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THE PATH OF ARHAT

Justice T.U.Mehta

Intellectual Fervour

This is indeed a gloomy pen-picture of the society. There was, however, a silver lining because the intellectual revolt had already started by the Upanisadic Rsis, who had begun to interpret Vedas with a philosophical gloss. People had started challenging the corrupt modes. There were intellectual debates and the thinkers had started evolving different theories to explain the universal scheme. Forests were full of recluses, who remaining detached from society, performed severe religious penances which many a times verged on acrobatics, Schools of Carvakas and Ajivakas were challenging the very idea of Godhood and after-life. Thinkers like Parsva, Aruni, Yajnavalkya, Kapila, Janaka, Badarayana and many others of Upanisadic schools, who had preceded Mahavira and Buddha had already initiated a new type of thinking amongst the intellectuals and what was needed was to carry this process to the masses by those who could work for the masses, could speak their language, could bring them to the status of equality and could make them free from the social and economical grip of the aristocracy and priestly order.