History of Jainism may be studied under two heads -
(A) Mahï¿½vï¿½ra Age (C. 599 - C. 527 B.C.) and (B) Post-Mahï¿½vï¿½ra Age (up to the
18th century A.D.). The Mahï¿½vï¿½ra Age is very important in the History of India
because it brought about significant changes in religious, social and economic
spheres. For the Mahï¿½vira Age, the source material is scarce, but for the
Post-Mahï¿½vï¿½ra Age, the Jaina source material is rich.
(A) The Mahï¿½vï¿½ra-Age may be divided
into two main classes : (1) Literature and (2) Archaeology. (1) The literature
comprises the following : (i) Canonical works, (ii) Exegetical works : (a)
Nijjutti, (b) Bhï¿½sa, (c) Cuï¿½ï¿½i and (d) ï¿½ï¿½kï¿½ (iii) other works, (iv)
Supplementary works : (a) Buddhist works (b) Brahmanical works, (2)
(B) The post-Mahï¿½vï¿½ra Age may be
subdivided into three classes : (1) Archaeology : (i) Jain inscriptions
(ii) Jaina Monuments, (2) Literature : (i) General works (ii) Literary
works, (iii) Historical works, (iv) Tï¿½rthamï¿½lï¿½s, (v) Praï¿½astis,
(vi) Paï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½s and (vii) Vaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½s. (3) Writings of the
Since certain very significant
changes took place in the political, religious, social, and economic spheres,
the age of Tï¿½rthaï¿½kara Mahï¿½vï¿½ra may be said to have marked a new epoch in Indian
history. Also known as 'The Historic Period', it provides a firm basis for the
reconstruction of Indian chronology by furnishing dates of the Nirvaï¿½a of
Mahï¿½vï¿½ra and Buddha. The sources for the reconstruction of the history of
'Tï¿½rthaï¿½kara Mahï¿½vï¿½ra and His Times' may be divided into two main classes : (1)
Literature and (2) Archaeology. The literary evidence is very rich and varied in
comparison with the archaeological.
The contemporary literature on which
this work is generally based remained in the form of oral traditions for a
considerable time and was codified much afterwards with certain interpolations
and changes. Hence, it has been used after critical examination. The literary
evidence is twofold: (a) direct and (b) collateral. The direct evidence is that
which is furnished by the Jaina literary works, and the collateral one is
gathered from the contemporary Buddhist and Brahmanical literary sources.
Collating these sources of information, one can not only prepare a sketch of the
life of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra but also draw a fairly vivid picture of India, depicting
political, religious, social, economic, and other conditions of the time in
which he lived, moved and preached.
The Jaina literary works may be
further divided into sub-classes.
These canonical works of the Jainas
did not originate at one particular point of time, though their tradition can be
traced back to Mahï¿½vï¿½ra and his disciples. But afterwards, these works had to
undergo considerable changes, as a result of which several works as portions of
the works were added to them from time to time. While different names are
ascribed to one and the same canon, the number of canons varies considerably.
The important canonical texts are
the Kalpa Sï¿½tra, Sï¿½trakï¿½tï¿½ï¿½ga (Sï¿½yagadaï¿½ga), Uttarï¿½dhyayana (Uttarajjhayaï¿½a),
ï¿½cï¿½rï¿½ï¿½ga, (ï¿½yï¿½raï¿½ga), Vyï¿½khyï¿½prajï¿½apti (Bhagvatï¿½ or Viyï¿½hapaï¿½ï¿½atti), Niryï¿½valikï¿½
(Nirayï¿½valiyï¿½) Upï¿½sakadaï¿½ï¿½ (Uvï¿½sagadasï¿½o), Jï¿½ï¿½tï¿½dharmakathï¿½
(Nï¿½yï¿½dhammakahï¿½o), Aupapï¿½tika (Ovavï¿½iya) Rï¿½japraï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ya Sï¿½tra
(Rï¿½yapaseï¿½aiya), and ï¿½vaï¿½yaka (ï¿½vassaya). As far as the contents of these
Jaina canonical Sï¿½tras are concerned, they are traditionally known as the
Pravacanas of the Jainas, particularly those of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra. Their chief
interest lies in the clear presentation of various topics relating to the lives
of the Jinas and their teachings. Incidentally, they also throw valuable light
on the political and cultural aspects of the country. To this list may be added
the ï¿½aï¿½khaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½gama and Kaï¿½ï¿½yapï¿½huï¿½a, which give us some information
about some portion of Dï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ivï¿½da. These two throw light on the doctrine of
Karma and Guï¿½asthï¿½na.
The major portion of the Kalpa
Sï¿½tra is devoted to the biography of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra, including his birth, lineage,
parentage, childhood, marriage, itinerary during asceticism and finally his
Nirvï¿½ï¿½a. It also refers to the nine Licchavï¿½s as having formed a league
with nine Mallakï¿½s and eighteen clan-lords of Kï¿½ï¿½ï¿½-Koï¿½ala.1
The Sï¿½trakï¿½tï¿½ï¿½ga, the
Uttarï¿½dhyayana and the ï¿½cï¿½rï¿½ï¿½ga contain the oldest part of the
canon from the linguistic and literary points of view. These are very important
as they enlighten us about the original teachings of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra. The object of the
Sï¿½trakï¿½tï¿½ï¿½ga is to guard young monks against heretical beliefs and to
lead them on towards the attainments of the highest knowledge.2 They are to encounter many trials
and tribulation but not to commit sins. The fundamental doctrines of Jainism
leading to the final deliverance of man have been discussed. Mahï¿½vï¿½ra has been
represented as a great preacher and praised for the virtues which have been
described. This work also describes the four heretical creeds of the time of
Mahï¿½vï¿½ra - Kriyï¿½vï¿½da, Akriyï¿½vï¿½da, Ajï¿½ï¿½navï¿½da, and Vinayavï¿½da ï¿½
creeds which are known to have given rise to three hundred and sixtythree
schools. One passage gives the names of the existing classes, such as Ugras,
Bhogas, Aikï¿½avï¿½kus, Jï¿½ï¿½tï¿½s, Kauravas, and Licchavï¿½s.3
The intention of
Uttarï¿½dhyayana, as rightly pointed out by H. Jacobi,
is to instruct a young monk in his principal duties, to commend to him the
ascetic life by precepts and examples, and to warn him against the dangers
besetting his religious life.4 It emphasises the duties of pupils
towards their teachers, and their mutual relations.The fundamental principles of
Jainism, such as Tï¿½iratna, austerities, Karma, Navatattva,
Leï¿½yï¿½s, Samitis, and Guptis, have also been discussed.
Instructions regarding the practice of righteousness by Mahï¿½vï¿½ra have been
mentioned. Dasï¿½rï¿½abhadra of Daï¿½ï¿½rï¿½a, Karakaï¿½ï¿½u of Kaliï¿½ga and Udï¿½yana of Sauvï¿½ra
are known to have become Jaina monks after giving up their kingdoms. ï¿½reï¿½ika
with his wives, servants and relatives appears to have adopted Jainism.
Harikeï¿½abala, born in the family of Caï¿½ï¿½ï¿½las, became a monk possessing the
higest virtues. Vijayaghoï¿½a, who was engaged in performing Brahmanical
sacrifice, was converted to Jainism by the monk Jayaghoï¿½a, who approached him
The ï¿½cï¿½rï¿½ï¿½ga Sï¿½tra has
preserved a sort of religious ballad, an account of the years during which
Mahï¿½vï¿½ra led a life of rigorous asceticism, thus preparing himself for the
attainment of the highest spiritual knowledge. It contains imporant rules for
Jaina monks and nuns. These rules are classified in the Sï¿½tra under such
general heads as begging, walking, modes of speech, entry into other's
possessions, postures, places of study, and attending to the calls of
The Bhagavatï¿½ Sï¿½tra in its
various dialogues gives a vivid picture of the life and work of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra, his
relationship to his disciples and to the kings and princes of the time, and
contains an account of the Jaina dogmas on Saï¿½sï¿½ra and Karma in
the form of questions and answers between Mahï¿½vï¿½ra and Indrabhï¿½ti Gautama. It
also embodies a list of sixteen Mahï¿½janapadas at the time of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra.
Aï¿½ga was governed as a separate province under Kï¿½ï¿½iya with Campï¿½ as its capital.
In the war with Vaiï¿½ï¿½lï¿½, Kï¿½ï¿½iya is said to have made use of
Mahï¿½ï¿½ilï¿½kaï¿½ï¿½aka and Rathamuï¿½ala. Udï¿½yana, a ruler of Sauvï¿½radeï¿½a,
being influenced by the teachings of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra, renounced the world and became a
Jaina monk. The work also enlightens us about the life and teachings of Goï¿½ï¿½la
who lived in the company of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra for a period of about six years during
which the latter was engaged in his ascetic practices.
The Nirayï¿½valï¿½ Sï¿½tra refers
to the great battle between Kï¿½ï¿½ika of Campï¿½ and king Ceï¿½aka of Videha and
Vaiï¿½ï¿½lï¿½, when the eighteen confederate kings are stated to have sided with the
latter. The bone of contention was the Magadha State elephant ï¿½reyanï¿½ka and a
huge necklace of eighteen strings of pearls which were given by ï¿½reï¿½ika to his
sons, Halla and Vehalla.
A vivid picture of social life has
been presented by the Uvï¿½sagadasï¿½o. It contains the stories of pious
householders who became lay adherents of Jainism. The wealthy potter named
Saddï¿½laputta, for instance, was at first a follower of Maï¿½khali Goï¿½ï¿½la, but
afterwards went over to Mahï¿½vï¿½ra. It informs us about the life and teachings of
Goï¿½ï¿½la who lived in his company for some time. Bï¿½rï¿½ï¿½asï¿½, Kampillapura,
Palï¿½ï¿½apura and ï¿½labhï¿½ were the important towns within the kingdom of Jiyasattu,
and Vaiï¿½ï¿½lï¿½ was ruled by Ceï¿½aka.
The title of the text
Nï¿½yï¿½dhammakahï¿½o may be explained as 'Stories for the Dhamma of Nï¿½ya'
(Jï¿½ï¿½tï¿½i), i.e. Mahï¿½vï¿½ra, who is also called Jï¿½ï¿½tï¿½iputra, Nï¿½ya or Nï¿½taputta. The
stories found here explain the teachings of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra. They indirectly throw
light on the economic condition of the people. They describe the sea-faring
merchants of Campï¿½, who loaded their waggons with various commodities and
proceeded to deep harbour. A merchant named Pï¿½lita of Campï¿½ is known to have
gone on business to the town of Pihuï¿½ï¿½a or Pithuï¿½ï¿½a, a sea-coast town. The
palaces, described in this text as lofty, had domes, and their floors were
richly decorated with various kinds of gems and jewels.
The Uvavï¿½iya Sï¿½ya (Aupapï¿½tika
Sï¿½tra) contains an account of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra's Samavaï¿½araï¿½a in Campï¿½ and
the pilgrimage of Kï¿½ï¿½iya to this place. It also speaks of the Tï¿½pasas as
those religiex who adopted the Vï¿½naprastha mode of life on the
banks of the sacred rivers typified by the Ganges.
The Rï¿½yapaseï¿½aiya is an
Upï¿½ï¿½ga containing a dialogue between Keï¿½ï¿½, a disiple of Pï¿½rï¿½va and Paesi,
a ruler of Setavyï¿½. Keï¿½ï¿½ tries to prove to Peasi that the soul is independent of
the body. The Pï¿½li counterpart of this Upï¿½ï¿½ga is known as the Pï¿½yï¿½si
Suttanta. This text also describes the celestial mansion of Sï¿½ryï¿½bhadeva,
its beautiful pillars, its opera hall and pavilion. The details of architectural
varieties and decorations given here are important and have a bearing on the
development of Indian architecture. Corresponding to such a description, we have
pictures of various celestial mansions in the Pï¿½li
The ï¿½vaï¿½yaka Sï¿½tra contains
some interesting historical details of the time of Mahï¿½vira. During the war
between Candanï¿½'s father and king ï¿½atï¿½nï¿½ka, she was taken captive by the army of
the enemy and sold in Kauï¿½ï¿½mbï¿½ to a banker, Dhanï¿½vaha. In due course Candanï¿½
accepted Jainism from Mahï¿½vï¿½ra and became a nun. The daughters of king Ceï¿½aka of
Vaiï¿½ï¿½lï¿½ were married to some contemporary rulers. Mï¿½igï¿½vatï¿½ was married to king
ï¿½atï¿½nï¿½ka of Kauï¿½ï¿½mbï¿½, ï¿½ivï¿½ to Caï¿½ï¿½apradyota of Ujjayinï¿½, Jyeshï¿½hï¿½ to
Nandivardhana, brother of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra and ruler of Kuï¿½ï¿½agrï¿½ma, and Sujyesï¿½hï¿½ joined
the Order of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra's disciples. Mahï¿½vï¿½ra during his wanderings as a monk
visited Kï¿½ï¿½ï¿½. Ajï¿½taï¿½atru of Magadha not only humbled Koï¿½ala and permanently
annexed Kï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ but also absorbed the State of Vaiï¿½ï¿½lï¿½. Magadha and Avanti were
brought face to face with each other. Udï¿½yina was a devout
The exegetical works interpreting
the canons is very vast. As a matter of fact, it seems to be quite impossible to
interpret the canons without the help of the commentaries. On the whole, the
commentatrial works appear to be trustworthy since the commentaries have tried
to preserve the old traditions and legends current in those days. While
illustrating the tenets of the canons, their authors have referred to old
compositions, ancient traditions and ancient explanations. All this proves that
they have attemped to make them authentic. These works include some of the
important commentaries such as the Bï¿½ihatkalpa Bhï¿½ï¿½ya and its
Vï¿½itti, the Vyavahï¿½ra Bhï¿½ï¿½ya and its Vivaraï¿½a, the
Niï¿½itha Cï¿½rï¿½i, the ï¿½vaï¿½yaka Cï¿½rï¿½i and commentaries on the
ï¿½vaï¿½yaka and Uttarï¿½dhyayana.
The exegetical works are undoubtedly
a mine of rich treasure in themselves. In these works, we come across
descriptions of various customs and beliefs prevalent in those days in different
parts of India, of various feasts and festivals of religious sects, wandering
ascetics, famine, robbers, and dacoits, of inaccessible roads, mountains and
deserts, of economic production, industry, trade routes, dress, ornaments, food,
and various other matters of importance, which have nothing to do with religion
as such, but are of general interest to man.
This exegetical literature consists
of four parts (a) Nijjutti (b) Bhï¿½sa (c) Cuï¿½ï¿½i, and
The oldest explanatory literature
represented by Nijjuttis contains a number of historical or legendary
tales elucidating Jaina doctrines and moral or disciplinary rules given in the
Jaina canons. The following are the ten Nijjuttis : (1) ï¿½yarï¿½ï¿½ga, (2)
Sï¿½yagaï¿½aï¿½ga, (3) Sï¿½riyapannatti, (4) Uttarajjhayana, (5) ï¿½vassaya,
(6) Dasaveyï¿½liya, (7) Dasasuyakkhandha, (8) Kappa, (9)
Vavahï¿½ra, and (10) Isibhï¿½siya. Tradition is unanimous in
attributing the authorship of the Nijjuttis to Bhadrabï¿½hu who seems to be
different from Bhadrabï¿½hu (297 B.C.), the last
The next chronological stage of
development in the
commentatrial literature after Nijjuti is Bhï¿½sa. The eleven
ï¿½gamas seem to have their separate Bhï¿½sas. The Bhï¿½sas on
the Bï¿½hatkalpa Sï¿½tra, Vyavahï¿½ra Sï¿½tra and Niï¿½itha Sï¿½tra are
very important as they contain most valuable items of information regarding
various topics, especially the life of monks and nuns and the society of those
The third category of commentaries
is known as Cuï¿½ï¿½is. Many of the ï¿½gamas contain Cuï¿½ï¿½is,
majority of which in their published form are ascribed to Jinadï¿½sagaï¿½i
Mahattara. Out of the extant Cuï¿½ï¿½is, the ï¿½vassaya and
Nisï¿½ha are the most important as they contain an invaluable treasure of
information from the point of view of Jaina history and culture. The ï¿½vassaya
Cuï¿½ï¿½i describes some important incidents of the life of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra and also
refers to some important kings and princes contemporary to
Haribhadra Sï¿½ri (705-775 A.D.) was a
distinguished and versatile writer who is known to have written his commentaries
on the canons in Sanskrit. His commentaries on ï¿½vassaya, Dasaveyï¿½liya,
Nandi and Anuyoga are famous. ï¿½ï¿½lï¿½ï¿½ka Sï¿½ri (872 A.D.), Vï¿½divetï¿½la
ï¿½ï¿½nti Sï¿½ri, Abhayadeva Sï¿½ri and others also contributed to exegetical literature
in which the commentaries on the ï¿½vassaya, Uttarajjhayana, Bï¿½ihatkalpa
Bhï¿½ï¿½ya, Vyavahï¿½ra Bhï¿½ï¿½ya, ï¿½hï¿½nï¿½ï¿½ga, Bhagavatï¿½,
Jambudvï¿½pa-prajï¿½pti and Kalpa Sï¿½tra are most valuable for the
reason that they record various important traditions.
These different types of
commentaries on canonical works give detailed information about the life of
Mahï¿½vï¿½ra, and other political and cultural aspects of his times. Their motive
was sometimes to apotheosise Tï¿½rthaï¿½kara Mahï¿½vï¿½ra into a superhuman being by
describing him in hyperbolic terms. Though based on tradition, these are still
late works and cannot be wholly relied upon unless they are not confirmed by
some other independent sources. After critical examination of traditions and
legends, these works have been utilised.
The commentaries of
ï¿½at-Khaï¿½dagama and Kaï¿½ï¿½yapï¿½huï¿½a by Vï¿½rasena are known by
the name of Dhavalï¿½ and Jayadhavalï¿½. These are useful in getting
matter for the doctrine of Karma and Guï¿½asthï¿½na
Some Jaina Purï¿½ï¿½as and the
Caritras give accounts of the life of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra and of other contemporary
rulers. These are not of much importance from the historical point of view as
they appeared very late and their descriptions are exaggerated. The main
Purï¿½ï¿½as concerning the life of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra are Jinasena's
Harivaï¿½ï¿½apurï¿½ï¿½a (783 A.D.). and Guï¿½abhadra's Uttarapurï¿½ï¿½a (9th
century A.D.). The Triï¿½aï¿½ï¿½hiï¿½alï¿½kï¿½puruï¿½acaritra of Hemacandra (12th
century A.D.) yields some information regarding Tï¿½rthaï¿½kara Mahï¿½vï¿½ra and some of
his contemporary rulers. The Mahï¿½vï¿½racariyam of Nemicandra, the
Mahï¿½vï¿½racariyam of Guï¿½acandra Gaï¿½i, the Vardhamï¿½nacaritra of Asaga
(988 A.D.), and the Vardhamï¿½nacarita of Sakalakï¿½rti (1464 A.D.) are late
biographical works on Mahï¿½vï¿½ra.
The Mï¿½lï¿½cï¿½ra of Vaï¿½ï¿½akera,
the Aï¿½ï¿½apï¿½huï¿½a, the Niyamasï¿½ra and the Samayasï¿½ra of
Kundakunda, the Tattvï¿½rthasï¿½tra of Umï¿½svï¿½ti, the Sarvï¿½rthasiddhi
and the Daï¿½abhakti of Pï¿½jyapï¿½da, the Kï¿½rtikeyï¿½nuprekï¿½ï¿½ of
Svï¿½mi Kï¿½rtikeya, the Ratnakaraï¿½ï¿½a ï¿½rï¿½vakï¿½cï¿½ra and the Yuktyanuï¿½ï¿½sana
of Samantabhadra, the Tiloyapaï¿½ï¿½ati of Yati Vï¿½ï¿½abha, the
Trilokasï¿½ra of Nemicandra, the Parmï¿½tmaprakï¿½ï¿½a of Yogindu, the
Gommaï¿½asï¿½ra of Nemicandra, Pariï¿½iï¿½ï¿½aparvan of Hemacandra and the
Vicï¿½raï¿½reï¿½ï¿½ of Merutuï¿½ga have been utilised in one way or the other for
The supplementary works may be placed
under two heads: (i) the Buddhist and (ii) the
Like the Jaina canon, the Buddhist
canon was not compiled at one particular time. It is primarily concerned with
the early Buddhist doctrines but incidentally throws light on the political and
cultural aspects of the society as well. Among the Buddhist canonical texts, the
Vinaya Piï¿½aka and Sutta Piï¿½aka are
The Mahï¿½vagga and the
Cullavagga of the Vinayapiï¿½aka are noteworthy. The
Mahï¿½vagga is mainly concerned with the formation of the Saï¿½gha and
its rules, but its incidental references are valuable in that they throw
considerable light on the daily life of the people. The rules of the procedure
and debates of the assemblies of the republics during this period seem to be the
same as those of the Buddhist Saï¿½ghas which were modelled on
Saï¿½gha or Gaï¿½a States. While describing the rules for the
Bhikshus, the Cullavagga gives an idea of the articles of
furniture, utensils and other amenities of the common
The Sutta Piï¿½aka comprises of
the following five collections called Nikï¿½yas: (1) Dï¿½gha, (2)
Majjhima, (3) Saï¿½yutta, (4) Aï¿½guttara, and (5)
Khuddaka. In the Dï¿½gha, Majjhima and Aï¿½guttara, there are
references to Nigaï¿½ï¿½ha Nï¿½taputta, to his teachings and to the Nirgranthas. These
parallel references sometimes prove the correctness of the traditions preserved
in the Jaina texts, and thus they are valuable for the history of Jainism during
the time of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra. This also leads us to believe that in the days of Buddha,
Mahï¿½vï¿½ra was considered to be an important personality and Jainism a strong
The Brahmajï¿½lasutta of the
Dï¿½ghanikï¿½ya is important for the history, not only of Buddhism but of the
entire religious life and thought of ancient India. The Sï¿½maï¿½ï¿½aphala
Sutta is a valuable piece of evidence for the life and thought at the time
of Buddha, as it appears from the views of prominent non-Buddhist teachers and
founders of sects. From the Mahï¿½pariï¿½ibbï¿½ï¿½a Sutta, it is known that in
reply to Varï¿½ï¿½kï¿½ra, the Chancellor of Magadha, Buddha indicated the seven points
of excellence of the Vajjï¿½s which may be regarded as the directive principles of
State policy. In the Mahï¿½sudassana Sutta of the Dï¿½gha Nikï¿½ya,
there is a description of the palace of King
The Majjhima Nikï¿½ya throws
considerable light on the life of Buddhist monks, as also on Brahmanical
sacrifices, various forms of asceticism, the relation of Buddha to the Jainas
and other systems of the day, the superstitions and the socio-political
conditions of the time. The Aï¿½guttara Nikï¿½ya gives a list of the sixteen
States existing during the time of Buddha.
The Theragï¿½thï¿½ and
Therï¿½gï¿½thï¿½ are very important on account of the pictures of life they
portray, pictures that give us a valuable insight into the social conditions of
those days, especially into the position of women.
The Jï¿½takas, which form a
part of the Khuddaka Nikï¿½ya of the Sutta-Piï¿½aka, are generally
concerned with the day-to-day life of the people. Some of the Jï¿½takas
supply valuable material for the reconstruction of the political, social and
economic history of India during the sixth century B.C. They give us valuable
information regarding the constitution of the republics, especially of the
Licchavï¿½s, and king's officers. They throw light on social organization,
position of women, festivals and recreations. They mention educational
institutions, especially Taxila, the various subjects taught there, the
teachers and students. Some of them refer to various professions and industries,
trade and commerce, and the guilds in which they were organized. There is also a
reference to coins known as Kï¿½rï¿½ï¿½paï¿½as. The Mahï¿½ Ummaga
Jï¿½taka5 gives a vivid account of the palace
of the Mahï¿½ Ummaga and also a list of motifs illustrating scenes from heavenly
life and mythical beliefs depicted on the walls of the great hall of the
Since the Dharma Sï¿½tras and
the Gï¿½hya Sï¿½tras are supposed to have belonged to the sixth century B.C.,
they have been utilised to corroborate certain important pieces of evidence
along with the Vedas, and the Upaniï¿½ads. Besides throwing a flood
of light on the social and economic conditions of the period in question, they
sometimes enlighten us about its political and other aspects as well. Baudhï¿½yana
in his Dharma Sï¿½tra mentions such States as Saurï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ra, Avanti, Magadha,
Aï¿½ga, Puï¿½ï¿½ra and Vaï¿½ga. The Dharma Sï¿½tras also describe the four
Varï¿½as and different castes along with their duties and privileges. They
discuss the four ï¿½ï¿½ramas (Stages of life) and emphasize the duties of the
individual at every stage. They insist upon the mutual cordial relations between
the teachers and students. A list of holidays in the Gurukulas has been
given, and it is obvious that interruptions in study were allowed for variety of
causes and circumstances. In these Sï¿½tras, we also find references to
icons. The Gï¿½ihya Sï¿½tras are concerned mainly with domestic
The Aï¿½ï¿½ï¿½dhyï¿½yï¿½ of Pï¿½ï¿½ini has
been used because it supplies valuable political and cultural data of this age.
He mentions both classes of States, viz., the republics (Saï¿½gha or
Gaï¿½a) and the kingdoms (Janapadas). That women followed the
profession of teaching is apparent from his work which also embodies certain
terms that denote the existence of the art of writing. The author discusses
town-planning and also refers to some important towns. His work contains
references to images.
The traditions preserved in the
Purï¿½ï¿½as form an important source of information for the history of
Mahï¿½vï¿½ra's time. The fifth and the last section known as Vaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½nucarita of
some Purï¿½ï¿½as gives an account of the kings of the ruling dynasties. The
names of some of these kings ruling over Magadha, Avanti, Kï¿½ï¿½ï¿½, Koï¿½ala etc., are
accepted as fairly reliable, because they are partially corroborated by both
Jaina and Buddhist literatures.
Though no written record of this
period is extant, the monuments and antiquities discovered in the archaeological
excavations conducted at different places are helpful for the purpose of
historical reconstruction. The existence of some early cities such as Rï¿½jagï¿½ha,
Vï¿½rï¿½ï¿½asï¿½, Mathurï¿½, ï¿½rï¿½vastï¿½, Ujjain and Hastinï¿½pura is proved by archaeological
findings, city-walls and fortifications, giving us a rough idea of town-planning
during this period.
The actual remains of the buildings
of this period are few because of the perishable nature of the material used in
those days. The existence of the early structures of Stï¿½pas along with
some other antiquities are known from their archaeological remains discovered at
a village, Lauria Nandangarh, in Champï¿½ran District of Bihï¿½r and Piprï¿½hwa
(District Basti) at the Nepï¿½l border. Wood, mud and mud-bricks were widely used
during this period. Small hearths of bamboo and reed have been discovered at
Chandraketugarh and Mathurï¿½. Structures made of mud and mud-bricks are found at
Nï¿½gdï¿½, Atranjikhera, Hastinï¿½pura, Mathurï¿½, and Rajaghï¿½t. Burnt bricks were used
probably for building places of public utility, and their remains have been
discovered at Rupar, Hastinï¿½pura, and Ujjain. The historic Jarï¿½sandha kï¿½
Baiï¿½haka built during this period at Rï¿½jagï¿½ha is of stones. Some of the
paintings preserved in the rockshelters dicovered near Pachmï¿½rhi, Mirzï¿½pur, and
Mï¿½nikpur may also belong to this period.
No sculptures but the terracottas of
this period have been discovered at certain places, such as Hastinï¿½pura,
Mathurï¿½, Ahichchhatrï¿½, Rajaghï¿½t near Vï¿½rï¿½ï¿½asï¿½, ï¿½rï¿½vastï¿½ and Sonerpur. These are
made of grey, black, polished, and red ware. Both human and animal figurines are
found, but the number of human figurines is larger at this date than that found
in the preceding culture. These are better modelled than the specimens of the
earlier period, and they are decorated by incision, circles and
The archaeological excavations
carried out at different sites give us an idea of the ceramics used by the
people. This period was noteworthy for the introduction of some new fabrics, the
most important of them being the North Black Polished Ware, known as a prince
among the potteries in India. Black slipped Ware, Red and Black Ware, Grey Ware,
and Red Ware were the associate potteries of this age which met the increasing
demand of the people. Pottery vessels of different shapes, shades, and colour
give an idea of the artistic taste of the people.
Metal objects, such as ornaments,
beads, and toilets recovered from the early historical sites in excavations,
throw an important light on the material life of the people. The discovery of a
large number of iron objects at Ujjain, Nï¿½gda, Eran, etc. proves the popularity
of iron. Its wide use for different purposes resulted in the surplus of wealth
and prosperity during this period.
Coins found at Taxila, Paila,
Golakhapur, Patrah, etc. seem to have belonged to this age. These coins are
punchmarked because they were being punched by a number of symbols successively
by different punches. These punch-marked coins known as Kï¿½rï¿½ï¿½paï¿½as, are
the earliest coins of India, and are usually made of silver and copper, though
silver pieces are certainly more numerous. The vast majority of the silver
punch-marked coins follow the standard of 16 mï¿½ï¿½akas. The larger and
thinner coins are, as a general rule, of an earlier date than the small and
thick ones. The number of symbols on the obverse is usually five. The popular
symbols during this period were the sun, the six arms, a hill above a tank with
two fishes, and a peculiar symbol surrounded with five
Thus with the help of these
different sources, an attempt has been made to give a correct picture of
Tï¿½rthaï¿½kara Mahï¿½vï¿½ra and his times. Certain handicaps have to be experienced by
the historian of so early a period because of the paucity and vagueness of the
historical material. In fact, the primary source material remained in the shape
of traditions for a considerably long time, and then it was codified. This has
been utilised only after a thorough critical examination. At the same time,
other independent evidences have also been tapped to corroborate it wherever
necessary. Still, however, nothing can be said positively on controversial
issues in the absence of substantial evidence.
The Jaina source material for
reconstructing the history of the Post-Mahï¿½vï¿½ra Age is abundant. It may be
subdivided into three classes - (1) Archaeology, (2) Literature and (3) Writings
of the foreigners. Archaeology is further subdivided into (i) Jaina
Inscriptions, and (ii) Jaina monuments.
(i) Jaina Inscriptions
Inscriptions are found in large number in different parts of India, and they
form an important source of information about the history of Jainism. These are
engraved on rocks, pillars, copper plates, images etc. These are written in
different languages such as Prakï¿½it, Sanskï¿½it, Telugï¿½, Tï¿½mil, Marï¿½ï¿½hï¿½ and Hindi.
Brï¿½hmï¿½, Nï¿½garï¿½, Kannaï¿½a and Tamil, scripts were used for writing these
These inscriptions may be classified
into two groups : (a) those engraved on behalf of the ruling authority and (b)
those incised on behalf of private individuals. The second category of
inscriptions is found in large number.
These inscriptions record the
construction of caves and temples, their renovation, installation of images,
donation of villages, land, suvarï¿½as (dï¿½nï¿½ras) and income from taxes to
the religious establishments. There are inscriptions mentioning the
Sallekhanï¿½ of monks, nuns, ï¿½rï¿½vakas and ï¿½rï¿½vikï¿½s. Some inscriptions refer
to the visit of pilgrims to holy places.
These inscriptions also throw light
on the historical role of Jainism as they refer to the ruling kings, otherwise
unknown, and some of them even supply dates either in regnal years or in a
specified or unspecified era. From these inscriptions, it is also known how most
of the Brï¿½hmanical kings patronized Jainism, and some of them even accepted
These inscriptions are valuable for
reconstructing the history of Jaina Saï¿½ghas, Gaï¿½as and
Gachchhas. We know about the lineage of the Jaina ï¿½cï¿½ryas.
Mï¿½lasaï¿½gha and Kï¿½ï¿½ï¿½hï¿½saï¿½gha are important among the Digambaras, while
Tapï¿½gacchas and the Kharataragaccha among the ï¿½vetï¿½mbaras. A large number of
Jaina inscriptions of the 15th and 16th centuries mention the ï¿½vetï¿½mbara
Gacchas. Sometimes, these inscriptions correct the names and time of the
ï¿½cï¿½ryas mentioned in the Paï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½s.
These inscriptions are useful for
the history of the Jaina castes and Gotras. These castes and
Gotras are found mentioned in numerous inscriptions of the 15th and 16th
centuries. The fact that most of these castes originated in Rajasthan but
migrated to the different regions of India is also known from the inscriptions.
This shows that these people were adventurous. Among the ï¿½vetï¿½mbaras, Osavï¿½la,
ï¿½rï¿½mï¿½lï¿½ and Prï¿½gvï¿½ï¿½a castes were well known while among the Digambaras,
Khaï¿½ï¿½elavï¿½la and Bagheravï¿½la castes were famous. These castes are known to be
associated with particular Saï¿½gha, Gaï¿½a and Gaccha. The
peculiar names of some Jaina castes mentioned in the inscriptions indicate that
they originated from the tribal people.
The inscriptions mentioned on the
images and temples are important in tracing the evolution and growth of Jaina
art. These inscriptions are of different periods and regions, and these are
written in different languages and scripts. Some are valuable from the literary
point of view. Hence, these are useful for reconstructing the history of Jaina
Some inscriptions are of special
importance for the history of Jainism. The existence of Jainism in the region of
Tamiladeï¿½a is attested by the existence of lithic records of the third century
B.C. found here.6 The Hï¿½thï¿½gumphï¿½ inscription of
Khï¿½ravela7 dated second or first century B.C.
may be regarded as the Khï¿½ravela caritra becasuse it gives information
about the events of his life. This inscription starts with the invocation
(Maï¿½galï¿½ caraï¿½a) 'Namo Arhantï¿½nam and Namo-Sava-Siddhï¿½ï¿½am'
Such a great Jaina ruler like Khï¿½ravela is not known from any other source
except this inscription. Hence, this inscription is of great
The Pabhosa inscriptions of the
second century B.C. record their dedication by Aï¿½ï¿½ï¿½hasena from Ahichchhatra for
the use of Kaï¿½yapï¿½ya Arhats. The Jaina monks enjoyed royal patronage during the
ï¿½uï¿½ga period.8 A short Brï¿½hmï¿½
inscription9 of the first century B.C. found in
a cave near Pale in Poonï¿½ District proves the existence of Jainism in Mahï¿½rï¿½ï¿½tra
during the first century B.C. The importance of the record lies in the
expression 'Namo-arahaï¿½tï¿½naï¿½' which commences the writing. The Jaina
inscriptions of the Kuï¿½ï¿½ï¿½a period of Mathurï¿½ mentioning the names of
Gaï¿½as, Kulas and ï¿½ï¿½khï¿½s confirm such names found in the
Sthavirï¿½valï¿½ of the Kalpasï¿½tra and also inform about the great
prosperity of this region.
The name 'Samprativihï¿½ra'
found inscribed on a pottery piece at Vaï¿½ï¿½havï¿½ï¿½a (Vardhamï¿½na) in the Krishna
valley proves the historicity of the Mauryan ruler Samprati.10 Some inscriptions of
ï¿½ravaï¿½abelagola dated 600 A.D., 900 A.D., 1128 A.D., 1169 A.D., and 1413 A.D.
refer to the tradition of Candragupta Maurya becoming a Jaina disciple of the
saint Bhadrabï¿½hu and their migration to ï¿½ravaï¿½abelagola.11
inscription12 of the grandson of Jayadï¿½mana
belonging to the second century A.D. makes a mention of men who had attained
perfect knowledge (Kevalajï¿½ï¿½na) and were free from old age and death.
This inscription contains the earliest reference to Jaina monks claiming the
attainment of perfect knowledge. The Girnar inscription13 actually refers to the
Samï¿½dhimaraï¿½a of the Digambara Jain saint Dharasena, the original author
of the Digambara canon, who according to the tradition, resided at Candraguhï¿½ of
Girnar whence the inscription was discovered.
inscriptions14 of the fourth or fifth century A.D.
engraved on the three stone Jaina images of the Tï¿½rthaï¿½karas, it is clear that
they were made by Mahï¿½rï¿½jï¿½dhirï¿½ja Rï¿½magupta at the preaching of
Chelukï¿½amaï¿½a, son of Gokyï¿½ntï¿½, and a pupil of ï¿½cï¿½rya Sarppasena Kshamaï¿½a, who
was the grand pupil of the Jaina teacher Kshamï¿½cï¿½rya. It seems that Rï¿½magupta, a
local ruler of Vididiï¿½ï¿½ region, and a follower of Jainism, installed Jaina
images. It seems to be the earliest inscription of Jainism so far discovered in
Madhya Pradesh. A copper plate inscription15 of the Gupta year 159 (478 A.D.)
from Paharpur, Bangalï¿½deï¿½a is interesting as it records an endowment for the
worship of Arhats to a Vihï¿½ra in Vaï¿½agohï¿½lï¿½ which was presided
over by the disciples of Nirgrantha preceptor Guhanandin, belonging to the
Paï¿½caï¿½tï¿½panikï¿½ya. This grant records that a Brï¿½hmaï¿½a and his wife donated three
dinï¿½ras and land for the maintenance of worship.
A Jaina epigraph16 of the seventh century A.D.
discovered from the Jaina temple-complex at Sonagiri proves the great antiquity
of this Jaina Tï¿½rtha. It refers to a Jaina devotee called Vadï¿½ka who was
the son of Singhadeva.
In the temple of Vasantagadh in
Sirohi District, a pair of brass images of ï¿½ï¿½abhadeva has been found underground
on which is incised an inscription17 of 687 A.D. This inscription
mentions that one Droï¿½okara Yaï¿½odeva had the Jaina image built by the acrhitect
ï¿½ivanï¿½ga. This is the earliest archaeological evidence for the existence of
Jainism in Rajasthan.
From the Aihole inscription dated
634 A.D., written by Ravikï¿½rti, it is known that with the generous support of
his patron Pulakeï¿½in II of Badï¿½mi, Ravikï¿½rti founded a Jaina shrine. The poet
Ravikï¿½rti was not only a sincere and dedicated Jaina but also one of the
celebrated men of letters of his time.18
The Sailodbhava grant
inscription19 of the seventh century A.D.
mentions one Jaina Muni called Prabhuddhacandra and his Arhadï¿½cï¿½rya
Nï¿½sicandra. This proves the existence of Jainism in Orissa in the Seventh
century A.D. The Digambara Jaina inscriptions20 of the tenth century discovered
from Udayagiri-Khandagiri caves belong to the reign of Udyotakeï¿½arï¿½ of the
Keï¿½arï¿½ dynasty. These inscriptions prove that Jainism continued to survive in
Orissa up to the tenth century A.D. Afterwards, it gradually almost
The Bahuriband stone
inscription21 of Gayï¿½karï¿½a records that one
Mahï¿½bhoja, son of Sï¿½dhu Sarvadhara, erected a temple of ï¿½ï¿½ntinï¿½tha. The image of
ï¿½ï¿½ntinï¿½tha was consecrated by the ï¿½cï¿½rya Subhadra who belonged to the
line of Deï¿½ï¿½gaï¿½a in the ï¿½mnï¿½ya of Candrakara ï¿½cï¿½rya. From the
Dubkunda stone inscription22, it is known that encouraged by the
teaching of the Jaina monk Vijayakï¿½rti of the Lï¿½ï¿½avï¿½gaï¿½a Gaï¿½a, some Jaina
ï¿½rï¿½vakas constructed a Jaina temple, and the Kachchhapaghï¿½ï¿½a ruler
Mahï¿½rï¿½jï¿½dhirï¿½ja of the Dubkund branch and others made some donation of
land in favour of this temple in 1088 A.D. There was a Jaina monastery at
Dubkunda and the Jaina saints used to reside here.
From the Bijaulia
inscription23 dated V.S. 1226, it is known that
Pï¿½thvï¿½rï¿½ja-II gave the village Morï¿½jharï¿½ to the temple of Pï¿½rï¿½vanï¿½tha, and
Someï¿½vara endowed it with a village named Revï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ in charity. This inscription
also records various donations made to the temple by certain persons of the
neighbouring places. This inscription records the construction of the Jaina
temples at Bagherï¿½, ï¿½oï¿½ï¿½raisingh, Naraiï¿½ï¿½, Mï¿½ï¿½ï¿½algarh and Ajmer by the ancestors
of Lolï¿½ka. The author of this inscription was Guï¿½abhadra, a Mahï¿½muni of
the Mï¿½thura Saï¿½gha, and he was very learned as is known from the
inscription24 records that Mahï¿½rï¿½ja
ï¿½lhaï¿½adeva, on the ï¿½ivarï¿½tri day in 1152 A.D., thinking the granting of
security to animals to be the highest gift, issued injunctions, for the increase
of his spiritual merit and fame, to the Mahï¿½janas, Tambulikas and
other subjects, forbidding the slaughter of living beings on the 8th, 11th and
14th days of both the fortnights of every month in his
The ï¿½iva shrine of Hanumï¿½na temple
at Jambholi in Jaipur District was originally a Jaina temple of Candraprabhu.
One inscription25 engraved on the stone beam of this
temple contains five verses composed by Paï¿½ï¿½ita Niï¿½kalankasena, the
brother of Akalankasena in praise of Candraprabha Jina. Of some pontiffs whose
names are given - Amritasena, Samyamasenasï¿½ri, Brahmasena and Yogasena, the last
pontiff is described as one whose feet were worshipped by the
The royal judgement in the form of
inscription26 by king Bukka Rï¿½ya of the
Vijayanagar Kingdom in 1368 A.D. shows that he was not committed to any
religious creed, but by his equity, he had saved religion from
The inscription27 of V.S. 1548 engraved on numerous
Jaina images throughout India records that they were installed by Jï¿½varï¿½ja
Pï¿½paï¿½ï¿½vï¿½la through the Bhaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½raka Jinacandra during the reign of king Sheo Siï¿½gh
of Munï¿½ï¿½sï¿½. It seems doubtful that so many images were installed by a ï¿½rï¿½vaka
during the reign of a ruler of a small kingdom. It appears that the inscription
of V.S. 1548 continued to be stamped on later images for a long period without
inscription28 by Hemavijaya dated 1593 A.D. in
the ï¿½dinï¿½tha temple of ï¿½atruï¿½jaya hill, it appears that Hï¿½ravijaya persuaded the
Emperor Akbar in 1592 A.D. to issue an edict forbidding the slaughter of animals
for six months and abolishing the Jizyï¿½ tax.
inscription29 dated 1689 A.D. records that during
the reign of Aurangzeb when his Sï¿½manta Kishorasiï¿½ha Chauhï¿½na was ruling
over Kotah, Kï¿½ï¿½ï¿½adï¿½sa, a very rich merchant of the Bagheravï¿½la caste and Chief
Minister, constructed a Jaina temple of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra and celebrated the installation
ceremony of images in the temple with his wives and sons.
An inscription30 engraved on a slab built in the
wall of a Jaina temple at Deoli, (Pratapgarh District, Rajasthan) of 1715 A.D.
records that the oilmen of the town agreed to stop working their mills for 44
days in a year at the request of Sï¿½raiyï¿½ and Jï¿½varï¿½ja of the Mahï¿½jana
community during the reign of Mahï¿½rï¿½vala Pï¿½ithvï¿½siï¿½ha.
(ii) Jaina Monuments
Though most of the objects of Jaina
art and architecture have been destroyed by the levelling hand of time and the
iconoclastic zeal of the foreigners, those surviving ones give an idea of Jaina
art and architecture. It is valuable for the history of Jainism. Significant
Jaina art objects of different periods and also of separate regions of India are
available. The Jaina monuments in the form of stï¿½pas, monasteries, caves,
temples, Mï¿½nastambhas and sculptures are found. From this, it is evident
that Jainism made valuable contribution at every stage in the evolution and
growth of Indian culture in the sphere of art and architecture. The period
between the ninth and the twelfth century A.D. is considered to be the golden
age in the history of Jaina art and architecture because its contributions to
the Indian culture during this period are remarkable.
(i) General Works :
There are references to
Jainism in the famous Tamil works namely Tolkï¿½ppiyam, Kural,
Maï¿½imekhali and ï¿½ilappadikï¿½ram which belong to the so-called
Saï¿½ghama Age (500 B.C.-500 A.D.). The author of Tolkï¿½ppiyam and ï¿½ilappadikï¿½rm
was himself a Jaina, and Valluvar, the author of Kural, was himself a follower
of Jainism, The author of Maï¿½imekhï¿½lai and the author of Nï¿½ladiyar
were both Jainas. The Kural contains wonderful references to
From the Paumacariyam of
Vimalasï¿½ri composed about 530 years after the Nirvï¿½ï¿½a of Mahï¿½vï¿½ra,
it is known that the Jaina religion was introduced in Mathurï¿½ by seven saints.
There was a temple of Munisuvratasvï¿½mï¿½ at Sï¿½keta. Jaina saints preached both at
Sï¿½keta and Mathurï¿½.
The Padmapurï¿½ï¿½a of Raviï¿½eï¿½a
(676 A.D.), Harivaï¿½ï¿½apurï¿½na of Jinasena (783 A.D.) and
Uttarapurï¿½ï¿½a of Guï¿½abhadra (898 A.D.) contain legendary accounts of the
Jaina Tï¿½rthaï¿½karas, but still these are useful for the history of
The Tiloyapaï¿½ï¿½ati of
Yativï¿½ï¿½abha (150-180 A.D.) incidentally gives much information on Jaina
doctrine, Purï¿½ï¿½ic traditions about the Tï¿½rthaï¿½karas and other heroes, and about
geography and political history of
ï¿½ivï¿½rya is the author of the
ï¿½rï¿½dhanï¿½, also called Mï¿½lï¿½rï¿½dhanï¿½ or Bhagavatï¿½ï¿½rï¿½dhanï¿½
which is an important work dealing with the conduct of Jaina ascetics. It is
believed to have been the ultimate source of the Jaina Kathï¿½koï¿½a
literature which is represented by the Kathï¿½koï¿½as of Hariï¿½eï¿½a (931 A.D.),
Prabhï¿½candra (980 A.D.), ï¿½rï¿½candra (1066 A.D.), Brahma, Nemidatta, Rï¿½macandra
etc. These works incidentally throw light on the history of Jainism. That
ï¿½rï¿½vasti became a famous centre of Digambra religion is evident from the
Brihat-Kathï¿½-Koï¿½a of Hariï¿½eï¿½a. It also mentions the migration of the
great ï¿½rutakevalin, Bhadrabï¿½hu and his disciple, the Mauryan Emperor Candragupta
owing to famine in North. Ratnanandi's Bhadrabï¿½hu Caritra of about 1450
A.D., the Kannaï¿½a works Munivaï¿½ï¿½abhyudaya of C. 1680 by Cidï¿½nanda and
Rï¿½javaï¿½ Kathï¿½ by Devacandra also mention this incident of famine. From
the Kï¿½lakï¿½cï¿½rya Kathï¿½naka, written in 1308 A.D., it is known that
Kï¿½lakï¿½carya lived and propagated Jainism in Avanti in the first century
Literary works :
Haribhadra Sï¿½ri throws some light on the conditions of Jainism in his work
Samaraiccakahï¿½. The Kuvalayamï¿½lï¿½ composed in 778 A.D. by
Uddyotanasï¿½ri informs about Jainism in Jï¿½lor and the neighbouring regions. It is
also known that Toramï¿½ï¿½a was the disciple of Harigupta. From the
Yaï¿½astilakacampï¿½ of Somadeva, it is known that Jainism was known in
Bengal during the ninth century A.D. The Jamï¿½dï¿½vapaï¿½ï¿½atti of Padmanandi
written in about the tenth century A.D. at Bara in Kotah District indirectly
throws light on the history of Jainism.
Jineï¿½varasï¿½ri-Saï¿½yamaï¿½rï¿½-Vivï¿½ha-Varï¿½ana-rï¿½sa31 of Somamï¿½rti, written in 1275 A.D.
is specially related to Kheï¿½a. The Pravï¿½sagï¿½tikï¿½traya32 of Jayï¿½nanda written in 1307 A.D.
informs about Jaina temples and families at Giripura. The
Kï¿½rtiratnasï¿½ri-vivï¿½halï¿½ and the Kï¿½rtiratnasï¿½ri-Caupï¿½ï¿½ of
Kalyï¿½ï¿½acandra composed in V.S. 1525 yield valuable information about Mehavï¿½
(Nagara) regarding temples, people and religious activities during the fifteenth
century A.D.33. The Guruguï¿½aratnï¿½kara
Kï¿½vya34 of Somacandra Gaï¿½i written in V.S.
1541 and the Upadeï¿½ataraï¿½giï¿½ï¿½ of Ratnamandira Gaï¿½i are specially
concerned with the activities of Jainism at Giripura and Mï¿½ngathalï¿½. From the
Pï¿½rï¿½vanï¿½tha ï¿½ravaï¿½a-Sattï¿½visï¿½ 35 of ï¿½hakkurasï¿½, who lived in the
sixteenth century A.D. at Chaksu, it is known that Ibrï¿½hima Lodï¿½ attacked
Ranathambhor which was ruled at this time by Rï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ Sï¿½ngï¿½.
The Lï¿½ï¿½ï¿½saï¿½hitï¿½ (1575 A.D.)
of Pï¿½ï¿½ï¿½e Rajamalla, the Jambï¿½svï¿½mï¿½ Caritra (1585 A.D.) of Pï¿½ï¿½ï¿½e Jinadï¿½sa,
the ï¿½rï¿½pï¿½la-Carita (1594 A.D.) of poet Parimala and the
Aï¿½janï¿½sundarï¿½rï¿½sa (1604 A.D.) of Vidyï¿½ Harï¿½a Sï¿½ri inform that Akbar held
Jainism in high esteem. From the Jamlï¿½svï¿½mï¿½ Caritra, it is also known
that Sï¿½ha Toï¿½ara renovated the Tï¿½rtha of Mathurï¿½ by constructing 514
stï¿½pas. From the Yaï¿½odhara Caritra written in V.S. 1659 by
Bhaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½raka Jï¿½ï¿½nakï¿½rti, it is known that Sï¿½ha Naï¿½u, Prime-Minister of Mï¿½nasiï¿½ha
of ï¿½mber got built twenty Jaina temples36 of twenty Tï¿½rthï¿½ï¿½karas at
Sammedaï¿½ikhara. The Ardhakathï¿½naka (1641 A.D.) of Banï¿½rsï¿½ï¿½ï¿½sa is
important from the Jaina historical point of view. He also led pilgrimage of the
people to holy places.37
Historical Works : There are some ancient historical
writings from which we may draw certain conclusions after their critical
examination. The Dvyï¿½ï¿½raya and the Triï¿½aï¿½ï¿½iï¿½alkï¿½puruï¿½a-caritra of
Hemacandra Sï¿½ri are useful for the history of Jainism under the Cï¿½lukyas. The
Prabhï¿½vaka Caritra of Prabhï¿½candra Sï¿½ri written in V.S. 1361, the
Purï¿½tanaprabhandha Saï¿½graha of Rï¿½jaï¿½ekhara written in V.S. 1405 and the
Prabandha Cintï¿½maï¿½i of Merutuï¿½ga written in 1306 A.D. contain numerous
interesting anecdotes about several Jaina monarchs and saints. The Vastupï¿½la
caritra written in the 15th century by Jinaharï¿½a and Vimalacaritra
written by Lï¿½vaï¿½yasamaya in V.S. 1568 are useful for the history of the
faith during this period. The Cï¿½muï¿½ï¿½arï¿½ya Purï¿½ï¿½a written in the Kannaï¿½a
language gives information about the life of Cï¿½muï¿½ï¿½arï¿½ya. The Karmacandra
Vaï¿½ï¿½ota Kï¿½rtana Kï¿½vyam of Jayasoma of the 17th century supplies us a mine of
information about the life of Karmacandra and the condition of Jainism in
The Darï¿½anasï¿½ra of Devasena
written in V.S. 909 throws a great deal of light on the origin of the
Saï¿½ghas in the Digambara Saï¿½gha. The Upakeï¿½acaritra written in
V.S. 1393 is useful for Jaina history. From the Upakeï¿½a gachchha
Prabandha, it is known that the Muslim army of Muhammad Ghori, while
passing, destroyed Osia in 1195 A.D. The Yugapradhï¿½nï¿½cï¿½rya Guruï¿½vali of
Jinapï¿½la Upï¿½dhyaya written in V.S. 1305 is a reliable source of history about
the lives of the Jaina saints. According to the Nï¿½bhinandanoddhï¿½ra
Prabandha, Emperor Gayï¿½suddï¿½n was much pleased with Samaraï¿½ï¿½ha and highly
Tï¿½rtha Mï¿½lï¿½s :
Tï¿½rthamï¿½lï¿½s are another important source material for the purpose of this
work. The holy places in early times were considered equally important as
compared to the capitals of the States and Principalities. These
Tï¿½rthamï¿½las are the recorded accounts of holy places by saints and
scholars, who visited them. These are just like our so-called 'guide books'. We
find in them, their names, history of their origin, and miracles associated with
the Tï¿½rthas, their importance and the description of temples and images.
Some of their accounts being based on legends are not
The Prï¿½kï¿½ta Nirvï¿½ï¿½akï¿½ï¿½ï¿½a of
Kundakunda and Sanskï¿½ta Nirvï¿½ï¿½a Bhakti of Pï¿½jyapï¿½da give information
about the ancient Jaina Tï¿½rthas. As ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½dhara mentions these two works,
these belong to the earlier period than the 13th century A.D. Dhanapï¿½la in his
poem Satyapurï¿½ya Mahï¿½vï¿½ra-Utsï¿½ha refers to holy places which were
in existence in the tenth century A.D.38 The
Sakalatï¿½rthastavana39 by Siddhaï¿½ï¿½i (of the 12th century
A.D.) is very important because it contains a list of holy places. The
Vividhatï¿½rthakalpa40 of Jinaprabhasï¿½ri is important both
from the literary and historical points of view. It gives a brief history of the
holy places. Madanakï¿½rti, author of the 13th century A.D., in his work
'ï¿½ï¿½sanacatustriï¿½ï¿½atikï¿½ describes the Jaina holy places. He informs how
the invasion of Iltumish brought destruction to the holy place of Abhinandana of
Mï¿½ï¿½galapura in Mï¿½lavadeï¿½a.
Vinayaprabhasï¿½ri, an author of the
fourteenth century A.D., makes a mention of holy places, and describes their
main temples. Saubhï¿½gyavijaya and ï¿½ilavijaya (1689 A.D.) wrote the
Tï¿½rthamï¿½lï¿½s which are important. A description of some Tï¿½rthas is given
in the Upadeï¿½a-Saptati written in V.S. 1503 by Somadharma. Bhaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½raka
Guï¿½akï¿½rti mentions holy places in the Tï¿½rthavandanï¿½-Saï¿½graha while
Bhaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½raka ï¿½rutasï¿½gara refers to them in the Bodha-Prï¿½bhï¿½ta. Jï¿½ï¿½nasï¿½gara
in the Sarvatï¿½rtha-vandanï¿½ mentions fifty-two Saï¿½ghapatis who
performed the installation ceremony of several images. ï¿½ï¿½ntikuï¿½ala in his
ï¿½rï¿½ Gaudï¿½ Pï¿½rï¿½va Tï¿½rthamï¿½la written in 1670 A.D. refers to Merta as a
holy place of the Jainas. In V.S. 1741 Bhaiyï¿½ Lï¿½la has written the
Nirvï¿½ï¿½akï¿½nï¿½a in Hindi giving the list of holy
The Tï¿½rthamï¿½lï¿½s and the
Stavanas were written about Jiravï¿½la, Nï¿½gdï¿½, Phalodhï¿½, Nakoï¿½ï¿½
Pï¿½rï¿½vanï¿½tha, Nagara, Rï¿½ï¿½ï¿½-Mahï¿½vï¿½ra, Hathunï¿½ï¿½, Maï¿½ï¿½haï¿½a, Rï¿½vaï¿½a Pï¿½rï¿½vanï¿½tha
Alwar, Candrï¿½vatï¿½, Mï¿½ï¿½ï¿½u etc. Bhaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½raka Padmanandi, pupil of Prabhï¿½candra,
wrote the Jï¿½rï¿½valï¿½ Pï¿½rï¿½vanï¿½tha Stotra in the fifteenth
In the medieval times, even the
Caitya Paripï¿½ï¿½ï¿½s, describing the pilgrimage of persons to different temples
of a particular place, their names, situation in different wards, their
direction and even number of images, were written. The Maï¿½ï¿½apï¿½cala Caitya
Paripï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ mentions that there were twenty-two temples containing about 562
Jaina images, Among the Caitya Paripï¿½ï¿½ï¿½s. Jï¿½lora Caitya-Paripï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ of
Nï¿½gaï¿½ï¿½i, Jaisalamera Caitya Paripï¿½tï¿½ of Jinakuï¿½alasï¿½ri,
Citrakï¿½ta-paripï¿½tï¿½ of Jayahemasï¿½, Nï¿½gaura Caitya Paripï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ and
Meï¿½atavï¿½la Caitya-paripï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ are noteworthy.
Praï¿½astis : The
Praï¿½astis, written at the end of manuscripts are as important as the
inscriptions for the history of Jainism, but they do not belong to the early
period. From about the twelfth century A.D., the writing of the Praï¿½astis
of the manuscripts had become a general feature. They invariably mention the
time, when they were written and refer to the rulers, in whose time they were
composed. They mention the genealogy of the donor, his caste and gotra.
Some times, these Praï¿½astis enlighten us about facts, not known to us
from any other source.
From the Praï¿½astis of the
Upadeï¿½amï¿½lï¿½ vï¿½tti of Vijayasiï¿½hasï¿½ri (V.S. 1191), and the
Munisuvrata-caritra (V.S. 1193) of Candrasï¿½ri, it is known that
Pï¿½ithvï¿½rï¿½ja-I put golden cupolas on the Jaina temples of
Raï¿½thambhor.41 From a Praï¿½asti of the
Dharmï¿½mï¿½taï¿½ï¿½kï¿½ of ï¿½ï¿½ï¿½dhara, it is known that he left Mï¿½ï¿½ï¿½algaï¿½ha for
Dhï¿½rï¿½nagarï¿½ because of the invasion of Muhammad Ghori.42 The Praï¿½asti of Jinadatta
carita written in V.S. 1275 (1218 A.D.) reveals that at the time of Muslim
invasions, the poet Lakshmaï¿½a left Tribhuvanagiri (Tahan garh) for
Bilrampur.43 From Nemi Jina Carita of the
poet Dï¿½modara written in V.S. 1287 at Salakï¿½aï¿½apura during the reign of
the Paramï¿½ra ruler Devapï¿½la, it is known that he left Gurjaradeï¿½a (Rajasthana)
and settled in Mï¿½lavadeï¿½a.44 That the Jainas were happy and
prosperous in Mï¿½ï¿½ï¿½u during the reign of Ghiyath Shah is borne out from the
praises that have been lavished in the Praï¿½asti of the Kalpasï¿½tra
transcribed in 1198 A.D.45 The Aï¿½ï¿½ï¿½lakï¿½apraï¿½asti of
Samayasundara tells us that Jinabhadrasï¿½ri founded Jaina Bhaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ras at
Jaisalmer, Jalor, Nagaur etc.46
From a Bï¿½hubali Carita
Praï¿½asti written in 1397 A.D. by Droï¿½apï¿½la, it is known that Prabhï¿½candra
defeated his opponents in debate and pleased Muhammad Bin
Tughlaq.47 From a Praï¿½asti of the work
Puruï¿½ï¿½rthanuï¿½asana written by the poet Govinda, it is known that one of
his ancestors named Amarasiï¿½ha was the officer of the emperor Muhammad, and
earned name and fame.48 From a Parï¿½asti of the
Holireï¿½ukï¿½ carita written in 1551 A.D., it is known that Haripati and Rekha
were devotees of Padmï¿½vatï¿½ and they were honoured in the royal courts of Firoz
Shah and Shershah respectively for their vast knowledge in the science of
medicines.49 From a Praï¿½asti of the
Yaï¿½odhara carita dated V.S. 1659 of Bhaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½raka Jï¿½aï¿½akï¿½rti, it is known that
Nï¿½nu, Minister of King Mï¿½nasiï¿½ha of Amber, built twenty temples of the twenty
Jaina Tï¿½rthaï¿½karas at Sammeda ï¿½ikhara.50
Several copies of the Manuscripts
were written, and their Praï¿½astis are helpful for reconstructing the
history of Jainism. From a Praï¿½asti of the ï¿½tmaprabhodhana written
in V.S. 1547, it is known that the old name ï¿½ripathï¿½ of Bayï¿½nï¿½ was retained up
to the 15th century A.D.51 From the Praï¿½asti of the
Bï¿½hat-Siddha Cakrapï¿½jï¿½, it is known that the poet wrote it in
Rï¿½hetasapura in V.S. 1584 during the reign of the Mughal Emperor
Babar.52 The poet Mahindu wrote the
ï¿½antinï¿½tha carita at the inspiration of Agrawal Sï¿½dhï¿½raï¿½a in Yoginï¿½pura
in V.S. 1587 during the reign of the Mughal emperor Babar.53
Paï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½s : The
important Paï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½s are the Kharataragaccha Paï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½, Tapï¿½gachccha
Paï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½, Upakeï¿½agacchha Paï¿½ï¿½avali, Mï¿½lasaï¿½gha Paï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½ etc. They contain
description of the incidents from the lives of the various saints who lived in
different periods. The Kharataragaccha Paï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½ refers to the visit of
Jaina ï¿½cï¿½ryas to towns where they were cordially received by rulers and
their subjects. Various kinds of functions were organised in their honour. They
performed the consecration ceremony of the temples and images, and sometimes,
they initiated interested persons into monkhood. By their inspiration, the
ï¿½rï¿½vakas organised pilgrimages to holy places. This Paï¿½ï¿½ï¿½vali
sometimes mentions unknown rulers and also corrects the wrong dates of some
rulers from the late chronicles. The Upakeï¿½agaccha-Paï¿½ï¿½ï¿½vali and the
Koranï¿½agaccha Paï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½ are specially concerned with the towns of Osia
and Korï¿½ï¿½ respectively. According to the Digambara Jaina Paï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½,
Vikramï¿½diya was devoted to the religion of the Jina, and then reached
Mï¿½lasaï¿½gha-Paï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½55 informs about the activities of the
ï¿½cï¿½ryas at Cittor, Ajmer, Bagherï¿½, Chï¿½ksu, Nï¿½gaur, ï¿½mber etc. The
Bhaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½raka-Paï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½ of Kï¿½emendrakï¿½rti gives an account of his life and
his movements from one place to another between V.S. 1697 and V.S.
Vaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½s : Some
Vaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valis of the castes are helpful for the history of Jainism. They
give information about the origin of their respective castes and gotras.
The Osavï¿½la-Vaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½s from the sixteenth century to the eighteenth
century A.D. are in the collection of Agarchand Nï¿½hata of Bikaner. A rich
collection of Vaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½s was in the possession of Gyan Sundar. These Vaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½s of
their respective castes were maintained by the bards. They contain an account of
the construction of temples and images, and organization of pilgrimage by
Saï¿½ghas to some holy places. They also give a lot of insight into the lives
of some well-known persons born in certain Jaina communities. Sometimes, they
yield important information regarding the political history of the period. The
regaining of Jodhpur from Shershah by Mï¿½ladeva with the help of Tejï¿½ Gaddhaiyï¿½
is known from the Vaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½valï¿½.57
Chaurï¿½sï¿½ Jaina Jï¿½ti Jayamï¿½la of Brahma Jinadï¿½sa of the 15th century and
the Buddhivilï¿½sa ï¿½ï¿½ha Bakhta Rï¿½ma mentions eighty-four castes. This
mention is useful for the history of Jaina castes .
Writings of the Foreigners : The writings of Greeks, of Yuan
Chwang and Arab travellers throw interesting light on the conditions of Jainism
during their respective periods. The Greek writers Strabo and Pliny, who based
their account on Megasthenese, an envoy in the court of Candragupta Maurya,
supply valuable information about Gymnosophists (Digambara Jaina saints)
whom Alexander met in Western India.58
The Chinese pilgrim Yuan Chwang, who
came to India in the second quarter of the seventh century A.D., gives an
account of Jainism which was prevalent in pockets at different sites such as
Kï¿½piï¿½ï¿½, Siï¿½hapura, Rï¿½jagï¿½ha, Puï¿½ï¿½ravardhana and Samataï¿½a.59 Some information about Jainism is
available in the writings of the Muslim travellers Abu Zaidul and Asral Bilad
who visited Western India in about the eighth or ninth century
1. SBE, XXII, p.
2. Ibid, XLV, p.
3. SBE, XLV, p.
4. Ibid, p.
Ummaga Jï¿½, VI, 432.
6. U.P. SNAH and
M.A. DHAKY Ed. Aspects of Jaina Art and Architecture, p.
7. E I, XX,
8. Ibid II,
XXXVIII, pp. 167-168.
Vacana, V, pp. 35, 49-58.
11. JSLS, Nos
17-18, 54, 40 and 108.
12. E I, XVI,
p. 241; LUDER'S List No. 966.
13. JSHI, pp.
14. Journal of the
Oriental Institute, Baroda, XVIII, p. 247.
15. E I, XX,
16. JSLS, IV,
17. APJLS, No.
18. E I, VI,
XXIX, pp. 38 f f.
XIII, pp. 165 f f.
21. CI I, IV,
Pt. I, No. 59.
22. E I, II,
XXVI, p. 108.
24. E I, XI,
25. I, Ar.- A.
Review, 1970-71, p. 52.
26. JSLS, No.
27. Jainism in
Rajasthan, p. 78 f n. 8.
28. E I, II,
p. 59 No. XIII.
29. Jainism in
Rï¿½jasthan, p. 36.
1934-35, No. 17.
XVIII, p. 187.
32. Ibid, III,
33. JSP, XX,
34. ï¿½rï¿½ Mahï¿½ravala
Rajata Jayanti Abhinandana Grantha, p. 398.
35. Guï¿½akï¿½ No.
404 in the Jaina ï¿½ï¿½stra Bhaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ra of Ajmer.
36. JUPJ, p.
37. Ibid, pp.
LXXVI, p. 156.
40. JSP, XVII,
41. GOS, LXXVI,
pp. 312 and 316.
42. JSAI, p.
43. AK, VIII,
44. PJPI, II,
45. Upendranath DEy : Medieval
Malwa, pp. 422-428.
46. JSP, XVI,
47. JGPS, II,
49. Ibid, I,
50. Ibid, No.
171, p. 112.
51. See a copy of
this manuscript in the ï¿½ï¿½strabhaï¿½ï¿½ï¿½ra at Bayana.
52. JGPS, I,
53. Ibid, II,
No. 87, PJPI, pp. 525-526.
54. I A, XX,
1883-84. See also IA, XX, and XXI.
56. Manuscript No.
430 in the Sambhavanï¿½tha temple, Udaipur.
II, No. 6, p. 249.
58. MCCRINDLE :
Ancient India, p. 68 f. n. 1; pp. 72, 73, 169, 183, Ancient India as
described by Megasthenese and Arrian, p. 136.
59. Thomas Watters : On Yuanchwang's
travels in India.
60. The History of
India as told by its own Historians, Vol. I, pp.