Jainism is an ancient religion, a well organised religious and cultural system, purely indigenous to India. The main mission of Jainism is "Ahimsa paramo dharma" and "Live and let live" even the minutest being by not hurting physically and mentally. Every living being has the right to live its life. This is the only religion which gives prime importance to Non-violence , saying ‘Non-violence is the greatest virtue’ which is the home of all great virtues professed by all religions in the world.
             Many eminent historians and philosophers wrote about the antiquity of this religion.
           Maj Gen. J.G.R.Furlong : "Instead of Jainism being, as was formerly supposed, an offshoot of Buddhism, it is known to extend as far back as 3000 B.C. It is found flourishing alongside the nature-worship of the nude tribes in northern India."
             Prof. M.S. Ramaswami Ayengar : "With, however, our present knowledge of the Jains and their sacred literature, it is not difficult to prove that Jainism, far from being and offshoot of Budhism or Brahminism, was one of the earliest home religions of India."
             Dr Hermann Jacobi : "Jainism was related to the primitive philosophy of India, because of certain of its metaphysical conceptions, animistic belief, hero-worship in the form of worship as deities of perfected mortals, and of its being a very simple faith, be it in worship, rituals or morals. It has also been described as a very original, independent and systematic coctrine, of which , the realistic and rationalistic tone does not fail to attract notice of even a casual observer."
             S.N. Gokhale: " Ahimsa is the keynote of Jainism, a philosophy which comes from pre-Aryan days."
              It represents Shramana school of thought of Indian culture, which was, in its origin, non-Vedic and probably non-Aryan and even pre-Aryan, as quoted by Dr Jyoti Prasad Jain.
             There is a misconception that Mahavir tirthankar was the founder of Jainism. In the line of 24 tirthankaras, Mahavir was the 24th and the last one, the first being Rishabha, who was also known as Adinath.
             Parshwanath was the 23rd tirthankara (877 B.C. to 777 B.C.). 22nd tirthankara Aristanemi was contemporary of Shri Krishna of Mahabharat, in 15th century B.C. Munisuvrata , 20th tirthankara was contemporary of Shri Rama of Ramayana. The first tirthankara Rishabha lived prior to Vedic period who attained Nirvana at Kailasa Parvat in Himalayas. It is also quoted that Lord Shiva and Rishabha might be same, since they have many similarities. Bahubali and Bharat were his sons as Kumar and Ganapati are Shiva’s sons. Both were ascetics and lived in Himalayas. Nandi or Rishabha was the vehicle of Shiva. Vedic scriptures quote the name of Rishabha in reverence. Tirthankara means the one who has r seeded (ankur) the religion(tirtha) which already existed. He is not a founder, but only a preacher. It means Jainism dates back into time immemorial. Because of strictness in the observance of its principles, it could not spread widely in the world like other religions. Jain population in India is four million now.
              Mahavir born on 30th March, 599 B.C., was a senior contemporary of Buddha (6th century of BC) and he attained Nirvana in 527 B.C. on Deepavali day.
              Jainism is the most ancient and one of the great religions in the world. Unlike many other indigenous religious sects, Jainism has succeeded in preserving down to the present time its integrity as a separate entity in world in the midst of preponderant Hinduism. It is a complete system with all the necessary branches, such as dogma or ontology, metaphysics, philosophy, epistemology, cosmology, mythology, ethics, ritual and the rest, and it is divided into several sects and subsects indicative of a long process of development. It has its own deities, gurus, and scriptures, its own temples, places of worship and pilgrimage, and its own festivals and fairs. Besides by devotees, it possess well organised monastic orders, comprising both male and female ascetics.

 writen by Mohanchand Patil Solaris Ind Karwar

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