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THE later half of the sixth century BC seems to have been unusually fertile in giving rise to new religious movements in India. An old text amongst the sacred lore of the Buddhists' mentions sixty-three different philosophical schools, probably all of them non-Brahman, existing at the time of Buddha, and there are passages in Jain literature exhibiting a far larger number of such heretical doctrines. Although these statements may have been influenced by the tendency to exaggerate which is visible in most Hindu works, and although many of these sects may have been distinguished only by very subtle differences in matters of doctrine and practice, we are still bound to believe that there was an extraordinary impulse shown in the rise and development of new theological and philosophical ideas at that time. It is beyond our power of investigation to determine whether some of these schools may not have owed their origin to a time far more remote than that of Buddha. In the few cases where we are in some degree able to form an opinion on such points—and the history of the Jain doctrine gives us some hints in this direction—it seems most probable that this may have been the case. It is certainly difficult to believe that all these sects should have originated at the same time. We may therefore suggest that revolts against the Brahman doctrines date from a much more remote age than the time of Gautama Buddha, the founder of one of the most important religions of the world, and Vardhamana Mahavira, the founder or rather reformer of the Jain church. Not only these two religious teachers but also a number of others, of whom we know little or nothing more than the name, preached in a spirit of most conscientious and determined contradiction against the sanctity of the Vedic lore, the sacrificial prescriptions of the ritualists, and the claims of spiritual superiority asserted by the Brahmans; but it is a strange characteristic of these sects, so far as we know them, that they adopted in their ascetic practices and in their whole mode of life the rules which had been already fixed by their Brahman antagonists.

In the later law books the life of a Hindu is theoretically divided into four successive stages, viz. those of brahmacharin or student of the sacred lore, grihastha or householder, vanaprastha or anchorite, and parivrajaka or wandering mendicant. Now there are no express statements in Vedic, or pre-Buddhist, texts, concerning the existence of this theory in older times; but from certain passages in the principal Upanishads we may infer that at least the germs of this institution existed at a comparatively early period, as in them we find the knower of the atman or Supreme Soul, that is to say, the parivrajaka or Brahman ascetic contrasted with students, sacrificers and anchorites. However, the order of the different stages—with the exception of that of a brahmacharin, which is always the first—seems not at that time to have been a fixed one, and it may be doubted if this theory was ever on a great scale adopted in real life in India. But this question is for us of no importance, as we have here only to take notice of the fourth stage, that of the Brahman ascetic, whose life was, no doubt, the standard for the rules of discipline laid down by Mahavira for his followers.

The Arthashastra or Manual of Politics which may possibly be the real work of Chanakya or Kautilya, and therefore written about 300 BC, describes in the following words the life of a parivrajaka: (the duties) of an ascetic (consist in) subduing his senses, withdrawal from worldly things and from communication with people, begging for alms, living in the forests, but not in the same place, cleanliness external and internal, abstinence from injury to living beings, and in sincerity, purity, freedom from envy, in kindness and in patience. These general rules could—perhaps with one slight alteration—as well be found in any Jain work, and in fact we do find them in many passages of the Jain canon, although perhaps not exactly in the same words. But the similarity between the life of a Brahman and a Jain ascetic goes much further, and often extends to the most trifling rules of discipline as has been shown by Professor Jacobi from a comparison of the rules laid down for Jain monks and for Brahman mendicants. Evidently there is not the slightest reason for regarding either the Jains or the Buddhists as innovators in these matters; and the following pages will show that it was in doctrine rather than in life, in the attempt to abolish the authority of the Brahman scriptures and the rites of sacrifice rather than in any effort to change the social institutions and conditions of his time, that Mahavira differed more widely from his Brahman predecessors. And when both he and his great rival, Buddha, state that a man is not merely born a Brahman, but becomes a Brahman through his meritorious actions, they seem not even here to be real innovators; for we are immediately reminded of the legend of Satyakama Jabala and other similar instances, that seem to prove that birth was not always regarded as the true keynote of sanctity even in orthodox circles. Jainism, as well as Buddhism, is certainly to be viewed only in close connection with the Brahman institutions existing at the time of its rise; and from this standpoint we may now enter upon a closer investigation of the subject of this chapter, the origin and first development of the Jain church.

For a considerable time European scholars were unable to form a clear opinion on the rise and growth of Jainism owing to the absence of original texts which were then scarcely available in Europe. Thus the older generations of Sanskrit scholars may be said to have shared principally two different opinions on these matters. Colebrooke, Prinsep, Stevenson, E. Thomas, and others thought Jainism to be older than Buddhism—an opinion to which we may now willingly subscribe—mainly from the reason, that a disciple of Mahavira called Indrabhuti Gautama was held to be the same person as Gautama the Buddha. On the other hand, other distinguished Orientalists such as H. H. Wilson, Lassen, and even Weber, were of the opinion that Jainism was only one of the many different sects into which Buddhism was divided at an earlier or later date after the death of Buddha. Such a view might easily be held on the basis of certain somewhat striking resemblances which are found in the Buddhist and Jain records of which at that time only a comparatively small number had found their way to Europe. This latter hypothesis has now been thoroughly refuted by the works of two eminent German scholars, Bühler and Jacobi, who have laid down a sure foundation for our knowledge of Jainism by a thorough investigation of its old canonical texts and a comparison of these with the scriptures of the Buddhists and Brahmans. Starting therefore from the standard works on Jainism published by Professor Jacobi, and making use of the materials, which have been collected and examined by other scholars, we are now able to obtain a fairly clear view of the early history of Jainism.

Mahavira is usually regarded as the real founder of the Jain religion; and, as we have very scanty information about the only one of his alleged predecessors, who may possibly have had a real existence, we are, in our investigation, almost forced to adopt this point of view. But the Jains themselves claim for their religion a far more venerable antiquity: they tell us that before Mahavira there lived not less than 23 tirthakaras or prophets, who appearing at certain intervals preached the only true religion for the salvation of the world. The first of these prophets was king Rishabha, who after laying down his royal power and transferring the realm to his son Bharata, the first universal monarch (chakravartin), became a holy man and a tirthakara. As the opinions of the Jains about time and the ages of the world are absurdly exaggerated, it is almost impossible to express in numbers the time at which he is thought to have lived; it may be enough to say that his lifetime is supposed to have lasted for several billions of years and his height to have been about two miles. From such statements and from the flowery descriptions of the blissful state of the world in its first ages, it is evident that the Jains, as indeed, all Hindus, attributed to the first race of men a longer life, a greater strength, and more happiness than fall to the share of their offspring in the present age. As we know, the Greeks and Romans held similar opinions. But, of course, the world grew worse and worse and the life of man shorter and shorter, so that the 23rd tirthakara, Parchva, the immediate predecessor of Mahavira, is said to have lived only for a hundred years, and to have died only 250 years before his more celebrated successor.

This Parchva is assumed, on the authority of Professor Jacobi and others, to have been an historical personage and the real founder of Jain religion. As he is said to have died 250 years before the death of Mahavira, he may probably have lived in the eighth century BC. Professor Jacobi seems to regard this date as not improbable, since some centuries must have elapsed between his time and the appearance of the last Jain prophet. But, as we have not a single certain date in Indian history before the time of Buddha, it is evidently impossible to prove this. Almost as scanty is our knowledge of the life and teaching of Parchva, in spite of the large body of literature which has clustered around his name. In the well-known Kalpasutra of the Jains, which is stated to have been written by the pontiff Bhadrabahu (perhaps somewhat before 300 BC), we have in the chapter called 'The life of the Jinas' short account of the life of Parshva; but, as it is written in a purely formal style and bears too much resemblance to other records of the same sort, its value as an historical document is somewhat doubtful. However, it states that Parchva, like all tirtitakaras, was a Kshatriya, a member of the second caste, that of the warriors or nobility according to Braman law, and son of king Ashvasena of Benares and his wife Vama. No such person as Ashvasena is known from Brahman records to have existed: the only individual of that name mentioned in the epic literature was a king of the snakes (naga), and he cannot in any way be connected with the father of the Jain prophet. Parshva, who is always titled purisadaniya, which may mean either "the people's favourite" or "the man of high birth", lived for thirty years in great splendor and happiness as a householder, and then, leaving all his wealth, became an ascetic. After 84 days of intense meditation he reached the perfect knowledge of a prophet, and from that time he lived for about 70 years in the state of most exalted perfection and saintship, and reached his final liberation, nirvana, on the top of mount Sammeta surrounded by his followers.

In regard to the teaching of Parshva we are better informed: it was probably essentially the same as that of Mahavira and his followers. But we have no exact knowledge, except on two principal points, as to how far this creed was due to Parshva, or what innovations may have been introduced by his successor. We are told that Parshva enjoined on his followers four great vows, viz. not to injure life, to be truthful, not to steal, and to possess no property, while Mahavira added a fifth requisition, viz. that of chastity. Further we know that Parshva allowed his disciples to wear an upper and an under garment. Mahavira, on his part, followed the more rigid rule which obliged the ascetic, to be completely naked. These seem to have been, in fact, the most important differences in doctrine between the founder and the reformer of Jainism; for an old canonical text tells us about a meeting between Gautama, the pupil of Mahavira, and Keshin, a follower of Parshva, in which they tried successfully to solve those questions on which a difference of opinion existed among the religious; and in that account the four vows and the wearing or not wearing of clothes form the main points of discussion. From this text we may venture to draw the conclusion that followers of Parshva, who did not, perhaps, fully recognise Mahavira as their spiritual head, existed during the lifetime of the latter, and that a sort of compromise was effected between the two sections of the church. Indeed it seems to remain a somewhat unsettled question if followers of Parshva and of Mahavira are not to be found even at the present day as the Svetambaras, or "monks in white clothes", and the Digambaras, "sky-clad or naked ascetics". However, this hypothesis is denied by most authorities; and as a matter of fact the old records place the division of the church into these two main sects at a time much later than Mahavira, as we shall see subsequently.

Nothing is known about the followers of ParShva until the time of the appearance of the last prophet of the Jains, Mahavira. As he is not only the most famous propagator of the Jain religion, but also after Buddha the best known of the non-Brahman teachers of ancient India, we shall have to dwell a little longer upon the records of his life, and in the first place we must examine such chronological data as exist for the determination of his period.

The Jains themselves have preserved chronological records concerning Mahavira and the succeeding pontiffs of the Jain church, which may have been begun at a comparatively early date. But it seems quite clear that, at the time when these lists were put into their present form, the real date of Mahavira had already either been forgotten or was at least doubtful. The traditional date of Mahavira's death on which the Jains base their chronological calculations corresponds to the year 470 before the foundation of the Vikrama era in 58 BC, i.e. 528 BC. This reckoning is based mainly on a list of kings and dynasties, who are supposed to have reigned between 528 and 58 BC; but the list is absolutely valueless, as it confuses rulers of Ujjain, Magadha, and other kingdoms; and some of these may perhaps have been contemporary, and not successive as they are represented. Moreover, if we adopt the year 528 BC, it would exclude every possibility of Mahavira having preached his doctrine at the same time as Buddha, as the Buddhist texts assert; for there is now a general agreement among scholars that Buddha died within a few years of 480 BC; and therefore some fifty years would have elapsed between the decease of the two prophets. But we are told that Buddha was 80 years old at his death, and that he did not begin preaching before his 36th year, that is to say, at a time when Mahavira, according to the traditional date, was already dead. Finally, both Mahavira and Buddha were contemporaries with a king of Magadha, whom the Jains call Kunika, and the Buddhists Ajatashatru; and he began his reign only eight years before Buddha's death. Therefore, if Mahavira died in 528 BC, he could not have lived in the reign of Kunika. So we must, no doubt, wholly reject this date and instead of it adopt another which was long ago suggested by Professor Jacobi on the authority of the great Jain author Hemachandra (d. 1172 AD), viz. 468 (467) BC. The dynastic list of the Jains mentioned above tells us that Chandragupta, the Sandrokottos of the Greeks, began his reign 255 years before the Vikrama era, or in 313 BC, a date that cannot be far wrong. And Hemachandra states that at this time 155 years had elapsed since the death of Mahavira, which would thus have occurred in 468 BC. This date agrees very well with other calculations and is only contradicted by a passage in the Buddhist Digha Nikaya which tells us that Nigantha Nataputta—the name by which the Buddhists denote Mahavira—died before Buddha. This assertion is, however, in contradiction with other contemporaneous statements, and forms no real obstacle to the assumption of the date 468 BC. We may therefore adopt this year as our basis for calculating the various dates in Mahavira's life.

To give a sketch of Mahavira's life is a somewhat difficult task as the oldest existing biography, included in the chapter of the Kalpasutra to which we have referred, is fanciful and exaggerated, bearing in these respects a certain resemblance to the tales in the Lalita-vistara and Nidana-katha concerning the early life of Buddha. If this biography is really the work of Bhadrabahu, it may be expected to contain notices of great value, even although its statements cannot always be accepted as strictly accurate. There are, moreover, in several old canonical works passages which give information on various events in Mahavira's life; and the Buddhist scriptures also give us some valuable hints.

The capital of Videha, Vesali or Vaishali, was without doubt one of the most flourishing towns of India about 500 years before the beginning of our era. The government, which was republican, or perhaps rather oligarchical, was entrusted to the princely family of the Licchavis, who are often mentioned in Buddhist and Jain writings, and who were certainly mightier at that time than at a later date, when an author remarks that they lived by assuming the title of king (rajan). Just outside Vaishali lay the suburb Kundagrama—probably surviving in the modern village of Basukund—and here lived a wealthy nobleman, Siddhartha, head of a certain warrior-clan called the Jnatrikas. This Siddhartha was married to the princess Trishala, sister of Chetaka, the most eminent amongst the Licchavi princes, and ruler of Vaishali. To them were born, according to the tradition, one daughter and two sons, the younger of whom was called Vardhamana, the future Mahavira. Through the Licchavis Siddhartha became the relative of a very powerful monarch; for king Bimbisara or Srenika of Magadha, the patron of Buddha and the mightiest ruler of Eastern India, had married Chellana, daughter of Chetaka; and she was mother of Ajatashatru or Kunika, who murdered his father eight years before the death of Buddha, and ascended the blood-stained throne of Magadha.

This is what we learn from the Kalpasutra concerning Mahavira's pedigree; and there is no reason to doubt this information. But the birth of great men—and especially religious teachers—has often afterwards been made a theme for the most fanciful and supernatural legends. And so the Kalpasutra tells us that Mahavira, when he descended from the heavenly palace of Pushpottara where he had led his previous existence, was at first conceived in the womb of Devananda, wife of the Brahman Rishabhadatta. This couple, too, lived in the suburb of Kundagrama. However, it had never happened in the innumerable cycles of previous world-periods that a prophet had been born in a Brahman family; and consequently the god Chakra (Indra) had the embryo removed from the womb of Devananda to that of Trishala. We must observe, however, that this tale is only believed by the Svetambaras, and constitutes one of the four main points rejected by the Digambaras, who seem here to hold the more sensible opinion.

Just like the mother of Buddha, the princess Trishala had auspicious dreams in the very night of conception; and the interpreters foretold that the child would become either a universal monarch or a prophet possessing all-comprising knowledge. So, the boy, whose birth was celebrated alike by gods and men, was received by his parents with the most lofty expectations, and was educated to the highest perfection in all branches of knowledge and art. In due time he was married to a lady, named Yasoda, and had by her a daughter, who became the wife of Jamali, a future disciple of his father-in-law, and the propagator of the first schism in the Jain church. However, Mahavira's mind was not turned towards secular things; and in his thirtieth year, after the decease of his parents, he left his home with the permission of his elder brother, Nandivardhana, and set out for the life of a homeless monk.

The first book of the Jain canon, the Acharanga-sutra, has preserved a sort of religious ballad giving an account of the years during which Mahavira led a life of the hardest asceticism, thus preparing himself for the attainment of the highest spiritual knowledge, that of a prophet. During the first thirteen months he never changed his robe, but let all sorts of living beings—as the text euphemistically says—crawl about on his body; but after this time he laid aside every kind of garment and went about as a naked ascetic. By uninterrupted meditation, unbroken chastity, and the most scrupulous observation of the rules concerning eating and drinking, he fully subdued his senses; nor did he ever in the slightest degree hurt or cause offence to any living being. Roaming about in countries inhabited by savage tribes, rarely having a shelter in which to rest for the night, he had to endure the most painful and injurious treatment from the barbarous inhabitants. However, he never lost his patience, and never indulged in feelings of hatred or revenge against his persecutors. His wanderings seem to have covered a wide area, and on occasions he visited Rajagriha, the capital of Magadha, and other towns, where the utmost honor, was shown him by pious householders.

It was during one of these visits to Nalanda, a suburb of Rajagriha famous in the sacred history of the Buddhists, that he met with Gosala Mamkhaliputta, a mendicant friar, who attached himself to Mahavira for some years. The consequences of this meeting were certainly disastrous for both the teacher and the disciple. For six years they lived together practising the most austere asceticism; but after that time, on account of a dispute which arose out of a mere trifle, Gosala separated himself from Mahavira, and set up a religious system of his own, soon afterwards proclaiming that he had attained to the highest stage of saintship, that of a tirthakara. This claim was put forth two years before Mahavira himself had reached his perfect enlightenment. The doctrines and views of Gosala are known to us only from notices scattered throughout the Jain and Buddhist writings, and his followers, the Ajivika sect, have left no written documents; but from the intolerant and bitter sayings of the Jains concerning Gosala, whom they stigmatize as merely a treacherous impostor, we may well conclude that the cause of dissension between him and his former teacher was deep-rooted, and that this quarrel must have been a severe blow to the rising influence of Mahavira and the establishment of the new religious community. Gosala took up his head-quarters in a potter's shop belonging to a woman named Halahala at Sravasti, and seems to have gained considerable reputation in that town. We shall hear something about him at a later stage; but for the present we must return to Mahavira himself.

Twelve years spent in self-penance and meditation were not fruitless; for in the thirteenth year Mahavira at last reached supreme knowledge and final deliverance from the bonds of pleasure and pain. The ipsissima verba of an old text will perhaps best show us how the Jains themselves have described this the most important moment of the prophet's life: "during the thirteenth year, in the second month of summer, in the fourth fortnight, the light (fortnight) of Vaisakha, on its tenth day, called Suvrata, while the moon was in conjunction with the asterism Uttara-Phalguni, when the shadow had turned towards the east, and the first wake was over, outside of the town Jrimbhikagrama, on the northern bank of the river Rijupalika, in the field of the householder Samaga, in a north-eastern direction from an old temple, not far from a Sal tree, in a squatting position with joined heels exposing himself to the heat of the sun, with the knees high and the head low, in deep meditation, in the midst of abstract meditation, he reached nirvana, the complete and full, the unobstructed, unimpeded, infinite and supreme, best knowledge and intuition, called kevala (total). When the venerable one had become an Arhat and Jina, he was a kevalin, omniscient and comprehending all objects, he knew all conditions of the world, of gods, men, and demons; whence they come, where they go, whether they are born as men or animals, or become gods or hell-beings; their food, drink, doings, desires, and the thoughts of their minds; he saw and knew all conditions in the whole world of all living beings.

At this time Vardhamana, henceforth styled Mahavira (the great hero) or Jina (the conqueror), was 42 years old; and from this age he entered upon a new stage of life, that of a religious teacher and the head of a sect called the nirgranthas, "free from fetters", a designation nowadays obsolete, and superseded by the the term Jainas "followers of the Jina". His parents had, according to a tradition which seems trustworthy, been followers of Parchva, the previous tirthakara: as has already been pointed out, the doctrine of Mahavira was scarcely anything else than a modified or renovated form of Parchva's creed. As he was a nirgrantha monk, and a scion of the Jnatri clan, his opponents, the Buddhists, call him Niggantha Nat(h)aputta (in Sanskrit Nirgrantho Jnatriputra). We owe to Professor Jacobi the suggestion, which is undoubtedly correct, that the teacher, who is thus styled in the sacred books of the Buddhists, is identical with Mahavira, and that consequently he was a contemporary of Buddha.

We possess little knowledge of the thirty years, during which Mahavira wandered about preaching his doctrine and making converts. He apparently visited all the great towns of N. and S. Bihar, principally dwelling in the kingdoms of Magadha and Anga. The Kalpasutra tells us that he spent his rainy seasons, during which the rules for monks prohibited the wandering life, at various places, e.g. at Champa, the capital of Anga, at Mithila, the kingdom of Videha, and at Sravasti, but chiefly at his native town Vaisali, and at Rajagriha, the old capital of Magadha. He frequently met with Bimbisara and his son, Ajatashatru or Kunika, the kings of Magadha, and their near relations; and according to the texts he was always treated by them and other important persons with the utmost respect, and made many converts amongst the members of the highest society. But we must observe that the Buddhists in an equal degree claim these kings as followers of their prophet; and we may conclude that uniform courtesy towards teachers of different sects was as common a characteristic of Indian kings in those days as at a later period. The Jains do not tell us anything about the Buddhists; but the latter frequently mention discussions and controversies between Buddha and disciples of Mahavira. In these accounts Buddha, of course, always has the last word, and is said to have inflicted considerable loss on the Jain community through the converts which he made amongst its followers. Even king Ajatashatru, according to the Pali texts, failed to obtain a satisfactory explanation concerning matters of religion from Mahavira, and consequently turned to Buddha with a far better result; but there seems to be little doubt that the Jains have more claim to include the parricide king amongst their converts than the Buddhists. Another prominent lay-follower of Mahavira was the householder of Rajagriha, Upali, who in his enthusiasm embarked on the attempt to convince Buddha of his wrong views. We learn, however, that the great teacher easily upset his arguments, and gained in his opponent a stalwart adherent to his creed. Subsequently, Upali is said to have treated his former teacher with an arrogance, which so shocked Mahavira that "hot blood gushed from his mouth".

But although the relations between the Jains and Buddhists were by no means friendly, we must probably not attach too much importance to the controversies between them or to the number of converts said to have been gained by one sect at the expense of the other. Between two contemporary religious communities working side by side in the same region and often coming into contact there must have occurred skirmishes; but the whole doctrine and mode of life adopted by the Buddhists was too widely different from that of the Jains to give occasion for more than somewhat temporary relations. We cannot here enter upon any full investigation of the doctrine of Mahavira. It must suffice here to point out that it represents, probably, in its fundamental tenets one of the oldest modes of thought known to us, the idea that all nature, even that which seems to be most inanimate, possesses life and the capability of reanimation; and this doctrine the Jains have, with inflexible conservatism, kept until modern times. This has nothing in common with the philosophy of Buddha. There is, in reality, no resemblance between the two systems except in regard to such matters as are the commonplaces of all Hindu philosophy. Even for those superficial believers who looked more to the exterior appearance and mode of life than to the doctrine and faith, the two sects presented an aspect so completely different that one could not easily be confused with the other.

Buddha had at first sought freedom from karman, or the bondage of works, and from transmigration in exaggerated self-torture: but he soon found that this was not the way to peace; and consequently he did not enforce upon his followers the practice of too hard self-penance but advised them to follow a middle way, that is to say, a simple life but one free from self-torture. Mahavira also had practised asceticism but with a different result; for he had found in its severest forms the road to deliverance, and did not hesitate to recommend nakedness, self-torture, and death by starvation as the surest means of reaching final annihilation; and the Jains proud of their own austerities often stigmatize the Buddhists as given to greed and luxury. Buddha always warned his disciples against hurting or causing pain to any living being; but Mahavira fell into exaggerations even here, and he seems in reality often to care much more for the security of animals and plants than for that of human beings. Such instances of a deep-rooted divergence in views could easily be multiplied; but what has been already pointed out is sufficient to prove that the Jains and Buddhists were in fact too far asunder to be able to inflict any very serious damage on each other. But this does not mean, however, that rivalry and hatred did not exist between them: such feelings certainly did exist, and we need not doubt that these rivals did their best to annoy each other according to their abilities and opportunities.

A far more dangerous rival of Mahavira was Gosala. Not only was his doctrine, although differing on many points, mainly taken from the tenets of Mahavira; but his whole mode of life also, in its insistence on nakedness and on the utter deprivation of all comforts, bore a close resemblance to that of the Jains. Between two sects so nearly related the transition must have been easy; and pious people may not always have been quite sure whether they were honouring the adherents of one sect or of the other. The Jain scriptures admit that Gosala had a great many followers in Sravasti; and, if we may trust their hints as to his laxity in moral matters, it is possible that his doctrine may for some people have possessed other attractions than those of asceticism and holiness. Although Mahavira is said not to have had any personal meeting with Gosala until shortly before the death of the latter, it seems clear that they carried on a bitter war against each other through their followers. Finally, in the sixteenth year of his career as a prophet, Mahavira visited Sravasti, the head-quarters of his mortal enemy. The account given by the Jains tells us that, at this meeting, Mahavira inflicted a final blow on his adversary, and that Gosala died a week afterwards, having passed his last days in a state of drunkenness and mental imbecility, but showing some signs of repentance at the last. But the story is rather confused, and it seems doubtful to what extent we may trust it. However, it may be regarded as beyond dispute that Mahavira was considerably relieved by the death of his opponent; and, according to the Bhagavati-sutra, he took a rather strange revenge on the dead man by describing to his disciples all the wicked deeds he would have to perform, and all the pains he would have to suffer in future existences, thus to a certain degree anticipating Dante's treatment of his adversaries. The death of Gosala occurred shortly after Ajatashatru had gained accession to the throne of Magadha by the murder of his father.

Even within the Jain church there occurred certain schismatical difficulties at this time. In the fourteenth year of Mahavira's office as prophet, his nephew and son-in-law, Jamali, headed an opposition against him, and similarly, two years afterwards, a holy man in the community, named Tisagutta, made an attack on a certain point in Mahavira's doctrine. But both of these schisms merely concerned trifles, and seem to have caused no great trouble, as they were speedily stopped by the authority of the prophet himself. Jamali, however, persisted in his heretical opinions until his death.

Mahavira survived his hated rival Gosala for sixteen years, and probably witnessed the rapid progress of his faith during the reign of Ajatashatru, who seems to have been a supporter of the Jains, if we may infer that gratitude is the motive which leads them to make excuses for the horrible murder of his father, Bimbisara. However, we are not informed of any special events happening during the last period of his life, which may have been as monotonous as that of most religious mendicants. He died, after having reached an age of 72 years, in the house of king Hastipala's scribe in the little town of Pawa, near Rajagriha, a place still visited by thousands of Jain pilgrims. This event may have occurred at the end of the rainy season in the year 468 BC. Thus, he had survived both of his principal adversaries; for Buddha's decease most probably took place at least ten, if not fifteen, years earlier.

Out of the eleven ganadharas, "heads of the school", or apostles, of Mahavira only one survived him, viz. Sudharman, who became the first pontiff of the new church after his master. Absolutely nothing is known concerning the fate of the community for more than 150 years after the death of its founder beyond the very scanty conclusions which may be drawn from the legendary tales related by later Jain writers, above all by the great Hemachandra. According to these authorities, Ajatashatru was succeeded by his son Udayin, a prince, who may have reigned for a considerable time, and who was a firm upholder of the Jain religion. But the irony of fate was visible even here; for the very favor which he had bestowed upon the Jains proved to be the cause of his ruin: a prince whose father he had dethroned plotted against his life; and, aware of the welcome accorded to the Jains by Udayin, he entered his palace in the disguise of a Jain monk, and murdered him in the night. This happened 60 years after Mahavira's decease. The dynasty of the nine Nandas, somewhat ill-famed in other records which call its founder the son of a courtezan and a barber, then came to the throne of Magadha. However, the Jains do not share the bad opinion of these kings which was held by the Buddhists. This fact seems to suggest that the Nanda kings were not unfavorably inclined towards the Jain religion; and this inference gains some support from another source, for the badly mutilated inscription of Kharavela, king of Kalinga and a faithful Jain, mentions, apparently, in one passage king Nanda in unmistakable connection with an idol of the first Jina. But the reign of the Nandas is one of the darkest even of the many hopelessly dark epochs in the history of ancient India.

The last of the Nandas was dethroned by Chandragupta, the founder of the Maurya dynasty, with the aid of the great statesman, Chanakya, within a few years of the departure of Alexander the Great from India. The Jains put the date of Chandragupta's accession in 313 (312) BC, that is to say, eight years later than the Buddhists. This date coincides probably with a year which marks an epoch in the history of the Jain church. Sudharman, the first pontiff, had died twenty years after his master, leaving the mitre to Jambu, who held his high office for 44 years, dying at a time nearly coincident with the accession of the Nandas. After him passed three generations of pontiffs; and, in the time of the last Nanda, the Jain church was governed by two high-priests, Sambhutavijaya and Bhadrabdhu, the author of the biography of Mahavira quoted above. These two were the last who knew perfectly the fourteen purvas or divisions of the most ancient Jain scriptures; and Sambhutavijaya is said to have died in the same year in which Chandragupta took possession of the throne. At the same time a dreadful famine lasting for twelve years devastated the region of Bengal; and Bhadrabahu, seeing that this evil time would provoke numerous offences against the ecclesiastical rules, thought it prudent to escape. Gathering his followers together, therefore, he emigrated, and took up his abode in the country of Karnata in Southern India. The whole community, however, did not follow him. Many Jains remained in Magadha and other places under the spiritual leadership of Sthulabhadra, a disciple of Sambhutavijaya.

At the end of the famine the emigrants returned, but at this time Bhadrabahu seems to have laid down his leadership of the church, and to have retired to Nepal in order to pass the remainder of his life in penance, leaving the succession to Sthulabhadra. There is no reason to believe the account given by the Digambaras, according to which he was murdered by his own disciples. But, in any case, this time seems to have been one of misfortune for the Jain church; and there can be no doubt it was then, i.e. about 300 BC, that the great schism originated, which has ever since divided the community in two great sects, the Svetambaras and the Digambaras. The returning monks, who had during the famine strictly observed the rules in all their severity, were discontented with the conduct of the brethren who had remained in Magadha, and stigmatized them as heretics of wrong faith and lax discipline. Moreover, during this time of dissolution, the old canon had fallen into oblivion; and consequently the monks who had remained in Magadha convoked a great council at Pataliputra, the modern Patna, in order to collect and revise the scriptures. However, this proved to be an undertaking of extraordinary difficulty, since the purvas or older parts were known perfectly only to Bhadrabahu, who had at this time already settled in Nepal; and Sthulabhadra, who went there in person, although he learnt from his predecessor all the fourteen purvas, was forbidden to teach more than the first ten of them to others. The canon established by the Council was therefore a fragmentary one; and in it, to some extent, new scriptures took the place of the old. In some degree it may be represented by the present canon of the Svetambaras, since that too is preserved in a somewhat disorderly condition. The returning monks, the spiritual ancestors of the Digambaras, seem to have taken no part in the council, and to have proclaimed that the real canon had been hopelessly lost; and even to the present day they have continued to hold the same opinion. They regard the whole canon of the Svetambaras, the Siddhanta, as it is called, as merely a late and unauthoritative collection of works, brought together by Jinachandra in Valabbi at a far later date.

But probably the difficulties which beset the Jain church at this period were not only internal. As is well known, the Jains nowadays are settled principally in Western India, Gujarat, etc. That they have been there for a very long time is certain, since their non-canonical writings, as well as epigraphical documents, bear witness at an early date to their influence in these parts of India. As the historical records of the sect have very little to tell us of the reign of Chandragupta and his son Bindusara, and perhaps even still less of the great Asoka, it seems probable that they had already in the third century BC begun to lose their foothold in Eastern India. The manual of politics by Chanakya describes a purely Brahman society; and it may perhaps not be too hazardous to infer from this fact that the first rise of the Maurya dynasty may have marked an attempt to restore the Brahman power and so check the rising influence of the heterodox communities. If so, this policy was certainly abandoned by Asoka, whose zeal for Buddhism may have been one of the main causes for the downfall of his great empire immediately after his death. It is true that Asoka in one of his edicts mentions his protection of the nirgranthas as well as of the Buddhists and other pious men; but any attempt to prove a greater interest on his part in the welfare of the Jains must fail, unsupported as it is by the scriptures of the Jains themselves. It is true too that Kharavela, king of Kalinga, who, although his exact date may be doubted, certainly lived a considerable time after Asoka, displayed a great zeal for the Jain religion; but it seems quite clear that, at the time of Asoka's death, the Jains had practically lost their connexion with Eastern India; since they apparently know nothing of his grandson Dasharatha, who succeeded him in Magadha, and, of the following princes, only the usurper Pushyamitra, a patron of Brahmanism, is mentioned by them. On the other hand, they tell us that Samprati, another grandson of Asoka who reigned probably in Ujjail, was a strong supporter of their religion, and his capital seems to have played at this time an important role in the history of Jainism.

As we have seen, in about 300 BC the division of the Jain church into the two great sects of the Svetambaras and Digambaras had probably already begun. The final separation between the two communities is, no doubt, reported not to have taken place before 79 or 82 AD; but the list of teachers and schools in the Kalpasutra and the numerous inscriptions from Mathura, which date mostly from the time of the later Kushana kings, i.e. after 78 AD, afford sufficient proof that the Svetambara community was not only established but had become subdivided into smaller sects at an earlier period. This is especially clear from the frequent mention of nuns in the Mathura inscriptions; for it is only the Svetambaras who give women admission into the order. Everything tends to show that the Jains were probably already at this time (300 BC) gradually losing their position in the kingdom of Magadha, and that they had begun their migration towards the Western part of India, where they settled, and where they have retained their settlements to the present day. Attention has already been called to the fact that the later Jain authors mention Ujjain as a place where their religion had already gained a strong foothold in the age of Asoka and his immediate successors. Another locality in which the Jains seem to have been firmly established, from the middle of the second century BC onwards, was Mathura in the old kingdom of the Surasenas, known at an earlier date, e.g. by Megasthenes (300 BC), as the centre of Krishna-worship. The numerous inscriptions, excavated in this city by General Cunningham and Dr Führer, and deciphered by Professor Bühler, tell us about a wide-spread and firmly established Jain community, strongly supported by pious lay devotees, and very zealous in the consecration and worship of images and shrines dedicated to Mahavira and his predecessors. An inscription, probably dated from 157 AD (= 79 Saka), mentions the Vodva tope as "built by the gods", which, as Bühler rightly remarks, proves that it in the second century AD must have been of considerable age as everything concerning its origin had been already forgotten.

Except the long lists of teachers, often more or less apocryphal, which have been preserved by the modern subdivisions of the Jain community, there exist practically no historical records concerning the Jain church in the centuries immediately preceding our era. Only one legend, the Kalakacharya-kathanaka, "the story of the teacher Kalaka", tells us about some events which are supposed to have taken place in Ujjain and other parts of Western India during the first part of the first century BC, or immediately before the foundation of the Vikrama era in 58 BC. This legend is perhaps not totally devoid of all historical interest. For it records how the Jain saint Kalaka, having been insulted by king Gardabhilla of Ujjain, who, according to various traditions, was the father of the famous Vikramaditya, went in his desire for revenge to the land of the Sakas, whose king was styled King of Kings (sahanusai). This title, in its Greek and Indian forms, was certainly borne by the Saka kings of the Punjab, Manes and his successors, who belong to this period; and, as it actually appears in the form shaonano shao on the coins of their successors, the Kushana monarchs, we are perhaps justified in concluding that the legend is to some extent historical in character. However this may be, the story goes on to tell us that Kalaka persuaded a number of Saka satraps to invade Ujjain and overthrow the dynasty of Gardabhilla; but that, some years afterwards, his son, the glorious Vikramaditya, repelled the invaders and re-established the throne of his ancestors. What the historical foundation of this legend may be, is wholly uncertain, perhaps it contains faint recollections of the Scythian dominion in Western India during the first century BC. In any case, it seems undoubtedly to give further proof of the connection of the hills with Ujjain, a fact indicated also by their use of the Vikrama, era, which was established in the country of Malwa, of which Ujjain was the capital.

Thus, the history of the Jains during these centuries is enveloped in almost total darkness; nor have we any further information as to the internal conditions of the community. Almost the only light thrown upon these comes from the Mathura inscriptions, which incidentally mention a number of various branches, schools, and families of the Jain community. From this source, too, we learn the names of teachers who under different titles acted as spiritual leaders of these subdivisions, and of monks and nuns who practised their austere life under their leadership. Much the same religious conditions as are shown by the inscriptions have been preserved in the Jain church till the present day, although the names and external forms of the sects and the monastic schools may have changed in the course of twenty centuries. Moreover, the inscriptions mention the names of a vast number of these pious lay people, both male and female, who, in all ages, by providing the monks and nuns with their scanty livelihood, have proved one of the firmest means of support for the Jain church, and whose zeal for their religion is attested by the numerous gifts of objects for worship recorded in the inscription

Dr Hoernle is no doubt right in maintaining that this good organization of the Jain lay community must have been a factor of the greatest importance to the church during the whole of its existence, and may have been one of the main reasons why the Jain religion continued to keep its position in India, whilst its far more important rival, Buddhism, was entirely swept away by the Brahman reaction. The inflexible conservatism of the small Jain community in holding fast to its original institutions and doctrine has probably been the chief cause of its survival during periods of severe affliction; for, as Professor Jacobi has pointed out long ago, there can be little doubt, that the most important doctrines of the Jain religion have remained practically unaltered since the first great separation in the time of Bhadrabahu about 300 BC. And, although a number of the less vital rules concerning the life and practices of monks and laymen, which we find recorded in the holy scriptures, may have fallen into oblivion or disuse, there is no reason to doubt that the religious life of the Jain community is now substantially the same as it was two thousand years ago. It must be confessed from this that an absolute refusal to admit changes has been the strongest safeguard of the Jains. To what extent the well-known quotation sint ut sunt aut non sint may be applicable to the Jans of our days, may be questioned; but the singularly primitive idea that even lifeless matter is animated by a soul, and the austerest perhaps of all known codes of disciplinary rules seem scarcely congruent with modern innovations.

In the preceding pages an attempt has been made to give a brief sketch of the history of the Jain church from its foundation or reformation by Mahavira about 500 BC down to the beginning of our era. While we possess materials which enable us to construct a fairly clear biography of the prophet, and while we have at least some information concerning the events which preceded and were contemporary with the beginning of the great separation between Svetambaras and Digambaras about 300 BC, the following period is almost totally devoid of any historical record. And this is not the only blank in Jain ecclesiastical history. Scarcely more is known concerning the fate of the Jain church during the early centuries of our era down to the time of the great council of Valabhi, in the fifth or at the beginning of the sixth century AD, when the canon was written down in its present form. The Jain church has never had a very great number of adherents; it has never attempted—at least not on any grand scale—to preach its doctrines through missionaries outside India. Never rising to an overpowering height but at the same time never sharing the fate of its rival, Buddhism, that of complete extinction in its native land, it has led a quiet existence through the centuries and has kept its place amongst the religious systems of India till the present day, thanks to its excellent organization and to its scrupulous care for the preservation of ancient customs, institutions, and doctrine.