Religious Endowments in Ancient India and the Institutionalization of Brahmin Caste Status - The Domestication of “Hindu” Asceticism and the Religious Making of South and Southeast Asia - ERC n°809994 Access content directly
Journal Articles American Journal of Legal History Year : 2023

Religious Endowments in Ancient India and the Institutionalization of Brahmin Caste Status

Timothy Lubin

Abstract

Abstract Giving to worthy recipients has been meritorious public piety in India at least since the Mauryan empire. Most consequential were grants in perpetuity of land or capital as a ‘religious foundation’ for monks or Brahmins, conferred by means of a charter (śāsana). Grants to Brahmins typically created or supported an agrahāra, a residential enclave with attached farmland and villages, on terms analogous to those of grants to Buddhist or Jaina mendicants or monasteries. In these records (attested since the beginning of the Common Era), rulers cede their claims to certain normal obligations of subjects, such as tax revenue, compulsory labor, and billeting or provisions for officers of the state, and they often give the beneficiaries authority over internal legal administration. This article examines the implications of the fiscal and juridical autonomy conferred in such grants in providing state recognition and institutional support of Brahmins’ sacred status as a religious profession and a privileged caste.
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Dates and versions

halshs-04362909 , version 1 (23-12-2023)
halshs-04362909 , version 2 (06-03-2024)

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Timothy Lubin. Religious Endowments in Ancient India and the Institutionalization of Brahmin Caste Status. American Journal of Legal History, 2023, 63 (2), pp.97-114. ⟨10.1093/ajlh/njad023⟩. ⟨halshs-04362909v2⟩
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