History of Jainism may be studied under two heads – (A) Mahävïra Age (C. 599 – C. 527 B.C.) and (B) Post-Mahävïra Age (up to the 18th century A.D.). The Mahävïra Age is very important in the History of India because it brought about significant changes in religious, social and economic spheres. For the Mahävira Age, the source material is scarce, but for the Post-Mahävïra Age, the Jaina source material is rich.

(A) The Mahävïra-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) Bhäsa, (c) Cuîîi and (d) Ûïkä (iii) other works, (iv) Supplementary works : (a) Buddhist works (b) Brahmanical works, (2) Archaeology.

(B) The post-Mahävïra 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) Tïrthamäläs, (v) Praáastis, (vi) Paûûävalïs and (vii) Vaãáävalïs. (3) Writings of the foreigners.


Since certain very significant changes took place in the political, religious, social, and economic spheres, the age of Tïrthaõkara Mahävïra 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 Nirvaîa of Mahävïra and Buddha. The sources for the reconstruction of the history of ‘Tïrthaõkara Mahävïra 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 Mahävïra 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.

(i) Canonical Works

These canonical works of the Jainas did not originate at one particular point of time, though their tradition can be traced back to Mahävïra 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 Sütra, Sütrakôtäõga (Süyagadaõga), Uttarädhyayana (Uttarajjhayaîa), Äcäräõga, (Äyäraõga), Vyäkhyäprajñapti (Bhagvatï or Viyähapaîîatti), Niryävalikä (Nirayävaliyä) Upäsakadaáä (Uväsagadasäo), Jñätädharmakathä (Näyädhammakahäo), Aupapätika (Ovaväiya) Räjapraáîïya Sütra (Räyapaseîaiya), and Ävaáyaka (Ävassaya). As far as the contents of these Jaina canonical Sütras are concerned, they are traditionally known as the Pravacanas of the Jainas, particularly those of Mahävïra. 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 Ÿaûkhaîâägama and Kaÿäyapähuâa, which give us some information about some portion of Dôÿûiväda. These two throw light on the doctrine of Karma and Guîasthäna.

The major portion of the Kalpa Sütra is devoted to the biography of Mahävïra, including his birth, lineage, parentage, childhood, marriage, itinerary during asceticism and finally his Nirväîa. It also refers to the nine Licchavïs as having formed a league with nine Mallakïs and eighteen clan-lords of Käáï-Koáala.1

The Sütrakôtäõga, the Uttarädhyayana and the Äcäräõga 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 Mahävïra. The object of the Sütrakôtäõga 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. Mahävïra 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 Mahävïra – Kriyäväda, Akriyäväda, Ajñänaväda, and Vinayaväda — 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, Aikÿaväkus, Jñätôs, Kauravas, and Licchavïs.3

The intention of Uttarädhyayana, 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 Tôiratna, austerities, Karma, Navatattva, Leáyäs, Samitis, and Guptis, have also been discussed. Instructions regarding the practice of righteousness by Mahävïra have been mentioned. Dasärîabhadra of Daáärîa, Karakaîâu of Kaliõga and Udäyana of Sauvïra are known to have become Jaina monks after giving up their kingdoms. Áreîika with his wives, servants and relatives appears to have adopted Jainism. Harikeáabala, born in the family of Caîâälas, became a monk possessing the higest virtues. Vijayaghoÿa, who was engaged in performing Brahmanical sacrifice, was converted to Jainism by the monk Jayaghoÿa, who approached him for alms.

The Äcäräõga Sütra has preserved a sort of religious ballad, an account of the years during which Mahävïra 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 Sütra 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 nature.

The Bhagavatï Sütra in its various dialogues gives a vivid picture of the life and work of Mahävïra, his relationship to his disciples and to the kings and princes of the time, and contains an account of the Jaina dogmas on Saãsära and Karma in the form of questions and answers between Mahävïra and Indrabhüti Gautama. It also embodies a list of sixteen Mahäjanapadas at the time of Mahävïra. Aõga was governed as a separate province under Küîiya with Campä as its capital. In the war with Vaiáälï, Küîiya is said to have made use of Mahäáiläkaîûaka and Rathamuáala. Udäyana, a ruler of Sauvïradeáa, being influenced by the teachings of Mahävïra, renounced the world and became a Jaina monk. The work also enlightens us about the life and teachings of Goáäla who lived in the company of Mahävïra for a period of about six years during which the latter was engaged in his ascetic practices.

The Nirayävalï Sütra refers to the great battle between Küîika of Campä and king Ceûaka of Videha and Vaiáälï, when the eighteen confederate kings are stated to have sided with the latter. The bone of contention was the Magadha State elephant Áreyanäka and a huge necklace of eighteen strings of pearls which were given by Áreîika to his sons, Halla and Vehalla.

A vivid picture of social life has been presented by the Uväsagadasäo. It contains the stories of pious householders who became lay adherents of Jainism. The wealthy potter named Saddälaputta, for instance, was at first a follower of Maõkhali Goáäla, but afterwards went over to Mahävïra. It informs us about the life and teachings of Goáäla who lived in his company for some time. Bäräîasï, Kampillapura, Paläáapura and Älabhï were the important towns within the kingdom of Jiyasattu, and Vaiáälï was ruled by Ceûaka.

The title of the text Näyädhammakahäo may be explained as ‘Stories for the Dhamma of Näya’ (Jñätôi), i.e. Mahävïra, who is also called Jñätôiputra, Näya or Nätaputta. The stories found here explain the teachings of Mahävïra. They indirectly throw light on the economic condition of the people. They describe the sea-faring merchants of Campä, who loaded their waggons with various commodities and proceeded to deep harbour. A merchant named Pälita of Campä is known to have gone on business to the town of Pihuîâa or Pithuîâa, 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 Uvaväiya Süya (Aupapätika Sütra) contains an account of Mahävïra’s Samavaáaraîa in Campä and the pilgrimage of Küîiya to this place. It also speaks of the Täpasas as those religiex who adopted the Vänaprastha mode of life on the banks of the sacred rivers typified by the Ganges.

The Räyapaseîaiya is an Upäõga containing a dialogue between Keáï, a disiple of Päráva and Paesi, a ruler of Setavyä. Keáï tries to prove to Peasi that the soul is independent of the body. The Päli counterpart of this Upäõga is known as the Päyäsi Suttanta. This text also describes the celestial mansion of Süryäbhadeva, 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 Päli Vimänavatthu.

The Ävaáyaka Sütra contains some interesting historical details of the time of Mahävira. During the war between Candanä’s father and king Áatänïka, she was taken captive by the army of the enemy and sold in Kauáämbï to a banker, Dhanävaha. In due course Candanä accepted Jainism from Mahävïra and became a nun. The daughters of king Ceûaka of Vaiáälï were married to some contemporary rulers. Môigävatï was married to king Áatänïka of Kauáämbï, Áivä to Caîâapradyota of Ujjayinï, Jyeshûhä to Nandivardhana, brother of Mahävïra and ruler of Kuîâagräma, and Sujyesûhä joined the Order of Mahävïra’s disciples. Mahävïra during his wanderings as a monk visited Käáï. Ajätaáatru of Magadha not only humbled Koáala and permanently annexed Käáï but also absorbed the State of Vaiáälï. Magadha and Avanti were brought face to face with each other. Udäyina was a devout Jaina.

(ii) Exegetical Works

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 Bôihatkalpa Bhäÿya and its Vôitti, the Vyavahära Bhäÿya and its Vivaraîa, the Niáitha Cürîi, the Ävaáyaka Cürîi and commentaries on the Ävaáyaka and Uttarädhyayana.

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) Bhäsa (c) Cuîîi, and (d) Ûïkä.

(a) Nijjutti

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) Äyaräõga, (2) Süyagaâaõga, (3) Süriyapannatti, (4) Uttarajjhayana, (5) Ävassaya, (6) Dasaveyäliya, (7) Dasasuyakkhandha, (8) Kappa, (9) Vavahära, and (10) Isibhäsiya. Tradition is unanimous in attributing the authorship of the Nijjuttis to Bhadrabähu who seems to be different from Bhadrabähu (297 B.C.), the last Árutakevalin.

(b) Bhäsa

The next chronological stage of development in the   commentatrial literature after Nijjuti is Bhäsa. The eleven Ägamas seem to have their separate Bhäsas. The Bhäsas on the Bôhatkalpa Sütra, Vyavahära Sütra and Niáitha Sütra 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 early days.

(c) Cuîîi

The third category of commentaries is known as Cuîîis. Many of the Ägamas contain Cuîîis, majority of which in their published form are ascribed to Jinadäsagaîi Mahattara. Out of the extant Cuîîis, the Ävassaya and Nisïha are the most important as they contain an invaluable treasure of information from the point of view of Jaina history and culture. The Ävassaya Cuîîi describes some important incidents of the life of Mahävïra and also refers to some important kings and princes contemporary to him.

(d) Ûïkä

Haribhadra Süri (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 Ävassaya, Dasaveyäliya, Nandi and Anuyoga are famous. Áïläõka Süri (872 A.D.), Vädivetäla Áänti Süri, Abhayadeva Süri and others also contributed to exegetical literature in which the commentaries on the Ävassaya, Uttarajjhayana, Bôihatkalpa Bhäÿya, Vyavahära Bhäÿya, Ûhänäõga, Bhagavatï, Jambudvïpa-prajñpti and Kalpa Sütra 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 Mahävïra, and other political and cultural aspects of his times. Their motive was sometimes to apotheosise Tïrthaõkara Mahävïra 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 ŸatKhaîdagama and Kaÿäyapähuâa by Vïrasena are known by the name of Dhavalä and Jayadhavalä. These are useful in getting matter for the doctrine of Karma and Guîasthäna etc.

(iii) Other Works

Some Jaina Puräîas and the Caritras give accounts of the life of Mahävïra 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 Puräîas concerning the life of Mahävïra are Jinasena’s Harivaãáapuräîa (783 A.D.). and Guîabhadra’s Uttarapuräîa (9th century A.D.). The Triÿaÿûhiáaläkäpuruÿacaritra of Hemacandra (12th century A.D.) yields some information regarding Tïrthaõkara Mahävïra and some of his contemporary rulers. The Mahävïracariyam of Nemicandra, the Mahävïracariyam of Guîacandra Gaîi, the Vardhamänacaritra of Asaga (988 A.D.), and the Vardhamänacarita of Sakalakïrti (1464 A.D.) are late biographical works on Mahävïra.

The Müläcära of Vaûûakera, the Aÿûapähuâa, the Niyamasära and the Samayasära of Kundakunda, the Tattvärthasütra of Umäsväti, the Sarvärthasiddhi and the Daáabhakti of Püjyapäda, the Kärtikeyänuprekÿä of Svämi Kärtikeya, the Ratnakaraîâa Árävakäcära and the Yuktyanuáäsana of Samantabhadra, the Tiloyapaîîati of Yati Vôÿabha, the Trilokasära of Nemicandra, the Parmätmaprakäáa of Yogindu, the Gommaûasära of Nemicandra, Pariáiÿûaparvan of Hemacandra and the Vicäraáreîï of Merutuõga have been utilised in one way or the other for this work.

(iv) Supplementary Works

 The supplementary works may be placed under two heads: (i) the Buddhist and (ii) the Brähmanical.

(a) Buddhist Works

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 Piûaka and Sutta Piûaka are important.

The Mahävagga and the Cullavagga of the Vinayapiûaka are noteworthy. The Mahävagga is mainly concerned with the formation of the Saãgha 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 Saãghas which were modelled on Saãgha or Gaîa 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 dwelling-house.

The Sutta Piûaka comprises of the following five collections called Nikäyas: (1) Dïgha, (2) Majjhima, (3) Saãyutta, (4) Aõguttara, and (5) Khuddaka. In the Dïgha, Majjhima and Aõguttara, there are references to Nigaîûha Nätaputta, 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 Mahävïra. This also leads us to believe that in the days of Buddha, Mahävïra was considered to be an important personality and Jainism a strong living religion.

The Brahmajälasutta of the Dïghanikäya is important for the history, not only of Buddhism but of the entire religious life and thought of ancient India. The Sämaññaphala 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 Mahäpariîibbäîa Sutta, it is known that in reply to Varÿäkära, the Chancellor of Magadha, Buddha indicated the seven points of excellence of the Vajjïs which may be regarded as the directive principles of State policy. In the Mahäsudassana Sutta of the Dïgha Nikäya, there is a description of the palace of King Mahä-sudassana.

The Majjhima Nikäya 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 Aõguttara Nikäya gives a list of the sixteen States existing during the time of Buddha.

The Theragäthä and Therïgäthä 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 Jätakas, which form a part of the Khuddaka Nikäya of the Sutta-Piûaka, are generally concerned with the day-to-day life of the people. Some of the Jätakas 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 Licchavïs, 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 Kärÿäpaîas. The Mahä Ummaga Jätaka5 gives a vivid account of the palace of the Mahä 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 Mahä-Ummaga palace.

(b) Brähmanical Works

Since the Dharma Sütras and the Gôhya Sütras 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 Upaniÿads. 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. Baudhäyana in his Dharma Sütra mentions such States as Sauräÿûra, Avanti, Magadha, Aõga, Puîâra and Vaõga. The Dharma Sütras also describe the four Varîas and different castes along with their duties and privileges. They discuss the four Äáramas (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 Sütras, we also find references to icons. The Gôihya Sütras are concerned mainly with domestic rituals.

The Aÿûädhyäyï of Päîini has been used because it supplies valuable political and cultural data of this age. He mentions both classes of States, viz., the republics (Saãgha or Gaîa) 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 Puräîas form an important source of information for the history of Mahävïra’s time. The fifth and the last section known as Vaãáänucarita of some Puräîas gives an account of the kings of the ruling dynasties. The names of some of these kings ruling over Magadha, Avanti, Käáï, Koáala 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 Räjagôha, Väräîasï, Mathurä, Árävastï, Ujjain and Hastinäpura 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 Stüpas along with some other antiquities are known from their archaeological remains discovered at a village, Lauria Nandangarh, in Champäran District of Bihär and Piprähwa (District Basti) at the Nepäl border. Wood, mud and mud-bricks were widely used during this period. Small hearths of bamboo and reed have been discovered at Chandraketugarh and Mathurä. Structures made of mud and mud-bricks are found at Nägdä, Atranjikhera, Hastinäpura, Mathurä, and Rajaghät. Burnt bricks were used probably for building places of public utility, and their remains have been discovered at Rupar, Hastinäpura, and Ujjain. The historic Jaräsandha kï Baiûhaka built during this period at Räjagôha is of stones. Some of the paintings preserved in the rockshelters dicovered near Pachmärhi, Mirzäpur, and Mänikpur may also belong to this period.

No sculptures but the terracottas of this period have been discovered at certain places, such as Hastinäpura, Mathurä, Ahichchhaträ, Rajaghät near Väräîasï, Árävastï 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 stamps.

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, Nägda, 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 Kärÿäpaîas, 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 mäÿakas. 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 taurines.

Thus with the help of these different sources, an attempt has been made to give a correct picture of Tïrthaõkara Mahävïra 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-Mahävïra 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 :- Jaina 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 Prakôit, Sanskôit, Telugü, Tämil, Maräûhï and Hindi. Brähmï, Nägarï, Kannaâa and Tamil, scripts were used for writing these incriptions.

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, suvarîas (dïnäras) and income from taxes to the religious establishments. There are inscriptions mentioning the Sallekhanä of monks, nuns, Árävakas and Árävikäs. 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 Brähmanical kings patronized Jainism, and some of them even accepted it.

These inscriptions are valuable for reconstructing the history of Jaina SaãghasGaîas and Gachchhas. We know about the lineage of the Jaina Äcäryas. Mülasaãgha and Käÿûhäsaãgha are important among the Digambaras, while Tapägacchas and the Kharataragaccha among the Ávetämbaras. A large number of Jaina inscriptions of the 15th and 16th centuries mention the Ávetämbara Gacchas. Sometimes, these inscriptions correct the names and time of the Äcäryas mentioned in the Paûûävalïs.

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 Ávetämbaras, Osaväla, Árïmälï and Prägväûa castes were well known while among the Digambaras, Khaîâelaväla and Bagheraväla castes were famous. These castes are known to be associated with particular Saãgha, Gaîa 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 literature.

Some inscriptions are of special importance for the history of Jainism. The existence of Jainism in the region of Tamiladeáa is attested by the existence of lithic records of the third century B.C. found here.6 The Häthïgumphä inscription of Khäravela7 dated second or first century B.C. may be regarded as the Khäravela caritra becasuse it gives information about the events of his life. This inscription starts with the invocation (Maõgalä caraîa‘Namo Arhantänam and Namo-Sava-Siddhäîam’ Such a great Jaina ruler like Khäravela is not known from any other source except this inscription. Hence, this inscription is of great importance.

The Pabhosa inscriptions of the second century B.C. record their dedication by Aÿäâhasena from Ahichchhatra for the use of Kaáyapïya Arhats. The Jaina monks enjoyed royal patronage during the Áuõga period.8 A short Brähmï inscription9 of the first century B.C. found in a cave near Pale in Poonä District proves the existence of Jainism in Mahäräÿtra during the first century B.C. The importance of the record lies in the expression ‘Namo-arahaãtänaã’ which commences the writing. The Jaina inscriptions of the Kuÿäîa period of Mathurä mentioning the names of Gaîas, Kulas and Áäkhäs confirm such names found in the Sthavirävalï of the Kalpasütra and also inform about the great prosperity of this region.

The name ‘Samprativihära’ found inscribed on a pottery piece at Vaââhaväîa (Vardhamäna) in the Krishna valley proves the historicity of the Mauryan ruler Samprati.10 Some inscriptions of Áravaîabelagola 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 Bhadrabähu and their migration to Áravaîabelagola.11

The Jünagarh inscription12 of the grandson of Jayadämana belonging to the second century A.D. makes a mention of men who had attained perfect knowledge (Kevalajñäna) 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 Samädhimaraîa of the Digambara Jain saint Dharasena, the original author of the Digambara canon, who according to the tradition, resided at Candraguhä of Girnar whence the inscription was discovered.

From the inscriptions14 of the fourth or fifth century A.D. engraved on the three stone Jaina images of the Tïrthaõkaras, it is clear that they were made by Mahäräjädhiräja Rämagupta at the preaching of Chelukáamaîa, son of Gokyäntï, and a pupil of Äcärya Sarppasena Kshamaîa, who was the grand pupil of the Jaina teacher Kshamäcärya. It seems that Rämagupta, a local ruler of Vididiáä 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, Bangalädeáa is interesting as it records an endowment for the worship of Arhats to a Vihära in Vaûagohälï which was presided over by the disciples of Nirgrantha preceptor Guhanandin, belonging to the Paõcaÿtüpanikäya. This grant records that a Brähmaîa and his wife donated three dinäras 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 Tïrtha. It refers to a Jaina devotee called Vadäka who was the son of Singhadeva.

In the temple of Vasantagadh in Sirohi District, a pair of brass images of Ôÿabhadeva has been found underground on which is incised an inscription17 of 687 A.D. This inscription mentions that one Droîokara Yaáodeva had the Jaina image built by the acrhitect Áivanäga. This is the earliest archaeological evidence for the existence of Jainism in Rajasthan.

From the Aihole inscription dated 634 A.D., written by Ravikïrti, it is known that with the generous support of his patron Pulakeáin II of Badämi, Ravikïrti founded a Jaina shrine. The poet Ravikïrti 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 Arhadäcärya Näsicandra. 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 Udyotakeáarï of the Keáarï dynasty. These inscriptions prove that Jainism continued to survive in Orissa up to the tenth century A.D. Afterwards, it gradually almost disappeared.

The Bahuriband stone inscription21 of Gayäkarîa records that one Mahäbhoja, son of Sädhu Sarvadhara, erected a temple of Áäntinätha. The image of Áäntinätha was consecrated by the Äcärya Subhadra who belonged to the line of Deáïgaîa in the Ämnäya of Candrakara Äcärya. From the Dubkunda stone inscription22, it is known that encouraged by the teaching of the Jaina monk Vijayakïrti of the Läûavägaâa Gaîa, some Jaina Árävakas constructed a Jaina temple, and the Kachchhapaghäûa ruler Mahäräjädhiräja 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 Pôthvïräja-II gave the village Moräjharï to the temple of Pärávanätha, and Someávara endowed it with a village named Reväîä 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 Bagherä, Ûoâäraisingh, Naraiîä, Mäîâalgarh and Ajmer by the ancestors of Loläka. The author of this inscription was Guîabhadra, a Mahämuni of the Mäthura Saãgha, and he was very learned as is known from the inscription.

The Näâol inscription24 records that Mahäräja Älhaîadeva, on the Áivarätri 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 MahäjanasTambulikas 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 kingdom.

The Áiva shrine of Hanumäna 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 Paîâita Niÿkalankasena, the brother of Akalankasena in praise of Candraprabha Jina. Of some pontiffs whose names are given – Amritasena, Samyamasenasüri, Brahmasena and Yogasena, the last pontiff is described as one whose feet were worshipped by the Turushkas.

The royal judgement in the form of inscription26 by king Bukka Räya 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 persecution.

The inscription27 of V.S. 1548 engraved on numerous Jaina images throughout India records that they were installed by Jïvaräja Päpaâïväla through the Bhaûûäraka Jinacandra during the reign of king Sheo Siãgh of Munâäsä. It seems doubtful that so many images were installed by a Árävaka 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 any significance.

From the inscription28 by Hemavijaya dated 1593 A.D. in the Ädinätha temple of Áatruñjaya hill, it appears that Hïravijaya persuaded the Emperor Akbar in 1592 A.D. to issue an edict forbidding the slaughter of animals for six months and abolishing the Jizyä tax.

The Chändakheâï inscription29 dated 1689 A.D. records that during the reign of Aurangzeb when his Sämanta Kishorasiãha Chauhäna was ruling over Kotah, Kôÿîadäsa, a very rich merchant of the Bagheraväla caste and Chief Minister, constructed a Jaina temple of Mahävïra 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 Säraiyä and Jïvaräja of the Mahäjana community during the reign of Mahärävala Pôithvïsiãha.


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 stüpas, monasteries, caves, temples, Mänastambhas 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 Tolkäppiyam, Kural, Maîimekhali and Áilappadikäram which belong to the so-called Saõghama Age (500 B.C.-500 A.D.). The author of Tolkäppiyam and Áilappadikärm was himself a Jaina, and Valluvar, the author of Kural, was himself a follower of Jainism, The author of Maîimekhälai and the author of Näladiyar were both Jainas. The Kural contains wonderful references to Jainism.

From the Paumacariyam of Vimalasüri composed about 530 years after the Nirväîa of Mahävïra, it is known that the Jaina religion was introduced in Mathurä by seven saints. There was a temple of Munisuvratasvämï at Säketa. Jaina saints preached both at Säketa and Mathurä.

The Padmapuräîa of Raviÿeîa (676 A.D.), Harivaãáapuräna of Jinasena (783 A.D.) and Uttarapuräîa of Guîabhadra (898 A.D.) contain legendary accounts of the Jaina Tïrthaõkaras, but still these are useful for the history of Jainism.

The Tiloyapaîîati of Yativôÿabha (150-180 A.D.) incidentally gives much information on Jaina doctrine, Puräîic traditions about the Tïrthaõkaras and other heroes, and about geography and  political history of ancient India.

Áivärya is the author of the Ärädhanä, also called Mülärädhanä or Bhagavatïärädhanä which is an important work dealing with the conduct of Jaina ascetics. It is believed to have been the ultimate source of the Jaina Kathäkoáa literature which is represented by the Kathäkoáas of Hariÿeîa (931 A.D.), Prabhäcandra (980 A.D.), Árïcandra (1066 A.D.), Brahma, Nemidatta, Rämacandra etc. These works incidentally throw light on the history of Jainism. That Árävasti became a famous centre of Digambra religion is evident from the Brihat-Kathä-Koáa of Hariÿeîa. It also mentions the migration of the great Árutakevalin, Bhadrabähu and his disciple, the Mauryan Emperor Candragupta owing to famine in North. Ratnanandi’s Bhadrabähu Caritra of about 1450 A.D., the Kannaâa works Munivaãáabhyudaya of C. 1680 by Cidänanda and Räjavaï Kathä by Devacandra also mention this incident of famine. From the Kälakäcärya Kathänaka, written in 1308 A.D., it is known that Kälakäcarya lived and propagated Jainism in Avanti in the first century B.C.

(II) LITERARY WORKS : Haribhadra Süri throws some light on the conditions of Jainism in his work Samaraiccakahä. The Kuvalayamälä composed in 778 A.D. by Uddyotanasüri informs about Jainism in Jälor and the neighbouring regions. It is also known that Toramäîa was the disciple of Harigupta. From the Yaáastilakacampü of Somadeva, it is known that Jainism was known in Bengal during the ninth century A.D. The Jamüdïvapaîîatti of Padmanandi written in about the tenth century A.D. at Bara in Kotah District indirectly throws light on the history of Jainism.

The Jineávarasüri-Saãyamaárï-Viväha-Varîana-räsa31 of Somamürti, written in 1275 A.D. is specially related to Kheâa. The Praväsagïtikätraya32 of Jayänanda written in 1307 A.D. informs about Jaina temples and families at Giripura. The Kïrtiratnasüri-vivähalä and the Kïrtiratnasüri-Caupäï of Kalyäîacandra composed in V.S. 1525 yield valuable information about Mehavä (Nagara) regarding temples, people and religious activities during the fifteenth century A.D.33. The Guruguîaratnäkara Kävya34 of Somacandra Gaîi written in V.S. 1541 and the Upadeáataraõgiîï of Ratnamandira Gaîi are specially concerned with the activities of Jainism at Giripura and Müngathalä. From the Pärávanätha Áravaîa-Sattävisï 35 of Ûhakkurasï, who lived in the sixteenth century A.D. at Chaksu, it is known that Ibrähima Lodï attacked Ranathambhor which was ruled at this time by Räîä Sängä.

The Läûïsaãhitä (1575 A.D.) of Päîâe Rajamalla, the Jambüsvämï Caritra (1585 A.D.) of Päîâe Jinadäsa, the Árïpäla-Carita (1594 A.D.) of poet Parimala and the Añjanäsundarïräsa (1604 A.D.) of Vidyä Harÿa Süri inform that Akbar held Jainism in high esteem. From the Jamlüsvämï Caritra, it is also known that Säha Toâara renovated the Tïrtha of Mathurä by constructing 514 stüpas. From the Yaáodhara Caritra written in V.S. 1659 by Bhaûûäraka Jñänakïrti, it is known that Säha Nañu, Prime-Minister of Mänasiãha of Ämber got built twenty Jaina temples36 of twenty Tïrthäõkaras at Sammedaáikhara. The Ardhakathänaka (1641 A.D.) of Banärsïâäsa is important from the Jaina historical point of view. He also led pilgrimage of the people to holy places.37

(III) HISTORICAL WORKS : There are some ancient historical writings from which we may draw certain conclusions after their critical examination. The Dvyäáraya and the Triÿaÿûiáalkäpuruÿa-caritra of Hemacandra Süri are useful for the history of Jainism under the Cälukyas. The Prabhävaka Caritra of Prabhäcandra Süri written in V.S. 1361, the Purätanaprabhandha Saãgraha of Räjaáekhara written in V.S. 1405 and the Prabandha Cintämaîi of Merutuõga written in 1306 A.D. contain numerous interesting anecdotes about several Jaina monarchs and saints. The Vastupäla caritra written in the 15th century by Jinaharÿa and Vimalacaritra written by Lävaîyasamaya in V.S. 1568 are useful for the history of the faith during this period. The Cämuîâaräya Puräîa written in the Kannaâa language gives information about the life of Cämuîâaräya. The Karmacandra Vaãáota Kïrtana Kävyam of Jayasoma of the 17th century supplies us a mine of information about the life of Karmacandra and the condition of Jainism in Bikaner state.

The Daráanasära of Devasena written in V.S. 909 throws a great deal of light on the origin of the Saãghas in the Digambara Saãgha. The Upakeáacaritra written in V.S. 1393 is useful for Jaina history. From the Upakeáa gachchha Prabandha, it is known that the Muslim army of Muhammad Ghori, while passing, destroyed Osia in 1195 A.D. The Yugapradhänäcärya Guruävali of Jinapäla Upädhyaya written in V.S. 1305 is a reliable source of history about the lives of the Jaina saints. According to the Näbhinandanoddhära Prabandha, Emperor Gayäsuddïn was much pleased with Samaraáäha and highly honoured him.

(IV) TÏRTHA MÄLÄS : The Tïrthamäläs 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 Tïrthamälas 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 Tïrthas, their importance and the description of temples and images. Some of their accounts being based on legends are not reliable.

The Präkôta Nirväîakäîâa of Kundakunda and Sanskôta Nirväîa Bhakti of Püjyapäda give information about the ancient Jaina Tïrthas. As Äáädhara mentions these two works, these belong to the earlier period than the 13th century A.D. Dhanapäla in his poem Satyapurïya MahävïraUtsäha refers to holy places which were in existence in the tenth century A.D.38 The Sakalatïrthastavana39 by Siddhaôÿi (of the 12th century A.D.) is very important because it contains a list of holy places. The Vividhatïrthakalpa40 of Jinaprabhasüri is important both from the literary and historical points of view. It gives a brief history of the holy places. Madanakïrti, author of the 13th century A.D., in his work ‘Áäsanacatustriãáatikä describes the Jaina holy places. He informs how the invasion of Iltumish brought destruction to the holy place of Abhinandana of Mäõgalapura in Mälavadeáa.

Vinayaprabhasüri, an author of the fourteenth century A.D., makes a mention of holy places, and describes their main temples. Saubhägyavijaya and Áilavijaya (1689 A.D.) wrote the Tïrthamäläs which are important. A description of some Tïrthas is given in the Upadeáa-Saptati written in V.S. 1503 by Somadharma. Bhaûûäraka Guîakïrti mentions holy places in the Tïrthavandanä-Saãgraha while Bhaûûäraka Árutasägara refers to them in the Bodha-Präbhôta. Jñänasägara in the Sarvatïrtha-vandanä mentions fifty-two Saãghapatis who performed the installation ceremony of several images. Áäntikuáala in his Árï Gaudï Päráva Tïrthamäla written in 1670 A.D. refers to Merta as a holy place of the Jainas. In V.S. 1741 Bhaiyä Läla has written the Nirväîakänâa in Hindi giving the list of holy places.

The Tïrthamäläs and the Stavanas were written about Jiraväla, Nägdä, Phalodhï, Nakoâä Pärávanätha, Nagara, Räûä-Mahävïra, Hathunâï, Maâähaâa, Rävaîa Pärávanätha Alwar, Candrävatï, Mäîâu etc. Bhaûûäraka Padmanandi, pupil of Prabhäcandra, wrote the Jïrävalï Pärávanätha Stotra in the fifteenth century.

In the medieval times, even the Caitya Paripäûïs, 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 Maîâapäcala Caitya Paripäûï mentions that there were twenty-two temples containing about 562 Jaina images, Among the Caitya Paripäûïs. Jälora Caitya-Paripäûï of Nägaôÿi, Jaisalamera Caitya Paripätï of Jinakuáalasüri, Citraküta-paripätï of Jayahemasï, Nägaura Caitya Paripäûï and Meâataväla Caitya-paripäûï are noteworthy.

(V) PRAÁASTIS : The Praáastis, 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 Praáastis 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 Praáastis enlighten us about facts, not known to us from any other source.

From the Praáastis of the Upadeáamälä vôtti of Vijayasiãhasüri (V.S. 1191), and the Munisuvrata-caritra (V.S. 1193) of Candrasüri, it is known that Pôithvïräja-I put golden cupolas on the Jaina temples of Raîthambhor.41 From a Praáasti of the Dharmämôtaûïkä of Äáädhara, it is known that he left Mäîâalgaâha for Dhäränagarï because of the invasion of Muhammad Ghori.42 The Praáasti of Jinadatta carita written in V.S. 1275 (1218 A.D.) reveals that at the time of Muslim invasions, the poet Lakshmaîa left Tribhuvanagiri (Tahan garh) for Bilrampur.43 From Nemi Jina Carita of the poet Dämodara written in V.S. 1287 at Salakÿaîapura during the reign of the Paramära ruler Devapäla, it is known that he left Gurjaradeáa (Rajasthana) and settled in Mälavadeáa.44 That the Jainas were happy and prosperous in Mäîâu during the reign of Ghiyath Shah is borne out from the praises that have been lavished in the Praáasti of the Kalpasütra transcribed in 1198 A.D.45 The Aÿûälakÿapraáasti of Samayasundara tells us that Jinabhadrasüri founded Jaina Bhaîâäras at Jaisalmer, Jalor, Nagaur etc.46

From a Bähubali Carita Praáasti written in 1397 A.D. by Droîapäla, it is known that Prabhäcandra defeated his opponents in debate and pleased Muhammad Bin Tughlaq.47 From a Praáasti of the work Puruÿärthanuáasana written by the poet Govinda, it is known that one of his ancestors named Amarasiãha was the officer of the emperor Muhammad, and earned name and fame.48 From a Paráasti of the Holireîukä carita written in 1551 A.D., it is known that Haripati and Rekha were devotees of Padmävatï 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 Praáasti of the Yaáodhara carita dated V.S. 1659 of Bhaûûäraka Jñañakïrti, it is known that Nänu, Minister of King Mänasiãha of Amber, built twenty temples of the twenty Jaina Tïrthaõkaras at Sammeda Áikhara.50

Several copies of the Manuscripts were written, and their Praáastis are helpful for reconstructing the history of Jainism. From a Praáasti of the Ätmaprabhodhana written in V.S. 1547, it is known that the old name Áripathä of Bayänä was retained up to the 15th century A.D.51 From the Praáasti of the Bôhat-Siddha Cakrapüjä, it is known that the poet wrote it in Rähetasapura in V.S. 1584 during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Babar.52 The poet Mahindu wrote the Áantinätha carita at the inspiration of Agrawal Sädhäraîa in Yoginïpura in V.S. 1587 during the reign of the Mughal emperor Babar.53

(VI) PAÛÛÄVALÏS : The important Paûûävalïs are the Kharataragaccha Paûûävalï, Tapägachccha Paûûävalï, Upakeáagacchha Paûûavali, Mülasaãgha Paûûävalï etc. They contain description of the incidents from the lives of the various saints who lived in different periods. The Kharataragaccha Paûûävalï refers to the visit of Jaina Äcäryas 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 Árävakas organised pilgrimages to holy places. This Paûûävali sometimes mentions unknown rulers and also corrects the wrong dates of some rulers from the late chronicles. The Upakeáagaccha-Paûûävali and the Koranûagaccha Paûûävalï are specially concerned with the towns of Osia and Korûä respectively. According to the Digambara Jaina Paûûävalï, Vikramädiya was devoted to the religion of the Jina, and then reached heaven.54 The Mülasaãgha-Paûûävalï55 informs about the activities of the Äcäryas at Cittor, Ajmer, Bagherä, Chäksu, Nägaur, Ämber etc. The Bhaûûäraka-Paûûävalï of Kÿemendrakïrti gives an account of his life and his movements from one place to another between V.S. 1697 and V.S. 1757.56

(VII) VAÃÁÄVALÏS : Some Vaãáävalis of the castes are helpful for the history of Jainism. They give information about the origin of their respective castes and gotras. The Osaväla-Vaãáävalïs from the sixteenth century to the eighteenth century A.D. are in the collection of AGARCHAND NÄHATA of Bikaner. A rich collection of Vaãáävalïs was in the possession of GYAN SUNDAR. These Vaãáävalïs 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 Saãghas 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 Mäladeva with the help of Tejä Gaddhaiyä is known from the Vaãáävalï.57 The Chauräsï Jaina Jäti Jayamäla of Brahma Jinadäsa of the 15th century and the Buddhiviläsa Áäha Bakhta Räma mentions eighty-four castes. This mention is useful for the history of Jaina castes .

(3) 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 Käpiáï, Siãhapura, Räjagôha, Puîâravardhana and Samataûa.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 A.D.60

  1.       SBE, XXII, p. 266.
  2.       Ibid, XLV, p. xxxviii.
  3.       SBE, XLV, p. 339.
  4.       Ibid, p. xxxix.
  5.       Mahä Ummaga Jä, VI, 432.
  6.       U.P. SNAH and M.A. DHAKY Ed. Aspects of Jaina Art and Architecture, p. 215.
  7.       E I, XX, pp. 71-78.
  8.       Ibid II, pp. 240-244.
  9.       Ibid, XXXVIII, pp. 167-168.
  10.       Arhant 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. 112-113.
  14.       Journal of the Oriental Institute, Baroda, XVIII, p. 247.
  15.       E I, XX, pp. 59-61.
  16.       JSLS, IV, No. 5.
  17.       APJLS, No. 365.
  18.       E I, VI, p. 7.
  19.       Ibid, XXIX, pp. 38 f f.
  20.       Ibid, XIII, pp. 165 f f.
  21.       CI I, IV, Pt. I, No. 59.
  22.       E I, II, pp. 232-240.
  23.       Ibid, XXVI, p. 108.
  24.       E I, XI, p. 43.
  25.       I, Ar.- A. Review, 1970-71, p. 52.
  26.       JSLS, No. 136 (344)
  27.       Jainism in Rajasthan, p. 78 f n. 8.
  28.       E I, II, p. 59 No. XIII.
  29.       Jainism in Räjasthan, p. 36.
  30.       ARRMA, 1934-35, No. 17.
  31.       JSP, XVIII, p. 187.
  32.       Ibid, III, p. 259.
  33.       JSP, XX, p. 73.
  34.       Árï Mahäravala Rajata Jayanti Abhinandana Grantha, p. 398.
  35.       Guûakä No. 404 in the Jaina Áästra Bhaîâära of Ajmer.
  36.       JUPJ, p. 22-24.
  37.       Ibid, pp. 22-23.
  38.       JSS, III.
  39.       GOS, LXXVI, p. 156.
  40.       JSP, XVII, p. 15.
  41.       GOS, LXXVI, pp. 312 and 316.
  42.       JSAI, p. 344.
  43.       AK, VIII, p. 400.
  44.       PJPI, II, p. 194.
  45.       UPENDRANATH DEY : Medieval Malwa, pp. 422-428.
  46.       JSP, XVI, p. 16.
  47.       JGPS, II, p. 19.
  48.       Ibid, II.
  49.       Ibid, I, No. 45.
  50.       Ibid, No. 171, p. 112.
  51.       See a copy of this manuscript in the Áästrabhaîâära at Bayana.
  52.       JGPS, I, p. 64.
  53.       Ibid, II, No. 87, PJPI, pp. 525-526.
  54.       I A, XX, p. 347.
  55.       PR, 1883-84. See also IA, XX, and XXI.
  56.       Manuscript No. 430 in the Sambhavanätha temple, Udaipur.
  57.       Anekänta, 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. 504.