Jain World
Sub-Categories of Passions

Jainism  -  Respect For All Life

The birth of Jainism
Mahavira the Path-Maker
The Enlightenment
The Rise of Jainism
  The Two Sects
  The Scriptures
  Rise and Fall
  Jain Beliefs-The Universe
  The Soul
  Karma and Rebirth
  The way of Salvation
  The Everyday Life of a Jain
  The Life of an Ascetic
  Ways of Worship
  Temples and Domestic Shrines
  Ninian Smart

The Two Sects



For two centuries, Mahavira�s followers remained a small community.  Then there was a big increase in Jain numbers as the founder of the great Mauryan dynasty, the Magadhan Emperor Chandragupta (about 321 297 BC), abdicated his throne and joined the order.  History here confirms tradition, at least to some extent.  However, towards the end of Chandragupta�s reign, a serious famine led to the exodus of a large number of Jain monks from the Ganga Valley in north India south to the Deccan.  There, in the state of Mysore, they established great centers of the faith.

Then, so tradition has it, when Bhadrabahu, the leader of the emigrants and eleventh elder of the community, returned to Bihar after an absence of twelve years he found that in the confusion and hardship of famine the northern monks, under Sthulabhadra, had abandoned the ancient ways laid down by Mahavira and had taken to wearing white robes.

Thus arose the two sects of Jainism, the Digambaras (the `sky-clad� or �space-clad�) and the Svetambara (the `white-clad�).  The schism became fixed in the first century AD and persists to this day.