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Bal Patil

Constitutional Minority Recognition for Jain community in India

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By Bal Patil*


Internet Public Library





ainism is an ancient religion of India. That the genesis of the Jain religion can be traced to deepest antiquity in recorded history is now clearly acknowledged by eminent scholars. The non-Aryan origins of Jain religion are confirmed by H.T.Colebrooke in his Observations on the Sect of Jains. He observes that the Greek authors of the third century B.C. divided all philosophers into two groups- samana (Sramana) and brahmanas so greatly differentiated as they considered them belonging to different races.



Dr. N.R. Guseva of the Academy of Sciences of the erstwhile USSR, in her ethnological study of Jainism emphatically concludes from this: "Only one interpretation can be given to this and that is, in those times followers of Jainism were, in the main, representatives of the pre-Aryan population of the country. This means that there is basis to assert that the chief components of this non-Vedic religion were engendered by non-Aryan ethnical environment. (Jainism, 1971)



The principle of ahimsa (non-violence) and the prescription of strict vegetarianism are the prime and unique characteristics of Jain religion and ethics. They could not have developed in Vedic-brahmanic Aryan culture: there is ample evidence to show that meat eating was not a taboo to imigrant Aryans. But abstention from meat came naturally to the native inhabitants of India because of the climate. That the concept of ahimsa was foreign to Vedic culture is shown by the eminent Indologist Prof. W. Norman Brown in his Tagore Memorial Lectures, 1964-65, Man in the Universe:



"Though the Upanishads contain the first literary reference to the idea of rebirth and to the notion that one's action-karma determines the conditions of one's future existences, and though they arrive at the point of recognising that rebirth may occur not only in animal form but also in animal bodies, they tell us nothing about the precept of ahimsa. Yet that precept is later associated with the belief is later associated with the belief that a soul in its wandering may inhabit both kinds of forms. Ancient Brahmanical literature is conspicuously silent about ahimsa. The early Vedic texts do not even record the noun ahimsa nor know the ethical meaning which the noun later designated… Nor is an explanation of ahimsa deducible from other parts of Vedic literature. The ethical concept which it emdodies was entirely foreign to the thinking of the early Vedic Aryans, who recognised no kinship between human and animal creation, but rather ate meat and offered animals the sacrifice to the gods." (pp.53-54)



Therefore Prof. Brown concludes:"The double doctrine of ahimsa and vegetarianism has never had full and unchallenged acceptance and practice among Hindus, and should not be considered to have arisen in Brahmanical circles. It seems more probable that it originated in non-Brahmanical environment, and was promoted in historic India by the Jains and adopted by Brahmanic Hinduism."



The Jain contribution in the field of ahimsa has been distinctly acknowledged by Lokmanya Tilak: "In ancient times innumerable animals were butchered in sacrifice. Evidence in support of this is found in various poetic composition such as Kalidasa's Meghaduta. But the credit for the disappearance of this terrible massacre from the Brahmanical religion goes to the share of Jainism." (Bombay Samachar, 10-12-1904)



Prof . Hermann Jacobi, the eminent German Indologist said: "In conclusion, let me assert my conviction that Jainism is an original system, quite distinct and independent from all others; and that, therefore, it is of great importance for the study of philosophical thought and religious life in ancient India."



Dr.S. Radhakrishnan affirms that "The Bhagavata Purana endorses the view that Rishabha was the founder of Jainism. There is evidence to show that so far back as the first century B.C. there were people who were worshipping Rishabhdeva, the first Tirthankara. There is no doubt that Jainism prevailed even before Vardhamana (Mahavira) or Parsvanatha. The Yajurveda mentions the names of three Tirthankaras, Rishabha, Ajitanatha and Arishtanemi." (Indian Philosophy, p.287)



Tirthankara literally means one who builds a ford by which to cross the samsara. Mahavira, as senior contemporary of Buddha, lived and preached in sixth century B.C. the ancient Jain way of life characterised by Three Jewels- Ratnatraya Dharma- that is, i)Right Faith, ii) Right Knowledge and iii)Right Action. He put great emphasis on ahimsa and accepted the tractices of Yoga, Meditation (Dhyana) and Deep Meditation (samadhi). In him is found a pioneering accepatance of Yoga , both Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga.



Mahavira did not believe in the existence of God. He did not believe that God created and controlled the whole universe. He considered the recital of Mantras a waste of time and rejected the sacrifical ceremonies. In Jainism, there is no worship of gods, goddeses or spirits. The images of Tirthankaras are worshipped in their temples.



Unlike Buddhism, Jainism did not advocate conversion to its religion and it did not spread outside the country. The very rigorousness and severity of its religious and ethical code of conduct have contributed to its resilience and survival as a minority in all parts of India. The religious life of the Jain community is substantially the same as it was two thousand and five hundred years ago.



Such being the distinctly independent ethnic, religious identity of the Jain community preserved unaltered through two and half millennia it was not surprising that the Jains staked their claim for recognition as a minority. The Jain demand for minority status is almost a century old. When in British India the Viceroy took a decision in principle that the Government would give representation to "Important Minorities" in the Legislative Council, Seth Manekchand Hirachand, acting President of Bharat Varshiya Digambar Jain Maha Sabha, made an appeal to the Viceroy and Governor-General of India, Lord Minto, for the inclusion of the Jain community as an Important Minority in his petition dated 2-9-1909. The Viceroy responded positively to this petition informing that in giving representation to minorities by nomination the claim of the important Jain community will receive full consideration.



We may hearken back to the crucial importance given to minority safeguards in the Constituent Assembly Debates. Presenting the Draft Constitution to the Assembly , Dr.Ambedkar, referring to the articles on safeguards for minorities, observed: "To diehards who have developed a kind of fanaticism against minority protection I would like to say two things. One is that minorities are an explosive force which, if it erupts, can blow up the whole fabric of the State…It is for the majority to realise its duty not to discriminate against minorities"



In his Allahabad speech on 3-9-1949, Jawaharlal Nehru said: "No doubt India has a vast majority of Hindus, but they could not forget the fact there are also minorities-Moslems, Christians, Parsis, Jains. If India was understood as a 'Hindu Rashtra' it meant that the minorities were not cent per cent citizens of the country." (The Statesman, 5-9-1949)



In a Memorandum by the Representatives of the Jain Community presented to the Constituent Assembly it was categorically claimed that Jainism being essentially a non-Vedic religion having distinctive social and religious customs and their own system of law, the Jain community should be treated as a minority.



But despite the minority safeguards protestations by the Founding fathers of the Constitution a curious ingenious constitutional exercise of clubbing together of Sikh, Buddhist and Jain religions in the Explanation II in Article 25 of the Constitution of India relating to the Right to Freedom of Religion was done.



Explanation II states:"In sub-clause (b) of Clause (2), the reference to Hindus shall be construed as including a reference to persons professing the Sikh, Jain or Buddhist religion, and the reference to Hindu religious institutions shall be construed accordingly." And sub-clause (b) of Clause 2 of Article 25 states: "providing for social welfare and reform or the throwing open of Hindu religious institutions of a public character to all classes and sections of Hindus."



As B.Shiva Rao's classic exposition The Framing of India's Constitution: A Study shows that Article 25 relating to religious freedom and particularly its explanation II including Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs in the definition of Hindus was finalised by the Fundamental rights Sub-committee comprising of stalwarts like Dr.Ambedkar and Dr.Munshi without proper discussion. It is indeed a constitutional conundrum why the Founding fathers should have resorted to this devious means of social welfare and reform of Hindu religious institutions by a blatant invasion of the admittedly distinct Sikh, Buddhist and Jain religious identities.



Clause (b) of Article 25 and its specious Explanation II is truly a religious Pandora's box. There is no reason why the religious institutions of Sikh, Buddhist and Jain faiths should be treated on par with the Hindu religious ones to push forward Hindu social welfare and reform. It could be nothing but a surreptious attempt- and rather a clumsy one- to take away the religious freedom guaranteed by that very Article under a pretentious Hindu pretext of throwing open the Hindu religious institutions to all classes and sections of the Hindus and then make this reference applicable to Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains.



A very unconvincing and clearly untenable attempt which cannot be sustained by constitutional rationalisation confirms the suspicion that the particular Clause was not discussed threadbare, nor does it appear from the Constituent Assembly Debates that the protagonists of Jains. Buddhists and Sikhs were given a fair opportunity to discuss its implications for the religious freedom guaranteed under that Article.



In this context it would be useful to review as to what the reaction of the Jain community was at the dawn of the Constitution. On 25th January, 1950, a Jain delegation was led to the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and other central leaders to draw their attention to the anomalous position of the Jains under sub-clause (b) of Clause 2 of Article 25 and a petition was submitted. Jawaharlal Nehru clearly assured the delegation that the Jains are not Hindus and on 31-1-1950, his Principal Private Secretary, Mr.A.B. Ghai wrote the following letter in reply to the petition:



"This Article merely makes a definition. This definition by enforcing a specific consitutional arrangement circumscribes that rule. Likewise you will note that this mentions not only Jains but also Buddhists and Sikhs. It is clear that Buddhists are not Hindus and therefore there need be no apprehension that the Jains are designated as Hindus. There is no doubt that the Jains are a different religious community and this accepted position is in no way affected by the constitution."



The National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992, came into force on May 17, 1992. It does not specify as to which religion or religious community is a minority community, nor does it lay down any criteria for so specifying. But sub-section © of Section 2 says "minority" for the purposes of this Act, means a community notified as such by the Central Government.



In the aforesaid context a grave injustice has been done to the Jain community in as much as its legitimate constitutional status as a minority community has been denied by the Government of India Notification dated 23-10-1993 declaring Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) as Minority Communities under the National Commission of Minorities 1992Act.



It is pertinent to note that the Government of India Resolution No.F.8-9/93-SC/ST dated 28-7-95 of the Ministry of Human resources Development, Dept of Education, SC/St Cell, constituting a National Monitoring Committee for Minorities Education (Published in Part I, Section I of the Gazette of India) in its Memorandum of Minorities Education Cl.3.1.3, mentions that "according to 1981 Census the religious minorities constitute about 17.4% of the population of which Muslims are 11.4%, Christians 2.4%, Sikhs 2%, Buddhists 0.7% and Jains 0.5%. It means that per 10,000 persons in India 8,264 are Hindus, 1,135 are Muslims, 243 are Christians, 196 Sikhs,71 Buddhists and 48 are Jains."



The National Minority Commission in consideration of the following: 1) the relevant constitutional provisions, 2)various judicial pronouncements, 3)the fundamental differences in philosophy and beliefs (theism vs.atheism principally) vis-à-vis Hinduism, and 4)the substantial number of Jain population in the country, resolved to recommend to the Government of India that the Jains deserve to be recognised as a distinct religious minority, and that, therefore, the Government of India may consider including them in the listing of "Minorities" in their Notification dt.23-10-1993. This recommendation was issued on 3-10-1994.



Even after a lapse of four years the Central Government has not acted on the recommendation. This is because of the hidden Hindutva lobby operating in a section of the bureaucracy, the Government, the Congress, the United Front and now the BJP Alliance prompted by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad's insidious propaganda that the Jains are Hindus. It is pertinent to note in this context the impact of the mendacious Hinduisation process on the Jain Census figures. Hinduism has never been a proselytising religion like Christianity and Islam but the way the Hindutva propaganda is operating that the Jains are Hindus the result is a surreptitious conversion of Jains by their misleading enumeration as Hindus in the Census. This is evident from the decennial growth rate of the Jain population from 1981 to 1991 which shows just 4% growth while the rest of the Indian population registered a growth rate of about 20 to 24 per cent.



This confirms the apprehension of the Jain community that the BJP-VHP propaganda that the Jains are Hindus is taking its demographic toll. And if this continues unabated there is grave danger of the Jain community being eliminated through such Census-engineering. It is instructive to contrast this with the violent spate of attacks against the Christian community by the Bajrang Dal and the VHP for the alleged conversion by the missionaries.



The National Minorities Commission has been reconstituted in November, 1996 under the Chairmanship of Dr.Tahir Mahmood. In its first meeting held on 17th December, 1996 the Commission has reiterated its previous recommendation that the Jain community be recognised as a minority community. As the Central Government was not inclined to take a decision even after these two clear recommendations, Dakshin Bharat Jain Sabha, a premier Jain social, religious and cultural institution dedicated to the preservation and propagation of Jain values was constrained to file a writ petition in 1997 in the Bombay High court through its Convenor praying for an early decision on the Jain minority issue as recommended.



A Division Bench comprising of Justice Ashok Desai and Justice S.S. Parkar in their order on 20-10-97 directed the Central Government to take an expeditious and as early as possible decision on the issue of Jain minority recognition as recommended by the Minority Commission National. As the Central government failed to take any action on this order, the Convenor, Jain Minority Status Committee, filed another Writ Petition in August 1998. The Central Government filed a Counter-Affidavit raising mainly two contentions: one, that 11-Member Bench of the Apex Court was proposed to consider an answer as "to who in the context constitutes a minority has become of utmost significance", and two, that the National Minority Commission has directed the Central Government "to take note of various notes of dissent opposing minority status to Jains, and that the Government would better ascertain the consensus within the Jain community before taking a final decision in the matter."



The Division Bench of the Bombay High Court comprising of Justice Ashok Agarwal and Justice Nijjar proceeded to dispose off the petition without giving an opportunity to the petitioner to respond to the Counter-affidavit and without going into the merits of the matter.



However, a careful reading of the Questions framed in the T.M.A. Pai Foundation case decision by the Apex Court referring the matter to an Eleven Judges' Bench makes it evident that said questions presuppose the existence of a religious or a linguistic minority and the issue before the Supreme Court, as and when it is constituted, would be to consider the scope and ambit of the rights of the minority community in one state with reference to minorities in other States, rather than to inquire into as who and in what circumstances can be declared a minority community.



As regards the dissenting notes forwarded by the National Minorities Commission to the Central government asking it to seek a consensus within the Jain community, the National Minority Commission's stand, to say the least, is preposterous and untenable. In trotting out the excuse of protests without verifying their contents, validity and relevance the Commission has thrown to the winds its constitutional and legal responsibility and its a statutory power of recommendation under the National Commission of Minorities Act, 1992.



It is instructive to refer to an interview given by the Chairman of the National Minorities Commission, Dr.Mahmood, a former dean of the Faculty of Law, Delhi University, to the RSS Hindi Weekly 'Panchjanya' of 2nd March 1997 in which he said categorically :"In our Constitution the Jains are covered by the same provisions as are available to Sikhs and Buddhists. Constitution does not consider Buddhists, Jain and Sikhs as Hindus…and if our Government has declared Sikhs and Buddhists as Minorities, there is no reason whatsoever in not declaring the Jains as a Minority."



In view of this unambiguous statement by the Chairman one cannot but be shocked by the Commission's letter to the Government on the protests. The NMC did not pause to consider that it was demeaning, nay, denigrating its own raison d'etre as a statutory custodian of minority rights and interests. Underlying this letter seeking the consensus of the Jains is an abject, even unconscionable surrender of its autonomous dignity. It is a blatant surrender of its statutory obligations.



But nevertheless this inscrutable NMC stand has dangerous and far-reaching constitutional repercussions not only for its own meaningful existence, but also for the secular credentials of the State. It will definitely open a Pandora's box of veritable sectional, casteist, communal interests manipulated in an ostensibly democratic manner in a volatile political situation. It is impossible to imagine of a Government not based on constitution and law but on consensus and conscientious decisions!



The interview cited above by the NMC Chairman can be pertinently contrasted with his recent interview to the STARNEWS on 12-1-1999 at 7.30 p.m. when he said that the National Minority Commission has given recognition to Hindus in the State of Jammu and Kashmir and asked the Chief Minister, Mr.Farukh Abdulla, a in a categorical letter written on that day itself to extend to them the same facilities and safeguards as are available to other recognised minorities. This is certainly questionable in the context of the official stand taken by the commission in their decision as noted in the Counter-Affidavit, because the NCM under the relevant Act can only recommend and not recognise a minority status to any group or community.




Earlier Dr.Mahmood in his briefing to the media on 25-11-98 had gone on record stating :"So far, the Government has been content with national-level minorities only. We have come out with the concept of State-level Minorities and have virtually recognised Hindus as a minority entitled to invoke out jurisdiction in the States of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and the Union territories of Lakshadweepa and Chandigarh." (Emphasis supplied) (The Times of India, 26-11-98).



This is quite an innovation not at all warranted by the National Commission Minorities Act, 1992, under which the NMC is constituted. It is incomprehensible how the Chairman can arrogate to himself such powers of suo motu recognition of any community as a minority. What was the procedure followed in this novel concept of "virtual recognition of Hindu community as a minority"? If the underlying basis


Is merely a demographic count of any community being numerically less than 50 per cent that is also not definitive as per the Supreme Court opinion in re: The Kerala Education Bill (AIR 1958)



The Supreme Court opined that while it was easy to say that minority meant a community which was numerically less than 50 per cent, the important question was 50 per cent of what- the entire population of India or of a state or a part thereof?



Therefore the National Minority Commission's ingenious stand must fall flat. The trouble is that Commission is adopting double standards: one in the case








Of Hindus and the other in the case of Jains . As a matter of fact the Jains have an unassailable case on all available evidence and criteria: First, there is a recommendation made twice by the NMC, and second, the Jains are in a minority not only in the entire population of India, or State, but in every district or part thereof..



While the National Minority Commission has shown unseemly haste in taking cover under the dissenting notes against Jain Minority status, it did not pause for a moment to consider the propriety of how a sitting Law and Judiciary Minister, Mr. Ramakant Khalap, in the erstwhile United Front Government sworn to uphold the Constitution could climb this bandwagon of protesters?






*Convenor, Jain Minority Status, Dakshin Bharat Jain Sabha, Co-author of JAINISM (Macmillan Co. 1974) with Dr.Colette Caillat, ex-Rector, Sorbonne University, Paris, and Dr.A.N. Upadhye, a former President of All-India Oriental Conference; and Author of SUPREME COURT'S volte face ON CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT published by Govt. of Maharashtra, 1980.








Published in the Special Issue on Minorities of RADICAL HUMANIST April, 1999.







Bal Patil

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Interesting reading Bal. I have two simple questions just out of curiosity:


First, what are the benefits of recognition as a minority in India. Is it purely symbolic or are there benefits such as government contracts, subsidies etc...


Second, what are the religious observances that Jains follow. Ie. If I were to attend a Jain temple what would I see. Take care.



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Originally posted by Gauracandra:

Interesting reading Bal. I have two simple questions just out of curiosity:


First, what are the benefits of recognition as a minority in India. Is it purely symbolic or are there benefits such as government contracts, subsidies etc...


Second, what are the religious observances that Jains follow. Ie. If I were to attend a Jain temple what would I see. Take care.






Bal Patil

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First, what are the benefits of recognition as a minority in India. Is it purely symbolic or are there benefits such as government contracts, subsidies etc...


There are benefits. You get reservations in some jobs (esp. government jobs). There are some other benefits too.



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In Srimad Bhagavatum there is the history of Lord Rasavadeva .

When travelling in Gujarat we would often show the teaching of Lord Rasavadeva to the Debamba Sadhus and they would always purchase Srimad Bhagavatum for thier temple Libaries


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Srimad Bhagavatum canto 5 ch 6 text 9

Sukadeva Goswami continued speaking to Maharaja Pariksit

My dear King the King of Konka,Venka and Kataka whose name was Arhat,heard of the activities of Rasabadeva and imitating Rasbadevas principals,introduced a new system of religion.

Takeing advantage of Kail yuga,the age of sinful activity,King Arhat,being bewildered,gave up the Vedic principals which are free from risk and concocted a new system of religion opposed to the Vedas


That was the beginning of the Jain dharama.

Many others so-called religions followed this athestic system

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Just to be fair, that verse does not actually mention Jainism. The interpretation accepted by some is that it refers to Jainism. According to the Jains, they follow Rishabhadeva's teachings. According to some others, they have taken his name and created a different system of religion.


Personally I would not consider posting this verse in a thread started by a Jain as fair. It would be much nicer to hear positive discussion about what is Jainism, what do they follow, etc.

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If I were to attend a Jain temple what would I see.


You will see 24 idols all similar. These idols represent the 24 tirthankaras. The idols look similar because they represent virtues and not physical bodies. However, below each idol, there is a symbol to know which tirthankar this idol represents. Lord Mahavira is represented by the symbol of a lion.

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Actually this is the opinon of Srimad Bhagavatum .

how is it fare to change the teaching of the personalty of Godhead Lord Rasbadeva and preach atheism in its place.

The article above stated in Jainism there is no beleif in a creator or a God.

This is in no way spiritualy or religion.


But yes some Degumba sadhus relish the teaching of Lord Rasabdeva who they imatate by renouceing clothing and were very happy to have the temples they were serving purchase Srila Prabhupadas books.


Then it would be said that those Jains who follow Rasabadeva are followers of vedas

and thus not a minority group.


Srila Prabhupadas translation to this verse

is Jain Dhrama .

So Jnas how do you say it is not this?

Please give us your understanding?





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Srila Prabhupadas translation to this verse

is Jain Dhrama .

So Jnas how do you say it is not this?

Please give us your understanding?

Excuse me for stepping in, but Jndas did not diasgree with Prabhupada's interpretation. What he said was Jainism is not explicitly mentioned in the Bhagavatam verse, which is true.


And also, it would be more appropriate to discuss Jainism and it's practices on a thread about Jains rather than imposing outside views.






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Yes, that's what I said. I agree with the interpretation, but the verse does not actualy mention the Jain religion. Thus to offer it as evidence, "Look, this is where the Bhagavatam speaks about Jainism" is misleading, and as said before, probably not the best choice for productive discussion in a thread started by a Jain.


Just put yourself in the other position. Suppose you start a thread about Srila Prabhupada's teachings, and then someone comes along and says, "Here is where the Bhagavatam speaks about Srila Prabhupada's teachings." And then they quote the exact same verses about an imitator creating a false religion.


I hope you could understand that it would be objectionable to followers, and I would hope you could agree the same about it in this particular thread as well.


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I remember last year there was a documentary by the National Geographic channel about a Jain lady who became a rununciate. They documented all of the rituals she went through. It was quite interesting.


One unique practice is the pulling out of one's hair. They take small bunches of hair, and pull it out of their head. Another thing is they must eat standing up, and only out of their hand (with no plate). I assume this practice started because the renunciates were only supposed to eat one handful of food a day, but from what they showed in the documentary, they had assistants (devotees)refilling their hands once they finished. So maybe it has become more symbolic nowadays.


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Apparently half of the priests are so renounced that they remain naked (skyclad).


From A Brief Introduction to Jainism


The two principal sects, Svetambara (white-clad) and Digambara (skyclad, or unclothed), diverged by about A.D. 82. The schism shook the main structure of Jainism. The split concerned the question of nudism. Living in the warmer zone of south India, the Digambara thought that to become a saint, a man should abstain from food and possessions, including clothing. They also denied that women are eligible for salvation. Living in a cooler region to the north, the Shvetambara sect wear white clothes and follow a less rigorous order.

BTW, those are seven cobras over the head of the statue of the realized naked saint.


[This message has been edited by gHari (edited 01-28-2002).]

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One of the great religions of India, Jainism was supposedly

founded in the 6th century bc by Vardhama.

It was founded as a protest to early Vedic (Hindu) and the

practice of animal sacrifice.

Historians regard the actual founder of the religion to be


Born in 599 bce, his father was the ruling Ksatriya, Chief

of the Nata Clan.

Mhavira was an elder contemporary of Siddhartha

Gothama (the Buddha) and was referred to in the

Buddhist writings as Nataputra.

At around the age of 28, Mahavira took up the life of

the ascetic, spending many years facing hardship and

poverty and meditating. Mahavira obtained

enlightenment and preached Jainism for some 30

years before his death in Pavapui Bahir in 527 bce.


Jainism has from the start been divided into two sects.

The Digambaras (meaning skyclad) hold that a monk

should own nothing, not even clothes. They also believed

that women could not achieve salvation.

The Svetambaras (meaning white-robed) differed from

these views and took a more leanient tract.

63 significant figures form the basis of Jain legend and

myth. (Far too numerous for detailing in a short

informational article.)


The religious goals of the Jains is the complete purification

of the soul.

This can only happen when the soul is in a state of

eternal liberation from the physical body. This liberation

is impeded by the accumulation of Karma, comprised

of bits of material, generated by a persons actions that

bind themselves to the soul and consequently bind the

soul to the body through many rebirths.

According to the Jains, reality is constituted of Jiva "soul"

or living substance and Ajiva or"nonsoul" or inanimate



A Jiva is formless and genderless and cannot be perceived

by the senses. It is sizeless and can fill any body

completely regardless of the size.



Jainism teaches that all phenomena are linked together

in a universal chain of cause and effect. Every event has

a definate cause behind it. By nature, each soul is pure,

possessing infinite knowledge, bliss, and power; however

these faculties are restricted from the beginningless time

by foreign matter coming in contact with the soul. Fine

foreign matter, producing the chain of cause and effect,

of birth and death. Karma is conceived of as a fine atomic

substance and not a process as is believed in Hinduism.

To be free of Karma, a person must stop the entry of

new particles and eliminate what has been accumulated.

These particles can be acquired as a result of intentional

actions tinged with passionate emotions.

Accumulated Karma can be eliminated through fasting,

certain dietary restrictions, control over taste, retreating

to isolated areas, mortification of the body, atonement,

service, study, meditation and renunciation.


Jain ethics is comprised of Right knowledge, faith and

conduct. These must be cultivated together if they are

to be successful.

Separate codes of conduct are laid down for the ascetics

and the laity. In both cases, however the code is based

on nonviolence, including non violent thoughts.


More about the Monks


The Jinakalpins wander about naked. They are allowed

to own nothing and they may beg for alms once a day.

They may take only the amount that will fill the palm of

one hand.


The Sthariskalpins retain minimal possessions, a robe,

an alms bowl, a broom and a cloth to hold over their

mouths to prevent breathing in insects.


In the Digambara sect a full fleged monk remains naked,

lives apart from others and begs and eats only once a day.

He may possess a peacock feather duster ,to shoo away

insects, and a water gourd.


After 30 years of these rigors, the monk will lay down

on a bed of thorny grass on one side, cease to eat and

starve to death. It is thought that this death will improve

the soul's spiritual situation in the next birth.


The rigors of the laity are considerably less. Avoidance

of meat, wine, honey, vows to avoid/abstain from gross

violence, lying, stealing, and to be content with their own

wife and posssessions. Fasting and limitations on travels

exsist in some sects as well.

In modern times, the Jains have resettled all over the

world, bringing their interesting religion and culture with





This is a very good source for detached opinions on religions. They actually responded to my criticism of their Hare Krishna writeup and approached the Toronto Temple to get the real story. From http://www.religioustolerance.org :

Early History of Jain Dharma

Jainism traces its roots to a succession of 24 Jinas ("those who overcome", or conqueror) in ancient East India. The first Jina is traditionally believed to have been a giant who lived 8.4 million years ago. The most recent and last Jina was Vardhamana (a.k.a. Mahavira, "The Great Hero") He was born in 550 BCE) and was the founder of the Jain community. He attained enlightenment after 13 years of deprivation. In 420 BCE, he committed the act of salekhana which is fasting to death. Each Jina has "conquered love and hate, pleasure and pain, attachment and aversion, and has thereby freed `his' soul from the karmas obscuring knowledge, perception, truth, and ability..."


Jainism is a syncretistic religion, which contains many elements similar to Hinduism and Buddhism. The world's almost 4 million Jains are almost entirely located in India. There are about 1,410 in Canada (1991 census).


Jainist Beliefs and Practices

The universe exists as a series of layers, both heavens and hells. It had no beginning and will have no ending. It consists of: The supreme abode: This is located at the top of the universe and is where Siddha, the liberated souls, live.

The upper world: 30 heavens where celestial beings live.

Middle world: the earth and the rest of the universe.

Nether world: 7 hells with various levels of misery and punishments

The Nigoda, or base: where the lowest forms of life reside

Universe space: layers of clouds which surround the upper world

Space beyond: an infinite volume without soul, matter, time, medium of motion or medium of rest.

Everyone is bound within the universe by one's karma (the accumulated good and evil that one has done).

Moksha (liberation from an endless succession of lives through reincarnation) is achieved by enlightenment, which can be attained only through asceticism.

They are expected to follow five principles of living: Ahimsa: "non violence in all parts of a person -- mental, verbal and physical." 3 Committing an act of violence against a human, animal, or even vegetable generates negative karma which in turn adversely affects one's next life.

Satya: speaking truth; avoiding falsehood

Asteya: to not steal from others

Brahma-charya: (soul conduct); remaining sexually monogamous to one's spouse only

Aparigraha: detach from people, places and material things. Avoiding the collection of excessive material possessions, abstaining from over-indulgence, restricting one's needs, etc.

They follow fruititarianism, the practice of only eating that which will not kill the plant or animal from which it is taken. e.g. milk, fruit, nuts.

They read their sacred texts daily.

Jains are recommended to pass through four stages during their lifetime: Brahmacharya-ashrama: the life of a student

Gruhasth-ashrama: family life

Vanaprasth-ashrama: family and social services

Sanyast-ashrama: life as a monk; a period of renunciation


Divisions among Jains

There are two groups of Jains:


The Digambaras (literally "sky clad" or naked): Their monks carry asceticism to the point of rejecting even clothing (even when they appear in public).

The Shvetambaras (literally "white clad"): their monks wear simple white robes. The laity are permitted to wear clothes of any color.



has a list of Jain sites at: http://dir./Society_and_Culture/

The University of Michigan Jains has a very complete and attractive website on Jainism at: http://www.umich.edu/~umjains/

Jainism: Principles, Tradition and Practices is also an inclusive website on Jainism at: http://www.cs.colostate.edu/~malaiya/jainhlinks.html

Jainism at: http://www.ops.org/scrtec/india/jainism.html


[This message has been edited by gHari (edited 01-28-2002).]

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How about a description of the system of worship (individually and ritually)?


I once attended somebody's marriage in my relation. One Jain family was also invited. They were invited because of family-friendship. I went with them to a jain temple. I will write what I saw there.


Now-a-days the Internet connection here is too slow. Not only that I keep getting disconnected from time to time. So, it is difficult for me to make long posts.

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On a personal level we have no ill feeling with the Jain people.

If I have offened any readers please acceapt my Dunndavatts we tho become offened

when we see statements that the Jain religion bleaves in no God in controll.

I presonally like the Dali Lama but he is also an atheist and on a famous CNN interview he also says in Buddhism we see no need for a creator.

It is therefore important to counter this veiw if we are to proceed in assiting the advent of Shree Chaitanya Deva .

In the Srimad Bhagavatum verse The reference to the Jain people Srila Prabhupada tell us are the followers of King Arhat who have become now known as the Jains.

When His Divine Grace worte trnslated this verse he did it not to insult 4 million people but for us to understand how the deviation took place and to be careful not to make the same mistakes in the future.

Srila Prabhupada also refers to the Hippy

mentality to also be originally comming from King Arhat with the idea that bathing and cleanliness are un important and that we are the only.

God in exsistance.

If I have offened any one with these posts the please delete them

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I believe believers of different religions in India (mind you religions that have their origin in India) were people who believed themselves to follow the same dharma in day-to-day activities while for their spiritual paths they followed different paths as per what appealed to their higher selves. There are instances of husband and wife following different religions. So, it is a shame that we are so confused today and place such a great emphasis on being a Hindu or Jain and spending our energy in trying to protect Hinduism from the onslaught of Jainism or vice-versa. Hvae we forgotten Kharvela (an indian king) who not once, not twice, but thrice drove the Greek army out of India all the way beyond present Afghanistan to get India free of Greek control. After his resolute onslaught on the Greek army the Greeks dared not to return to India. Kharvela was a follower of Jainism. Yet, if you understand Jainism was what was his dharma for spiritual self, his somatic self commmanded his dharma to protect his country from the cultches of the invaders. In this Jainism was not in contradiction of following ahimsa since Jainism was meant for his spiritual growth.

The reson people of varied religions have lived peacefully together for longer than we can imagine is that they understood that religion was a dharma for their spiritual self while for their somatic-self all had the same dharma - uniquely defined for each person yet uniform for all in the aspect that it was human. So, two people could have different dharma in worldly life - dharma of a husband is different from the dharma of the wife. but if both followed Jainism then their spiritual dharma was the same. That was the way the tree of Indian consciousness flowered varied fruits in harmony.

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Dear Love

We love you because we have learn what is love from a spiritual persective.

Then there is respect we respect others and say excuse me when we bumb into to them.

we refer to gentlemen as sir and ladies as Madam.

And then there is Dharama and Dharma is a nature which can not be separated from the item in this case ourselves .

Light will allways disenpate darkness and darkness can not resit its force.

As our parumguru has stated

Godhead is light and inorangce is nescience

where there is Godhead there can be darkness.

In this age Godhead is appearing in sound form of the Holy Names of God spiritual love is forcast to flood darkness of athiest concludison must draw back will will happen as each heart is effected and not threw Jihad

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Yes, dharma cannot be separated from ourselves. What you talked of as using "Excuse me", etc when we bump into somebody is not really dharma but our samskara. Dharma is the action/ non-action followed, or say path followed, using the truth, good and beauty inside you to guide you on this path. So, if in ignorance you do something it is still adharma. That is why perhaps some of ancient texts say that the path of dharma is as difficult to trace as the path of the fish under water. However, in the simplest form dharma is that which upholds the notions of truth, good, and beauty. Did you notice we do not say Jain religion, etc in Hindi? In fact, the closest word in Hindi for religion is "sampradaya". Of course, we say so in English for lack of a translation in English for Hindi word Dharma. In Hindi we say Hindu Dharma, Jain dharma, etc. The reason is that Jainis, Hinduism and otehr dharma from India propounded the dharma for our spiritual-self. Religion is still something that binds you to finite knowledge of a book. However, if you truly look behind the philosopohies of the various Indian thoughts, they are not trying to bind you with one particular thought. They rather try to set you free with the broad-plane of their vision.

Of course, it is not very wise to love me spiritually (and I hardly believe there is anyone who has grown enough to love me spiritually). You can only love me spiritually at my spiritual level. For e.g. Buddha or Mahavira, when they had grown to the spiritual-level (nirvana is a state even beyond spiritualism), they could feel the sorrow in the world spiritually. To grow spiritual love between two people you need the spiritual growth of Kriashna and Radha or Rama and Sita. Are we sure that we have grown in our quest for truth as much as they had done that we can talk of spiritual love so easily?

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Spiritual Love is shown in full awareness of the original Cause and the eternal binding force of connection with this cause and ourselves.

That Cause is complete and ever increaseing and does not become less as It expands in to

every atom of its nature and at the same time maintians itself for itself compelte and independant.

Yoga is the science bestowed with the highest spiritual emotion to link with it

parts and parcels in loving realationship.

Cessation of this connection according to the cause is not possible.

Loving you is complelty possible as you are also part and parcel of the supreme original cause

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A jain is recommended to set aside some time (the traditional period is forty-eight minutes) each day for meditation. It may take place in the home or, if a temple is convenient, in the temple, or in a meditation hall.


The best known prayer is Panca Namaskara. It is a formula of surrender to the five categories of praiseworthy individuals: -


Namo Arihantanam (I bow to the enlightened souls)


Namo Siddhanam (I bow to the liberated souls)


Namo Ayariyanam (I bow to religious leaders)


Namo Uvajjhayanam (I bow to religious teachers)


Namo Loe Savva Sahunam (I bow to all the monks in the world)


While meditating, a person sits quietly cross-legged and turns the mind to compassion and friendship with all living beings, and to separation from all desire and hatred. Sometimes he will recite verses, asking forgiveness, promising virtuous conduct and praising the great figures of the Jain religion. Though not necessary, but it is considered beneficial to do it in the guidance of spiritual teacher.


Jains will often meditate before an image of a Tirthankara, or perhaps diagrams on cloth or metal depicting in graphic form objects and persons of the faith.


A who lives near a temple may carry out the worship of the Tirthankara image in the temple daily before going to work. Otherwise it may be performed before the shrine at home. Bathed and dressed simply, possibly only in two pieces of cloth like a monk, he will bow before the image and recite the Panca Namaskara. He will pass three times around the image (which in a Jain temple is set forward from the rear wall) . He may perform the ritual washing of the image with water and milk and a mixture of sandalwood and saffron powder, or it may be done by a regular official of the temple.


Various offerings are made before the image. Grains of rice are arranged in the form of a swastika (denoting the four possible kinds of rebirth, as heavenly beings, humans, lower living beings, or creatures of hell) having above it three dots (the Three Jewels of Right Faith, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct), and at the top a single dot within a crescent for the final resting place of the liberated souls. The other offerings may be flowers, incense, fruit and sweets. After other prayers the Panca Namaskara is recited once more. This will be followed by the Chaitya Vandana, the temple prayers of reverent salutation: these commence with a formula of repentance for any harm caused to living creatures on the way to the temple; salutations follow to the twenty-four Tirthankara and to all monks and nuns; then the virtues and good deeds of all the Tirthankara follow and the devotee expresses the desire and intention to emulate them. The worship concludes with arati, the waving of fivefold lights before the image.

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