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A BRIEF ACCOUNT OF THE JAINS IN INDIA.
I think it may be interesting to your readers to have a brief history of the Jains in India. The word Jain has been derived from jin, which means "a vanquisher." The followers of Jins or Tirthankaras (those just men who have made themselves perfect and attained Nirvana, ie., liberation of the soul from birth and death) are called Jains-i.e., those who believe in the ethics and doctrines of Jinbani, or what they (ie., men who were perfect and have become Tirthankara or Ishwar) have stated to their followers to act upon. This is called Jainism, which is really a religion. This is not a sect or caste of Hinduism, but an independent religion. Nor is it a branch of Buddhism, as admitted by the following European authors in their books on Indian religions: W. W. Hunter, Esq., C.S.I., C.I.E., LL.D., late Director of General Statistics to the Government of India ("Imperial Gazetteer of India," vol. vi., pp. 158162); G. T. Bettany, Esq., M.A., B.C.S. ("The Great Indian Religions," chap. x., pp. 239 245); John Anderson, Esq., M.D. EDIN., Superintendent Indian Museum ("Archæological Collections," pp. 196-200); "Encyclopædia Britannica," vol. xiii., p. 543; "Sacred Books of the East," vols. xxii. and xlv., by Professor Jacobi.
In the Parliament of Religions and Religious Congresses at the World's Columbian Exposition, Chicago, Virchand Raghoji Gandhie Jain, B.A., barrister-at-law, was invited to attend, and he represented the Jain community in India, and an address was delivered by him on the "Ethics and History of the Jains," which is printed in Neely's "History" on pp. 732736. Jainism is not a new religion, nor was it founded by Mahavira. He was the last Tirthankara of the twenty-four, the twenty-three having lived and attained Nirvan before his birth. Nor was it founded by Parsva nath; but he was only the twenty-third Tirthankara, who lived and attained Nirvan just before Mahavira.
The names of the twenty-four Tirthankaras are given below in order of their existence :
I. Aád nath ji.
2. Ajal nath ji.
3. Sambhana nath ji.
10. Sital nath ji.
II. Sri aus nath ji.
13. Bimal nath ji.
23. Parswa nath ji.
Strictly and properly speaking, Jainism has no founder, it is eternal; and if it can at all be said to have any founder, it is with reference to some particular time. According to Jainism, time consists of circles, and there
are twenty-four Tirthankaras for every half-circle. Of the twenty-four Tirthankaras for the present half-circle, Aád nath is the first and Mahavira the last. Thus, it is only with reference to the present half-circle that Aád nath can be designated the founder of Jainism; but in no way can Mahavira be regarded so. Up to the last Tirthankara almost the whole population were Jains; even the Rajas were nearly all Jains. After the Nirvan of Mahavira-that is, 526 B.C., as admitted by nearly every European author-the Jain religion began to decline. It will appear from a book called "A Journey of Francis Buchanan, Esq., M.D.," published under the authority of the Honourable the Directors of the East India Company in 1801, that the Jains were the governing Rajas. Even Rama and Seetu were Jains, and they are very highly spoken of in the Jain Shastaras. The above is further corroborated by the fact, as is admitted on all hands, that Jains are the wealthiest class in the whole of India. Although their number has now become reduced to only 1,500,000 in India, still they are the most influential. More than half of the trade of India is in their hands, as noted on pp. 543 and 544 of the "Encyclopædia Britannica," vol. xiii. Their magnificent series of temples and shrines on Mount Abu, one of the seven wonders of India, is perhaps the most striking outward sign of their wealth and importance. Mr. Bhalu nath Chandera, a member of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, in his "Travels of a Hindoo," p. 74, says about the Jain temples at Bindraban Muthra, N.W.P.: "But wealth and influence have procured to the Jains the same footing in the stronghold of Vishnuism. They have bestowed upon their temples the attractiveness of a grandeur and affluence that attracts and dazzles the eyes of the multitude. Indeed, the most interesting object within the walls of the holy city, the spot which no pilgrim can leave Bindraban without seeing, is the magnificent place of Jain worship. Life must have been intolerable in Bindraban if a brief hour or two could not be spent in the midst of this bewitching scenery. The temple is said to have taken a quarter of a century in building, and to have cost, according to the public estimate, the sum of a crore of rupees. There are many others, too numerous to mention here, in India alone. The Jains are not at all backward in education; they have got the highest number of educated men among them, having regard to their small number as compared with other religions, to which most of the Jains in times gone by were converted by force and tyranny before the British rule. They are barristers, vakils, sessions judges, magistrates, deputy collectors, tahsildars, engineers, and executive engineers, etc. They have always been gaining honours from the benign Government of India, and upon several of them the Government has conferred the title of Maha Raja, Raja, Rai Bahadur, etc. An indication of their honesty is that almost all the Government Treasuries in India have been placed under their charge as treasurers. Honesty is the fruit of Jain religion, and frugality the fruit of honesty, and thus they enjoy their present position. For some years a Sabha called Bharalvershya Jain Maha Sabha was working under the presidentship of Raja Seth Luchhman Dass Jaini, c.I.E., of Muthra, but it has flourished very little this year. It has been recognised by Government, and registered under
Act 21 of 1860. It telegraphed a resolution asking His Excellency the Viceroy of India to make over to the committee all the Jain orphans which may be found in any part of India, when they will be brought up and educated as Jains. It was marked with great regret at the last meeting of the Sabha at Muthra in October last that the English-educated Jains were not taking sufficient interest in its workings, and therefore (under the vicepresidency of Seth Amar Chand ji, Sessions Judge) an institution of English-educated Jains, to be called the "Jain Young Men's Association of India," has been established. The names of members are being enrolled; the list up to this time shows 106 members.
The aims and objects of the association are:
(a) To try to spread the feelings of unity and sympathy amongst all the English-knowing Jains of India.
(b) To try to work out social reforms.
(c) To instil into the minds of members the necessity to acquire a proficiency in their religion, and to perform daily religious practices.
(d) To propagate the study of religious books and tracts along with English education.
(e) To try to settle in life the educated Jains, and to secure the help of influential gentlemen for the purpose.
Any further information as to the Jains and their Sabhas in India may be had from the undersigned well-wisher of the Jains,
SULTAN SINGH JAINI, Pleader.
Meerut, N.W.P., India,
THE FAMINE RELIEF FUND FOR INDIA.
A correspondent of the Times of March 13 draws the attention of the British public to this fund. He concludes with the following important observations:
"While the State must face its self-appointed task of saving life, it can no more, but rather less than on any previous occasion, undertake those supplementary reforms of relief which were so fully met by the charitable fund of 1896-97. The magnificent benevolence of the British and Indian publics enabled the Relief Committees in that year to supplement a Government expenditure of Rx. 7,272,123 by Rx. 1,549,901, or, say, 21 per cent. The need is now far greater, and it is impossible to believe that, if this is only realized here, the charity of this wealthy country will fail to respond to the call made upon it. It may stimulate this charity to lay before the public once more a brief statement of the objects that can be usefully covered by a Famine Charitable Fund, as revised by the Commission over which Sir James Lyall presided. Firstly, it may supplement the relief given by Government by gifts of clothing and blankets to the destitute, by supplying extra or special food and medical comforts for the aged and infirm and for hospital patients and children, and by adding a little to the Government dole to purda women and respectable persons driven to gratuitous relief. Secondly, it may provide for the support of orphans during and after famine. Thirdly, it may undertake the relief of persons or classes to whom the recognised methods of State relief are in
applicable. These are purda women and respectable persons who shrink from the public inquiry inseparable from State relief; artisans and craftsmen, who are unable to come upon Government works; residents in private poor-houses, or the like, who would never come to public poor-houses ; persons who would buy grain offered them at rates which they could pay, but would not accept charitable relief. Fourthly, and most important of all, it may assist the restart in life of those left by the famine without resources, who would otherwise lapse into pauperism. Fifthly, it may give relief in areas not officially declared to be affected areas. The first four of these heads were recognised in 1896-97, and the number of persons relieved under each was (1) 1,342,802, (2) 26,957, (3) 832,949, (4) 1,540,464. Testimony, say the Commissioners, is unanimous and overwhelming as to the incalculable good that was done, and as to the universal gratitude it evoked among the people. The need now is far more urgent. Surely the response will not lag behind the need."
For the number on the Relief Works see our Summary of Events.
NOTE ABOUT MUKUND BRAHMACHĀRI.*
SINCE writing about the tradition that Akbar was Mukund Brahmachari in a former life, I have been to Allahabad and seen the underground temple in the fort, and been shown the brazen image of Mukund. I have also heard the slok repeated by the attendant at the shrine, and have learnt that the second word in the fourth line begins with a b, and not with a d, and is bratahari, i.e., vratahāri, and means abandoning one's vows or losing the merit of one's asceticism. The story told me by the attendant was that Mukund was a great ascetic, and lived solely upon milk and fruits. The milk, too, he used to drink only after it had been strained through a cloth, presumably to avoid the risk of destroying life. One evening his chela, or disciple, gave him his milk as usual, but after he drank it Mukund felt something stick in his throat; so he called to his disciple and asked him if he had strained the milk. The disciple had to confess that he had forgotten to do so. Thereupon Mukund exclaimed that all the merit of his forty years of fasting was gone, and, having first gashed his throat, he performed the hōma, and was reduced to ashes. His disciples, two or three in number, followed his example, and the other things happened as told in Ilah Yar's book. It was certainly interesting to find that the legend still lived, and that the slok and its chronogram were remembered. I asked if the legend was preserved in any writing, and was told that it was to be found in the Priyāg-Mahatma, and other Sanscrit MSS. The legend is evidently old, and Shams-al-Ulema Muhammad Husain Azad writes in his "Darbāri Akbari," Lahore, 1898, p. 84, that a number of Brahmans produced a document about Mukund before Akbar. Unfortunately, the learned author does not state his authority, and I have been unable to find the story in Badayūnī or any other contemporary writer.
Calcutta, January 4, 1900.
See "The Garden of Climes," January, 1900, pp. 145-162.
Since writing the above, I have secured Jonathan Scott's catalogue of his library, dated 1808. It is interesting because Scott gives an account of the contents of his MSS. The rarity of the catalogue, I think, justifies me in giving the following extract from the same :
"Huddeekat al Akaleem, or Garden of Regions or Climates, in three volumes. The above work is a delineation, historical and geographic, of the world, as known to the Muhammadans, selected from their most esteemed writers. To the work is added an epitome of Salmon's Geographical Grammar, with a summary of the history of England and discovery of America, composed by myself in Persian at the request of the late Nabob Vizier, Asoph ed Daule, who wished to be informed of our geographical system, etc.
"N. B.-The author of the 'Huddeekat al Akaleem' was Shekh Allah Taur, a native of Bilgram in the Province of Oude, of a most respectable family, but fallen to decay. In the year 1776, being cantoned in the neighbourhood, he was introduced to me as a Persian tutor, and proved himself an able one. Finding him very conversant in history, I requested him to compile a selection from the most esteemed Persian historians of Asia at his leisure hours for my perusal, but more especially of Hindustan. During eight years that he remained in my employment he composed this work, and when I left India, retired with a decent competence acquired in my service, to spend the remainder of his life in his native city. "These volumes are in the author's own handwriting, and perfectly I have learnt by gentlemen returned from India that the work is much esteemed, and copies eagerly sought after at Lucknow."--H. B.
INDIA-THE FATHERLAND OF IRON.
The Indian and Eastern Engineer informs us that for purity and abundance the deposits of ore in India rank among the first in the world. Notwithstanding, "the almost complete extinction of a widespread native industry, in both common iron and the very choicest form of steel, has only recently been replaced by the organization of a small manufactory for pig-iron. With over 20,000 miles of railway, and an annual increment of nearly 700 miles, the Indian Government is unable to point to a single steel rail manufactured within their own territory. Over six millions sterling are spent yearly to supply the Indian market with iron and steel"; of this, "one-third of the iron and one-half of the steel come from countries other than the United Kingdom."
TRADE WITH THE FAR EAST.
The Indian and Eastern Engineer points out that "the construction of the Grand Siberian Railway will develop trade enormously. It will connect Europe with a rapid and cheap route, and will afford the means of developing the resources of the vast territories through which it passes, and