"Morality is doing right, no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right."
attributed to H.L. Mencken

"The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of reason."
-- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack

"Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me two things: One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth and you should save it for someone you love."
-- Butch Hancock, quoted in Moore, James (2009-09-04). "The Lies of Texas Are Upon You". Huffington Post. 2010 HuffingtonPost.com, Inc.


You may already be an Ajivika without realizing it. If you like our screed, adopt our creed! (As with most other Eastern traditions, you need not relinquish your current religious affiliation.)

Ajivika is an ancient religion that originated in a group of naked mendicant monks in ancient India. Although Ajivika fell into obscurity for several centuries, the history was maintained by Jains, to whom we are indebted.

Ajivika was founded by Maskarin Gosala over 2,500 years ago, about the time that Gautama Buddha founded Buddhism. In a custom of religious figures, Gosala was born in a cow barn. (A gosala is a cow barn. Maskarin has been translated as "of the pilgrim staff".) Other notable historical figures are being recorded at our religious calendar.


Ideally, Ajivikas are atheists, determinists, pacifists and vegetarians. In the tradition of our founder, Maskarin Gosala, we favor truth and insincerity. We condemn all of the following:

We recognize the subordination of oppressor to victim, of master to slave, of male to female, of heterosexual to homosexual, and of believer to skeptic.

In the ancient tradition, we seek to develop an encyclopedic theory of nature.

As with most Eastern creeds, Ajivikas are free to join other religions, as long as they live in accordance with Gosala's example. (Monotheists tend to slight gods other than their own, which is their loss.)



Non-violence (Ahimsa)


Avoiding waste

Ban on immoral profit

  • Ajivikas are forbidden to do business with private monopolies.
  • Ajivikas are forbidden to participate in health insurance schemes run for the profit of non-practitioners.

    Ban on immoral holding of power

    Scripture from other religions

    Having little extant scripture of its own, Ajivikas look elsewhere for guidance.

    Rather than reject all scripture from other religions, Ajivikas interpret much of it according to Ajivika belief.

    Here is how Ajivikas interpret the Judeo-Christian Bible.


    All venues of efficient transportation are shrines, including bicycle racks and railroad and bus stations.

    All venues of prayer are shrines, including polling places, courthouses, hearing rooms, and government offices where applications are made or processed.


    Organic agriculture.

    Join us in promoting freedom of religion around the world.

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    "Ajivika"Encyclopedia Britannica19871:183
    Banerji-Sastri, A."The Ajivikas"Journal of the Bihar and Orissa Research Society (Patna)192612:53-62
    Barua, B."The Ajivikas"Journal of the Department of Letters, University of Calcutta19202:1-80
    Barua, B. M."Ajivika--what it means"Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (Poona)1926-278:183-188
    Bhandarkar, D. R."Ajivikas"Indian Antiquity191241:286-290
    Basham, A. L.History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas, a Vanished Indian ReligionLuzac1951
    Basham, A. L."Ajivikas"Encyclopedia of Buddhism (Colombo)19631.2:331-333
    Basham, A. L."Ajivikism: a vanished Indian religion"Bulletin of the Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture (Calcutta)197122:107-117
    Chakraborti, HaripadaAsceticism in Ancient India in Brahmanical, Buddhist, Jaina, and Ajivika societies: from the Earliest Times to the Period of *SankaracharyaPunthi Pustak1973
    Charpentier, Jarl"Ajivika"Journal of the Royal Asiatic of Great Britain and Ireland (London)1913669-674
    Eliade, Mircea"Ajivikas"The Encyclopedia of Religion1986163-165
    Hastings, JamesEncyclopedia of Religion and EthicsScribner1951I:259-268
    Hoernle, A. F. Rudolf"Ajivikas"Hastings Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics19261:259-268
    Jaini, Padmanabh S.The Jaina Path of PurificationUniv. of California Press1979
    McGrath, J. I."Ajivikas"Overview of World Religions
    Pathak, K. B."The Ajivikas, a sect of Buddhist bhiksus"Indian Antiquity191241:88-90
    Sastri, N. Aiyasvami"Ajivikas (from Tamil sources)"Journal of the Sri Venkatesvara Rao Institute (Tirupati)19412.2:403-422
    Schumann, Hans WolfgangThe Historical Buddha: The times, life, and teachings of the founder of BuddhismArkana1989
    Zimmer, HeinrichPhilosophies of IndiaPrinceton Univ. Press1974262-268

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