Writing existed in India at the time of Buddha, but it was used only for the purposes of trade and commerce, according to RhysDavids. According to the buddhist suttas the other Sramana teachers had followers and troops of students, and at least some of them were supported by the certain kings and they must have been supported householders because they still existed. The situation in the Kalama sutta is that the people had heard quite a lot of views put forward by the visiting teachers.neander wrote: ↑Thu Feb 18, 2021 9:56 am Indeed Sramana movements were numerous and widespread at the times as described also in Buddhist literature sometimes.
But were they popular? We know that Ashoka's son got 18,000 Ajivikas killed in Pundravardhana but were they widespread with the masses?
I know very little about India's religious history and its demographic, when I studied early Japanese religion and the arrival of Buddhism I learned that all religiosity was centered around agriculture, so some bits and piece on the afterlife but the core were magic spells as pesticides, insect repellents, favorable weather conditions, fertility prayers and incantations for good crops, so I assume that in India was the same considering 99,99% of the population was illiterate and had to deal with agriculture for survival, a Braminh promising that butchering a horse with the correct Vedic prescribed ritual would result in good crops must have been more appealing than Purana Kassapa theories on free will...
Moreover, I think Ittha sutta is extraordinary even in today's religious world and in certain sense is extraordinary even within some contemporary way of living Buddhism..
"Prior to the British era, education in India commenced under the supervision of a guru in traditional schools called gurukuls. The gurukuls were supported by public donations and were one of the earliest forms of public school offices.
According to the work of Dharampal, based on British documents from the early 1800s, pre-British education in India was fairly universal. Dharampal explains that the temple and the mosque of each village had a school attached to it and the children of all castes and communities attended these schools.
In the colonial era, the community-funded gurukul system and temple-based charity education, began to decline as the centrally funded institutions promoted by the British began to gradually take over and the British budget for education of the entire country was less than half of the budget for the city of New York at the time."