A shramana is one who renounces the world and leads an ascetic life in order to attain liberation. They believe that human beings are responsible for their own deeds and reap the fruits of those deeds. The cycle of reincarnation is perceived as the cause and bedrock of misery. The goal of every person is to escape from the cycle of rebirth. Shramanic traditions emphasizes of ascetic endeavour and personal conduct.
Sramana adopted a path which was alternate to the Vedic rituals in order to achieve liberation. They engage in austerities, meditation and associated theories. At times sramana differed with traditional Brahmin authority and often recruited members from Brahmin communities themselves.
Mahavira and Lord Buddha were leaders of their sramanna orders. According to Jain literature and the Buddhist Pali Canon there were other sramana leaders at that time. Buddha regarded extreme austerities and self-mortification as unnecessary in attaining enlightenment. The jains continued to practice fasting and other austerities.
The sramana thought of wandering changed in Buddhism. Bhiksus started living in monasteries permanently. In Jainism also, the tradition of wandering diminished, however it was revived later in the 19th century. They practiced Ahimsa as well as believed in Karma and Moksha. Sramanics did not believe in the Vedas. Concepts of Sramana philosophies:-
* Denial of creator
* Rejection of the Vedas
* Belief in Karma and rebirth, Samsara and transmigration of Soul.
* Belief in attainment of moksa through Ahimsa, renunciation and austerities
* No belief in sacrifices and rituals for purification.
* No belief in the caste system
Jain philosophy and Buddhist philosophy are two main schools of sramana philosophy.
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