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Q 22- Throw light on the impact of Jainism and its teachings on the composite culture of Indian Society (250 words)

  • Paper & Topic: GS I à Indian Culture

 

  • Model Answer:

 

  • Introduction:

 

  • Jainism, one of the three major religions of early India, has been continuously practised since around the middle of the first millennium BC.
  • Jainism had given a severe jolt to the Vedic religion.
  • It brought changes in the religious atmosphere of India.
  • By its contribution it enriched the Indian Culture. It cast its shadow over many aspects of Indian Culture.

 

  • Body:

 

  • Impacts of Jainism and its teachings on the composite culture of Indian Society:

 

  • Growth of Language and Literature:

 

  • Jainism influenced Indian language and literature. Vardhaman Mahavir preached in ‘Ardha-Magadhi’ language, the language of the common man.
  • The people knowing ‘Magadhi’ and ‘Soruaseni’ could easily follow the preaching’s of Mahavir.
  • In due course of time the Jaina Canonical texts were written in Prakrit language.
  • Thus, the vernacular and regional languages were enriched by Jainism.
  • Further, the Jaina texts like ‘Anga’, ‘Upanga’, ‘Kalpasutra’, ‘Archarangasutra’, ‘Uttaradhyayanasutra’ etc. were also written in Sanskrit.
  • Thus, the literature also grew due to the rise of Jainism.

 

  • Principle of Non-Violence:

 

  • Mahavira Jaina was the embodiment of peace. He was the preacher of non-violence.
  • He rejected the Vedic rituals and taught to be kind and humane to the animals.
  • Further, he emphasized that both living and non-living beings have life and they get pain.
  • His concept of non-violence largely influenced the course of Indian history.
  • Even a great leader like Mahatma Gandhi followed the principle of non-violence and became successful by ousting the British from India.
  •  
  • Influence on Politics:

 

  • Jainism influenced the Indians politics too. It cast its influence over many rulers.
  • The great Chandragupta Maurya became the famous Chadramuni coming under the spell of Jainism.
  • The mighty emperor Mahameghavahana Aira Kharavela became an ardent devotee of Mahavira Jaina.
  • Examples can be multiplied.
  • By following the principle of non-violence the kings became kind hearted and tolerant.
  • This was a lasting impact of Jainism on Indian politics.

 

  • Growth of Trading Community:

 

  • Jainism contributed a lot for the growth of trading community.
  • At first, Jainism became popular among the traders and merchants.
  • It fostered brotherhood among them which gave rise to guild system in future.
  • The merchants became rich and got a special position in the society.
  • Owing to their wealth and fame they came closer to ruling class.
  • The cooperation between them brought stability in the society.

 

  • Creation of Healthy Society:

 

  • Jainism went a long way in creating a healthy society.
  • Mahavir preached against the caste system.
  • With the end of caste system in society the grip of the higher caste over the lower cast ended.
  • The lower class people were not to be exploited by the higher caste people.
  • The bitterness between the two antagonistic sections of the society melted away.
  • This gave rise to a healthy society which influenced the course of Indian history.

 

  • Growth of Charitable Institutions:

 

  • Jainism helped a lot in the growth of charitable institutions.
  • Its influence on the kings and other people was abiding.
  • The kings created many caves for the dwelling of the sages of different castes.
  • They also distributed foods and clothes to the people.
  • With the gradual march of time other rich people followed this practice.
  • They created charitable institutions to serve the people.
  • Thus, social welfare was largely attained due to the growth of charitable institutions.

 

  • Growth of Art and Architecture:
  • Jainism helped a lot in the growth of Art and Architecture.
  • The kings patronized Jainism.
  • So many Jaina unages and the images of Jaina Tirthankara were found in many parts of India.
  • The image of Bahuvalin in Shravanavelgola in Karnataka (known as Gomateswara) is the highest Jaina image ever craved in India.
  • The Jaina images found in Mathura, Bundelkhand, Northem Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Benares are important Jaina Art remains in India.
  • The cave art of Udayagiri in Bhubaneswar, Madhya Pradesh, Ellora and Maharashtra are unique examples of Jaina art.
  • The Dilwara Jaina temple at Mount Abu of Rajasthan is a dream in marble.
  • Thus, Jainism helped in the growth of art and architecture in India.

 

  • Literature:

 

  • Jainism has also rendered valuable contribution to the growth of vernacular literature.
  • While the Buddhist and the Brahmans preached in Pali and Sanskrit, the Jains preached in the language of the people.
  • Most of the Jain literature was written in Prakriti.
  • Large literature was produced in the vernacular language also.
  • For example, Mahavira preached in a mixed dialect called Ardha Magadhi so that people of the area could understand his teachings
  • The Jains also influenced the Kanarese literature in the South.
  • Certain Jain works were also produced in Sanskrit language.

 

  • New Touch of Life:
  • Jainism gave a new touch to life.
  • It criticized the Vedic religion and the pre-dominance of Brahmanism.
  • Thus, the people turned away their attention from the unnecessary ritualistic practices.
  • They led a very simple and normal life.
  • This influences the society a lot and moulded its character in future.

 

  • Conclusion:
  • In fact, Jainism went a long way in influencing the Indian culture.
  • Mahavir Jaina raised voice against Brahmanism.
  • His simple life and teachings brought him closer to the mess.
  • In due course of time, Jainism received royal patronage and flourished inside the country.
  • In the field of art and architecture, society, religion. Jainism left is indelible marks.
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