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Kerala PSC Indian History Book Study Materials Page 1058Book's First Page
The practice of sati seems to have spread widely, and was even made obligatory by some writers. It appears that with the growth of the practice of large numbers of women being maintained by the feudal chiefs, and with the resultant disputes about property, there was a tendency for the rite of sati to spread particularly among the higher varnas. Education and Learning The attitude of the learned classes of north India became increasingly rigid during this period. They tended to repeat by rote the past learning, instead of putting forward and welcoming new ideas. They also tended to isolate themselves from the main currents of scientific thought outside India. This is reflected in the writings of al-Beruni, a noted scientist and scholar from Central Asia who lived in India at Mahmud Ghazni’s court. Although a great admirer of Indian sciences and learning, he also noted the insular attitude of the learned people of the country, viz. the Brahmins. The attitude of trying to confine knowledge among a very narrow group, and of taking an arrogant attitude towards new ideas, from whichever source they might come, was largely responsible for making India backward. In course of time, India had to pay a very heavy price for its backwardness. Religious Developments Both Buddhism and Jainism continued to decline during the period. It was during this period that Buddhism almost disappeared from the land of its birth after the fall of the Palas. At the same time, there was a marked revival and expansion of Hinduism. This took many forms, the most important being the growing popularity of Siva and Vishnu. A number of popular movements arose around the worship of these gods, while at the intellectual level, the tenets of Buddhism and Jainism were challenged. In due course, Siva and Vishnu became the chief gods, and the worship of the Sun, Brahma, etc. declined in popularity. In eastern India, a new form of worship arose. This was the worship of Sakti, or the worship of the female principle as the cause of creation. Thus, the Hindus began to worship Durga, Kali, etc. who were associated with Siva, and the Buddhists worshipped Taras as the consorts of the Buddhas.