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Jainism in North India (800 BC — AD 526)

by: Chimanlal J. Shah

This study, typed afresh, based on the original study of Jaina sources, involving criticisms, establishes Jainism as the most powerful religion of the north. It discusses the life of Mahavira, his Jaina religious philosophy and traces the influence of Jainism on royal dynasties and clans between 800 and 200 bc.

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ISBN: 9788124603093
Year Of Publication: 2007
Edition: 1st
Pages : xxvi, 296
Bibliographic Details : 2 Maps; 8 Colour plates; 20 b/w photographs; Bibliography; Index
Language : English
Binding : Hardcover
Publisher: D.K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Size: 25
Weight: 850

Overview

This book concentrates on the origin of Jainism in north India and its evolution during 800 bc to ce 526 when, not yet crystallised into a set structure and codified into religious books, it retained a genuineness. This reprinted volume is now offered in a fresh state-of-the-art typeset. The photographs are improved versions of the earlier ones with more lustre and colour. Based on the original study of Jaina sources and involving criticism of various opinions, the study establishes Jainism as the most powerful religion of the north from the days of Parsva (800 bc) to the Kusana and the Gupta periods and even the Vallabhi kings. It begins with Jainism’s antiquity with reference to Parsva’s historicity and scrutinises references to Jainism in Hindu and Buddhist literature. It discusses the life of Mahavira and the Jaina religious philosophy that developed under him and later it traces the influence of Jainism on royal dynasties and clans that held sway from 800 to 200 bc. It views the arrival and growth of Jainism in Kalinga region by studying numerous evidences in caves, temples and inscriptions. It specially reviews Jaina literature and art in north India. A detailed perspective is offered of crucial aspects like the date of Mahavira’s nirvana by consulting a host of Jaina religious literature and modern scholarly studies. The volume will benefit scholars and students of Indology, and of Indian religions in particular.

Contents

List of illustrations
Acknowledgement
Preface
List of Abbreviations
Introduction
I. Jainism Before Mahavira
Indication of the term Jainism
Origin of Jainism
Traditional claim to antiquity higher than modem criticism admits
Parshva and Mahavira considered historical personages
Grounds of Parshva’s historicity
Early references to Jainism in Buddhist literature
Connection between the Jaina church of Parshva and Mahavira
References to Jainism in Hindu literature
Modern scholars on the antiquity of Jainism
II. Mahavira and His Times
I
Some details about Parshva
Mahavira comes two hundred and fifty years after Parshva
A great flourish of religion in India
Increasing influence of the brahmanas and the privileges of the caste system
Virtual ending with Mahavira and Buddha of the abuses begotten of the privileges of the caste system
No anti-brahmana prejudices at the root of this great Indian revolution
A gradual change in the history of Indian thought and outlook on life
II
Jainism in general
Life of Mahavira
Exchange of embryo
Mahavira’s parents are worshippers of Parshva and followers of the shramanas
Ascetic career of Mahavira
Mahavira’s nudity and the interpretation of the Jaina canon
Mahavira’s wanderings covered a wide area
The date of Mahavira’s Nirvana
III
Origin of the world according to the Jainas
Jinas, the spiritual leaders of the Jainas
Jiva, Ajiva, Punya, Papa, Ashrava, Samvara, Bandha, Nirjara and Moksha
The way to Moksha lies through the Ratnatraya, or “the Three Jewels”
Samyag-Darshana (Right Belief), Samyag-Jnana (Right Knowledge) and Samyag-Caritra (Right Conduct)
An absolved soul said to enjoy all the attributes of God
Tirthankaras and Kevalins or Samanya-Siddhas
Indication of the term Tirthankara
Ideal of Ahimsa
Two disciplines of Samayika and Pratikramana
Doctrine of Syadvada or Anekantavada
IV
Some of the most important schisms of the Jaina church
The seven Ninhagas or Ninhavas — Jamali, Tisagutta, Asadha, Ashvamitra, Ganga, Chalue, and Goshtamahila
Goshala Mankhaliputta, the most prominent rival of Mahavira
Relative position of Mankhaliputta in the great wave of religious enthusiasm in India
Dr Barua and the Ajivika sect of Goshala
Goshala’s influence on the formulation of the reformed church of Mahavira
The date of Goshala’s death
The Ajivika sect from an historical point of view
The second epoch-making division in the Jaina church
The Shvetambara and Digambara sects of the Jainas
Various traditions about the schism
General unanimity about the period of the schism
Root cause of the schism: Is nudity a necessary condition of saintship?
The Jainas and the cult of nudity
The chief points on which the two divisions do not agree
Mathura sculptures and the great schism
Two distinct divisions not in existence till the beginning of the Christian era
Final separation about the period of the great council at Vallabhi
The non-idolatrous sect and other minor divisions in the Jaina church
A mania for divisions a peculiarity of the Jainas
Reasons why Jainism is still a living sect
III. Jainism in Royal Families 800 — 200 bc
I
The epoch of Parshva
Jaina literature the only data for the period of Parshva
Royal patronage in the days of Parshva
Absence of all data from Parshva to Mahavira
A lacuna of two hundred and fifty years
The days of Mahavira
His father Siddhartha
The Videhans, the Licchavis, the Jnatrikas and the Vajjis of the Confederacy of the Vajjis or the Licchavis
Their relations with the Mallaki clans and the Ganarajas of Kashi-Koshala
All these clans had directly or indirectly come under the influence of Mahavira’s teaching
The Videhans
The Licchavis
The Jnatrikas
The Vajjis
The Mallakins
The Ganarajas of Kashi-Koshala
II
The sixteen Mahajanapadas and the Jaina church
Empire of Magadha and its importance in the light of Jaina history
Different dynasties that rule over Magadha and the Jaina church
The Shaishunagas
The Nandas
The Mauryas
IV. Jainism in Kalinga-Desha
Jainism in Kalinga-desha is Jainism of the days of Kharavela
The Hathigumpha inscription the only historical source for Kharavela
Importance of Orissa in the light of Jaina history
Ruins neighbouring the Hathigumpha inscription
The Khandagiri and Udayagiri Hills honeycombed with caves or cells 151 mostly dating back to the second or third century bc
The Satbakhra, Navamuni and Ananta caves
The Barabhuji, Trishula and Lalatendu-keshari’s caves
The Rani and Ganesha caves
The Jayavijaya, Swargapuri, Tiger and Serpent caves
Historical importance of this fragmentary evidence
Prominence given to Parshva
The Jaina temple on the Khandagiri Hill
The Hathigumpha inscription
The eighth line of the inscription and the date of Kharavela
Contents of the inscription
Kharavela and the Jina of Kalinga
Antiquity of Jainism in Kalinga
Kharavela and the Jaina religion
V. Mathura Inscriptions
After Kharavela comes Vikramaditya of Ujjain
Era of Vikrama and Siddhasena Divakara
Gardhabhilla, the predecessor of Vikrama, and Kalikacarya
Saint Kalaka and Satayana of Pratishthanapura
Siddhasena Divakara and his times
Padaliptacarya and the traditions connected with him
Traditional literature of the Jainas and the reality of Vikrama and his era
Mathura inscriptions and their importance in connection with the Jaina church
Kankali Tila the source of Jaina records of Mathura
Inscriptions connected with the Satraps of Mathura
Dated and undated Kushana inscriptions
Mathura inscriptions and their importance in the light of the history of the Jaina church
VI. State of Jainism During the Gupta Period
Historical background from the Kushanas down to the advent of the Guptas
Extent of the Gupta Empire
State of religion during the Gupta period
Epigraphic evidence of the sympathy of the Guptas towards the Jainas
The Kuvalayamala tradition and the Jaina chronicle of the Gupta period
Rise of the Vallabhis and the end of the Guptas
Dhruvasena I, the fourth in the Vallabhi list, and the end of the unrecorded period of Jaina history
VII. Jaina Literature of the North
Introductory remarks
The siddhanta of the Jainas
Digambara belief regarding the Shvetambara canon
Grounds in favour of the Shvetambaras
Fourteen Purvas
Twelve Angas
Twelve Upangas
Ten Painnas or Prakirnas
Six Chedasutras
Four Mulasutras
Two isolated texts
Language of the canon
Commentatorial works called the Nijjuttis or Niryuktis
Bhadrabahu the oldest commentator
Dharmadasagani the contemporary of Mahavira
Umasvati and his works
Siddhasena Divakara and Padaliptacarya the outstanding luminaries of Jaina literary history
VIII. Jaina Art in the North
Jainism finds its best expression in architecture
Some of the architectural and pictorial remains beyond our period

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Books of Chimanlal J. Shah