Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Spread and, Decline

Spread and, Decline Jainism .spread fu Kalinga infu fourth century ac. Kharavelapatroni5ed.if"inthe ,firs century AD. In.the' period between the Maoryas and 'tht G\lptas, Jainism can be traced from Orissa ih the eastt< Mathura in the west, but in .later times jt was'chief9 ~opcentrated .in tworegions-.-(i} Gttjarat ;and Rajasthan; where ;the Svetambara sect prevailed,. and, (ii) Mysore, where the. Digambaras were dominant. The Ganga vallJainism surviVed in India, whereas Buddhism perished, because the former sect took better care of its layfolk In Jainis1I\, the laym~ was a definite member of the order, encpuragedjto und~rtaJ...Li~ Buddhism, J~.Q1 encouraged the commercial virt,.res of honesty and frugality. The splendid Jaina temples att40unt Abu and SrclVanabelagola are. testimoni~s of the great wealth cind piety of medieval Jaina laymen.
Jainism had np special social doctrines. The,90mestic rites of tl1e laymen, such as. birth, 1I1ilrriilge and de~~ were those of the Hind lIS. At one time, Jainism IIu\intained a cult of stupas like Buddhism, but this has not surviyed, i¥1d in th~ early Christian centuries the Tirthankaras were adored in temples in the form of icons. By the Middle Ages, this worship approximated to that of the Hindus, with offerings of flowers, incense, lamps etc. As with Buddhism, the chief gods of the Hindus found their way into Jaina temples in subordinate positions, and though there was no real com­promise with theism, the sect easily fitted into the Hindu order, its members forming distinct castes.

Various factors were responsible for the decline of Jainism in India, The Jains took the concept of ahimsa too far. They advised that one should not take medicine when one fell sick because the medicine killed germs. They believed that there was life in trees and vegetables and so refrained from harming them. Such practices could not become popular with the common man. There was ~more­over no patronage from later kings. Bimbisara and Ajatasatru helped this religion in many ways but after them nocking of the later dynasties extended help in.. its spread. The observance of extreme penance and austerity could not find favour with the common people. The Jains did not make' any efforts to spread their religion. They remained peaceful and did not compel anyone to embrace their religion.

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