For two centuries, Mahavira�s followers
remained a small community. Then there was a big increase in Jain numbers
as the founder of the great Mauryan dynasty, the Magadhan Emperor
Chandragupta (about 321 297 BC), abdicated his throne and joined the
order. History here confirms tradition, at least to some extent.
However, towards the end of Chandragupta�s reign, a serious famine led to
the exodus of a large number of Jain monks from the Ganga Valley in north
India south to the Deccan. There, in the state of Mysore, they
established great centers of the faith.
Then, so tradition has it, when Bhadrabahu,
the leader of the emigrants and eleventh elder of the community, returned
to Bihar after an absence of twelve years he found that in the confusion
and hardship of famine the northern monks, under Sthulabhadra, had
abandoned the ancient ways laid down by Mahavira and had taken to wearing
Thus arose the two sects of Jainism, the
Digambaras (the `sky-clad� or �space-clad�) and the Svetambara (the
`white-clad�). The schism became fixed in the first century AD and
persists to this day.