Q.1. The mid first millennium BCE is still regarded as major turning point in world history. Justify.
Answer: Mid first millennium BCE was a turning point in world history because:
(a) Development of kingdoms and cities – It was an era associated with the emergence of early states. Early Buddhist and Jaina texts mention 16 states or Mahajanapadas such as Magadha, Kuru, Avanti, Kosala, etc. The period was marked by urbanization. Increase in number of settlements accompanied by growth of cities and towns.
(b) Emergence of Buddhism and Jainism – Sacrificial traditions and rituals were questioned and the use of common man’s language was the major channel for spread of new religions.
(c) Change in social and economic life – It was marked by economically and socially stratified society. This was reflected in terms like Gahapati and Dasa.
(d) Emergence of various thinkers – like Socrates, Plato and Aristotle in Greece, Zarathustra in Iran, Kong Zi in China and Buddha & Mahavira in India. They tried to understand the mysteries of existence and the relationship between cosmic order and human beings.
Q. 2. Highlight any two ideas that are central points of the Jaina philosophy.
Ans. The important idea of Jainism is that the whole world is animated. The assumption that life exists in all living beings is another important Jaina philosophy.
Q. 3. How did the principles of Jainism influence Indian thinking?
Ans. The principle of ahimsa, emphasised within Jainism, has left its mark on Indian thinking. The most important principle of Jainism is that the entire world is animated. Even stones, rock and water have life. Non-injury to animals, plants and humans is centre of focus to Jaina philosophy.
Q. 4. Mention any two ways through which the Gandatindu Jatakas describe the political relations between the king and his subjects.
Ans. The story mentions that the relationship between the king and his subjects could often be strained due to high taxes collected from them. Escaping from their taxes, people usually escaped to the forests, which was reflected in the Jataka tales.
Q. 5. How do we come to know about Buddha’s teachings? Explain.
Ans. Teachings of Buddha have been reconstructed by carefully analysing the Buddhist texts. Historians have tried to learn about Buddha through the hagiographies. Many of his teachings were written around a century after his death.
Q.6. Mention the internal functioning of the Buddhist Sanghas. (Outside Delhi Set I 2010) Ans. The internal function of the Sangha was based on the traditions of ganas. Internal functioning of the Sangha was based on democratic principles. Decisions were based on consensus arrived through discussions. If they failed, decision was taken by voting.
Q.7. As per Jainism, emotion how, one can free himself from the cycle of Karma?
Ans. According to Jainism, the cycle of birth and rebirth is shaped through Karma. If one has to escape this cycle, one must practice asceticism and penance. It is only possible if one decides to renounce the world and has to live in a monastery to attain salvation.
Q.8. Mention any four social groups through which the followers of Buddha came.
Ans. They belonged to all levels of society from kings, wealthy men, grihapatis and common people like workers, crafts people, peasants, etc.
Q.9. Describe the ideas of the Buddha and Lord Mahavira on the authority of Vedas.
Ans. Buddha founded Buddhism and Lord Mahavira was a Jaina. Both raised question about the authority of Vedas. Both were of the opinion that men and women themselves should try to attain liberation from the trials and tribulations of worldly existence. This was in sharp contrast to the Brahmanical position where one’s existence. was determined by their birth in a specific caste or gender. Both Buddhism and Jainism opposed animal sacrifices and performance of Yajnas.
Q. 10. “Buddha laid stress on right conduct and values.” In the light of the above message, explain his teachings on life.
Ans. According to Buddha,
(i) The world is transient (anicca) and constantly changing.
(ii) It is also soulless (anatta) as there is nothing permanent or eternal in it. Within this transient world, sorrow (dukkha) is existence.
(iii) The path of moderation between severe penance and self-indulgence helps human beings to rise above the wordly troubles. Buddha advised kings and gahapatis to be humane and ethical. Buddha regarded the social world as the creation of humans rather than that of divine origin.
(iv) The Buddha emphasised individual agency and righteous action as the means to escape from the cycle of rebirth and attain self-realization and nibbana (nirvana) literally the extinguishing of the ego and desire. This will help ending the cycle of suffering for those who renounced the world.
(v) His last words to his followers were “Be lamps unto your sense as all of you must work out your own liberation”.
Q. 11. “The principle of ahimsa and renunciation emphasised by Jainism has left its mark.” Support the statement with Lord Mahavira’s messages.
Describe the message of Lord Mahavira on life and karma.
Answer: The main principle of Jainism is Ahimsa and renunciation. This concept of ahimsa has left mark on the society of India and many philosophies are based on this concept. In Jainism, concept of Ahimsa is different from the concept of nonviolence in other religions. It not only seeks nonviolence to other beings but non-violence to selfsoul. According to Mahavira, our soul is entrapped in this world and until we renounce the world, we are inflicting violence on our soul. Asceticism and penance are required to free oneself from the cycle of Karma. Salvation can be done by renouncing the world and monastic existence. Jaina monks and nuns took five vows - to abstain from killing, stealing, observe celibacy, telling lies and to abstain from possessing property.
Q. 12. Early Buddhist teachings had given great importance to self-effort in achieving Nibbana.” Justify the statement.
Ans. Early Buddhist teachings had given great importance to self-effort in achieving Nibbana. Besides, the Buddha was regarded as a human being who attained enlightenment and Nibbana through his own efforts. However, over a period of time, idea of Buddha ensuring salvation emerged. Simultaneously, the concept of the Bodhisatta also developed. Bodhisattas were perceived as deeply compassionate beings who accumulated merit through their efforts but used this not to attain Nibbana but to help others. The worship of images of Buddha and Bodhisattas became an important part of this tradition.
Q. 13. Describe the teachings of Buddha.
Describe how Buddha’s teachings have been reconstructed from the stories of Sutta Pitaka.
Ans. The Buddha’s teachings have been reconstructed from stories, mentioned in the Sutta Pitaka.
(i) According to Buddhist philosophy, the world is transient (anicca) and constantly changing.
(ii) It is also soulless (anantta) as there is nothing permanent or eternal in it.
(iii) Within this transient world, sorrow (dukkha) is intrinsic to human existence.
(iv) By following the path of moderation between severe penance and self-indulgence that human beings can come out of these worldly troubles.
(v) Buddha regarded the social world as the creation of human rather than of divine origin.
(vi) He advised kings and gahapatis to be humane and ethical towards common people.
The stories of Buddha describe his miraculous powers and logical thinking rather than display of supernatural power.
Q. 14. What does a sculpture of a woman surrounded by lotuses and elephant depict?Mention any two opinions.
Ans. Some historians mention it as Maya, the mother of Buddha, while others identify her as goddess Gajalakshmi. Goddess Gajalakshmi is the goddess of wealth and good fortune and is associated with elephants. Thus, it can be inferred that when people saw these sculptures, they identified it with either Maya or Gajalakshmi.
Q. 15. During the nineteenth century, why the Europeans were interested in the stupas? Give two reasons.
Ans. Europeans were interested in stupas because:
(i) Few wanted to carry the sculpture and other things to their country.
(ii) British official named Colin Mackenzie found several pillars of sculpture and made detailed drawings of them. These reports were never published in order to protect the stupa.
(iii) 19th century Europeans like the French and English sought Shahjahan Begum’s permission to take away the Eastern gateway which was best preserved to be displayed in museums in France and England.
(iv) Cunningham took drawing of the place, deciphered the inscriptions and bored shafts down these domes.
(v) This happened partly because those who considered them to be beautiful and valuable wanted to keep them for themselves.
Q. 16. Critically examine why Sanchi Stupa survived while stupa at Amaravati did not?
Ans. Sanchi survived while Amaravati did not because Amaravati was discovered long before scholars understood the value of the finds and realiased how critical it was to preserve things instead of removing them from the sitte. When Sanchi was discovered, three of its four gateways were still standing. The fourth was lying on the spot where it had fallen and the mound was in good condition. Even so, it was suggested that the gateway to be taken to either Paris or London. Finally, a number of factors helped to keep Sanchi as it was and so it stands, whereas the mahachaitya at Amaravati is now an insignificant mound in spite of repeated pleas by archaeologist. H.H. Cole, that it is suicidal to allow the country to be looted of its ancient work and in situ preservation be failed to convince the authorities. By 1850’s, some of the slabs of Amaravati adorned gardens of British officials, the London office, Asiatic Society of Bengal at Calcutta and India office in Madras. These are some of the reasons why Amaravati Stupa could not survive.
Q. 17. How was Buddha’s presence shown through symbols? Give two examples.
Ans. Buddha’s presence was shown through several symbols like tree, stupa, empty seat, lotus, elephants, etc. The empty seat was meant to indicate the meditation of Buddha and the stupa was meant to represent the mahaparinibbana. Another symbol was wheel, which stood for the first sermon of Buddha at Sarnath.
Q. 18. Many rituals, religious beliefs and processes were not recorded in a permanent visible form as monuments, sculptures or paintings. Critically examine the statement.
Ans. Many rituals, beliefs and practices were not recorded in a permanent visible form as monuments or paintings and sculptures and these included daily practices as well as special occasions. People may not have felt the need to preserve records, even as they may have had vibrant activities and philosophical ideas. People actually liked to record things which were visible. They did not record things which were not visible and that is why, rituals and religious beliefs remain no more with the passage of time period.
Q. 19. “The notion of a saviour was not unique to Buddhism.” Comment.
Ans. It was not unique to Buddhism. The same ideas were developed in different ways within tradition that was considered as a part of Hinduism. In Vaishnavism, cults developed around the various avatars or incarnations of the God (Vishnu). Ten avatars were recognised and it was assumed that God took a new avatar, to save the world from forces. It is likely that different avatars were popular in different parts of the country. Recognising each of these local deities as a form of Vishnu was one way of creating a more unified religious tradition. In Shaivism, Shiva was regarded as the chief God. There was a growing emphasis on the worship of chosen deity and in such worship, the bond between the God and devotees was visualised as love, devotion and bhakti.