Prelims 2020

Q. With reference to the cultural history of India, consider the following pairs:

1. Parivrajaka — Renunciant and Wanderer
2. Shramana — Priest with a high status
3. Upasaka — Lay follower of Buddhism

Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched?
a) 1 and 2 only
b) 1 and 3 only
c) 2 and 3 only
d) 1, 2 and 3
Correct Answer : b) 1 and 3 only

Question from UPSC Prelims 2020 GS Paper


Parivrajaka — Renunciant and Wanderer

This pair is correctly matched. Parivrajakas were individuals who had renounced worldly and materialistic pursuits to lead a life of spiritual wandering. They were often ascetics or hermits who chose a life of contemplation and detachment from worldly ties.

Shramana — Priest with a high status

This pair is not correctly matched. Shramanas were not priests with high status; rather, they were part of an ancient Indian religious movement that constituted a non-Vedic tradition. They were individuals who pursued an ascetic life, seeking liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth (samsara). Shramanas were critical of the ritualistic practices of the Vedic religion and laid the foundation for several religious and philosophical traditions, including Buddhism and Jainism.

Upasaka — Lay follower of Buddhism

This pair is correctly matched. Upasakas (male) and Upasikas (female) are lay followers of Buddhism. They are not monks or nuns but follow the Buddhist teachings and precepts in their daily lives while living in the secular world. They support the monastic community and participate in various religious practices without renouncing worldly life.

Given the analysis above, the pairs correctly matched are 1 (Parivrajaka — Renunciant and Wanderer) and 3 (Upasaka — Lay follower of Buddhism). Therefore, the correct answer is: b) 1 and 3 only

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