Jun 16, 2010

Antiquity of Jainism

1. The Historical Background

1.1 Antiquity of Sramana System

Sixth Century B.C.

The Brahmanas were dominant in society during the period of the Nigantha Nataputta and the Buddha. Their ritualism was represented by the priest who "vigorously claimed that the welfare and, indeed, the very existence of the world, including even the gods, depended upon the maintenance of their systems of sacrifice, which grew to immense size and complexity." 1 Their "rites and ceremonies multiplied and absorbed man's mind to a degree unparalleled in the history of the world and literature occupied itself with the description or discussion of the dreary ceremonial." 2

Vedic System

The Brahmanical religious system had its beginning in early Vedic literature. The term Brahmana is derived from the root brh to grow, expand, evolve, develop, swell the spirit or soul. 3 The priests, who were the custodians of such prayers, assumed a very high degree of spiritual supremacy in Vedic society and were considered to be the very progeny of Prajapati, the creator - God (Brahmano viprasya Prajapaterva a patymiti Brahmano). For the sole purpose of preserving spiritual leadership the Brahmanas evolved a system of very elaborate sacrifices. These sacrifices were considered to be eternal and even the creation of the world was believed to be the result of a sacrifice. The rites were performed both to gain worldly enjoyment and to injure one's enemies.

Later Vedic literature

In later Vedic literature the value of the actual sacrifices was transferred to their symbolic representation and to meditation on them. 4 Later on, Upanisadic thinkers observed that the nature of soul could be described only in negative terms; the atman was said to be neither this nor that (neti neti), and was regarded as free from sin, old age, death, grief, hunger, and thirst. Its desires were true. Its cognitions were true. A man who knows such atman gets all his desires and all worlds. 5 The soul or Brahman pervaded all objects of the universe. The universe has come out of Brahman.

Thus "we find the simple faith and devotion of the Vedic hymns, on the one hand, being sup planted by the growth of a complex system of sacrificial rites, and on the other, bending their course towards a mon otheistic or philosophic knowledge of the ultimate reality of the universe." 6

The social outlook and the goal of life of the Vedic system were based on the caste system. The so-called Sudras, the lower community, were considered ineligible to perform spiritual rites. 7

Sramana System

There prevailed, at that time, another stream of cultural current which was quite independent of the Brahmanical or Vedic current and, probably older than it.

The word Sramana is derived from "Sram" to exert effort, labour, or to perform austerity, but is mixed in meaning with Sam a wandered, recluse. 8 One who performs acts of mortification or austerity is called Sramana (Sramayati tapasyatiti Sramanah). 9

The Sramana cultural system was based on equality. According to it, a being is himself responsible for his own deeds. Salvation, therefore, can be obtained by anybody. The cycle of rebirth to which every individual was subjected was viewed as the cause and substratum of misery. The goal of every person was to evolve a way to escape from the cycle of rebirth. Each school of Sramanas preached its own way of salvation. But they all agreed in one respect, namely, in discounting ritual as a means of emancipation and establishing a path of moral, mental and spiritual development as the only means of escaping from the misery of sam sara.

Thus the Vedic cultural system differs from Sramana cultural system in three respects; viz. (a) attitude to society, (b) goal of life, and (c) outlook towards living creatures. Consequently, both these cults were so opposed to each other that Panini and Patanjali referred to them as having Sasvat-virodha and Govyaghravat-virodha.

Independent origin of the Saramana cultural system

There are two principal theories in regard to the origin of the Sramana cult: according to one (1) It is more or less a protest against the orthodox Vedic cult, and, according to the other (2) It is of an independent origion. The first theory, though supported by Winternitz, Rhys David, E. Leunman etc., is no longer accepted by the majority of Jain scholars. 12

From the survey of various theories about the origin of the Sramana cultural system Deo came to the conclusion that each of them stresses a particular aspect, such as, (1) Ksatriya protest, (2) Organised sophistic wanderers, (3) The qualities of the Brahmacarin, (4) Copy of the Brahmanical rules for sanyasa, and (5) The existence of Magadhan religion in the eastern part of India. All these factors, he says, "helped the formation of the great wandering community of the Sramanas. But Deo places greater emphasis on the Ksatriya protest against the Brahmanical sacrifices. He says "The Sramanas did reveal anti-Brahmanical feelings as they were dissatisfied with the degenerated Brahmin priesthood." 13

But this conclusion is not altogether correct, since we find very strong evidence, both literary and archeological, which proves, beyond doubt, that the Sramana cultural system as practised by the Jainas or the so-called Vratyas 14 of Vedic literature, existed prior to Brahmanism. The great antiquity of the Sramana religious system has received less attention from scholars due to the fact that in historical times the Brahmana cult appeared to be more influential and widespread. The emergence of the Sramana cultural system at this time was only a revival of an ancient religious system. This gaining of influence had been made possible through protests against the ritualism of the Brahmanas. That is why some scholars assumed the origin of Sramana cultural system to be a result of the protest against the Brahmanical sacrifices.

Classification of Sramanas

The Sramanas (Samana in Pali) are classified in various ways. The Sutta Nipata refers to four kinds, viz. the Maggajinas, Maggadesakas or Maggadesins, Maggajivinas, and the Maggadusins. 15 Disputes arose among them 16 and a number of philosophical schools had already arisen by the time of the Buddha. These schools are generally designated as Ditthi. 17 The sixty-two wrong views (Micchaditthi) referred to by the Buddha in the Brahmajalasutta represent the teachings of such schools.

In the same work, Sramanas are called disputatious (vadasila), 18 and are classified under three headings, viz. Titthiyas, Ajivikas, and the Niganthas. These were recognised as rivals of Buddhism. The Tamil tradition also observed the same classification, viz. Anuvadins (Pakudha Keccayana's sect), Ajivikas, and the Jainas. 19

The Thananga, 20 a Svetambara Jain canonical work, gives as many as five divisions of the Samana class, viz. Nigantha, Sakka, Tavasa, Geruya, and Ajiva. Here Sakka means the Buddhist, and Ajiva means the Ajivika, the followers of Makkhali Gosalaka. No accounts are found regarding the Geruya who wore red clothes and Tavasa who were Jatadhari and lived in forest. 21 The Ajivakas are no more. Only the Niganthas and the Buddhists have survived the vicissitudes of history.

Common features of the Sramanas

The Dictionary of Chinese Buddhist Terms defines Sramana as follows: "Ascetics of all kinds: the Samanai or Samanaoi or Germanai of the Greeks, perhaps identical also with the Tungusian Samana or Sramana." Further it presents the common features of Sramana: "He must keep well the truth, guard well every uprising (of desires), be uncontaminated by outward attractions, be merciful to all and impure to none, be not allotted to joy nor harrowed by distress, and able to bear whatever may come."

The Buddha also says that to be Acelaka (naked) is not the only characteristic of a real Samana. According to him the real Sramana is he who has got rid of covetousness, ignorance, and mastered the four Bhavanas, viz. Friendliness, Compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. 22 At another place he says: "The real Samana is he who has acquired a perfectly purified conduct in speech, thought and mode of living, by controlling the sense organs, moderation in eating, being intent on vigilence, being possessed of mindfulness, and clear consciousness, remote lodging in forests to get rid of doubt, getting rid of the five hindrances and being aloof from pleasures of the senses he enters on the four meditations one by one." 23

All these references indicate clearly that the Sramana is characterised in Buddhist literature, as an ordinary monk belonging to any sect except perhaps to Brahmanas. Aiya-swami Shastri 24 collected some common features of such religious communities from Tamil literature which are as follows:-

(1) They challenged the authority of the Vedas.
(2) They admitted into their church all members of the community irrespective of their social rank and religious career (Varna and Asrama).
(3) They observed a set of ethical principles.
(4) They practised a detatched life with a view to liberating themselves from worldly life etc.
(5) They could take to a life of renunciation (pravrajya) on reaching majority.

Likewise Deo 25 refers to some of the features of monastic conduct which were common to all these communities. They are as follows:-

(1) The members of such groups gave up worldly life, and severing all contact with the society, they wandered as homeless persons.
(2) Being least dependent on society, they maintained themselves by begging food.
(3) Having no home, they led a wandering life, staying, however, at one place in the rainy season in order to avoid injury to living beings.
(4) Lastly, they seemed to acknowledge no cast barriers, and hence consisted of various elements of the society.

The Samavayanga refers to the ten types of conduct which should be followed by the Samanas. They are as follows: ksanti, mukti, arjava, mardava, laghava, satya, samyama, tapa, tyaga and brahmacariyavasa. At another place, some other types of conduct has been mentioned, viz. Upadhi, sruta, bhaktipana, anjalipragraha, dana, nimantrana, abhyutthana, krtikarma, vaiyavrtya, samavasarana-sammilana, samnisadya, and kathaprabandha.

In the Anguttara Nikaya 28 the Buddha mentions three pursuits for a Bhikku: (1) training in the higher morality, (2) higher thought, and (3) higher insight. He then says that a monk must follow these pursuits with keeness; otherwise his presence in the order will be like that of an ass in a herd of cattle.

Ascetics in Buddhist literature

In Buddhist literature all ascetics or wandering sects are referred to by the name Samana. Sometimes they are also designaed Titthiya, Paribbajaka, Acelaka, Mundasavaka, Tedandika, Magandika, Aviruddhaka, Jatilaka, Gotamaka, Maggadesin, Maggadusin. The sixty-two wrong views (Micchaditthi) of the Brahmajala Sutta 29 and three hundred and sixty-three views of the Sutrakrtanga refer to a great number of such sects. Some of these may be vedic, while others were teachings of moral sects of the Samanas.

The Lalitavistara 31 mentions a list of ascetics which includes the Carakas, Paribrajakas, Vrddha-sravakas, Gautamas, and Nirgranthas. A similar list is given in the Saddharmapundarika 32 where it is stated that Bodhisattva does not associate himself with them.

Importance of the Samanas

Of all these numerous communities of ascetics the Sramanas always figure prominently in Jaina and Buddhist literatures. Upadhye says: "All intellectual activities in ancient India were not confined only to Brahmanas: there was not only Brahmanical literature, but there was also the Paribbajaka, Sramana, or ascetic literature. These two representatives of intellectual and spiritual life in ancient India are well recognised by the phrase Samana-Brahmana in Buddhist sacred texts, by reference to Sramana Brahmana in Buddhist inscriptions, and further by Megasthenes distinction between Brahmanai and Samanai". 33

Samanas in Jaina and Buddhist literature

The Samanas in Jaina and Buddhist literature are represented as "worker" (from Sram, to strive) in spiritual life who attain salvation through their own efforts. They are accorded high honour both within their circles and without. The Mahavagga refers to Samana who is honoured by the bhikkhus. Pali literature mentions usually, besides the buddha, the well-known six Samanas, the so-called heretical teachers of outstanding position in the community.

Sometimes the term Samana is used in Pali literature, as an adjective showing respect towards the designated teacher. The Buddha himself is called Mahasamana, and his followers Sakyaputtiya Samanas. 34 So the followers of the Nigantha Nataputta are designated the Samana Nigantha or, to be exact, the Niganthanama Samanajatika. 35

Samana-Brahmana in Jaina and Buddhist literature

Buddhist literature, specially the Pali Canon, uses a compound designation "Samana-Brahmana" to denote a religious sect that is opposed to the caste superiority of the Brahmana community and its ritualism. Likewise, the Jaina literature also mentions Samana-Mahanah 36 and Mahana-Samana. 37

T. W. Rhys Davids rightly says that Samana connotes both asceticism and inward peace, He is of the view that "Samana-Brahmana should therefore mean, a man of anv birth who by his saintliness, by his renunciation of the world, and by his reputation as a religious thinker, had acquired a position of a quasi-Brahmana and was looked up to by the people with as much respect as they looked up to a Brahmana by birth. 38 Jaina literature also gives the same connotation to this term." 39

Sometimes the term Samana-Brahmana is also used in Pali literature for the followers of the Brahmana community. The Brahmajalasutta and some other suttas refer to them as kecit Samana Brahmana. And in some places it is used for any follower of any sect as mentioned in the course of the sixty-two wrong views (micchaditthi). Thus the term Samana-Brahmana is used, in Buddhist literature, in a very loose sense. 40 I, therefore, examined the views attributed to Samana-Brahmana and found that the teachings of Nigantha Nataputta are also represented among them.

The origin of Samana-Brahmana is unknown, but we can trace it from the works of Panini (prior to Buddha) 41 and Patanjali (second century B. C.) which mention a perpetual enmity (sasvata-virodha) between a snake and mongooses (ahinakulavat) to illustrate the compound formation of Samana-Brahmana. 42 The edicts of Asoka also mention them; but the term in Brahmana-Samana, and not Samana-Brahmana. 43

The reason of this variation in Asokan edicts, according to Sukumara Dutta, is that "The legends were composed by those who themeselves belonged to the Samana class and wished to give it precedence, while the Brahmana is put first in the edict because the Brahmanical society was perhaps demographically more extensive in Asoka's empire. The accom@ plishments of this elite, the Samana-Brahmana, are described from the Buddhist point of view in the scripture". 44

Another reason for the relative positions of the two component parts of the compounds Samana-Brahmana and Brahmana-Samana may be adduced by reference to the antiquity of the Samana cultural system and the subsequent growth in importance of the Brahmana cultural system. The earlier appellation Samana Brahmana gives precedence to Samanas most probably because Samana cultural system was the more ancient system. The change in precedence in the term Brahmana-Samana might have been due to the waxing influence of the Brahmana religious system which resulted in relegating the Samanas to a less important position in the religious life of India.

The Heretical Teachers

The leaders of Sramanism were referred to in Buddhist literature as "Heretical Teachers". These contemporary teachers "were doubtless, like the Buddha himself, inspired by the wave of dissatisfaction with the system of orthodox Brahmanism." six such teachers are mentioned in the Pali Canon:-

(1) Purana Kassapa.
(2) Makkhali Gosala.
(3) Ajita Kesakambali.
(4) Pakudha Kaccayana.
(5) Sanjaya Belatthiputta
(6) Nigantha Natputta.

In the Samannaphala Sutta each of these teachers is highly commended as a leader of an order (ganino ganacariyo). Each has been described as being well-known (nata), famous (yasassino), the founder of a sect (titthakara), respected as a saint by many people (sadhusammata bahu-janassa), a homeless wanderer of long standing (cirapabbajita), and advanced in years (vayonupatta). 46 Barua 47 thinks of them as philosophers or theologians in the modern sense. But in the sixth century B. C. there were controversial theories which are said to have been propagated in various ways by the Acaryas who belonged to the Brahmana as well as the Sramana religious system.

The Samannaphala Sutta deals with the doctrines of these heretical teachers in detail. It may be noted here that these doctrines are 'to be treated very cautiously; for it is evident that the authors had but a limited knowledge of the teachings of the heretics, and what knowledge they had warped by "odium theologicum." 48

As king Ajatasattu expressed his desires to know some-thing about spiritual matters, his six ministers, the followers of the six heretical teachers one, after another, suggested that the king should meet their Acaryas and clear his doubts. Ajatasattu then paid a visit to them and questioned them thus: "The fruits of various worldly trades and professions are obvious. But is it possible to show that any appreciable benefit can be derived from asceticism (Sanditthikam Samannaphalm) in this very life?" The answers given by them could not satisfy Ajatasattu. It was then suggested to him that he should ask the Buddha to answer the question. Hence, the Buddha is said to have solved his problem in a authoritative way.

Pali Canon refers to the teachings of Purana Kassapa and others in several Suttas. Although all such passages are stereo-typed, they seem to give a fairly comprehensive summary of atleast the impressions which their teachings had made on the Buddhists. While we have no sufficient sources from which their accuracy can be verified, except, of course, in the case of Nigantha Nataputta, we are fortunate that the meagre references in the Pali Canon are the only means by which we know about the existence of two of the six teachers. 49

(1) Purana Kassapa

This teacher upheld the view that there is neither merit nor demerit in any sort of action. He says, "He who performs an act or caused an act to be performed.. (karato kho karayato pana atimapayato), he who destroys life, the thief, the house-breaker, the plunderer.. the highway robber, the adulterer and the liar, commits no sin. Even if with a razor-sharp discus a man reduces all life on earth to a single heap of flesh, he commits so sin. If he comes down to the south bank of the Ganges, slaying, maiming, torturing, and causing others to be slain, maimed, or tortured, he commits no sin, neither does sin approach him. Likewise if a man goes down the north bank of the Ganges, giving alms, and sacrificing and causing alms to be given and sacrifices to be performed, he acquires no merit, neither does merit approach him. om liberality, self-control, abstinence, and honesty derived neither merit nor the approach of merit." 50

This doctrine is based on Akiriyavada, the theory of non-action, according to which the soul does not act and the body alone acts. According to Barua it is Adhiccasamuppannikavada (i. e. things happen fortuitiously without any cause or condition). 51 Jain Commentator Silanka considers the doctrine of Purana Kassapa as similar to the one which obtained in the Sankhya system. 52 But Nalinaksa Dutt observes that "it would be wide of the mark if we say Kassapa's teaching is the same as that of Sankhya, though it holds that Purusa is only an onlooker, an inactive agent, the functioning factor being the Prakrti". 53 As a matter of fact, Kassapa's teaching is so peculiar that we cannot find any similarity to the six Indian philosphies.

In the Samyutta Nikaya 54 and Anguttara Nikaya 55 he is mentioned as an Ahetuvadin, which appellation is applied to Makkhali Gosala in the Samannaphala Sutta. He is also reported to have claimed omniscience. 56

Buddhaghosa gives some biographical data on Purana Kassapa. He says that Kassapa came to be known by his name from the fact that is birth completed (Purna) one hundred slaves in a certain household. Owing to this fact he was never found fault with, even when he failed to do his work satisfactorily. In spite of this, he was dissatisfied and fled from his master's house. He then had his clothes stolen and went about naked. 57

The Dhammapada Commentatory gives another account. It says that when the heretical teachers were unable to prevent the Buddha's miraculous power, then ran away. While fleeing Purana Kassapa came across one of his followers carrying a vessel and a rope. Purana took them and on the of river near Savatthi he tied the vessel round his neck. He threw himself into the river and committed suicide. 58

(2) Makkhali Gosala

Originally Makkhali Gosala was a follower of jainism of the Parsvanatha tradition. As he was not appointed a Ganadhara in Nigantha Nataputta's order, he left the Jain Sangha and founded another sect called Ajivikas. 59 He too was a naked ascetic.

He was prophet of Niyativada (fatalism), according to which "There is neither cause nor basis for the sins of living beings; they become pure without cause or basis. There is no deed performed either by oneself or by others which can affect one's future births, no human action, no strength, no courage, no human endurance or human prowess can affect one's destiny in this life. All beings, all that have breath, all that are born, all that have life, are without power, strength, or virtue, but are developed by destiny, chance and nature, and experience joy and sorrow in the six levels for existence. Salvation, in his opinion, can be attained only by death and existence which are unalterably fixed (niyata). Suffering and happiness,, therefore, do not depend on any cause or effect."

The Majjhima Nikaya 61 calls this ahetukaditthi or akiriyaditthi, while the Sutrakrtanga (1.127) Darsanasara 62 and Gomattasara Jivakanda63 of Jainas designate it as ajnanavada.

The Buddha considered Makkhali as the most dangerous of the heretical teachers. He says:

"I know not of any other single person fraught with such loss of many folk, such discomfort, such sorrow to devas and men, as Makkhali, the infatuate". 64

Buddha also considered his view as the meanest one as would appear from the following comment:

"Just as the hair blanket is reckoned the meanest of all woven garments even so, of all the teachings of recluses, that of Makkhali is the meanest". 65

In the Digha Nikaya Commentary, 66 Buddhaghosa shows how he was called Makkhali Gosala. He says that he was once employed as a servant. One day while carrying an oil pot along a muddy road, he slipped and fell through carelessness, Hence he is named Makkhali. He was called Gosala because he was born in a cow-shed. Panini 67 describes him as Maskarin (one who carries a bamboo staff). Uvasaga Dasao calls him Makkhaliputta. 68

(3) Ajita Kesakambali

Ajitakesa Kambali was a meterialist who denied the existence of good or bad deeds. According to him, "There is no merit in almsgiving, sacrifice or offering; no result or ripening of good or evil deeds. There is no passing from this world 69 to the next. No benefit accrues from the service of mother or father. There is no afterlife, and there are no ascetics or Brahmanas who have reached perfection on the right path, and who, having known and experienced this world and the world beyond, publish (their knowledge). Man is formed of the four elements; when he dies earth returns to the aggregate of earth, water to water, fire to fire, and air to air, while the senses vanish into space. Four men with the bier take up the corpse; they gossip (about the dead man) as far as the burning ground 70 (where) his bones turn the colour of a dove's wing, and his sacrifices end in ashes. They are fools who preach alms-giving, and those who maintain the existence (of immaterial categories) speak vain and nonsense. When the body dies both the fool and the sage alike are cut off from life and perish. They do not survive after death. 71

Ajita's philosophy can be compared with the philosophy of Carvaka. In the Brahmajala Sutta it is classified as Ucchedavada (the doctrine of anihilation after death) or Tam Jivam tam sariram (the doctrine of identity of the soul and body). In the Mahabodhi Jataka, it is said, that Ajita was born, in a previous birth, as one of the five heretical councillors to the king of Varanasi. Then, too, he preached the doctrine of Ucchedavada. He was called Kesakambali because he wore a blanket of human hair, which is described as being the most miserable garment. It was cold in cold weather, and hot in the hot, foul smelling and uncouth. 72

(4) Pakudha Kaccayana

According to Pakudha Kaccayana, the seven elementary categories are neither made nor ordered, neither caused nor constructed; they are barren, as firm as mountains, as stable as pillars. They neither move nor develop; they do not injure one another, and one has no effect on the joy and sorrow of another. What are the seven? Earth, Water, Fire, Air, joy and Sorrow, with life as the seventh ... No man slays or causes to slay, hears or causes to hear, knows or causes to know. Even if a man cleaves another's head with a sharp sword, he does not take life, for the sword-cut merely passes through the seven elements. 73

In the Brahmjala Sutta this theory is classified as both Akiriyavada and Sassatavada. According to Pakudha, good or bad deeds do not affect the elements which are eternal. Like Ucchedavada, this teaching is also criticised in Buddhist literature.

Buddhaghosa says that Pakudha Kaccayana avoided the use of cold water, using always hot water. When hot water was no available, he did not wash. If he crossed a stream he would consider it as a sin, and would make expiation by constructing a mound of earth. 74

(5) Sanjaya Belatthiputta

Sanjaya Belatthiputta was the preacher of Ajnavada or Agnosticism. He says that if "you asked me, "Is there another world?" and if I believed that there was, I should tell you so. But that is not what I say. I do not say that is so; nor do I say that it is not so." 75

It is said that the Elders Sariputta and Moggalana were disciples of Sanjaya before they were converted to Buddhism. 76 Moggalana and Sanjaya are mentioned as Jaina Munis in Jaina literature. 77

The jaina doctrine of Syadvada is said to have been influenced by the teachings of Sanjaya. According to Malalaseker, "It is probable that Sanjaya suspended his judgements only with regard to those questions, the answers to which must always remain a matter of speculation. It my be that he wished to impress on his followers the fact that the final answer to these questions lay beyond the domain of speculation, and that he wished to divert their attention from fruitless inquiry and direct it towards the preservation of mental equanimity". 78 But as a matter of fact Sanjays's teachings are based on indeterminable characters, while the Syadvada has a definite answer. That is why the Jaina philosophers criticised Sanjaya's theory. 79 We can, however, say that whether Sanjaya was a Jaina muni or not, his teachings seem to be influenced to some extent by the Jaina doctrines. The sutrakratanga does not mention his name in this context. Sanjaya's view is criticised in Pali literature as an Amaravikkhepavad a theory of eel-wrigglers). 80

(6) Nigantha Nataputta:

In the Samannaphala Sutta, Nigantha Nata-Putta is introduced as the teacher of Catuyamasamvara. "A Nigantha is surrounded by the barrier of four-fold restraint. How is he surrounded? ... He practises restraint with regard to water, he avoids all sin, by avoiding sin his sins are washed away, and he is filled with the sense of all sins are washed away, and he is filled with the sense of all sins avoided 81 ... So surrounded by the barrier of fourfold restraint his mind is perfected, controlled, and firm. 82

As pointed out by Jacobi this reference to the teaching of Nataputta is very obscure. 83 Catuyamasamvara as mentioned in the Samannaphala Sutta 84 consists of the four characteristics of the Jainas. The real Catuyamasamvara belonging to the Parsvanatha tradition, is found else-where in the Pali Canon itself.

In response to the Buddha's question Asibandhakaputta Gamani said that the Nigantha Nataputta preached thus to his followers or Savakas: a slayer of living creature (panam atipateti), a stealer of a thing (not given to him) (adinnam adiyati), a subject of sensual passion wrongly (kamesu miccha carati), and one who tells a lie (musa bhanati) are all condemned. 85

Here are mentioned the four causes of sin. In the Anguttara aa the five ways of falling into sin, according to Nigantha Nataputta, are outlined. They are: destruction of animates (panatipati hoti staking what is not given (adinnadayi hoti), passionate enjoyment of evil (abrahmacari hoti), speaking a lie (musavadi hoti), and living on liquor and drink (suramerayamajjappamadatthayi hoti). 86

Both these references are neither correctly recorded nor in order. The Nikayas appear to have confused between the Vratas of Parsvanatha and Mahavira. The Parigraha (attachment to the mundane affairs), a fourth cause of sins according to the Parsvanatha tradition, included the passionate enjoyment, was not mentioned in the Nikayas, while the Abrahmacarya, separated from Parigraha by Nigantha Nataputta, is mentioned there.

Non-violence is the fundamental principle of the Jainas which is recorded in the Pali Canon. The Niganthas do not use cold water as living being exist therein. 87 They take a vow not to go beyond a limited area, so that the possibility of destroying life while moving about is reduced to a minimum. 88 The Kayadanda (Physical deeds) is more blamable than Manodanda (mental deeds) in their oppinion. 89 Intention (bhava or manodanda) is the main source of violence, and if the injury is caused by the body intentionally (bhavena), it will be considered more blamble. Meat-eating is completely prohibited in jainism. It is said that while Siha Senapati served meat to Buddha and his followers, the Nlganthas had protested and criticised such activities. 90

Nakedness or nudity (acelakatva or Digambaratva) with a mind controlled and restrained from all sorts of attachment and the practice of severe austerities with right knowledge are the main sources of omniscience and salvation. 91 Pali literature too records the Jaina claim to the omniscience of Nigantha nataputta. 92 The Pali Canon is also familiar with the rudiments of Syadvada and Navatattvas. Buddhist philosophical literature which developed later establishes and refutes the more advanced Jaina doctrines about epistemology and logic.

The foregoing is a brief description of the leaders of Sramanism as recorded in Pali literature. From this somewhat scanty data it is clear that their teachings can be grouped under two main headings:-

(1) Ajivikism as taught by Purana Kassapa, Makkhali Gosala, and Pakudha Kaccayana
(2) Jainism as taught by Parsvanatha and Nigantha Nataputta.

The doctrine of Sanjaya Belatthiputta does not fall into either of the above categories. But as Nalinaksa Dutt has shown, Sanjaya's teachings are "only a stepping stone to that of Buddha." 93 We shall now take into consideration the interrelationship among the three prominent religious systems" Jainism, Ajivikism, and Buddhism.

Jainism and Ajivikism:

Makkhali Gosala, the founder of the Ajivika sect, was a follower of Jainism, before he founded his separate school. 94 It is, therefore, not unnatural for his teachings to be influenced by Jainism. Ajivikas and Jainas share a set of common monastic rules. Both were normally naked and both followed the same method of eating. 95 That is the reason why the Pali literature could not make a clear distinction between the Niganthas and the Ajivikas. The Sutta Nipata 96 distinguishes the Ajivikas from other sects, whereas the Majjhima Nikaya 97 includes all the heretical teachers in the general category of Ajivikas.

Buddhaghosa in his Dhammapada Commentary 98 describes an ascetic who knocks at the doors of all the sects including the Ajivikas and the Niganthas. But the same work refers indiscriminately to Nagga-samana, Ajivika and Acelaka. 99 Similarly the Divyavadana, 100 in the story of Asoka, seems to use the term Ajivika and Nigantha (Nirgrantha) synonymously.

Chinese and Japanese Buddhist literature classes the Ashibikas, (i. e. Ajivikas) with the Nikendabaras or Nirgranthas as practising severe penance. "They both hold that the penalty for sinful life must sooner or later be paid so that the life to come may be free for enjoyment. Thus their practices were ascetic. Fasting, silence, immovability and burning themselves upto the neck were their expressions of penance. 101

Hoernle identifies the Ashibikas with the Digambara Jainas. In support of his theory, he refers to Halayudha 102 which "enumerates a large number of names of the two divisions, the Svetambaras and Digambaras ... The latter are also known as the Ajiva, which is only a shorter form of Ajivika. It is evident now, from what has been said, that the terms Niggantha and Ajivika denote the two Jaina orders which are known to us as Svetambaras and Digambaras." 103

Hoernle's further suggestion is that the term Nirgrantha implied only a Svetambara Jaina. This conclusion is not supported by any evidence. The verse quoted by Hoernle does not contain exactly synonymous words. It mentions the names of various schools. Basham remarks in this connection that the evidence of both Halayudha and Yadava, including the Nirgrantha in the same category as the Nagnata, should be adequate to disprove the theory. The term was obviously used for a Jaina of any type. 104

"Nigantha" or "Nirgrantha" was always used with reference to Digambaras in the earlier works. Its application to Svetambaras was a later development subsequent to their breaking away from the original school of Jainism in the early centuries B. C.

Silanka, the commentator of the Sutrakrtanga, says: "They are the Ajivikas who follow the doctrine of Gosala, or Botikas (i. e. Digambara."). 105 On the basis of this reference Hoernle righty concluded that the later Ajivikas merged with the Digambara Jainas. He says "Silanka states that the reference is to the Ajivikas or Digambaras. Seeing that, in his comment on another passage of the same work, he identifies the Ajivikas with the Terasiyas (Sanskrit Trairasikas). It follows that in silanka's view the followers of Gosala, the Ajivikas, the Terasikas, and the Digambaras were the same class of religious mendicants." 106

Basham, too, appears to support this view when he says that the Ajivika survived in Madras, Mysore and Andhra until the 14th century A. D., and that the original atheism of Makkhali Gosala merged with that of the Digambara Jainas. 107

But as a matter of fact Silanka could not make a clear statement that Ajivikas and Digambaras were the same. It seems that on the basis of nakedness, Halayudha Silanka etc. referred to the words which have the same meaning. 108

Jainism and Buddhism

As both Jainism and Buddhism were taught within the same geographical area during the same historical period, a high degree of mutual ideological influence was inevitable. The wandering of the Buddha for six years in search of enlightenment also would have brought him into contact with Jainistic dogmas.

Some ideas are found to be common to both Jainism and Buddhism. Buddhism is based on the Four Noble Truths (Cattari ariyasaccani), viz. the Truth of suffering (Dukkhasacca), the Truth of the Arising of Suffering (Dukkha-samudayasacca), and the Truth of the Path leading to the Annihilation of Suffering (Dukkha-nirodhagamani-patipada-ariyasacca). Jainism, too, teaches substantially the same doctrines. During the twelve meditations (Dvadasanupreksa) a Nigantha thinks of the nature of the world and soul. In this way he tries to abstain from attachment to anything so that he could attain the state of Vitaragatva (freedom from all desires). Avidya (ignorance), as in Buddhism, is the root cause of Karmic bondage, and release is possible through Right Vision (Samyagdarsana), Right Knowledge (Samyagjnana), and Right Conduct (Samyagcaritra). 109

Buddhism extols the four meditations (Bhavana), viz. Metta (Friendship) Karuna (Compassion), Mudita (delight), and Upekkha (Indifference). 110 The Jain Scripture declares that these should be meditated upon by everybody (Maitripramodakarunyamadhyasthani ca satvagunadhikaklisyamanavinayesu). They are realizable through concentration (yogakkhamani nibbanam ajjhagamam), and are free from ageing (ajaram) Salvation can be attained with the cessation of the chain of causation. Nibbana, in Jainism, is a condition of the pure soul, free from all bondage of karmas, peaceful, enlightened and eternal. 111 Both religions believe that every being experiences fruits of his good and bad deeds in the present or future life and rebirth continues till the attainment of salvation.

Non-violence (Ahimsa) is also a common feature of both Jainism and Buddhism. Buddhism, like Jainism, stipulates that its adherents should abstain from all forms of violence (Himsa). But Jainism appears more strict in this respect. The eating of flesh, which is not altogether forbidden in Buddhism, is completely forbidden in Jainism. In other words, non-violence is the foundation of Jain religion and philosophy. Syadvada and Nayavada, the spirit of reconciliation, is an integral part of its theme.

Both Jainism and Buddhism hold that the Universe came into being without the intervention of the creator-God. Worshiping of the images of their sages is a common feature in both religions.

As regards the dissimalirities between them, they are so fundamental that any positive influence of Jainism on Buddhism or vi ce versa in difficult to establish. Buddhism does not believe in soul, whereas Jainism regards it as an essential part of human personality and its purity is essential for the attainment of salvation. According to Buddhism, a thing which comes into being perishes in the next moment. All the psychical factors like feeling, cognition, names and concepts are discrete and momentary. The first moment is regarded as the material cause (upadana) and the second the effect (upadeya). The combined stream of Upadna and Upadeyna give rise to the false notion of a permanent self.

On the other hand, Jainism, in spite of admitting the obvious psycho-physical changes, adheres to the belief that both jiva (soul) and ajiva (matter) are eternal. It maintains that only the modes (paryayas) of a substance are subject to change while the substance with its essential quality (guna) is unchanging and abiding. The Buddhist theory of flux has been, therefore, criticised bitterly by the Jain philosophers.

These two religions resort to a common terminology. For instance, the word nigantha is used for Jainism in both scriptures. Buddhism also regards "sabbaganthappahina" 112 as the nature of Nibbana, Pudgala is used only in these two religions but with different meanings. In Jainism it means as inanimate thing, while Buddhism gives it the sense of Atma or Jiva. Likewise, Arhat, Buddha, Asava, samvara, Sammaditthi (samyagdrasti or Samyagjnana) Micchaditthi. Tisarana, Naraka, etc. are common to both the religious systems.

According to the Pali Canon, the Buddha himself had a more favourable impression of Nigantha Nataputta and Jainism than of any other contemporary teacher or teaching, 113 though he condemned the Niganthas at a number of places, 114 Apart from the fact that they arose from the same social milieu, the emphasis they both laid on ethical principles and on the empirical testing of truth seems to have made them mutually respectful to each other.


The foregoing discussion has brought us to the conclusion that the Sramana cultural system led by the Jainas existed perhaps prior to Brahmana cult and that most of the leaders of different sects of that time were influenced by the Jaina dogmas. Jocobi came to the following conclusion on the interrelationship of these religious teachers:

The preceding four Tirth nkaras (Makkhali Gosala, Purana Kassapa and others) appear to have adopted some or other doctrines or practices of the Jaina system, probably from the Jainas themselves...Here it appears that Jaina ideas and practices must have been current at the time of Mahavira and independently of him. This combined with other arguments, leads us to the opinion that the Nirgranthas (Jainas) were really in existence long before Mahavira, who was the reformer of the already existing sect." 115

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