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What they say about Jainism

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Selected Views of Renowned Scholars

Mahavira proclamied in India, the message of salvation that religion is a reality and not a mere convention, that salvation comes from taking refuge in the true religion and not from observing the external ceremonies of the community, that religion cannot regard any barriers between man and man as an eternal verity. Wonderous to say, this teaching rapidly overtopped the barriers of the race is abiding instinct and conquered the whole county.

—Ravindranath Tagore.

``Lord Mahavira again brought into prominence the doctrine of Jainism. Jain rendition was prevalent in India before Buddhism. In ancient times innumerable animals were butchered in sacrifice. The credit of the disappearance of the massacre from the religion goes to the share of Jain religion.

—Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak

``No religion of the world has explained the principles of Ahimsa so deeply and systematically as discussed with the applicability in life in Jainism. As and when this benevolent principle of Ahimsa will be sought for practice by the people of the world to achieve their ends of life in this world and beyond, Jainism is sure to have the uppermost status and Bhagwan Mahavir is sure to be respected as the greatest authority on Ahimsa. If anybody developed the doctrine of non-violence, it was Lord Mahavira. Think over it and transtate it into action.

—Mahatma Gandhi.

``In short, believers in the creation theory make God a man, bring him down to the level of need and imperfection, whereas Jainisim raises man to Godhood and inspires him to raise himself as near to Godhood as possible by steady faith, right perception, perfect knowledge and, above all, a spotless life.

—Dr Mohamed Hafix, Ph. D.D. Lit, (India)

``The Gospel of Ahimsa was first deeply and systematically expounded properly and specifically preached by the Jain Tirthankaras, most prominently by the 24th Tirthankara, the last one, Mahavira Vardhamana. Then again by Lord Buddha. and at last it was embodied in the thoughts, words, deeds and symbolized by the very life of Mahatma Gandhi.

—Prof. Tan Yun-shan (China)

``Such an ascetic is termed a `hero' (Vira), that is the sense of the title Mahavira, the great (maha) hero (Vira) which has been bestowed on the Buddha's contemporary, Vardhamana, the 24th Tirthankara. The saint is also termed Jina the Victor and his disciples therefore, Jainas, the followers of the Victor. —Dr. Hennrich Zimmer (Germany)</div>

``Well, then what the Light left in our custody by Lord Mahavira ? ......Briefly characterised the Light teaches us, (1) Spiritual indepedence which connotes individual freedom and unlimited responsibility. The soul depends upon none else for its progress, and none else is responsible for the degradation and distress which the soul may be effected with... (2) It teaches us the essential universality of the brotherhood not only of all men but of all that lives. The current of life in the lowest living organism is as sacred, subtle, sensitive, mighty and eternal as in Juliet, Cleopatra, Caesar, Alexander, Christ, Mohamed, and Lord Mahavira himself. This is the undying basis of our fraternity for all.

—Prof. J. N. Farquhar

``No scholar, I think, will deny that Jainsim is one of the greatest and most important creations of Indian mind still surviving after centuries of glorious life. There is no branch of Indian civilization or literature or philosophy on which the deeper study of Jainism will not throw light. The literature of every belief can be discussed and scrutinized by scholars, but the living essence of Mahavira's doctrine shall remain untouched by any criticism.

—Dr. G. Tucci (Italy)

``The name of Mahavira and Ahimsa culture, is replete with peace unutterable, the bliss embodied in such sacred name Vibrations. Holy, Holy, Holy art thou Mahavira and thy conquests. The example of thy Victory is the measure for which mankind, and indeed all life imprisoned in matter, can aspire.

—Dr. William Henry Talbot, (England)

``Through his Jnana and the creed of Ahimsa, Mahavira destroyed the world of the materialistic creed and ethics in a way that we may call him a superman of the first kind.

—Joseph Marie (Bonn, Germany)

``The teaching of Mahavira sound like triumphal song of a victorious soul that has at last found in this very world its own deliverance and freedom. The religion by him so modified became the religion of absolute coherence, the most precise, straight, perfect doctrine.

—Dr. Alberto Poggi (Italy)

``The most striking feature in the genius of Mahavira from the psychological point of view is the tremendous will power which characterized every act of his career during the most significant century in the history of human thought. Deliberately, without a single moment of hesitation or doubt, Mahavira proceeds to demonstrate in his own example how the human mind can be disciplined and controlled in such a way that the highest intellectual and spitirual level can be attained in a single life time.

—Dr. Felix Val, (France)

``Whatever name we give to our creed, whether we believe in souls of animals or not, the noble words of Mahavira tell the highest expression of human ethics. The great Law of Ahimsa, the Law of Non Violence, as it is called in the Western world, is the strongest fundamental principle on which a moral world order can be built for the blessing of all mankind.

—Dr. Alfred Parker, (England)

All the rules of conduct laid down by Lord Mahavira are based on love (daya). Love consists in doing a kindness without any expectation of return, rejoicing at the prosperity of another person, and not being envious, sympathizing with those in distress and where possible helping to relieve it.

—Herbert Warrne, (England)

During the thirty years, when Mahavira was a world teacher he proclaimed the truth that man is the master of his own destiny the Jina or conqueror. To refrain from killing and injuring is the only true religion. The greatest gift the man can make to his fellowmen and the lower creatures is the gift of protection and safety that they shall come and go without harm or interference.

—W. George Trott (England)

One of the most prominent features of Lord Mahavira's personality, seems to me to have been an endless energy (Ananta Virya), by means of which the famous Tirthankara, as it were, forced his way through his contemporaries.

—Dr. Ferdinande Bellini Fillippi, (Italy)

If we really wish to understand the full significance of the doctrine the lesson of Ahimsa that Mahavira taught with such remarkable success we have to link up its history right from Mahavira and his predecessor Tithankaras to Gandhiji and his writings and actions.

—Hon'ble R. R. Diwakar (Professor)

Bhagwan Mahavira has given to the humanity an indisputable message so that all can live and yet save their souls. Let us follow the practical path shown to us by Bhagwan Mahavira and make ourselves worthy of his inheritance.

—Justice T. K. Tukol (Author)

Let us remember Mahavira and try to learn from him and gather the ray in our own small gardens of hearts, in the hope that some seeds would sprout, some buds would blossom. Great men elevate their memory ennobles.

—Dr. Prabhakar Machve (Mumbai)

Jainism is an original system, quite distinct and Independent from all others and therefore, it is a great importance for the study of the philosophical thought and religious life in ancient India.

—Dr. Hermann Jacobi (Germany)

The more scientific knowledge advances, the more the Jain teachings will be proved.

—Dr. D.P. Tessitori, (Italy)

From modern historical researches we come to know that long before rituals development into many dharmas Jainism was prevalent in this country.

—Justice Rangeka'r Bombay High Court

Jainism has contributed to the world the sublime doctrine of Ahimsa. No other religion has emphasised the importance of Ahimsa and carried its practise to the extent that Jainism has done. Jainism deserves to become the universal religion because of its Ahimsa doctrine.

—Dr. Rajendra Prasad (Ex President, Republic of India)

There is nothing wonderful in my saying that Jainism was in existence long before Buddhist scriptures were composed.

—Dr. Radhakrishnan (Ex. President, Republic of India)

The first poet of the Kannada language is Jaina. The credit for writing the ancient and the best literary works goes to the Jains.

—Dr. R. R. Narasimhacharya (Professor)

Jainism began when this world began. I am of the opinion that Jainism is much older than Vedic Darshana. The philosophy of syadvad is an impenetrable fortress of the Jains. The canon balls of its criticism can not enter this fortress.

—Swami Rammishraji Shastri (Professor of Sanskirt College Benaras)

Jainism is quite different and independent of Vedic religiion.

—Prof. Maxmuller (Chief Editor, Sacred Books of the Past)

Mr. George Bernad shaw, in the course of his talks with Shri Devdas Gandhi, Son of Mahatma Gandhi expressed the view that Jaina teachings were appealing to him much and that he wished to be reborn in the Jaina family. Due to the influence of Jainism he was always taking pure food free from meat diet and liquor. The Jaina Sadhu leads a life which is praised by all. He practises the vratas and rites strictly and shows to the world the way one has to go in order to realise the soul, the atma. Even the life of a Jain house holder is so faultless that India should be proud of him.

—Dr. Satishcandra Vidya Bhusan (Calcutta)

Ahimsa was preached to the world by the great Tirthankaras, who were the propounders of Jainism.

—Dr. Radha Binod Pal (Judge of the Calcutta High Court)

The Jaina philosophy is a vast subject and is a complete system of thought having its theories on each subject of discourse, in epistemology, psychology, logic, metaphysics, cosmology, ethics and theology. These the ories being in some respect similar to and in some respect different from those in other systems of Indian thought. It has accordingly appeared to me that a study of Indian philosophy is incomplete without a study of the Jaina contributions to it.

—Dr. Harisathya Bhattacharya (From the preface The philosophy of the Jainism)

Jainism is very original, independent and systematic doctrine.

—Dr. Guerinot (Introduction to the Bibliographica Jainica)

I personally believe that if only Jainism had kept its hold firmly in India, we would perhaps have had a more united India and certainly a greatest India than today.

—Sri R. R. Shanmugam Chetty
(Ex Minister of Central Cabinet Government of India)

All upper Western North, Central Asia was then say 1500 to 1800 B. C., and indeed from unknown times ruled by Turanians conveniently called Dravida and given to tree, serpent, phallic worship, but there also then existed throughout India the ancient and highly organisd religion philosophical, ethical and severely ascetically viz. Jainism, out of which clearly development the early ascetical features of Brahmanism and Buddhism. Long before the Aryans reached the Ganges or even Saraswathi, Jaina had been taught by some twenty two prominent, saints and Tithankaras prior to he historical twenty third Parshva of the 8th Century B. C. and Mahavira the Twenty fourth tithankara.

—Dr. E. Thomas

(Short Studies in the Science of Comparative Religions.) The Jains are the revertible oasis in the desert of human strife and worldly ambition. It were a better world indeed if the world were Jain.

—Dr. Maurice Bloomfield
(Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore (U.S.A)

``Reproduced from letters to Vijayendra Suri) It may also be noted the inscription on the Indus Seal No,. 449, reads according to my decipherable, Jeneshwar or Jinesh. (Jin-i-i-Sarah)

—Dr. Prannath Vidxyalankar

I have come to know that whatever I have studied about the Veda from my childhood to my seventieth year is all in vain. The oldest, unique and true religion is Jainism. The vedic concepts are a collection from the Jain religion.

—Dr. Yogi Jeevananda Parmahamsa.
(In the course of a letter to Acharya Atmaramji)

Jain religion has never been conquered and it always remains victorious. Its Arhants are real Gods. We get references to Arhantdevas in the Vedas.

—Virupaksha Vedatirtha

What will be the condition of the Indian Sanskrit literature if the contributions of the Jainas are removed. The more I study the Jain literature the more happy and wonder-struck I am.

—Dr. Hertal

Jainism is of a very high order. Its important teachings are based upon science. The more the scientific knowledge advances the more the Jaina teachings will be proved.

—Dr. L. P. Tessitori

Jainism is really neither Hinduism nor Vedic dharma. It contributes to the advancement of India culture and study of Indian philosophy.

—Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru

The beginning of Jainism and its history are much older than the Smriti Shastras and their commentaries. Jainism is completely different from Hinduism and Independent of it.

—Sri Kumaraswami Sastri
(Chief justice of the Madras High Court)

Lofty Ideas and high ascetic practices are found in Jainism, It is impossible to know the beginning of Jainism.

—Major General Forlong

In Rigveda there is a mantra dedicated to Bhagwan Rishabha. ``Rishabham masamananam sapatnanam Vishasahihantanam satrunam dadhi Virajagopitam Gavam 101—21—26. Jainism is existing from very early times, because its antiquity is known from such Vedic sayings as ``Ahram idam datyase visvamayam.

—Virupaksha Vedatirtha

We are reminded of the antiquity of Jainism when we study the things obtained from the excavations of the Mohenjadharo, the ancient inscriptions, caves and many ancient ruins. We learn from Shastras and commentaries that Jainism is existing from beginning-less time. This fact is indisputable and free from differences of opinion. There is much historical evidence in this point.

—Lokamanya Bala Ganadhar Tilak

In the field of history, Jaina history is the most useful of all for the world. It is very helpful to those who write histories and to those who study the old inscriptions and other monuments.

—Dr. Satishchandra Vidya Bhushan

The right of welcoming the delegates of the universal peace organisation belongs to the Jaina only. Because Ahimsa alone can contribute to the establishment of Universal peace. And this Ahimsa doctrine was preached to the world by the great Tirthanksras, who were the propounders of Jainism. Therefore who else except the followers of Bhagawan Parasvanath and Mahavira can preach universal peace.

—Dr. Radha Binod Pal

(Judge of the Calcutta High Court)</div>

The Jains have written great masterpieces only for the benefit of the world.

—Dr. Hertel

In the Western countries, Committing of Ahimsa is a common place thing. They are not at all disturbed in mind when they find men torturing men. Jainism is really a unique religion in as much as it preaches that all living beings should be protected and Ahimsa should be practised in every day life. The Jains are very particular that no injury is done to any form of life when they eat, drink or walk or do any other action. This kind of mercy we do not see in any other religion. (An American lady in her speech delivered in Delhi on 4-5-1953) The term, Jain stands for self control and Ahimsa. Where there is Ahimsa the feeling of hatred cannot remain. It is the duty of the Jains to propagate the doctrine of Ahimsa throughout the world.

—Sardar Vallabhabhai Patel

Bhagawan Mahavira taught Jainism again. He was the twenty fourth Avatar (incarnation). Before him there were twenty three avatars such as Rishabha, Nemi, Parswa etc. They also propagated Jainism. In this manner there was Jainism existing even before these twenty three avatars. From this the antiquity of Jainism is established.

—Lokamanya Bala Gangadhar Tilak)

Taking any place in India as the centre if you draw a circle with a radius of ten miles you are sure to find some Jaina remains in it.

—S. R. Ramlingam
(An eminent Archeologist)

The Jains have been an organised community all through the the history of India even before the rise of Buddhism down to the present day.

—Prof. Rhys Davids

Jainism is entirely independent of Buddhism. The difference between the two philosophies seems so great that it precludes any idea of common origin.

—E.W. Hopkins

The Jaina religion is certainly order than Mahavira, his reputed predecessor Parsva having almost certainly existed as a real person, and that consequently the main point of the original doctrine may have been confined long before Mahavira.

—Dr. Jari Charpentier

Before the Buddha, not only one or two but several Jain Tirthankaras had preached the gospel of Ahimsa. Jainism is very ancient religion and it has given much to Indian culture.

—Dr. Kalidas Nag

The religion of very ancient dynastic Egypt supposed to be lacks of tears old also appears to be quite akin to Jainism.

—Dr. Robert Churchwell

The Origin and Evolution of Religion Yea ! His religion (the Jainas) is the only true one upon earth, the primitive faith of all mankind.

—Rev. A. J. Dubois

Jainism has preserved down to the present time its integrity as a separate world religion in the midst of other religions.

—Dr. F.W. Thomas (Legacy of India)

The discoveries have to a very large extent supplied corroboration to the written Jain tradition and they offer tangible and incontrovertible proof of the antiquity of the jain religion and of its early existence very much in its present form. The series of twenty four pontiffs each in his distinctive emblem was evidently firmly believed in at the beginning of the Christian era.

—Major General Forlong