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                  Ahimsa Through Ages 

  Jainism is a practical religion. It is a religion, which can be practiced while one is engaged in the daily transactions of life in this world. It helps in everyday affairs of mundane life. It adds to the success of a businessman, of a man in power and responsible position, of an artisan, and an artist, and of  a laborer in the street, and of a man who is placed in the lowest, the dirtiest, and the worst position in life. It is a religion which cannot only be professed but lived. A Jain, while professing and practicing Jainism, may well be a victorious king, a successful statesman, administrator, executive or judicial officer, a successful factory manager, an inventor, a scientist, a doctor, a soldier, an engineer, a tradesman, a lawyer, a farmer, a laborer, an artist.
Apostles of Ahimsâ have been rulers of vast territories, have fought battles, have vanquished armies, and have founded empires. They have awarded merited punishment to murderers, robbers, ravishers, thieves, swindlers, and criminals of sorts. The land in their charge used to be proverbially fertile, and the people happy and prosperous. 
According to the Jaina scripture known as Padma Purâna, Shri Râm Chandra, the hero of the Râmŕyana, attained Moksa or Nirvŕna, became a worshipful Arhat and is a worship able Siddha, because of having followed the discipline of a saint, and having thereby got rid of all Karmic contact, although he killed many men in his encounter with Râvana, the king of Ceylon, and in other skirmishes. Such killing was Himsâ, but the Karmic contamination was not deep because of absence of malice, and such as there was, was neutralized by austerities, control of speech and action, meditation and concentration of mind.
The five Pândava brothers who were the victorious heroes of the greatest war of epic India, a war which caused the destruction of the flower of  Indian chivalry counted in millions, were also good Jaina rulers of territories. They adopted the vows of sainthood, and after server austerities and deep meditation attained the highest and purest point of soul purity the Divinity.
Emperor Chandra Gupta Maurya was a good Jain monarch of historical times. He sat on the Magadha throne in 322 B.C. and conquered the North-west country up to the Hindukush. His territories extended up to Kathiawar in the west, and included the Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Behâr. He also adopted the vows of a Jain saint at the feet of Bhadra Bâhu Swâmi and performed austerities of the order. This is proved to demonstration by the rock inscriptions as Sravana Belgola in Mysore.
Châmunda Râya was a brave general and a great minister of the Jaina king, Râyamlla, who reigned in the tenth century and belonged to the Ganga dynasty. He took the vows of a layman from the Great Saint Ajitsena. The beautiful temple at Chandragiri, Sravana Belgola, district Hasan, Mysore, was constructed by him. 
King Kharvel of the dynasty of Mahâ-Megha-Vâhan was also a good Jain monarch, who ascended the throne in his 16th year. His victories and his charities are recorded in the rock inscription of Hathi Guphâ near Bhuvaneshwar, in Orissa.
  The Parmâr and Solanki Rajputa of Osia, near Jodhpur were converted to Jainism some 2,300 year ago. Maharaj Kumârpâla of Anhilpur, Patan-Gujrat, was also a Jain monarch, a devout disciple of Shri Hem Chandra Âchârya. His territories extended up to Kolhapur in the south, Kashmir in the north, Magadha in the east and Sindh in the west. In Pŕtan, the capital of his kindgom, there were 1800 multi-millionaires. He was not only learned and bountiful, but led a controlled and regulated life. After the queen’s death, he did not marry again and observed the vows of sexual purity. The Jain temples at Târanga Hill were built by him. He ruled 1143 to 117 A.D.  having  ascended the throne at the age of 50. He gave one crore of rupees annually to alleviate the distress of poverty-stricken people. In recognition of his exemplary personal merit of character he was given titles by his subjects, such as   “Brother to the wives of others, “the Giver of life,”  “All-round thinker, “Uplifter of the fallen”,  “Saint-king”.
The Bhandârĩs of Jodhpur who trace their descent from the Chouhân Rajputs of Ajmere were converted to Jainism in 992 by Yashobhadra Sűri. They were learned scholars, wise administrators and brave soldiers, loyal to the Jodhpur Raj. Raja Amogh Varsha, of Malkhed, in the territory of Hyderabad, Deccan, ruled from 815 to 877, and then adopted the vows of a Jaina saint.   Bachhrâj, the founder of the Bucchâwat clan, who came with Rao Bikâji and helped in establishing the kingdom of Bikaner in 1488, was a Jain Rajput.
Ahimsâ in its full significance has been realizes, realized, preached, and practised only by and in the Jaina religion. Jainism is synonymous with Ahimsâ. It is Ahimsâ Dharma, the religion of Ahimsâ. “Ahimsâ Paramo Dharmah” Ahimsâ is the highest religion is emblazoned on the banner of Jainism. Its Philosophy and conduct are broad-based on the solid foundation of Ahimsâ, which has throughout and consistently been followed to its logical conclusion.  It is the first and foremost of the five vows, which a Right Believer on the path of Right Conduct follows. The other four are abstention from falsehood, intercourse, and from possession of temporalities.
The five vows are followed in the completes form, and to their fullest extent, by saints, viz., persons who have cut off all connection with temporal objects, have adopted asceticism, and are ever engaged in austerities, study, discourse, contemplation, meditation, and self-realization.  They are followed in a lesser degree, and to an extent varying with his spiritual advancement, by every Right Believer who has entered upon the path of liberation.


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