of the
Buddha took passage on board the ship; and 1I. week later tlle ship WM
wrecked in mid-ocean ".b Again," oue shil) sailed for four months
with 700 people on board the sllip."a
The In.rge number of occupations in which people }lad heen engaged
suggests the various kinds of lllilJlufaet.ure. 'fhere were workers ill
metal. smiths,7 cOJlper-smitlls, silver·smiths and gold-smiths,a stOne
enttcrs,D WOOl!·cuttus,IO wOl·kers in ivory," basket makers,u rush-
plaitMs13 ll.lUl. garland makerll. u
Some families had followed r.ertain trades. "There was a village
of carpenters not far from the city in which 500 carpenters lived.
They would go up the river in a!ll.nd erlter the forest where they
would shape beams and planks for house-huilding and put together the
framework of olle storey or two storey houses, numbering all the pieces
from the mllin post onwards: 'rhese thell they brought down to the
river ballk, and put them all aboard, then rowing down stream they
would huild houses to onlrr as it was required of them."'5 The
I. Dhammaddhaja Jiila/w. ~. Olllu·dvnfa J,italw.
3. Dadhi· I"ahalla J{j/(l/w. 4. 8Uppafaka Jiilaka.
5. Siluni-!a",.,a J(ilaka. 6. Ibid.
7. SuciJiiksh. 8. 'l'heri Giilh~i~Subba.
9. Babbu Jrit'lka. 10. 'l'hera aalhii-Chakkhupila.
11. Ka~a"aJiilak{l. 12. Gamani Canda Jiilaka.
13. Theri Gathii-Bumllllllal11·8Illothcr. 14. Upali SuI/a.
15. Alioo-Oitla Jiilalro. .

carpenter, the washcr-mall, the hair-dres!:lCr, the tailor and the shoe-
maker were then known as "tIle five WOrkmf'1l ". Men and women
ofter\ worked for wages. I AIso sOllle people earned their living as clerks
of tho signet, clerk of accompt, computer, estate agent, purvey of
herd-manager, archer, member of the royal household.!
The ordinary crnft.s as mentioned in Satlla1lJUI-phala S1/tfa are:
mahouts, hor.~emen, chariot.eers, archers, stalldanl-bearers, camp
marshals, camp followers, high militnry officcNl, military scouts, brave
warriors, champiulls, warriors in buck-string, homc-born servants,
cooks, bllrbeTll. bath nttclldllllts. COllfcctiollCrs. g-arland-makcrs,
wm~her11\ell, weavcrs, bnskct-makcrs, pottcrs, mathematicians amI
aCCOllntrlllts. I~vi(ler\tly these were occuptations connected with the
Ki ng's Court. Besides these there were 11l1l1l}' otller occupations and
industries. Undcr Blludhist influence certain trodes began to be
considered ill1morllJ. Selling anilJllIls for slallgllter, IInd the sale of
harmful weapons, flesh, illtoxicants Ilnd poison were known aB thc
"forbidtlell trades ".3 There were also twenty-ono unl!l.wful ways of
earning:\ living.
'fhe fel'l;ility of tile Roil of the GUJlges and Indus valleys was well
known. InS/mbo (xv.i.13.p. 690) it is written:
" As l~rosthel1es states, Itldia is watered hy the SUIJIIller raius, and
the plains al'e overflowed. During these mins, accordingly, flax is
sown 1I1HlllIillet, also seSllmum, rice. amI bosmorlllll and ill the winter
time wllcnt, barley, pulse nud other esculent fruits unknown to us."
l\Iegesthenes also had Jlointed out the prosperit}, of lmlia :
" rndia has many IUlge llIo11llhlins which abound in fruit trees of
every kind and many vast plai/ls of grcat ferti1itY~l1Iore or less
beautiful, hut 1111 alike int<'rseeted by 11 multitude of rivers. The
grellter part of the Roil, mOfl'OV(,I", is tinder irrigl1tio/l, and conse_
quently bears two crops in th(' cours(' uf the year. It teems nt tile
Sllme time with animals of nil Rort~.
The inltahit.allts, in like IIwrlller, having alJlllldant means of sub-
sistance, exceed in consequence the ordinary st.ature and are
distinguished hy their proud bearing. 'fhey are also fOllnd to be well
skilled iu the arts, as might be expected of Illen who inhale a pure air
I. Kllmm(VI(lhilld"Jlil"l;nllnd B"ndho·",i(/(Iro JUI"ko.
2. Alaka Dui:kk(l Kh'lJ1dh(l 8rlll". 3. 8igiiloviido SII/la

and drink the very finc!lt water. And while the soil bear8 on its
surfaoe all kinds of fruits whioh arc known to oultivation, it has also
underground lIumerous veins of all sorta of metals, for it contains
much gold and silver, and copper and iron in no small quantity, and
even tin and other metals whioh are employed in making artioles of
use and ornament, a8 well 0.8 the implement! and accoutrement!
of war.
In addition to cereals, thrre grows throughout Iudia. much millet
... alld much pulse of different sorts nJld rice ... as well RS Illany
other plall'.'! useful for fooll. of which Illust grow spontalleously ....
It is accurtlingly affirmed that. famine IIlUI nC\'er \'isited lndin, and
that there has nc\'er OcCII a general scarcit}, in thc supply of nourish-
ing fuod."-Frnglllcnt I (Diad 11. 35-42) froUl the fragmcnts of the
Itlllika of Meges.t.henc8 collected by Dr. Schwanbcck.
Agricultural products formed important articles of merchandise.
Some lands had been allottcd by thcir owners to tcnants for cultivation
" Kosiyagotta Ileld an estate of 1000 acrcs where he grew rice. He
gave the land in charge of his men, to one fifty, to another sixty, and
thus distributed lllllong them 500 acres. 1 The crops from some fields
had Ocen large," Olle land owner had" a thousand waggon loads of
the hest rice thrllshed out and storcd up in his overflowiJlg granaries."!
It is very difficult. to get all accurate idea of t.he wages and salaries
paid in Buddhist India. It is evident that money was not scarce, It
may Oc irlferrcd that 1.110 people were wert paid for their services. An
archer under the 8Crvico of 1\ king reeci\'cd 100,000 gold coins 1\ yoar. 3
A hundred gold coins were paid tlaily for reciting to a king at dinner. ~
Another king g'wc a Brahamin a dairy allowance of 500 gold coins. 6
A doctor got his fee as a prcsent after he cured his IJatient. The
renowned Jivaka reccivcd 16,000 from a rich family for curing a lady's
chronic t1iseaFe ill MIC head. ll
The generosit.y of some people had cost 600,000 gold COill1l daily.?
Jetll.\'anll. was bought Il. price of'juivalf'Jlt to t.he amount of gold coins
which would covcr its area. s The gate towerll of the fCllidcncc Ilt
Jetavana bad cost 90,000,000 gold COiIlS. ll Lady ViSllka's wedding dress
II.I~ cost lakhs. 1O A pair of sandals prcsented to the Buddha was worth

I. Salilwla'a J,UlIl"(l. 2. AMmpadallll Jiilaka.

3. AMldi,fII Jtltalra. 4. Smogltlla Ill.
5. Gfwtamukh> Su.lla. 6. Villa!lll-MahA Vagg& VB!.
7. CUlalJaduma Jiitaka. 8. I'illllga-Culla VlIgga. VI.
9. I'ala!!i Jiilaka. 10. DlwmmQpada A!(Iw.l:a.l4li-Vi8iild..

n. thnllS.1ntl 111H1 Ih.)~(' l'r(,~"'lIl('<1 In two {li.~ril'l"H wrrr wortu (i\'o
hundred.\ TIIII ral' jl'\\·plIr-ry nf It l'('rlaiu lalld OW1\rr was worth n
ororc 2 through which hI': Mrtled the nam(' of" the croro cared." The
fortune of the Ron uf a councillor waR estimated at 800,000,000.'
Thore had been mallY millionaires. Fivc noblemen of the kingdom of
Kosala had ulllimite<l wealth. (
Accorlling to Butlllhist scriptures, the method of taxation is to
levy trl.:<es without causing IIflTllships, "juHt ns tile bee that tukes
the pollell without II!\TllliuJ{ till' floWI·r." Tllis fact is corrohorated ill
the Chinese rccnnls :
" In this way the taxes Oil the l)Cople are light, find the IlOrsonal
!lel'vice rC(luircd uf them is llIodcrate. Each onc kepI'S his own
worldly !{oods in pcare, llnd nIl till the ground for their Hubsistcnce.
Those who cultivate the royal <,_slatell P"Y a sixth part of the produce
as tribute. 'fhe Jll(,rehauts who ellgnge ill comllLer'ce cOllie llnd go ill
eal'Tying out tlll'il' trnll~actions. The river-passages and the road
hnrriers nre opell Oil payment ofa small toll. Whell the public works
require it, labour ill ex:aclcll but paid for. 'fhe payment is in strict
proportion to the work done.
The military guard the frolltiN!! or go out to punigh t.he refrnctory.
Th('y alllO muunt guard al. night round the palace. The soldiers
arc le\'ied according to the rC(llIircmcnt~ of the service; they are
I)romised certain paymcJlLs and l\r(J publicly enrolled. The governors,
ministeNl, mngilltrntes ant! oflicials have each a portion of laud
consigned to them for thci r p('rsonal support." -l'he Buddhist Records
of the lVestcm lVorld, Bk. 11 .. 16.
Ancient India hn.1 J{old ns the lli('dilllll of exchange. The standard
gold coin WllS called" Kahnplll\l1a." There WM silvrr coiJls 5 n8 well
as copper coins. Some coins had pUILch l1111rks ('vi,lently to sigJlify the
owner. The chief SYIll bols of thr coins of Uudtlhist Illllia were l1udclhist
lJIonument (d(lgoo</) the Bo·tree. I,he 10tuI! flower, 8U11 and the elephant,
the sru\ke, liou nud the wheel. 'I'he!>C f1Ylllbols IIlI.\'e 1\ significl\nce
among Buddhists. The shape of thc coins were mostly square, or
oblong. The ancit'llt met.hod of snfegllarllillg money and treasures was
to fill them in iroll pots nnd keep them in cellars or to bury them.~
I. SIllIHtIlJalal:{I. 2. '1'111'1"11 Glillui-80n", Kotikll.nl111.
:t. rJ,tr'l fl'illt'i-Bhalldaji. .j. 1J1I1I"''''(11/0(/(1 A!!1IuI:a11l,i-Villiikl1..
6. GltalumMu 8ullll. 6. tJrahurhullll Ja/alro.

The luxury in whidl thl' pcople li\'c(lllr,~o ~hOWB the l'I'ealth or the
timCII, The rieh I'cupll' had three rcsillellCCII to suit the SCII80118 of the
ycar. l SuIllC of t1l" lWlllMiollS were scven IItorcy~ high ami had IlUrks
or plca.'lurc gnnlctts heside them. 'rhurc were hou8cM with stairCn$Cs
dccurnt<.'d with ~('ms,2 tlnll amollg" Ornam('Ht~ of 11 lWlIlIU wcrc golden
Rtntucll. 3 The nharillt.~ wnrc allurnrd with jewcls and guld. 4 The
rich had large elltahlishll1cllt.~ of rdainers. (i

1. Tlu:ra aaUIIT YAlIll. l'nd Sona. 2. Sii.!:"r" Jii/aJ:a.

3. Them Gciiha-Mnha. K'U\8II.plI. 4. Afaylw.i:a Jiilo/m.
5. Thera. Giil!ld-Rllnhl'pila.