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Brahmanism

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Chapter Summary

The political developments that had been so favourable to Buddhism had been much less favourable to Brahmanism. The Maurya empire was governed centrally, which means that governors replaced the traditional local kings, and that traditional forms of cohabitation between rulers and Brahmin priests collapsed. The spread and development of Brahmanism makes its presence primarily felt in the historical record through the extensive use of its sacred language, Sanskrit. The brahmanical vision of society is largely absent in South Asian inscriptions that are not in Sanskrit and whose makers or instigators have no association with Brahmanism. The sacral responsibilities of the Brahmins in their agrahāras usually concerned rites they could carry out on their own. Grants of land or villages are rarely associated with the Brahmins' participation in solemn vedic rituals.

Keywords: agrahāras; Brahmanism; Maurya empire; political development; Sanskrit

10.1163/ej.9789004201408.i-294.9
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