Reanimated Corpses I: The Ajivika of Ancient India

Ever feel like entering into somebody else’s dead body and walking around in it for a while? Of course, you do! Travel with us back to ancient India in the 5th century BCE, where an ascetic religion called Ajivika believed you could totally do this.

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co-hosts   Nick and Anna

time / place   India, 5th cen. BCE

dead idea   Reanimating dead corpses and living in them (a feature of the extinct religion called Ajivika)

Four Scenes From the Life of the Buddha, naked Ajivika on left Wikipedia

Main Sources

Anguttara Nikaya.

Barua, B. M. (1920). The Ajivikas. University of Calcutta.

Basham, A. L. (1951). History and Doctrines of the Ajivika: A Vanished Indian Religion. London: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers.

Bhagavati Sutra.

Hoernle, A. F. R. (1908) “Ajivikas.” Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. 1. James Hastings, Ed. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.

McEvilley, T. (2002). The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Thought. New York: Allworth Press.

Rg Veda.

Samannaphala Sutta.


Maps, pics, references, and more at Music and graphic design by Rachel Westhoff.


2 thoughts on “Reanimated Corpses I: The Ajivika of Ancient India

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