- Born in 540 B.C. or according to some sources 599 B.C. at Kundagrama near Vaisali.
- Siddhartha was his father, Trisala—the mother, Yasoda—the wife and Jameli was the daughter.
- Attained ‘Kaivalya’ at Jrimbhikagrama in eastern India at the age of 42.
- Died at the age of 72 in 468 B.C. or 527 B.C. at Pavapuri near Rajagriha.
- He was called Jina or Jitendriya, Nirgrantha, and Mahavira.
Know The Important Facts
I. Pattitya Samuppada (theory of dependent origination.)
II. Ksnabhangurvada (theory of momentariness)
- Famous Bhikkhus at the time of the Buddha
I. Sariputta—Possessed the profoundest insight into the dhamma.
II. Moggallana—Had the greatest supernatural powers.
III. Ananda—Devoted disciple and constant companion of the Buddha.
IV. Mahakassapa—President of Buddhist Council held at Rajagriha.
V. Anuruddha—Master of Right Mindfulness.
VI. Upali—Master of Vinaya.
- Buddhapalita and Bhava-viveka were important exponents, in the fifth century, of the Sunyavada doctrine propounded by Nagarjuna.
- Dinnaga, the founder of the Buddhist logic, is often referred to as the father of the Medieval Nyaya.
- Dr. Stcherbatsky calls Dharmakirti the Kant of India.
Jainism in the Past
- The names of two Jaina? tirthankaras, Rishabha and Arishtanemi, are found in the Rig Veda.
- The Vishnu Purana and the Bhagavat Purana describe Rishaba as an incarnation of Narayana.
- The male nude torso discovered from the Indus valley culture has something to do with the tirthankaras.
- There were twenty-four tirthankaras, all Kshatriyas and belonging to the royal family. Parsavanath was the 23rd tirthankara.
Five Main Teachings
(i) Non-injury (ahimsa) (ii) Non-lying (satya) (iii) Non-stealing (asateya) (iv) non-possession (apari-graha) (v) Observe continence (Brahmacharya)
[The above four principles are of Parsavanath and the fifth Bramacharya was included by Mahavira.]
Five categories of Siddhas (devotees)
- Tirthankara who has attained salvation.
- Arhat, who is about the attain Nirvana.
- Acharyas, the head of the ascetic group.
- Upadhyaya, teacher or saint, and
- Sadhu, class which includes the rest.
The principles of Jainism as Preached by Mahavira
- Rejected the authority of the Vedas and the Vedic rituals.
- Did not believe in the existence of God.
- Believed in karma and the transmigration of soul.
- Lay great emphasis on equality.
- Way to Nirvana (Three ratnas)
- Right faith (Samyak vishwas)
- Right knowledge (Samyak jnan)
- Right conduct (Samyak karma)
- Syadvada (Saptavanginaya)—All our judgements are necessarily relative, conditional and limited. ‘Syat’ or ‘Relatively speaking’ or viewed from a particular view-point which is necessarily related to other view-point must precede all our judgements. Absolute affirmation and absolute negation both are wrong. All judgements are conditional. Saptabhanginaya means ‘dialectic of the seven steps’ or ‘the theory of seven field judgement.
- Anekantavada: The Jain metaphysics is a realistic and relativistic pluralism. It is called Anekantavada or the doctrine of the manyness of reality. Matter (Pudgala) and Spirit (Jiva) are regarded as separate and independent realities. “He who knows all the equalities of one thing, knows all the qualities of all things, and he who knows all the qualities of all things, knows all the qualities of one thing.”
- Instruments of knowledge—(i) Matijnana: Perception through activity of sense organs, including the mind.
- Srutajnana: Knowledge revealed by scriptures.
- Avadhijnana: Clairovoyant perception.
- Manahparyayajnana: Telepathic knowledge.
- Kevalajnana: Temporal knowledge or Omniscience.
- First council was held at Pataliputra by Sthulabahu compiled the 12 angas.
- Second council was held at Valabhi in the 5th century A.D. under the leadershiof Devaradhi Kshamasramana, and the 12 Angas and 12 Upangas was finally compiled here.
- The sacred literature of the Svetambaras is written in a form of Prakrita called Arsha or Ardha Magadhi, and many be classified as follows:
(a) The twelve Angas (b) The twelve Upangas (c) The ten Prakirnas (d) The six Chhedasutras (e) The four Mulasutras.
[The cannonical texts are composed in the Ardhamagadhi speech which is known as Arsa and comprise both the late and archaic portions.]
- The first Anga, Ayaramga-sutta, deals with the rules of conduct which a Jain monk was to follows
- The fifth Anga, the Bhagavati, is one of the most important of Jaina cannonical texts. It contains a comprehensive exposition of the Jain doctrine and gives a vivid description of the joys of heaven and the tortures of hell as conceived by Jains.
- The twelve Upangas possess very little literary interests, as their contents are mostly dogmatic and mythological in character. The fifth, sixth, and seventh Upangas deal with Astronomy, Geography, Cosmology etc. The eighth Upanga Nirayavalisultam contains an interesting account of Ajatasatru.
- The six Chhedasutras, like the Vinayapitaka of the Buddhists, deal with disciplinary rules for monks and nuns.
- Nadisutta and Anuyogadara are the separate cannonical texts, containing accounts of the different branches of knowledge pursued by the Jain monks. These are not confined to religious matters but also includes poetics, Arthasastra and Kamasastra etc.
Contribution of Jainism
- Popularisation of Prakrit. Mahavira preached in Ardhamagadhi.
- The five vows ahimsa, satya , asatmya, aparigraha and brahmcharya are relevant even today.
- The Jainism has played a very significant role in the development of language, philosophy, architecture, sculpture and painting in India.