Apr 29, 2008

Jains of Kolhapur

From The Gazetteer of Kolhapur (Published 1885)

In the census of 1951 Jains are returned as numbering 58,124 (m. 30,006; f. 28,118) or 4.72 per cent, of the total population of the district, 39,033 (m 19,895; f. 19,138) in the rural area, and 19,091 (m. 10,111; f. 8,980) in the urban area. They are chiefly found in Kolhapur City and in Hatkanangale and Shirol sub-divisions.

History and Philosophy.
Jains take the name from being followers of the twenty-four Jainas (conquerors), the last two of whom were Parsvanatha and Mahavira who was also called Vardhamana. Parasnath or Parsvanatha, literally (though the conventional interpretation is different) the natha or lord who comes close or precedes the last Jina Vardhamana was, according to traditional sources, the son of king Asvasena by his wife Vama or Bama Devi of the race of Iksvaku. He was born at Banaras, was married to Prabhavati, the daughter of king Prasenaji (according to one tradition but remained celibate according to another), adopted an ascetic life at the age of thirty, and practised austerities for eighty days when he gained perfect wisdom. Once while engaged in devotion and meditation his enemy Kamatha caused a great rain to fall on him but he stood firm and undisturbed in all the troubles caused by Kamatha. The serpent Dharanidhara or the Niga king Dharana, however, shaded Parsvanatha's head with his hoods spread like an umbrella or chhatra, whence the place was called Ahichhatra or the snake-umbrella. Parsvanatha is said to have worn only one garment according to one tradition but practised nudity according to another. He had a number of followers of both sexes and died performing a fast at the age of 100 on the top of Sammet Shikhar in Nazaribagh in West Bengal. His death occurred 250 years before that of the last or twenty-fourth Jina Mahavira. Parsvanatha often gets the epithet in early literature ' a lovable or genial personality'. His pupils like Kesikumara lived at the time of Mahavira and had minor differences in dogmatic details though the basic religious ideology was fundamentally the same both for Parsva and Mahavira. In fact, the parents of Mahavira belonged to the fold of Parsva. Mahavira or Vardhamana, who was also of the Iksvaku race, was the son of Siddartha by Trisla and was born at Kundgrama or Kundapura, a suburb of Vaisali (modern Basarh) some 30 miles to the north of Patna in the district of Muzaffarpur. He is said to have married Yasoda and to have had by her a daughter named Priyadarsana who became the wife of Jamali, a nephew of Mahavira's and one of his pupils who founded a separate sect. But another tradition reports that he remained a celibate. Mahavira's father and mother died when he was twenty-eight and two years later he devoted himself to austerities which he continued for twelve and half years, nearly eleven of which were spent in different series fasts. As a Digambara or sky clad ascetic he went robeless and had no vessel but his nand. At last the bonds of Karma were snapped like an old rope and he gained Kevala or absolute knowledge or spiritual perfection and became an Arhat that is worthy or Jina that is conqueror. He went from place to place and taught his doctrine. Of several eminent Brahmanas who became converts and founded schools or ganas, the chief was Indrabhuti or Gautama who preached his doctrines at the cities of Kaushambi and Rajgriha. Mahavira attaintd Nirvana at the age of seventy-two at Pava in Bihar in B. C. 527 according to the well attested traditional chronology. The two royal clans, Mallaki and Licchavi, celebrated the occasion by a lamp-festival which is annually observed as Diwali even to this day.

The period in which Mahavira lived was undoubtedly an age of acute intellectual upheaval in the religious history of India; and among his contemporaries there were such religious teachers as Kesa Kamahalih, Makkhali Gosala, Pakudha Kac-cayana, Purana Kassapa and Tathagata Buddha. Like Buddha, Mahavira was not required to go from teacher to teacher but he accepted his hereditary creed of Parsva which was already well established and started preaching the same. Mahavira was connected with the royal families of Eastern India; his mode of living won respectful allegiance from high and low; and his metaphysics was based on common sense, realism and intellectual toleration. It is no wonder, therefore, that Mahavira left behind him not only a systematic religion and philosophy but also a well-knit social order of ascetics and lay followers who earnestly followed and practised what he and his immediate disciples preached.
Like Buddhists, Jainas reject the authority of the Vedas which they pronounce apochryphal and corrupt; they have their own scriptures called Parvas and Angas. As among Buddhists, confession is practised among Jainas. Great importance is attached to pilgrimage and the caturmasa that is four months from Asadha or July-August to Kartika or October-November in the year are given to intermittent fasting, the reading of sacred books, and meditation. They attach no religious importance to caste. Jainas like Buddhists are of two classes, yatis or ascetics and sravakas or hearers. The Jaina sarhgha (congregation or community) has a four-fold division; monks, nuns, laymen and lay women. Jainas, like Buddhists, admit no creator. According to them the world is eternal and they deny that any being could have been there as its creator. The Jina became perfect but he was not perfect at first. He is not his creator, nor has he anything to do with worldly affairs. He is the God in the sense that he is spiritually perfect, and as such he is an Ideal for the worldly people who are aspiring for spiritual perfection Jainas worship twenty-four Tirthahkaras or lords, of whom Vashabha was the first, Parsva the twenty-third and Mahavira,. the twenty-fourth. Their images have certain signs on the pedestal and have attendant deities on both sides.

On the whole Jainism is less opposed to Brahmanism than Buddhism is and admits, here and there, some of the Brahmanic: deities, though it holds them inferior to their covisi or twenty- four Tirthankaras.

The traces of Jainism in South India go back to as early, as the second century before Christ if not still earlier. The ancient Jaina caves at Sittanmhasal and the migration of Bhadrabahu along with Chandragupta, to Sravana Belgol are important landmarks in this connection. The early mediaeval royal dynasties of the South such as the Gangas, the Kadambas, the Calukyas and the Rashtrakuta kings extended their patronage to Jainism.: Some Rashtrakuta kings of M'anyakheta were zealous Jaina. Throughout the Deccan we come across Jaina temples and statues of great architectural and artistic significance. Among the monolithic images of Bahubali found at Belgol (Sravana Belgola), Kaskal (Karkal) and Venur (Venus or yenor), [Castes and Tribes of Southern India, Edgar Thurston, Vol. II, P. 422.] the one at Belgol, erected by Camundaraya, the great general of Ganga Rachamalla, in the last quarter of the 10th century A.D. is a marvel of artistic execution and serenity of expression, apart from its being the earliest of the best specimen. The feudatories of the Rashtrakutas favoured Jainism in various places. Near about Kolhapur, the Rattas of Saundatti (District Belgaum), and their provincial governors were great patrons of Jainism in the 11th century A.D. A Jaina saint Munichandra was not only a teacher but also a minister to Laksmideva, Kartivirya's son; and he was given the title of ' Acarya, the founder of Ratta-rajya'. Under the Silaharas of both Karad and Kolhapur, Jainism received great patronage. Kolhapur seems to have been a Jaina settlement even before the time of the Silaharas. It is once called Padmalaya or the abode of Padma or Padmavati, the Jaina name for Laksmi apparently from the temple of Mahalakshmi (the tutelary deity of Kolhapur rulers) which has since been used by Brahmans. During the time of the Silaharas (1050-12-0) Jainism was the prevailing religion in Kolhapuri and the country around. The great teacher Maghanandi seems to have been responsible for putting Jainism on a sound footing in this area. In Kolhapur itself there are some old temples which testify to the popularity and prosperity of the creed in the town. It gradually gave way to Sankaracarya, the founder of the Smartas (A.D. 788-820). Ramanuja, the great Vaishnava (A.D. 1130) and Basava, the first of the Lingayatas (1150-1168).

Jainas name their children after their Tirthankaras or worthies of the present, past and future ages, after the parents of the arhats, after the pious and great men, and sometimes after Brahmanic gods and local deities. Like Hindus, Jain parents sometimes give their children mean names to avert early death, as Kallappa. From Kallu (K) stone Kadappa from kad (K.) forest, Dhondu from dhonda (M.) and Dagadu from dagad (M.) stone.

Kolhapur Jainas are divided into Upadhyas or priests, Pancamas who are generally traders, Caturthas who are generally husbandmen, Kasaras or copper dealers, and Setavalas or cloth-sellers. With the spread of modern education" these hereditary professions are getting changed. These classes eat together but do not inter-marry; lately, however, some inter-marriages are taking place. Formerly the sect, it is reported, included barbers, washermen and many other castes that have now ceased to be Jainas. Properly speaking, in certain areas, there is no separate priestly caste among the Jainas; the Upadhyas or priests are usually chosen from among the learned Pancamas or Caturthas subject to the recognition of their principal svamis or head priests called Pattacarya Svamis.

The sacred literature of Jainas is in a Prakrt dialect called Magadhi. They keep cattle but are not allowed to have pet birds in cages. As a community, Jainas are strict vegetarians and do no, use animal food on pain of loss of caste. They filter the water that is used in drinking or cooking for fear of killing insect life.

The pious Jaina takes his food before sunset in fear of destroying any animal life by eating in the dark. No pious Jaina tastes honey or drinks liquor, and monks and religious Jainas abstain from fresh vegetables. Men wear the waistcloth, jacket, coat, shouldercloth and often the Kanarese headscarf.

Women wear the hair in a knot at the back of the head and dress in the full Maratha lugade with or without passing the skirt back between the feet, and a bodice with a back and short sleeves. Young widows may dress in the lugade and bodice and their hair is not shaven. Old widows generally dress in white and do not put on bodices. Strict Jainas object to tillage because of the loss of life which it cannot help causing. Still they do not carry their objection to the length of refusing to dine with Jaina husbandmen. Among Kolhapur Jainas the husbandmen are the largest and most important class, with a head priest or Bhattaraka of their own who lives at Nandi about eighteen miles east of Kolhapur and has also a matha in Kolhapur. Except some of the larger landholders who keep farm servants Jaina landholders with the help of their women do all parts of field work with their own hands. They are among hardest working husbandmen in the district, making use of every advantage of soil and situation. In large towns like Kolhapur and Miraj Jains are merchants, traders, and shopkeepers dealing chiefly in jewelery, cotton, cloth and grain. The traders or Panchamas have their Bhattaraka at Kolhapur; besides at Kolhapur, he has a matha at Raibag and Belgaum. Most Kasaras deal in bangles or deal in copper or brass metal, and others weave and press oil. To every Jaina temple one or more priests or Upadhyas are attached. They belong to the Chaturth or the Pancham division and are supported by the Jaina community, taking food offerings, cloth and money presents which are made to the gods and goddesses. Besides temple priests, every village which has a considerable number of Jamas has a hereditary village priest called gramo-padhya who conducts their ceremonies and is paid either in cash or in grain.

These village priests, who are married and in whose families the office of priest is hereditary, are under a high priest called dharmadhikari or religious head, a celibate or ascetic by whom they are appointed and who has power to turn out any priest who breaks religious rules or caste customs. Lately, those two offices are merged in the hands of Upadhya who is subordinate to Bhattaraka. The village priest keeps a register of all marriages and thread-girdings in the villages; and the Bhattarakas whose headquarters are at Kolhapur and other places and whose authority extends over all Kolhapur Jainas, make a yearly circuit gathering contributions, or send an agent to collect subscriptions from the persons named in the village priest's list. The office of high priest is selective. The high priest chooses his successor from among his favourite disciples. Though the Bhattarakas are respected and well received whenever they go out, they seem to be losing strength as an institution, but in the post-mediaeval ages, their mathas did good work; they looked to the religious needs of society and contributed to its social solidarity; secondly, the learned heads of the mathas were great teachers and authors in some cases, and therefore the mathas were seats of learning; thirdly, they were looked upon as religious heads and as such the contemporary kings honoured them and entrusted them with the management of temples and their estates. Under the present changed circumstances, the strength of the matha institution has very much declined. Bhattarakas have hereditary titles; Jinasena, that of the Chaturtha section; Laksmisena, of the Panchama section; Devendrakirti, of the Kasara section; and Visalakiriti, of the Setavala section. The last two have their Mathas outside Kolhapur.

In the early morning before he gets up, a pious Jain rests his right shoulder on the ground. He then sits facing the east and repeats verses in praise of Jinadev, the victorious and thereafter sets out for the temple to see the image of Tirtha-kara, say Parsvanatha, avoiding as far as possible on his way the sight of man or beast. On returning home from the temple he bathes in warm water which he first purifies by reciting verses over it. When bath is finished he puts on a freshly washed cotton cloth, sits on a low wooden stool, and for about an hour says his morning prayer or Samayika. He lays sandal, flowers and sweetmeat before the house gods and then goes to the temple to worship the Jina, where the head ascetic or Svami reads the Jaina Purana, tells his beads, receives the holy water gandhodaka or tirth in which the image has been bathed. On certain occasions he performs a fire worship and feeds the fire with cooked rice and clarified butter in the names of the popular deities or Visvedevas. He usually lunches between eleven and one. If a stranger happens to visit the house at dinner time, he is welcomed and asked to dine. If the guest belongs to the same class as the houseowner they sit in the same row. As a rule he sups an hour at least before sunset, recites his evening prayer, visits the temple and hears a Purana, especially in the four months of the rainy season, Women, as soon as they rise, go to the temple to have a sight of the Jina, say Parsvanatha, return home and mind the house, sweeping and cowdunging the kitchen and dining place. They then bathe, dress in a freshly washed cotton lugade and bodice, rub their brows and cheeks with vermilion and turmeric, again visit the temple, bow before the god, and throw over the head water which has been used in bathing the god. Household work like cooking, washing, grinding, fetching water etc. is done by them. They visit the Jaina temple listen to a Purana. These details depict conditions more in the rural than in the urban areas. The temple is really the religious as well as social tie for the community as a whole.

The religion of Kolhapur Jainas may be treated under five heads; temple worship of the twenty-four Jinas and their attendant goddesses; holy places and holy days; the worship of house-gods; the worship of field guardians; and irregular worship of evil disease-causing spirits. The chief Jaina doctrine is, that to take life is sin. Like Buddhists they believe that certain conduct has raised men above the gods. Twenty-four Jainas have gained perfection. To each of these a sign and attendant god and goddess have been allotted and these form the regular objects of Jaina temple worship. Jainas belong to two main sects the Svetambaras or white-robed and Digambaras or sky-clad that is naked saint worshippers. These designations indicate that the ideal saints of the former wear white garments but those of the latter go about nude. The bulk of Kolhapur Jainas are of the Digambar section. Temple worship is the chief part of a Jaina's religious duties. Their temples are called bastis or dwellings but can easily be made out from ordinary dwellings by their high plinths. The temple consists of an outer hall and a shrine. The walls of the outer hall are filled with niches of the different popular deities and attendant goddesses. In the shrine is an image generally of the twenty-third Tirthankara Parsvanatha, which in Kolhapur temples is generally naked (so far as Digambara temples are concerned). The images in most cases are of black polished stone, two feet to three feet high, either standing with the hands stretched down the sides or in the seated cross-legged position. The other images generally worshipped in this part are those of Adinatha, Neminetha and Candranatha. Temple worship is of four kinds; daily worship, eight-day or astanhiki worship, wish filling or kalpa worship, and five-blessing or pancakalyani worship. In the daily temple worship the image of the saint is bathed by the temple ministrant in milk and on special days in the five nectars or pancamrta: water, tree sap or vrksa rasa that is sugar, plantains, clarified butter, milk and curds. The priest repeats sacred verses, sandal paste is laid on the image, and it is decked with flowers.

Jainas perform the astanhiki or eight-days worship three times in a year from the bright eighth to the full-moon of Asadha or July-August, in Kartika or October-November and in Phalguna or February-March. Only the rich perform the wish-filling or Kalpa worship as the worshipper has to give the priest whatever he asks. The pancakalyani worship centres round the five auspicious occasions, namely conception, birth, renunciation, enlightenment and liberation, in the career of a Tirthankara. In certain details it resembles the Brahmanical sacrifice; of course, there is no place for any sort of animal destruction. According to the Jaina doctrine, bathing in holy places does not cleanse one from sin. Kolhapur Jainas make pilgrimages to Jaina holy places, Ujjyantagiri or Girnar in South Kathiawar sacred to Nemisvara or Neminatha, Pavapura near Rajagrha or Rajgir about fifty miles south of Patna sacred to Vardhamana Svami, Sammedagiri properly Sammet Shikhar or Parasnath hill in Hazaribagh in West Bengal sacred to Parsvanatha where are feet symbols or padukas of the twenty-four Jaina arhats or worthies, and in the south, the monolithic image of Gomatesvara in Sravan Belgola in Mysore, and Mudabidri in South Kanara. They make pilgrimages to Banaras which they say is the birthplace of Parsvanatha. The leading religious seats of Jainas are Delhi, Dinkanchi in Madras, Penangundi in the South and Kolhapur. Any poor Jaina may visit these places and is fed for any number of days, but on pain of loss of caste he must beg from no one who is not a Jaina.

Jaina ascetics keep ten fasts in every lunar month, the fourth, the eighth, the eleventh, the fourteenth, the full-moon and no moon days. During the caturmasa, pious house-holders observe full or partial fasts on the 8th and 14th day of a fortnight. They keep most of the Brahmanic holidays and in addition the week beginning from the lunar eighth of Asadha or June-July, of Kartika or October-November, and of Phalguna or February-March; they hold a special feast on Sruta Pancmi May-June. Of the twenty-four minor gods and goddesses who attained on the twenty-four saints the chief are Ksetrapala and Kalika or Jvalamalini and Padmavati who have other counterparts in Bhairava and Laksmi.

Goddesses and Saints.
Jainas pay special respect to Srutadevi who is represented by a sacred book resting on a brazen chair called sruta skandha or learning's prop and in whose honour in all Jaina temples a festival is held on the bright fifth of Jyestha or May-June; the Brahmanic counterpart of this deity is Sarasvati. To these guardian goddesses and saints two beings are added, Bhugabali or Gommata of Sravan Belgola in Mysore distinguished by the creepers twining round his arms and Nandisvara a small temple like a brass frame. Besides these, they worship a brass; wheel of law or dharmacakra which is symbolic of religion, they also worship an image representing five classes of great; deities or Paramesthi, a verbal salutation to the whole of whom forms a pious Jaina's daily prayer. Jainas think that their book and temple gods the Arhats or worthies, the Siddhas or perfect beings, the Acaryas or preceptors, the Upadhyas or priests, and the Sadhus or saints are too austere and ascetic to take an interest in every-day life or to be worshipped as house guardians. Perhaps for this reason their house deities are generally of a popular nature.

House Duties.
As among Hindus, the house deities are kept in a separate room generally next to the cooking room in a devara or shrine of carved wood. The images are generally of metal three to four inches high. Among them is usually the mask or bust of some deceased female member of the family who has afflicted the family with sickness and to please her had her image placed and worshipped among the house-gods. Besides the usual Brahmanic or Lihgayata house deities, several families have a house image of Parsvanatha but the worship of Parsvanatha as a house image is not usual. As among other Hindus, the daily worship of the house-gods is simple, chiefly consisting in a hurried decking with flowers. On holidays the images are bathed in milk and flowers, sandal-paste, rice, burnt frankincense and camphor, and cooked food are laid before them. Women are not allowed to touch the house gods. During the absence of the men of the house the temple priest is asked to conduct the daily worship. Latterly, the custom of worshipping non-Jaina house deities appears to be diminishing. Another class of Jaina deities are the Ksetrapalas or field guardians, essentially the deities of agriculturists, the chief of whom are Bhairava and Brahma.

In theory Jains do not believe in spirits. In practice, however, such belief is not found to be uncommon, particularly among villagers. They believe in spirit-possession and call their family spirits pitrigal or fathers. Though they profess not to believe that infants are attacked by spirits they perform the ceremonies observed by Hindus in honour of Mothers Fifth and Sixth which seem to form part of the early rites on which the customs of all Hindu sects are based. Besides the spirit attacks to which children are believed to be especially liable on the fifth and sixth days after birth, Jains believe that children are also liable to child-seizures or bala grahas probably a form of convulsions, which Jaina women say is the work of spirits. Educated and religious Jains who object to the early or direct form of spirit action believe in the more refined drsta or evil eye as a cause of sickness. According to the popular Jaina belief all eyes have not the blasting power of the evil eye. Care must be taken in cutting the child's navel cord for if any of the blood enters its eyes their glance is sure to have a blasting or evil power. Jains do not believe that a woman in her monthly sickness is specially liable to spirit attacks. In their opinion a woman runs most risk of being possessed when she has just bathed and her colour is heightened by turmeric, when her hair is loose, and when she is gaily dressed and happens to go to a lonely well or river bank at noon or sunset. Boys also are apt to be possessed when they are well dressed or fine-looking or when they are unusually smart and clever. Jains profess not to hold the belief that the dead first wife comes back and plagues the second wife. Still they feel great terror for Jakhins that is the ghosts of women who die with unfulfilled wishes and who plague the living by attacking children with lingering diseases. When a child is wasting away Jaina parents make the Jakhin a vow that if the child recovers the Jakhin's image shall be placed with their family gods. If the child begins to recover as soon as the vow is made the house people buy a silver or gold mask or taka of Jakhin, lay sandal-paste and flowers on and sweet-meats before it, and set it in the god-room with the other house-gods. Five married women, who are asked to dine at the house are presented each with turmeric, vermilion, betel and wet gram, and a special offering or vayan consisting of five wheat cakes stuffed with sugar clarified butter and molasses is made in the name of the dead woman who is believed to have turned Jakhin and possessed the child. The image is daily worshipped with the house gods with great reverence as it generally represents the mother or some near relation of the worshipper. However this Jakhin worship is now reported to be disappearing.

Jains have no professional exorcists or charmers chiefly because their place is filled by priests. When sickness is believed to be caused by spirit-possession the priest is consulted. He worships the goddess Padmavati or Lakshmi and gives the sick holy water or tirth in which the goddess' feet have been washed. If the holy water fails to cure, the priest consults his book of omens or sakunavali, adds together certain figures in the book and divides the total by a certain figure in the book and divides the total by a certain figure in the tables of the book and by referring to the book finds what dead relation of the sick person the quotient stands for. If it is a woman she has become a Jakhin and should be worshipped along with the family gods, the priest then mutters a verse over a pinch of frankincense ashes or angara burnt before the gods and hands it to the sick to be rubbed on his brow. If the ash-rubbing and Jakhin worship fail to cure the sick, the priest prepares a paper or bhurj or birch leaf called a yantra or device marked with mystic figures or letters and ties it in a silk cloth or puts it in a silk cloth or puts it in a small; casket, - or tait, mutters verses over it, burns frankincense, and ties it round the possessed person's arm or neck. If the amulet is of no avail the priest advises an anusthana or god-pleasing. The head of the house asks the priest to read a sacred book before the temple image of one of the saints or to repeat a text or mantra or sacred hymn or stotra some thousand times in honour of one of the saints. The priest is paid for his trouble and when the sick is cured the god-pleasing ends with a feast to priests and friends. If even the god-pleasing fails, the sick, if he is an orthodox Jaina, resigns himself to his fate or seeks the aid of a physician. Exorcists are shunned by Jain men because part of the exorcists' cure is almost always the offering of a goat or of a cock. When all remedies are of no avail Jains sometimes take the sick to a holy place called Tavnidhi fifteen miles south-west of Cikodi, and the sick or some relation on his behalf worships the spirit scaring Brahmanidhi until the patient is cured. Jains profess to have sacred pools, animals or trees that have a spirit-scarcing power. When an epidemic rages, a special worship of Jainadeva is performed. With a better acquaintance of the basic principles of Jainism consequent upon the spread of education and reading of sacred works by the Sravakas themselves, and through the preachings of saints like Santisagara, these practices have become out of date and looked upon as almost irreligious excepting perhaps in out of the way villages.

Of the sixteen sacraments or sanskars which are nearly the same as the sixteen Brahman sacraments, Kolhapur Jainas perform those of thread girding, marriage, puberty and death. Except that the texts are not Vedic the rites do not differ much from those performed by Brahmans. Their birth ceremonies are the same as those of Brahmans like whom on the fifth day they worship the goddess Satvai. Boys are girt with the sacred thread between eight and sixteen. A boy must not be girt until he is eight. If, for any reason, it suits the parents to hold the thread-girding before the boy is eight, they add to his age the nine months he passed in the womb. A Jaina astrologer names a lucky day for the thread-girding, a booth is raised before the house, and an earth altar or bahule a foot and a half square is built in the booth and plantain trees are set at corners. Pots are brought from the potter's and piled in each corner of the altar and a yellow cotton thread is passed round their necks. Over the altar is a canopy and in front is a small entrance hung with evergreen. A day or two before the thread-girding, the invitation procession consisting of men and women of the boy's house with music and friends starts from the houses. They first go to the Jaina temple and the father or some other relation with the family priest lays a cocoanut before the god, bows before him and asks him to perform the ceremony. Jains have no devak or family guardian worship. The boy and his parents go through the preliminary ceremonies as at a Brahman thread-girding. The boy's head is shaved and he is bathed and rubbed with turmeric. The astrologer marks the lucky moment by means of his water-clock or ghatika and as it draws near music plays and guns are fired. The priest recites the auspicious verses and throws red rice over the boy. The boy is seated on his father's or if the father is dead on some other kinsman's knee on a low stool. The knot of his hair is tied and he is girt with a sacred thread or janve and a string of kusa grass is tied round his waist. The priest kindles the sacred fire, betel is served to the guests and money gifts are distributed among priests and beggars. The boy has to go and beg at five Jaina houses. He stands at the door of each house and asks the mistress of the house to give him alms saying "Oh lady, be pleased to give alms". The alms usually consists of a waistcloth, rice or cash. Great merit is believed to be gained by giving alms to a newly girded boy and many women visit the boy's house for three or four days to present him with silver or clothes. After begging at five houses the boy returns home and a feast to friends and kinsfolk ends the first day. The sodmunj or grass-cord loosening is performed usually after a week and sometimes between a week from the thread-girding and the marriage day. The loosening is generally performed near a pimpal (ficus religiosa) tree. The boy is bathed, the rite of holiday calling or punyahavacan is gone through as on the first day, music plays and flowers, sandal-paste, burn frankincense and sweetmeat are offered to the pimpal tree. The boy bows before the tree and the priest unties the cord from round his waist. The boy is then dressed in a full suit of clothes, declares that he means to go to Banaras and spend the rest of his life in study and worship and sets out on his journey. Before he has gone many yards, his maternal uncle meets him, promises him his daughter's hand in marriage and asks him to return home and live among them as a householder or grhasth. The boy is escorted home with music and band of friends and a small feast to friends and kinsfolk ends the ceremony. Latterly, the practice of collective vrata bandha ceremony is becoming popular and they are celebrated at places like Bahunali etc. and on occasions of paneakalyani puja etc.

Formerly, boys used to be married between fifteen and twenty-five and girls before they came of age. The law has now prescribed fourteen and eighteen as the minimum age for the marriage of a girl and a boy respectively. In towns and in educated families even this age has increased, particularly in the case of girls. The boy's father proposes the match to the girl's father and when they agree an astrologer is consulted. He compares the birth papers of the boy and the girl and approves the match if he thinks the result will be lucky and if the family stocks and branches or Sakhas of the boy and the girl are different. Then on a lucky day the boy's father visits the girl's house with a few friends, including five kinswomen, and are received by the girls father and mother. The girl is seated on a low stool in front of the house gods and the boy's father presents her with a sadi and bodice and a pair of silver chains or sankhlis and anklets or valas. Her brow is marked with vermilion and decked with a network of flowers. The women of the boy's house dress the girl in the clothes and ornaments brought by the boy's father' and the boy's father puts a little sugar in her mouth. Packets of sugar and betel are handed to the guests and the asking or magni ends with a feast to the guests. Formerly, marriage took place two or three years after betrothal. A lucky day for the marriage is fixed by astrologer. The ceremony lasts five days according to orthodox custom. On the first day two married girls in the bride's house bathe early in the morning, wear a ceremonial dress and with music and band of friends go to a pond or a river with copper pots on their heads, lay sandal-paste, flowers, rice, vermilion, burnt frankincense, and sweet meats on the bank in the name of the water goddess, fill the pots with water and mark them with vermilion, set a cocoanut and betel leaves in the mouth of each, cover them with bodice cloths and deck them with gold necklaces. They then set the waterpots on their heads, return home and lay them on the earthern altars. Flowers, vermillon, burnt frankincense and sweetmeats are offered to the pots and five dishes filled with earth are set before them, sprinkled with water from the waterpots, and mixed seed grain is sown in the earth. Friends and kinsfolk are asked to dine at the house and the sprout-offering or ankurarpana is over. The bridegroom is bathed at his house and lights a sacred fire or homa, puts on a rich dress and goes on horseback with music and friends carrying clothes, ornaments, sugar, and betel packets to the bride's house. The bride's party meet him on the way and the bridegroom is taken to the bride's house and seated outside of the house on a seat of audumbar or umbar (Ficus glomerata) wood. The bride's parents come out with a vessel full of water, the father washes his future son-in-law's feet and the mother pours water over them. The bridegroom is then taken to a raised seat in the house, feated on it and presented with clothes, a gold ring and necklace. The bridegroom's parents present the ornaments and clothes they have brought for the bride, packets of betel and sugar are handed to friends and kinspeople and the first day ends with a feast to the bridegroom's party. The bridegroom returns home with his party, is rubbed with turmeric and clarified butter, and bathed by five married women, seated in a square with an earthen pot at each corner and a yellow thread passed five times round their necks. The bride is bathed in a similar square at her house. On the third day the bride and bridegroom bathe, dress in newly washed clothes and starting from their homes meet at the Jaina temple. The priest attends them and the two bow before the idol. The priest makes them repeat the five-salutation hymn which every Jaina ought to know and warns them to keep the Jaina vow or Jain vrata of-non-killing or ahinsa and of leading a pure moral life. They are treated to sweetmeats each by their own people and the family gods and the cork marriage coronet or basing are worshipped at both houses. On the fourth day the actual marriage ceremony begins. Friends and relations are asked to both houses. The bridegroom is rubbed with flagrant oil and again kindles the sacred fire, dresses in rich clothes and goes to the bride's house on horseback with music and friends. On the way he is met by the bride's party and taken to a raised umbar wood (Ficus glomerata) seat While he is seated on the seat a couple from the bride's house, generally the bride's parents, come and wash his feet. The bridegroom thrice sips water, puts on the new sacred thread offered him by the bride's priest and swallows curds mixed with sugar which the couple have poured over his hands. The father-in-law leads the bridegroom by the hand to a readymade seat in the house. Before the seat a curtail is held and two heaps of rice, one on each side of the curtain, marked with the lucky cross or svastika and crowned with the sacred kusa grass. A short time before the auspicious lucky moment the bride is led by her friends and made to stand on the rice heap behind the curtain, the bridegroom standing on the rice heap on the other side. The guests stand around and the priests reoite the nine-planet lucky verses or navagraha manglastakas. The astrologer marks the lucky moment by clapping his hands, the musicians redouble their noise, the priests draw aside the curtain, and the bride and the bridegroom look at each other and are husband and wife. The bridegroom marks the bride's brow with vermilion and she throws a flower garland round his neck. They fold their hands together and the bride's father pours water over their hands. They then throw rice-over each other's head and the priests and guests throw rice at the couple. The priests tie the marriage wristlets on their hands. The bridegroom then sits on a low stool facing east and the bride on another stool to his left. (In some place's the bride sits to the right and the bridegroom to the left.) The priest kindles the sacred or homo fire and the bridegroom feeds the fire with offerings of parched rice held in a dish before him by the bride. Then the priest lays seven small heaps -of rice, each with a small stone or a betelnut at the top, in one row. The bridegroom, holding the bride by the hand, touches the rice and the stone or betelnut on each heap with his right toe, moves five times round the heaps, the priest shows the couple the Polar star or dhruva and payment of a money gift to the priest completes the day's ceremonies. The hems of the couple's garments are knotted together and they walk into the house and bow before the waterpots which have been arranged on the first day and are fed with a dish of milk and clarified butter. Next day the bride's parents give a feast to the bridegroom's party and to their own kinspeople. In the morning the couple are seated in the booth and young girls on both sides join them. The bridegroom takes some wet turmeric powder and rubs it five times on the bride's face, who gathers it and rubs it on the bridegroom's face. Next morning the sacred fire is again kindled and the serpent is worshipped. The couple then dine at the bride's and are thereafter seated on horseback, the bride before the bridegroom and taken to the Jaina temple where they walk round the god, bow before him and ask his blessing. They then walk to the bridegroom's. Before they reach, every part of the house is lighted and a long white sheet is spread on the ground from the booth door to the god-room. When the couple attempt to cross the threshold the bridegroom's sister blocks the door and does not allow them to enter. The bridegroom asks her why she blocks the door. She says, will you give your daughter in marriage to my son? He answers, Ask my wife. The sister asks the wife and she says, I will give one of my three pearls in marriage to your son. Then the sister leaves the door, the couple walk into the house, bow before the house-gods, and a feast ends the ceremony.

It must be stated that the details about marriage ceremony described above depict a picture more of the past than of the present. They are now getting considerably modified and abridged and some of them are even tending to disappear, particularly in cities.

Widow Marriage.
Though forbidden by their sacred books, all Jainas except Upadhyas (priests) and some families of prestige allow widow marriage. They Say the practice came into use about 200 years ago. If a woman does not get on well with her husband, she may live separate from him but cannot marry during her husband's lifetime.

Last rites.
When a Jaina is on the point of death, a priest is called in to recite verses to cleanse the sick person's ears, to quiet his soul, and if possible to drive away his disease. When recovery is hopeless, a ceremony called sallekhana vidhi or voluntary submission to death is performed to sever the sick person from worldly pleasures and to make him fit for the life he is about to enter. Sometimes the sick man is made to pass through the ceremony called sannyas grahana (ascetic vow-taking) with the same rites as among Brahmanas. When these rites are over and death is near, the dying man is made to lie on a line of three to four wooden stools and the names of gods and sacred hymns are loudly repeated.

Death and Funeral.
After death the body is taken outside of the house, bathed in warm water (this bathing is not current everywhere), dressed in a waist and shoulder cloth and seated cross-legged on a low stool leaning against the wall. A bier is made and the dead is laid on it and the whole body including the face is, covered with a white sheet. Jewels or gold pieces are put into the dead mouth and fastened over the eyes. Four kinsmen lift the bier and followed by a party of friends walk after the chief mourner who carries a firepot slung from his hand. To perform Jaina funeral rites, from the first to the thirteenth day, six men are required, the chief mourner who carries fire, four corpse-bearers and a body-dresser. Music is played at some funerals, but on the way no coins or gram are thrown to spirits and no words uttered. The party moves silently to the burning ground and the chief mourner is not allowed to look behind. About half-way the bier is laid on the ground and the cloth is removed from the dead face apparently to make sure that there are no signs of life. They go on to the burning ground and set down the bier. One of the party cleans the spot where the pyre is to be prepared and they build the pyre. When it is ready the bearers lay the body on the pile and the chief mourner lights it. When the body is half consumed or about to be set on Are the chief mourner bathes, carries an earthen pot filled with water on his shoulder and walks three times round the pile. Another man walks with him and at each turn makes a hole in the pot with a stone called asma or the life-stone. When three rounds and three holes are made the chief mourner throws the pot over his back and beats his mouth with the open palm of his right hand. The asma or lifestone is kept ten days and each day a rice ball is offered to it. The funeral party stops at the burning ground till the skull bursts. If they choose, some of the party may go home but the six mourners must remain there till the body is consumed when each offers a flour-ball and a handful of water to the life-stone and returns, home. A lamp is set on the spot where the dead breathed his last, and kept there burning for at least twenty-four hours.

On the second day the six chief mourners go to the burning ground and in the house put out the fire with offerings of milk, sugar and water. On the third day they gather the deceased's bones and bury them somewhere among the neighbouring hills. Except offering a rice ball to the life-stone from the first to the tenth day nothing special is performed from the fourth to the ninth day. The family are held impure for ten days. On the tenth the house is cowdunged and all members of the family bathe and each offers a handful of water called tilodaka (sesame Water) to the dead. The house is purified by sprinkling holy water and the sacred or homa fire is lit by the priest. On the twelfth the clothes of the deceased are given to the poor and rice balls in the name of the deceased and his ancestors are made and sandal-paste, flowers, vermilion, frankincense and sweetmeat are offered to them. The temple gods are worshipped and a feast to the corpse-bearers and dresser ends the twelfth day ceremony. On the thirteenth day the sraddha (mind-rite) is performed and a few friends and relations are asked to dine. A fortnightly and monthly ceremony is performed every month for one year and a feast is held every year for twelve years in some of the families. According to the old rule the widow's head should be shaved on the tenth but the practice is becoming rare. She however gives up her lucaly and does not wear a black bodice or lugade. When a sahyasi (ascetic) dies his body is carried in a canopied chair instead of an ordinary bier. The body is laid on the pyre and bathed in the five nectars or pancamrtas milk, curds, clarified butter, plantain, and sugar. Camphor is lighted oh the head and the pile is lit. At a sanyasis funeral only five men are required. A fire-carrier is. not wanted as fire can be taken from any neighbouring house to light the pile The family of the dead are impure for only three days and no balls are offered to the dead. When an infant dies before teething it is buried and boys who die before their thread-girding are not honoured with the rice ball offering non special rites are performed in the case of a married woman, a widow, or a woman who dies in childbed. No evil attaches to a death which happens during an eclipse of the sun or the moon. In the case of a person who dies at an unlucky moment, Jainas perform the same rites as other Hindus.

Jainas are bound together by a strong caste feeling and settle social dispute's at caste meetings. Appeals against the decisions of the caste council lie to their Bhattaraka or svami or religious heads who with the two titles Jinasena Svami and Laksmisena Svami and with jurisdiction over the Jainas of almost the whole Bombay Karnatak, live at Kolhapur.

Non-Kolhapur Jains.
Non-Kolhapur Jainas include a considerable number of Jaina Marwaris and Jaina Gujarat Vanis who have come from Marwar and Gujarat for trade and have settled in the district. They do not marry with the Jainas of Kolhapur, and unlike the Jainas of Kolhapur they have no objection to take water and food from non-Jainas. Their favourite place of pilgrimage is Mount Abu. They are moneylenders and dealers in piece-goods and jewellary. They live in well built houses, send their children to schools, and are a prosperous class. Many of them have now settled in this part, especially in prosperous business centres where they have built temples for themselves.

1 comment:

Deepa Krishnan said...

I enjoyed this article. It is very interesting and gives an inside view of the Kolhapuri Jains. I didn't know of this community. Thanks!

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