History and Doctrines of the Ajivika-s, V-XV

pp. 80-83, 85-87 Puran.a Kassapa [Kas`yapa]

p. 80

a demi-goddess, Nilakeci {‘Blue-haired’”, visited “Puran.a, the leader of the Ajivikas. He is described as the

p. 81

chief of a monastery of Ajivika monks at a place called Kukkut.anagara” [‘chicken-city’ {cf. chicken-headed god Iao)] [Kukkut.a-nagara is an allusion (p. 202), via /tamra-cud.a/ ‘copper-crested’ (scil., chicken)’ to the city-name /Tamra-lipti/ {and perhaps to the legendary ‘copper isles’ of the rN~in-ma}]

p. 82

He was born ... as a slave, the hundredth in the household of his master; ... he was given the name Puran.a, “the Completion. {cf. pleroma (‘fullness’) of Iesous Khristos, who sought the 100th sheep}

p. 83

... he ran away from his master. In his flight his garments were stolen by thieves.” {cf. p. 37}

On his begging rounds he made use of a bowl divided into four sections {cf. “transforming the bowl of Tvastr into four shining cups” (RR)}, and gave

the contents of the first section to travellers,

the second to crows and dogs, and

the third to fish and tortoises, keeping only

the contents of the fourth section for himself.”

p. 85-6

According to the commentary to the Dhammapada, when a mango-seed presented by Gan.d.a (gardener of the king of Savatthi) was planted, it grew instantly becoming a tall tree. Puran.a, “mottled”, departed thence.

p. 86

He then took the pot and cord” [cf. the bowl suspended aloft from a cord by a set.t.hi (rich man) with a challenge that it be reached by “levitation” (p. 85)].

p. 87

According to the “Divya Avadana”, Puran.a was accosted by a pan.d.aka (hermaphrodite) and was described (“with an obscene verse”) by a prostitute :

p. 90

There was an Apuran.a who was one of the naga-s “inhabiting the subterranean city of Bhogavati.”

RR = http://vedarahasya.net/vedrea4.htm

pp. 91-92 Pakudha Kaccayana [Katsa-ayana]

p. 91

according to the Sama-jn~a-phala Sutra, his doctrine was “of seven eternal and immutable elements, earth, water, fire, air, life, joy, and sorrow.

p. 263 according to “the Ajivika scripture called “the Book of Markali””, there are “atoms of four types, together with life”, totaling 7 with “Joy and sorrow, even these are atoms.”

p. 92

according to Buddha-ghos.a, “he avoided cold water.

{cf. the Jaina requirement that water be boiled before being quaffed}

... he obtained ... rice-gruel (kan~jiya).

p. 204 according to the commentary on the Acara-sara of Vira-nandi, the “Ajivika is a kind of ... bhiks.u, subsisting upon rice-gruel.”

To cross a stream, {“Transitus fluvii (Crossing the River) ... is a Hebraic alphabet in the ‘oriental sigil’ tradition”, its sequence being L-K-Y-T.-H.-Z-W-H-D-G-B->-T-S^-R-Q-S.-P-<-S-N-M (MA, p. 40)} ...

p. 112 “the tiger ... Pupphakam” {[Pali] /pupphaka/ = [Skt.] /pupphusa/ ‘lungs’ : “the tiger, out of breath as she explained to the emperor how difficult it had been to cross the river” (LChZ)}

he atoned by making a heap of sand.” {cf. Taoist ritual spirit-writing on sand}

p. 113 according to the “Tittiri Jataka”, an Ajivika “made a heap of red rice-powder.” {cf. red powder used in Vajra-yana ritual to form writing on a horizontal altar-mirror}

MA = Nigel Pennick : Magical Alphabets. Red Wheel, Boston, 1992. http://books.google.com/books?id=aivppFdzZwcC&pg=PA40&lpg=PA40&dq=occult+script+%E2%80%9Ccrossing+the+river%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=THf8XpMUtP&sig=fPmEAHYi5uQv56gyWZOwh-99D9g&hl=en&ei=DYujS_n7NI2XtgeupJ2gCg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=occult%20script%20%E2%80%9Ccrossing%20the%20river%E2%80%9D&f=false

LChZ = “Legend of the Chinese Zodiac” http://www.chinesezodiaconline.info/chinesezodiac-fortunetelling.html

pp. 104, 106 initiation into Ajivika membership

p. 104

grasping a heated lump.” {the Vais.n.ava initiation entaileth being sealed on the forehead with a heated sigil (mudra)} {in Apokalupsis of Ioannes 13:16, all “receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads”.}

p. 106

is placed in a pit up to his neck, planks are laid over the pit, above his collar bones”. {cf. the Assassin rite of burial of an agent up to the neck in a pit, with a “circular disk” laid over the pit, above his collar bones (HSS)}

HSS = Arkon Daraul : A History of Secret Societies. quoted at http://www.mail-archive.com/ctrl@listserv.aol.com/msg24911.html

miraculous capacity to melt snow with one’s bodily heat

p. 110 According to the description in the Loma-hamsa Jataka of the Bodhi-sattva’s former incarnation as an Ajivika recluse, “By night he was wet with melted snow (himodakena)”.

Not only was the snow around the Taoist monk melted, but a heat was felt radiating from his body.” (STM, cap. 17 -- p. 95)

STM = Eva Wong (translatrix) : Seven Taoist Masters. Shambhala Publ, Boston, 1990.

pp. 122-123 sacrament of the blessed eucharist

p. 122

The Vayu Puran.a [69:286-7] refers to the Ajivikas as using wine and meat, among other things, in their religious ceremonies.”

p. 123

According to the Mahasaccaka Sutta [Maha-satyaka Sutra] of the Majjima [Madhyama] Nikaya, “from time to time they eat excelent food, spice it with excellent spices, and drink excellent beverages.” {The spices would include kardama (cardamon), likewise eaten in the Tantrik communion.}

p. 128 the 4 drinks & their substitutes





that which has fallen from a cow’s back”

thala [sthala] ‘metal pot’


the water used in a pottery” {cf. H^NWM, god of “water” and of “pottery” (Kh)}

unripe mango”


that heated by the sun” [p. 92 Pakudha Kaccayana “obtained hot water”]

unripe simbali-beans”


that fallen from a rock” {“water came forth” from the rock (B-Midbar 20:11}}

pure drink”

Kh = http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/khnum.html

pp. 128, 257 temptation to sin by deities misleading from salvation {This work of temptation is done by a single god, Mara, in the Bauddha account; but by a pair of gods in the Ajivika account. Cf. the pair of angels who come the grave to interrogate the soul of someone who hath just died, according to Muslim theology.}

p. 257

on the last night of the ascetic’s life the Punnabhadda [Purn.a-bhadra] and Man.ibhadda [Man.i-bhadra] descend and caress his limbs with their cool hands; if he resists or ignores their attentions he will be released from samsara, his body consumed by spontaneous combustion {at the advent of Maitreya, Maha-kas`yapa “on completing the fire and water pairs, ... will destroy his body and disappear” (FMB, p. 126)}; if he submits to them, he will “further the work of serpenthood”. {“Serpenthood” would refer to the condition of Nahus.a.} {Inasmuch as Man.i-bhadra is patron god of overseas travelers, this may be a figurative admonition not to travel by sea.}

p. 128

On the last night of these six months two mighty gods, Punnabhadda and Man.ibhadda will appear, and with their cool hands will sooth his fevered body. “He who submits to (the caresses of) those gods will further the work of serpenthood. If he does not submit, a mass of fire arises in his body, and he burns up his body with his own heat. Then he is saved and makes an end. That is called the pure drink.”” [quoted from the Bhaga-vati Sutra 15]

p. 273

variance between Jaina and Maha-bharata accounts :-

Jaina : chief of __

acc. to Maha-bharata


northern horde of yaks.a-s

king of yaks.a-s


southern horde of yaks.a-s

a naga, son Kadru

elsewhere (as, e.g. BP:M 33:78), however, Purn.a-bhadra is a yaks.a.

FMB = Eric Cheetham : Fundamentals of Mainstream Buddhism. Charles E. Tuttle Co, Rutland (VT), 1994. http://books.google.com/books?id=SuAZx8KFtFAC&pg=PA126&lpg=PA126&dq=

BP:M = Brahman Puran.a, “Mahatmya” http://issuu.com/nitai/docs/brahmanda_pu_v

p. 169 the 7 categories of ascetic, according to the Varaha-mihira’s Br@had-jataka 15; with commentary on that writing by Bhat.t.a-utpala



called __ by Bh.-u.

under influence of planet __



rakta-pat.a [‘blood-robed’]

Maheya (Mars)



eka-dan.d.in [‘one-rodded’]

Jn~a (Mercury)











cakra-dhara [‘wheel-support’]

Sita (Venus)



nagna (‘naked’)

Saura (Saturn)



eaters of what is to be found in forests”

Ina (Sun)

pp. 169-170 according to Kalaka-acarya (where varying from Bhat.t.a-utpala)



under influence of __









p. 209
Ajivika-s in Kas`mir

the Ajivika initiation ... in which the novice had to grasp a heated lump of metal.”

iconoclast minister Los.t.a-dhara ‘lump-support’.

the elephant ... was an Ajivika religious symbol.”

on coinage, the “device of the seated goddess” was superceded by that of an elephant.

[“an ascetic, who may have been an Ajivika, living in the hut of a prostitute.” (p. 125)]

the “base ascetic” with whom Hars.a took refuge ... lives with a prostitute, Bhis`ca”.

pp. 213-215 Ajivika scriptures

p. 213

the 8 anga-s of the Mahan.imitta [Maha-arn.i-mitra] (according to Abhaya-deva : Bhagavati Sutra)


Divyam “of the Divine.”


Autpatam “of portents.”


Antariks.am “of the sky.”


Bhaumam “of the earth.”


Angan “of the body.”


Svaram “of sound.” {cf. Svara Yoga?}


Laks.an.am “of characteristics”


Vyan~janam “of indications.”

p. 214

These eight Mahan.imittas are listed in the Sthana^nga Sutra [8:608], with the variation Suvin.e (dreams) for Divyam; here the commentator Abhayadeva makes it quite clear that they are systems for prognostication. The Uttara^dhyayana Sutra [15:7] gives a similar list ... . ...

The two Maggas [‘paths’ /margau/] are said by Abhayadeva to have been those of song [“gita” (p. 117, fn. 3)] {cf. Gandharva Veda?} and dance [“nr.tya” (p. 117, fn. 3)].”

p. 215

The Ajivika teacher in the Nilakeci further gives the name of the [11th] scripture as ... “The Nine Rays” ... said to describe the atomic structure of the universe, and is one of the four cardinal points of the Ajivika faith, [it together with] the other three being” [as given by the commentator Vamana-muni :

Apta {‘guarantee’},

Agama {‘authority’},

Pada^rtha {‘word-meaning’, i.e. ‘category’},

Pravr.tti {‘manifestation’} (p. 215, fn. 6)].

pp. 226-227, 229, 236-237 ni-yati (fate, destiny); avicalita-niyatvam (completely static universe)

p. 226

the svabhavavadins {/svabhava/ later became a Vajra-yana term} agreed with the niyativadins on the futility of human efforts. They were classed in the group of akriyavadins”. {the term /kriya/ signifieth ‘activity’; so that /a-kriya/ ‘non-activity/ is the same terminology as the Taoist /wu wei/ ‘non-activity’ (also explained as ‘actionless activity’)}

p. 227

For the niyativadin causation was illusory. ... Thus, the Ajivika was sometimes called a believer in the doctrine of causelessness (ahetukavadin). ...

p. 229

... the deva ... attained his own divine status ... without effort (anut.t.han.en.am). ... other living beings in whom there is no effort [are] also devas”. {i.e., all beings have an inchoate divine nature (= tathagata-garbha, a doctrine of Taoist origin)}

p. 236

avicalita-niyatvam, a doctrine of the Southern Ajivika-s (located in the Penner valley, Nellore district, and in the Palar valley, Arcot district – pp. 187-188), was as follows : “If all future occurrences are rigidly determined ..., coming events may in some sense be said to exist already. The future exists in the present, and both exist in the past. Time is thus on ultimate analysis illusory ... . ... This is the doctrine of the Ajivika teacher in the Nilakeci. “Though we may speak of moments {‘momentariness’ is likewise as Bauddha doctrine},” he declares, “there is (really) no time at all.””

p. 237

Every phase of a process is always present. Just as the stars still exist after the sun has risen, so in a soul which has attained salvation its earthly births are still present. Nothing is destroyed and nothing is produced. ... Not only are all things determined, but their change and development is a cosmic illusion.”

p. 247 serpent : greenness; numeric 6

Gosāla Maskarin "compares himself to a gigantic serpent". The name /BHOGa-vati/ of the abode of naga-s is cognate with /BUK/ (Strong’s 943) ‘entangled’, alluding perhaps to an entanglement in chariot-reins, scil., of Hippo-lutos (GM 101.g) on account of his stepmother Phaidra, who used to perforate the leaves of the myrtle (GM 101.c) : Hdassah (>ester 2:4) ‘Myrtle’ was the name of the heroine who, according to legend, caused the prime-minister of Persia to be hanged.

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up.” (Euaggelion according to Ioannes 3:14)

{[According to >al-Gazali,] >al-H^id.r (‘the Green’) declared that “the dream concerning Heariug ... is pure slipperiness” (TSM, p. 109) : ‘slippery’ is the meaning of the name of the [Norse] divine horse Sleipnir, who is 6-legged.}

{This “serpent” is actually a 6-winged (Ys^a<yah 6:2) S`rap : the color of the S`orfa (pl. of S`arif) is (TSM, p. 76) “Green”.} {The Ajivika religion is promoted at http://www.rev.net/~aloe/ajivika/, a state-office of the Green Party (located in Virginia http://www.rev.net/~aloe/green/).}

TSM = Deborah Kapchan : Traveling Spirit Masters. Wesleyan U Pr, Middletown (CT), 2007.

{This Green Party website, however, is far more involved with European (including U.S.A) than with Bharatiya matters : the “Ajivika calendar” (http://www.rev.net/~aloe/calendar/) is almost entirely European (with a few Han characters, no Bharatiya ones). (More Asiatic countries are named at http://www.rev.net/~aloe/green/rrg.html.) Its numerous links to humor websites would suggest an advocacy in the sort of lifestyle that an enthousiasm for political satire could engender : similarly, e.g., “The passage ascribed to San~jaya Belatthiputta is probably satirical.” (p. 17)}

p. 250 sequence of heavens, acc. to the Bhaga-vati Sutra

particular heaven

series of heavens

Uvarille [Upari-] ‘upward’ {cf. the name of /UPARI-cara Vasu/}


Majjhile [Madhya-] ‘middling’

Het.t.hile ‘lower’

Uttare ‘outer’

Man.usa [p. 250, fn. 4 Uttara is part of the Manasa series according to Abhayadeva]



Bambha [cf. village Bambhan.a-gama (p. 42)]

(of Brahma) {with /bambha/ ‘a fly’, cf. the region the thickness of “the wing of a fly” (JP&M, p. 25), surrounding the universe, according to the Jaina cosmology }

JP&M = Ananda K. Coomaraswamy : CATALOGUE OF THE INDIAN COLLECTIONS IN THE MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS, BOSTON, Part IV = Jaina Paintings and Manuscripts. Boston, 1924. http://www.archive.org/stream/catalougeofthein035416mbp/catalougeofthein035416mbp_djvu.txt

p. 260 the 2 classes of arhant, according to the Civan~an.a-cittiyar [S`iva-jn~ana-siddhi-yar]

acc. to the Civan~an.a-cittiyar

acc. to Buddha-ghos.a


their capability


their capability

man.t.alar (man.d.ala)

return to reveal scriptures


reveal scriptures

cempotakar (sambodhaka)

do not return


do not speak at all

p. 261 According to the Civan~an.a-cittiyar, “some of the liberated souls had somehow become free of the liability to return. They were the sambodhaka, beings completely outside the universe”.

p. 261 nit.t.ha [nis.t.ha] (‘the highest state’) in other religions, according to Buddha-ghos.a


religion of the __



Abhassara [Abhasvara]



paribbajaka-s [pari-vrajaka-s]



p. 264 proportions of elements in a molecule

the atoms will only combines in fixed proportions, into a sort of molecule, that of earth containing

four atoms of earth,

three of water,

two of fire, and

one of air.”

{cf. the Pythagorean tetraktys of 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 10}

Praesunably, “the molecules of the other elements were similarly constituted, but with their relative preponderance appropriately changed.”

p. 265 qualities of the elements


its qualities


all ... except sound”






blowing and howling” {cf. Rudra the Howler}


instructing and knowing”

pp. 259, 270-272 jiva (the soul)

p. 259

The soul which had attained nirvan.a was still liable to return to samsara.

p. 270

According to Nilakeci, “Jiva ... was the colour of a palai fruit, and reached to the height of 500 yojanas.” [“The palai is blue” (fn. 2).]

p. 271

According to the Petavatthu [Preta-vastu], “Life (jiva) cannot be cut or split, it is of eight parts {in kriya-yoga, the mind is said to be divisible into 8 parts}, or octagonal (at.t.hams.o), circular, and 500 yojanas in extent.” (The term here translated ‘circular’ is “gul.a-pariman.d.alo, which must mean “round like a ball”. The commentary to the Petavatthu tries ... explaining that according to this theory the soul is sometimes octagonal and sometimes circular. The commentary further states that the immense size of the jiva is found only in souls in their last stage before nirvan.a.”

p. 272

Jiva seems to have been thought of as an aura, extending far beyond the individual’s body.” {The Buddha hath merely “an aura six feet wide.” (WMPT, p. 147)}

WMPT = Patrul : The Words of My Perfect Teacher. AltaMira Pr, 1998. http://books.google.com/books?id=40i38mGQ6aAC&pg=PA147&lpg=PA147&dq=

the rainbow-body

p. 276 According to the Nilakeci 673, “Markali .. is ... the all-knowing Lord. He is perfectly motionless and silent, lest he injure minute living creatures by his speech. He is free from age and decay, his form is incomprehensible (terivill-uruvam), and he is like the rainbow.

{“a rainbow was upon his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet were as pillars of fire” (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 10:1) : “and he had in is hand a little book open” (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 10:2 [cf. the Book of Markali])}

Yet he seems to be by no means completely removed from his followers, ... but appear to them from time to time, as unexpectedly and unpredictably as the rainbow.”

{Padma-sambhava, because he achieved the “Rainbow Body”, “can come back here” (OPRB III).}

OPRB = http://www.yogichen.org/cw/cw33/bk093.html

A. L. Basham : History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas. Luzac & Co, London. 1951.

{The Ajivika faith would appear to be identical with the religion now known as A-ghora. The A-ghorin religion is favorable to feeding on ordure; there was an Ajivika “propensity to ... the eating of ordure” (p. 113), and ascetics considered (by Basham) to be Ajivika defiled idols with ordure in Kas`mir (p. 206). If these are truly Ajivika, then their disparaging of statuary idols, while tolerating painted boards, would resemble the Greek Orthodox icons (whereas the Jaina idols would resemble Roman Catholic statuary).}