Welcome, aspiring UPSC exam candidates, to this comprehensive learning material on Jainism. In this module, we will explore the fascinating aspects of Jainism, including the birth and life of Mahavira, the teachings of Mahavira, the organization and sects of Jainism, its literature, councils, spread, and royal patrons. Let's embark on this enlightening journey into the world of Jainism!
I. Birth and Life of Mahavira (540-468 B.C.):
Mahavira, the founder of Jainism, lived during a significant period in Indian history. Here are the key points to remember:
1. Mahavira, born around 540 B.C., hailed from a noble family in Kundagrama (present-day Bihar, India).
Trick to Remember: Picture Mahavira as a noble soul destined to shape the spiritual landscape.
2. Renouncing worldly life at the age of 30, Mahavira embarked on a path of deep contemplation and rigorous asceticism.
Trick to Remember: Envision Mahavira's journey as a transformative quest for spiritual awakening.
3. For twelve years, Mahavira underwent severe penances, practicing meditation, self-discipline, and renunciation.
Trick to Remember: Visualize twelve years as a symbol of Mahavira's perseverance on the path to enlightenment.
4. During his lifetime, Mahavira traveled extensively, spreading his teachings and attracting disciples from all walks of life.
Trick to Remember: Think of Mahavira as a wandering sage, sharing his wisdom with seekers across the land.
II. Teachings of Mahavira:
Mahavira's teachings formed the foundation of Jain philosophy and way of life. Here are the key points to remember:
1. Ahimsa (Non-violence): Ahimsa, the principle of non-violence, lies at the heart of Jainism, promoting compassion towards all living beings.
Trick to Remember: Remember "A" for Ahimsa, the cornerstone of Jain ethics.
2. Karma and Reincarnation: Jainism emphasizes the concept of karma, the law of cause and effect, and believes in the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
Trick to Remember: Visualize the circle of life and karma, intertwined like a continuous cycle.
3. Asceticism and Austerities: Jainism upholds the practice of asceticism and austerities as a means to purify the soul and attain liberation (moksha).
Trick to Remember: Think of asceticism as the path of self-discipline leading to spiritual liberation.
4. Multiple Realities: Jainism acknowledges the existence of multiple realities and asserts that reality can be perceived differently by different beings.
Trick to Remember: Picture multiple realities like different lenses through which beings perceive the world.
III. Organization and Sects of Jainism:
Jainism encompasses various sects and organizations. Let's explore the key points:
1. Shvetambara and Digambara Sects: Jainism is divided into two major sects - Shvetambara (clad in white) and Digambara (clad in sky-blue).
Trick to Remember: Remember "S" for Shvetambara (white) and "D" for Digambara (sky-blue).
2. Sangha: Jain monastic order, known as the Sangha, plays a vital role in preserving and propagating Jain teachings.
Trick to Remember: Visualize the Sangha as a spiritual community bound by the teachings of Jainism.
IV. Literature of Jainism:
Jainism has a rich corpus of sacred texts and scriptures. Let's explore the key points:
1. Agamas: The Agamas, consisting of the teachings of Mahavira, are considered the primary scriptures of Jainism.
Trick to Remember: Think of Agamas as the treasure trove of wisdom left behind by Mahavira.
2. Tattvartha Sutra: Tattvartha Sutra, authored by Acharya Umasvati, is a significant Jain text that explores the fundamental principles of Jain philosophy.
Trick to Remember: Picture Tattvartha Sutra as a comprehensive guide to Jain philosophy penned by Acharya Umasvati.
V. Councils, Spread, and Royal Patrons:
Jainism witnessed the convening of councils and received support from royal patrons. Let's delve into the key details:
1. Jain Councils: Jainism held councils to preserve and consolidate its teachings and scriptures, ensuring their authenticity.
Trick to Remember: Remember "C" for councils, platforms for the preservation of Jain knowledge.
2. Spread of Jainism: Jainism spread across various regions of ancient India, gaining followers and establishing influential Jain communities.
Trick to Remember: Visualize Jainism spreading like ripples across the Indian subcontinent.
3. Royal Patrons: Jainism received patronage from several kings and royal families, who supported the religion and its followers.
Trick to Remember: Think of royal patrons as pillars of support that upheld Jainism.
With these concise and informative points, along with easy tricks to remember, you can now grasp the essence of Jainism. Keep exploring and learning about this ancient Indian philosophy as you prepare for the UPSC Exam. May your knowledge of Jainism blossom, leading you to success in your endeavors!