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Religious And Gender Roles In Ancient India

647 words - 3 pages


Bureaucracy is the key to establishing a successful empire. In Ancient India, their bureaucratic system was the Caste System which was developed for social, economic, cultural and religious reasons. In this system, you were born into a particular caste and it would never change. The Law of Manu states that “the Exceedingly Resplendent One [the Creator of the Universe] assigned separate duties to the classes which had sprung from his mouth, arms, thighs, and feet.” The Law of Manu divides the Indians into four different groups. The mouth of the Exceeding Resplendent One is the brahmins. This small, top caste is filled with those who study, teach and perform sacrificial rites and also makes others perform them as well. The next caste is a group called the kshatriya, the arms. This caste was responsible for the defense of the people and the performance of sacrificial rites, among other smaller duties. The third caste was the vaisya, ...view middle of the document...

The Sermon at Benares shows a different viewpoint on religious and gender roles. Buddha had a different view of religion and purpose. He claimed there were four noble truths: life is suffering, suffering is caused by desire. One must end desire, and to follow what Buddha calls the Middle path. This Middle Path, or Noble Eightfold Way is “right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.” Buddhism consists of the belief that everyone should follow these four noble truths, that it was not just for the brahmins or solely for men, but it was a belief that everyone should live by. Because of the differences in beliefs about religious and gender roles, those who get the short end of the stick in the Hindu religion would more likely prefer the message of the message of the Buddha because of the equality. The Law of Manu and the Sermon at Benares both had different ideals for the religious and gender roles in Ancient Indian society and both were viewed differently by the separate castes and genders.


William J. Duiker and Jackson J. Spielvogel, World History to 1500, Sixth Edition. (Boston:
Wadsworth, 2007). 48, 51, 57.

[ 1 ]. William J. Duiker and Jackson J. Spielvogel, World History to 1500, Sixth Edition. (Boston: Wadsworth, 2007). 48.
[ 2 ]. William J. Duiker and Jackson J. Spielvogel, World History to 1500, Sixth Edition. (Boston: Wadsworth, 2007). 48.
[ 3 ]. William J. Duiker and Jackson J. Spielvogel, World History to 1500, Sixth Edition. (Boston: Wadsworth, 2007). 48.
[ 4 ]. William J. Duiker and Jackson J. Spielvogel, World History to 1500, Sixth Edition. (Boston: Wadsworth, 2007). 48.
[ 5 ]. William J. Duiker and Jackson J. Spielvogel, World History to 1500, Sixth Edition. (Boston: Wadsworth, 2007). 48.
[ 6 ]. William J. Duiker and Jackson J. Spielvogel, World History to 1500, Sixth Edition. (Boston: Wadsworth, 2007). 51.
[ 7 ]. William J. Duiker and Jackson J. Spielvogel, World History to 1500, Sixth Edition. (Boston: Wadsworth, 2007). 57.
[ 8 ]. William J. Duiker and Jackson J. Spielvogel, World History to 1500, Sixth Edition. (Boston: Wadsworth, 2007). 57.

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