Volume 1: Jainism Before and in the Age of Mahavira
Volume 2: Historical Survey and Spread of Jainism
Volume 3: Medieval Jainism
History of Jainism has bee presented her in three parts. The first part tries to prove through the archaeological and literary sources the historicity of Tirthamkara, Parsvanatha and Mahavira, explaining their life and education besides religious, political, social artistic and literary conditions of their times.
The second part surveys the history of the Jaina dharma, its expansion and significance. The effects of Jaina dharma increased when Mauryas were ruling Magadha and Kharawelas ruled Orissa. No doubt. The period from the ninth to twelfth centuries CE was a golden time in the history of Jainism and even traders, labourers and craftsmen were highly influenced by it during Kusana period. Senn geographically, Cauhana, Paramara and Calukya were acting as watchmen for Jainism in the north, and in the south it was being nourished by Rastrakuta and Ganga (Kingdoms). Many Jaina temples were constructed, and monuments erected in honour of their deities. This part illustrates the many ways in which Jainism was served by the Jaina monks, saints, scholars and the politicians and answers questions such as: What kind of religious and social unions were made after the division and what were their traditional characteristics? How were the different leagues and monasteries of Jaina sages made? What was the lineage of various castes and how it originated?
The third part, associated with middle ages of Jainism, describes that even though there was Muslim rule, still many organizations were sponsored with the influence of Jainism. Truthfully, there was a decline in Jainism during the middle ages but it remained protected. Many pilgrimages and historical places were established with the great influence of Jainism. Dr A.H. Nizami has written here about the Muslim reign, conditions of Jainism and also about the admirable Jainas. Dr Surendra Gopal has described the social and financial conditions prevailing during this period. Dr Shyam Sunder Nigam has penned on the Middle Ages of India and Dr Prakash Chandra Jain has written about the Jaina religion in the Middle Ages in Malwa region.
This monumental work will be a treat for the minds and eyes of people curious about Jainism.
Dr K.C. Jain born on 21 April 1930 in Maroth of Nagore District of Rajasthan, completed his graduation with a scholarship from Rajasthan University in the year 1951 and post graduation in 193. He was awarded Ph.D. and D.Litt. in 1956 and 1963 respectively, from the Rajasthan University. He joined Vikram University in 1964 and served as Professor and Head, School of Studies in Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, Vikram University, Ujjain. He was appointed Senior Fellow by the Indian Council of Historical Society for a period of three years (1990 – 1993).
He has been a member of International Conference of Orientalists, All India Oriental Conference, Indian History Congress. Institute of Historical Studies, Epigraphical Society of India, Rajasthan History Congress and Madhya Pradesh Itihas Parishad.
An author of international acclaim, his other main books include: Jainism in Rajasthan (1963), Ancient Cities and Towns of Rajasthan (1972), Malwa through the Ages (1972), Lord Mahavira and His Times (1976), Prehistory and Protohistory of India (1979), Kalidas and His Times (1990), Madhya Pradesh Through the Ages (1997), Prachin Bharat mein Samajik evam Arthik Sansthayein (sixth edition, 2000), Jain Dharma ka Itihas (Hindi, 3 vols.) (2005), and Age of Vikramaditya (2009). Besides, he has more than 110 research papers to his credit published in national and international journals.
He is the recipient of awards from the State Governments of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
Jainism seems to be an original and independent religion and quite distinct in philosophy, outlook on life, ethical rules conduct and samgha organization from other ancient religions of India. It originated in Magadha but gradually became an all – India ancient religion. The Jaina monks and householders played an important role in different parts of India in shaping the political, social and religious events in different periods of Indian history. The Jainological material in the form of archaeology and literature is rich and varied, and it extended in time and space. Old Jaina caves, temples and holy shrines are important from the architectural point of view. Sculptures of very early period have been discovered, some of which are most artistic. There are numerous Jaina inscriptions. Literary works written in different languages incidentally throw light on Jaina history. The Sastra – bhandaras (i.e. collections of manuscripts) contain rich literary material. These sources have been critically examined by the scholars in order to reconstruct the history of Jainism.
An attempt has been made in this work to trace the history of Jainism from the earliest time to the eighteenth century ce. For this, several works of different scholars have been studied. Scholars held the different views about the time of the origin of Jainism. H.H. Wilson, Lassen and even Weber were of the opinion that Jainism was only one of the many different sects into which Buddhism was divided at an earlier or later date after the death of Buddha. Collebrooke, Prinsep, Stevenson, E. Thomas and others thought Jainism to be older than Buddhism. Parsva who is assumed, on the authority of H. Jacobi, A.K. Chatterjee and others, to have been a historical personage and the real founder of Jainism, dated 250 years before the death of Mahavira, lived in the eighth century BCE. Kamta Prasad Jain, Jyoti Prasad Jain and Ramachandran are of the view that Jainism is of great antiquity. It was in existence during the Vedic age, and at the time of The Indus civilization.
H. Jacobi, who translated the Acaranga, Sutrakrtanga, Kalpasutra and Uttaradhyana, was a great scholar of Jainism. J.C. Jain’s work Life in Ancient India as Depicted by Jaina Canons, and B.C Law’s India as Described in the Early Texts of Buddhism and Jainism are useful for writing the early history of Jainism. The author’s work entitled Lord Mahavira and His Times deals with the history and culture of India during the age of Mahavira in the sixth century BCE.
Muni Jivavijaya edited the historical works Kumarapaal – Caritra of Hemacandra, Prabandhakosa of Rajasekhara, Prabhavaka – Caritra of Prabhacandra, Puratana Prabandha Samgraha, Kathakosa Prakarana of Jinesvarasuri and Vividhatirtha – Kalpa of Jinaprabhasuri. Hajari Prasad Dvivedi translated the Prabandha – Cintamani of Merutunga. These works have been utilized for writing the history of Jainism.
H. Jacobi edited the Samaraiccakaha of Haribhadra and Upamitibhavaprapancakaha of Siddharsi, and A.N. Upadhye edited the Brhatkathakosa of Harisena, Dhurtakhyana of Haribhadra, and Kuvalayamala of Harisena, Dhurtakhyana of Haribhadra, and Kuvalayamala of Haribhadra. These literary works incidentally throw light on the history of Jainism. The Yasastilaka and Indian Culture of Handique is important for the history of Jainism from the cultural point of view.
The extracts from the Kharataragaccha Pattavali and Tapagaccha Pattavali by Johannes Klatt give a great deal of information about the history of the Jainas.
A catalogue of manuscripts in the Jaina bhandaras at Jaisalmer and Patan edited by Lal Chandra Bhagwan Das Gandhi, Rajasthana Ke Jaina Sastrabhandaron ki Granthasuci by K.C. Kasaliwal and others proved to be useful for the history of Jainism. Jinavijaya, Punyavijaya, Bhujbali Shastri, Amritlal Maganlal, Jugal Kishore Mukhtar, Parmanand Sastri, Agar Chand Nahata and Kastoor Chand Kasaliwal brought to light Prasastis of the manuscripts which proved to be of great value for the political and cultural history of Jainism.
Jaina inscriptions proved to be very helpful for reconstructing the history of Jainism. They were edited from time to time by B. Rice, R. Narashimhachar, E. Hultzsch, J.F. Fleet, G. Buhler, D.R. Bhandarkar, K.N. Dikshit, H. Luders, Kielhorn, L.D. Barnet, K.p. Jayaswal, R.D. Banerji, K.B. Pathak, Bhagwan Lal Indraji, Burgess, G.S. Gai, etc. The credit for the discovery of a large number of Jaina inscriptions goes to G.H. Ojha. P.C Nahar, M.B. Garde, Jinavijaya, Jayantavijaya, Agar Chand Nahata, Hiralal Jain, Vidya Vijaya, Kamta Prasad, Kanti Sagar, Kastoor Chand Kasaliwal, S.S. Nigam and K.C. Jain “Suman”.
Besides, scattered material of Jainism is found in the modern books of history, and regional works on the History of Jainism were written. There is a chapter on the History of the Jainas by J. Charpentier in the Cambridge History of India edited by E.G. Rapson. It is concerned with the early history of Jainism. In the History and Culture of the Indian People edited by R.C. Majumdar, A.M. Ghatge supplied contributions on Jainism to the volumes the age of Imperial Unity and The Classical Age, A.D. Pusalker to the volume of Imperial Author’s work Ancient Cities and Towns of Rajasthan also deals with the ancient Jaina tirthas and historical places. In the work Madhya Pradesh Through the Ages, the author discussed the growth and development of Jainism from the earliest times to ce 1305.
Regional works on Jainism inform how Jainism grew and developed in different regions. The Jaina Stupas and Other Antiquities of Mathura by Vincent Smith gives interesting details proving the existence of Jaina nuns and the influential position in the Jaina samgha occupied by women. C.J. Shah in his work entitled Jainism in North India (800 BCE – CE 256) Discussed the early history of Jainism. He discloses whatever is historical and legendary in the early history of Jainism. He fixed two limits in this history of Jainism: one is geographical and the other is chronological. The Uttara Pradesa aura Jaina Dharma by Jyoti Prasad gives valuable information regarding Jainism in the medieval period.
C.B. Seth is the author of Jainism in Gujarat and gives a brief account of the activities of the Jainas in different fields and their contribution to the cultural life of Gujarat in the medieval period (i.e. roughly between CE 1100 and 1600). In the Jainism in Rajasthan, the author has made a survey of Jainism in Rajasthan from the earliest times to the eighteenth century CE, and it remained a great cultural and dynamic force under the liberal patronage of the heroic Raput Rules.
Jainism in Bihar by P.C. Roy Choudhury and History of Jainism in Bihar by B.K. Tiwary indicate how Jainism took birth, developed and spread in Bihar. Jainism in Orissa (in Hindi) by L.N. Sahu and Early History of Orissa by A.c. Mittal are concerned with the history of Jainism in Orissa.
The history of Jainism in south India in totally different from the history of Jainism in north India. Scholars have written works on the history of Jainism in south India. Studies in South Indian Jainism was written by M.S.R. Iyyangar and B. Sheshgiri Rao, B.A. Saletore wrote the Medieval Jainism with Special Reference to Vijayanagar Empire. This is the study of the Jainas under the medieval Hindu monarchs. The history of Jainism in southern India is primarily the history of that religion in Karnataka. Jainism and Karnataka Culture (Originally Jainism in South India) was written by S.R. Sharma. Jainism in South India and Some Jaina Epigraphs by P.B. Desai is concerned with the part played by Jainism in south India – Andhradesa, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Gulab Chand Chaudhary and V.P. Johrapurkar wrote an authentic introduction of the Jaina Silalekha Samgraha, vols. III and IV respectively informing about the Digambara samghas, Jaina ruling dynasties, ministers, senapatis, Jaina castes and classes, etc. of the south. Bharata Ke Digambara Jaina Tirthas in five parts by Bal Bhadra Jain in concerned with the tirthas of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar – Bengal – Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan – Gujarat – Maharashtra and Karnataka.
The title of the book Jaina Sahitya aura Itihasa by Nathuram Premi indicates that the topics discussed here fall into two broad divisions; those dealing with problems connected with Jaina literature and others dealing with socio – historical topics relating to Jainism. The work Jaina Sahitya aura Itihasa Para – Visada Prakasa by Jugal Kishore Mukhtar throws light on Jaina history and Jaina literature.
Osavala Jati ka Itihasa and Pragvata Jati Ka Itihasa are concerned with the history of the Osavalas and the Poravalas respectively. Jaina Community: A Social Survey by Vilas A. Sangave presents for the first time a critical account of the sociological history and achievements of the Jainas. The decline and the survival of Jainism has also been discussed.
The Bhattaraka Sampradaya by V.P. Johrapurkar is a useful work for the medieval history of Jainism. The Bhattarakas occupied an important place in the Jaina society. This work mentions their centers, their contributions to art and literature, management of the tirthas, different samghas, installation of images and their relations with the kings.
The study of The Jaina Sources of the History of Ancient India by Jyoti Prasad Jain covers a period c. ce 100 to 900. It is also concerned with the contributions of Jaina thinkers. The Jaina Dharma Ka Pracina Itihasa by Parmanand Shastri gives detailed information about Bhagavan Mahavira and his Samgha Parampara. Jaina Dharma ka Maulika Itihasa in four volumes is concerned with history of Jainism.
A Comprehensive History of Jainism by Asim Kumar Chatterjee is the first systematic historical study of Jainism. It is divided into two volumes. In volume I, the author outlined the history of Jainism from the earliest times to CE 1000. The second volume covers the period between CE 1000 and 1500. This work also contains chapters on Jaina thinkers and Jaina tirthas.
All this material from different sources has been thoroughly examined and utilized in writing this work. I made it a point that prejudice should not find place in dealing with the legends and different views regarding sects of Jainism. At every step, the temptation to follow up its diverse ramifications has been resisted with a view to attaining lucidity and unity. For the first time, archaeological evidence has been utilized in order to corroborate in with religious tradition so that truth is known.
The present work has been divided into eighteen chapters. In Chapter 1, some legendary accounts, given in Jaina scriptures, have been critically examined in the light of the archaeological evidence. It appears, both from the Buddhist and the Jaina texts that Parsvanatha is a historical figure, and the history of Jainism can be extended to his times. In Chapter 2, the sources of the Mahavira Age and the post – Mahavira Age have been discussed. The source material of the post – Mahavira Age is richer.
Chapter 3 gives an account of the life of Mahavira from his childhood to nirvana. Some controversial questions like his birth place and the year of nirvana have been discussed. Chapter 4 deals with his teachings based on the original texts. Early Buddhist texts have been used as collateral evidence in writing this chapter. Chapter 5 is “Mahavira Age” which is marked by the outstanding achievements in different spheres – religion, politics, society, economy, art and literature.
Chapter 6 is “Historical Role of Jainism.” In this chapter, it is pointed out how Jainism grew and developed under the different ruling dynasties up to the eighteenth century CE. Chapter 7 is concerned with the Jaina tirthas and historical places. The tirthas are concerned with the includents of the lives of the tirthamkaras and other great persons. Some sites are important from the point of view of art and history. Chapter 8 is concerned with the Jaina monks, statesmen and sravakas who contributed to the progress of Jainism.
In Chapter 9, the contributions of Jainism to Indian culture and reasons for its progress have been discussed. Chapter 10 is “Religious Divisions of Jainism” which throws light on the origin of several samghas, ganas, and gacchas. The bhattarakas occupied an important position in society during the medieval period. Caityavasi was prevalent during this period. The sects of idol – worshippers and non – idol – worshippers came into existence. Chapter 11 is concerned with the social divisions which in the form of different castes and gotras came into existence after the eighth century CE.
As there is ample material of Jainism regarding medieval period, I requested A.H. Nizami, Surendra Gopal, S.S. Nigam and Prakash Jain to study it from different angles. I am grateful to them for contributing their respective chapters to this research project.
A.H. Nizami has studied Jainism of the Delhi Sultanate period (CE 1200 – 1526) in Chapter 12. He has described Jaina culture on the eve of Turkish conquests. He has studied the Jaino – Sufi contacts, and their influence. Ahimsa became a trait common to both Jainism and Sufism, and they believed in universal brotherhood. The period of thirteenth of fifteenth century may be called the Golden Age of Jaino – Sufi movement. The Sufi saint Hameuddin Rihani of Nagaur was highly influenced by Jainism. Non – idol sects among the Jainas came into existence. Alauddin Khilji, Muhammad Tughluq and Firoz Shah Tughluq came into contact with the Jaina saints who sought protection and promotion of Jainism. Jainism prospered in the Provincial Kingdoms of northern India by the efforts of Jaina officials and bankers. Mulasamgha and Kasthasambha became powerful during he thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and their bhattarakas established their seats at different places. Among them, Delhi, Gwalior and Chanderi were important seats. These bhattarakas contributed to different spheres towards the progress of Jainism but the bhattaraka system gradually declined because of the rise of Terapanthi sect.
Surendra Gopal has written on the social and economic life of the Jaina community during the Mogul period (Ce 1526 – 1800) in Chapter 13. First, he has discussed the different sources, and the structure of the community into the Svetambaras and Digambaras. There was demographical spread of Jainism because of the security, and mutual good relations between the Muslims and Jainas during this period. The Jaina society was characterized by caste divisions, an their gotras. The status of woman among the Jainas was high. Here were social functions, festivals and rituals. People put on dresses and ornaments, and they enjoyed music and dance. There was systematic education and emphasis was laid on writing. They believed in astrology, auspicious moments and miracles. They were vegetarians, and they had respect of life to birds, insects and animals. They refrained from wine drinking, gambling and prostitution. They emphasized on charity at the time of famines.
There are facts about the economic life of Jainas during Mogul period. First, trade was their primary economic occupation. In pursuit of their trade, they had spread all over north India from Multan in the west to Patna, Rajmahal, etc. in the east. They were to be found in major village, small towns and important commercial centres. Capital could easily raised for investment on credit; loans were available as a part of normal business practice. The combination of trade, banking and shroffage brought immense material prosperity to some Jainas. There were some Jaina merchants who were at the top in their times. The fortunes of Virji Vora were based on long – distance foreign and internal trade. The prosperity of Shantidas depended upon internal trade and diamond trade, and the wealth of the House of Jagat Seth resulted from a combination of banking and internal trade. Besides, there were several other Jainas who achieved varied degrees of success.
S.S. Nigam’s Chapter 14 on Jainism in Medieval period brings to light how two main sects of Jainism – Digambara and Svetambaa – divided into different sects, panthas, samghas, gacchas and ganas and what role did the bhattarakas fill in the period under review both in the northern and southern parts of the century. This is also revelatory of he fact how Jainism, born in the east, Disappeared from there and made its debut, and prospered in west and south India during the later period and how it could be a real blockbuster even today braving the time and sustaining its vitality. The recent rare – published material has also been utilized by the author.
Prakash Jain discussed Jainism during the reign of the Sultans of Malwa and the Moguls in Chapter 15. During this period, temples were built and images were installed in them. Jaina literary works were built and images were installed in them. Jaina literary works were written. Samghas, ganas and gacchas were existing among the Digambaras and the Svetambaras. Among the Digambaras, Mulasamgha and Kasthasamgha were powerful while the Kharatara and the Tapa were popular among the Svetambaras. There were also the activities of the Sthanaka sets. Besides, there were Digambara Jaina castes and Svetambara castes.
I feel pleasure to associate myself with the Encyclopaedia of Jainism to be prepared under the auspices of Jain Academic Foundation of North America. I am grateful to Project Director Premchand B. Gada for placing me in – charge of the volume, History of Jainism. I received help from some persons in one way or another in the preparation and publication of this work’s am extremely grateful to Kamal Chand Sogani, Chief Editor of this project for giving valuable suggestions in writing this volume. He gave me inspiration from time to time, and also provided facilities in completing this volume. I am highly obliged to S.M. Pahadia and my daughter Rekha Jain for reading the project. I am indebted to Prakash Chand Jain for reading the project. I am indebted to Prakash Chand Jain who helped me in writing it. I wish to thank Odekar for preparing maps. I am obliged to the Department of Archaeology for the photographs. In the end, I express my gratefulness to my wife Chandrakala Jain who carefully looked after my health and comforts at the time of writing this work.
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