Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh (early history)

by Prakash Narayan | 2011 | 63,517 words

This study deals with the history of Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh (Northern India) taking into account the history and philosophy of Buddhism. Since the sixth century B.C. many developments took place in these regions, in terms of society, economic life, religion and arts and crafts....

Status of alienated Women in Urban Society

A class of alienated women was created as a consequence of the urban surroundings and break-up of the old tribal family who took to prostitution for the survival of their livelihood. The prostitute living in towns are referred to by early Pali texts. Amarpali made Vaishali famous who charged fifty kahapanas a night from her patrons. Bimbisara, the king of Magadha and a contemporary of the Buddha, was influenced by this and he decided to get a courtesan for his own city of Rajagrha.[1] The brahmanical expounders of law disrespected prostitution. Baudhayana forbidded the food offered by a prostitute (ganika) and Gautama[2], the lawgiver forbids a brahmana to take food offered by a prostitute or unchaste women. This is contrasted with the Buddha’s attitude towards amrapali, with whom he stayed. The acceptance of women in the Order was admitted and there was no bar against prostitutes. One of the features of urban society, prostitution, was tolerable by the Buddhists but not by the brahmanas.

Footnotes and references:


S.V. Ambapali, Dictionary of Pali Proper Names, I, 156.



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