Prev Next

On the Indian Sect of the Jainas.

by Johann George Buehler.

PREFACE.

The late Dr. Georg Buhler's essay _Ueber die Indische Secte der Jaina_, read at the anniversary meeting of the Imperial Academy of Sciences of Vienna on the 26th May 1887, has been for some time out of print in the separate form. Its value as a succinct account of the Sravaka sect, by a scholar conversant with them and their religious literature is well known to European scholars; but to nearly all educated natives of India works published in German and other continental languages are practically sealed books, and thus the fresh information which they are well able to contribute is not elicited. It is hoped that the translation of this small work may meet with their acceptance and that of Europeans in India and elsewhere to whom the original is either unknown or who do not find a foreign language so easy to read as their own.

The translation has been prepared under my supervision, and with a few short footnotes. Professor Buhler's long note on the authenticity of the Jaina tradition I have transferred to an appendix (p. 48) incorporating with it a summary of what he subsequently expanded in proof of his thesis.



To Colebrooke's account of the Tirtha?karas reverenced by the Jainas, but little has been added since its publication in the ninth volume of the _Asiatic Researches_; and as these are the centre of their worship, always represented in their temples, and surrounded by attendant figures,-I have ventured to add a somewhat fuller account of them and a summary of the general mythology of the sect, which may be useful to the archaeologist and the student of their iconography.

Edinburgh, April 1903. J. BURGESS.

THE INDIAN SECT OF THE JAINAS.

The _Jaina_ sect is a religious society of modern India, at variance to Brahmanism, and possesses undoubted claims on the interest of all friends of Indian history. This claim is based partly on the peculiarities of their doctrines and customs, which present several resemblances to those of Buddhism, but, above all, on the fact that it was founded in the same period as the latter.

Larger and smaller communities of _Jainas_ or _Arhata_,-that is followers of the prophet, who is generally called simply the _Jina_-'the conqueror of the world',-or the _Arhat_-'the holy one',-are to be found in almost every important Indian town, particularly among the merchant class. In some provinces of the West and North-west, in Gujarat, Rajputana, and the Panjab, as also in the Dravidian districts in the south,-especially in Kanara,-they are numerous; and, owing to the influence of their wealth, they take a prominent place. They do not, however, present a compact mass, but are divided into two rival branches-the _Digambara_ and _Svetambara_ [Footnote: In notes on the Jainas, one often finds the view expressed, that the _Digambaras_ belong only to the south, and the _Svetambaras_ to the north. This is by no means the case. The former in the Panjab, in eastern Rajputana and in the North West Provinces, are just as numerous, if not more so, than the latter, and also appear here and there in western Rajputana and Gujarat: see _Indian Antiquary_, vol. VII, p. 28.]-each of which is split up into several subdivisions. The Digambara, that is, "those whose robe is the atmosphere," owe their name to the circumstance that they regard absolute nudity as the indispensable sign of holiness, [Footnote: The ascetics of lower rank, now called Pa??it, now-a-days wear the costume of the country. The Bha??araka, the heads of the sect, usually wrap themselves in a large cloth (_chadr_). They lay it off during meals. A disciple then rings a bell as a sign that entrance is forbidden (_Ind. Ant._ loc. cit.). When the present custom first arose cannot be ascertained. From the description of the Chinese pilgrim Hiuen Tsiang (St. Julien, _Vie._ p. 224), who calls them Li-hi, it appears that they were still faithful to their principles in the beginning of the seventh century A.D. "The Li-hi (Nirgranthis) distinguish themselves by leaving their bodies naked and pulling out their hair. Their skin is all cracked, their feet are hard and chapped: like rotting trees that one sees near rivers."]-though the advance of civilization has compelled them to depart from the practice of their theory. The Svetambara, that is, "they who are clothed in white"-do not claim this doctrine, but hold it as possible that the holy ones, who clothe themselves, may also attain the highest goal. They allow, however, that the founder of the Jaina religion and his first disciples disdained to wear clothes. They are divided, not only by this quarrel, but also by differences about dogmas and by a different literature. The separation must therefore be of old standing. Tradition, too, upholds this-though the dates given do not coincide. From inscriptions it is certain that the split occurred before the first century of our era. [Footnote: See below p. 44.] Their opposing opinions are manifested in the fact that they do not allow each other the right of intermarriage or of eating at the same table,-the two chief marks of social equality. In spite of the age of the schism, and the enmity that divides the two branches, they are at one as regards the arrangement of their communities, doctrine, discipline, and cult,-at least in the more important points; and, thus, one can always speak of the Jaina religion as a whole.

The characteristic feature of this religion is its claim to universality, which it holds in common with Buddhism, and in opposition to Brahmanism.

It also declares its object to be to lead all men to salvation, and to open its arms-not only to the noble Aryan, but also to the low-born Sudra and even to the alien, deeply despised in India, the Mlechcha.

[Footnote: In the stereotyped introductions to the sermons of Jina it is always pointed out that they are addressed to the Aryan and non-Aryan.

Thus in the _Aupapatika Sutra_ -- 56. (Leumann) it runs as follows: _tesi? savvesi? a?iyamanariyana? agilae dhammat?

aikkhai_ "to all these, Aryans and non-Aryans, he taught the law untiringly". In accordance with this principle, conversions of people of low caste, such as gardeners, dyers, etc., are not uncommon even at the present day. Muhammadans too, regarded as Mlechcha, are still received among the Jaina communities. Some cases of the kind were communicated to me in A?madabad in the year 1876, as great triumphs of the Jainas.

Tales of the conversion of the emperor Akbar, through the patriarch Hiravijaya (_Ind. Antiq._ Vol. XI, p. 256), and of the spread of the Digambara sect in an island Jainabhadri, in the Indian Ocean (_Ind.

Ant._ Vol. VII, p. 28) and in Arabia, shew that the Jainas are familiar with the idea of the conversion of non-Indians. Hiuen Tsiang's note on the appearance of the Nirgrantha or Digambara in Kiapishi (Beal, _Si-yu-ki_, Vol. I, p. 55), points apparently to the fact that they had, in the North West at least, spread their missionary activity beyond the borders of India.] As their doctrine, like Buddha's, is originally a philosophical ethical system intended for ascetics, the disciples, like the Buddhists, are, divided into ecclesiastics and laity. At the head stands an order of ascetics, originally Nirgrantha "they, who are freed from all bands," now usually called Yatis-"Ascetics", or Sadhus-"Holy", which, among the Svetambara also admits women, [Footnote: Even the canonical works of the Svetambara, as for example, the _achara?ga (Sacred Books of the East_, Vol. XXII, p. 88-186) contain directions for nuns. It seems, however, that they have never played such an important part as in Buddhism. At the present time, the few female orders among the Svetambara consist entirely of virgin widows, whose husbands have died in childhood, before the beginning of their life together. It is not necessary to look upon the admission of nuns among the Svetambara as an imitation of Buddhist teaching, as women were received into some of the old Brahmanical orders; see my note to _Manu_, VIII, 363, (_Sac.

Bks. of the East_, Vol. XXV, p. 317). Among the Digambaras, exclusion of women was demanded from causes not far to seek. They give as their reason for it, the doctrine that women are not capable of attaining _Nirva?a_; see Peterson, _Second Report_, in _Jour. Bom.

Br. R. As. Soc._ Vol. XVII, p. 84.] and under them the general community of the Upasaka "the Worshippers", or the Sravaka, "the hearers".

The ascetics alone are able to penetrate into the truths which Jina teaches, to follow his rules and to attain to the highest reward which he promises. The laity, however, who do not dedicate themselves to the search after truth, and cannot renounce the life of the world, still find a refuge in Jainism. It is allowed to them as hearers to share its principles, and to undertake duties, which are a faint copy of the demands made on the ascetics. Their reward is naturally less. He who remains in the world cannot reach the highest goal, but he can still tread the way which leads to it. Like all religions of the Hindus founded on philosophical speculation, Jainism sees this highest goal in _Nirvana_ or _Moksha_, the setting free of the individual from the _Sa?sara_,-the revolution of birth and death. The means of reaching it are to it, as to Buddhism, the three Jewels-the right Faith, the right Knowledge, and the right Walk. By the right Faith it understands the full surrender of himself to the teacher, the Jina, the firm conviction that he alone has found the way of salvation, and only with him is protection and refuge to be found. Ask who Jina is, and the Jaina will give exactly the same answer as the Buddhist with respect to Buddha. He is originally an erring man, bound with the bonds of the world, who,-not by the help of a teacher, nor by the revelation of the Vedas-which, he declares, are corrupt-but by his own power, has attained to omniscience and freedom, and out of pity for suffering mankind preaches and declares the way of salvation, which he has found. Because he has conquered the world and the enemies in the human heart, he is called Jina "the Victor", Mahavira, "the great hero"; because he possesses the highest knowledge, he is called Sarvajna or Kevalin, the "omniscient", Buddha, the "enlightened"; because he has freed himself from the world he receives the names of Mukta "the delivered one", Siddha and Tathagata, "the perfected", Arhat "the holy one"; and as the proclaimer of the doctrine, he is the Tirthakara "the finder of the ford", through the ocean of the _Sa?sara_. In these epithets, applied to the founder of their doctrine, the Jainas agree almost entirely with the Buddhists, as the likeness of his character to that of Buddha would lead us to expect. They prefer, however, to use the names Jina and Arhat, while the Buddhists prefer to speak of Buddha as Tathagata or Sugata. The title Tirthakara is peculiar to the Jainas. Among the Buddhists it is a designation for false teachers. [Footnote: The titles Siddha, Buddha and Mukta are certainly borrowed by both sects from the terminology of the Brahma?s, which they used, even in olden times, to describe those saved during their lifetimes and used in the Saivite doctrine to describe a consecrated one who is on the way to redemption. An Arhat, among the Brahma?s, is a man distinguished for his knowledge and pious life (comp. for example apastamba, _Dharmasutra._ I, 13, 13; II, 10, I.) and this idea is so near that of the Buddhists and the Jainas that it may well be looked upon as the foundation of the latter. The meaning of Tirthakara "prophet, founder of religion", is derived from the Brahmanic use of _tirtha_ in the sense of "doctrine". Comp. also H. Jacobi's Article on the Title of Buddha and Jina, _Sac. Books of the East_. Vol. XXII, pp. xix, xx.]

The Jaina says further, however, that there was more than one Jina. Four and twenty have, at long intervals, appeared and have again and again restored to their original purity the doctrines darkened by evil influences. They all spring from noble, warlike tribes. Only in such, not among the low Brahma?s, can a Jina see the light of the world. The first Jina ?i?shabha,-more than 100 billion oceans of years ago,-periods of unimaginable length, [Footnote: A Sagara or Sagaropama of years is == 100,000,000,000,000 Palya or Palyopama. A Palya is a period in which a well, of one or, according to some, a hundred _yojana_, i.e.

of one or a hundred geographical square miles, stuffed full of fine hairs, can be emptied, if one hair is pulled out every hundred years: Wilson, _Select. Works_, Vol. I, p. 309; Colebrooke, _Essays_, Vol. II, p. 194. ed. Cowell.]-was born as the son of a king of Ayodhya and lived eight million four hundred thousand years. The intervals between his successors and the durations of their lives became shorter and shorter.

Between the twenty third, Parsva and the twenty fourth Vardhamana, were only 250 years, and the age of the latter is given as only seventy-two years. He appeared, according to some, in the last half of the sixth century, according to others in the first half of the fifth century B.C. He is of course the true, historical prophet of the Jainas and it is in his doctrine, that the Jainas should believe. The dating back of the origin of the Jaina religion again, agrees with the pretensions of the Buddhists, who recognise twenty-five Buddhas who taught the same system one after the other. Even with Brahmanism, it seems to be in some distant manner connected, for the latter teaches in its cosmogony, the successive appearance of Demiurges, and wise men-the fourteen Manus, who, at various periods helped to complete the work of creation and proclaimed the Brahmanical law. These Brahmanical ideas may possibly have given rise to the doctrines of the twenty-five Buddhas and twenty-four Jinas, [Footnote: For the list of these Jinas, see below.]

which, certainly, are later additions in both systems.

The undoubted and absolutely correct comprehension of the nine truths which the Jina gives expression to, or of the philosophical system which the Jina taught, represents the second Jewel-the true Knowledge. Its principal features are shortly as follows. [Footnote: More complete representations are to be found in Colebrooke's _Misc. Essays_. Vol.

I, pp. 404, 413, with Cowell's Appendix p. 444-452; Vol. II, pp. 194, 196, 198-201; H. H. Wilson's _Select Works_, Vol. I, pp. 297-302, 305-317; J. Stevenson, _Kalpasutra_, pp. xix-xxv; A. Barth, _Religions de l'Inde_, pp. 84-91.]

The world (by which we are to understand, not only the visible, but also imaginary continents depicted with the most extravagant fancy, heavens and hells of the Brahmanical Cosmology, extended by new discoveries) is uncreated. It exists, without ruler, only by the power of its elements, and is everlasting. The elements of the world are six substances-souls, _Dharma_ or moral merit, _Adharma_ or sin, space, time, particles of matter. From the union of the latter spring four elements-earth, fire, water, wind-and further, bodies and all other appearances of the world of sense and of the supernatural worlds. The forms of the appearances are mostly unchangeable. Only the bodies of men and their age increase or decrease in consequence of the greater or less influence of sin or merit, during immeasurably long periods,-the _Avasarpi?i_ and the _Utsarpi?i_. Souls are, each by itself, independent, real existences whose foundation is pure intelligence, and who possess an impulse to action. In the world they are always chained to bodies. The reason of this confinement is that they give themselves up to the stress of activity, to passions, to influences of the senses and objects of the mind, or attach themselves to a false belief.

The deeds which they perform in the bodies are _Karman_, merit and sin. This drives them-when one body has passed away, according to the conditions of its existence-into another, whose quality depends on the character of the _Karman_, and will be determined especially by the last thoughts springing from it before death. Virtue leads to the heavens of the gods or to birth among men in pure and noble races. Sin consigns the souls to the lower regions, in the bodies of animals, in plants, even into masses of lifeless matter. For-according to the Jaina doctrine-souls exist not only in organic structures, but also in apparently dead masses, in stones, in lumps of earth, in drops of water, in fire and in wind. Through union with bodies the nature of the soul is affected. In the mass of matter the light of its intelligence is completely concealed; it loses consciousness, is immovable, and large or small, according to the dimensions of its abode. In organic structures it is always conscious; it depends however, on the nature of the same, whether it is movable or immovable and possessed of five, four, three, two, or one organ of sense.

The bondage of souls, if they inhabit a human body, can be abolished by the suppression of the causes which lead to their confinement and by the destruction of the _Karman_. The suppression of the causes is accomplished by overcoming the inclination to be active and the passions, by the control of the senses, and by steadfastly holding to the right faith. In this way will be hindered the addition of new _Karman_, new merit or new guilt. The destruction of _Karman_ remaining from previous existences can be brought about either spontaneously by the exhaustion of the supply or by asceticism. In the latter case the final state is the attainment to a knowledge which penetrates the universe, to _Kevala, Jnana_ and _Nirva?a_ or _Moksha_: full deliverance from all bonds. These goals may be reached even while the soul is still in its body. If however the body is destroyed then the soul wanders into the "No-World" _(aloka)_ as the Jain says, i.e. into the heaven of Jina 'the delivered', lying outside the world. [Footnote: On the Jaina Paradise see below. Dr. Buhler seems here to have confounded the _Aloka_ or Non-world, 'the space where only things without life are found', with the heaven of the Siddhas; but these are living beings who have crossed the boundary] There it continues eternally in its pure intellectual nature. Its condition is that of perfect rest which nothing disturbs. These fundamental ideas are carried out in the particulars with a subtilness and fantasy unexampled, even in subtile and fantastic India, in a scholarly style, and defended by the _syadvada_-the doctrine of "It may be so",-a mode of reasoning which makes it possible to assert and deny the existence of one and the same thing. If this be compared with the other Indian systems, it stands nearer the Brahma? than the Buddhist, with which it has the acceptance in common of only four, not five elements. Jainism touches all the Brahma? religions and Buddhism in its cosmology and ideas of periods, and it agrees entirely with regard to the doctrines of _Karman_, of the bondage, and the deliverance of souls.

Atheism, the view that the world was not created, is common to it with Buddhism and the Sa?khya philosophy. Its psychology approaches that of the latter in that both believe in the existence of innumerable independent souls. But the doctrine of the activity of souls and their distribution into masses of matter is in accordance with the Vedanta, according to which the principle of the soul penetrates every thing existing. In the further development of the soul doctrine, the conceptions 'individual soul' and 'living being' to which the Jaina and the Brahma?

give the same name,-_jiva_, seem to become confounded. The Jaina idea of space and time as real substances is also found in the Vaiseshika system. In placing _Dharma_ and _Adharma_ among substances Jainism stands alone.

The third jewel, the right Walk which the Jaina ethics contains, has its kernel in the five great oaths which the Jaina ascetic takes on his entrance into the order. He promises, just as the Brahma? penitent, and almost in the same words, not to hurt, not to speak untruth, to appropriate nothing to himself without permission, to preserve chastity, and to practice self-sacrifice. The contents of these simple rules become most extraordinarily extended on the part of the Jainas by the insertion of five clauses, in each of which are three separate active instruments of sin, in special relation to thoughts, words, and deeds. Thus, concerning the oath not to hurt, on which the Jaina lays the greatest emphasis: it includes not only the intentional killing or hurting of living beings, plants, or the souls existing in dead matter, it requires also the utmost carefulness in the whole manner of life, in all movements, a watchfulness over all functions of the body by which anything living might be hurt.

[Footnote: The Digambara sect, at least in southern India, do not seem to be all quite so punctiliously careful in this as the Svetambara of western India.-Ed.] It demands finally strict watch over the heart and tongue, and the avoidance of all thoughts and words which might lead to dispute and quarrel and thereby to harm. In like manner the rule of sacrifice means not only that the ascetic has no house or possessions, it teaches also that a complete unconcern toward agreeable and disagreeable impressions is necessary, as also the sacrifice of every attachment to anything living or dead. [Footnote: On the five great vows see the _achara?ga Sutra_, II, 15: _S.B.E_. Vol. XXII, pp. 202-210.

The Sanskrit terms of the Jains are: 1. _ahi?sa_, 2.

_sunrita_, 3. _asteya_, 4. _brahmacharya_, 5.

_aparigraha_; those of the Brahmanical ascetics: 1. _ahi?sa_, 2. _satya_, 3. _asteya_, 4. _brahmacharya_, 5. _tyaga_.]

Beside the conscientious observance of these rules, Tapas-Asceticism, is most important for the right walk of those, who strive to attain _Nirva?a_. Asceticism is inward as well as outward. The former is concerned with self-discipline, the cleansing and purifying of the mind.

It embraces repentance of sin, confession of the same to the teacher, and penance done for it, humility before teachers and all virtuous ones, and the service of the same, the study and teaching of the faith or holy writing, pious meditations on the misery of the world, the impurity of the body, etc. and lastly, the stripping off of every thing pertaining to the world. On the other hand, under the head of exterior Asceticism, the Jaina understands temperance, begging, giving up all savoury food, different kinds of self-mortification such as sitting in unnatural and wearying positions, hindering the action of the organs, especially by fasts, which, under certain circumstances may be continued to starvation. Voluntary death by the withdrawal of nourishment is, according to the strict doctrine of the Digambara, necessary for all ascetics, who have reached the highest step of knowledge. The Kevalin, they say, eats no longer. The milder Svetambara do not demand this absolutely, but regard it, as a sure entrance to _Nirva?a_. In order, however, that this death may bear its fruits, the ascetic must keep closely to the directions for it, otherwise he merely lengthens the number of rebirths. [Footnote: With reference to asceticism, comp. Leumann, _Aupapatika Sutra_ -- 30. The death of the wise ones by starvation is described, Weber, _Bhagavati Sutra_, II, 266-267; Hoernle _Upasakadasa Sutra,_ pp. 44-62; _achara?ga Sutra_, in _S.B.E_. Vol. XXII, pp. 70-73. Among the Digambara the heads of schools still, as a rule, fall victims to this fate. Even among the Svetambara, cases of this kind occur, see K.

Forbes, _Ras Mala_, Vol. II, pp. 331-332, or 2nd ed. pp. 610-611.]

From these general rules follow numerous special ones, regarding the life of the disciple of Jina. The duty of sacrifice forces him, on entrance into the order, to give up his possessions and wander homeless in strange lands, alms-vessel in hand, and, if no other duty interferes, never to stay longer than one night in the same place. The rule of wounding nothing means that he must carry three articles with him, a straining cloth, for his drinking water, a broom, and a veil before his mouth, in order to avoid killing insects. It also commands him to avoid all cleansing and washing, and to rest in the four months of the rainy season, in which animal and plant life displays itself most abundantly. In order to practice asceticism, it is the rule to make this time of rest a period of strictest fasts, most diligent study of the holy writings, and deepest meditation. This duty also necessitates the ascetic to pluck out in the most painful manner his hair which, according to oriental custom, he must do away with at his consecration-a peculiar custom of the Jainas, which is not found among other penitents of India.

Like the five great vows, most of the special directions for the discipline of the Jain ascetic are copies, and often exaggerated copies, of the Brahmanic rules for penitents. The outward marks of the order closely resemble those of the Sannyasin. The life of wandering during eight months and the rest during the rainy season agree exactly; and in many other points, for example in the use of confession, they agree with the Buddhists. They agree with Brahma?s alone in ascetic self-torture, which Buddhism rejects; and specially characteristic is the fact that ancient Brahmanism recommends starvation to its penitents as beneficial.

[Footnote: An example may be found in Jacobi's careful comparison of the customs of the Brahmanic and Jaina ascetics, in the beginning of his translation of the _achara?ga Sutra, S.B.E._, Vol. XXII, pp.

xxi-xxix. In relation to the death by starvation of Brahmanical hermits and Sannyasin, see apastamba, _Dharmasutra_, in S.B.E. Vol. II, pp.

154, 156, where (IT, 22, 4 and II, 23, 2) it, says of the penitents who have reached the highest grade of asceticism: "Next he shall live on water (then) on air, then on ether".]

The doctrine of the right way for the Jaina laity differs from that for the ascetics. In place of the five great vows appear mere echoes. He vows to avoid only serious injury to living beings, i.e. men and animals; only the grosser forms of untruth-direct lies; only the most flagrant forms of taking, what is not given, that is, theft and robbery. In place of the oath of chastity there is that of conjugal fidelity. In place of that of self-denial, the promise is not greedily to accumulate possessions and to be contented. To these copies are added seven other vows, the miscellaneous contents of which correspond to the special directions for the discipline of ascetics. Their object is, partly to bring the outward life of the laity into accordance with the Jaina teaching, especially with regard to the protection of living creatures from harm, and partly to point the heart to the highest goal. Some contain prohibitions against certain drinks, such as spirits; or meats, such as flesh, fresh butter, honey, which cannot be enjoyed without breaking the vow of preservation of animal life. Others limit the choice of businesses which the laity may enter; for example, agriculture is forbidden, as it involves the tearing up of the ground and the death of many animals, as Brahmanism also holds.

Others have to do with mercy and charitableness, with the preserving of inward peace, or with the necessity of neither clinging too much to life and its joys nor longing for death as the end of suffering. To the laity, however, voluntary starvation is also recommended as meritorious. These directions (as might be expected from the likeness of the circumstances) resemble in many points the Buddhist directions for the laity, and indeed are often identical with regard to the language used. Much is however specially in accordance with Brahmanic doctrines. [Footnote: The _Upasakadasa Sutra_ treats of the right life of the laity, Hoernle, pp. 11-37 (Bibl. Ind.), and Hemachandra, _Yogasutra_, Prakasa ii and iii; Windisch, _Zeitschrift der Deutsch Morg. Ges._ Bd. XXVIII, pp. 226-246. Both scholars have pointed out in the notes to their translations, the relationship between the precepts and terms, of the Jainas and Buddhists. The Jainas have borrowed a large number of rules directly from the law books of the Brahma?s. The occupations forbidden to the Jaina laity are almost all those forbidden by the Brahmanic law to the Brahma?, who in time of need lives like a Vaisya.

Hemachandra, _Yogasastra_, III, 98-112 and _Upasakadasa Sutra_, pp. 29-30, may be compared with Manu, X, 83-89, XI, 64 and 65, and the parallel passages quoted in the synopsis to my translation (_S.B.E._ Vol. XXV).] In practical life Jainism makes of its laity earnest men who exhibit a stronger trait of resignation than other Indians and excel in an exceptional willingness to sacrifice anything for their religion. It makes them also fanatics for the protection of animal life.

Wherever they gain influence, there is an end of bloody sacrifices and of slaughtering and killing the larger animals.

The union of the laity with the order of ascetics has, naturally, exercised a powerful reaction on the former and its development, as well as on its teaching, and is followed by similar results in Jainism and Buddhism. Then, as regards the changes in the teaching, it is no doubt to be ascribed to the influence of the laity that the atheistic Jaina system, as well as the Buddhist, has been endowed with a cult. The ascetic, in his striving for _Nirva?a_, endeavours to suppress the natural desire of man to worship higher powers. In the worldly hearer, who does not strive after this goal exclusively, this could not succeed. Since the doctrine gave no other support, the religious feeling of the laity clung to the founder of it: Jina, and with him his mythical predecessors, became gods. Monuments and temples ornamented with their statues were built, especially at those places, where the prophets, according to legends, had reached their goal. To this is added a kind of worship, consisting of offerings of flowers and incense to Jina, of adoration by songs of praise in celebration of their entrance into _Nirva?a_, of which the Jaina makes a great festival by solemn processions and pilgrimages to the places where it has been attained. [Footnote: For the Jaina ritual, see _Indian Antiquary_. Vol. XIII, pp. 191-196. The principal sacred places or Tirthas are-Sameta Sikhara in Western Bengal, where twenty of the Jinas are said to have attained Nirva?a; Satrunjaya and Girnar in Kathiawa? sacred respectively to ?ishabhanatha and Neminatha; Chandrapuri where Vasupujya died; and Pawa in Bengal at which Vardhamana died.-Ed.] This influence of the laity has become, in course of time, of great importance to Indian art, and India is indebted to it for a number of its most beautiful architectural monuments, such as the splendid temples of abu, Girnar and Satrunjaya in Gujarat. It has also brought about a change in the mind of the ascetics. In many of their hymns in honour of Jina, they appeal to him with as much fervour as the Brahma? to his gods; and there are often expressions in them, contrary, to the original teaching, ascribing to Jina a creative power. Indeed a Jaina description of the six principal systems goes so far as to number Jainism-as also Buddhism-among the theistic religions. [Footnote: The latter assertion is to be found In the _Sha?darsanasamuchchaya_ Vers. 45, 77-78. A creative activity is attributed to the Jinas even in the Kuhaon inscription which is dated 460-461 A.D. (_Ind. Antiq_.

Vol. X, p. 126). There they are called _adikartri_ the 'original creators'. The cause of the development of a worship among the Jainas was first rightly recognised by Jacobi, _S.B.E._ Vol. XXII, p. xxi. The Jaina worship differs in one important point from that of the Buddhists.

It recognised no worship of relics.]

But in other respects also the admission of the laity has produced decisive changes in the life of the clergy. In the education of worldly communities, the ascetic-whose rules of indifference toward all and every thing, make him a being concentrated entirely upon himself and his goal-is united again to humanity and its interests. The duty of educating the layman and watching over his life, must of necessity change the wandering penitents into settled monks-who dedicate themselves to the care of souls, missionary activity, and the acquisition of knowledge, and who only now and again fulfil the duty of changing their place of residence. The needs of the lay communities required the continual presence of teachers. Even should these desire to change from time to time, it was yet necessary to provide a shelter for them. Thus the Upasraya or places of refuge, the Jaina monasteries came into existence, which exactly correspond to the Buddhist Sangharama. With the monasteries and the fixed residence in them appeared a fixed membership of the order, which, on account of the Jaina principle of unconditional obedience toward the teacher, proved to be much stricter than in Buddhism.

On the development of the order and the leisure of monastic life, there followed further, the commencement of a literary and scientific activity.

The oldest attempt, in this respect, limited itself to bringing their doctrine into fixed forms. Their results were, besides other lost works, the so-called _A?ga_,-the members of the body of the law, which was perhaps originally produced in the third century B.C. Of the _A?ga_ eleven are no doubt preserved among the Svetambaras from a late edition of the fifth or sixth century A.D. These works are not written in Sanskrit, but in a popular Prakrit dialect: for the Jina, like Buddha, used the language of the people when teaching. They contain partly legends about the prophet and his activity as a teacher, partly fragments of a doctrine or attempts at systematic representations of the same.

Though the dialect is different they present, in the form of the tales and in the manner of expression, a wonderful resemblance to the sacred writings of the Buddhists. [Footnote: A complete review of the _A?ga_ and the canonical works which were joined to it later, is to be found in A. Weber's fundamental treatise on the sacred writings of the Jainas in the _Indische Studien_, Bd. XVI, SS. 211-479 and Bd.

XVIII, SS. 1-90. The _achara?ga_ and the _Kalpasutra_ are translated by H. Jacobi in the _S.B.E_ Vol. XXII, and a part of the _Upasakadasa Sutra_ by R. Hoernle in the _Bibl. Ind._ In the estimates of the age of the _A?ga_ I follow H. Jacobi, who has throughly discussed the question _S.B.E._ Vol. XXII, pp.

xxxix-xlvii.] The Digambaras, on the other hand, have preserved nothing of the _A?ga_ but the names. They put in their place later systematic works, also in Prakrit, and assert, in vindication of their different teaching, that the canon of their rivals is corrupted. In the further course of history, however, both branches of the Jainas have, like the Buddhists, in their continual battles with the Brahma?s, found it necessary to make themselves acquainted with the ancient language of the culture of the latter. First the Digambara and later the Svetambara began to use Sanskrit. They did not rest content with explaining their own teaching in Sanskrit works: they turned also to the secular sciences of the Brahma?s. They have accomplished so much of importance, in grammar, in astronomy, as well as in some branches of letters, that they have won respect even from their enemies, and some of their works are still of importance to European science. In southern India, where they worked among the Dravi?ian tribes, they also advanced the development of these languages. The Kanarese literary language and the Tamil and Telugu rest on the foundations laid by the Jaina monks. This activity led them, indeed, far from their proper goal, but it created for them an important position in the history of literature and culture.

The resemblance between the Jainas and the Buddhists, which I have had so often cause to bring forward, suggests the question, whether they are to be regarded as a branch of the latter, or whether they resemble the Buddhists merely because, as their tradition asserts, [Footnote: The later tradition of the Jainas gives for the death of their prophet the dates 545, 527 and 467 B.C. (see Jacobi, _Kalpasutra_ introd. pp. vii-ix and xxx). None of the sources in which these announcements appear are older than the twelfth century A.D. The latest is found in Hemachandra who died in the year 1172 A.D. The last is certainly false if the assertion, accepted by most authorities, that Buddha's death falls between the years 482 and 472 B.C. is correct. For the Buddhist tradition maintains that the last Jaina Tirhakara died during Buddha's lifetime (see p. 34).] they sprang from the same period and the same religious movement in opposition to Brahmanism. This question, was formerly, and is still sometimes, answered in agreement with the first theory, pointing out the undoubted defects in it, to justify the rejection of the Jaina tradition, and even declaring it to be a late and intentional fabrication. In spite of this the second explanation is the right one, because the Buddhists themselves confirm the statements of the Jainas about their prophet. Old historical traditions and inscriptions prove the independent existence of the sect of the Jainas even during the first five centuries after Buddha's death, and among the inscriptions are some which clear the Jaina tradition not only from the suspicion of fraud but bear powerful witness to its honesty.

[Footnote: Apart from the ill-supported supposition of Colebrooke, Stevenson and Thomas, according to which Buddha was a disloyal disciple of the founder of the Jainas, there is the view held by H. H. Wilson, A.

Weber, and Lassen, and generally accepted till twenty-five years ago, that the Jainas are an old sect of the Buddhists. This was based, on the one hand, upon the resemblance of the Jaina doctrines, writings, and traditions to those of the Buddhists, on the other, on the fact that the canonical works of the Jainas show a more modern dialect than those of the Buddhists, and that authentic historical proofs of their early existence are wanting. I was myself formerly persuaded of the correctness of this view and even thought I recognised the Jainas in the Buddhist school of the Sammatiya. On a more particular examination of Jaina literature, to which I was forced on account of the collection undertaken for the English Government in the seventies, I found that the Jainas had changed their name and were always, in more ancient times, called Nirgrantha or Niga??ha. The observation that the Buddhists recognise the Niga??ha and relate of their head and founder, that he was a rival of Buddha's and died at Pava where the last Tirthakara is said to have attained _Nirva?a_, caused me to accept the view that the Jainas and the Buddhists sprang from the same religious movement. My supposition was confirmed by Jacobi, who reached the like view by another course, independently of mine (see _Zeitschrift der Deutsch Morg. Ges_. Bd.

XXXV, S. 669. Note 1), pointing out that the last Tirthakara in the Jaina canon bears the same name as among the Buddhists. Since the publication of our results in the _Ind. Ant_. Vol. VII, p. 143 and in Jacobi's introduction to his edition of the _Kalpasutra,_ which have been further verified by Jacobi with great penetration, views on this question have been divided. Oldenberg, Kern, Hoernle, and others have accepted this new view without hesitation, while A Weber (_Indische Studien_ Bd.

XVI, S. 240) and Barth (_Revue de l'Histoire des Religions_, tom.

III, p. 90) keep to their former standpoint. The latter do not trust the Jaina tradition and believe it probable that the statements in the same are falsified. There are certainly great difficulties in the way of accepting such a position especially the improbability that the Buddhists should have forgotten the fact of the defection of their hated enemy.

Meanwhile, this is not absolutely impossible as the oldest preserved Jaina canon had its first authentic edition only in the fifth or sixth century of our era, and as yet the proof is wanting that the Jainas, in ancient times, possessed a fixed tradition. The belief that I am able to insert this missing link in the chain of argument and the hope of removing the doubts of my two honoured friends has caused me to attempt a connected statement of the whole question although this necessitates the repetition of much that has already been said, and is in the first part almost entirely a recapitulation of the results of Jacobi's researches.]

The oldest canonical books of the Jaina, apart from some mythological additions and evident exaggerations, contain the following important notes on the life of their last prophet. [Footnote: The statement that Vardhamana's father was a mighty king belongs to the manifest exaggerations. This assertion is refuted by other statements of the Jainas themselves. See Jacobi, _S.B.E._ Vol. XXII, pp. xi-xii.] Vardhamana was the younger son of Siddhartha a nobleman who belonged to the Kshatriya race, called in Sanskrit Jnati or Jnata, in Prakrit Naya, and, according to the old custom of the Indian warrior caste, bore the name of a Brahmanic family the Kasyapa. His mother, who was called Trisala, belonged to the family of the governors of Videha. Siddhartha's residence was Ku??apura, the Basukund of to-day, a suburb of the wealthy town of Vaisali, the modern Besarh, in Videha or Tirhut. [Footnote: Dr.

Buhler by a slip had here "Magadha oder Bihar".-J. B.] Siddhartha was son-in-law to the king of Vaisali. Thirty years, it seems, Vardhamana led a worldly life in his parents' house. He married, and his wife Yasoda bore him a daughter Anojja, who was married to a noble of the name of Jamali, and in her turn had a daughter. In his thirty-first year his parents died. As they were followers of Parsva the twenty-third Jina, they chose, according to the custom of the Jainas, the death of the wise by starvation. Immediately after this Vardhamana determined to renounce the world. He got permission to take this step from his elder brother Nandivardhana, and the ruler of his land divided his possessions and became a homeless ascetic. He wandered more than twelve years, only resting during the rainy season, in the lands of the La?ha, in Vajjabhumi and Subbhabhumi, the Rarh of to-day in Bengal, and learned to bear with equanimity great hardships and cruel ill treatment at the hands of the inhabitants of those districts. Besides these he imposed upon himself the severest mortifications; after the first year he discarded clothes and devoted himself to the deepest meditation. In the thirteenth year of this wandering life he believed he had attained to the highest knowledge and to the dignity of a holy one. He then appeared as a prophet, taught the Nirgrantha doctrine, a modification of the religion of Parsva, and organised the order of the Nirgrantha ascetics. From that time he bore the name of the venerable ascetic Mahavira. His career as a teacher lasted not quite thirty years, during which he travelled about, as formerly, all over the country, except during the rainy seasons. He won for himself numerous followers, both of the clergy and the lay class, among whom, however, in the fourteenth year of his period of teaching, a split arose-caused by his son-in-law Jamali.

The extent of his sphere of influence almost corresponds with that of the kingdoms of Sravasti or Kosala, Vidcha, Magadha, and A?ga,-the modern Oudh, and the provinces of Tirhut and Bihar in Western Bengal. Very frequently he spent the rainy season in his native place Vaisali and in Rajag?iha. Among his contemporaries were, a rival teacher Gosala the son of Ma?khali-whom he defeated in a dispute, the King of Videha-Bhambhasara or Bibbhisara called Sre?ika, and his sons Abhayakumara and the parricide Ajatasatru or Ku?ika, who protected him or accepted his doctrine, and also the nobles of the Lichchhavi and Mallaki races. The town of Papa or Pava, the modern Padraona [Footnote: This is General Cunningham's identification and a probable one.-Ed.] is given as the place of his death, where he dwelt during the rainy season of the last year of his life, in the house of the scribe of king Hastipala. Immediately after his death, a second split took place in his community. [Footnote: Notes on Mahavira's life are to be found especially in _achara?ga Sutra_ in _S.B.E._ Vol. XXII, pp. 84-87, 189-202; _Kalpasutra,_ ibid. pp. 217-270. The above may be compared with Jacobi's representation, ibid. pp. x-xviii. where most of the identifications of the places named are given, and _Kalpasutra_ introd. p. ii. We have to thank Dr. Hoernle for the important information that Vardhamana's birthplace Ku??apura is still called Vasukund: _Upasakadasa Sutra_ p. 4. Note 3. The information on the schisms of the Jainas is collected by Lemmann in the _Indische Studien_, Bd.

XVII, S. 95 ff.]

On consideration of this information, it immediately strikes one, that the scene of Vardhamana's activity is laid in the same part of India as Buddha laboured in, and that several of the personalities which play a part in the history of Buddha also appear in the Jaina legend. It is through the kingdoms of Kosala, Videha and Magadha, that Buddha is said to have wandered preaching, and their capitals Sravasti and Rajag?iha are just the places named, where he founded the largest communities. It is also told of the inhabitants of Vaisali that many turned to his doctrine. Many legends are told of his intercourse and friendship with Bimbisara or Sre?ika, king of Videha, also of the murder of the latter by his son Ajatasatru, who, tortured with remorse, afterwards approached Buddha; mention is also made of his brother Abhayakumara, likewise Makkhali Gosala is mentioned among Buddha's opponents and rivals.

Report error

If you found broken links, wrong episode or any other problems in a anime/cartoon, please tell us. We will try to solve them the first time.

Email:

SubmitCancel

Share