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Kerala PSC Indian History Book Study Materials Page 267Book's First Page
the Himalayan foothills. The most important of these republics was the Vajjian confederacy, of which the largest element was the tribe of the Lichchhavis. This confederacy controlled northern Bihar, and was governed by a chief who derived his power from a large assembly of tribesmen, and ruled with the aid of a smaller council of lesser chiefs. Southern Bihar formed the kingdom of Magadha. Magadha soon absorbed the Vajjis and Kosala, and her growth continued until Pataliputra became the capital of the whole Indian subcontinent except the southern tip. RELIGIOUS IDEAS The development of organised states and the advance of material culture were accompanied by the rapid spread of new religious ideas which were soon to become central to ancient Indian thought. It is remarkable that in the Vedas and the earlier Brahmana literature the doctrine of transmigration of soul is not clearly mentioned. It first appears, in a rather primitive form, in the early Upanishads as a rare and new doctrine. In the Jaina and Buddhist scriptures, however, the doctrine of transmigration has evidently become almost universal and is taken for granted. It is not easy to account for the rapid spread of the belief in transmigration throughout the whole of northern India; it may be that the humbler strata of society have always believed in some form of transmigration, but only now did it begin to affect the upper classes. It is equally difficult to explain the growth of a sense of dissatisfaction with the world and of a desire to escape from it. Several reasons have been suggested to account for this great wave of pessimism, occurring as it did in an expanding society, and in a culture that was rapidly developing both intellectually and materially. It has been suggested that the change in outlook was due to the break-up of old tribes and their replacement by kingdoms wherein ethnic ties and the sense of security associated with them were lost or weakened, thus leading to a deep-seated psycho-logical unease affecting all sections of the people. Another suggested cause of the change in outlook is the revolt of the most intelligent people of the times against the sacrificial cults of the Brahmins.