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The Antiquity of Jainism

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The Antiquity of Jainism

Presented by— Sumer chand Jain Diwaker seoni (M. P.)

An impartial probe and investigation of the ancient history of India reveals the fact that Indians followed the trinity of religions which we call Hinduism, Brahminism, Buddhism and the religion of the Nirgranthas-Jainism. Latest researches and excavations have brought to light that Jainism has special significance from the view point of antiquity. In the Buddhist scripture Majjima Nikaya, Buddha himself tells us about his ascetic life and its ordinances which are in conformity with the Jain monk's code of conduct. He says, ``Thus far, Sariputta did I go in my penance I went without clothes I licked my food from my hands. I took no food that was brought or meant especially for me. I accepted no invitation to a meal. Mrs. Rhys Davis has observed that Buddha found his two teachers Alara and Uddaka at Vaisali and started his religious life as a Jaina. At any rate Gautama gave himself up to a cause of austerities under the influence of his Jain teachers (Buddhism and Vaisali-P. 9; The Public Relations Department Bihar).

Dr. Jacobi on the basis

Dr. Jacobi on the basis of Buddhist literature establishes that Jainism existed before the birth of Budd.ismh In Dighanikaya's Samanna Phal Sutta the four vows of Lord Parshvanath (who flourished 250 years before Mahavira's liberation) have been mentioned. Attakatha of Anguttara Nikaya has a reference to Boppa Sakya a resident of Kapilvastu who was the uncle of Buddha and who followed the religion of the Nigganathas i.e. Jains. It has been pointed out in `Bihar Through The Ages' It is now universally accepted that the followers of Jainism were already in existence when Buddha strated his quest for truth. Critical and comparative study has brought to light several words like `Asrava', `Samvara' etc. which have been used by the Jainsin the original sense but which have been mentioned in Buddhist literature in figurative sense. On the basis of these words Dr. Jacobi has concluded that Jainism is much older than the religion of Buddha and therefore it is incorrect to imagine Jainism as the off shoot of Buddhism. The Vedic scholar Lokamanya B.G. Tilak in his address at Baroda had said that Jainism was not founded by Lord Mahavira, but Lord Mahavira brought into prominence the doctrines of Jainism. Jain religion was prevalent in India before Buddhism. In ancient times innumerable animals were butchered in sacrifice. The evidence in support of this is witnessed in various poetic compositions such as Meghadut; but the credit of the disappearance of this terrible massacre from the Brahmanical religion goes to the share of Jainism. Some historians think that Jainism is, no doubt, much prior to Buddhism, but it is a protestant creed which revolted against the sacrifices of the Vedic cult. The advanced researches show that the above stand has no foundation. The respectable and reliable sacred books of the Hindus themselves establish the most ancient nature of Jain thought. Rigveda, the oldest Hindu scripture refers to Lord Rishabha Deo, who was the founder of Jainism. It also speaks about the Vaman Avtar-incarnation who is the 15th incarnation. Amongst the 24 incarnations Rishabha's name comes as the 9th incarnation of Vishnu. Rishabha's name occurs before Vamana or Dwarf Ram, Krishna and Buddha incarnations. Therefore it is quite clear that Rishabha must have flourished long before the composition of the Rigveda. The great scholar Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, ex-President of Indian Union, in his `Indian Philosophy' had observed, `Jain tradition ascribes the origin of the system to Rishabha'deo, who lived many centures back. There is evidence to show that as far back as the first century B.C., there were people who were worshipping Rishabhadeo, the first Tirthankara. There is no doubt that Jainism prevailed even before Vardhaman or Parsvanatha. The Yajurveda mentions the name of three Tirthankaras-Rishabha, Ajitnath and Arshtanemi. The Bhagwat Puran endorses the view that Rishabhadeva was the founder of Jainism (Vol II p. 287). The Gita tells us that the instructions about the philosophy of Yoga were first imparted to Sun (Vaivasvata), then to Manu, who passed it on to king lkshvaku. After this the knowledge of Yoga fell into oblivion for a very long period. This ancient Yoga doctrine was then taught by Shri Krishna to Arjuna in the Gita. Chapter 4-1, 2 and

Acharya Samant Bhadra

Acharya Samant Bhadra of the second century A. D. in his Swayambhu Stotra says that Lord Rishabha was the first person of lkshavaku clan ’’इक्ष्वाकुकुलादिरात्मवान् वृषभः प्रभुः प्रवव्राज।’’ This establishes the fact that the period of Rishabha is very ancient. Therefore, the system of thought called Jainism must naturally be very ancient, since it was founded by Lord Rishabhadeo. The excavations made at Mohenjodaro and Harappa show that Jainism existed flve thousand years ago because the pose of the standing deities on the Indus seals resembles the pose of standing image of Rishabhadeo obtained from Mathura. The feeling of abandonment that characterises the standing figures of the Indus seals, three to five (Plate II, I. G. N.) with a bull in the foreground may be the prototype of Rishabha. (Modern Review August 1932-Sindha Five Thousand Years Ago). Rishabha has been spoken of as Yogishwara by poet Jinasena in his Mahapurana. Therefore, the Indus valley excavated material glaringly establishes the fact that the founder of Jainism belonged to the pre-Vedic period. The nude Jain idol of 320 B. C., in the Patna Museum, of Lohanipur helps us to support the above contention.

Dr. H. Zimmer in his book `The Philosophies of India' speaks of Jainism as the oldest of Non-Aryan group. He calls it ``Pre-Aryan (P 60). Dr. Zimmer believed ``That there is truth in the Jain idea that their religion goes back to remote antiquity, the antiquity in question being that of the pre-Aryan, so called Dravidian period, which has recently been dramatically disillusioned by the discovery of a series of great Late Stone Age cities in the Indus Valley, dating from the third and even perhaps fourth millennium. B.C. Cf. Ernest Mackay, The Indus Civilization London, 1935; also Zimmer, Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization' p. 93h-vide-Philosophies