Jun 14, 2008

jainism in south India history & its cruel conversion to Hinduism

By Unknown

Jainism has always held a predominant position in Karnataka.The history of South India is the history of Jains, Jainism and Jain dynasties. The Gangs, Kalabhras, Chalukyas, Rashtrakuts, Kadambs, Kalchuries, Hoysalas, Shilahars, all the great dynasties were followers and patrons of Jainism.

Kalabhras attacked and defeated Tamil Kings who were persecuting JainsKumarpal king (solankhee ) ( from Chalukyas dynasty ),was disciple of Jain Acharya Hemchandra. He became a king by defeating his enemies under guidance of the Jain Acharya.

Bijjal was a Jain king of Kalchuri clan in Northen Karnatak. Basaveshwar, his Bramhin commander in chief killed Bijjal and tried to become a king. There was civil war between Jains and Veershaivs. Jains caught Basaveshwar in a narrow street, but he escaped and suicided by jumping in a well.

Asatkhan, Commander of Badshah of Bijapur had destroyed many Jain temples and converted some to masjids in North Karnatak. As a result Asatkhan was killed by a young Jain.
The Kerala jain Story: by Dr. Zacharias Thundy, Northern Michigan University
Prince Ilango Adigal, the author of Shilappadikaram, is a Jain. The Jains came to Kerala with the rest of the Chera immigrants starting in the sixth century. The only evidence of their presence in Kerala is the incontro-vertible fact that some Hindu temples of today were originally Jain temples.

In Matilakam was a famous Jain temple which Hindus shunned as late as the fourteenth century according to Kokasandesam, though at present it is a Hindu temple. Today, the presiding deity of Kudalmanikkam Temple near Irinjalakuda is Bharata, the brother of Rama; originally it was Bharateswara, the digambara Jain saint. Kallil, near Perumbavur, has a rock-cut cave in which we can still see the images of Parswantha, Mahavira, and Padmavati; the local Hindus worship Bhagavati in this temple today. Several places in wynad have Jain temples -an indication that North Malabar was once a flourishing center of Jainism.

Historians believe that the decline of Jainism started about the eighth century during the Aryanization period of Kerala when Vaishnavism and Saivism were active and aggressive. Jainism seems to have completely disappeared from Kerala by the sixteenth century; the foreign visitors from Europe do not mention the Jains at all. One lasting contribution of Jainism to Kerala, according to wi'lliam Logan, is that the architecture of the Hindu temples and the Muslim mosques of North Malabar was influenced by the architecture of the Jain temples.

I may add here that there are some old Jain families in the Wynad-Kasargod area even today. also check : www.hindubooks.org/temples/kerala/Introduction/page4.htm

The Jain Legacy In KarnatakaJainism in Karnataka flourished under the Ganga, the Chalukya and Rashtrakuta dynasties. Jainism prospered like never before and what we see today is the exquisite creativity that flowered under these dynasties.In the course of time other kings followed Jainism, notably those of badami and Halebid. A time was there in written history that jainism was a karanataka whole states religion.

The first Kannada poet, Pampa, was a Jain himself. Poets Ranna, Ponna, Janna and Lakshmeesha, who all enriched Kannada literaturee, were Jains.

The Jain legacy in Karnataka can be traced back to a great event that occurred in 297 BC when Chadragupta, the founder of the Mauryan dynasty, abdicated his throne and came to Sravanbelagola in Karnataka to become a Jain ascetic at the instance of his mentor, Bhadrabahu. He breathed his last at this Jain centre and the place where he is said to have sought recluse is appropriately name Chandragiri. A basadi (Jain monastery or temple) at Sravanabelagola also carries his name. In a number of later records he is referred to as Pradbha Chandra Muni.
Soon thereafter the Jain church exhibited a steady growth and succeeded in firmly establishing itself as a vital and powerful force due to its doctrines and asceticism, morality and ahimsa (non-violence). With such lofty notions, Jainism enjoyed the highest repute among the people particularly the ruling classes and the mercantile community thus virtually becoming the state religion. Imbued with an intense religious feeling, lavish patronage was extended towards the building of basadis, temples and magnificent statues. An epoch of literary activities also ensued.
The earliest dated structure is a basadi at Halasi built under the Kadamba dynasty of Banavasi thus laying the foundation for Jain architecture in Karnataka. Besides the Kadambas, dynasties such as the Gangas, the Chalukyas and the Rashtrakutas made liberal endowments towards the propagation of art and architecture to which the Jain contributions have been of classical significance. The Chalukyas of Badami built cave temples at Badami and Aihole. Puligere was a strong centre of religious activities of the Jain monks during this era. Many Jain basadis erected by them are proof of their secular spirit in encouraging this religion. However, it was the reign of the Gangas of Talkad and the Rashtrakutas, that were very noteworthy in the annals of Jainism.
Jain architecture can be classified into two categories namely basadis and bettas. Basadi is a Jain monastery or temple where an image of one of the twenty-four tirthankaras (saints) is installed and worshipped and most of them are located in Sravanbelagola. They were built in the Dravidian style and the oldest basadi can be traced back to the 8th century AD. Betta is a hill with an open courtyard containing the image of Gommata or Gommateswara. These hills form a special feature of the native art and the most outstanding examples can be found at Sravanbelagola, Karkala, Venur and Mudabidri in south Kanara district. The image at Karkala is nearly 42 ft tall and was erected in 1432 AD, the details of which are described in the work Karkalada Gommateswara Charite by Chandrama. The statue at Venur was set up in 1609 AD and is 35 ft in height. Mudabidri, which is hailed as the Kashi of the South has eighteen basadis, the most important of them being the Tribhuvana Tilaka Choodamani Basadi. Completed in circa 1430 AD after about 50 years of painstaking craftsmanship, this basadi has one thousand exquisite carved pillars each embellished with different designs and with no two pillars alike. The sanctum possesses an image of Chandranatha which is more than seven feet in height and is made of five alloys. In addition, the temple has an invaluable collection of dazzling icons of Jinamurthis made out of translucent marble, raw emeralds and other semi precious stones which, when illuminated, create an ethereal effect. There is also an attractive Manasthamba, the free standing pillar, and a bronze Sahasrakoota Mantapa adorned with over 1000 images of Jinamurthis and 32 hanging lamps. Apart from the above, Lakkundi and Humcha have, over the centuries, been some of the important centres of Jains, in South India. Replicas of the statue of Gommata can also be found at Gommatagijri near Mysore and at Basti, Hosakote and Tipur near Mandya. Panchakuta Basadi in Nagamangala taluk of Mandya district has a group of seven shrines that are considered the oldest Jains monuments of the State.

However, the most magnificent among all Jaina works of art is the colossal rock cut statue of their saint Gommata at Sravanbelagola. It was built in circa 982 AD and is described as one of the mightiest achievements of ancient Karnataka in the realm of sculptural art. Also referred to as Lord Bahubali, the image is nude an stands upright in the posture of meditation known as kayotsarga, reaching a height of nearly 57 ft atop the Vindyagiri of Doddabetta hills accessible through a flight of 500 steps. The image of Gommata has curly hair in ringlets and long, large ears. His eyes are open as if viewing the world with detachment. His facial features are perfectly chiseled with a faint touch of a smile at the corner of his lips and embody calm vitality. His shoulders are broad, his arms stretch straight down and the figure has no support from the thigh upwards. There is an anthill in the background which signifies his incessant penance. From this anthill emerge a snake and a creeper which twine around both his legs and his arms culminating as a cluster of flowers and berries at the upper portion of the arms. The entire figure stands on an open lotus signifying the totality attained in installing this unique statue. Amazingly, inspite of being constantly exposed to weather elements, the image has remained as new as ever.
On either side of Gommata stand two tall and majestic chauri bearers in the service of the Lord. One of them is a yakshi and the other one is a yakshi. These richly ornamented and beautifully carved figures complement the main figure. Carved on the rear side of the anthill is also a trough for collecting water and other ritual ingredients used for the sacred bath of the image. Around the statue is an enclosure of a pillared hall where one can find 43 images of tirthankaras in different cloisters. There is also a figure of a woman called Gullikayajji sculpted with a good built and wearing exquisite ornamentation, typical of the sculptures of the Ganga period. The Akandabagilu or the massive door, carved out of a single rock with an elaborately carved Gajalakshmi in her typical posture flanked by two elephants, is another meritorious work of Jain craftsmanship. This also said to have been under the guidance and inspiration of Chaundaraya, the illustrious minister who served under the successive rulers of the Gangas namely Marasimha II, Rachamalla IV and Rachamalla V.

One of the largest temples in the area is the Chaundarya Basadi dedicated to Neminatha, the 22nd Tirthankara depicted under a seven hooded canopy and flanked by male chauri bearers. This temple is unique in its style. It belongs to the era of the western Gangas and is evolved out of the Chalukyan styles at Badami and Aihole. One the same hill can be seen the Chandraprabha Basadi dedicated to the 8th tirthankara by the same name. It is one of the oldest basadis on the hill and can be assigned to the early 9th century under the reign of Sivamara, a Ganga king.
While at Sravanbelagola one can also gain insights into Jaina mythology through some of the finest paintings depicted on the walls of the Sri Jains matha. Rich in colours and harmonious in composition, these paintings of the 18th century depict royal processions and festivities, monks, women in brightly coloured sarees, forest scenes of wild animals and other topics that shed light on the domestic, religious and social life of the people. Of particular significance is the durbar (court) scene of Krishnaraja Wodeyar indicating the warm relations that the Wodeyars of Mysore enjoyed with this holy pilgrimage.

Another concrete expression of the intensity of Jaina art is the sthambha, the free standing pillar in front of every basadi. Elegantly carved out of granite, these are classified as Brahmadeva Sthambha and Manasthambha. While the former portrays the figures of Brahmanical gods, the latter is depictive of Jaina faith. Manasthambha pillars can be found elsewhere in the country but the Brahmadeva pillars are restricted to the South, a fine specimen of which can be found in front of the gigantic statue of Gommata at Sravanbelagola. Extremely attractive is the Manasthambha at Mudabidri with a small shrine at the apex surrounded by four bells and topped with a gold finial. Such pillars at Karkala and Humcha are equally eye-catching. All these pillars, irrespective of their connotations, are exquisite pieces of art, elegance and decoration. Another pillar of immense interest is the Tyagada Brahmadevara Kamba at Sravanbelagola where Chaundaraya has inscribed his genealogy and his life time achievements. Only segments of the inscription are readable.

The achievements of Chaundaraya are indeed stupendous. Filled with visions of Jaina unity, he was instrumental in carving out the statue of Gommata, one of the engineering marvels of the world at Sravanbelagola. A great scholar, he was the author of Charitrasara in Sanskrit and Chaundaraya Purana or Trishahti Lakshana Mahapurana in Kannada prose thus setting the trend for celebrated works of literature by Jaina scholars. The period of the Gangas also witnessed literary activity in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Kannada. Notable among these are a translation of Gunadhya’s Vaddakatha from Prakrit to Sanskrit as well as a commentary on Kiratarjunaaya by Durvinitha, a learned Ganga king.

The literary zeal of the Jains continued well into the age of the Rashtrakutas, covering not only religion but also embracing many secular branches of learning including mathematics and astronomy. Giant literary figures like Pampa, Ponna and Ranna, thrived under the enlightened rule of the kings of this dynasty. Pamapa’s works included Vikramarjuna Vijaya also known as Pampa Bharata, giving a Jaina version of the Mahabharata Adipurana, narrating the story of Rishabadeva, the first tirthankara. Another Jain, Ranna, was the author of Sahasra-Bhima-Vijaya, describing the fight between Bhima and Duryodhana. Neminatha Purana, a history of the 22nd tirthankara, interprets the story of Krishna and the Pandavas the Jaina way. Ganithasarasangraha was a work on mathematics by Mahaveera, under the patronage of Amoghavarsha I. These are the names of but a few men of letters who adorned the court of the Rashtrakutas.

The fact that Jainism exerted considerable influence over the cultural life of Karnataka during the rule of the Rashtrakutas is borne by the fact that several basadis were erected for the further propagation of the religion in the State. Important among them is the Parsvanatha Basadi at Ron with its exquisitely carved grills depicting gandharvas in scroll work.
The vast inheritance of early and medieval Jaina architecture has been effectively carried into the modern world by Shri Veerendra Hegde by setting up a statue of Gommata at Dharmasthala near Mangalore. This statue is nearly 40ft high and has been carve by Ranjal Gopal Shenoy. To assert thee fact that Karnataka has been and continues to be the adobe of Jaina art and architecture.

Karnataka, in fact, is a treasure house of Jain manuscripts on subjects ranging from philosophy, grammer, vaastu, mathematics and religion. These manuscripts are in the form of paper and palm leaves in several temples and mutts in Bangalore. Some of them are in Halegannada (ancient Kannada) and many in Sanskrit. A national level exercise for surveying and documenting the manuscripts is already on.

Chandragupta, a Jain and founder of Mauryan Dynasty was the first emperor of India. He brought almost all of the south Asia under his control. He defeated many kings including .selucos Necoter, General of the great Alexander. Chandragupta became a Jain monk and took sallekhana at Shravanbelgola in Karnatak.

Ashok, the grandson of Chandragupt was also a Jain and the Emperor. He won many kings. I a war with Kaling, there was unbelievable violence killing hundred thousands of soldiers and people. It created a hate against war in the mind of Ashok. So he renounced Jainism and embraced Buddhism. Kunal, the son of Ashok and Samprati ( again he was a very big chakravarti than ashoka too), son of Kunal also were emperors and Jains, and had involved in wars. Later emperors of this dynasty embraced Buddhism. They were extremely non violent. As a result, last emperor of this dynasty Brahdrat was killed by his bramhin general Pushyamitra Shring. It was the end of Mourayans and rise of Shring dynasty. Shring dynasty was totally against Jains and Buddhists. So both the faith were declined in eastern India.

Mahameghvahan Kharvel was a very brave Jain emperor who rised in 2nd century B.C. in Kaling (Orissa). He was coroneted at the age of 24 and he defeated Satvahan kings of western India when he (Kharvel) was just 26. After two years, he attacked Ratthiks & Bhojaks of western India and defeated them. After two years he attacked powerful Magadh and then North India and then South India. Thus whole of India including present day Pakistan and Afghanistan became under his control.

Adishankaracharya, who had vowed to finish Jains and Buddhists and converted millions of Jains and Buddhists into Hinduism, converted many Jain temples all over India into Hindu temples and put Jain religious literature on fire was killed by two Jain monks, for helpless jain monks found that if they wont then surely he will fully wipe out jainism.

Jainism as per kerala ( http://www.keralaeverything.com/rel.htm )Though there is evidence of practice of Jainism in Kerala before the arrival of Aryans. History is silent about it. The Famous Jainmedu temple in Palakkad is the manifestation of Jainism in Kerala. Today few families of Jain community are found around Palakkad in Kerala.

As per kerala tourism officials :Jainism was one of the first to be introduced in Kerala. The Jains who settled in Kerala made little effort to convert the Dravidians residing there. They came looking for a place where they could find an atmosphere of peace and quiet so that they could indulge in their meditation. During the 8th century A.D. Jainism in Kerala started its decline, and many of the Jains were being converted into the Hindu religion.

Evidence of early Jainism Influence(http://goacentral.com/Goamonuments/early_buddhist_and_jain_influence_in_goa.htm)
Jainism is another ancient religion of India, similar to but older than Buddhism. Founded and popularized by Shree Mahavir Jain. Unlike Buddhism which has almost no followers in India today, Jainism has a very strong presence in India. Many of its present day followers can be identified by their last name 'Jain".

There are ruins of three Jain temples belonging to Vijayanagar period. The first Jain Basti of Neminath is from Bandivade of Ponda taluka. The other two Jain temples are located in Cudnem and Jainkot area of Narve and both these temples belong to the Vijayanagar period.

Ruins of the Neminath Jain Basti at BandivadeA stone inscription from Nagueshi exhibited in the Museum of Archaeological Survey of India refers to the reconstruction of this Jain Basti during Vijayanagar period in 14th century. The Neminath Basti of Bandivade is square shaped and built of laterite blocks with grilled windows. An arch is provided at the entrance. It is possible that a dome existed over the structure. Lime mortar has been found to have been used extensively as the binding material.

Ruins of the Cudnem Jain TempleThe "Garbagriha" as well as the "Mukha Mandapa" are constructed of laterite with Lime mortar being used as the the binding material. The entrance of garbagriha has an arch. The laterite blocks discovered in the excavation clearly indicate that there were arches in the "Mukha Mandapa". These arches were embellished with a laterite floral pendant at the center of the arch. One such floral pendant has been discovered in a recently conducted excavation. The presence of these arches strongly suggest that there was a overlying dome covering the temple. This "Mukha Mandapa" is 8 x 8.30 meters. There are four pillars in the center and four others on each side wall. The "Garbagriha" as well as the "Mukha Mandapa" stand on a 2meter high platform. The octagonal "Shikara" of the "Garbagriha" has five tiers. The lower most is half spherical with a rectangular small entrance for the "Garbagriha". This is the only medieval temple of Goa which has a "Nagara" (Indo-Aryan) architectural features.
The high platform and the tall Shikara give a sense of soaring height to the temple. The "Mukha Mandapa" has a gabled roof with tiles. A "Prakara" wall with a base of pillars has also been unearthed. This Jain temple is similar to the Saptakoteshwar temple of Narve and the Chandranath temple of Paroda. It is possible that this temple was the forerunner of these architecturally similar temples. The use of Lime mortar and the architectural features indicate that the temple belonged to Vijayanagar period. A broken stone head of a "Teerathankara" or a Jain saint, with beautifully sculpted curls was also found near the "Garbagriha". A stone torso of another Jain "Teerathankara" with a "Srivasta" symbol was also unearthed. Another find occurred while desilting a nearby well in the vicinity of the temple. At a depth of 5 meters, the right leg of a Statue was discovered. It appears that the broken head and the leg belonged to the same image. This image of a "Teerathankara" belongs to the Kadamba period. It however appears that Jains during the Kadamba period were not prosperous to begin with but in the subsequent Vijayanagar Period, they might have gained prosperity due to their active participation in mercantile activity.

Ruins of the Narve Jain TempleThe ruins today are called "Jainkot" and are located in the Village of Narve in Bicholim taluka. They lie very near the present temple of Saptakoteshwar . In front of the Saptakoteshwar temple, there is ancient pathway constructed of locally available laterite slabs which lead to the ruins of Jain temple. These consist of mainly door jams, ceiling canopy and lintels chlorite schist. The Jain temple was built of laterite. Lime mortar has also been noted to have been used extensively here also. In an inscription there is only a mention of the name "Sparsvanath" and along with the name of the month and day, corresponding to the English calendar date of March 13th, 1151 AD. During this period the Kadambas were in power and its ruler at that time was King Vijayaditya.

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