Jainism is a religion in India which emerged in 6th century BCE – the same time as Buddhism. Today, there are over 4 million Jains, or adherents, around the world.Their highest goal is to achieve and teach moksha, or liberation of the soul.
HISTORY OF JAINISM
Jainism has no single founder. The Jains called their founders tirthankaras, which means a teacher who makes a way. They believe that about 24 tirthankaras existed who reached and taught the way to liberation, or moksha.
Unlike many religions, these teachers are not an incarnation of God, but rather ordinary souls who achieved the highest goal of existence through meditation, penance, and equanimity. Therefore, a tirthankara is the ultimate developed state of a soul.
Like Buddhism, tirthankaras are teachers, not god-incarnates. The present age tirthankaras are Adinatha, Ajita, Sambhava, Abhinandana, Sumati, Padmaprabha, Suparshva, Chandraprabha, Suvidhi, Shital, Shreyansa, Vasupujya, Vimala, Ananta, Dharma, Shanti, Kunthu, Ara, Malli, Muni Suvrata, Nami, Nemi, Parshva, and Mahavira.
There are two Jain sects: the Digambara, meaning sky clad, and the Svetambara, or the white clad. Both have the same basic teachings and principles of Jainism, but differ in beliefs regarding the life of Mahavira, spiritual roles, status of women, wearing of clothes for monks, rituals, and texts.
They believe that women cannot achieve liberation and be a tirthankara unless they were first born a man.
They live completely naked and have no worldly possessions.
Images of tirthankaras have downcast eyes and are always presented naked.
Tirthankaras can be both men and women.
Monks wear simple white clothing and possess reading and writing materials.
Images have prominent eyes and are always overly decorated.
Spread of Jainism
Mahavira organised an order of his followers which admitted both men and women.
Jainism did not very clearly mark itself out from Hinduism, therefore it spread gradually into West and South India where brahmanical order was weak.
The great Mauryan King Chandragupta Maurya, during his last years, became a jain ascetic and promoted Jainism in Karnataka.
Famine in Magadha led to the spread of Jainism in South India.
The famine lasted for 12 years, and in order to protect themselves, many Jains went to South India under the leadership of Bhadrabahu.
In Odisha, it enjoyed the patronage of Kalinga King of Kharavela.
First Jain Council
Held at Patliputra in 3rd Century B.C. and was presided by Sthulbhadra.
Second Jain Council
Held at Vallabhi in 512 A.D. and was presided by Devardhi Kshmasramana.
Final Compilations of 12 Angas and 12 Upangas.
Jain architecture cannot be accredited with a style of its own, it was almost an offshoot of Hindu and Buddhist styles.
Types of Jain Architecture:
Ellora Caves (Cave No. 30-35)- Maharashtra
Mangi Tungi Cave- Maharashtra
Gajapantha Cave- Maharashtra
Udayagiri-Khandagiri Caves- Odisha
Hathi-gumpha Cave- Odisha
Sittanavasal Cave- Tamil Nadu
Gometeshwara/Bahubali Statue-Shravanabelagola, Karnataka
Statue of Ahimsa (Rishabnatha)- Mangi-Tungi hills, Maharashtra
Dilwara Temple- Mount Abu, Rajasthan
Girnar and Palitana Temple- Gujarat
Muktagiri Temple- Maharashtra
Relevance of Jain Ideology in Today’s World
The Jain theory of Anekantavada translated into practical terms in social context would mean three principles:
Absence of dogmatism or fanaticism
Honouring the freedom of others
Peaceful coexistence and cooperation
Anekantavada highlights the spirit of intellectual and social tolerance in the world.
The principle of Ahimsa (non-violence) gains prominence in today’s nuclear world to attain long-lasting peace in society.
The concept of Ahimsa can also help to counter growing violence and terrorism.
The principle of Aparigraha (non-possession) can help to control consumerist habits as there is a great increase in greed and possessive tendencies.
Global warming also can be healed with this thought by doing away with unwanted luxuries, which produce carbon emissions.