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On the Indian Sect of the Jainas   By: (1837-1898)

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ON THE INDIAN SECT OF THE JAINAS

BY JOHANN GEORG BÜHLER C.I.E., LLD., PH.D. Member of the Imperial Academy of Sciences, Vienna.

TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN.

EDITED with an OUTLINE of JAINA MYTHOLOGY

BY JAS. BURGESS, C.I.E., LL.D., F.R.S.E.

1903.

PREFACE.

The late Dr. Georg Bühler's essay Ueber die Indische Secte der Jaina , read at the anniversary meeting of the Imperial Academy of Sciences of Vienna on the 26th May 1887, has been for some time out of print in the separate form. Its value as a succinct account of the ['S]râvaka sect, by a scholar conversant with them and their religious literature is well known to European scholars; but to nearly all educated natives of India works published in German and other continental languages are practically sealed books, and thus the fresh information which they are well able to contribute is not elicited. It is hoped that the translation of this small work may meet with their acceptance and that of Europeans in India and elsewhere to whom the original is either unknown or who do not find a foreign language so easy to read as their own.

The translation has been prepared under my supervision, and with a few short footnotes. Professor Bühler's long note on the authenticity of the Jaina tradition I have transferred to an appendix (p. 48) incorporating with it a summary of what he subsequently expanded in proof of his thesis.

To Colebrooke's account of the Tirtha[.n]karas reverenced by the Jainas, but little has been added since its publication in the ninth volume of the Asiatic Researches ; and as these are the centre of their worship, always represented in their temples, and surrounded by attendant figures, I have ventured to add a somewhat fuller account of them and a summary of the general mythology of the sect, which may be useful to the archaeologist and the student of their iconography.

Edinburgh, April 1903. J. BURGESS.

CONTENTS.

THE INDIAN SECT OF THE JAINAS, by Dr. J. G. BÜHLER.

Appendix: Epigraphic testimony to the continuity of the Jaina tradition

SKETCH OF JAINA MYTHOLOGY, by J. BURGESS.

THE INDIAN SECT OF THE JAINAS.

The Jaina sect is a religious society of modern India, at variance to Brahmanism, and possesses undoubted claims on the interest of all friends of Indian history. This claim is based partly on the peculiarities of their doctrines and customs, which present several resemblances to those of Buddhism, but, above all, on the fact that it was founded in the same period as the latter.

Larger and smaller communities of Jainas or Arhata , that is followers of the prophet, who is generally called simply the Jina 'the conqueror of the world', or the Arhat 'the holy one', are to be found in almost every important Indian town, particularly among the merchant class. In some provinces of the West and North west, in Gujarât, Râjputâna, and the Panjâb, as also in the Dravidian districts in the south, especially in Kanara, they are numerous; and, owing to the influence of their wealth, they take a prominent place. They do not, however, present a compact mass, but are divided into two rival branches the Digambara and ['S]vetâmbara [Footnote: In notes on the Jainas, one often finds the view expressed, that the Digambaras belong only to the south, and the ['S]vetâmbaras to the north. This is by no means the case. The former in the Panjâb, in eastern Râjputâna and in the North West Provinces, are just as numerous, if not more so, than the latter, and also appear here and there in western Râjputâna and Gujarât: see Indian Antiquary , vol. VII, p. 28.] each of which is split up into several subdivisions. The Digambara, that is, "those whose robe is the atmosphere," owe their name to the circumstance that they regard absolute nudity as the indispensable sign of holiness, [Footnote: The ascetics of lower rank, now called Pa[n... Continue reading book >>




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