Spread of Jainism
167. As we have discussed earlier, Jainism had already been established as an
important religion in various provinces of India before Mahavira and the Buddha
began their missionary activities. During their period, Magadha, Kausala,
Kapilavastu, Vaisali, Pava, Mithila, Varanasi, Simhabhumi, Kausambi, Avanti,
etc. were prominent Jain Centers. After Mahavira's Parinirvana, the Sisunagas,
Nandas, Kharavela, Mauryas, Satavahanas, Guptas, Paramaras, Candelas, Kalacuris,
and others who provided all possible facilities to develop its literature and
cultural activities patronized Jainism. The Southern part of India was also a
great center of Jainism. Bhadrabahu and Visakhacarya with their disciples
migrated to the South and propagated Jainism very much. Andhra, Satavahanas,
Pallavas, Pandyas, Colas, Calukyas, Rastrakutas, Gangas, and others were main
dynasties, which rendered sufficient royal patronage and benefits to Jainism and
its followers through the spirit of religious toleration, which existed in this
region. The Jainas were given magnificent grants for their spiritual purpose.
Kings erected numerous Jain temples and sculptures throughout the ages and many
facilities were provided for literary services throughout India. As a result the
Jana Acaryas wrote their ample works in Sanskrit, Prakrit, Apabhramsa, Tamil,
Kannada, Telagu, Marathi, Hindi, Gujrati and other modern Indian languages.
168. Jainism crossed India from South India at about eighth century B.C., if not
earlier, and become one of the most important religions of Ceylon, which was
known in those days by the name of Lanka, Ratnadvipa or Simhala. The Mahavamsa
(10.65-70; 33. 43-79) refers to the existence of Jainism in Ceylon even before
the arrival of Buddhism. According to it, Pandukabhaya built a house at
Anuradhapur for the Nigantha Jotiya and Giri and some more Niganthas, Jain
tradition takes the history of Jainism in Ceylon even prior to its Aryanization,
or the Arrival of the Aryans. Ravana, a king of Lanka long ago is said to have
erected a Jain temple there at Trikutagiri. Another statue of Parsvanatha, the
23rd Jina found in the caves of Terapur is also said to be from Srilanka.
Jainism was a living religion of Srilanka up to the 10th A.D.
169. Kalakacarya, another Jain monk, is said to have visited Burma or
Svarnabhumi (Uttaradhyayana Niryukti, 120). Rsabhadeva is said to have traveled
to Bali (Bacteria), Greece, Svarnabhumi, Panhave (Iran), etc. (Avasyaka Niryukti,
336-37). Tirthankara Parsvnatha also went to Nepal. The existence of Jainism can
also be proved in Afghanistan. Tirthankara images in the Kayotsarga, or
meditating pose have been found in Vahakaraj Emir (Afghanistan). Digambara Jain
monks have been in Iran, Siam, and Philistia31. Greek writers also mention their
existence in Egypt, Abyssinia and Ethyopia32. It had also propagated in Kabul,
Campa, Bulgaria and some other foreign countries.