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History Of Jainism
History : Jainism is an independent and most ancient religion of India. Jainsim is an eternal religion. Jainism is revealed in every cyclic period of the universe, and this constitutes the pre-historic time of Jainism. And there is a recorded history of Jainism since about 3000-3500 BC.
The discovery of the Indus Civilization seem to have thrown a new light on the antiquity of Jainism. The evidence suggests that Jainism was known among the people of the Indus Valley around 3000-3500 B.C. Some nude figures, considered to be of Lord Rishabha, on the seals have been discovered at Mohenjodaro and Harrappa. There is an article that suggests the representation of the seventh Tirthankara SuParsvanath. The people of the Indus Valley not only practiced Yoga but worshipped the images of Yogis. There are figures in Kayotsarga posture of standing are peculiarly Jain. In addition, the sacred signs of swastika are found engraved on a number of seals. Furthermore, there are some motifs on the seals found in Mohen-jo-Daro and it is suggested that these motifs are identical with those found in the ancient Jain art of Mathura. This presence of Jain tradition in the earliest period of Indian history is supported by many scholars. It strongly suggests that Jainism existed in pre-Aryan time. Janism in Vedic Period
In the Rig -veda there are clear references to Rishabhdev, the 1st Tirthankar, and to Aristanemi, the 22nd Tirthankar. The Yajur-veda also mentions the names of three Tirthankars, viz. Rishabhdev, Ajitanath and Aristanemi. Further, the Atharva-veda specifically mentions the sect of Vratya means the observer of vratas or vows as distinguished from the Hindus at those times. Similarly in the Atharva-veda the term Maha vratya occurs and it is supposed that this term refers to Rishabhdev, who could be considered as the great leader of the Vratyas. Jainism in Buddha Period
Lord Mahavir was the senior contemporary of Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. In Buddhist books Lord Mahavir is always described as nigantha Nataputta (Nirgrantha Jnatrputra), i.e., the naked ascetic of the Jnätr clan. Further, in the Buddhist literature Jainism is referred to as an ancient religion. There are ample references in Buddhist books to the Jain naked ascetics, to the worship of Arhats in Jain chaityas or temples and to the chaturyäma dharma (i.e. fourfold religion) of 23rd Tirthankar Parsvanath.
Moreover, the Buddhist literature refers to the Jain tradition of Tirthankars and specifically mentions the names of Jain Tirthankars like Rishabhdev, Padmaprabh, Chandraprabh, Puspdant, Vimalnath, Dharmanath and Neminath. The Buddhist book Manorathapurani, mentions the names of many lay men and women as followers of the Parsvanath tradition and among them is the name of Vappa, the uncle of Gautama Buddha. In fact it is mentioned in the Buddhist literature that Gautama Buddha himself practiced penance according to the Jain way before he propounded his new religion.
ainism (also called Jain Dharma') is an ancient dharmic religion from India that prescribes a path of non-violence for all forms of living beings in this world. Its philosophy and practice relies mainly on self-effort in progressing the soul on the spiritual ladder to divine consciousness. Any soul which has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state of supreme being is called jina (Conqueror or Victor). Jainism is the path to achieve this state. Jainism is often referred to as Jain Dharma or Shraman Dharma or the religion of Nirgantha by ancient texts. Jainism was revived by a lineage of 24 enlightened ascetics called tirthankaras culminating with Parshva (9th century BCE) and Mahavira (6th century BCE). In the modern world, it is a small but influential religious minority with as many as 4.9 million followers in India, and successful growing immigrant communities in North America, Western Europe, the Far East, Australia and elsewhere.
Jains have sustained the ancient Shraman or ascetic religion and have significantly influenced other religious, ethical, political and economic spheres in India. Jains have an ancient tradition of scholarship and have the highest degree of literacy in India; Jain libraries are the oldest in the country.
Principles and beliefs :
Jainism regards every living soul as potentially divine. When the soul sheds its karmic bonds completely, it attains divine consciousness. It prescribes a path of non-violence to progress the soul to this ultimate goal. A Jain is a follower of Jinas ("conquerors").Jinas are spiritually advanced human beings who rediscover the dharma, become fully liberated and teach the spiritual path to benefit all living beings. Practicing Jains follow the teachings of 24 special jinas who are known as Tirthankaras "('ford-makers", or "those who have discovered and shown the way to salvation"). Tradition states that the 24th, and most recent, Tirthankar is Shri Mahavir, lived from 599 to 527 BC. The 23rd Tirthankar, Shri Parsva, lived from 872 to 772 BC.
Jainism encourages spiritual development through reliance on and cultivation of one's own personal wisdom and self-control (vrata). The goal of Jainism is to realize the soul's true nature. "Samyak darshan gyan charitrani moksha margah", meaning "true/right perception, knowledge and conduct" ( known as the triple gems of Jainism) provides the path for attaining liberation (moksha) from samsara (the universal cycle of birth and death). Moksha is attained by liberation from all karma. Those who have attained moksha are called siddha (liberated souls), and those who are attached to the world through their karma are called samsarin (mundane souls). Every soul has to follow the path, as described by the Jinas (and revived by Tirthankaras), to attain the ultimate liberation.
Jaina tradition identifies Rishabh Bhagwan (also known as Adhinath) as the First Tirthankar of this declining (avasarpini) time cycle (kalachakra). The first Tirthankar, Rushabhdev/ Adhinath, appeared prior to the Indus Valley Civilization. The swastika symbol and naked statues resembling Jain monks, which archaeologists have found among the remains of the Indus Valley Civilization, tend to support this claim. Jains hold that the Universe and Dharma are eternal, without beginning or end. However, the universe undergoes processes of cyclical change. The universe consists of living beings ("Jīva") and non-living beings ("Ajīva"). The samsarin (worldly) soul incarnates in various life forms during its journey over time. Human, sub-human (animal, insect, plant, etc.), super-human (deity or devas), and hell-being are the four macro forms of the samsari souls. All worldly relations of one's Jiva with other Jiva and Ajiva (non-living beings) are based on the accumulation of karma and its conscious thoughts, speech and actions carried out in its current form.
The main Jain prayer (Namokar Mantra) therefore salutes the five special categories of souls that have attained divine consciousness or are on their way to achieving it, to emulate and follow these paths to salvation. Another major characteristic of Jain belief is the emphasis on the consequences of not only physical but also mental behaviours.
Jain practices are derived from the above fundamentals. For example, the principle of non-violence seeks to minimize karmas which may limit the capabilities of the soul. Jainism views every soul as worthy of respect because it has the potential to become Siddha (Param-atma - "highest soul"). Because all living beings possess a soul, great care and awareness is essential in one's actions in the incarnate world. Jainism emphasizes the equality of all life, advocating harmlessness towards all, whether these be creatures great or small. This policy extends even to microscopic organisms. Jainism acknowledges that every person has different capabilities and capacities and therefore assigns different duties for ascetics and householders. The "great vows" (mahavrata) are prescribed for monks and "limited vows" (anuvrata) are prescribed for householders. There are five basic ethical principles (vows) prescribed. The degree to which these principles must be practiced is different for renunciant and householder. Thus:
  1. Non-violence (Ahimsa) - (to cause no harm to living beings.)The Jains believe in Ahimsa or non-violence. They adopt Ahimsa as a way of life. Non violence does not mean only being calm and letting others live peacefully. It means that one should be peaceful in thought as well as action. All monks are strict vegetarians and regard even the tiniest insect as a sacred form of life.
  2. Truth (Satya) - (to always speak the truth in a harmless manner.)Jains believe in speaking the Satya or truth always. They believe that falsehood is a deterrent in the attainment of Nirvana and is not useful in one's life. Not speaking the truth or running away from it is worthless and does not change the nature of truth.
  3. Non-stealing (Asteya) - (to not take anything that is not willingly given.)Jains believe in not stealing from others. They believe in being content with whatever they have. According to the Jains, nothing is permanent, not even one's body. Materialistic pleasures only hamper spiritual growth and create only a temporary sense of satisfaction.
  4. Celibacy (Brahmacarya) - (to not indulge in sensual pleasures)Jains believe in being loyal to just one spouse for the entire life span. They believe that monogamy is the best way of life and is also a respect to the person you are spending your life with.
  5. Non-possession (Aparigraha) - (to detach from people, places, and material things.)Aparigraha means detachment from materialistic possessions. It means to possess only a few or basic required materials for a lifetime. In the life of a monk, material pleasures have no importance and in fact cease to be of any importance as time goes by.

Main points :
  1. Every living being has a soul.
  2. Every soul is potentially divine, with innate qualities of infinite knowledge, perception, power, and bliss (masked by its karmas).
  3. Therefore, regard every living being as yourself, harming no one and be kind to all living beings.
  4. Every soul is born as a celestial, human, sub-human or hellish being according to its own karmas.
  5. Every soul is the architect of its own life, here or hereafter.
  6. When a soul is freed from karmas, it becomes free and attain divine consciousness, experiencing infinite knowledge, perception, power, and bliss.
  7. Right View, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct (triple gems of Jainism) provide the way to this realization. There is no supreme divine creator, owner, preserver or destroyer. The universe is self-regulated and every soul has the potential to achieve divine consciousness (siddha) through its own efforts.
  8. Navakar Mantra is the fundamental prayer in Jainism and can be recited at any time of the day. Praying by reciting this mantra, the devotee bows with respect to liberated souls still in human form (Arihantas), fully liberated souls (Siddhas), spiritual leaders (Acharyas), teachers (Upadyayas) and all the monks. By saluting them, Jains receive inspiration from them for the right path of true bliss and total freedom from the karma of their soul. In this main prayer, Jains do not ask for any favours or material benefits. This mantra serves as a simple gesture of deep respect towards beings who are more spiritually advanced. The mantra also reminds followers of the ultimate goal, nirvana or moksha
  9. Non-violence (Ahimsa) is the foundation of right View, the condition of right Knowledge and the kernel of right Conduct. Non-violence is compassion and forgiveness in thoughts, words and actions toward all living beings. It includes respecting views of others (Non-absolutism).
  10. Jainism stresses on the importance of controlling the senses, as they are the gateway for creating soul's attachments and aversions to non-living matter.
  11. Limit possessions and lead a pure life that is useful to yourself and others. Owning an object by itself is not possessiveness; however attachment to an object is. Non-possessiveness is the balancing of needs and desires while staying detached from our possessions.
  12. Enjoy the company of the holy and better qualified, be merciful to those afflicted and tolerate the perversely inclined.
  13. Four things are difficult for a soul to attain: 1. human birth, 2. knowledge of the law, 3. faith in the law, and 4. practicing the right path. It is important not to waste human life in evil ways. Rather, strive to rise on the ladder of spiritual evolution.
  14. The goal of Jainism is liberation of the soul from the negative effects of unenlightened thoughts, speech and action. This goal is achieved through clearance of karmic obstructions by following the triple gems of Jainism.
  15. Jains mainly worship idols of Jinas, Arihants and Tirthankars, who have conquered the inner passions and attained divine consciousness. Jainism acknowledges the existence of powerful heavenly souls (Yaksha and Yakshini) that look after the well beings of Thirthankarars. Usually, they are found in pair around the idols of Jinas as male (yaksha) and female (yakshini) guardian deities. Even though they have supernatural powers, they are also wandering through the cycles of births and deaths just like most other souls. Over time, people started worshiping these deities as well.

Jain contributions to Indian culture :While Jains represent less than 1% of the Indian population, their contributions to culture and society in India are considerable. Jainism had a major influence in developing a system of philosophy and ethics that had a major impact on all aspects of Indian culture in all ages. Scholarly research and evidences have shown that philosophical concepts considered typically Indian – Karma, Ahimsa, Moksa, reincarnation and like - either originate in the sramana school of thought or were propagated and developed by Jaina teachers. Jains have also wielded great influence on the culture and language of Karnatak, Southern India and Gujarat most significantly. The earliest known Gujarati text, Bharat-Bahubali Ras, was written by a Jain monk. Some important people in Gujarat's Jain history were Acharya Hemacandra Suri and his pupil, the Calukya ruler Kumarapala.
Jains are among the wealthiest Indians. They run numerous schools, colleges and hospitals and are important patrons of the Somapuras, the traditional temple architects in Gujarat. Jains have greatly influenced Gujarati cuisine. Gujarat is predominantly vegetarian (see Jain vegetarianism), and its food is mild as onions and garlic are omitted. Though the Jains form only 0.42% of the population of India, their contribution to the exchequer by way of income tax is an astounding 24% of the total tax collected.
Jains encourage their monks to do research and obtain higher education. Jain monks and nuns, particularly in Rajasthan, have published numerous research monographs. This is unique among Indian religious groups and parallels Christian clergy. The 2001 census states that Jains are India's most literate community and that India's oldest libraries at Patan and Jaisalmer are preserved by Jain institutions.

जैनधर्म की प्राचीनता

भारत देश अपनी पुरानी संस्कृति के लिए दुनिया में प्रसिद्ध है। जैन धर्म भी पुराना है। आप पुछोगे कितना पुराना? इसका जवाब है इस दुनिया के जितना पुराना। शायद यह बात आपके समझ में न आयेगी। पर यह वास्तविकता है कि जैन धर्म दुनिया के जितना ही पुराना है। यह बात कितने ही अजैन विद्वानों ने स्वीकार ली है। विज्ञान इतना आगे बढ़ा है फिर भी ज्ञान का विकास बहुत कम परिमाण में हुआ है/ जैन धर्म की आदि जानना असंभव है। “जबसे इस विश्व का प्रारंभ है तब से जैन धर्म विद्यमान है। मैं तो मानता हूँ कि जैन धर्म वैदिक धर्म से भी प्राचीन है।” दुनिया के जितना ही यह प्राचीन है। जैन धर्म के प्रथम स्थापक की कल्पना भी मुश्किल है। भगवान महावीर भी जैन धर्म के प्रथम स्थापना न थे। वे तो मात्र जैन धर्म के इस अवसर्पिणी के सबसे अंतिम याने 24 वे तीर्थकर थे। भगवान महावीर ने यह कभी नहीं कहा था कि में इस नये धर्म की प्रस्थापना करता हूँ। उनके उपदेश में उन्होंने साफ तौर पर कह दिया है कि मैं तो वग तत्व कह रहा हूँ, जो प्राचीन काल में अनंत तीर्थकरों के द्वारा कहा हुआ है, उसी को दुहराता हूँ। भगवान महावीर द्वारा जैन धर्म का पुनः प्रकाश किया गया था। उनके पूर्व भी 23 तीर्थंकर हो गये जिन्होंने भी जैन धर्म का प्रचार किया था। इससे जैन धर्म की प्राचीनताप्रमाणित होती है। इस प्रकार जैन धर्म ग्रंथों की दृष्टि से जैन धर्म का सबसे प्रथम स्थापक कोई भी नहीं है। आप पूछोगे कि ‘ऋषभदेव तो पहले तीर्थंकर है न ?’ नहीं, इस अवसर्पिणी काल की दृष्टि से वे पहले तीर्थंकर है अनंतकाल की अपेक्षा से नहीं। कारण ? उन्होंने भी यही कहा कि “अनंत तीर्थंकरों ने जो कुछ कहा है वही मैं कहता हूँ। कुछ भी नया नहीं कहता।” इस प्रकार जैन धर्म का कोई भी तीर्थंकर यह नहीं कहता कि मैंने नया धर्म बताया है। अन्य सब धर्मों के संस्थापकों के नाम हमें मिलते हैं। इन संस्थापकों ने सबसे पहले उनके धर्मग्रंथो की रचना की जिससे जगत का सबसे प्राचीन धर्म जैनधर्म है यह स्वाभाविकता से ही सिद्ध हो जाता है। किन्तु, यदि कोई प्रतिवाद करे कि यह तो सब प्राक् ऐतिहासिक काल की बात है इसिलिए यह विश्वास के योग्य नहीं है। भले ही तीर्थंकरों ने कहा है कि हम जैनधर्म के प्रथम स्थापक नहीं है। पर हमें तो जैनधर्म दुनिया का सबसे प्राचीन धर्म है इसके लिए ऐतिहासिक प्रमाण की आवश्यकता है। आज उपलब्ध ग्रंथों में प्राचीन से प्राचीन ग्रंथ हिंदू वेद माने जाते हैं। सब विद्वान वेदों को कम पांच हजार वर्ष पूर्व के मानते हैं। अब आप कहेंगे कि फिर तो हिंदुधर्म ही प्राचीन कहलायेगा। क्योंकि उनके ग्रंथ जैनधर्म के ग्रंथों से भी प्राचीन है। लेकिन, भाई ! उन वेदों कसे ही जैनधर्म प्राचीन प्रमाणित होता है। कैसे ? वेदों में भगवान ऋषभदेव भगवान अरिष्टनेमि आदि के नाम आते है। केवल नाम ही नहीं उनके मंत्र भी हैं। इससे स्वयं प्रमाणित हो जाता है कि वेद लिखे गये उससे पहले जैनधर्म का अस्तित्व था। जैनधर्म के तीर्थंकरों की बात तो उस समय भी मसहूर थी। वेदों में आनेवाले ये नाम आरण्यक श्रीमद् भागवत और पुराणों से भी समर्थित है उसमें जैनधर्म के चौबीस तीर्थंकरों की बात है। भगवान ऋषभदेव का चरित्र भी वहाँ मिलता है। शत्रुंजय गिरनार आदि जैनों के परम पवित्र स्थानों का भी वहाँ उल्लेख है। वेदों में प्राप्त मंत्रों से जैनधर्म की प्राचिनता सिद्ध होती हैं।
आचार्य श्री विद्याभूषण सन्मति सागर जी महाराज के प्रवचनांशो से जैन धर्म की संक्षिप्त जानकारी 1. जिससे आत्मा परम पवित्र बनता है उसे धर्म कहते है। 2. सत्य, अहिंसा, स्वरुप शाश्वत परम पवित्र आधयात्मिक परणति जैन धर्म है। 3. जैन धर्म मे ज्ञान-धयान की मुख्यता है, क्रियाकाण्ड़ की नही। 4. जैन धर्म के मूलाधार तीन है- सम्यग्दर्शन, सम्यग्ज्ञान, एवं सम्यक चारित्र। इन तीनो की एकता ही मोक्ष मार्ग है। 5. आत्मा-परमात्मा एवं वस्तु स्वरूप के प्रति सत्य आस्था ही सम्यग्दर्शन है। 6. संशय रहित निज-पर को जानने वाला यथार्थ ज्ञान ही सम्यग्ज्ञान है। 7. रागद्वेष विमुख पद के योग्य आत्मानुमुखी आचरण ही सम्यक चारित्र है। 8. सत्य और परिपूर्ण अहिंसा रुप आचरण ही धर्म का मूलान्त है। इनके अभाव मे धर्म का शुभारम्भ भी नही होता। 9. भगवान सर्वज्ञ,वीतरागी एवं हितोपदेशी है, संसार के कर्ता हर्ता नही। 10. संसार के प्रत्येक प्राणी अपने भाग्य का स्वयं विधाता है और अपने अच्छे बुरे कर्मो का फ़ल स्वयं ही भोगता है। 11. संसार का प्रत्येक पदार्थ प्रक्रति द्वारा स्रजित, विसर्जित है, इसका कोई कर्ता हर्ता नही है। 12. जन्म से कोई भी पूज्य नही होता है पुज्यता वीतरागता के साथ रत्नत्रय धारण करने से प्रगट होती है। 13. विश्व के समस्त भव्य आत्माओं मे परमात्मा बनने की शक्ति है। 14. चौबीस तीर्थंकरो का स्याद्वादरूप धर्मोपदेश विश्व के प्राणी मात्र के लिये है, जो भी इसको अपने जीवन मे धारण करेगा वही मुक्ति सुख को प्राप्त कर सकता है, अतः विश्व के सभी वर्ग के लोग जैन धर्म को धारण कर सकते है। 15. 'जियो और जीने दो'जैन धर्मे का विश्व के प्राणी मात्र के लिये भाई-चारा प्रेम के लिये नैतिक सन्देश है। 16. भगवान की भक्ति, पूजन, आराधना, तीर्थवन्दना एवं गुरु उपासना करने से पाप कर्मो का प्रक्षालन तथा पुण्य की प्राप्ति होती है,अतः प्रत्येक प्राणी को प्रतिदिन देव, गुरु व स्याद्वाद रूप धर्म की आराधना करनी चाहिए। 17. हमे पापो से घ्रणा करनी चाहिए और पापियो को धर्मोपदेश सुना-सुमझाकर सदाचारी बनाना चाहिए। 18. माता-पिता, गुरुजन एवं व्रद्वो की सेवा,भक्ति, दान-पूजा, परोपकार, दीन दुःखियों का उत्थान, भाई चारा, वात्सल्य, प्रेम भावना हमारा नैतिक धर्म है। 19. सत्य-संगठन-सदाचार एवं शाकाहार के साथ पदानुसार अपने कर्तव्य का पालन तथा पुरूषार्थ करना हमारा परम्परागत धर्म हैं। 20. णमोकार महामंत्र जैन धर्म का मूलमंत्र है। इस मंत्र मे वीतराग गुण विभूषित पंच परमेष्ठियों को नमस्कार किया है, किसी व्यक्ति विशेष को नहीं। 21. जैन धर्म मे व्यक्ति विशेष की पूजन नहीं है। सम्यग्दर्शन, सम्यग्ज्ञान, एवं सम्यक चारित्र से विभूषित वीतराग विज्ञानी, गुणी महापुरूषों की आराधना, पूजन, भक्ति की जाती हैं। 22. जैन धर्म मे चारित्र को दो भागों में विभाजित किया जाता है, अणुव्रत एवं महाव्रत। श्रावकों के व्रतों को अणुव्रत एवं मुनिराजों के व्रतों को महाव्रत कहते हैं। ये व्रत मुख्य रूप से पाँच हैं - अहिंसा, सत्य, अचौर्य, शील एवं अपरिग्रह्। 23. पारिवारिक कर्तव्यों का निर्वाह करने वाले श्रावक पूर्ण रूप से आरंभ-परिग्रह के त्यागी नही हो सकते, अतः वह अणुव्रत का पालन करते हैं। 24. रत्नत्रय विभूषित वीतरागी मुनिराज योगत्रय से आरंभ-परिग्रह के पूर्ण त्यागी होते हैं अतः उनहें महाव्रती यतीश्वर कहते हैं। 25. सुख-शांति के मार्ग में बाधक हमारे ग्यारह शत्रु है। उनके नाम इस प्रकार हैं- 1. क्रोध 2. मान 3. माया 4. लोभ 5. हिंसा 6. झूठ 7. चोरी 8. कुशील 9. परिग्रह 10. राग 11. द्वेष