Social Order and Stability in Ancient Indian Society

Topics: Jainism

In Ancient Indian society, social order and stability were created mostly by regional kingdoms, rather than socialized empires. Indian society contained a great amount of political diversity and religion quickly became the rulers’ method of creating social order and convincing everyone to behave accordingly. Ancient India is not known for their long-lasting imperial traditions, but its Caste system is one of the thirst we well-known traditions that promoted social unity and order. India was based upon a cultural, philosophical, and theological framework and the importance of duties, castes, and nonviolence was reinforced for generations.

(Bentley and Ziegler, 120) Throughout the different rulers of Ancient India, stability was always highly valued within their society and rulers used the caste system, patriarchy, and religion as a primary method of willing people to behave.

India’s caste system developed gradually over time but seems to have begun with the traditional beliefs of the Aryan Nomads during the Vedic Age. (122) Each caste dictated what role an individual had in society.

Members of each caste were also required to take care of members within their caste, providing each caste with a titsowpport system. (123) The Aryans established four main castes: brahmins (priests), Kshatriyas (warriors and aristocrats), vaishyas (peasants and merchants), and Shudras (serfs). The brahmins and Kshatriyas had such high social value because of the worthy lives they led in previous incarnations. (Laws of Manu, 3,4) Since the higher castes were so highly esteemed, they and able to direct the castes below them and essentially govern society. (123) Subcastes were also established based on occupation.

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People tended to associate with others of the same occupation and those who did not abide by the rules could be expelled from their community; this had a significant role in maintaining social order. (123)

Ancient India’s strong patriarchal society was also an important way that rulers maintained social order. Indian moralists enforced well-defined roles within families and established women as subordinate to men. (122, 123) Women were expected to devote themselves to family matters, while men could engage in public affairs. India’s patriarchy and gender roles helped to keep women submissive, which helped enforce social order Religion played a significant role in maintaining India’s social order and unity. As the economy developed and social changes were taking place, new religions and philosophies emerged. (124) The three primary religions that were established are Jainism, Buddhism, and Hinduism. Though these religions differed greatly in their beliefs and practices, each of them helped establish order and unity within Indian society. (124) Jainists believed that one’s soul could only become free by purification from selfish behaviors. (124) Buddhism taught that the elimination of desires and a disciplined life was the only path to nirvana. (125) Hinduism taught that one must participate actively in the world and fulfill their caste responsibilities to receive eternal salvation through unity with his God. (126) Though each of these religions is extremely unique and complex, they all promoted many of the same values and behaviors in society. They created faithful, disciplined, and active members who behaved in an ordered manner for freedom, nirvana, or eternal salvation.

Ancient India is an extremely interesting civilization because most of the rulers did not engage in war or violence, but still established control over society and created social order and stability. I think that the history of ancient India is a great example of what a powerful force religion and government can have on society. Rulers of Ancient India needed to develop social order so that they could strive for a more advanced and wealthier society. Social order was one of the first steps in this civilization that lead to tremendous cultural advances.

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Social Order and Stability in Ancient Indian Society. (2022, Jun 22). Retrieved from

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