Popularity of Buddhism during Buddha's time ( or Early Buddhism)

When Buddha got Enlightenment and started his Teachings, it gained popularity when compared to the Brahmanical or other sramana movements. There are many factors for its popularity. For example the practice of ahimsa ( non-killing) compared to the Brahmanas who killed animals for sacrifices to propitiate their gods. Buddhism also does not advocate the belief of Gods too. Buddhism too denounced superiority of man on grounds of birth as so acclaimed by the Brahmanas. According to Buddhism, social distinction between man and man is based on man's action and determined by karma. This was not so by the Brahmanas who practised the caste system which consisted of higher and lower classes of society. The Brahmins (priests) were the highest class, followed by the ksyatrias, Vaisyas and the Sudras. Buddhism emphasized on equality and Buddha's followers consisted of Brahmins and ordinary people like barbers ( Upali). Even the Order of the Sangha consisted of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis. The first female of the Sangha Order for bhikkhuni was Mahapajapati Gotami.