Vedic Culture, Buddhism, and Jainism – UPSC Civil Service Exam – Past Year Solved Questions

Table of Contents

In this post, we have provided the Civil Service Exam previous year questions with their solution. the questions are taken from the chapter Vedic Culture, Buddhism, and Jainism.

Question Number 1

With reference to the history of ancient India, which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. Mitakshara was the civil law for upper castes and Dayabhaga was the civil law for lower castes.
2. In the Mitakshara system, the sons can claim the right to the property during the lifetime of the father, whereas in the Dayabhaga system, it is only after the death of the father that the sons can claim the right to the property.
3. The Mitakshara system deals with the matters related to the property held by male members only of a family, whereas the Dayabhaga system deals with the matters related to the property held by both male and female members of a family.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

[UPSC CIVIL SERVICE EXAM 2021]

Options

  • 1 and 2
  • Only 2
  • 1 and 3
  • Only 3

Answer – Only 2

Explanation – In the given statements, (2) is correct. There are two main schools of law followed by Hindus- Mitakshara and Dayabhaga. While Mitakshara School is followed in most parts of India, Dayabhaga School is confined to Assam and Bengal. According to the Dayabhaga system, which came to prevail in Eastern India, only after the death of the father the sons could claim rights to property and split it. In the Mitakshara system, the sons could claim this right even during the lifetime of the father.

Question Number 2

With reference to the history of ancient India, Bhavabhuti, Hastimalla, and Kshemeshvara were famous

[UPSC CIVIL SERVICE EXAM 2021]

Options

  • Jain monks
  • playwrights
  • temple architects
  • philosophers

Answer – playwrights

Explanation – With reference to the history of ancient India, Bhavabhuti, Hastimalla, and Kshemeshvara were famous playwrights. Bhavahuti was the court poet of famous Maukhari king Yashovarma (of Kannauj) who ruled around 730 AD. The works attributed to poet Bhavabhuti viz Mahaviracharita (depicting the early life of Rama), Malatimadhava a play based on the romance of Malati and Madhava, and Uttararamacharita. Hastimalla was 13th century Kannada poet and writer in Hoysala Empire. He wrote Purvapurana. Kshemeshvara was an 11th-century Sanskrit poet from Kashmir, India. One of the important works attributed to him is ‘Dasavatar Charita’.

Question Number 3

With reference to the cultural history of India, which one of the following is the correct description of the term ‘paramitas’?

[UPSC CIVIL SERVICE EXAM 2020]

Options

  • The earliest Dharmashastra texts are written in aphoristic (sutra) style
  • Philosophical schools that did not accept the authority of Vedas
  • Perfections whose attainment led to the Bodhisattva path
  • Powerful merchant guilds Of early medieval South India

Answer – Perfections whose attainment led to the Bodhisattva path

Explanation – With reference to the cultural history of India, the term ‘Paramitas’ refers to perfections whose attainment led to the Bodhisattva path.
The several stages along the bodhisattva path involved the attainment of a number of perfections known as paramitas. It was originally listed as six and later expanded to ten.
They consisted of generosity (dana), good conduct (Shila), patient forbearance (kshanti), mental strength (virya), meditation (dhyana), wisdom (prajna), skillfulness in means (upayakaushalya), determination (pranidhana), power (bala), and knowledge (jnana).

Question Number 4

With reference to the religious history of India, consider the following statements
1. Sthaviravadins belong to Mahayana Buddhism.
2. Lokottaravadin sect was an offshoot of the Mahasanghika sect of Buddhism.
3. The deification of Buddha by Mahasanghikas fostered Mahayana Buddhism.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

[UPSC CIVIL SERVICE EXAM 2020]

Options

  • 1 and 2
  • 2 and 3
  • Only 3
  • 1, 2 and 3

Answer – 2 and 3

Explanation – Followers of the Hinayana sect among Buddhists were also called Theravadins. They accepted the Pali canon of ancient Indian Buddhism (the Sutta, Vinaya, and Abhidhamma Pitakas) as authoritative and trace their sectarian lineage back to the Elders who in Sanskrit were called Sthaviras.
The same word in Pali for elders is Theras. Thus, Theravada is also called Sthaviravada. Hence, statement 1 is not correct.
Lokottaravadins was one of the early Buddhist schools and was a branch of the Mahasanghika sect. Hence, statement 2 is correct.
Mahasanghikas, the early Buddhist school is considered the precursor of the Mahayana tradition. The Mahasanghikas believed in a plurality of buddhas who are supramundane (lokottara). According to this school, the historical Gautama Buddha was merely one of these transformation bodles (nirmanakaya), while the essential real Buddha was equated with the Dharmakaya. Hence, statement 3 is correct.
Therefore, the correct answer is option (b).

Question Number 5

Consider the following.
1. Deification of the Buddha.
2. Treading the path of Bodhisattvas.
3. Image worship and rituals.

Which of the above is/are the feature/features of Mahayana Buddhism?

[UPSC CIVIL SERVICE EXAM 2019]

Options

  • Only 1
  • 1 and 2
  • 2 and 3
  • 1, 2 and 3

Answer – 1, 2 and 3

Explanation – Mahayana Buddhism emerged in the 1st century CE. It started considering Buddha as a God rather than a great teacher. The image of Buddha and Bodhisattvas were worshipped. Bodhisattvas were to help others to attain Nirvana. So, the followers of Mahayana Buddhism followed the path of Bodhisattvas.
Further, Buddha was treated like a God (Deification) and it was believed that he was the one who could ensure salvation.

Question Number 6

With reference to Indian history, who among the following is a future Buddha, yet to come to save the world?

[UPSC CIVIL SERVICE EXAM 2018]

Options

  • Avalokiteshvara
  • Lokesvara
  • Maitreya
  • Padmapani

Answer – Maitreya

Explanation – In the world of Buddhist eschatology, Maitreya literally means the future Buddha. Maitreya Buddha is considered the 5th Buddha that is believed to appear in this Kalpa or era. Thus, Maitreya Buddha is considered the future Buddha that is yet to appear in this age. In various Buddhist sutras such as Amitabha Sutra, as well as Lotus Sutra, Maitreya Buddha is believed to be called Ajita.
Avalokiteshvara is a Bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who are destined to become Buddhas but postpone that final state in order to help humanity. Padmapani is a Bodhisattva who is depicted in the Ajanta paintings holding lotus.

Question Number 7

With reference to the religious history of India, consider the following statements
1. Sautrantika and Sammitiya were the sects of Jainism.
2. Sarvastivadin held that the constituents of phenomena were not wholly momentary, but existed forever in a latent form.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

[UPSC CIVIL SERVICE EXAM 2017]

Options

  • Only 1
  • Only 2
  • Both 1 and 2
  • Neither 1 nor 2

Answer – Only 2

Explanation – The Sautrantika was an early Buddhist school generally believed to be descended from the Sthaviranikaya by way of their immediate parent school, the Sauastivadins. Their name means literally “those who rely upon the sutras”, and indicated their rejection of the Abhidharma texts of other early Buddhist schools.
Sarvastivada, (Sanskrit: “Doctrine That All Is Real”) also called Vaibhashika, is a school of early Buddhism. A fundamental concept in Buddhist metaphysics is the assumption of the existence of dharmas, cosmic factors, and events that combine momentarily under the influence of a person’s past deeds to form a person’s life flux, which he considers his personality and career. Differences arose among the various early Buddhist schools concerning the ontological reality of these dharmas. While, like all Buddhists, the Sarvastivadins consider everything empirical to be impermanent, they maintain that the dharma factors are eternally existing realities.

Question Number 8

With reference to the religious history of India, consider the following statements
1. The concept of Bodhisattva is central to the Hinayana sect of Buddhism.
2. Bodhisattva is a compassionate one on his way to enlightenment.
3. Bodhisattva delays achieving his own salvation to help all sentient beings on their path to it.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

[UPSC CIVIL SERVICE EXAM 2016]

Options

  • Only 1
  • 2 and 3
  • Only 2
  • 1, 2 and 3

Answer – 2 and 3

Explanation – Bodhisattva literally means a living being (Sattva) who aspires to enlightenment (Bodhi) and carries out altruistic practices. The bodhisattva ideal is central to the Mahayana Buddhist tradition as the individual who seeks enlightenment both for him or herself and for others. Compassion, an empathetic sharing of the sufferings of others, is the Bodhisattva’s greatest characteristic. Bodhisattva delays achieving his own salvation to help all sentient beings on their path to it.

Question Number 9

Which of the following kingdoms were associated with the life of the Buddha?
1. Avanti
2. Gandhara
3. Kosala
4. Magadha

Select the correct answer using the codes given below.

[UPSC CIVIL SERVICE EXAM 2015]

Options

  • 1, 2 and 3
  • 2 and 3
  • 1, 3 and 4
  • 3 and 4

Answer – 3 and 4

Explanation – Buddha gained enlightenment at Gaya (now called Bodhgaya) which came under Magadha (present-day Bihar) empire/Mahajanpada.
Buddha passed the greater part of his monastic life at Sravasti (Savatthi), the capital of Kosala. The King of Kosala, Prasenjit (Pasendi) was a devout disciple of Buddha.
During the times of Buddha, the king of Avanti was Chandpajjota. He sent his son Mahakacchana along with seven others to invite Buddha to Avanti. But due to illness, Buddha did not visit Avanti. Buddha gave the sermon and all of them attain arhatship.
There is no direct link between Gandhara and Buddha’s life although Gandhara later flourished as a center of Buddhist art and architecture.
Hence, option (d) is correct.

Question Number 10

The national motto of India, ‘Satyameva Jayate’ inscribed below the Emblem of India is taken from

[UPSC CIVIL SERVICE EXAM 2014]

Options

  • Katho Upanishad
  • Chandogya Upanishad
  • Aitareya Upanishad
  • Mundaka Upanishad

Answer – Mundaka Upanishad

Explanation – ‘Satyameva Jayate’ which means truth alone triumphs, is a mantra from Mundaka Upanishad, which is inscribed below the Emblem of India.
Upon the Independence of India, it was adopted as the national motto of India. It is inscribed in the Devanagari script at the base of the national emblem.

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