Jainism: Understanding Jainism is important for UPSC aspirants as it contributes to a deeper understanding of India’s religious and philosophical diversity and its impact on the country’s culture and history. Jainism is an ancient religious and philosophical tradition that originated in India. Here are some key notes on Jainism for UPSC preparation:
- Jainism was founded by Lord Mahavira, also known as Vardhamana Mahavira or simply Mahavira.
- He was born in the 6th century BCE in present-day Bihar, India.
2. Core Beliefs:
- Jainism is characterized by its core principles, often referred to as the “Three Jewels” or “Ratnatraya”:
- Right Belief (Samyak Darshana): Acceptance of the truth of Jainism’s teachings.
- Right Knowledge (Samyak Jnana): Acquiring knowledge of the self and the universe.
- Right Conduct (Samyak Charitra): Living a morally upright and non-violent life.
3. Non-Violence (Ahimsa):
- Ahimsa, or non-violence, is the most fundamental principle of Jainism.
- Jains are committed to avoiding harm to all living beings, including animals, insects, and plants.
- Vegetarianism is a common practice among Jains.
4. Ascetic Lifestyle:
- Jain monks and nuns lead a highly ascetic life, renouncing worldly possessions and attachments.
- They wear simple white robes, pluck their hair, and practice extreme non-attachment.
5. Concept of Karma:
- Jainism teaches the concept of karma, which is the accumulation of moral and ethical consequences from one’s actions.
- The goal is to reduce and ultimately eliminate karma through righteous conduct and spiritual practices.
6. Cycle of Rebirth:
- Jains believe in the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth (samsara) until one achieves spiritual liberation (moksha).
- Moksha is attained by shedding all karma and achieving spiritual enlightenment.
- The primary religious texts of Jainism are called the “Agamas” or “Sutras,” which contain the teachings of Lord Mahavira.
- There are two major sects within Jainism, the Digambaras (sky-clad) and Svetambaras (white-clad), each with its own set of scriptures.
8. Worship and Rituals:
- Jains worship various Tirthankaras (spiritual teachers) and divine beings.
- Rituals include prayers, meditation, fasting, and visits to Jain temples and pilgrimage sites.
9. Contribution to Indian Culture:
- Jainism has made significant contributions to Indian culture, particularly in the fields of art, architecture, and literature.
- The construction of Jain temples with intricate carvings and the preservation of ancient manuscripts are notable examples.
10. Influence and Presence:
- Jainism has had a lasting influence on Indian philosophy, ethics, and religious thought.
- While it is a minority religion in India, Jain communities can be found in various parts of the country.
11. Prominent Figures: – Apart from Lord Mahavira, notable Jain figures include the first Tirthankara, Rishabhanatha, and prominent Jain scholars and monks.
By Team Learning Mantras