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A term for a heterodox ascetic, often contrasted with the orthodox brāhmaṇa (brahmin) who accepts the authority of the Veda. In the plural, it is usually applied to the disparate groups of renouncers who were experimenting with various forms of yoga and tapas in the period leading up to the historical founding of Buddhism and Jainism—traditions which emerged from this background. The term is also used more generally for anyone undertaking an ascetic or renunciatory discipline.

Subjects: Buddhism — Hinduism.

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