History of Hinduism

Śramaṇa Religions
A Jain monk ©Image Attribution forthcoming. Image belongs to the respective owner(s).
600 BCE Jan 1

Śramaṇa Religions


Śramaṇa (Sanskrit; Pali: samaṇa) means "one who labours, toils, or exerts themselves (for some higher or religious purpose)" or "seeker, one who performs acts of austerity, ascetic". During its development, the term came to refer to several non-Brahmanical ascetic religions parallel to but separate from the Vedic religion. The Śramaṇa tradition includes primarily Jainism, Buddhism, and others such as the Ājīvika.

The śramaṇa religions became popular in the same circles of mendicants from greater Magadha that led to the development of spiritual practices, as well as the popular concepts in all major Indian religions such as saṃsāra (the cycle of birth and death) and moksha (liberation from that cycle).

The Śramaṇic traditions have a diverse range of beliefs, ranging from accepting or denying the concept of soul, fatalism to free will, idealization of extreme asceticism to that of family life, renunciation, strict ahimsa (non-violence) and vegetarianism to permissibility of violence and meat-eating.

HistoryMaps Shop

Visit Shop

There are several ways to support the HistoryMaps Project.
Visit Shop
Support Page
Last Updated: : Sat Aug 20 2022