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Ajivika (äjē´vĬkə), religious sect of medieval India, once of major importance. The Ajivikas were an ascetic, atheistic, anti-Brahmanical community whose pessimistic doctrines are related to those of Jainism. Its founder, Gosala (d. c.484 BC), was, it is said, a friend of Mahavira, the founder of Jainism. Gosala denied that a man's actions could influence the process of transmigration, which proceeded according to a rigid pattern, controlled in the smallest detail by an impersonal cosmic principle, Niyati, or destiny. After a period of prosperity under Asoka, the sect rapidly declined and only retained local importance in SE India, where it survived until the 14th cent.

See A. L. Basham, History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas (1951).

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