The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.

Related Content

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Religion


Show Summary Details



Quick Reference

A term for a heterodox ascetic, often contrasted with the orthodox brāhmaṇa (brahmin) who accepts the authority of the Veda. In the plural, it is usually applied to the disparate groups of renouncers who were experimenting with various forms of yoga and tapas in the period leading up to the historical founding of Buddhism and Jainism—traditions which emerged from this background. The term is also used more generally for anyone undertaking an ascetic or renunciatory discipline.

Subjects: Religion

Reference entries