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The rise, decline and renewals of Sramanic

religious traditions within the Indic civilisation


with particular reference to the evolution of
Jain sramanic culture and its impact on the
Indic civilisation

1 Pre-aryan roots ily be tempted to question its antiquity, about which, how-
ever, there is now no doubt. As Dr. Walthur Schubring
observes, He who has a thorough knowledge of the struc-
Almost all the scholars agree that Jainism has Pre-Aryan ture of the world cannot but admire the inward logic and
roots in the cultural history of India. As Dr. A. N. Upad- harmony of Jain ideas. Hand in hand with the rened cos-
hye remarked - The origins of Jainism go back to the mographical ideas goes a high standard of astronomy and
pre-historic times. They are to be sought in the fertile mathematics. Dr. Jacobi, Hermann also believes that
valley of Ganga, where they ourished in the past, even Jainism goes back to a very early period, and to prim-
before the advent of Aryans with their priestly religion, itive currents of religious and metaphysical speculation,
a society of recluses who laid much stress on individual which gave rise to the oldest Indian philosophies. They
exertion, on practice of a code of morality and devotion (the Jains) seem to have worked out their system from the
to austerities, as means of attaining religious Summum most primitive notions about matter.
Bonum. (Jainism by Colette Caillat, A.N. Upadhye & In the Buddhist scripture Majjhima Nikaya, Buddha him-
Bal Patil, Macmillan, 1974) self tells us about his ascetic life and its ordinances which
The late Heinrich Zimmer, who is reputed to have been are in conformity with the Jain monks code of conduct.
the greatest German Indologist of modern times, in his He says, Thus far, SariPutta, did I go in my penance. I
celebrated posthumous work, The Philosophies of India, went without clothes. I licked my food from my hands. I
conceded that there is truth in the Jain idea that their re- took no food that was brought or meant especially for me.
ligion goes back to a remote antiquity, the antiquity in I accepted no invitation to a meal. Mrs. Rhys Davis has
question being that of the pre-Aryan, so called Dravid- observed that Buddha found his two teachers Alara and
ian period, and that Jainism is the oldest of all Dravidian Uddaka at Vaisali and started his religious life as a Jain.
born philosophies and religions. He also psychologically In Dighanikayas Samanna Phal Sutta, the four vows of
demonstrated that Jain Yoga originated in pre-Aryan In- Lord Parshvanath (who ourished 250 years before Ma-
dia, and has nothing to do with orthodox Brahmanism haviras liberation) have been mentioned. Attakatha of
which simply appropriated it in later centuries. Noel Ret- Anguttara Nikaya has reference to Boppa Sakya a resi-
ting, another Indologist, writes, only in Jainism, of all the dent of Kapilvastu who was the uncle of Buddha and who
living religions, do we see a fusion of the primitive with followed the religion of the Nigganathas i.e. Jains. Crit-
the profound. It has preserved elements from the rst ical and comparative study has brought to light several
stage of mans religious awareness, animism. It arms words like Asrava, Samvara etc., which have been used
the separateness of spirit from matter, even though our by Jains in the original sense but which have been men-
modern philosophers and religionists regard neither form tioned in Buddhist Literature in gurative sense. On the
of dualism as untenable. Despite the opinion of these basis of these words Dr. Jacobi has concluded that Jain-
men, Jainism is fundamentally scientic. And, it may ism is much older than the religion of Buddha and there-
very well be, contrary to the opinions of many anthro- fore it is incorrect to imagine Jainism as the oshoot of
pologists and students of comparative religion, the oldest Buddhism.
living faith. And, Professor L. P. Tessitory is of opin-
ion that Jainism is of a very high order. Its important
teachings are based upon science. The more the scien-
tic knowledge advances the more the Jain teachings will
be proven.
In fact, the Jain system of thought is so wonderfully con-
sistent with modern realism and science that one may eas-

1
2 3 CHANDRAGUPTA MAURYA AND JAINISM

2 Misleading stereotypes about traditions. Issues are obscured by introducing irrelevan-


cies and thus an attitude of contemptuous prejudice is
Jainism provoked by exciting ridicule.

Yet histories and encyclopaedias of world religions with


a few exceptions fail to mention Jainism as a religion. 3 Chandragupta Maurya and Jain-
There are pervasive misconceptions about the origin of
Jainism, its relation with the Brahmanic, Vedic so-called- ism
Hinduism, about Mahavira being the founder of Jainism,
about its being an oshoot of Buddhism or Hinduism or But such distortions are not conned to Orientalist inter-
its being a reformist sect of Hinduism. There are misrep- preters of ancient Indian history. I am quoting below an
resentations galore. It is overshadowed by Hinduism and excerpt from The Age of Mauryas by the eminent histo-
Buddhism or if noticed at all it is mentioned in passing as rian Romila Thapar:
one of the ancient IndiaN religious movements subsidiary
to Buddhism. Chandragupta is said to have accepted Jain-
Such is the context of the pervasive impact of the mis- ism in his later years, and in fact to have abdi-
leading Indian historiography from the deleterious eects cated the throne and become a wandering as-
of which even the most eminent historians, both right cetic dying through slow starvation in the or-
and left are not immune. As noted pertinently by the thodox Jain manner. Considering the dicul-
Aims of the Conference One of the consequences of this ties that he faced in making himself king and
failure is the continuing hold of misleading stereotypes building an empire it is hardly likely that he
of the nature of Indic religious thought and practice. I would have abdicated at the end of his reign
think this has a vital bearing on the devastatingly damag- in order to become a wandering ascetic. It is
ing impact of the misconceived Indological and 'Oriental' possible though that he accepted the teachings
stereotypes on the Indian ethno-religious historiography of Mahavira and became a Jaina. This interest
so as to necessitate a paradigmatic revaluation. may be excused as originating in the fact that
he was of low origin, a vaisya, and by accepting
This misinterpretation of history is compounded by what Jainism he eluded the contempt of the higher
the doyen of Indian Indologists , Dr.R.G. Bhandarkar caste nobility. Since the teachings of Mahavira
noted as to how India has no written history. Nothing were at this period, regarded more as an o-
was known till within recent times of the political con- shoot of Hinduism, an extreme discipline, and
dition of the country, the dynasties that ruled over the the Jainas themselves as a sub-sect of the ealier
dierent provisions which composed it, and the great re- religion, we can discoutenance the above idea.
ligious and social revolutions it went through. The histor- The interest it would seem was largely intellec-
ical curiosity of the people was satiated by legends. What tual. Accepting Jainism did not raise ones so-
we nd of a historical nature in the literature of the coun- cial prestige in the eyes of high-caste Hindus
try before the arrival of the Mahomedans comes to very whose social ethics were already being deter-
little. P.i-ii (Early History of the Dekkan Down to the mined by caste rules.
Mahomedan Conquest, 2nd Ed. 1983)
The date of the foundation of the Maurya dynasty by I am aware that this is an earlier historical reading by the
Chandragupta has been determined to be about 322 B.C. eminent, liberal, progressive historian Romila Thapar. I
on the basis of the known dates of the corresponding am also aware that that her readings of Indian ancient his-
Greek persons or events such as the invasion of Alexander tory have progressed from her A History of India (Peli-
the Great which brought the Greeks in contact with India can 1966) to Early India :From the Origins toA.D. 1300
or such historical fragments as are left by Megastheness , Allen Lane, 2002)
Ta Indika. In her A History of India (Vol.I) Thapar has perceptively
Even Buddha or Buddhism is no exception for such mis- noted that much of the early history of India was recon-
representations. It is incredible but true that S. Radhakr- structed almost entirely from Sanskrit sources i.e. from
ishnan in his Foreword to the volume brought out on the material preserved in the ancient classical language. (p.
occasion of 2500th Anniversary of the Mahaparinirvana 18) In her latest version substantial changes in the read-
of the Buddha in 1956: 2500 Years of Buddhism (pub- ings of early Indian history are made. Mauryan India
lished by the Ministry of Information, Government of In- is Thapars special eld of historical study. That is why
dia, 1956 states:"The Buddha did not feel that he was an- one is concerned to question her cavalier and even pre-
nouncing a new religion. He was born, grew up, and died sumptuous remarks-so unhistorical in character regard-
a Hindu. He was re-stating with a new emphasis the an- ing Chandragupta. I am quoting once again the partic-
cient ideals of the Indo-Aryan civilization. Such is the ular sentence: This interest may be excused as originat-
common strategy of the historians, philosophers and aca- ing in the fact that he was of low origin, a vaisya, and
demicians in dealing with the Indic Sramanic religious by accepting Jainism he eluded the contempt of the higher
3

caste nobility. I simply fail to understand this judgemen- triyas called Moriyas "(Moriyanam khattiyanam vamse
tal remark on what Chandragupta did making a totally jatam)", and the Buddhist canonical work Digha Nikaya
unhistorical presumption on his alleged inferiority com- (II, 167) mentions the Kshatriya clan known as Moriyas
plex as a Vaisya and even more questionable presumption of Pippalivana.
that he did so to elude the contempt of higher caste nobil- Even more monumental evidence, according to
ity. One is almost led to wonder whether Chandraguptas Dr.Mookerji, is derived from the Buddhist as well
soul materialised by some transmigratory power before Jain tradition connecting the peacock, Mayura, with the
Romila Thapar to make such a guilty confession stating: Moriya or Maurya dynasty. Thus the Ashoka pillar at
Well, Madam, you know how embarrassing it was to be
Nandangarh has been found to bear at its bottom below
a Vaisya with such glittering nobility around me!" the surface of the ground the gure of a peacock while
I am concerned to make an issue of such 'historical' inter- the same gure is repeated in several sculptures on the
pretations or rather mis-interpetations to show how per- Great Stupa at Sanchi associated with Ashoka. There-
sonal historiography of the historians, apparently not af- fore Dr.Mookerji concludes that the Buddhist and Jain
fected by any transparent cultural bias can go astray. But tradition are at one in declaring for him (Chandragupta)
since the issue has been raised it must be dealt with in a a noble birth. ((Pp. 14-15) Ibid.
rational historical manner. I cannot do better here than As noted above the date of the foundation of the Mau-
quote Dr.Radha Kumud Mookerji. rya dynasty by Chandragupta has been determined to be
about 322 B.C. on the basis of the known dates of the
corresponding Greek persons or events such as the inva-
4 Radha Kumud Mookerji and sion of Alexander the Great which brought the Greeks in
contact with India or such historical fragments as are left
Chandragupta Maurya by Megastheness Ta Indika. Chandragupta Mauryas as-
cention to the throne and his historicity is an important
Dr.Mookerji has commented at length on the theory of landmark or even a high watermark in the vague almost
the base birth of Chandragupta in his Chandragupta Mau- non-existent ancient Indian historical accounts.
rya and His Times (1943): The theory of the base
I am emphasising the siginicance of the Chandragupta
birth of Chandragupta Maurya was rst suggested by the
Maurya dynasty in ancient India because Chandraguptas
derivation which a commentator was at pains to nd for
role was also crucial in the spread of Jaina religious and
the epithet Maurya as applied to Chandragupta by the
cultural traditions in the whole of South India. In a re-
Puranas. Further after explaining how the commentator
markable monograph Jainism or the Early Faith of Asoka
on Purana was wrong in explaining grammatically Mau-
with Illustrations of the Ancient Religions of the East
rya from Mura and how it is impossible to to derive by
From the Pantheon of the Indo-Scythians with A Notice
any grammar Maurya as a direct formation from Mura
on Bactrian Coins and Indian Dates by Edward Thomas
Dr.Mookerji states : The derivative from Mura is Mau-
F.R.S., read at the Meeting of the Royal Asiatic Soci-
reya. The term Maureya can be derived only from mas-
ety, Feb.26, 1877 (published Trubner & Co, London,
culine Mura which is mentioned as a name of a gotra in
1877) E.Thomas states re; Jaina Sramanic faith of Chan-
a Ganapatha in Paninis Sutra (IV. I, 151).
dragupta:
The commentator was more interested in nding a mother
than in grammar! The only redeeming feature of the The testimony of Megasthenes would like-
commentator is that not merely is he innocent of grammar wise seem to imply that Chandragupta submit-
and history; he is also innocent of any libel against Chan- ted to the devotional teachings of the sermanas
dragupta. For he has not stated that Mura, the supposed as opposed to the dotrine of the Brahmans.
mother of Chandragupta was a Sudra woman or a cour- The passage in Strabo runs as follows: That
tesan of the Nanda king...Thus even the commentator of Chandragupta was a member of the Jaina com-
the Purana cannot be held responsible for the theory of munity is taken by their writers as a matter
Chandraguptas low origin. (Pp.9-10) of course...The documentary evidence to this
Dr Mookerji makes a solemn invocation which should eect is of comparatively early date, and ap-
serve as a solace to one in search of sober history: Heav- parently absolved from all suspicion...the testi-
ens save us from commentators who supplement texts mony of Megasthenes would likewise seem to
by facts of their own creation!" Well, this is precisely imply that Chandragupta submitted to the de-
my watchword for my humble eort to trace the evolu- votional teachings of the Sramanas...
tion of the Sramanic religious tradition of Jainism and
Buddhism and its impact on the Indic civilisation. Fur- When Bhadrabahu,, the last of the Sruta Kevali Jain
ther to press home the conclusion from Jain and Bud- Acharyas met Chandragupta Maurya in his court at Patal-
dhist sources Dr.Mookerji notes that the "Mahavamsa iputra and foretold him of the impending terrible twelve
(a Ceylones Buddhist account of about 5th century AD) years famine Chandragupta abdicated his throne and
states that Chandragupta was 'born of a family of Ksha- joined Bhadrabahu who, collecting a body of twelve thou-
4 6 R. THAPAR AND HISTORICAL SOURCES IN PURANAS AND VEDAS

sand disciples, started a grand exodus towards the south. 6 R. Thapar and historical sources
As stated by Ramaswami Ayyangar and B.Sheshgiri Rao
in their Studies in South Indian Jainism (1922):
in Puranas and Vedas

That Chandragupta, the Mauryan king, was I think in any historical analysis it would be sobering to re-
a Jain and attended on Bhadrabahu during his call what E.H. Carr said about historical facts in his clas-
last days and died twelve years after, doing sic What Is History? Carr says that the facts of history
penance on Chandragiri hill may be taken as never come to us 'pure', since they do not and cannot ex-
historical facts. Evidence in favour of such a ist in a pure form: they are always refracted trhough the
theory is overwhelming...To discredit the Sra- mind of the recorder. It follows that when we take up
vana Belgola inscriptions discovered by Lewis a work of history, our rst concern should be not with
Rice is to discredit the whole tradition and the the facts it contains but the historian who wrote it. And
legendary account of the Jains enshrined in Ra- hence Carr supplements his rst principle in the study of
javalikathe, and it is highly hazardous for the history that one should study the historian as a prelimi-
historian to go so far. nary, by asking Before you study the historian, study his
historical and social environment. (p.44) As put by Carr
in a subtly ingenuous manner: No document can tell us
5 Ashoka and Jainism more than what the author of the document thought-what
he thought had happened, what he thought ought to hap-
pen or would happen, or perhaps only what he wanted
So much for the Mauryan Jain mission in the South In-
dia. To revert to the enduring Sramanic and Jain inu- others to think he thought, or even only what he himself
thought he thought. (p. 16)
ence in the Chandragupta Maurya dynasty and especially
on Ashoka I would refer once again to Edward Thomas Hence Carr notes two important truths: rst that you
in this quest for historically credible Jainism. I would be- cannot fully understand or appreciate the work of the his-
gin by taking the case of Ashoka and Buddhism. Edward torian unless you have rst grasped the standpoint from
Thomass primary object in the above-mentioned paper which he himself approached it; secondly, that the stand-
is to determine the relative precedence of Jainism and point is itself rooted in a social and historical background.
Buddhism, as tried and tested by the ultimate determi- do not forget that, as Marx once said, the educator him-
nation of 'the ultimate faith of Asoka Thomas too had self has to be educated; in modern jargon, the brain of
misgivings and a certain crucial diculty " of his argu- the brain-washer has itself been washed. The historian
ment that Asokas early faith was Jainism. But as stated before he begins to write history, is the product of his-
by him all doubts and obscurities in that direction may tory. (Pp.39-40)And in this context he points out how he
now be dissipated before Asokas own words, which he or was shocked to come across which he puts as the only re-
his advisers took such innite pains to perpetuate -under mark of Bertrand Russell I have ever seen which seemed
the triple phases of his tardy religious progress-on rocks to betray an acute sense of class: There is on the whole,
and big stones, and more elaborately prepared Indian Lats much less liberty in the world now than there was a hun-
or monoliths. dred years ago.'" Commenting wryly on this Carr says " I
Thomas also quotes Abul Fazl, the accomplished min- have no measuring-rod for liberty, and do not how to bal-
ance the lesser liberty of few against the greater liberty of
ister of Akbar... known to have been largely indebted
to the Jaina priests and their carefully preserved chroni- many.
cles from his Ain-i-Akbari three very important entries, Another pitfall of historians socalled is noted by Carr and
exhibited in the original Persian version quoted below, this occurs when he is rash enough to pass moral opin-
which establish: (1) that Asoka himself rst introduced ions on persons and events long past. The more serious
'JAINISM' into the kingdom of Kashmir; (2) that 'Bud- ambiguity, says Carr, arises over the question of moral
dhism' was dominant there during the reign of Jaloka (the judgments on public actions. Belief in the duty of the
son and successor of Asoka);; and (3)that Brahmanism historian to pronounce moral judgments on his drama-
superseded Buddhism under Raja Sachinara... which ev- tis personae has a long pedigree. (p.76) This is because
idence he takes to infer that Asokas conversion to Bud- as Carr quotes Prof.Knowles 'the historian is not a judge,
dhism occurred late in his life or reign and that the an-still less a hanging judge', and goes on to quote Bernadette
nals of Kashmir, on the other hand, more emphatically Croce that Those who on the plea of narrating history,
imply that either he did not seek to spread, or had not thebustle about as judges, condemning here and giving ab-
chance or opportunity of propagating his new faith. solution there, because they think this is the oce of
Thomas also emphasizes that the leading fact of Asokas history...are generally recognised as devoid of historical
introduction or recognition of the Jaina creed in Kashmir, sense.'" (p.77)
above stated, does not however, rest upon the sole testi- If that is the case with available 'historical records it
mony of the Muhammadan author, but is freely acknowl- would be most formidable to write history if there are no
edged in the Brahmanical pages of the Rajatarangini. written records, or only myths, puranas and traditions of
5

geneologies or pure scriptures passed on from generation in the Sramanic term Jainism and Buddhism-particularly
to generation by mouth like the Vedic srutis. with the term Buddhism always claiming precedence (!)
It is in this context one can be critical of R.Thapars judg- and there is no suggestion as to how Sramanic culture or
mental presumption as to why Chandragupta was led to its anti-Brahmanic evolution began in pre-Buddhist an-
embrace Jainism, and also appreciate her paradigmatic cient India co-eval with the evolution of Vedic Brahman-
shift in historical interpretation notably in Interpreting ism as recorded in the Vedas, Puranas and the geneologies
Early India wherein a radically fresh framework of histor- as well as the vamsavalis etc. which record Thapar takes
ical assumptions based on Itihasa-Purana as well as Vam- to be the one in which historical consciousness is embed-
ded: myth, epic and geneology... (p. 138 ibid) Again
savalis and geneologies is resorted to albeit not as rigor-
ously thoroghgoing as one would be led to expect because the same, perhaps unwitting historicist preference for
Buddhist-cum-Jain interpretation of certain key concepts
still there is a certain leaning towards the quintessentially
Brahmanic-Vedic-Buddhistic assessment of certain cru- of the Sramanic culture as distinctly anti-Brahmanic, or
anti-Vedic such as ahimsa is evident in Thapars criti-
cial aspects of ancient Indian history.
cism of the Hindu hegemonic encroachment of the es-
sentially Sramanic values of non-violence and tolerance.
That ahimsa as an absolute value is characteristic of cer-
7 E. H. Carr: what is history? tain Sramanic sects and less so of Brahmanism. The no-
tion appears in the Upanishads but it was the Budddhists
and the Jains (emphasis supplied) who rst made it foun-
Yet it is a pleasant surprise to nd Thapar quoting E.H.
dational to their teaching. That Brahmanism and Sraman-
Carr as the classic summation of the role of historian "
ism were recognized as distinct after the period of the
that the function of historian is neither to love the past
Upanishads further underlines the signicance of ahimsa
nor to emancipate himself from the past, but to master
to Sramanic thinking. (p.72, ibid) As is clear there is no
and understand it as the key to understanding the of the
attempt here to trace the conceptual evolution of ahimsa
present. Great history is written precisely jwhen the his-
as a characteristic of the Sramanic-Jain culture in pre-
torians vision of the past is iluminated by the insight into
Buddhist India as noted by eminent Indologists as will
the problems of the present...The function of the history
be discussed later in this paper. However, Thapar makes
is to promote a profounder understanding of both past
a pertinent observation regarding the fundamental dif-
and present through the inter-relation between the two.
ferences between Brahmanic and Sramanic systems and
(What is History? pp. 20,31,62) Perhaps Carr could be
makes a historically welcome suggestion that It might
quoted for a tting nale to such historiography when he
in fact be a worthwhile exercise to reconstruct Brahman-
observes:"Good historians I suspect, whether they think
ism from the reference to it in Sramanic amd other non-
about it or not, have the future in their bones. Besides
Brahmanical sources. (p.63, Ibid) This is a welcome op-
the question 'Why?' the historian also asks the ques-
portunity to me because the basic theme which I am con-
tion'Whither?'" (p. 108 ibid.) Notwithstanding her slip
cerned to develop in my paper is the Religions in the In-
on Chandragupta Maurya Thapar acknowledges in Inter-
dic Civilisation particularly on the topic of historical and
preting Early India that the picture which emerges of the
contemporary studies: the Rise, Decline and Renewals
indigenous view of religion from historical sources of the
of Shramanic Religious Traditions Within Indic Civili-
early period is rather dierent. The prevalent religious
sation with particular reference to the evolution of Jain
groups referred to are two, Brahmanism and Sramanism
Sramanic culture and its impact on the Indic civilization.
with a clear distinction between them. They are organi-
Borrowing the historically challenging clue provided by
zationally separate, had dierent sets of beliefs and rit-
Thapar I would rephrase her sugestion regarding the re-
uals and often disagreed on social norms. That this dis-
construction of Brahmanism with reference to Sramanic
tinction was recognized is evident from the edicts of the
and other non-Brahmanic sources I would propose the
Mauryan king Asoka, as well as by those who visited In-
theme of my paper as a reconstruction of Sramanic Jain
dia and left accounts of what they had observed, as, for
culture from references to it in Vedic, Puranic as well as
example, Megasthenes, the Chinese Buddhist pilgrim Fa
non-Brahmanical sources. But before doing that it would
Hsien and Hsuan Tsang, and Alberuni. Thapar also notes
be necessary to refer and discuss certain academic ques-
how Patanjali, the grammarian refers to the hostility be-
tions raised by Michael Witzel in his paper On Indian His-
tween Brahmanism and Sramanism as innate as is that
torical Writing presented to the Journal of the Japanese
between the snake and mongoose. But in all the histori-
Association for South Asian Studies 2, 1990, 1-57.
cal analysis of the demarcation of Sramanism from Brah-
manism and how a reaction to this last group (of the
Buddhist and the Jain sangha) which motivated the in-
creasing interest in an itihasa-purana. Both the Buddhists
and the Jainas had shown a sense of centering their sects
in avowedly historical events which imparted a certain
historicity and added to the intellectual strength of their
institutions "(p.63, 161), Thapar always clubs together
6 9 RIGVEDIC TEXTS LIKE TAPE RECORDED RECITATION?

8 Prof. M. Witzel & vedic and are some problems for the acceptability of lineage history
and that the geneologies have been improved or tam-
itihasa-purana tradition pered with the idea of geneology is important. Yet with
all such reservations and his obsessive faith in the Vedic
Prof.Witzel begins by questioning the generally held view records which Witzel concedes that the historical mate-
such as by Pargiter and even 'nationalistic' historians rial in the Rigveda does not consist of clear narrations,
like R.C. Majumdar that India has no sense of his- but of historical allusions: there is no 'logical' develop-
tory and that, indigenous historical writing has been al- ment describing successive actions or the story of a myth,
most completely absent until fairly recent times except only disjointed allusions to facts well known to contem-
in Rajatarangini (History of Kashmir) and summarily re- porary listeners... Thus the myths, the ritual and certainly
jects these contentions as somewhat rash statements. the contemporary history have to be pieced together from
Witzel is sceptical of the the legendary history com- stray references, and these, too, were addressed to people
posed by Brahmins (Purana) as mutually contradictory who knew the events well.
and contends that such sources have been used of his-
torians such as R. Thapar representing a patchwork of
data gleaned from other texts, such as the Vedas and the 9 Rigvedic texts like tape recorded
Epics (Ramayana & Mahabharata). Nevertheless, they
have been used uncritically, e.g. by some historians, such recitation?
as R.Thapar, and by modern archaeologists as materials
to establish their identications of particular pre-historic It also needs to be noted that Witzels faith in the Rigvedic
cultures. Then considering the idea of geneological his- texts and their oral transmission through the ages is more
tory because the puranas are based on a framework of Brahmanic than perhaps the Brahmins themselves. Ac-
geneological nature Witzel goes on to question the view cording to him the evidence of the Rigveda is as solid as
held by Pargiter in his Ancient Indian Historical Tradition the evidence of actual inscriptions. As he puts it: Right
maintaining that the superiority of the ksatriya tradition from the beginning, in Rigvedic times, elaborate steps
(preserved, according to him, more or less, in the Mahab- were taken to insure the exact reproduction of the words
harata and Ramayana) above the Vedic evidence and has of the ancient poets. As a result, the Rigveda still has
failed to recognize that much of the genealogies of the Pu- the exact same wording in such distant regions as Kash-
ranas were extracted from the Vedas. Consequently, he mir, Kerala and Orissa, and even the long-extinct musi-
maintains that the Puranic accounts are proved by what- cal accents have been preserved. Vedic transmission is
ever scraps of evidence we can nd in the various Vedic thus superior to that of the Hebrew or Greek Bible, or
texts. In accusing Pargiter summarily Witzel himself ap- the Greek, Latin and Chinese classics. We can actually
pears to be guilty of the rashness because Pargiter, who regard present-day Rgveda-recitation as a tape recording
was a Judge by profession, is quite careful in qualifying of what was rst composed and recited some 3000 years
his dependence on the Puranic and geneological evidence ago. In addition, unlike the constantly reformulated Epics
as will be clear from his and Puranas, the Vedic texts contain contemporary mate-
following observation in the Chapter on 'Arguments from rials. They can serve as snapshots of the political and cul-
Vedic Literature' in his Ancient Indian Historical Tra- tural situation of the particular period and area in which
dition: These considerations show that the geneologies they were composed... As they are contemporary, and
have strong claims to acceptance. This does not mean that faithfully preserved, these texts are equivalent to inscrip-
they are complete and altogether accurate, because no hu- tions.
man testimony is free from defects and errors; and it has And further It is well known that much of historical
been shown in the preceding pages, and more will appear information in the Vedic texts is contemporaneous and
in the following pages, that there are defects, gaps and er- that these text have been unaltered for more than 2000
rors in them, especially when taken singly, but many of years (and have, in fact, transmitted word by word, in-
these blemishes can be corrected by collating the various cluding the otherwise long lost tonal accents of early San-
texts, and others can be remedied by statements found skrit) while bardic tradition, such as nally recorded in
elsewhere. Nevertheless it is quite clear that they are the Mahabharata and the Puranas was prone to constant
genuine accounts and are substantially trustworthy. They re-creation by the reciting poet/bard.... Clearly Witzel is
give us history as handed down in tradition by men whose more loyal than the king himself! He is so carried away
business it was to preserve the past; and they are far supe- by his enthusiasm that he is not prepared to give any cre-
rior to historical statements in the Vedic literature, com- dence even to the ancient inscriptions which he terms as
posed by brahmans who lacked the historical sense and another, and indeed the major source for Indian history
were little concerned with mundane aairs. (p. 125) used since the mid of the last century, have been the thou-
Witzel, while he makes a summary statement that vir- sands of inscriptions on rocks and copper plates. They are
tually no such geneology, in India or elsewhere, is free so well known that I merely mention the category here.
from tinkering, interpolation, still he is prepared to to to To them, of course, applies the factor, mentioned above,
give credence to R.Thapars opinion that although there of hyperbole as well. In the praastis, constituting the
7

rst, non-technical parts of inscriptions, the poets tried to to very little. R.G. Bhandarkar, P.i-ii (Early History of
praise the local king to the heavens. While Witzel has the Dekkan Down to the Mahomedan Conquest, 2nd Ed.
such unshakeable faith in the perpetually pristine qual- 1983)" The utter falsity of Witzels hypothesis of Mus-
ity of the Rigvedic text he makes an about-turn when re- lim disruption of continuous historical tradition in In-
sponding to an allegation than the Indians were not inter- dia can be shown by taking the example of Abul Fazls
ested in historical changes in their language. He states Ain-e-Akbari which narrates how Asoka sent an ambas-
quite condently that This again, is a rather limited view, sador to Kashmir to establish Jainism there. Coming to
instigated by the Brahmanical interest in the unchange- mediaeval Muslim rule Dr. Tara Chand notes not only the
ability (aksara) of Sanskrit. Sanskrit as the sacred lan- salutary Muslim inuence on Hindi language as evident
guage, the language of the gods, simply cannot change. in its vocabulary, grammar, metaphor, prosody and style,
The gods speak the same Sanskrit as we indeed should, but as pointed out by him What is true of Hindi is true of
nowadays, instead of Prakrit or Hindi. Panini, when us- Marathi, Bengali and more so of Panjabi and Sindhi and
ing chandas, thus refers to the sacred language, not to that In Bengal we nd that Bengal rst developed as an
the laukika... One wonders whether he took a pause to independent literary medium not under Hindu but under
consider whether the same instigation in the Brahman- Muslim rule. The Hindu courts of Bengal gave no encour-
ical interest in the unchangeability (aksara) of Sanskrit agement to their native tongue. Critical opinion holds
could not be operative in his infallibility of the original that if Hindu kings had continued to enjoy independence,
Vedic texts. Surely Brahmanic interest given its perennial Bengali would scarcely have received royal patronage.
purity as ordained by the Vedas cannot be one in Vedas (The Inuence of Islam on Indian Culture, I, p.212) With
and other in Puranas and the construction of geneologies. all his abiding reliance on the Rigvedic sources Witzel
It must be pointed out that even in Rajatarangini Witzel has misgivings because historical material in the Rigveda
has misgivings about the impartiality of the poet because does not consist of clear narrations, but of historical allu-
he has devoted a major portion to the ruling monarch. sions: there is no 'logical' development describing suc-
Nor are the poetic or Buddhist works like Dipavamsa, cessive actions or the story of a myth, only disjointed al-
Mahavamsa and Gopalarajvamsavali likely to be excep- lusions to facts well known to contemporary listeners...
tions on the historical criteria Witzel is keen to apply to Thus the myths, the ritual and certainly the contemporary
the Itihasa-Purana tradition and thus to disqualify them history have to be pieced together from stray references,
as historical sources. It is also not borne out by the his- and these, too, were addressed to people who knew the
torical records that a continuous historical tradition was events well. And further that there has been a constant
disrupted because of Muslim domination the possibility misuse of Vedic sources and some historical and pseudo-
for a continuous historical tradition has been disrupted by historical materials, not only by nationalist politicians,
intervening Muslim periods of government. The picture but also by archaeologists and historians. Most serious
of a tradition of historical writing as found only at the is the acceptance of much later materials as authoritative
rims of the subcontinent therefore may be misleading. sources for the Vedic period. In this he includes not only
It is precisely these areas that have (with the exception to the Puranas and Epics, but also to the Vedic literature
of Kashmir) been spared disruptions by Muslim domina- which constitutes the bulk of the post-Rigvedic texts,
tion. since the later Vedic texts contain stanzas and prose...
of a later period. Yet undeterred by his own Vedic his-
toriographical model Witzel rmly founded on his basic
10 Falsity of witzels vedic histori- principle that Clearly, Rigvedic history will have to be
reconstructed principally from the Rigveda itself., and
ography as noted in a detailed criticism of Witzels Vedic histori-
cal hypothesis by Shrikant G. Talgeri in his The Rigveda
Such presumptions clearly not only betray a histori- A Historical Analysis Aditya Prakashan, 1997 Delhi) :
cally embarrassing lacuna exhibing pre-conceived neo- But, after failing miserably in his eorts to produce any
Brahmanic Hindutva notions in Witzels Vedic scholar- direct evidence from the Rigveda, Witzel goes scouring
ship which is for evidence in later and later texts and nally claims to
have struck gold in the BaudhAyana Srauta SUtra: there
not found even in a so-called 'nationalistic' historian
is the following direct statement contained in the (admit-
like R.C. Majumdar who did not hesitate to discover
tedly much later) BSS, 18.44:397.9 sqq which has once
in Shankaracharyas advaita-monotheism - Islamic inu-
again been over-looked, not having been translated yet:
ence which was prevalent on the Malabar coast in 8th
'Ayu went eastwards. His (people) are the Kuru-PacAla
century A.D. According to R.C.Majumdar Sankaras
and the KASI-Videha. This is the Ayava (migration).
monism was based upon the Islmaic creed which he had
(His other people) stayed at home in the West.
learnt from the fore-fathers of the Moplahs, Navayats
and Labbes of South India. ( p.228, Readings in Po- His people are the GAndhArI, ParSu and AraTTa. This
litical History of India, (B.R. Publishing, Delhi, 1976) is the AmAvasava (group)'. (Emphasis supplied) There-
What we nd of a historical nature in the literature of fore Talageri concludes : This incredible assertion repre-
the country before the arrival of the Mahomedans comes sents the most blatant violation of the most basic principle
8 12 JAINISM IN CEYLON

laid down by Witzel himself: 'there has been a constant the end of the 5th century C.E., i.e. more than 600
misuse ofVedic sources and some historical and pseudo- years after Dutthagamani who ruled from 161-137 B.C.
historical materials, not only by nationalist politicians, but E Bechert also notes that Original Buddhism was rightly
also by archaeologists, and historians.' Most serious is characterized by Max Weber in his famous work on the
the acceptance of much later materials as authoritative sociology of religion as: a quite specic, rened soteri-
sources for the Vedic period. because Witzel, on the one ology for intellectuals... a specically unpolitical and an-
hand, strongly indicts the acceptance of much later ma- tipolitical class religion, or, more accurately, a religious
terials as authoritative sources for the Vedic period, and, learned teaching of an itinerant, intellectually schooled
on the other, advocates the evidence of an 'admittedly mendicant order of monks. It is necessary to under-
much later' text in overriding that of all the previous texts, stand that original Buddhism was not conceived as a re-
including the Rigveda itself!" (Emphasis supplied) Tal- ligion of the masses, but early Buddhists were one reli-
geri who concedes that Witzels basic approach to the gious community amongst a considerable number of reli-
Rigveda closely parallels our own and that he recognizes gious movements including the followers of Vedic tradi-
the unique importance of the Rigveda: apart from ar- tion, Ajivikas, Jains etc.
chaeology, our principal source for the early period must
be the Rigveda..., is constrained to indict Witzel stat-
ing that he violates every single norm and basic prin- 12 Jainism in ceylon
ciple, set up by himself, in the analysis of the Rigveda.
And yet, he manages to get nowhere. The Rigveda, ba-
It would be relevant here to give a short account of
sically, refuses to yield to his cajoling. That Witzels
the presence of Jainism in Ceylon centuries before Bud-
Rigvedic historiography is fraught with internal contra-
dhism. Dr.Bhagchandra Jain has given authoritative ev-
dictions is clear because he himself cannot follow the
idence of Jainism in Ceylon in his Jainism in Buddhist
logic of his own parameters of historical research nor
Literature, with a Foreward by Dr.Hira Lal Jain which
his hypothetical reliance on a few writings such as the
is his Thesis approved for the degree of Ph. D. of the
Nepalese Gopalarajavamsavali, Kalhanas Rajatarangini,
Vidyodaya University of Ceylon : Jainism crossed In-
and Ceylonese Buddhist chronicles of 4th and 5th century
dia from south in about the eighth century B.C. if not
A.D. Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa (free from Muslim dy-
earlier, and became one of the important religions of
nastic disruption) is convincing as shown above.
Ceylon, which was known in those days by the name of
Lanka Ratnadvipa or Simhala. (Mahavamsa, 10. 53-
59 (tran)..Mahavamsa, pp. 67..ibid. xxxiii. 43-44..ibid,
11 Prof. H. Becherton Mahavamsa xxxiii. 79.)" As recounted by Dr.Bhagchandra Jain: The
Mahavamsa, the best-known and most authoritative Cey-
lonese Chronicle in Pali verse, refers to the existence of
Wetzel has mentioned that H.Becherts article on the Be-
Jainism in Ceylon even before the arrival of Buddhism....
ginnings of Indian Historical Writing was not available to The ve hundred families of heretical beliefs and the con-
him. However I have come across a rejoinder by Prof. H.
struction of Viharas to the Niganthas on behalf of the
Bechert as Response to Venerable Professor Dhammavi- king of Lanka, Pandukabhaya, indicate clearly that Jain-
haris Sri Lankan Chronicle Data published in Vol.10, ism was a living religion in Ceylon during his reign. Pan-
2003 of Journal of Buddhist Studies . Commenting on dukabhayas period, deduced on the basis of the date of
Mahavamsa Prof.Bechert says The later classical chron- Buddhas death as 544 B.C., is supposed to be 438-368
icle of ancient Sri Lanka, viz, the Mahavamsa, is a rather B. C. Jainism had apparently been introduced to Ceylon
elaborated work. It is necessary to analyze its composi- before Pandukabhaya. It could have been even before the
tion in order to evaluate its contents. It is a combination of arrival of Vijaya. One may wonder whether a name like
(1) a Buddhist work that was written down for the edica- Arittha (i, e. that of Devanampiya Tissas minister) had
tion of its readers, (2) a work of articial poetry (kavya) any connection with the Jaina Tirthankara of that name.
in the Indian tradition, and (3) a work of national Sin- Mahavamsa, ibid. 10. 65. And further: Jainism con-
hala historiography written and handed down by Buddhist tinued to exist even after the establishment of Buddhism
monks, incorporating historical facts as well as mytholog- in the Island. Its existence during the rst century B.
ical elements. Thus the Mahavamsa represents in these C. is recorded in the Mahavamsa. It is said that after a
chapters - and partly in other chapters as well - a fourth el- battle with the Tamila, king Vatthagamini Abhaya who
ement, viz, it incorporates the national epic of the Sinhala was defeated ed out of the city. A Nigantha named
people which may be compared with the Iliad of the an- Giri saw him and cried out loudly. '"The great black
cient Greeks, the Nibelung epic of mediaeval Germany, Simhal is running away" (palayati mahakala Simhalo ti
etc. All these poems combine historical reections with bhusam ravi). When the great king heard this he thought
mythology in one text. '"If my wish be fulled I will build a Vihara here" (sidhe
We must not understand these chapters of the Ma- mama manorathe viharam karessam) ibid. xxxiii. 43-44.
havamsa as historical records in the modern sense of the Hence, after a few years when he drove away the Damila
word, particularly because this work was composed by Dathika from Anuradhapura and regained his throne,
9

he destroyed the Jaina monastery and built Abhayagiri Vi- p. 133)" Therefore Dr. Jain concludes This shows that
hara in that place. ibid, xxxiii. 79. As further noted Jainism not only was in existence at that time in Ceylon,
by Dr.Jain Jaina tradition takes the history of Jainism in but it also enjoyed the patronage of Sinhala kings of Cey-
Ceylon to Anera anterior to that reected by the Ceylon lon. As regards the Jaina monuments in Ceylon, Dr. Jain
Chronicles. According to Jaina records, the Yaksas and further quotes the view of S. Parnavitana, an authoritative
Raksasas who inhabited Ceylon prior to its Aryanization scholar on Ceylon Archaeology, as relevant: No remains
by Vijaya were not only human beings with a well devel- of any Jaina monuments have ever been found in Ceylon.
oped civilization but also Jainas by faith (See, Harivam- The earliest Stupas and Viharas of Jainism did not dif-
sapurana; Pauma Cariu, etc). The Vividhatirthakalpa fer from those of Buddhism so much so, that without the
mentions that at Trikutagiri in Kiskindha of Lanka there evidence of inscriptions or of iconography it would be
was magnicient Jain temple which was dedicated by Ra- extremely dicult to dierentiate between the two. Jain
vana, for the attainment of supernatural powers (Kiskind- iconography had not yet developed in the times that we
hayam Lankayah patalankayam Trikutagrirau Srisanti- are dealing with. In the period during which this reli-
nathah). To full a desire of Mandodari, the princi- gion was prevalent in Ceylon, there were no monuments
pal queen, Ravana is said to have erected a Jaina statue built of durable materials. Moreover, when Jainism dis-
out of jewels and this, it is said, was thrown into the appeared, their places of worship must have been appro-
sea when he was defeated by Ramachandra. Sankara, priated by the Buddhists as it happened with regard to
a king of Kalyananagara of Kannada, came to know the monastery of Giri, and any traces of the earlier faith
about this statue and he recovered it from the bottom of would certainly have been obliterated in this way. Some
sea with the help of Padmavatidevi, prominent Goddess of the earliest unidentied stupas of small dimensions
of Jainas. (Vividhatirthakalpa, pp. 93.) Dr.Jain also may, however, be Jaina in origination. Pre-Buddhist Re-
has given a very important piece of evidence regarding ligious Beliefs, JRAS. (Ceylon), Vol. xxxi, No. 82, 1929,
the origin of famous image of Parshwanath at Shirpur p. 325,) I have have extensively quoted the Ceylonese-
(Maharashtra State, India) (known as Antariksha Parsh- Buddhist sources as noted by Dr.Bhagchandra Jain be-
wanath ) which has been a matter of a century-old le- cause this evidence has a denite credibility as belong-
gal battle for the possession and management of the tem- ing to Itihasa-Purana tradition and which has also a perti-
ple trust between the Digambara and Shwetambara. As nent relevance to the refutation of the infallilibility of the
noted by him: It is said that the statue of Parsvanatha Rigvedic sources as argued by Witzel I am endeavouring
which is worshipped even now at Sripura Antariksa (In- to present
dia) was brought by Mali and Sumali Vidyadhara from
Lanka. Vividhatirthakalpa, p. 102 Another statue of
Parsvanatha found in the caves of Terapura is also said to
be from Lanka. Brahatkathakosa of Harisena, p. 200 The 13 Back to witzels vedic historiog-
Karakanducariu describes how Amitavega, a Jaina king raphy
of Malaya, used to visit Lankadvipa as an intimate friend
of Ravana who built a Jaina temple in Malaya. Karkandu
To revert to Witzel: However, Witzel notes that For-
cariu, pp. 44-69. This Malaya can be identied with
tunately, the Jainas and Buddhists preserved their texts
Malaya, the name of the central hill country of Ceylon.
much better. The oldest in Indian mss. of the subconti-
Thus Dr.Jain concludes. These references seem to point
nent, outside of Nepal, are those of the Jaina Bhandars of
out that Jainism existed in-Ceylon even before the birth of
Gujarat and Rajasthan. At Jaisalmer, for example, as my
the Nigantha nataputta. Vibhisana, the younger brother
friend A. Wezler told me (1974), the mss. are kept in a
of Ravana, who was a follower of Jainism according to
cave under the temple in large steel cases that must have
Jain tradition and literature, is referred to as the tutelary
been welded inside the cave as they are bigger than the
Yaksa of Ceylon (Vibhisanastamraparaniyam) in the Ma-
small entrance of the room. Finally Witzel concludes:
hamayuri, a magical text of Northern Buddhists which
In short, the lack of historical writings and the alleged
was translated into Chinese in the fourth century A. D.
lack of historical sense is due, in large measure, more
Vibhisana is still worshipped at Kelaniya and is supposed
to the accidents of medieval history than to the religious
to be one of the four guardian deities of the Island. Al-
and philosophical tenets of Indian civilization. It would
though the supremacy which Buddhism achieved in Cey-
be dicult to make any logically intelligible sense out of
lon could have led to the suppression of Jainism and in-
this sweeping observation which takes in its purview the
cidents similar to the destruction of Giris monastry by
entire eld of the the religious and philosophical tenets
Vatta-Gamini Abhaya could have occurred at dierent
of Indian civilization. It opens a oodgate of the entire
times, Jainism did not disappear from Ceylon till at least
course of Indian history. Nor has he taken the trouble
after the eighth century. About the tenth century A. D.
either to specify what those religious and philosophical
(Mahamayuri, ed. by Sylviam Levi, JA. 1915, pp.40; cf.
tenets of Indian civilization or accidents of medieval
The Society of the Ramayana, p. 68) Muni Yasahkirti
history are, except perhaps the disruptions in large parts
was requested by the then king of Ceylon to improve the
of the Indian sub-continent allegedly caused by the Mus-
state of Jainism in the island. (Jaina Silalekha Sangraha,
lim incursions in the smooth course of Indian geneolog-
10 15 RISHABHA, 1ST TIRTHANKAR : HIS ANTIQUITY

ical narrations which hypothesis, in any case, is simply by innumerable Tirthamkars. Of the present age, the
indefensible as a valid historiographical parameter. One rst Tirthamkars was Rishabha and the last two were
suspects that his failure to sustain his Rigvedic historio- Parsvanatha and Mahavira. Mahavira is the twenty fourth
graphical model with its built-in contradiction to its logi- Tirthamkar in the present
cally and historically credible conclusion has somehow half of the Avasarpini - descending or regressive-half of
led Witzel to make such agrantly irrelevant remark the Jain cosmic time cycle. According to Jain cosmologi-
which is totally out of character. In any case Witzel cal tradition ther will be twenty four Jinas or Tirthamkars
is back to square one of Indian historiography properly in each half-cycle. These cosmic half-cycles of the Jain
speaking . His own foregoing analysis shows that he is universe are two, the Avasarpini- descending -and the
himself in two minds about it. If Itihasa-Purana have Utsarpini- ascending each with six sub-divisions. To-
been tampered with by Brahmanical bias the same charge gether these two half -cycles constitute a cosmic time unit
can be levelled against the Rigvedic sources transmitted know as Kalpa. The Utsarpini half-cycle of time marks
in their pristine glory in three millennia. Yet the question a period of gradual evolution and the Avasarpini that of
remains: If the Brahmanic ideology was so meticulous in the gradual devolution or decline in human innocence
maintaining unaected, unaltered their original heritage and happiness, bodily strength and stature , span of life
how come it that certain glaring loopholes remained in and the length of the age itself. Conditions in the First,
the historical allusions which prove a stumbling block Second and Third ages in each time circle are known as
even to Witzel? Either Witzel is right or wrong:either those of a Bhogabhumi- happy,enjoyment based,entirely
way I shall have my ground cleared for the exploration dependent on nature. Life in the other three ages is de-
of my theme of reconstructing the evolution of Sramanic scribed as being that of a Karmabhumi based on individ-
culture right from the inception of the Vedas and even in ual and collective eort. The Fourth age of either cycle
pre-Vedic times and through the Itihasa-Purana religious is supposed to be the best from the point of view of hu-
tradition and the geneologies. This is because of certain man civilization and culture. It is this age that produces a
uncertainties in the Vedic lore as also in the Puranic and numbers of Tirthamkars and other great personages. The
mythic chronicles: To recall Witzel once again Rigveda Jain universe is without a beginning or an end, being ever-
does not consist of clear narrations, but of historical al- lasting and eternal. The Utsarpini and Avasarpini follow
lusions: there is no 'logical' development describing suc- directly upon one another, pendulum like, in unbroken
cessive actions or the story of a myth, only disjointed al- sucession. These half-cycles each last for a vast but nite
lusions to facts well known to contemporary listeners... number of years. The life expectancy of human beings
Thus the myths, the ritual and certainly the contempo- dwelling in the Karma-bhumis increases with each stage
rary history have to be pieced together from stray refer- of the Utsarpini, and correspondingly decreases with each
ences, and these, too, were addressed to people who knew stage of Avasarpini.
the events well. And if Witzel is wrong, as he certainly
proves himself to be, I shall eat my cake and have it too
because then Epic and Puranic sources too can come to 15 Rishabha, 1st tirthankar : his
my rescue to prove my Sramanic hypothesis. Whichever
way one looks at the Vedic, Epic and Puranic ancient antiquity
chronicles, in lieu of the proper history in the Western
sense, if the balance of evidence is in favour of the Sra- The rst Tirthamkar of the Avasarpini time cycle was
manic evolution, as I hope to present I can have the satis- Rishabha. Rishabha is said to be the harbinger of human
faction, at least, of having argued my case in good faith. civilization. He inaugurated the Karmabhumi (age of ac-
tion) founded the social order, family system, institutions
of marriage, of law and order and justice and of state and
government; taught to mankind the cultivation of land,
14 Sramanic Jain religion dierent arts and crafts, reading, writing and arithmetic
and built villages, towns and cities. In short, Rishabha
What is most signicant is that Jainism has succeeded in pioneered the framework for human civilization and cul-
its history of Three Thousand Years in preserving down ture. Rishabhadeva or Rishabhanatha is also known as
to the present its separate religions identity. It is a unique Iksvaku, Swayambhu and Mahadev. He had two daugh-
religions system having its own philosophy, mythology, ters and a hundred sons. After having renounced worldly
ethics, and rituals. It has its own deities, gurus and scrip- possession he took to Sramanic asceticism and did se-
tures, its own temples, places of worship and pilgrim- vere penance. He attained Kaivalya jnana (Supreme en-
age, and its own festivals. The designation 'Jain is ap- lightenment) and became an Arhat or Jina at what is a
plied to approximately four million members of Indias now Prayaga (Allahabad). Rishabhas antiquity may be
most ancient sramana or non-Vedic religion traditions. guessed from the historical and archaeological sources,
It is really dicult, nay, impossible to x a particular The yogic, Sramanic and anti-Vedic and Pre-Aryan as-
date for the origin of Jainism. To the Jainas, Jainism pects of the Jain tradition can be traced to Indus Valley
has been revealed again and again in the eternity of time civilization which ourished six to eight thousand years
11

ago. Nude standing images found in the Indus Valley ru- inuenced by a set of wandering ascetics and teachers
ins bear a striking following their own
resemblance to the oldest Jain sculpture. There may be quaint and mystic practices. As already explained the
a link in the bullseals of Indus and the bull -insignia- Upanishadic impulse to give up all worldly ties and take
lancchana congizant -sign, characteristic of Rishab- to a life of homeless wanderings can be satisfactorily
hanatha. Prof. Ram Prasad Chanda, who supervised explained only by postulating an extraneous inuence
Indus Valley excavations, states in his article Mohen-jo- of this nature..."(P.400) As M. N. Deshpande, a for-
Daro (Sindh, Five Thousand years ago) in Modern Re- mer Director-General of the Archaeological Survey of
view August, 1932."Not only the seated deities on some India, states,. This extract helps in satisfactorily un-
of the Indus seals are in Yoga posture and bear witness derstanding the distinctive nature and origin of Jain as-
to the prevalence of Yoga in the Indus Valley in that re- ceticism which was distinct from Brahmanic asceticism.
mote age, the standing deities on the seals also show Kay- This path of the sramanas inculcates complete nivratti
otsarga (abandonment of the body, a standing or sitting (turning away completely from worldly life) and pravra-
posture of meditation) of Yoga . The Kayotsarga pos- jya (renunciation), enjoining total anagaratva (the state
ture is peculiarly Jain. It is a posture not of sitting but of homelessness) together with the vow of non-willing,
of standing , In the Adi Purana Book XV III, Kayotsarga truthfulness, non-stealing and celibacy. The concept of
posture is described in connection with the penance of Trigupti or the total abstinence by mind (manas), body
Rishabha or Vrashabha, In his Indus Civilization and (kaya)and speech (vacha), further tends to sharpen the
Hindu Culture, the eminent scholar, P. R. Deshmukh ascetic ideal to a point that casting ones body by pro-
says:"The rst Jain Tirthamkar belonged to Indus civiliza- longed fast (sallekhana) is recommended and no other
tion. The Indus Valley deities were nude. The Jains sub- religious order. Among other distinctive practices of the
tained that culture and worshipped nude Tirthamkars. Jain faith mention may be made of alochana or confes-
Dr. S. Radhakrishnan arms that The Bhagavata Pu- sion of sins and the daily ceremony of pratikramana or
rana endorses the view that Rishabha was the founder of expiation ofsins"(Pp.20-21, The Background and Tradi-
Jainism. There is evidence to show that so far back as tion , Ch-2 in The Jain Art and Architecture, Bharatiya
the rst century B.C. there were people who were wor- Jnanapitha, Vol..I, 1974) M.N.Deshpande also states em-
shipping Rishabhadeva, the rst Tirthamkar. There is phatically that One thing is quite certain, that asceticism
no doubt that Jainism prevailed even before Vardhamana in India has a great antiquity and Jain ascetic practices
Mahavira, or Parsvanatha. The Yajurveda mentions the as exemplied by Rishabhadeva were strikingly dier-
names of three Tirthamkars-Rishabha. Ajitnatha and ent from the Brahmanical tradition "(P. 19, ibid) Jain
Aristanemi (Indian Philosophy, P.287) Another scholar Acharya Tulsi in his Pre-Vedic Existence of Sramanic
P.C.Roy Choudhury states in his Jainism in Bihar; Not Culture nds conrmation in the four Puranas of his
much research is possible in the pre-historical age as to opinion that the Asuras, were not only non-Vedic i.e.non-
the role Bihar played in the story of Jainism. But some Aryan people, but they were the priests of the Jain reli-
of the ancient Jain scriptures mention that Jainism had gion. He also considers that the pose of Yogasana, in
been preached in Magadha (Bihar) by Lord Rishabha at which several human gures are drawn on the seals of In-
the end of stone age and the beginning of the agricultural dus Valley, was widely known in pre-Aryan India and was
age. At the remote period Magadha was separated from borrowed much later by the Hindu asceties. The French
the rest of India by Ganga-sagar. The ancient history of scholar Louis Renou, in his 1953 lectures on the religions
Nepal bears this out.(P.7) As the Vedas are believed to of India observed that The Jain movement presents evi-
have been composed in c.1500 B.C., and as the Rigveda dence that it is of great interest both for the historical and
is considered to be the oldest Vedic scripture , one can comparative study of religion in general. Based on pro-
fairly maintain that Jainism was prevalent in 1500 B.C. foundly Indian elements, it is at the same time a highly
So much so that the Hindu text Bhagavata Purana in- original creation. Containing very ancient material, more
cluded Rishabha as the amsavatara (minor incarnation of ancient than that of Buddhism and yet highly rened and
Vishnu). elaborated.

16 Asceticism and rishabhas sra- 17 Yoga and Jainism


mana culture
As noted by Dr.Natalya Guseva, Russian scholar in her
The yogic posture, kayotsarga-sitting or standing, book Jainism (1971 )Translation by Y.S.Redkar, if one
adopted by Jain Tirthamkar shows the most fundamental juxtaposes the yogic posture on Indus seals with the fact
feature of Jain path of liberation and its ancient origin of that the most ancient philosophical work of the Jains ,
ascetic practice. As R.D.Ranade and S.K.Belvalkar state; the Book of Wisdom of Arahatas ascribed to Rishabha
There is evidence to suppose that the philosophical himself was also called 'Yogi"(Benjamin Rowland. The
speculations of the Upanishadic period were very largely Art and Architecture of India, Plate 81a), and also that
12 19 RISHABHA AS EPOCH-MAKING JAIN SRAMANIC TIRTHAMKARA IN ITIHASA-PURANA

this posture is the classical echelon of the posture of other substances, pudgala, dharma, adharma and akasa,
Tirthamkar for 25 centuries (and possibly much longer). and is known as kala which are called dravyas. The prac-
Then all this brings back to our minds the thought that tical dimensions of time, like the second, minute,hour,
there is possibly ancient connection between Jainism and day, month and year are mere deductions of the real sub-
the Indus civilization. It is possible that the stance that the Kala is .
teaching of Yoga and this posture connected with it pen- Thus the concept of time, in an existential and realistic
etrated in the faiths of later period and Buddha and many sense, and the system of counting is believed by many
Hindu gods were portrayed in this posture."(P.91 92) scholars arose before the Vedic culture. And the Jains
Meditation and cultivation of equanimous renunciatory are the pioneers also in starting the rst modern Samvat
spirit is the soul of Jain ascetic path. The practice of (era) beginning with the Nirvana of Mahavira, known as
yoga consists in meditation (dhyana) and deep medita- Vir Nirvana Samvat which is the most ancient one. It is
tion (samadhi) leading to the ideal posture of the Jain 605 years previous to Shaka, 479 years to Vikrama and
ascetic practices as kayotsarga meaning abandonment of 527 years to the Christian era.
body which in other words means a meditative realisa-
tion of liberation or the nirvikalpa samadhi as the highest
stage of yogic practices. as a matter of fact samadhi is the
last step in the eightfold path as explained by Patanjali in
19 Rishabha as epoch-making
Yoga Sutras. These are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, Jain sramanic tirthamkara in
dharana, dhyana and samadhi. It is pertinent to remem-
ber that the very rst step of yama means and includes
itihasa-PURANA
the observance of ve-fold self-restraint or discipline:
ahimsa (non-violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (hon- The idea of Rishabha, the rst Jain Tirthamkar being an
esty), brahmacharya (continence) and aparigraha (free- epoch-making man is deeprooted in the Jain religions tra-
dom from greed and covetousness or non-possession). dition. It is well corroborated in Hindu puranas, Vedas
These are the sine qua non of the yogic practice according and scriptures. Just as the sun possesses rays the Arihant
to Patanjali which is also the basic framework of Jain reli- possesses the wealth of true knowledge. What is even
gious practices of the lay as well as ascetic community. It more signicant as established from these puranas is that
is important to bear in mind that ahimsa or non-violence this country has become well known as Bharata-Varsha
is the rst and strictest of sramanic Jainism which can be after the eldest of the hundred sons of Rishabha, known
said to anticipate Patanjalis Yoga Sutras which appeared as Bharata. That this country is known as BharataVar-
later, where non-violence is the rst of the yamas or re- sha after Bharata is as much a matter of pride for Jain-
straints. This is the same ascetic monastic practice known ism as for the history of India. In the Vedic scrip-
in Jainism as samayika. tural tradition this fact has been accepted unanimously.
In Vishnu Purana (2,1,31), Vayu Purana,(33,52), Linga
Purana(1,47,23), Brahmanda Purana(14,5,62), Agni Pu-
18 Swastika sign and time compu- rana( 107,11-12), Skanda Purana ,Khanda((37,57) and
Markandaya Purana(50,41) it is clearly stated that this
tation country is known as Bharata Varsha. Lord Rishabhdeo,
Jineshwar, the omniscient and all-pervasive, incarnated
It is interesting to note that the Swastika signs seen in Mo- himself on the magnicent Kailas (Ashtapad) mountain
hen Jo Daro and Harappa culture are also common in the
symbols of Jainism. Swastika is the symbolic sign of the 2*
seventh Tirthamkar , Suparsva and the middle part forms
the sign of the 18th Tirthamkar Ara. This sign is always
drawn in manuscripts, in miniatures and in the ornaments Nabhiraja and Marudevi gave birth to a son named
in Jain temples. Swastika, basically means and denotes Rishbhdeo, the greatest of Kshatriyas and the rst ances-
well-being. It forms one of the eight auspicious emblems tor of all Kshatriyas
found on the Ayagapatas. These eight auspicious signs Mahadeo Rishabhdeo was born to Nabhiraja and
are known as ashtamangalas, and Ayagapatas are among Marudevi, in the Ikshvaku dynasty, assumed the ten kinds
the earliest and most distinctive Jain sculpture. The uni- of Dharma, and after attaining kevalajnana (enlighten-
verse according to Jainism is uncreated by any divinity ment) diseminated it. r <J q ^" The year known as
and is without a beginning and an end. The wheel of Hima was known after Nabhi and Rishabha was born as
time incessantly revolves, pendulum like, in half-circles, the son of Nabhis queen Marudevi. Marudevi was the
one ascending and the other descending-Utsarpini and sixth founder of the lineage and Nabhi was the seventh.
Avasarpini as noted above-and the unit of such cosmic Rishabha who possessed wide feet was born to Marudevi
time is known as a Kalpa. A Kalpa, meaning an era, eon and Nabhi, the eighth founder of a lineage. He was a
or age, is a unique concept in Jain metaphysics because guide to heroic men. He was venerated by gods and
time is considered to be a real substance along with four demons. He expounded and taught the three great eth-
13

ical principles. He became the Jina in the beginning of Bharatvarsha . (History and Culture of the Indian Peo-
the yuga. ple, Vol i The VedicAge, p.292). For this opinion the nec-
essary testimonies have not been adduced. probably these
cannot be anything else than the slokas quoted above. but
the fact that in the same puranas it is clearly mentioned
20 India known as bharatvarsha elsewhere (cf: That is Rishabha was born to Marudevi,
after bharata son of rishabha Bharat was born to Rishabh, Bharatvarsha (India) arose
from Bharat, and Sumati arose from Bharat. Also, This
AND rejection of the theory country is known as Bharatavarsha since the times the fa-
that bharatvarsha is known af- ther entrusted the
ter DUSHYANTA'S SON kingdom to the son Bharata and he himself went to the
forest for ascetic practices. That the name bharatvarsha
was given by Rishabhas son Bharata, and that the word
As claried authoritatively by the eminent Jain Scholar, 'desha' or 'varsha' does not occur with Dushyantas son
Dr. Hiralal Jain in his Jainism Through the Ages (Trans- Bharata does not appear to have been considered care-
lated from Hindi Yugon Yugon men Jaina Dharma, by fully by these scholars before asserting their opinion. and
Bal Patil, unpublished) the name Bharata is not that for this the Mahabharata mention is especially useful. it
of Dushyant-Shakuntalas son . Dr. Hiralal Jain re- is clearly said therein that the dynasty of Bharata was
futes the theory of some scholars that this country is named as Bharata because of this fame and his descen-
known as Bharatvarsha after this Bharata, on the basis dents and anscestors of the puru dynasty also came to be
of. Agni,Vayu and Brahma Puranas. known as Bharat. it is clear from this that wherever in
As stated by Dr. Hiralal Jain; But they have ignored the above contexts the word bharatam occurs it signies
other mentions in the same Puranas and elsewhere about puru dynasty and where it is Bharatavarsh it should con-
Rishabhas son Bharata....For this opinion the necessary rmed by several mentions in Maharabharata, Gita and
testimonials have not been adduced. Probably these Puranas, because here the word Bharat has been used
cannot be anything else than the Slokas quoted above. for the kings of puru dynasty such as Kaurav-Pandav,
But the fact that in the same puranas it is clearly men- but it is never used for the kings of Ikshavaku,yadu dy-
tioned elsewhere that the name Bharatvarsha was given nasties. PRE-VEDIC AND PRE-AYAN ORIGINS OF
by Rishabhas son Bharat, and that the word " Desha or JAINISM The eminent philosopher and statesman, Dr.
" Varsha does not occur with Dushyantas son Bharata S. Radhakrishnan is led to make the observation; The
,does not appear to have been considered carefully by rst impulse of progress came when the Vedic Aryans
these scholars before asserting their opinion In all the came into contact with native tribes. (The Hindu View of
scriptures where the geneology of svayambhuva muni has Life P.18). And this gives a denite clue to the existence
been given it is clearly said that this country is known of a religion resembling in its peculiar tenets to Jainism.
as Bharatavarsha after Rishabhas son Bharat. after this In the words of the eminent Prakrit Scholar and former
rst manvantrara there followed the seventh manvantara General Editor with Dr. Hiralal Jain of the Moortidevi
known vaivaswat which saw the rise of the puru dynasty. Granthmala of Bharatiya Jnanapitha, Dr. A.N. Upadhye
Dushanta, a king of puru dynasty married Shankuntala a great Magadham religion, indigenous in its essential
who was the daughter of Vishwamitra rishi and the heav- traits, that must have ourished on the banks of Ganges
enly nymph Menaka and Bharata was the name of their in Eastern India long before the advent of the Aryan into
son. the propriety of this name is explained in the scrip- Central India. (quoted in Jainism and Buddhism by Dr.
tures by the fact that when Dushyanta declined to accept Jyoti Prasad Jain) This observation is a clear indication
Shankuntala and his son as his own there was a heavenly of the pre-historic origins of Jainism. But as the genesis
voice which proclaimed that what Shankuntala said was of the historical Jain tradition as it is practised today can
right and that he alone was her husband and the father be traced fairly clearly from the advent of Bhagwan Ma-
of the boy and therefore he should maintain them. on havir, the 24th Tirthamkar, it is not surprising that he is
the strength of the words bhara tvam his name was de- assumed to be the founder of Jainism which of course is
termined as Bharata. (Vishnu purana 4, 19, 12-13) this not true. It would be a mistake to suppose that Jainism
Bharata, son of Shankuntala has been mentioned in vari- originated in sixth centry B.C. with Mahavira. That the
ous scriptures and Mahabharata. Some scholars are of the genesis of Jainism can be traced to deepest antiquity, and
opinion that this country is known as bharatvarsha only that it was a wholly indigenous and characteristically eth-
after this bharata on the basis of the words yasya namna ical and ethnical outcome of Indian environment and soil
tu bharata or yasya namna tu bharatam occurring in the is now recognized by scholars both Indian and foreign.
last stanza of the slokas in agni, vayu and brahma puranas. JAINA ANTIQUITY IN VEDAS A fairly convincing
but they have ignored other mentions in the some puranas testimony of Jain antiquity comes from the most ancient
and elsewhere about rishbhahas son bharat. for example literature of Vedas, and particularly Rigveda. The gene-
Dr. Pusalkar says:-"according to some accounts Bharata ology, life and ascetic practices of Rishabhadeva, the rst
gave his name to our country which was henceforth called Jain Tirthamkar, are described in details in the rst six
14 22 AHIMSA AND VEDIC CULTURE

adhyayas of the fth skandha of Bhagvat Purana, Rishab- are called arahans or
hadeva is described as arahatas in Rigveda and Atharva Veda. i.e. by the word
the incarnation of Vishnu for the establishment of which is invariably applied in Jain tradition for the des-
the religion of Vatarashana Munis ' Who were these ignation of great teachers and preachers of this religion.
Vatarashana Munis? As the following sukta in Rigveda (P.23) The non-Aryan origins of Jain culture are also con-
says; These Munis appeared pisanga (Pingalavarna) be- rmed by H.T. Colebrooke. He observes in his Obser-
cause they were indierent to bathing , even though they vation on the Sect of Jains that the Greek Authors of
were Maladhari, that is unclean, due to sweat etc. They the third Century B.C. divided all philosophers into two
used to remain silent and looked wild owing to their med- groups sramanas and brahmans so greatly dierentiated
itative practices. By controlling breathing (by means of that they considered them as belonging to dierent races.
pranayama) they used to attain to godhood. The mortal From this Dr.Guseva concludes: Only one interpretation
world could only see their external bodies, not their inner can be given to this, and that is, in those times followers of
soul": Jainism were, in the main, representatives of pre-Aryan
dl +^HI population of the country. This means that there is ba-
sis to assert that the chief components of this non-Vedic
As explained by Dr. Hiralal Jain in Jainism Through religion were engendered by non- Aryan ethnical envi-
the Ages (English Translation of Yugon Yugon men Jain ronment. (P.24)
Dharma by Bal Patil unpublished) They are Munis and
their ways of renunciation, silence and non- attachment
distinguish them from the Rishi tradition. But a new
word Vatarashana is connected with them. Vata means 22 Ahimsa and vedic culture
air and rashana means girdle or waistband. Therefore the
meaning is air-cloth or one whose clothing is air, that is, That the concept of ahimsa in the Jain religious and
naked. This is not a new term for the Jain tradition, and ethical teaching was foreign to Vedic culture is shown
it occurs in Jina sahasranama -Thousand names for Jina- by the eminent indologist Prof. W. Norman Brown in
Thus:- According to this Vatarashana, Digvasa, Nir- his Tagore Memorial Lectures, 1964-65 published in the
grantha and Nirambara, all these are synonymous terms book Man in the Universe. His observations deserve to
and indicate a naked or nude state, So it can be concluded be quoted in full; Though the Upanishadas contain the
that at the time of the Rigvedic composition such munis rst literary references to the idea of rebirth and to the
were in existence who used to go about naked and who notion that ones action (karma) determines the condi-
were revered as gods in the Rishi tradition and were eulo- tions of ones future existences, and though they arrive
gised and worshipped by Rishis who were like Indra,etc at the point of recognizing that rebirth may occure not
gods. only in animal form but also in animal bodies, they tell us
nothing about the precept of ahimsa. Yet that precept is
later associated with the belief that a soul in its wander-
21 Ksatriya and vratya tradition in ing may inhabit both kinds of forms. Ancient Brahman-
ical literature is conspicuously silent about ahimsa. The
Jainism early Vedic texts do not even record the noun ahimsa-
non injury, nor know the ethical meaning which the
In Atharva Veda 15th chapter there is a description of noun later designates. The rst occurance of the word in
Vratyas who are said to be unversed in Vedic tradition Sanskrit literature is in the Upanishads, but there it oc-
and ritual and belonging to Licchavi, Natha and Malla cures only once (CU 3.17.4) and in a context that has
clans. As they were anti-Vedic they incurred the wrath nothing to do with transmigation. It is merely men-
of Vedic adherents. The etymological meaning of the tioned in a list of ve virtues without any indication of
word Vratya appears to have been derived from the lay- its character. These virtues are austerity (tapas), alms-
ing down of the ve vratas (vows) such as ahimsa etc. giving (dana), rectitude (arjava), ahimsa (non-injury) and
in Jainism.Those who do not ceremonially adopt vratas truthfulness(satya vachana) It is evident that these are
and yet observe them in religious faith may have been prized Virtues... but ahimsa stands here isolated and un-
called Vratyas. This is corroborated by Dr. Guseva, the explained. Nor is an explanation of ahimsa deducible
Russian scholar in her ethnological monograph Jainism; " from other parts of Vedic literature. The ethical con-
Ancient Indian literature contains indications of the deep cept it embodies was entirely foreign to the thinking of
antiquity of the sources of Jainism and it also indicates the early Vedic Aryans, who recognized no kinship be-
that the Ksatriyas and ascetics from Vratyas i.e. non- tween human and animal creation, but rather ate meat
Aryans played noticeable role in establishing non-vedic and oered animals in the sacrice to gods. (Pp.53-54)
teachings...several authors contend that during the time Therefore Prof. Brown concludes; The double doctrine
when Vedas were taking shape, a number of elements of ahimsa and vegetarianism has never had full and un-
which had subsequently entered in Jain religion were al- challenged acceptance and practice among Hindus, and
ready known. This is conrmed by the fact that monks should not be considered to have arisen in Brahmani-
15

cal order. It seems more probable that it originated in a 24 Vegetarianism & ahimsa in
non-Brahmanical environment , was promoted in historic
India by the Jains and the Buddhists, and was adopted
buddhism and Jainism
by Brahmanic Hinduism after it began to win its way in
North India where BrahmanicHinduism was developed. It must be noted, however, that Buddhism has not been
(P.56) as thoroughgoing as Jainism in its observance of ahimsa.
Buddhism justies meat-eating so long as one does not
kill the animal for his food but purchases meat from the
23 Ahimsa and the idea of rebirth butcher. Buddha advised against meat when (1) it is seen
(dittha), (2) heard (suta) or (3) suspected (parisankita)
that an animal was killed on purpose for a monk. But
It is also interesting to note in this context that there is a meat may be taken when (1) it is not seen,(2) heard or
vital connection between the concept of ahimsa and the (3)not suspected that an animal has been killed on pur-
concept of rebirth. A belief in the doctrine of rebirth pose for monk. But in Jainism holding the principle of
led to the idea of the unity of all life and, consequently, ahimsa paramo dharmah - non violence is the greatest
to the ethical concept of non violence in ancient India. religion - vegetarianism is strictly observed. The Jains
Once the doctrine of migration of souls came to include have been the primary exponents of vegetarianism in In-
rebirth on earth in animal as well as human form depend- dia. The Jains have taken vegetarianism to its logical con-
ing upon ones karma, it created a humanitarian sentiment clusion .No other religions community in India has gone
of kinship among all life. To have developed this ethical so far to avoid killing of any kind of organic life for the
principle is therefore a great pioneering step in human purpose of nourishment.
history. The great contribution of Jain culture to this evo-
lution in human ethics is handsomely recognized by Dr.
Albert Schweitzer when he says The laying down of the
commandment not to kill and not to damage is one of the 25 Misconception of Jainism being
greatest events in the spiritual history of mankind starting an oshoot of buddhism and
from its principle, founded on world and life denial , of
abstention from action, ancient Indian thought- and this brahmanic hinduism
is a period when in other respects ethics have not pro-
gressed very far reaches the tremendous discovery that Since Gautam Buddha, founder of Buddhism, belonged
ethics know no bounds ! So far as we know, this is for the to the same region of Magadha as Mahavira, the 24th
rst time clearly expressed by Jainism "(Indian Thought Tirthamkar of Jainism and both were contemporaries it
and Its Development). The uniqueness of this ethical con- was assumed erroneously that Jainism is an oshoot of
tribution is also recognized by the German scholar, Dr. Buddhism. It is now accepted that Jainism is not only
Walther Schubring, when he in his celebrated classic on older than Buddhism but as shown earlier in this essay
Jainology The Doctrine of the Jainas states that The rev- it has got its roots going deep into the antiquity in pre-
erence towards life' (as Albert Schweitzer put it) by which Aryan and pre-Vedic times. Mahavira was an elder con-
the realm of life was so immeasurably extended, perme- temporary of Buddha. As a matter of a fact, Buddhist lit-
ates the discipline of Mahaviras order in a way no other erature and history establish that after he had renounced
ethical prescription does. (P.301) From the foregoing the world Buddha was for some time an ascetic following
analysis it is also noteworthy that the main pillars of the the Jain cult of Parsvanatha, the 23rd Tirthamkar whose
Indian metaphysical thought constituted by the concepts death took place 250 Years before Mahavira. In the Bud-
of rebirth, karma and salvation through a way of life gov- dhist scripture Majjhimnikaya Mahasihanada Sutta 12
erned by non-violence are the characteristic contributions Buddha himself tells his disciples of his severe ascetic
of Jain faith because logically and spiritually they are so experiences when he rst took to asceticism at the hands
intimately interlinked. In this context one can appreciate of Muni Pihitasrava who was a follower of Parsvanatha.
the conclusion arrived at by the German Indologist, Prof. Buddha has narrated how he went naked, took food in his
Herman Jacobi when comparing Jainism with Buddhism own palms and followed various other rigorous restric-
and Brahmanism. Jacobi observed in Jaina Sutras, Part tions expected of a Sramana ascetic. Buddha followed
I, (Introduction) that there are four elements common to this practice for some time when he felt it was too rig-
all the three religions and these are according to him: (i) orous, and therefore gave up Jain ascetic practice, wore
faith in rebirth of spirit, ii) Karma theory, (iii) salvation saron-coloured cloth and founded his own middle-path
from rebirth and (iv) belief in periodic manifestations of which became known as Buddhism. Modern Buddhist
prophets to resurrect religious spirit on earth. Jacobi con- scholar and Buddhist Bhikshu Dharmananda Kosambi
cedes that the rst three are a logical outcome of a faith in has said; In Tripitakas , there is a mention in several
non-violence and hence they could not arise in the Aryan places about Nirgrantha- Jainas. From this it is clear that
culture consistent with its sacricial cult and that is why the Nirgrantha tradition was in existence many years be-
they are apparently borrowed from non-Aryan faiths, that fore Buddha. It is mentioned in the Anguttara Nikaya
is, Jainism and Buddhism. that one " Bappa named Shakya (belonging to the clan
16 27 TIRTHAMKARA AND THE CONCEPT OF WORSHIP IN JAINISM

of Shakyas in which Buddha was born) was a lay follower jects of worship.
(Sravaka) of the Nirgranthas (Jain). In the same Suttas 3. Rejects bloody sacrices and a number of other Brah-
Atthahatha it is also said that this Bappa was an uncle minic rituals, 4. Does not recognize caste systems of the
of Buddha. It may be mentioned here that Nirgrantha Brahmanic society. 5. Prescribe defence of others life.
means unattached, without possessions, an ancient name 6. Prescribes asceticism. 7. Allows women monkhood,
for the Jain community. It should be noted that both learning of holy books etc. I would add one most impor-
Siddhartha and Trishala, parents of Mahavira, are de- tant additional feature and that is Jainism does not believe
scribed in the Acharanga-Sutra,- Jain scripture as follow- in any divinity as the creator of this universe because ac-
ers of Parsva. As noted by Padmanabh S. Jaini, Pro- cording to Jain cosmology and metaphysics the world is
fessor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Califor- beginningless and endless, and each human being, by the
nia, in his book The Jain Path of Purication :"Buddhist dint of his own ethical discipline as laid down in Jainism,
texts refer to the existence of large numbers of Niganthas that is, Ratnatraya Dharma - Samyak Darshana, Samyag
(unattached ones) who followed the Catuyama Samvara, Jnana, Samyak Charitra - Right perception, Right knowl-
the fourfold restraint that Jacobi and others have convinc- edge and Right conduct - can attain liberation without the
ingly identied with the teaching of Parsva. Such ref- intervention of any deity. Thus, one may sum up, the
erences, moreover, suggest a Jain community older than originality of Jainism in the words of Dr. Herman Jacobi;
that of the Buddhists, hence predating Mahavira him- In conclusion let me assert my conviction that Jainism is
self. (P.10) As Prof. Jacobi notes; The Nirgranthas an original system, quite distinct, and independent from
are frequently mentioned by the Buddhists, even in the all others ; and that, therefore, it is of great importance
oldest part of the Pitakas. But I have not yet met with for the study of philosophical thought and religious life in
a distinct mention of the Buddha in any of the old Jain ancient India.
Sutras. As it is inconsistent with our assumption of a
contemporaneous origin of both creeds, we are driven
to the conclusion that the Nirgranthas were not a newly
founded sect of Buddhas time. This seems to have been 27 Tirthamkara and the concept of
the opinion of the Pitakas too, for we nd no indication worship in Jainism
to the contrary in them. (On Mahavira and His Pre-
decessors in The Indian Antiquary, IX,1880 158-163)
Again as Dr. Herman Jacobi, states in his article on The etymological basis of a Tirtha as a holy place of wor-
Jainism in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (Vol II, ship can be properly traced to the term Tirthamkar which
pp465-74). Notwithstanding the radical dierence in signies a liberated soul according to Jain religions tra-
their philosophical notions, Jainism and Buddhism being dition. A Tirthamkar is one who has eliminated the last
outside the place of Brahmanism, present resemblances vestiges of Karmic pollution attaching to the soul through
in outward appearance, so that even Indian writers oc- a rigorous ascetic regimen prescribed in Jain religious
casionally have confounded them. It is therefore not to canon, known as agamas and has attained omniscience.
be wondered that some European scholars who became He thus becomes a creator of a Tirtha or a Tirthamkar, a
acquainted with Jainism through inadequate samples of fordmaker. It is by means of this Tirtha, or ford, a worldly
Jain literature easily persuaded themselves that it was an being can cross this life and attain moksa. It is in this
oshoot of Buddhism. But it has since been proved that context of the unique Jain connection of the term Tirtha
their theory is wrong. a historic genesis of the temple tradition and idol or icon
worship can be traced in Jain religious practices since pre-
historic times. As Ghosh, a former Director-General of
Archaeological Survey of India and editor of the monu-
26 Jainism and brahmanic- mental survey of Jain Art and Architechture published by
hinduism Bharatiya Jnan Pith, on the occasion of the 2500th Nir-
van Anniversary of Mahavira (1974) observes: Leaving
Already in the foregoing discussion of the antiquity of the standing gures on a mohenjo-daro seal out of consid-
Jainism about the distinctly separate identity of Jainism eration, the Lohanipura Tirthamkar images of the Mau-
from Vedic Brahmanic-Hinduism. However, it will be ryan age show that in all probability Jainism had the lead
useful here to state once again the prominent features of in carving of images for veneration over Buddhism and
the dierence as noted by Dr. Guseva in her scholarly Brahmanism. No images of Buddha or any Brahmanic
study Jainism. Dr. Guseva categorically states that there deity of that antiquity have been found, though there are
are at least eight features which distinguish Jainism from contemporary Yaksa statutes after the stylistic models of
Vedic religion and Brahmanism which are so substantial which the Lohanipur images are carved. The iconogra-
that they do not aord any possibility of regarding Jain- phy of the Jinas, without the paraphernalia of the later
ism as a sect of Brahmanism or its some other products. period, are standardized though distinguishing lanccha-
These features are: 1. Jainism rejects holiness of Vedas, nas are yet to be evolved with the result
2. Stands against the dogma that gods are the main ob- that unless the names of Tirthamkars are mentioned in
17

dedicatory inscriptions, it is not possible to dierenti- Krishna says (9,24-26) that even though the doer of Ya-
ate the individual Tirthamkar, except Parsvanatha who jna, Rishi, and worshipper of siva by non violent means
is marked by a canopy of snakehood and Rishabhanatha are friends there is dierence in ritual. This attempt
who has some locks falling on his shoulders. The images, at synthesis is illustrated by the story of the creation of
normally robeless, with the Sri-vatsa mark on the chest two-formed Rudra, one ferocious and another tranquil in
and with circular haloes, scalloped in some cases, are ei- Vishnu Purana. According to Dr. Suniti Kumar Chat-
ther seated cross-legged with hands in dhyana-mudra or terjee there was a god by the name " civan and ' campu
standing in kayotsarga- pose. The analysis of the origin in Tamil Language dierent from the ferocious god in
of the Indian temple worship would be fruitful if it is car- the Vedas, who was the presiding deity in the Dravidian
ried from the angle of the concept of worship as revealed society before the advent of the Aryans. The same was
in scriptural and archaeological sources. To begin with pronounced as siva' and sambhu by the Aryans. The tra-
the very concept of worship is alien to the Vedas. The dition as the Siva being a originally related to the Dravid-
Vedas do not have the word Puja. It is originally not a ian culture is very much strengthened by archaeological
word of Aryan or European languages. The Vedic ritual explorations. In the Indus Valley excavations one image
of the propitiation of the natural elements is known as form of a male is sitting in a meditative pose Padmasana.
Yajna in which the gods were oered ghee, honey, puro- The hands are on the knee cups and there are horns on the
dasa (a sacricial oering made of ground rice) soma- head . It is the denite opinion of Sir John Marshall that
(wine)-and meat of animals. That is why it was called the Vedic Aryans adopted Siva worship (siva pasupati-
balikriya (oblation- oering) or pashukarma. As a matter Rudra) from this Indus Valley culture. It is signicant
of fact , the word Puja belongs to the Dravidian linguis- as various scholars have suggested that the nude standing
tic group. Pu' means ower (Puspa) and Ja " means images in the Indus Valley in a typical Jain ascetic Yo-
Karma (act). In Tamil and Telugu the verb meaning to gic pose Kayotsarga bear a striking resemblance to the
do is " ce , and in Kannada it is ge and thus Puce' oldest Jaina sculptures, and further that there is a link be-
Puge ' , Puje' and 'Puja' means puspa-karma (oral act) tween the Indus bull-seals and the bull insignia (lancchan)
just as sacricial re and oering (homa, yajna) used to of Rishabha.
be called pashu-karma. Thus idol worship and particu-
larly non-violent oral worship is a characteristic proto-
type of temple culture which was inspired by the ethnico-
religious Jain traditions weaving a matrix of karma re- 29 Rishabha, rst tirthamkar and
birth and liberation. It is noteworthy that there is uni- rudra
formity in the ritual of worship among the Jains and the
Shaivas. Water, incense, rice, owers, lamp, perfume,
The point to be noted is that there is a consistent tra-
oering of eatables and fruit, these eight substances form
dition found in the Jain religious literature and also in
the material of the ritual of worship of both the religions.
Hindu puranas from earliest times of eulogizing the arch-
From the available historical and archaeological evidence
Tirthamkara Rishbhadeva as Rudra or Siva as Dr. Hi-
it becomes clear that Jainism initiated idol worship in In-
ralal Jain, an eminent Jain scholar, notes in his carefully
dia. Hardly there exists any Jain holy book or an epic
adduced evidence from Jain and Hindu scriptures (Jain-
which does not exalt idol- worshiping. In fact, the roots
ism through the Ages, translated from Hindi by Bal Patil,
of idolatry have gone so deep into the metaphysical and
Unpublished) Generally ancient Saiva and Jain temples
ethical structure of Jainism to such an extent that it is im-
are found in the vicinity of each other. The cave tem-
possible to separate this aspect of worship from Jainism
ples of Ellora are a good example. So much so that a
at all.
big cave temple is called great Kailasa, and the Jain cave
temple is called small Kailasa. The following stanza in
Shiv Purana bring out this association clearly. Rishab-
28 Siva, rudra and rishabhdeva hadeva, Jineshwara, the omniscient and the all pervasive
incarnated himself on the magnicent Kailas, (Ashta-
Afterwards the word puja was admitted into Sanskrit and pad Mountain) The idea of Rishabha Tirthamkara being
the root word Puja was adopted . Another scholar Charles an epoch-making man is deep-rooted in the Jaina scrip-
Charpentier traces the etymology of Puja to the Dravidian tures. He was the son of the fourteenth Kulakara or Manu
root word pusu which means to anoint. Its propriety is known as Nabhi. He is also known as Adinatha. Rishbha
in the tradition of anointing the image of siva with sandal inaugurated the karmabhumi and pioneered human civil-
paste etc. when worshipping the image looks reddish be- isation and culture. Rishabha was the rst preacher of
cause of anointment with red sandal, and therefore, siva the ahimsa dharma, the rst Tirthamkara or ford-maker
became known as Lohita whose synonyms rudhira and to the path of liberation according to Jain Sramanic path
rudra nally merged in the form of rudra. The dierence of purication and liberation. He attained nirvana on the
between the rituals of sacricial re ( yajna) and wor- summit of Mount Kailasa in Tibet. The point to be noted
ship with owers (puja) and direction to synthesize them is that there is a consistent tradition found in the Jaina reli-
is clearly mentioned in Bhagvat Gita wherein gious literature and also in the Itihasa-Purana Brahmanic
18 31 WHY WORSHIP TIRTHAMKARS?

lore from earliest time of invoking Rishbhadeo as Rudra does not accept paraloka or life after death. According
or shiva. The above stanza in the Shiva Purana brings out to Nyayakosha, a nastika is a person who does not ac-
clearly this association. cept the existence of Isvara. Manu has said that he who
It is in this context it is important to consider the de- derides the authority of the Vedas is a Nasitka-nastika
nite opinion of Sir John Marshall that the Vedic aryans Vedanindakah. But acceptance of the authority of Vedas
adopted shiva worship (Shiva, Pashupati, Rudra) from which are essentially Brahminic scriptures, does not en-
Indus valley civilisation. It is signicantly sugested by ter into the concept of atheism. Atheism as Encyclope-
the various scholars that the nude standing images in dia of Religion and Ethics Vol-II Editor, James Hastings,
explains, both by etymology and usage, is essentially a
the Indus Valley in a typicaly Jain Sramanic yogic pose-
Kayotsarga- abandonment of the body in meditation- negative conception and exists only as an expression of
dissent from the positive theistic beliefs. Further, " The-
bears a striking resemblance to the oldest Jain sculpture
and further that there is a link between the Indus bull ism is the belief that all entities in the cosmos, which are
known to us through our senses or inferred by our imagi-
seals and the bull insignia (lancchana) of Rishabha. From
Vedic times to the present Rudra or shiva and Rishabha nation and reason, are dependent for their origination and
for their continuance in existence upon the creative and
have been considered usually as alternative names or
designations which are :Digambara, Digvasa, Tapomaya, causal action of an innite and eternal self-consciousness
Charukesha, Shanta, Akshobhya, , Ahimsa, Jnani, Ka- and will.... But Jainism does not recognize that the uni-
pardi, Jati. These are such attributes as become perfectly verse was created by any God or gods. The universe is
applicable in their meaning to Rishabha Tirthamkara. beginningless and endless. The universe is constituted of
The characteristic mark of Shankara as found in Jaina six substances viz. soul, matter, time, space, principle
creations and images known as Triratna which is found of motion and, and the principle of stationariness. The
clearly marked in the cave of Samrata Kharavela at Udai- soul , matter, time, space, principle of motion and, the
giri in Orissa. It is found marked in the ancient images principle of stationariness. Soul is characterized by con-
of Rishabha and other Tirthamkaras. The arch-form of sciousness while the matter is not. This is consistent with
this symbol is found in the sign of tri-horn on the Indus scientic theories. The Jains do not regard God as nec-
Valley seal images. It should not be surprising if the same essary to explain the universe. The number of souls in
mark evolved later as a phase of moon, Om, svastika and the universe is innite. Each individual soul is divine in
the cross of Christianity as well as the moon and the star nature and can attain perfection by cultivation of right
of Islam as noted by Dr.Hiralal Jain (op.cit.) The disci- faith , right knowledge and right conduct. Thus Jainism
ples of Shiva are collectively called Gana, whose leader is places a great responsibility on the frail human shoulders
called Ganapati and Ganesh . The group of munis or dis- and gives each human being a passport to Godhood only
ciples established by Rishbha is also called Gana and its warning him that the may do evil at his own peril because
leader , the chief disciple, is called Ganadhara. The tra- each one will reap as he sown. The essence of Jaina teach-
dition of Gana and Ganadhara is found unbroken till the ing is that a man or a woman is truly the architect of ones
last Tirthamkara, Mahavira. Such parallels and spiritual own destiny and that the liberation of soul from the last
anities since pre-historic times between Rishabha and vestige of karmic particle is synonymous with supreme
Shiva show unmistakeably that Jainism and its rst pro- bliss or salvation or moksa commensurate with divinity.
pounder have been the precursor of the later shaiva doc-
trine. The most notable example of the fusion and synthe-
sis of not only the Jaina, Shaiva, but also the Brahmanic, 31 Why worship tirthamkars?
Vedic, Budddhist and other Indian philosophies is found
in the great Himalayan centre of pilgrimage, Badrinatha
or Badri Vishala. In the Badri Vishala temple the follow- Why do the Jainas worship the Tirthamkars? Umaswami,
ing stotra is recited in the daily worship: Meaning: One a great Jaina Acharya has expressed the object of Jain
who is revered as Shiva by the Shaivas, as Brahma by the worship of Tirthamkar in precise terms in the opening
Vedantins, as Buddha by the Buddhists, as the Cause by verse of his renowned exposition of the principles of re-
the Naiyayikas, Arahan by the Jains, Karma by the Mi- ality according to Jainism in Tattvartha sutra; I bow
mamsakas, such god of the three worlds may grant us our to Lord, the promulgator of the path liberation, the de-
longed for fruits. This illustrates how the Badrinath em- stroyer of mountains of Karmas and the knower of the
bodies the true secular synthesis of India. whole of reality, so that I may realise these qualities. The
object of Jain worship is therefore not to seek favours but
to cultivate a frame of
mind to seek guidance, to meditate on the path of Lib-
30 Are Jain nastikas ? eration as taught by the Tirthamkars. As noted by Dr.
A.N. Upadhye, a great Prakrit scholar of Jainism, By
It is a mistake to term the Jainas as Nasitkas. The word God Jainism understands a liberated soul as well as a
nasitka has been dierently interpreted. According to Tirthamkar, who is the highest spiritual ideal after which
the grammarian Panini Sutra it is explained as one who every soul can aspire; the God is an example to inspire
19

and guide. Thus the basis of the Jain conception is dif- have been from very ancient times the legendary abodes
ferent from Hinduism . Though the God is not a creator, of the Yaksas, Shasan Devatas or tutelary deities. Every
the Jain religion neither lacks devotional fervour nor cer- Jain Tirthamkar has a pair of tutelary deities of Yaksa
emonial rituals. Jains oer prayers to him, worship him and Yakshini. It is pertinent to note that a Chaitya is of-
both in concept and in concrete , and meditate on him. ten termed as Chaityavriksha or Chaitya-tree. The earli-
Respectful prayers are oered to the Tirthamkaras, lib- est reference to the chaitya-tree of Mahavira. Mahavira
erated soul, preceptor, preacher and monk because these was sitting under shala tree when he attained enlight-
represent various stages of the souls spiritual progress. enment .The Kalpa Sutra, which speaks of the lives of
Such a routine keeps one vigilant about ones ideal warn- the twenty four Tirthamkars only mentions the Chaitya-
ing every time that one is to depend on oneself to destroy trees of Rishabha, Nemi,Parsva and Mahavira. It does
the Karmas. Jainism is thus a religion of self help and not mention the chaitya-tree of the remaining twenty Ji-
can be practised by the self reliant, strong and brave. nas. The Samavayanga -sutra gives a list of the Chaitya-
(Jainism by Colette Caillat, Dr. A.N. Upadhye, Bal Patil, vriksha of all twenty four Tirthamkars of the present age.
Macmillan, 1974) This last list, being common to both the Digambara and
the Svetambara sects was evolved before the Digambara-
Swetambara division in the fth century.
32 Evolution of Jain concept of
temple
The Sanskrit words mandira and alaya, both denoting
something like a shelter, specify a temple particularly in
Jain references. The terms ayatana- a resting place or
a sanctuary- is more ancient dating back to the time of 34 Chaitya tree and tree worship
Mahavira who often used to stay in Yaksayatana in the
course of his Vihara. Later it coined the word Jinayatana
and still later was replaced by the words mandira, alaya,
The Jainas have assigned the spirits connected with the
geha, griha etc. But the most important term denoting
tree-worship to the Vyantara gods. The Vyantaras are
the genesis of the temple appears to be Chaitya from very
sub-divided into eight groups, Pishachas, Bhutas, Yak-
ancient times. From the Uvasaga-Dasao Upasaka Dasa,
shas, Rakshasas, , Kinnaras, Kimpurushas, Mahoragas
a Jain scripture, we come to know that the Jnatrikas, be-
(Nagas) and Gandharvas, Each group has on its crest the
ing the clan of Jnatri Putras to which Mahavira belonged,
symbol of a tree in the following order the Kadamba, su-
possessed a Jain temple outside their settlement at kollaga
lasa, vata, khatvanga, ashoka, champaka, naga and tum-
which bore the name Duipalasa. The term ceiya used here
bara, according to Swetambara tradition. In the Digam-
has been interpreted by Dr. Hoernle to mean properly the
bara list the badri-tree is substituted for the Khatvanga.
name of a Jain temple or sacred shrine, but commonly ap-
The chaitya-tree worship, with which Yakshas are associ-
plied to the whole sacred enclosure containing a garden,
ated and the cult-deities goes for back in ancient times and
grove or park (Ujjana, Vana-Sanda or Vana-Khanda, a
onces agains signies the great antiquity and pre-Vedic
shrine and attendants houses, ( Uvasaga -Dasao,P.2) Af-
existence of Jaina iconic and worshipping tradition. The
ter Mahaviras assuming the vocation of a monk he used
gradual and late assimilation of the ideas of samsara- cy-
this ceiya for his accommodation whenever he visted the
cle of birth and death, Karma, religious asceticism and
place of his birth.
Yoga by the Brahmanas ,the Upanishads and later in the
Epics shows the unmistakeable inuence of the ancient
and indigenous Sramanic current as exemplied in Jain-
33 Evolution of chaitya, ayatana as ism. It is in this context that Dr. Ananda Coomaraswamy
an abode of yaksha nds substance in Fergussons view in Tree and Serpant
Worship (p.244) that the worship of Yakshas and Nagas,
powers of fertility and rainfall was the primitive faith of
It is signicant to note as stated by Dr. Ananda the aboriginal casteless Dasyus who inhabited northern
Coomaraswamy that the word chaitya is derived from a India before the advent of the Aryans. And therefore he
root Chi meaning to build or heap up, but as used in the is led to conclude denitely that it is at least certain that
Epic and early Buddhist and Jain literature, it means any religious traditions which must be spoken of as Agamic in
holystead, altar shrine, grove, temple etc. And therefore contradistinction to Vedic, are abundant and must reach
he asks ; May it not be derived from Chit, with the sense far back into the past. This past, moreover, has been
therefore of an object to be meditated upon or attended proved by recent archaeological discoveries to have been
to? " much more ancient and to have been characterized by a
This interpretation is denitely a pointer to the Jain con- much higher culture than had been formerly recognized.
cept of ritual meditation of perfected beings. Chaityas " (p.3) Yakshas, Munshiram Manoharlal, 1973)
20 36 BHAVANAM, YAKSAS ABODE

35 Yakshas in Jain tradition detailed descriptions of a Yaksa holystead is about the fa-
mous shrine of the Yaksha Purnabhadra (Punnabhadda)
In the Jain Bhagavati Sutra Punnabhadda and Manib- of which a long account is given in the Aupapatika sutra
hadda are called powerful Devas, and they appear to- the rst Upanga of the Jainas. Near Champa there was
gether to those who practise certain austerities. Yakkhas sanctuary (cheiya) named Punnabhadde. It was of ancient
or Yakshas are often called Devas in Jain literature where origin told of by men of former days, old, renowned, rich
as Shasan Devatas they are usually guardian angels. As and well-known, it had umbrellas, banners and bells; it
pertinently suggested by Dr. Coomaraswamy, the doc- had ags, and ags upon ags to adorn it, and was pro-
trine of reincarnation is not Vedic, and in view of the vided with brushes. According to Aupapatika Sutra 2-
suggestions of indigenous origins that have been plau- 5, the Purnabhadra- chaitya in the Amrasala- vana situ-
sibly made, it is of interest to note how constantly the ated to the north-east of the city of Champa was very old
idea of rebirth is connected with the Yaksha mythology in age (chirarita) recognized by people of old as ancient
in which a Yaksha may have been and may again become (porana) and famous. On all sides of it was a big for-
a human being. (Ibid) Hodson T.C. in his The Primi- est grove having a central big ashoka-tree with a prithvi-
tive Culture of India shows that a belief in reincarnation shila-patta under it, slightly reclining against the stem and
is widely spread amongst the primitive tribes of India, placed on a simhasana. Once again it is important to note
Khonds, Bhuias, Garos etc. The Lushai desire to escape in the above context as stated by Dr. Commaraswamy
from the mortal coil of reincarnation. Santals say that Certainly the Yaksha concept has played an important
Good men enter into fruit -trees. This reveals again the part in the development of Indian mythology, and even
very ancient origin of the Jain concept of Ahimsa and re- more certainly, the early Yaksha iconography has formed
lated causal doctrines of vegetarianism and rebirth. In the the foundation of later Hindu and Buddhist iconography.
Jain Uttaradhyayana Sutra Ch. III, 14-18 it is stated as a It is by no means without signicance that the concep-
general rule that Yakshas are reborn as men when their tion of Yakshattva is so closely bound up with the idea
stock of merit (acquired, of course, in a previous life on of reincarnation. (Yakshas, P.37) And even more im-
earth) is exhausted. Not only human beings , but even portantly he continues: Thus the history of the Yakshas,
animals may be reborn as tutelarly Yakshas. The follow- like that of the other aspects of non-Aryan Indian ani-
ing story of the Jain saint Jivaka is related in the Tamil mism is of sigicance not only in itself and for its own
Classic, the Jivaka-chintamani; Jivaka rescues a drown- sake, but as throwing light upon the origins of cult and
ing dog, or to be more exact, recites to it the mantras of iconography, as well as dogma, in fully evolved sectar-
ve Namaskaras-Namsakar Mantra-whereby it is reborn ian Hinduism and Buddhism. And beyond India, it, as is
as deity, a chief of the Yakshas. believed by many, characteristic elements of the Chris-
tian cult, such as the use of rosaries, incense, bell and
lights,together with many phases of monastic organizaton
are ultimately of Buddhist origin, we can here too, push
36 Bhavanam, yaksas abode back their history to more ultimate sources in non and
pre-Aryan Indian Pujas (P.37) Yakshas. In view of the
The haunt or abode (Bhavanam) of a Yaksha, often re- fact that Sramanic Jainism and its pre-Vedic ancient ori-
ferred to as chaitya (Pali,cetiya, Prakrit,Cheiya) or ay- gins , and denitely pre-Buddhistic in 6th Century B.C.
atana (Prakrit ayayana) may be outside a city , in a grove, one can appreciate that the non-and pre-Aryan Indian
on a mountain or at a ghat. Such Yaksa shrines are con- Pujas Dr. Coomaraswamy speaks about cannot be any-
stantly spoken of in Jain and Buddhist literature as an- thing but Jain in inspiration as evolved in Chaitya-Tree
cient, magnicent, famous or world-renowned. The es- and Yaksha veneration. As noted by Coomaraswamy (n.1
sential element of a Yaksha holy-stead is a stone table or p. 14, Yakshas) The doctrine of reincarnation is not
after (Veyaddi, mancho) placed beneath the tree sacred Vedic, and in view of the suggestions of indigenous ori-
to the Yaksha. Veyaddi is an earthen or stone slab altar gin that have been plausibly made, it is of interest to note
for the reception of oerings which is an essential part how constantly the idea of rebirth is connected with the
of a shrine. Sometimes a symbol is placed on it. Later Yaksa mythology, in which a Yaksa may have been , or
when images came into general use, it becomes a asana, may again become a human being. It is interesting to
(seat or throne) or pitha (pedestal) of the gure. It was note also in the same context Dr.Coomaraswamy states:
just such an altar beneath a sacred tree that served as the Sankara is one of the well-known names of siva, whose
Bodhisathvas seat on the night of the enlightenment. It close connection with
is very evident, as Dr. Coomaraswamy, states that the sa- Yaksas is shown in manyways, inter alia, by the existence
cred tree and altar represent a combination taken over by of numerous temples dedicated to him under the names
Buddhism from which are those of Yaksas, e.g. Virupaksa temple at Pat-
older cults, and in the case of the Bodhi-tree we see the tadakal. (Ibid)
transference actually in process. The existence of im-
ages (and Yaksha images are the oldest known images
in India) implies the existence of temples. One of the
21

37 Earliest jina image and Jaina covery between 1888 and 1896. From the available ev-
idence it appears that the Jaina establishment at Kankali
pantheon Tila grew around a Stupa which formed an object of
supreme veneration. Also a large number of ayaga patas
The earliest known Jina image, preserved in the Patna were found in Math ura. Ayaga patas are the votive slabs
Museum comes from Lohanipur (Patna) and is date- dedicated to Jain Tirthamkars. Ayaga patas are among
able to about third century B.C. The nudity and the the earliest and most distinctive Jain sculpture. Covered
Kayotsarga-mudra, suggesting rigorous austerity, of the in shallow relief in a square or rectangular format they
image were conned only to the Jinas. Thus the Jina are typically decorated with auspicious symbols, images
images from Lohanipur and Ayodhya and also the evi- of the Jains , and stupas (the early Jain and Buddhist
dence of Hathigumpha inscription of second century B.C. reliquaries conceptually originating from burial mounds.
in Khandagiri- Udaygiri in Kalinga , (Orissa) attributed Such ayaga pata slabs were the artistic and religious pre-
to Kharvela distinctly suggest that the antiquity of Jina cursors of the Samavasarana scene, cosmological paint-
images may be pushed back at least to fourth, third cen- ings and mandalas later found in Jain art, and which inu-
tury B.C. Mathura was a stronghold of Jainism from sec- enced the development of the latter two subjects in Bud-
ond century B.C. to 1177 A.D. It is certain on the basis dhist and Hindu Art as well. The representation of Ji-
of the archaeological data that Jainism got a rm foot- nas and stupas on the ayagapatas tend to prove that these
ing at Math ura by the second century B.C. The exis- slabs perched on the vedis or pithas did not serve merely
tence of a Jain shrine (pasada) as early as the middle as ayagapatas or bali pattas where owers and other oer-
of the second century B.C. is proved by an inscription ings were deposited for worshipping Jinas and stupas, as
recording the dedication of a pasadatorana by a Sravaka in the case of purely ornamental slabs. On the contrary,
named Uttaradasaka. The Jinas or Tirthamkars occupy these representations would suggest that these ayagapatas
the most exalted position in Jain pantheon. As a con- were themselves like the image of Arhat at the deva nir-
sequence the Jina images outnumber the images of all mita stupa of Nadiavarta-Munisuvrata, 20th Tirthamkar
other Jain deities. The Jinas are always represented in were objects of worship, a presumption supported by the
the seated or standing attitude of meditation. While Bud- manner in which the sprinkling of owers is depicted on
dha was represented with such dierent gestures such as two of the ayaga patas in front of the stupa represented
abhaya-mudra, varada mudra which shows his concern by the tympanum in question.
about the world. Moreover, none of the Jinas were cred-
ited with the performance of miracles while the case was
opposite with the Buddha. The Jains have strictly adhered
to the dhyana (seated cross- legged) and the Kayotsarga
39 Religious character of ayagap-
(standing erect) mudras , in a vitaraga passionless and atas
free from all bondage pose, showing unceasing respect
for yogic postures of transcendental meditation and bod- The religious character of these ayagapatas (-ayaga means
ily abandonment. This brings out the most important dif- yajaniya devata, a deity to be worshipped) is clear not only
ference between the Jaina pantheon on the one hand and by the available in scriptions (referring to the setting up of
the Buddhist and the Hindu on the other. As noted by thses ayagapatas for the worship of the Arhats) but by the
Pratapaditya Pal, the Jaina pantheon is simplest among depiction of the stupas, gures of Tirthamkars, chaitya
the three Indian religions. The dierence lies in the fact vriksha, dharma-chakra and auspicious symbols, includ-
that while in the Buddhist and Hindu blood and gore are ing Ashta-mangalas particularly sacred to the Jains. The
the rule rather than the exception, in the Jaina pantheon Ashta mangalas are eight auspicious emblems; Svastika,
only peaceful forms prevail. In both Hindu and Vajrayan Srivasta, nandyavarta-a symbol with nine points repre-
Buddiest art, deities often manifest their ferocious side, senting nine nidhis or treasures-, a pair of sh, the mir-
which from the artistic point of view leads to dramatic ror, the throne of fortune, banner and chauries. A large
and animated images. (Introduction The Peaceful Lib- number of such ayagapatas are found in Math ura of
erators Jain Art from India, Thames & Hudson 1997 the Kushana period (rst to third centuries) have been
donated by women. A typical inscription reads; Adora-
tion to the Arahats (Jinas)! A tablet of homage was set
up by Achala,daughter-in-law of Bhadrayasas and wife of
38 Ayagapatas and stupa at kan Bhadranadi for the worship of the Arahats
kali tila, mathura As noted by Pratapaditya Pal, Senior Curator, Indian
and Southeast Asian Art, Los Angeles, County Museum
Mathura was particularly sacred to the Jainas from ear- of Art in The Peaceful Liberators Jain Art from In-
liest times, where stupas appear to have been the focal dia, Thames and Hudson, 1997, what becomes apparent
point of the Jain religious establishment. At Kankali Tila, from the Jain donations is the strong sense of commu-
a site near Math ura, a large number of Jain sculptures, nity that has been a contributing factory in their (Jainas
ayagapatas capitals, umbrellas was an archaeological dis- ) survival. The Jaina mode of worship without the inter-
22 42 KURAL BY SAINT TIRUVALLUVAR & JAINISM IN SOUTH INDIA

mediury of a priest, makes it more of a community aair, 42 Kural by saint tiruvalluvar &
than that of the Hindus. This becomes particularly clear
if one visits a Hindu and a Jaina temple and compares
Jainism in south india
their rituals.
The authors in Studies in South Indian Jainism attribute
the Jain inuence in idol worship and temple buidling
40 Stupas precursor of Jain temple on a grand scale. The essence of Brahminism was not
architecture idol worship. How came it then that the Dravidians built
large temples in honour of their gods? The answer is sim-
ple. The Jains erected statues to their Tirthankaras and
As noted by Dr. Jyoti Prasad Jain, In the eld of archi-
other spiritual leaders and worshipped them in large tem-
tecture, the stupa (a burial relic) seems to have been the
ples. As this method of worship was highly impressive
earliest form favoured by the Jainas. The Jaina stupa un-
and attractive, it was at once imitated. Especially after
earthed at the Kankali Tila site of Mathura was regarded
the advent of Appar and Sambandar, a period of mira-
by archaeologists like Vincent Smith as not only the old-
cles and piety was inaugurated and it was at this time that
est known structure of that type, but also as, the earliest
the whole country was studded with temples. (n.Tamilian
extant building in India, apart, of course, from the pre-
Antiquery, No.2, p.23) It is further curious to note that,
historic Indus Valley civilization which was discovered
in the temples so constructed, a niche was given to each
later. Smith thought that 600 B.C. is not too early a
of the saints who in any way contributed to the revival
date for its erection. Dr. Fuhrer who superintended the
of Saivism. In the great temple of Madura, as many as
excavation of the stupa said on the basis of inscription
sixty-three Nayanars or Saiva devotees have been given
bearing words to mean Deva stupa, built by the gods,
a niche, each of them. One wonders if the saivaites had
' discovered at the site, the stupa was so ancient at the
not borrowed this custom from the Jains who worshipped
time when the inscription was incised that its origin had
their saints in the way described , long before these Naya-
been forgotten. On the evidence of the characters the
nars ourished. By far the most important of the Jain
date of the inscription may be referred with certainty to
inunces that led either to the intellectual or moral up-
the Indo-Scythian era equivalent to AD 156. The stupa
lift of the Dravidians was the establishment throughout
must, therefore have been built several centuries before
South India of Matams and Patasalas to counteract the ef-
the beginning of the Christian era, for the name of its
fect of Jain centres of learning and propagandism. (Ibid.
builders would assuredly have been known if it had been
Pp.77-78) The authors also note that the period immedi-
erected during the period when the Jains of the Mathura
ately following the age of Kural is characterised by the
carefully kept record of their donations.
growth of classical literature, mainly under the Jain aus-
pices. This age is generally called the Augustan age of
Tamil literature, the period of the predomancne of the
41 Pre-mahavira and buddha stu- Jain in intellect and learning though not in political power.
pas It was during this period second century A.D. that the fa-
mous Tamil epic Silappadikarm is supposed to have been
written. (p.46) The great Tamil classic Kural by Saint
Since Mauryan art was known as the yaksha art and the Tiruvalluvar, as noted by the authors: Almost every re-
pre-Mauryan art as the Deva art, Dr. V.S. Agrawala sur- ligionist has claimed the author as belonging to his faith.
mised that this stupa must have belonged to times prior Tamil literary tradition attributes the authorship of Kural
to these of the Buddha and Mahavira. The stupa is said to to Valluvar; but there are strong reasons for believing
to have been golden originally, but was perhaps made of that the author was a Jain...One other evidence in favour
mud. Sometimes during the interval between Parsvas of the Jain origin of Kural might be adduced. The com-
nirvana, and the birth of Mahavira in 599 B.C. it was mentator of Nilkesi, a Jain work, calls Kural, Emmottu
incased in brick and in the time of the Mauryas in the our own Bible. That shows that the Jains generally be-
4th or 3rd century B.C. it was repaired and renovated lieved that Valluvar was a member of their community.
when stone was used freely for the rst time. With the Prof. A. Chakravarti , an eminent Jain scholar and com-
rise of Buddhism and the growing popularity of the stupa mentator on Kural has identied the author of Kural as
form of architecture with the Buddhists it began to lose no other than the great Jain Muni Elacharya Sri Kund
ground with the Jains, and a time came when all such Kunda, well-versed in Sanskrit and Prakrit who propa-
structures were unhesitatingly attributed to the Buddhists. gated Jainism in the in about rst century A.D. Tamil land
Fleet rightly observed; The prejudice that all stupas and . From the Pattavalis edited by Hoernle and Klatt (Indian
stone railings must necessarily be Buddhist has probably Antiquery, Vols. XX and XXI) the date of Kunda Kunda
prevented the recognition of Jain structures as can ber ascertained as Ist century A. D. As regards the
such. Smith also says, In some cases, monuments which far-reaching inuence exercised by the Jain scholars on
are really Jaina have been erroneously described as Bud- ancient Tamil literature the authors note : The Jains had
dhist. been great students and copyists of books.
23

They loved literature and art for their own sake. The Jain were performing sacrices, involving the killing of many
contribution to Tamil literature forms the most precious animals, including the cow. One Brahmin boy, it is said,
possesion of the Tamils. The largest portion of the San- successfuly set free a cow,an intended victim, and he was
skrit derivatives found in the Tamil language was intro- , therefore, hounded out of the locality as well as the com-
duced by the Jains. They altered the Sanskrit words which munity by other Brahmins. Where actual blood had been
they borrowed in order to bring it in accordance with spilt in certain atharvanic rituals, the Sankara-mutt rec-
Tamil euphonic rules. One great pecularity of of Jain ommended coloured
Tamil literature is that in some of the works which have mineral water (aarati) and breaking of cocoanuts and ash-
become classical , Kural and Naladiyar, for example there
gourds. Where intoxicants such as soma juice, had been
is no mention of any God or religion. Not only Tamil lit- used, they substituted 'panchagavya' and 'madhuparka' .
erature but Canarese literature also owes a great deal to
In food habits too, vegetarianism and prohibition were
Jains. In fact they were its originators. 'Until the middle strictly enforced , with penalties of ex-communication for
of the the twelfth century it is exclusively Jain and Jain
other transgressions. Ahimsa, satya, triple baths every
literature continues to be prominent for long after. It in- day and free teaching of Sanskrit were rewarded with ec-
cludes all the more ancient and many of the most eminent
clesiastical honours and grants. Except for the doctrinaire
of Canarese writings Thus Rev.f. Kittel. (p.76 Ibid) Not dierence, the pattern of the mundane aspects of the mutt
only in literature but also in vegetarian way life, idol wor- was but a replica of the Jaina church. (pp.329-30) It
ship and temple buidling the Jains inuence in South In- is pertinent to quote Edward Thomas to show the arch-
dia is evident. As noted by the authors How far this Jain inuence of the Jain Math as since pre-historic times. The
respect for the life of living beings, a respect shown in deeper impact of Jainism right from the term matha
daily practice, has inuenced the Vedic rites and cere- which has a peculiar Jaina connotation is explained in
monies can be seen from the fact that animal sacrice in his unique scholarly paper entitled JAINISM or THE
certain religious functions were completely stopped, and EARLY FAITH OF ASOKA (Ibid. op.cit.)in which de-
images of beasts made of our were substituted for the scribing the etymology of the term Mathura as an ancient
real and veritable ones required in conducting Yajnams. seat of Jainism. Edward Thomas explains The modern
Tamil poets have received inspiration in this matter from version of the name of the city on the Jumna is Mathura.
the Jains and passages might be cited from Tamil litera- Babu Rajendralal has pointed out that the old Sanskrit
ture to indicate the extreme abhorrence with which Dra- form was Madhura (J.A.S. Bengal, 1874, p.259) ,but both
vidians, a large section of them at any rate, regard eating transcriptions seem to have missed the true derivative
of esh. (Ibid.p.77) meaning of Matha (a monastery, a convent or college,
a temple, etc. from the root matha 'to dwell,' as a hermit
might abide in his cave. The southern revenue terms have
43 Shankaracharya & Jain mathas preserved many of the subordinate forms, in the shape
of taxes for Maths. Rajputana and the N.W. Provinces
Even more signicant is the assimilation of the Jaina mo- exhibit extant examples in abundance of the still conven-
tives by the Shankaracharya mathas as shown by the em- tional term, while the distant Himalayan retain the word
inent historian K.A. Nilkanta Shastry and V. Ramasub- in Joshi-Math, Bhairav-Math etc Further Thomas states:
ramaniyam 'Aundy' in their article The Ascendancy and This said Mathura on the Jumna constituted, from the
Eclipse of Bhagwan Mahaviras Cult in the Tamil Land earliest period a 'high place' of the Jainas and its mem-
published in the Mahavira and His Teachings (under the ory is preserved in the southern capital of the same name
Chief Editorship of Dr.A.N. Upadhye, former General -Madura- of Ptolemy, whence the sect, in aftertimes, dis-
Editor of Moortidevi Granthamala of Bharatiya Jnanpith seminated their treasured knowledge, under the peaceful
(assisted by Bal Patil) on the occasion of 2500th Ma- shelter of their Matams (colleges), in aid of local learning
havira Nirvana Anniversary, 1974). The authors state: It and the reviving literature of the Peninsula. (pp.3-4) In a
is necessary at this stage to state briey what a Sankara Note on the above E.Thomas mentions quoting Caldwell
mutt was and how it copied the Jaina church in its from his Grammar of the Dravidian Languages: The pe-
technique of organization. It was a legally constituted riod of predominance of the Jainas (a predominance of
body, Pitha, headed by a bachelor hermit (Brahmachari intellect and learning -rarely a predominance in political
sanyasin) exercising absolute control over all the Hindu power) was the Augustan age of Tamil literature, the pe-
hermits of the entire quarter. This pontif and his local riod when the Madura college, a celebrated literary as-
representatives, practising asceticism themselves,were to sociation, appears to have ourished and when the Kural
tour their respective regions supervising the religious rites the Chintamani and the classical vocabularies and gram-
(Samskaras) and daily practices (Dinacharyas) of the four mar were written. With such glorious heritage all that
varnas...But the most important and epoch-making inno- remains of Jainism in South India at present in the words
vation was their advice to all performers of Vedic sacri- of the authors: The vast Jain remains in south India of
ces to substitute vegetable oerings for live animal vic- mutilated statues, deserted caves and ruined temples at
tims. The 'Manimekhalai' one of the ve great Tamil once recall to our mind the greatness of the religion in
epics, tells us that some orthodox Brahmins of that age days gone by and the theological rancour of the Brahmins
24 45 PATHASHALAS AND JAINA CONTRIBUTION TO LEARNING & EDUCATION OM NAMO SIDDHANAM

who wiped it out of all active existence. The Jains had of Buddha whereas Shankara, Kumarila and Sureshvara
been forgotten; their traditions have been ignored; but, are clearly posterior to Dignaga and at least Sureshvara
the memory of that bitter struggle between Jainism and is clearly posterior to Dharmakirti also. The chronology
Hinduism, characterised by bloddy episodes in the south errs by antedating Shankara by more than a millennium.
is constantly kept alive in the series of frescoes on the wall
The protagonists of this chronology argue that the title of
of the Mantapam of the Golden Lily Tank of the famous Shankaracharya was adopted by all the successive heads
Minakshi Temple at Madura. These paintings illustrate of the monasteries established by the founder and that
the persecution and impaling of the Jains at the instance there were a number of pontis who not only bore the
of the arch-enemy of Jainism, Tirujnanasambandar. As general title of Shankaracharya but who had also a re-
though this were not sucient markably similar career. In particular there was a 'recent'
or Abhinava Shankara who lived from AD 788 to AD
to humiliate the unfortunate race, the whole tragedy is
gone through at ve of the twelve festivals at the Madura 812. The Kanchi tradition thus records ve Shankaras -
Adi, Kripa, Ujjwala, Muka and Abhinava: it is this last
temple. "(Studies in South Indian Jainism by Ramaswami
Ayyangar & B.Sheshgiri Rao.p.79) Shankara who is said to be confused by modern histori-
ans with the original or Adi Shankara. But notwithstand-
ing the valid historical chronology the Kanchi Kamakoti
chronology of the 'historic' partial Siva incarnation of Adi
44 Re-writing chronology of adi Shankara will culminate in 2020 when the
shankaracharya 2500th anniversary is mooted to be celebrated ocially.
and there does not seem to be any diculty for its ocial
It would be pertinent here to mention how a new exercise approval given the present unabated wave of Hindutva re-
in historical interpretation is being purveyed on the web- naissance in India.
site www.kamakoti.org , the ocial website of Kanchi
Kamakoti Shankaracharya. The introductory message
on this site pertaining to Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham
states More than two thousand years ago, an avalanche of 45 Pathashalas and Jaina contri-
heretic and non-Vedic sects, with horrible religious prac- bution to learning & education
tices threatened to wipe away the ancient veda-Djarma.
In the Bhagvad Geeta, Lord Krishna has told Arjuna that, OM NAMO SIDDHANAM
whenever there arises danger to Dharma, He (Krishna)
will incarnate in this world to eradicate adharma and re- Eminent scholar Dr.A.S. Altekar states in his Hindi book
establish Dharma. In consonance with his words, the Pracheen Bharatiya Shikshan Paddhati Ancient Indian
Lord has made partial incarnations during the course of Educational System) 1955, that It is established from
the present Kali Age. And such an incarnation is the par- the Jain literature that in ancient India education was con-
tial incarnation ofsiva as Sankara Bhagavatpada, which sidered as a source of insight, enlightenment and peace,
happened some twenty-ve centuries ago, on the prayer which by contributing to a co-ordinated development of
of celestials to Lord Siva to redeem bharat-Desa from the physical, mental, intellectual and economic potential en-
clutches of non-Vedic heretic sects. Several sources of deavoured to reach perfection. Thus education makes one
authentic information lead to the conclusion that Sri Adi a humble and useful citizen in the society. " The impact
Sankara was born at Kaladi on the fth day of the bright of the Jain inuence on the educational process since ear-
fortnight of the vaisaka month of the cyclic year Nandana liest times is evident from the fact that the preliminary
in cyclic year Nandana-Kali 2593 corresponding to 509 invocation in the historic Hathigumpha inscription was
B.C. This extrapolation of Adi Shankarcharyas chronol- Om namah Siddhebhyah as noted by Pt.Sumeruchandra
ogy, a full thirteen centuries before the actual historic Diwakara in his book Samrat Kharvela. It was consid-
date, has been a matter of scholarly debate for over a cen- ered to begin any writing, document or inscription with
tury and Although the views of historians have tended the auspicious invocation Om Namah Siddhebhyah. This
to narrow down the extent of controversy to within two is corroborated by Dr.Altekar who notes that at the be-
centuries now, it cannot be said that the dispute has been ginning of education of a child he was asked to say
nally settled. as noted by Dr.Govind Chandra Pande in Om Namah Siddham. According to the Indologist Buh-
his The Date of Shankara (Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, lers Indische Paleography mentions how ancient Brahmi
1994). The Sringeri Math a, however, repudiates the script came to be designated as Siddhamatrika' or Sid-
claims of the chronology more or less accepted by the dhakshara samamnaya' because of the auspicious prelim-
other mathas. After examining the available historical inary invocation Om Namah Siddham and that it was in
sources Dr.Pande states that This monastic chronology practice since 7th or 8th century A.D. The Indian lan-
which places Shankara in the 6th and 5th centuries BC, guage scripts in South and North India evolved out this
hardly needs detailed refutation because it contradicts the Siddhamatrika. C.V. Vaidya, an eminent Apabhrimsha
entire chronology of ancient India as determined by sci- scholar has noted in his Rashtrakutas and Their Times
entic history. It tends to make Shankara a contemporary that mass-education was controled by the Jains. Their
25

Om Namah Siddham was followed by all as the beginning nonsense of the essence of religious freedom guaranteed
of the alphabetical writing. This remained prevalent even by that very Article under a pretensious Hindu pretext. It
in the decline of the Jain inuence which proves the im- conrms the suspicion that the particular Clause was not
portance of Jain education. (p.309) Mahapandit Rahul discussed threadbare, nor does it appear from the Con-
Samkrityayan: It is a fact that Om Namah Siddham is stituent Assembly Debates that the protagonists of Jains,
not Brahmanic expression. The brahmanic Trinity is not Buddhists and Sikhs were given a fair opportunity to dis-
called as Siddha. Buddhists and Jains call their prophets cuss its implications. Thus the construct of the Hindu
as Siddha. Hence such a widespread use of 'O Na Ma Si colonial nationalist ethos has found its way in the very
Dha M' shows the far-reaching impact of the Srmanaic heart of the Indian Constitution laying down the Funda-
religion. Dr.Jyoti Prasad Jain, archaeological expert and mental Right to religious freedom and has made nonsense
Jain scholar, noted in his Hindi book 'Pracheen aur Mad- of its secular basic structure, thus coming back full circle
hyakalina Bharat men Jain Shiksha' In the old-fashioned to Savarkars vision of India in his book Hindutva writ-
pathashalas, of South or North India-whether they are of ten in 1923. It is pertinent to recall that articulating the
Mundi, Hindi or Mahajani, or Sanskrit or Hindi, or Gu- concepts of Hindutva and Hinduness as political concepts
jarati, Marathi or Kannada- the childs education begins has also received the judicial stamp of approval in the
by Om Namah Siddhebhyah 'O Na Ma Si Dha M' is its Manohar Joshi case of 1995. As B.Shiva Raos classic
distorted version. This is wholly a Jain auspicious invo- exposition The Framing of Indias Constitution :A Study
cation, not connected with any other religion. The preva- shows that Article 25 relating to religious freedom and
lence of particularly its Explanation II including Buddhists, Jains
this invocation for a long time in a large part of India the and Sikhs in the denition of Hindus was nalized by the
peoples education was controlled by the Jains. Fundamental Rights Sub-Committee comprising of stal-
warts like Dr.Ambedkar and Dr.Munshi without proper
discussion.

46 Secularism hindutva & Jainism It is indeed a constitutional conundrum why the Found-
ing Fathers should have resorted to this devious means of
in modern india social welfare and reform of Hindu religious institutions
by a blatant invasion of the admittedly distinct Sikh, Bud-
With all such aforementioned historical context of the dhist and Jain religious identities. This CAD context has
Sramanic Jain religion histories and encyclopaedias of a crucial relevance to the obnoxious manner in which the
world religions with a few exceptions fail to mention Jain- Hindutva ideology is being exploited as a sanction for the
ism as a religion. There are pervasive misconceptions Hindu Rashtra concept. The recent NCERT history text-
about the origin of Jainism, its relation with the Brah- books controversy and the wholesale rewriting of the In-
manic, Vedic so-called- Hinduism, about Mahavira be- dian histories is the last straw to break the overburdened
ing the founder of Jainism, about its being an oshoot back of the Indian history with systematic classic Hin-
of Buddhism or Hinduism or its being a reformist sect dutva ideology. Even otherwise the coverage of Jainism
of Hinduism. There are misrepresentations galore. It is and Buddhism in Indian history textbooks has been su-
overshadowed by Hinduism and Buddhism or if noticed at percial, misleading and downright distorted.
all it is mentioned in passing as one of the ancient India re-
ligious movements or a sect subsidiary to Buddhism. Si-
multaneously there is the pervasive impact of the modern
myth of Hinduism .It had its origin in the Orientalism cre- 47 Misrepresentation of Jainism
ated by the colonial Sanskrit scholars in the 19th century.
The political consequences of the construction of such As a glaring instance of such standard distortion one can
a common Hindu identity are extensive and have given do no better than quote the Concise Oxford Dictionary
rise to the Hindutva concept as formulated by Savarkar (1999 edition) which gives the denition of Digambara
and now being canvassed as the ocial ideology of the as follows a member of one of two principal sects of
Sangha Parivar. So insidious and pervading is its inu- Jainism, who reject property ownerships and usually do
ence that it has perverted the entire administrative appa- not weal clothes. I sent an e-mail to the editor, Concise
ratus. This was also apparent in the innocent nationalis- Oxford Dictionary pointing out how the denition car-
tic Hindu ideology of the Constituent Assembly debates ries the fallacious impression that all the adherents of the
which found its expression in the Explanation to the de- Digambara sect of the Jains usually do not wear clothes
nition of Hindu in Article 25.Clause (b) of Article 25 and which must be corrected so as not to cause oence to the
its specious Explanation II is truly a religious Pandoras religious susceptibilities of this ancient world religion of
box. There is no reason why the religious institutions of India. I am glad to note that Mr. Jonathan Blaney, Senior
Sikh, Buddhist and Jain faiths should be treated on par Assistant Editor, Core Dictionaries Group immediately
with the Hindu religious ones to push forward Hindu so- responded stating : I agree that the denition is mis-
cial welfare and reform. It could be nothing but a surrep- leading, and I will leave a note in our les for this entry
tious attempt-or rather a clumsy one to dilute and make to be investigated at the earliest opportunity.
26 49 SUDARSHAN AND HINDU RASHTRA

48 Secularism & indian constitu- concept of secularism would draw its inspiration from
the Sarva Dharma Samabhava - equal respect for all reli-
tional preamble gions. It would not be anti-religion. Still the Government
followed such policies and implemented them in such a
On a more careful study of the impact of the Hindu manner that gave rise to the apprehension that the State
Rashtra-cum-Indianisation concept of the Rashtriya wanted to keep away from the religion and treated it as a
Swayamsevak Sangh ideology and its genesis right from hurdle in the way progress. The equality of all religions
its inception in 1925 and the enunciation of its ultimate and also of their followers as implied in the Sarva Dharma
goal by Guru Golwalkar in his denitive We or Our Na- Samabhava was not put into practice. Right or wrong,
tionhood Dened it dawned upon me that I should rather both the majority and minority communities started feel-
change the title of my paper as 'Indian Constitution Un- ing that the scales were tilted one side or the other in
der the Siege of Hindutva' because that is precisely the view of political expediency and for the quest of power.
diabolical aim. This task of the subversion of the secu- The scheme of providing incentives and disincentives to
lar constitutional objective has been partially facilitated tackle the problem of population explosion was not im-
by the Preamble itself as amended by the Forty Second plemented on the ground that it would hurt the religious
Amendment in 1977-inserting the word Secular'. I am feelings of some groups. Such as interpretation makes the
concerned here to draw the attention of all the secular very concept of secularism ludicrous. I feel that had we
citizens who value the sanctity of the Constitution to an translated the word secular as Sampradaya- nirpeksha
outrageous assault in the bilingual (English & Hindi) edi- or Pantha-nirpeksha instead of Dharma-nirpeksha, in
tion of the Constitution of India (Bharat ka Samvidhan) the very beginning, many apprehensions would not have
by the Government of India, 1999 published by the Gov- arisen. Whatever might have been the dierences of
ernment of India, Ministry of Law, Justice and Company opinion on the interpretation of the word secular, all,
Aairs.It is pertinent to note that in the Preface dt.1st however, agreed that the State should be non-communal.
July, 1999 Raghbir Singh, Secretary to the Government Even today there is unanimity on this question. The new
of India mentions: Hindi edition of the Constitution has translated the word
secular as Panth-
This is the rst diglot pocket edition of the Constitu-
tion of India. In this edition, the text of the Constitu- nirpeksha and thusried to make amends for the past mis-
tion of India has been brought up to date by incorporat- take. What is needed now is that we all should adopt cor-
ing therein all the amendments up to and including the rect translation and popularise it ". (emphasis supplied).
Constitution (Seventy-eighth amendment) Act, 1995. In But this linguistic quibble cannot explain the explicit dis-
this edition the Preamble is printed as follows: We the tortion in the Hindi translation which is simply not com-
people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute patible with the denition of the word 'secular' as not re-
India into a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Re- ligious, sacred or spiritual (Concise Oxford Dictionary,
public and to secure to all its citizens : Justice, social, 1999) This cannot be ignored as a mere slip of the pen
economic and political; Liberty of thought, expression, of the translator, nor can the essential constitutional in-
belief, faith and worship; Equality of status and of oppor- tent be distorted in an unwarranted manner by the trans-
tunity; and to promote among them all Fraternity assuring lator because we must remember it is nothing less than
the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Constitution of India. One suspects that it is but a
the Nation; in our constituent assembly this twenty-sixth strategic misnomer planted deliberately in the very heart
day of November, 1949, do hereby adopt, enact and give and soul of the Constitution to lead Hindi readers on a
to ourselves this Constitution. The Preambulary words decidedly wrong scent because according to the notori-
Socialist Secular are translated as Samajvadi Panth- ous shibboleth of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar there is
nirapeksha I think, that in all constitutional conscience, only one Dharma in India and the rest are all Panths.
to translate the word Secular' as Panthnirapeksha' rather
than Dharmanirapeksha' is a clever tampering with the
basic Preambulary and structural sanctity of the Consti-
tution. A Panth means in a straight dictionary meaning a 49 Sudarshan and hindu rashtra
sect or denomination of a religion. By no stretch of imag-
ination a religion can be termed as a sect:a genus cannot As Sudarshan said at Chandigardh on April 29, 2000 :
become a species. That this Hindi translation has been At the appropriate time, we will form Akhand Bharat
current since 1977 after the Forty-Second Amendment (United India). We have to regain the areas which we
throws a curious light on the religious ideological cross lost in 1947. We have to regain Lahore- the capital of
currents dominant in the then Parliament inuenced by Maharaja Ranjit Singhs Khalsa Raj. We have to reclaim
the majority religion. The rationalization which possi- Nankana Sahib and several other religious places, as also
bly prompted this translation is available in the Rajendra Sindhu (Indus) and Kasoor. The feeling for 'Akhand
Prasad Lecture of 1992 (I could not nd the Speakers Bharat' has to survive because it is akin to the feeling that
name on the net stating: It seems that there are three led to the unication of Germany, Vietnam and Poland
main reasons. In principle, it was accepted that the Indian {sic}. Partition of India was wrong (The Statesman,
27

April 30, 2000) The report continued: Asserting that Hindi translation goes back to 1977 bring out the fact as to
India was a Hindu 'Rashtra', Mr.Sudarshan said Hindu how saronising elements were active in the administra-
in this context referred to the nationality and added that tion, as well as the then ruling party, the Congress. This
there were many religions in India and the correct trans- is not surprising because as Prof.Mushirul Hasan notes
lation for the term in Hindi was not dharma' but panth' or in his article Self-appointed Sardar (The Indian Express,
'sampradaya'" (Quoted in The RSS and the BJP: A Divi- dt. 11-12-2002): Comunalism has been rampant in the
sion of Labour by A.G. Noorani. Sudarshan was address- Congress, indeed many a Congressman is a communalist
ing the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat. Over a dozen Sikh orga- under his national cloak and goes on to quote Jawahar-
nizations led a protest demonstration march demanding lal Nehru stating: all of us seem to be getting infected
a ban on the RSS and the Shiromani Akali Dal attacked with the RSS mentality. This is a curious nale to our ca-
the RSS for trying to inltrate into Sikh religion. There reers. Books are written to show the work of Hegdewar
has been a long a strong suspicion right from the assassi- and Ambedkar was same, and Shankaracharyas garland
nation of Mahatma Gandhi that the RSS cadres had inl- the photo of Dr. Ambedkar, Brahmanic dignitaries pay a
trated in various administrative departments. As Pyare- visit to Nagpur Diksha-bhoomi to pay tributes. And even
lal notes in Mahatma Gandhi: the Last Phase (1958) de- RSS supremo Sudarshan garlands the statue of Ambed-
scribing the antecedents of the conspiracy to murder the kar - the maker of the Indian Constitution - on Deekshab-
Mahatma over the lack of security despite the bomb in- hoomi at Nagpur, (and the Ambedkarites have washed
cident on 20th January 1948: " What, however surprises and puried the statue polluted by touch of someone
one, is that in spite of the denite and concrete infor- who condemns the Constitution.)
mation of which the authorities were in possession, they
should have failed to trace and arrest the conspirators and
frustrate their plan. The failure was an index of the extent 50 Atal bihari vajpayee & secular-
of the rot that had permeated many branches of the ser-
vices , not excluding the police. In fact later it was brought ism
to light that the RSS organization had ramications even
in the Government departments, and many police o- A pertinent pointer to this is available in the Prime Min-
cials, not to mention the ister Atal Bihari Vajpayees letter dt.July 17, 2000, com-
rank and le, gave their sympathy and even active help menting on the Islamic scholar, Dr.Raq Zakarias book
to those engaged in RSS activities...A letter which Sardar Discovery of God displayed on the back cover page of
Patel received after the assassination of Gandhiji from a his latest book Communal Rage in Secular India. Mr.
young man, who according to his own statement had been Vajpayees appreciation states:
gulled into joining the RSS organization but was later dis- Yet you have succeeded in presenting it in a fresh, sim-
illusioned, described how members of the RSS at some ple and highly persuasive manner, with the power of your
places had been instructed beforehand to tune in their ra- central thought that GOD IS ONE. This monotheistic
dio sets on the fateful Friday for the good news After thought is the dening principle of Indias age-old civi-
the news sweets were distributed in RSS circles in several lization. Our ancient sages articulated it in these words:
places...The rot was so insidious that only the supreme Ekam Sat Viprah Bahudha Vadanti (The truth is one,
sacirice could arrest or remove it. P. 756 If the poi- wise men describe it dierently). They also taught us
sonous rot of the RSS ideology was so deep at the dawn the secular canon, which is the basis of our nationhood:
of freedom one cannot simply imagine its hydra-headed Sarva Panth Samabhava (equal respect for all faiths) ' It
extent and its cancerous damage to the body politic. I, is worth noting that Mr.Vajpayee knows what he means
for one, remember distinctly as a lad of sixteen, the py- as a true Swayamsevaka , remember Sangh is his soul.
romania that prevailed in the RSS stronghold at Pune and Yet he makes a glaring linguistic slip by translating Panth
Sangli by the enraged mobs against the Brahmin commu- as faith. In 1995 Mr.Vajpayee declared that Hindutva
nity on learning about the identity of Nathuram Godse. and Indianness are one and the same when he was hon-
At Jaysingpur near Sangli (Maharashtra State) a mob set oured with Rashtriya Ekatmata (National Unity) award
on re a stationery shop of one Jain RSS Shakha Cha- by the R.G. Joshi Foundation in Mumbai at the hands of
lak who after garlanding a photo of Dr.Hedgewar and the late Mr.Nani Palkhivala The Prime Ministers well-
breaking the photo of the Mahatma distributed sweets. known expertise in doublespeak notwithstanding is there
When the furious mob attacked him he sought refuge be- any dictionary -excepting the unique RSS glossary of the
fore my father who happened to be a Civil Judge & Mag- Savarkarian Hindutva which has also been lucky enough
istrate. A Gandhian by temperament he pacied the vi- to gain the judicial stamp of approval in the Manohar
olent mob and refrained from ring. Such was my ear- Joshi case- which translates Panth' as faith' ? Can this
liest brush with the quintessential RSS ideology and its be anything else than a systematic linguistic sabotage of
demonic manifestations. That the Constitution is under the basic structure of the Constitution? By comparing
attack not externally, but from within is precisely what I two statements of Shri Atal Behari Bajpayee, one in 1980
am concerned to stress and this distortion of the Pream- and the others in 1995. In 1980 Shri Vajpayee said: I
bulary meaning is palpable enough. That genesis of the still feel that instead of the phrase Hindu rashtra we
28 52 MODERN MYTH OF HINDUISM

should have used 'bharatiya' ". The basic ideological am- subject to public order, morality and health and to the
bivalence in the terms 'Bharatiya, and 'Hindu' can best other provisions of this Part, all persons are equally en-
be appreciated use Bharatiya rashtra contrast it with titled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to
his statement in Dec. 1995 : There is no dierence profess, practice and propagate religion. (2) Nothing in
between Hindutva and Bharatiyatva, in Hindutva alone this article shall aect the operation of any existing law
are the roots of Bharat. Mr. Vajpayees ideological evo- or prevent the State from making any law- (a) regulating
lution during a decade and half towards Hindutva in- or restricting any economic any economic, nancial, po-
distinguishable from Bharatiyatva unmistakeable shows litical or other secular activity which may be associated
the inexorable march of the Bharatiya Janata Party to- with religious practice: (b) providing for social welfare
wards a Hindu India, thus coming back full circle to and reform or the throwing open of Hindu religious in-
Savarkars vision of India in his book Hindutva: This con- stitutions of a public character to all classes and section
stitutional ambiguity in the meaning of secularism as in- of Hindus. Explanation I,- The wearing and carrying of
terpreted by the stalwarts of the Sangh Parivar is a de- kirpans shall be deemed to be included in the profession
liberate ploy to subvert the Constitution towards the tri- of the Sikh religion. Explanation II,- In sub-clause (b)
umphal pilgrimage to the ultimate destination of Akhand of clause (2), the reference to Hindus shall be construed
Bharat or Hindu Rashtra . The point is the RSS will not as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh,
suer any opposition to its Hindutva and Hinduisation Jaina or Buddhist religion, and the reference to Hindu re-
by hook or by crook. The linguistic sleight of hand re- ligious institutions shall be construed accordingly. This
minds one of the classic interaction between Alice and the Article professedly laying down the Fundamental Right
Humpty Dumpty in Through the Looking Glass. The of conscience and religious faith is an intrinsic proof as
question is, said Alice, whether you can make words to how the Founding Fathers, at least the drafting com-
mean so many dierent things. The question is , said mittee members - it is pertinent to remember an earlier
Humpty Dumpty, which is to be the master- thats all. draft of the Constitution did not contain such distinguish-
In the above context of the Sikh protest it would be in- ing Explanations- entertain a basically Hinduized notion
teresting to note that recently the Sikh community made of India, that is Bharat. As noted by Gautam Navlakha
a strong representation to the Constitution Review Com- in his article Invoking Union and Ocial Nationalism of
mission that clubbing Sikhs with Hindus in Article 25 of Bharat in the book Region, Religion, Caste, Gender and
the Constitution had impinged on its status as a separate Culture
religion and dileted their religious identity. The Constitu- in Contemporary India Edited by T.V. Sathyamurthy :
tion Review Commission has recommended that the Ar- In view of the self-appointed role of the Indian state as
ticle should be suitably amended. the reformer of Hindu society, the tilt in favour of the reli-
gion of the majority became more and more pronounced,
and its use of symbols and concepts has become heavily
51 Jains & article 25 of constitu- overlaid with an emphasis on its Hindu character. (p.86).
As Romila Thapar suggests this new Hinduism, furnished
tion with a Brahmanical base, was merged with elements of
upper caste belief and ritual with one eye on the Chris-
To revert to the sectarian or Panthic' interpretation of tian and Islamic models and thoroughly infused with po-
the Constitution I shall now refer to how it has aected litical and nationalistic emphasis. Thapar notes it as syn-
the Jains also because the Jain religion and community dicated Hinduism which is being pushed forward as the
also has been victimized by this Hindutva religious hege- sole claimant of the inheritance of indigenous Indian reli-
monic operation. And again the Article 25 which lays gion. (Syndicated Moksha, in Seminar 313, Sept.1985,
down the freedom of conscience and religion is source of p.21)
constitutional mischief. I have been pursuing the ques-
tion of Jain minority recognition on par with the other
minority religious communities such as Muslim, Chris-
tian, Sikh, Buddhist, Zoroastrians (Parsis). But as far as 52 Modern myth of hinduism
the constitutional position is concerned Sikhs Buddhists
and Jains are sailing in the same boat and there is glar- How did this modern myth of Hinduism begin? It had its
ing discrimination because while Buddhists and Sikhs are origin in the Orientalism created by the colonial Sanskrit
recognized as minority religious communities under the scholars in the 19th century. As Richard King has dis-
National Minority Commission Act the Jains have been cussed in his book Orientalism and Religion :Postcolonial
left out even when the National Minority Commission theory, India and The Mystic East' He notes that William
has recommended twice that the Jains are not Hindus Jones in his role as Supreme Court Judge in India, initi-
and as such should be recognized as a minority commu- ated a project to translate the Dharmasastras in the mis-
nity. To quote Article 25 of the Constitution: Right to guided belief that this represented the law of the Hindus,
Freedom of Religion: 25. Freedom of conscience and in order to circumvent what he saw as the 'culpable bias
free profession, practice and propagation of religion- (1) of the native pundits. In taking the Dharmasastras as a
29

binding law-book, Jones manifests the Judeeo-Christian is also clear that the provision for social welfare and re-
paradigm within which he conceived of religion, and the form or throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of
attempt to apply such a book universally reects Jones a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus is
'textual imperialism'. The problem with taking the Dhar- also specically refers to the Hindu religion . It is impos-
masastras as pan-Indian in application is that the texts sible therefore to know what Constitutional purpose the
themselves were representative of a priestly elite (the founding Fathers were contemplating to serve by constru-
Brahmin castes), and not of Hindus in toto. Thus even ing the reference to Hindus as including a reference to
within these texts, there was no notion of a unied Hindu persons professing the Sikh, Jaina or Buddhist religion.
community, but rather an acknowledgment of a plurality Why was it necessary to drag these three Sikh, Buddhist
of local, occupational and caste contexts in which dier- and Jaina religions and club them together with the ref-
ent customs and or rules applied. As he notes succinctly erence to Hindus? Granted, the Founding Fathers were
further: It was thus in this manner that 'society was made keen to provide social welfare and reform or throw open
to conform to ancient dharmasastras texts, in spite of the Hindu religious institutions or temples to all classes
those texts insistence that they were overridden by local and sections of Hindus, or they were concerned to end
and group custom. It eventually allowed Anglicist admin- untouchability by law, or they contemplated to carry out
istrators to manipulate the porous boundary between reli- any other unspecied social or religious reform vis--vis
gion as dened by texts and customs they wished to ban. the Hindu religion. Still that does not explain the ratio-
(authors italics quoting from Rochers British Oriental- nale of including the other three religions of Indian origin
ism in the Eighteenth Century p.242 This colonial con- under the specious umbrella of the Hindu religion. Jain-
struction of 'Hinduism' contributed according to Richard ism and Buddhism do not have casteism. As a matter of
King to the merging of the Brahmanical forms of religion fact Mahavira who was the reformer of the ancient reli-
with Hinduism which is notable in the tendency to em- gion of Jainism specically gave the message of a caste-
phasize Vedic and brahmanical texts and beliefs as central less society and and gave a call against slaughter of ani-
and foundational to the 'essence of Hinduism and in the mals in sacricial Vedic Yajnas. Buddha did the same.
modern association of 'Hindu doctrine' with the various Sikhism too does not have untouchability. Therefore the
brahmanical schools of the Vedanta..."p.1O2 The politi- question remains what constitutional purpose was sought
cal consequences of the construction of such a common to be fullled by including Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists
Hindu identity are explained by Romila Thapar as : since among the Hindus. As B.Shiva Raus classic exposition
it was easy to recognize other communities on the basis The Framing of Indias Constitution: A Study shows that
of religion, such as Muslims and Christians, an eort was Article relating to religious freedom and particularly its
made to Explanation II including Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs in the
consolidate a parallel Hindu community... In Gramscis denition of Hindus was nalized by the Fundamental
terms, the class which wishes to become hegemonic has Rights Sub-Committee comprising of stalwarts like Sar-
to nationalize itself and the 'nationalist' Hinduism comes dar Patel, Dr.Ambedkar and Dr.Munshi without proper
from the middle class. (ImaginedReligious Communi- discussion. It is indeed a constitutional conundrum why
ties, pp.220-21) In the context of his Oriental and West- the Founding Fathers should have resorted to this devious
ern construct of Hinduism Richard King concludes that means of social welfare and reform of
the the classication of Buddhist, Jain and Sikhs as 'Hin- Hindu religious institutions by a blatant invasion of the
dus, is unacceptable for a number of reasons. First, it admittedly distinct sikh, Buddhist and Jain religious iden-
rides roughshod over religious diversity and established tities. Clause (b) of Article 25 and its specious Expla-
group aliation. Second, such an approach ignores the nation II is truly a religious Pandoras box. There is no
non-brahmanical and non-Vedic elements of these tradi- reason why the religious institutions of Sikh, Buddhist
tions. Fundamentally, such assimilation eectively sub- and Jain faiths should be treated on par with the Hindu
verts the authority of members of these traditions to religious ones to push forward Hindu social welfare and
speak for themselves. In the last analysis, neo-Vedantic reform. It could be a nothing but a surreptious attempt-
inclusivism remains inappropriate for the simple reason and rather a clumsy one- to take away the religious free-
that Buddhists and Jains do not generally see themselves dom guaranteed by that very Article under a pretentious
as followers of sectarian denominations of 'Hinduism'. Hindu pretext. A very unconvincing and clearly unten-
(my italics) pp. 108-09) able attempt which cannot be sustained by constitutional
rationalization. It conrms the suspicion that the particu-
lar clause was not discussed threadbare, nor does it appear
from the Constituent Assembly Debates that the protag-
53 Art.25 and religious freedom onists of Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs were given a fair op-
portunity to discuss its implications .
A careful reading of the Article 25 as a whole makes it
crystal clear that there is no reference to Hindu religion
except with reference to the Hindu religious institutions
of a public character in Sub-clause (b) of clause (2) . It
30 55 HINDUTVA AND MINORITIES

54 Savarkar & hindutva 55 Hindutva and minorities

Thus the construct of the Hindu colonial nationalist ethos


as detailed above has found its way in the very heart
of the Indian Constitution laying down the Fundamen-
tal Right for religious freedom and has made nonsense And with all such irreconciliable inconsistencies and
of its secular basic structure., thus coming back full cir- reservations on the meaning of the term Hindu in prac-
cle to Savarkars vision of of India in his book Hindutva tical terms the majority of those residing in India, having
written in 1923. It is pertinent to recall that articulat- faith in Vedas, and those not believing in Vedas such as
ing the concepts of Hindutva and Hinduness as political Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists are bundled together as Hin-
concepts Savarkar said: Asindhu Sindhu Paryanta yasya dus on the specious consideration that these are all fol-
Bharatbhumika pitrubhu punyabhu sarvaih hindu iti sm- lowing a Hindu way of life and hence are taken to be fol-
ritah that is One who considers the country or nation lowers of Hinduism. This is precisely where the crux of
spread between singhu river to the sea coast as his Father- the Minority problem, its communalization lies; just be-
land and Holyland is verily a Hindu. Pertinently one must cause Jains,Buddhists, Sikhs have grown together through
note that instead of Motherland Savarkar calls it Fa- centuries with the rest of the Brahminic Hindus and in-
therland', a peculiarly denitive partrilineal concept char- evitably other religious and ethnic minorities and there is
acteristic of Vedic and this Hindu' Brahminism which an intermingling of oustom, tradition and culture it can-
later developed into the racist and Fascist Nazi concept not simply mean that the non-Hindu or non-Vedics have
of pure Aryan Vaterland thus making the fascist geneol- forsaken their individual religious and ethnic identities.
ogy of Hindutva clearly evident. According to this conve- Likewise is the case of Christians and Muslims in In-
nient portmanteau denition of Hindu most of the In- dia that although they are forbidden from the mainstream
dians, except of course Muslims and Christians, compris- of the Pan-Hinduistic culture, yet the fact remains that
ing those believe in Vedas, as also, those not believing in as much as the Hindu, Jains and Buddhists have inu-
Vedas such as Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs, are lumped to- enced each other equally these so called alien faiths have
gether as 'Hindus. As explained by the Hindu-ideologue not remained aloof nor have not remained uninuenced
J.S. Karandikar in his Marathi book Hindutvavada Al- and certainly played an important role in the synthesis of
though Jains, Buddhists, Vedic, Burmese, Arya, Sikh , Indian or Bharatiya, and not Hindu culture. The whole
Manbhava, belong to dierenct religions sects Hindusim terminological muddle and the fundamentalist division in
is alone the spring source of all these sects and these have the Indian context can be traced to the desperate and im-
grown into separate branches at various times for vari- possible quest of the fanatic elements in the original Vedic
ous reasons .This leads to the pan-hinduistic position of Brahmanic, that is, the so called 'committed to Hindutva
Viveknanda stating that any religion in the world has its philosophy to fraudulently gobble minorities like Jains,
ultimate origin in Hinduism, but we do not want to con- Buddhists and Sikhs in their grand design to create a
nect Christian and Islamic religions by such farfetched Hindu Rastra' as a theological counterpoint to the ma-
relationship. Such being the Vedic pedigree and genesis jor minority of the Muslims in India. By a clever stoke of
of the term Hindutva one can well realize Mr. Atal Bihari constitutional drafting this was accomplished by such em-
Vajpayees somewhat tortuous journey towards accepting inent draftsman of the Fundamantal Rights Sub Commit-
the 'synonymousness of Hindutva and Bharatiyatva. But tee comprising of stalwarts like Dr. Ambedkar and Dr.
does it mean that the Munshi when Article 25 relating to religious freedom and
Bharatiya Janata Party will change its name as Hindu particularly its Explanation 2 including Buddhists, Jains
Janata Party. It is inconceivable that the BJP will take this and Sikhs in the denition of Hindus was nalized with-
ultimate nomenclatural ideological leap because the term out proper discussion. And if constitutional stalwarts in-
Hindutva for all its rigmarole of all inclusive Hinduish- cluding its very architech Dr. Ambedkar who had pub-
ness cannot connote the comprehensiveness, breadth and licly burnt Manu Smriti could be such unwitting victims
a certain secular cultural synthesis peculiar to the con- of the so-called Hindutva tradition so as to obliterate the
uence of a medley of religions, Eastern and Western, separate religious identities of well dened religious mi-
that have grown together through centuries, in the term norities albeit under the constitutional cover of certain
Bharatiya. And the moment BJP re-christians itself in limited objective one can well understand the logic of the
a rash Hindu brainwave it will be immediately branded Frankensteinian spread of Hindutva today intent on elim-
as 'fundamentalist ' and 'communal' like Muslim League inating the
or Vishwa Hindu Parishad. Hence one can make out why smaller religious denominations like Jainism, Buddhism
with all its ideological compulsions to paint the Indian and Sikhism. While Sikhs and Buddhists cannot be eas-
map with saron colour the BJP has prudently continued ily dealt with what with the militant and uncompromising
with the term 'Bharatiya', and still has innermost reserva- character of the one and the universal impact of the other
tions that 'Hindutva' and 'Bharatiyatva' cannot be one and Jains alone are left to fend for themselves with their non-
the same. violent creed.
31

56 Constitutional subterfuge and August 3, 1994.


ambedkar Madhu Kishwar has rightly argued in this paper that
There is almost no principle introduced by the Hindu
personal code which did not already exist somewhere in
This constitutional subterfuge,or almost a terminological the India as accepted law. On the other hand, there were
sleight of hand, was very much in evidence in the then several existing, much more liberal principles which were
Law minister, Dr. Ambedkars comments in the Clause decimated by the Hindu code. In their determination to
by Clause discussion of his Hindu Code Bill in Parliament put an end to the growth of custom, the reformers were
from 5th Feb. 1951 to 25th Sept. 1951 when various putting an end to the essence of Hindu law. But they per-
eminent Hindu and Muslim members, and particularly sisted in calling their codication Hindu'. Even more
Sikh members took serious objection of the terms Hindu' pertinently she has put her nger precisely on the crux
comprising Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains. They objected to of the issue in Hindu Law when she notes: There was
its communal, discriminatory character and were strongly no single or uniform body of canon law or Hindu pope to
critical of its circumlocutory, round about and circuitous legitimise a uniform code for all the diverse communities
way of dening who is Hindu. Some members very of India, no Shankaracharya whose writ ran all over the
clearly stated that the Bill in whatever form it was passed country.
should not be forced on any section of the Hindu commu-
nity or the Sikhs or Jains. Dr. Ambedkar tried to brush
aside these objections in a magisterial manner by saying
that the peculiarity about the Hindu religion, as I un- 57 Supreme court on hindutva
derstand it, that it is one religion which has got a legal
framework integrally associated with it... it would not But while the BJP is willing to stike but afraid to wound
be dicult to understand why Sikhs are brought under the Bharatiyatva' concept frontally despite Mr Vajpayees
the Hindu religion, why Buddhists are brought under the categorical assertion that Hindutva is synonymous with
Hindu religion and Jains are brought under the Hindu re- Bharatiyatva because it is still Bharatiya Janata Paty and
ligion... In this country although religions have changed not Hindu ' Janata party its Hindutva ideology has re-
the Law has remained one... The Jains come and ask: ceived judicial imprimature from the Supreme Court
'What are you going to do to us? Are you going to make of India in its judgment in the Election Petition case.
us Hindus? The Sikhs say the same thing. The Buddhists The Supreme Court judgment in cases against the Shiv
say the same thing. My answer to that is this: I cannot Sena BJP elected representatives upholding the concept
help it. You have been following a single law system and of Hindutva as the way of life of the people in the sub-
it is too late now for anyone to say that he shall reject this continent shows how even the highest judicial forum
legal system whole sale... That cannot be done. There- cannot remain immune to the deceptive spell of the Vedic
fore, the application of the Hindu Law and the Hindu Hindu metaphysical concepts and so-called Hindu tradi-
Code to Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs is a historical de- tion. The Supreme Court judgment is at once a high wa-
velopment to which you and I cannot give any answer. termark of the Hindutva impact in the highest judicial
(Dr. Ambedkar and the Hindu Code Bill, Dr. Babasa- echelons of the country and also a crucial challenge to
heb Ambedkar Writings and Speeches, Vol.14, Part Two, the Preambulary secular constitutional character of the
1995 , Pp.886-888) Dr. Ambedkars contention of a his- Indian Nation. The Supreme Court in its judgment has
torical and hegemonic operation of Hindu Law in India attempted to do something which was not dictated by its
was categorically rebutted by Sardar Hukam Singh and jurisdiction nor called for, that is, arriving at a denition
Sardar B.S.Mann. Sardar B.S. Mann quoted Maynes of Hindutva' and Hinduism' something from which even
Hindu Law which says: As regards the village communi- the foremost scholars have shied away. The apex court
ties the Punjab and the adjoining districts are the region has rushed in where the angles fear to tread and veritably
in which alone they ourish in their primitive rigour. This opened a Pandoras box. It did not pause to consider that
is the tract which the Aryans must have rst traversed on if Hinduism and Hindutva per se is a way of life it could be
entering India. Yet it seems to have been there that Brah- similarly the case with Islam, Christanity or any other re-
minism most completely failed to take root and the reli- ligion. In ancient times India was known as Jambu-Dvipa
gious element has never entered into their secular law. or Bharatvarsha. As Mahamahopadhyaya P.V. Kane says
Commenting on this Sardar Mann said: If I have en- in his monumental History of Dharma Shastra the cor-
joyed emancipation from Manu for so long a time, will it rect word to describe our country must be Bharatvarsha.
not be tyranny of the times if I have to submit now to a It is simply incredible therefore to nd such colossal ig-
modern Manu. Let me give credit to Manu that at least norance of our ancient Indian heritage and culture. Per-
he was original in many respects, but my modern Manu - haps it is not ignorance but simply the judges were un-
Oh, what a fall has he had!" In this context I would like to able to dissociate from their minds the very deep impact
refer to a searching analysis of the Hindu Law by Madhu of their Hindu upbringing and look dispassionately at the
Kishwar in her article Codied Hindu Law : Myth and fundamentalist manifestation of the Hindu' spectre of the
Reality published in the Economic and Political Weekly BJP brand. Such 'faithful' aberrations even at the high-
32 58 MAHAVIRA AND HIS MESSAGE OF AHIMSA

est judicial level are enough disquieting indication of the the other world comes rst. Brahman and Maya are both
irreparable damage being done to the secular constitu- real, but Brahmhan is the ultimate reality. This ulti-
tional fabric. In a strong rebuttal of the Supreme Court mate/provisional duality has been resolved into a unity
judgments in an article Brenda Cossman and Ratna Ka- in the Vedanta of non duality. (quoted in Gail Omvedts
pur (Economic and Political Weekly, Sept 21,1996) have Dalit Visions p.8) Gail Omvedt pertinently notes: This
argued that assertion leads to the political line of the Vishwa Hindu
Hindutva continues to be a political category that at its Parishad that there may be various versions of what is de-
core is an attack on the legitimacy of minority rights and ned as the Hindu tradition (Sikhism , Buddhism, Jain-
ism, Arya Samaj and Sanatan dharma re the ones usually
that the Supreme Court has failed to understand the as-
sault on religious minorities that is a constituent element mentioned), but there is no question that the core is 'tra-
ditional Hindusim-sanatan dharma.
of the concept of Hindutva. From its roots in the writing
of Savarkar to its contemporary deployment by the likes Such being the signs of the Hindutva times in India the
of Bal Thackeray, Manohar Joshi, Sadhvi Ritambara and writing on the wall is extremely disquieting for the mi-
L.K. Advani, Hindutva has been based on the idea of In- norities. Yet one can still discern a way out in this funda-
dian society fractured by the conict between Hindus and mentalist miasma in the transhumanistic message given
Muslims, wherein the majority of Hindus have been and to the world by Mahavira , the 24th and last Tirthamkara
continue to be oppressed at the hands of the Muslim mi- I shall revert to a discussion of the abiding message of
nority, Hindutva is a call to unite against these religious peace, non-violence and universal compassion given by
minorities; at best it is call to assimilate these minorities Mahavira.
into the ostensibly more tolerant fabric of Hindusm, and
at its more modest assimillationist mode and in its more
extreme and violent mode, Hindutva is an attack on the 58 Mahavira and his message of
rights, indeed, on the very legitimacy of religious minori-
ties. As a call to assimilate or otherwise undermine the ahimsa
very identity and integrity of minority communities, it is
based on a total disregard and lack of respect for other re- It was the priceless legacy of non-violent culture nur-
ligious group. (Emphasis supplied) This is precisely the tured by ages of spiritual cultivation which Mahavira
dilemma and danger the Jain community is contending Vardhamana the 24th Tirthankara was destined to in-
with in its ght for recognition as a minority community. herit and propagate for the enduring benet of human-
In a powerful theoretical exploration of Hindutva and fas- ity. Mahavira was the ascetic leader of the renascent
cism and the RSS' ability to capitalise on such anti secular Jainism. As the propagator of the principle of ahimsa
traditions Aijaz Ahmad says in his recent book Lineages paramo dharmah non-violence is the greatest religion-
of the Present: Political Essays that we in India need to be Mahavira preached fervently against the decadent ritu-
especially careful in our understanding of the relationship alistic practices of Brahmanism culminating in the sup-
between fascism and the oppression of minorities. As put position that propitiation of heavenly deities like Indra
by him, Racism, in our case, communalism, can arise as and Varuna through sacricial res was the highest re-
the centerpiece of fascist demagogy and fascists can then ligion. Mahavira pointed out to his followers that such
fashion a comprehensive programme for organizing the slaughter of animals was the very travesty of religion. He
heretofore unorganized mass morbidity; countless mem- stressed that all life is sacred and equal. Mahavira was the
bers of the minority can undoubtedly suer in the pro- scion of the princely family of Licchavi, the son of king
cess, and there may be even a fully edged holocaust; but Siddhartha of Kundapura and queen Trisala, daughter of
the real object of the fascists is not the elimination of Licchavi king Cetaka. Mahavira belonged to the Jnatr
the minority but the construction of a fascist state, hence clan. There is unanimity among both the principal sects
the subjugation of the whole society.. The hegemonic of Jainas, Digambara and Shwetambara on the place of
operation of the Hindutva fascist ideology spawned by his birth being Kundapura in Videha (Hari Purana, 2,4,
the Sangha parivar combine of BJP VHP Ram Sewak Uttara Purana, 74, 251) and hence Bhagwana Mahavira
Samity Hindu Sangam et al has penetrated the constitu- is also known as Videhaputra and Videhasukumara. He
tionally forbidden precincts of the Supreme Court; and is also spoken of an 'Vesaliya' (Sutra Kritanga, 1,2: Ut-
its march is unabating as it aspires even to encroach upon taradhyana 6) which conrms according to Dr.Hiralal
the ideologically impregnable fortress of Marxism as is Jain his Vaisali citizenship. Therefore, the western in-
evident in the extravagant claim made in a book entitled dologists Dr. Hoernle and Jacobi are inclined to accept
The Experience of Hinduism by Sadashiv Bhave, State Vaisali as the correct birthplace of Mahavira. There is
University of New York Press, 1988: Christians, nay slight variation regarding certain incidents in Mahaviras
even the Marxists, of todays India cannot help partak- life in Digambara and Swetambara traditions. According
ing of it they are all Hindu Bharatiya at heart.. What is to Digambara version he remained a bachelor till the age
it to be Hindu Bharatiya? What does it involve? Chiey, of 30 and then was ordained as an ascetic. But accord-
the accepting of the other world as well as this World, ing to the Swetambara tradition Mahavira married and
the attempt to reconcile the two. But between the two had a daughter married to Jamala who was his disciple
33

for some time. While at the time of diksa Mahavira dis- gadhi, the language of the people and his spoken words
carded all his clothes as Digambara tradition states, the can be discerned in Thananga, esp. in Thananga 4. As
Swetambaras say that he did not discard all his clothes Dr.Schubring observes: In them Mahavira renders proof
for one and half years after diksa. Bhagwan Mahavira of his extensive practical experience of both his profound
attained kevalajnana (omniscience) after twelve years of knowledge of the world and of human nature, and had
hard rigorous penance on the banks of the river Rijukula they been handed down to us in an oratorical form, the
near Jrmbhakagrama under a sala tree. For the next thirty Canon of the Jains would certainly be not inferior to that
years Bhagwan Mahavira was an itinerant of various re- of the Buddhists aesthetically. Dr.Schubring also pays
gions propagating his teachings and the establishment of Mahavira the compliment of having been the most ver-
his Ford (Tirtha). This is unanimously agreed upon by satile thinker we know of in ancient India."(Ibid. p.40)
both the sects. But while according to Digambara tra- Unexcelled as a teacher Mahavira was also a great organ-
dition Mahavira gave his rst sermon on the Vipulacala iser of Jaina ascetics and the laity both male and female.
mountain near Rajgraha, the Swetambaras maintain that The Order of the Jain Samgha is again a clear conrma-
he delivered it near Pava. Bhagwana Mahavira attained tion of his systematic thinking. He divided his disciples
to nirvana at the age of 72 years near Pavapuri accord- into four sections as I) Muni, ii) Aryika, iii) Sravak and
ing to both the traditions. That the saints and prophets iv) Sravika, the First two belonged to the monastic or-
are stoned in their time was true of Bhagwan Mahavira der while the last two were of the laity. This was Ma-
also. During his ascetic peregrinations in Magadha and haviras four-fold Samgha. What are the salient points
Bengal Mahavira braved inclement weather and suered of Mahaviras teaching? He was not only an original
from human wickedness and persecution. He bore thinker but also a bold religious innovator and a fearless
everything with a sense of equanimity and constant in- reformer. It would not be an exaggeration to say that this
dierence. Thus Bhagwan Mahavira lived up to his last Tirthankara of Jainism gave a new orientation to the
hononic- a great valiant being. Soon with the attain- time honoured fundamental principles of Jaina religion
ment of omniscience animosity gave place to reverence and its unique ethical system. Dr.Schubring emphatically
and as Dr. Schubring puts it: but with his fame increas- states that Mahaviras teachings indicate a denite
ing, the vicissitudes he had to suer from the side of hu- development in practical ethics beyond Parsvasideas
mans ceased and changed into respect and reverence. where the four-fold morality, the caujjama dhamma is re-
(The Doctrine of the Jainas, P. 36) placed by the panca-mahavaiya sapadikamana dhamma.
In prescribing clearly the commandements regarding sex-
ual abstention and non-possession Mahavira did away
with certain ambiguity in Parsvas teaching and made his
59 Mahavira : man & his mission fth commandment applicable to both sexes. Mahavira
also introduced certain rigorousness in ascetic practices
What kind of a human being was Mahavira and how did by discarding clothes because his predecessor Parsva had
he organize his religious order? As Dr.Colette Caillat only clothed adherents. Thus one can say that Jain-
puts it: One knows but little about the personality of ism attained to a reformation and renaissance in Ma-
the Jina. He appears to have been of a proud character haviras time and it would be proper to speak of Ma-
of not so aable a temperament as that of Buddha or of haviras Jainism from sixth century B.C. though he was
Parsva. If, as it is probable, from the traits revealed by not its founder. There is also certain harmonious bal-
the Jaina scriptures of his personality one can recognise ance in this conception because in his previous birth Ma-
in him a systematic mind. A propensity for classica- havira was the grandson of the rst Tirthankara Rishab-
tion and categories (which are not rare in Indian works, hdeva who had told Bharata that his son Marica would be
a taste for numbers, calculations, geometric gures and a the 24th Tirthankara. And it is but natural that the last
tendency to convince rather that to persuade.. the mono- Tirthankara in a cycle of time should make the circle of
graph Le Jinisme translated into English from French by Jainistic evolution complete by infusing it with a new dy-
Bal Patil) This is corroborated by Dr.Schubring who men- namic ethos of spiritualu rebirth which is continuing with
tions of Mahaviras success as a teacher monumental unabated vitality in this 2600th janma kalyanaka of Ma-
gures of which are given in Jinacarita, 134. Further, havira. Mahaviras protest against violence to animals in
as regards the manner of Bhagwan Mahaviras preach- the name of religion was a magnicently humane gesture
ing: For as well as always he remains impersonal, and and it reawakened the people to the innate dignity of all
even where he rejects contradictory often rather foolish- life under the sun howsoever small and mean in the eye of
teachings of other preachers (annutthiya) he does so by man. To have discovered unity of life in all organic phe-
speaking in naked antithesis. It was probably in his na- nomena and to have stressed the right to live peacefully
ture to be non-committal and stern... He would never of all creatures was the greatest spiritual triumph of Ma-
have been able to succeed without giving his words touch havira. He based his teaching on the most obvious prin-
of originality and power, and his oratorical gifts is certain ciple that all creatures like to live, none wants to die, and
to have excelled the high measure customary in India by therefore all life should be protected. (Acharanga Sutra)
far... (Ibid.Pp. 39-40) Mahavira preached in Ardhama-
34 61 MAHAVIRA & BUDDHA

60 Mahavira & his 'alleged' meat- ism to its logical conclusion .No other religions commu-
nity in India has gone so far to avoid killing of any kind of
eating organic life for the purpose of nourishment. Since Gau-
tam Buddha, founder of Buddhism, belonged to the same
It is in this context of Mahaviras high renown as the region of Magadha as Mahavira, the 24th Tirthamkar of
apostle of non-violence I wish to digress here on an in- Jainism and both were contemporaries it was assumed er-
cident alleged to have taken place in Mahaviras life. In roneously that Jainism is an oshoot of Buddhism. It is
this incident Bhagwan Mahavira is stated so have par- now accepted that Jainism is not only older than Bud-
taken of marjarakrta kukkutamamsa given by a Sravika dhism but as shown earlier in this essay it has got its roots
named Revati of Mendhiyagrama a remedy for high fever going deep into the antiquity in pre-Aryan and pre-Vedic
caused by tejolessya thrown by his renegade disciple Gos- times.
ala. Whatever the explanation one cannot believe that the
arch- missionary of ahimsa could have partaken of meat
to save his life. It is prima facie patently absurd that a
preacher of ahimsa who is avowed to pancamahavrtas as 61 Mahavira & buddha
a duly ordained Jaina ascetic to seek the way of salvation
according to Jaina canon would even dream of touching Mahavira was an elder contemporary of Buddha. As
meat to save his life. It at all the incident is faithfully a matter of a fact, Buddhist literature and history es-
reported in the scriptures the phrase must be ascribed tablish that after he had renounced the world Buddha
metaphorical meaning as suggested by Prof. Jacobi in was for some time an ascetic following the Jain cult of
his revised opinion of his translation of Jaina Sutras as Parsvanatha, the 23rd Tirthamkar whose death took place
expressed in his letter quoted in Professor H.R. Kapa- 250 Years before Mahavira. In the Buddhist scripture
dias article 'Prohibition of Flesh-eating in Jainism' pub- Majjhimnikaya Mahasihanada Sutta 12 Buddha himself
lished in the Review of Religion and Philosophy Vol.. IV. tells his disciples of his severe ascetic experiences when
No.2, Sept. 1933). I think therefore that the story must he rst took to asceticism at the hands of Muni Pihitas-
be rejected as highly apocryphal. Again I nd it rather rava who was a follower of Parsvanatha. Buddha has nar-
strunge that a renowned indologist Professor Ludwig Als- rated how he went naked, took food in his own palms
dorf should assert: It is needless to refute in detail Ja- and followed various other rigorous restrictions expected
cobis argumentation (not completely cited here): a dis- of a Sramana ascetic. Buddha followed this practice for
passionate reading of Ayaranga section should be enough some time when he felt it was too rigorous, and therefore
to convince the readers that the text is really meat and gave up Jain ascetic practice, wore saron-coloured cloth
esh. (From my unpulished translation of Prof.Alsdorfs and founded his own middle-path which became known
German monograph History of Vegetarianism and Cow- as Buddhism.
worship in Ancient India). With due respect I have to Modern Buddhist scholar and Buddhist Bhikshu Dhar-
submit that Prof.Alsdorf has completely failed to appre- mananda Kosambi has said; In Tripitakas, there is a
ciate the spirit of ahimsa in Jainism and how it would be mention in several places about Nirgrantha- Jainas. From
inconceivable especially for an avowed ascetic leader like this it is clear that the Nirgrantha tradition was in exis-
Mahavira who is moreover the most revered Tirthankara tence many years before Buddha. It is mentioned in the
(Ford-maker) to partake of meat to save his life. In this Anguttara Nikaya that one " Bappa named Shakya (be-
regard when I wrote to Dr..A.N.Upadhye when translat- longing to the clan of Shakyas in which Buddha was born)
ing this monograph by Alsdorf pointing out the utter in- was a lay follower (Sravaka) of the Nirgranthas (Jain).
congruity of the story Dr.Upadhye responded to me say- In the same Suttas Atthahatha it is also said that this
ing that I was right in my contention that it was dicult Bappa was an uncle of Buddha. It may be mentioned
to conceive the arch-missionary of ahimsa would partake here that Nirgrantha means unattached, without posses-
of meat under any circumstances, however, it is a mat- sions, an ancient name for the Jain community. It should
ter for further research and enquiry why such words with be noted that both Siddhartha and Trishala, parents of
double meaning were used at all in our important ancient Mahavira, are described in the Acharanga-Sutra,- Jain
scriptures. I guess it must have been an interpolation in scripture as followers of Parsva. As noted by Padman-
the original text. Here it would be important to relate abh S. Jaini, Professor of Buddhist Studies at the Uni-
how ahimsa in Buddhism is not absolute as compared versity of California, in his book The Jain Path of Pu-
to Jainism. Buddhism has not been as thoroughgoing as rication :"Buddhist texts refer to the existence of large
Jainism in its observance of ahimsa. Buddhism justies numbers of Niganthas (unattached ones) who followed
meat-eating so long as one does not kill the animal for his the Catuyama Samvara, the fourfold restraint that Jacobi
food but purchases meat from the butcher. But in Jainism and others have convincingly identied with the teach-
holding the principle of ahimsa paramo dharmah- non ing of Parsva. Such references, moreover, suggest a Jain
violence is the greatest religion- vegetarianism is strictly community older than that of the Buddhists, hence pre-
observed. The Jains have been the primary exponents of dating Mahavira himself. (P. 10) As Prof. Jacobi notes;
vegetarianism in India. The Jains have taken vegetarian- The Nirgranthas are frequently mentioned by the Bud-
35

dhists, even in the oldest part of the Pitakas. But I have intervention of any authority. The operation of karma
not yet met with a distinct mention of the Buddha in any theory is something unique in the Jaina religious system
of the old Jain Sutras. As it is inconsistent with our as- because it dispenses utterly with any divine agency. Jain-
sumption of a contemporaneous origin of both creeds, ism does not recognise a supreme being as the creator of
we are driven to the conclusion that the Nirgranthas were this universe. It says that the world is there from begin-
not a newly founded sect of Buddhas time. This seems to ningless time and it will be there without end. There is
have been the opinion of the Pitakas too, for we nd no in- not one entity charged with the conduct of this vast uni-
dication to the contrary in them. (On Mahavira and His verse because if it were so a perfect godhead could not
Predecessors in The Indian Antiquary, IX, 1880 158- have tolerated so much evil and apparent inconsistency in
163) Again as Dr. Herman Jacobi, states in his article on human aairs. Also, an impersonal supreme being could
Jainism in Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics (Vol II, not possibly concern Himself with mundane aairs be-
pp465-74).' Notwithstanding the radical dierence in cause it would be a taint on His perfection. And so having
their philosophical notions, Jainism and Buddhism being dispensed with a supreme arbiter of human destiny Jain-
outside the place of Brahmanism, present resemblances ism asks each individual to strike his own path for his sal-
in outward appearance, so that even Indian writers oc- vation. It devises the eminently rational concept of karma
casionally have confounded them. It is therefore not to according to which every individual shall reap the fruit of
be wondered that some European scholars who became his actions, good or bad, in this life or in cycle of births
acquainted with Jainism through inadequate samples of and deaths till he has completely wiped out the karmic
Jain literature easily persuaded themselves that it was an taint. Thus, Jainism places a great responsibility on the
oshoot of Buddhism. But it has since been proved that frail human shoulders, and gives each man a passport to
their theory is wrong. Godhood only warning him that he may do evil at his own
peril because each one will have to reap as he sows. The
essence of this teaching is that man is truly the architect of
his destiny and that the liberation of soul from the last ves-
62 Mahaviras teachings tige of karmic particles is synonymous with supreme bliss
or salvation commensurate with divinity. This dispens-
To revert to the discussion of Mahaviras teachings it ing with the divine instrumentality leads one to the mis-
was logical that after stressing the supremacy of nonvio- taken notion that Jainism is an atheistic religion. Noth-
lence in human activity Mahavira should have simultane- ing could be farther from truth. As already pointed out
ously emphasized the cardinal importance of self-control. above in the discussion of Jain concept of God and wor-
Non-violence did not mean merely abstention from phys- ship of Tirthamkara and explained by Dr.A.N.Upadhye
ical violence: it was abstention from violence in thought By God Jainism understands a liberated soul as well as
and word as well. Therefore, he rightly stressed that to the Tirthamkara, who is the highest spiritual ideal after
control the self is the hardest thing to achieve. In Ma- which every soul can aspire: the God is an example to
haviras time Varnasrama system had congealed into un- inspire and to guide. Thus the basis of Jaina conception
mitigated casteism. It was a far cry indeed from the noble is much dierent from that of Hinduism.... Respectful
and universal principles enunciated in the ancient scrip- prayers are oered to the Tirthamkaras, liberated soul,
tures. Mahavira instinctively felt it to be his mission to preceptor, preacher and monk because these represent
lift this curtain various stages of the souls spiritual progress. ...Jainism
is thus the religion of self-help and can be practiced by
of ignorance which made man to hate man, and to
the self-reliant, strong and brave. (JAINISM by Colette
reawaken in him a sense of innate equality of all hu-
Caillat, A.N. Upadhye & Bal Patil, (Macmillan 1974)
man beings. Mahavira, therefore, declared that deeds and
not birth make man what he is. In a trenchant saying The uniqueness of the Jaina karma doctrine can be
in Uttaradhyayana Sutra Mahavira pinpoints this: No- illustrated by pointing out that there is no room for pre-
body becomes a Sramana by shaving his head, nor does determination or Nature in it. Determinism leads one
a man become a Brahman by reciting Om. One is not to postulate that whatever happens happens necessarily:
hailed as muni by residing in the forest or become an as- this rules out exercise of Free Will.. As regards Nature
cetic by wearing grassclothes. One becomes a Sramana its all-pervasive nature is succinctly expressed in the
by a sense of equality, a Brahmin by chastity, a muni by following verse in Bhagvad-gita: But the Jaina theory of
knowledge and an ascetic by penance. Man becomes a karma which clearly lays down that one reaps as one sows
Brahmin ksatriya, Vaisya or Sudra by his deeds only. It rules out any external agency but the self in the formation
was a revolutionary assertion in the context of the times and elimination of karmas. The uniqueness of the Jaina
and Mahavira admitted into the Jains ascetic fold all peo- karma doctrine is not only fascinating but also scientic
ple including women regardless of caste considerations. and rational in its logical process of cause and eect.
Under the banner of Jainism for the rst time man could Indeed, as Dr.Mohanlal Mehta ashows in his monograph
aspire to open the higher portals of knowledge. And Ma- on Jaina Psychology the Jaina account of Karma viewed
havira taught that every man was entitled to salvation -a in its dual dialectic nature and synthesis becomes the
state of soul shorn of all karma- on his own without the basis of Jaina psychology. According to Jainism every
36 63 BHAGVAD GITA AND THEORY OF KARMA A NOTE ON THE HINDU VIEW OF SALVATION

individual soul in its pristine state of purity posscsses one can exonerate the Hindu view of salvation from such
innite apprehension, innite comprehension, innite an implicit assumption because what it meant on its pos-
bliss and innite power. But this untrammelled spiritual itive side was an escape from the self centred life, a re-
power of the soul comes to be obscured by the foreign lease into a fuller and wider consciousness Here and Now
impact of physical matter just as suns light is obscured had the undesirable eect of cultivating a studied indif-
by dust, fog or cloud. As put by Dr.Mehta: The Jaina ference to and negation of this life as merely an illusion to
tradition distinguishes between physical karma and be wondered at, got exasperated by but never to be chal-
psychical karma. The former is material in nature, lenged. The negative side of the eminently noble view
whereas the latter comprises those psychical eects and of salvation only ourished making the individual blind
states which are produced in the soul due to the inux to everything else and of course, very honourably too and
of physical karma. The former is the karmic matter concentrate in ivory tower of the ascetic ideal, musing
and enters into the self. The physical and psychical with an immense self complacent feeling the utter hope-
karmas are mutually related to each other as cause and lessness and the vacuity of all human endeavour. The
eect. (Jaina Psychology. p. 15)This is expressed in consequent lack of the development of a practical and
Sarvarthasiddhi of Shri Pujyapada as The action of social ethic did indeed have grave repurcussions on the
the body,the organ of speech and the mind is called subsequent evolution of the Indian history. India did re-
yoga (activity) and it (this threefold activity) is inux main shackled in medieval times till late in the nineteenth
(asrava)'.(Reality, Engl. tran. by S. A. Jain Pp. 167-68) century, and it would not be unfair to say that even now
The liberation from the shackles of karma which are this traditional view is a chief obstacle in the way of the
fundamentally eighth in kind, namely, I) jnanavaraniya emergence of a modern way of life embodying human-
karma, (comprehension- obscuring, ii) darsanavaraniya istic social principle in the state policy. How far do you
karma-apprehension-obscuring,iii)Vedaniya-feeling think this criticism is valid? My point is that in ancient
roducing,iv)mohaniyakarma- deluding, v) ayus karma - India the other-worldly ideal gained an upper hand out all
age-determining, vi) nama karm physique-making, vii) proportions, and relegated everything else to the back-
gotra karma- status- determining and viii) antariya karma ground. It created an over all climate of world-weariness
- power- obscuring, is attainable in Jainism through a crystallized in an attitude that life is no doubt an intolera-
avowed practice of ratnatraya dharma as put in a Sutra: ble burden to be borne, but it is not given to question why
samyagdarsana jnanacaritrani moksamargah - Right it is so. We can only pray and wait. Was this not a natu-
Faith, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct constituting ral consequence of placing too great an emphasis on the
together the path of salvation. A harmonious attainment otherworldly goal? And did it not result into a socially ap-
of all the three together leads one to moksa. athetic ethic? And moreover, there is another diculty.
You may act in a disinterested spirit, and renounce the
fruits of action, but the point is whether you have acted
at all. Dr. Radhakrishanan has interpreted this philoso-
63 Bhagvad gita and theory of phy to mean that the question is not, what shall I do to be
karma a note on the hindu view saved? But in what spirit shall I do? Detachment of spirit
and not renunciation of the world is what is demanded
of SALVATION from us. Action done in a disinterested spirit does not
blind or sully the soul. But this leaves the question unan-
I wish to refer here to my note given to Dr. A.L. Basham, swered: How such concern got itself translated in some
author of The Wonder that was India, and Professor at the tangible action as disintinguished from merely individual
Australian National University, School of General Stud- eorts for his welfare? Did it transcend into the social
ies, when he delivered his Heras Memorial Lectures for sphers around him? What exactly are the implications
the year 1964 at the Heras Institute of Indian History and of ancient Indian view of life Negative or Positive, and
Culture, at St. Xaviers College, Bombay in response to how did such a view react on life around?" BAL PATIL
which Dr. Basham recast him third lecture on Religious Dr.Basham was good enough to respond to my Note as
life in Ancient Indiaand a reference to the same note ap- the following remarks in the published version of his lec-
pears in the published version of the lectures entitled: As- tures shows.An Excerpt from Dr. A.L. Bashams Aspects
pects of Ancient India Culture [(Asia) p.30] 71 of Ancient Indian Culture containing some remarks in re-
sponse to the above note:
The Hindu view of Salvation with all the secondary em-
phasis on the conscientious carrying out of the duties at- RELIGIOUS LIFE : I have decided to recast this lec-
tendant upon the three subsidiary goals of Dharms, Artha ture in the light of a remarkable document, which was
and Kama piety, pleasure, and prot had the sole eect of handed to me yesterday by a young man who attended my
turning ones attention from the problems of this life. In- rst two meetings and was apparently rather impressed
dividual became concerned with his salvation, his attain- by my emphasis on the essential individualism of ancient
ment of Moksa by shedding away all the Karmic mun- Hindu thought. Among other things, he writes: The
dane coils, and social fellowship was all forgotten. Such Hindu view of salvation meant on its positive side an es-
an inculcation, thought admittedly not perhaps intended cape from the self centred way of life, a release into a
37

fuller and wider consciousness here and now. But it had found within the rst three chapters of the extant Bhag-
the undesirable eect negatively of cultivation a studied vadgita. The remaining fteen chapters from Chapter
indierence to and a negation of this life and merely an il- IV to XVIII, containing 538 verses, have been interpo-
lusion to be wondered at, got exasperated by, but never to lated. (p. 130) In a devastating analysis of the far-
be challenged. This negative side of salvation only our- reaching destructive consequences of systematic Brah-
ished by making the individual blind to everything else... minic interpolations on the Indian civilisation and cul-
and enabling him to concentrate in an invory tower on ture after 8th century A.D. Sinha states: Reworking the
the ascetic ideal, musing with an immensely superior and original Gita to form the Bhagvadgita was not merely the
pleasant fueling on the utter hopelessness and the vacuity modication of a book. It was a surreptious plot to dis-
of all human endeavour. It was all maya and so natu- mantle the whole intellectual edice of the Indian cul-
rally could not be bothered about. This vary interesting ture which had been built up over a thousand years. the
note gives a personal and pessimistic view of the classical changes not only stopped the tide of rationalism in In-
Indian attitude to life, and its author concludes with a dian life but also seduced people into believing and ac-
request for kind consideration of this aspect in your lec- cepting the false as genuine, alien as indigenous, religious
ture on religious thought. So I have revised the notes of as political, and mystical as rational. The consequences
this lecture, and perhaps some of my remarks may give were deep, all-encompassing, and bewildering. India, in-
an implicit answer, if not a direct one, to the writer of deed, was pushed into a 'dark age'...the interpolators also
this very interesting, sincere and eloquently written docu- made changes in many other works of that time to estab-
ment. Again in 1968 in reply to my letter concerning the lish textual support in their favour. It was for this rea-
problem of decipherment of the Indus scipt dr.Basham son that the interpolations were made in the Rig Veda,
wrote (dated 12th March): I was very pleased to receive the Epics, Samkhya Karika, and Yoga Sutra. (p. 105)
your letter dated 3rd March, and I have not forgotten your As further noted pertinently by the author: "(the) bands
intelligent and well-worded note, which stimulated me to of proselytizers for the new Brahmanic faith were orga-
alter the Hears lecture in question. I am glad that you nized at four dierent centers (mathas) during the time
found the printed version of the lectures stimulating.... I of Shankaracharya. These teachers received increasing
was interested in your notes about the Indus Valley civi- political protection and patronage. At the same time, the
lization. It is full of problems and uncertainties and in my national opponents of the new faith were forced into si-
opinion, even with the most up to date methods and the lence. In such an atmosphere, the people had to accept
use of computers; it is unlikely that the script will ever the the doctrines of the new faith even when they did not
be deciphered, unless much new material in this script is agree with them. This enforced obedience of the Indian
discovered. " I gratefully acknowledge the creative impe- people towards the newly coined doctrines and codes of
tus to my further research in religious philosophy given behaviour which, though benecial to the Brahmans as a
by Dr.Bashams spirit of giving due consideration to an caste, were disastrous to India as a nation, as a political
opposite point of view in a democratic spirit. Later on entity, and as a culture. (Ibid.p.105)
I learnt that Dr.Basham was born in India and began his
writing career as a journalist which again strikes a chord
of anity because I have been a journalist and writer all
my life 65 Five Jain maha vratas - great
vows

64 THE GITA AS IT WAS Re- The ve Great Vows enabling one to attain Ratnatraya
are i) ahimsa - non-violence, ii) satya- truthfulness, iii)
discovering the Original Bhag- asteya-non-stealing, iv) brahmacarya- abstention from
wadgita sensuality and v) a-parigraha-abstention from greed. This
regimen of Vows or vratas is no doubt essential for the
prevention of karmic matter and their psychic conver-
Almost a quarter century later after I questioned the sion, but it can be only a meaningful spiritual activity if
karmanyevadhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachana of Bhag- it is simultaneously pursued with an equanimous medita-
vadgita I came across a remarkable book entitled as THE tive contemplation of the high emancipated destiny of the
GITA AS IT WAS: Rediscovering the Original Bhag- soul in a prayerful spirit. This process can be best char-
vadgita by Dr.Phulgenda Sinha (1986, Open Court,) In acterized as what is known as samayika in Jainism. It is
a hard-hitting critique of the Gita Sinhas thesis is that in this context Dr.Upadhyes remark quoted above that
Bhagwadgita as it is has been extensively interpolated. Respectful prayers are oered to the Tirthamkaras, lib-
As the author has analysed the total number of verses erated soul, preceptor, preacher and monk because these
in the original gita is 84. The original begins with the represent various stages of the souls spiritual progress
verse number 28 of the Bhagvadgita and ends with verse becomes pertinent. Meditative prayer is found to oc-
43 cupy the focal point in the spiritual armoury of Jaina
in Chapter III. Thus the content of the original gita is souls pilgrimage to moksa in its gradual ascent to salva-
38 67 SYADVADA ANEKANTA : JAIN THEORY OF RELATIVITY OF TRUTH

tion. But Jain prayer is not the primitive subjective type- face of the earth. I think this represents the most ele-
vocal prayer in the popular sense of praise and petition in vated cultural ethos of Jaina ethical teaching embodying
which the whole of the intention is centred on the Being the time-honoured Indian cultural doctrine vasudhaiv ku-
to whom prayer is addressed and not at all on the produc- tumbakam - world as a family.
tion of any desirable mental eects as put by Robert H.
Thouless in his classic study The Psychology of Religion.

67 Syadvada Anekanta : Jain the-


66 Jaina prayer ory of relativity of truth
But the most distinctive aspect of the Jaina teaching is
The Jaina prayer represents an evolved form of medita- the Jaina theory of judgment-logic known as syadvada
tion aimed at mental self-improvement and with a view which purports to show that every judgment or point of
to enter into communion with an elevated state of soul- view is relative in character. According to the Jaina epis-
consciousness after the emancipated ideal of which the temology every object of knowledge is possessed of a
mundane soul held in bondage by physical karmas is striv- huge complexity of characters as regards substance, qual-
ing for realisation. If prayer is a mental exercise with a ity and modication governed by the universal law of or-
religious aim, them prayer in Jainism indeed attains to ganization, destruction and permanence - utpada vyaya
its highest rational point of spiritual evolution and this is
dhrauvya. An object in its entirety can be comprehended
one of the qualities to my mind which qualies Jainism only by an omniscient being, but imperfect beings toil-
not only as a modern religion but truly a prophetic re- ing within the coils of karma and conned to a particular
ligion of the future. The spirit of Jaina prayer is most point in space and time can only see it from a particu-
sublimely expressed in the very rst invocatory verse of lar point and partial point of view. Such partial knowl-
Sri Pujyapadas Sarvarthasiddhi: Which means I bow to edge is called in Jainism as naya. There are seven nayas
the Lord, the promulgator of the path to liberation, the according as an object is referred to from the point of
destroyer of mountains of karmas and the knower of the view of the substance and its modications. The essence
whole of reality, so that I may realize these qualities. of such human judgment is that everything that we can
(Eng.Tran. Reality by S.A.Jain) The essential orienta- say by way of forming judgment about an object is only
tion of Jaina prayer is introspective which ultimately is di-
true in reference to the standpoint taken and the aspect
rected towards perfecting the inner soul of the individual
considered. The story of the six blind men and the ele-
person and not for asking solace or help. The essence of phant trying to guess what the animal was like illustrates
Jaina invocation is self-culture. As Dr. Harisatya Bhat-
the dilemma of nite human perception a precise con-
tacharya explains the signicance of Jaina prayer: The notation to which is given in the Jaina theory of syad-
oering of prayers to and the meditations of the God in
vada. This formulation of the concept of the relativity
Jainism- as in the highest form of a rational religion, - of reality in human sphere as embodied in the doctrine
are perfectly disinterested.. No favours are sought from
anantadharmatmakam vastu - object endowed with in-
the God or the Gods and the result of the divine worship nite characteristics- is the bedrock of the Jaina meta-
is simply the development and perfection of ones self. physical system: it is not so much a piece of logical
This self-development and self-perfection do not depend jugglery as an eminently rational and practical way of
on the grace of God or any external being but are due looking at things if one is not to come to grief through
to pure self culture. (The Jaina Prayer, p.116) To illus- an intolerant insistence on ones own point of view. It
trate the cosmic, scientic and in a manner secular signif-is a doctrine of peaceful co-existence of conicting and
icance of Jaina prayer, I think, it would be best to cite the
opposing philosophies. As Dr.A.N.Upadhye points out
Namaskara Mahamantra in Jainism which represents the this analytical approach to reality has saved him (A
summum bonum of the Jaina philosophical teaching. The Jaina) from extremism, dogmatism and fanaticism, and
mantra is: This means : Obisance to the Arahats: Obei- has further bred in him remarkable intellectual toleration,
sance to the Siddhas; Obeisance to the Acaryas; Obei- a rare human virtue indeed, The pertinent relevance of
sance to the Upadhyayas; Obeisance to the Sadhus in the the anekantavada which seeks to synthesize harmoniously
universe. Every Jaina is enjoined to repeat and contem- diereing points of view into an integrated conception of
plate this great Mantra with all meditative reverence in reality cannot be stressed too highly for our strife- ridden
his heart, spirit and soul. One can say that this great times. It is in fact a plea for moral dtente, a political ver-
Jaina incantation reveals the master key to Jainism and sion of which is so much in vogue in the troubled inter-
its philosophical catholicity encompassing the universe of national relations today. I think, in reality, anekantavada
knowledge and purity of conduct wheresoever it is found represents the meridian of the moral and spiritual eleva-
regardless of the narrow religious and bigoted sectarian tion of the principle of non- violence because it is ulti-
considerations. The last mantra namo mately actuated by an intense desire to be tolerant and not
loesavvasahunam shows that saintliness and purity of con- to be injurious to the other point of view. And therefore
duct is venerable to a Jaina where very it is found on the I feel that one can say without fear of contradiction that
39

ahimsa of Jainism, in thought, word and deed is the crux sistence on innate human dignity and equality it no doubt
and the spring source of all that is noble and spiritually emerges then as embodying a transhumanistic message
edifying in the Jaina tradition. An Dr.S.Radhakrishnan which seems to oer a new panacea to humanity as in
brings out well the innate signicance of syadvada in his Huxleys words: The human species can, if it wishes,
observation: Individual freedom and social justice are transcend itself-not just sporadically, an individual here
both essential for human in one way, but in its entirety, as humanity, We need a
welfare. We may exaggerate the one or underesti- new name for this belief. Perhaps transhumanism will
mate the other, but he who follows the Jain concept serve: man remaining man, but transcending himself, but
realizing new possibilities of and for his human nature.
of Anekatawada, Saptabhangi naya or syadvada will not
adopt that kind of cultural regimentation. He will have "(Religion without Revelation. P. 195)
the spirit to discrimiinate between right and wrong in his Jainism understood correctly in the light of its dialectics
own and in the opposite views, and try to work out a of anekatavada rooted in the twin concepts of truth and
greater synthesis. That should be the attitude, which we non-violence and its insistence on limited possession of-
should adopt. So the necessity for the self-control, the fers a real advance in human thought which has a crucial
practice of ahimsa and also tolerance and appreciation of relevance to the chaotic times we live in when as Einstein
others point of view - these are some of the lessons which said a new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to
we can acquire from the great life of Mahavira. Ahimsa survive and move toward higher levels. I believe Annie
thus is the greatest gift of Jainism to humanity but man Besant, The great theosophist summed up the essence of
engrossed in brutish exploitation aairs has lost sight of Jainism in her Convention Lectures delivered in 1897:
its true signicance. Mahatma Gandhi the greatest ex- One might almost sum up the atmosphere of Jainism in
ponent of ahimsa and its true exemplar in modern times one phrase that we nd in the Sutrakrtanga (3.20), that
candidly said: Prophets and avataras have also taught the man by injuring no living creature reaches the Nirvana
lessons of ahimsa more or less. Not one of them has pro- which is peace. That is the phrase that seems to carry
fessed to teach himsa. And how should it be otherwise? with it the whole thought of the Jaina: peace- peace be-
Himsa does not need to be taught. Man as animal is vio- tween man and man, peace between man and animal,
lent, but as Spirit within he cannot remain violent. Either peace every- where and in all things, a perfect brother-
he progresses towards ahimsa or rushes to his doom. That hood of all that lives. Such is the ideal of the Jaina, such
is why the prophets and avataras have taught the lesson of is the thought that he endeavours to realize upon earth.
truth, harmony, brotherhood, justice etc.- all attributes (Seven Great Religions, p.83). This is a most pertinent in-
of ahimsa. (Selections from Gandhi Ed.by Nirmar Ku- terpretation of ahimsa as taught by Mahavira and Jainism
mar Bose, pp. 160-61) What is the message of Jainism in our world tottering on the brink of persistent conict,
as preached by Mahavira. I think Jainism in its total per- war and nuclear disaster.
spective of a weltanschauung or a world view is a real
modern religion with a scientic basis. It is my earnest
belief that the next logical step in the evolution of the 69 Licencing
Jaina principle of ahimsa will be a revolutionary human-
ism which will assert the right of every human being to
Published with the permission of Mr. Bal Patil
live, think and act in humanitarian dignity in a spirit of
syadvada. It is an implicit principle of Jainism to strive for
the salvation of every human being in this as well as the
world beyond because its teachings are essentially an ex-
hortation to realize mans innermost being by subjecting
it to its real transcendental essence of ethical humanism This work is released under the Creative Commons
through ahimsa which is in reality nothing but an unfail- Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license, which al-
ingly constant consideration for the other self. lows free use, distribution, and creation of derivatives, so
long as the license is unchanged and clearly noted, and
the original author is attributed.

68 Transhumanistic message of
Jainism
It is thus Jainism as taught by Mahavira comes to repre-
sent a 'Religion without Revelation' of which the eminent
scientist Julian Huxley speaks of and it is this characteris-
tic of Jainism which is hound to have an unfailing appeal
to the most modern mind. If Jainism in its uncompromis-
ing quest of the principle of sanctity of life represents the
high watermark of evolutionary humanistic ethic, the in-
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