Jul 5, 2010

Sharamans and Vedics

-Shri Balbhadra Jain
Indian culture has been called the ancient culture. Indian culture is the holy river Ganga. Two great rivers are submerged in it Shraman and Vedic. Neither Shraman stream can be called Indian Culture nor Vedic stream. These two look like opponent of each other but both of them have created Indian culture.

Both of them have their own culture. While differentiating them a great scholar Shree Mangaldeo Shastri writes-

The word "Muni" is associated with the knowledge, Tap and Vairagya like emotions. Muni is mentioned in Vedic Sanhitas for a lesser account while Muni is related and mentioned in Shraman culture. In those Purans, in which both the streams are combinely mentioned Muni word is used for same meaning. Both have a difference in development. Rishi or Vedic culture shows Karmakand and nontolerance while Shraman culture shows nonviolence, vegetarianism and the tolerance of thoughts".

Now as we have known the difference between Shraman and Vedic culture. It becomes necessary to know the meaning of Shraman.

Acharya Haribhadra Suri says in Dashvaikalik Sutra 173 which means who works hard, bears difficulties, does Tap is a Shraman.

In the above definition of Shraman, the meaning of Shraman exists.One who works hard, does the Tapasya and believes in his own hard work is called a Shraman. Who believes in his own hardwork (Purusharth) and achieves self realization (Atmasiddhi) is a Kshtriya so we must call Shraman as the culture of hard workers i.e. Kshatriya culture.

In the Vedic civilization particularly in Vedas, Yagyik Karmkand was Ceremonied by the public and a variety of deities were praised. The public begged prosperity by these deities. Beginning is done by the Brahmins. So it can be called that Vedic culture is a Brahmin culture. So it can be called that Vedic culture is a Brahmin culture. So that Brahmins have got the most prestigious place in Vedic culture. It is a traditional culture.

Our belief is suppoted by the Vedic literature. Tetteriya Aranyaka (2-Prapathak 7 Anuwak 1-2) says-writes

"Vatarashan Sharaman Rishis went towards Brahmapada. Other Rishi approached them with their needs. They saw the Rishis disappeared. The Vatarashan Rishis were hidden into the Rushmand Mantras. Then other Rishis found them by Shridha and Tap. Rishis asked the Vatarashan Munis "How do you disappear ?" Vatarashan Rishis find them as guests and replied-Munijans you are welcomed by Namostu. How could I welcome you? Rishis replied "Give us the pure self-realization knowledge which would make us pure."

Shrimad Bhagwat admire Shraman and says them as urdhwmanthi Shraman Munis and also call them peaceful, pure persons. Munis who achieved Brahma Pada (holiness).

It is a true significance of Vatarashan Munis so that Nighantus discription defines Vatarashan Munis as follows -

Shreemadbhagawat has supported in 11/2.
Shraman Munis were not weared with any clothings. The same munis with the knowledge self realization (Atma Vidhya).

Bhagawat writer has also admired them in Skandha 12 Adhyay-3, Shlok 18-19 for their high thinking and attitude as -
Means "Oh king ! There are four legs of Dharma in the satayuga Truth, Pity, Tap and Donation. They are bound to follow these rules at that time. At that time, only shramans are self satisfied merciful, friendly, peaceful, tolerant, Indriyajayi (controllers of the body orgains), satisfied with their ownself (in their own soul) and sees everyone by same vision.

There has been a mention of such Digambar Shramans since a long time. In Rigveda 10/94/11 has Shramans has been mentioned for the first time. Ramayana has also admired the shramans at many places with respect. Prabhu Ramchnandra was the great of shabari who was a shramani. King Janak was also feeding the Shramans.

We know that shramans were Digambar, Nirgrantha Munis as a conclusion. In the Indian history shramans were found since ancient time. Shramans were having the Atmavidhya. Vedic Tishis learnt Atmavidhya from Shramans. Dr. Vasudeo Sharan Agrawal writes "Vanaprastha and Sanyas parampara was learnt by Vedic Rishis from the Shramans. (Introduction of Jain History-Page 13).

Jains were told Shramans in the ancient time Shramans are found in the ancient literature.
History writers accept the fact that the time of writing the sanhitas was the golden period of Indian culture. It was the time when Vedic and Shraman culture were getting reached with the transaction of each other knowledge/were gaining knowledge from each other. A new sort of culture was developing in Indian climate. The physical directed culture was admiring the spiritual culture. The Vedic Rishis were attributing/attracting towards the shraman culture. They were paying their shridha to shramans. At that time the Rishis were writting Mantras to pay their shradha to shraman munis in Rigveda 2/32/15, 4/6/24/4, Atharvaveda 19/42/4.
But it seems that at the time of the creation of Brahmin Sahitya, Smriti and Purans Specially Vishnu Puran Vedic Rishis could not control their emotions for shramans as a result they started defaming Vratyas. It may be caused by the changing of the flow of Karmakands towards the spiritual Upanishads writtings.

So it was obvious to retain their own stream by the Vedic Rishis. They started defaming to Vratys in the form of Ayajwan, Anyavrita, Akarman (not doing anything). The boundries were taken shape according to the belief of Vedic and shramans. Prayashitta (Confess) was created if someone visit to Anga-Banga-kalinga, Saurashtra and Magadha. Purans had created confession by taking 100's of births or it was written that if survival is possible through Jain Mandir's shelter one should not accept it and should accept death. The "Prakrit" Language of Vratyas was defamed and the religion was called of womens and Kshudras. It was a part of defaming by the Vedic Rishis.

The word 'Arhat' was used also as shraman, vratya in Jain Religion since ancient time. Probably it was used in a bulk of the Puran writings. Shreemad Bhagwat has used the word at several places. Shreemad Bhagawat has told about Rishabhadev that "Sarvagya who has burnt his evil by Tapasya" and became Arhat. He was the founder of Arhat Religion. Vishnu Puran has mentioned while on the ocassion of the war between food and evil that Maya-Moh established Arhat religion in the evil side.(Adhyay 17-18) That Maya-Moh was shown as a Digambar Jain Muni (Shraman). He was created by Lord Vishnu for helping Brihaspati. Maya-Moh was shown as a Digambar Jain Muni with peacock tailed pichchhi and delivered teaching among the evils (Asurs), Matsa Puran has told that non-violence is a religion which is founded by Arhants.
Likewise Arhant religion is seen in Hindus purans.

As a conclusion, we can say that Shraman, Vratya, Arhat, Jain has the same meaning. Vedic literature has mentioned Vatarashoma, Urdhvareta, Urdhwamanthi for Shraman Munis. Whereever it has been used it has give prestigeous values.

Those beliefs of Jain Religion has been supported by other literature and archaeological facts findings. Where ever Rishabhdev, Vatarashana, Keshi are mentioned in Vedic literature, they are related with Jain religion, it has been accepted by the scholars. Arhan has been mentioned in so many Richas it shows the ancient Jain Religion.

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