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LORD MAHAVIRA

 

LORD MAHAVIRA

 

PUBLISHER�S NOTE

 

THE RELEVANCE OF THE TEACHING OF LORD MAHAVIRA IN THE PRESENT WORLD (INTRODUCTION)

  CONTENTS
 

THE AGE OF MAHAVIRA

  EARLY LIFE OF MAHAVIRA
  ASCETIC LIFE OF MAHAVIRA
  ENLIGHTENMENT
  JAINA ATHEISM
  PROPAGATION OF THE DOCTRINE
  RIVAL SECTS
  CONCLUSION
  Jain Books
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  Catalog of Books in Gujarati
  List of Books, Topics & Sub-topics and Authors

RIVAL SECTS


 

 

�After sometime Gosala was stricken with a fever and being delirious he held a mango in his hand, drank liquors, sang, danced and made improper advances to Halahala, and sprinkled on himself the cool muddy water from the potter�s vessels, which acts, Mahavira explained to his disciples, led to the Ajivika doctrines of the eight Finalities (Atthacarimaim). The first four of he eight Finalities were the last four acts performed by Gosala, viz., the last drink, the song, the last dance and the last improper solicitor. The other four were the last tornado, the last sprinkling elephant, he last fight with big stones and missiles, and the last Tirthankara who is Golsala himself.

 

Gosala�s sprinkling himself with the muddy water from the earthen vessels gave rise to the doctrine of the four things that may be used as drinks and the four things as their substitutes by virtue of the coolingness. Those that may be used as water are the cow�s urine, water accidentally collected in a Potter�s vessels, water heated by the sun, and water dripping from a rock. Those that may be used as substitutes are holding in the hand a dish or a bottle or a jar or a pot which is cool or moist; squeezing in the mouth a mango or a hogplum or a jujube or a tin-duka fruit when it is unripe or uncooked, but not drinking its juice and feeling the touch of the moist hands of the gods punnabhadda and Manibhadda when they appear on the last night of six months to one who eats pure food for six months, lies successively for two months each on bare ground, on wooden planks, and on kusa grass. He who submits to touch of the two gods furthers the work of venomous snakes but he who does not do so generates in himself a fire, which burns his body, and he dies and attains liberation.

 

Ayambula, an Ajivika, came to visit Gosala at the time and felt ashamed finding Gosala in a delirium. He was about to go away but Ajivika elders called him back, explained the new doctrines and asked him to put his question to Gosala after throwing away the mango in his hand. Ayambula did so and asked about the halla insect. Gosala replied �This which you see is not a mango but only the skin of a mango. You ask about the halla insect, it is like the root of the bamboo; play the lute, man, play the lute.� Then Gosala feeling the end approaching called his disciples and requested them to observe his funeral with all honors and proclaim that he was the last Tirthankara. But afterwards he felt that he was not an omniscient but a false, teacher and a humbug but that Mahavira was the true Jina. Then he called his disciples and asked them to treat him with dishonor after he was dead and proclaim his misdeeds and the Jina hood of Mahavira. Then he died. The Ajivika theras closed the door and pretended to carry out Gosala�s last instructions, and then they opened the doors and gave him a funeral according to his original wishes.�

 

The account may be exaggerated, but seems to be fundamentally well- based. It is also corroborated by Buddhist texts. The Buddhists had no cause for special resentment against the Ajivika, yet even the Buddhists do not refer to Gosala with respect. Dr. Hoernle mentions in his article on the Ajivika in the Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics that in the mouth of the Buddhists, �Ajivika� was a term of reproach, meant to stigmatize Gosala and his followers as professionals. Gosala�s humble origin and humble connections may have been partly responsible for the contempt with which, he was looked upon by the other religious leaders.

 

Gosala�s father was Mankhali, who used to wander about from place to place exhibiting a picture. He once came with his wife to Sarvana and took up his lodging in the cowshed of a wealthy Brahmin called Gobahula, and Gosala is reputed to have been born there. For some time Gosala himself seems to have followed his father�s calling, but ultimately he took up ascetic life and for sometime was also a companion of Mahavira during the period of his preparation. The story of Gosal�s separation from Mahavira, assumption of the Jinahood, and the establishment of the Ajivika order, has already been told in a previous chapter.

 

Brahmanic schools:

 

Jaina literature is full of references to numerous schools of popular Brahmanism. Among heretical doctrines there is mention of some, who hold that the owing of possessions and the engaging in undertakings is quite compatible with the attainment of perfection. This is obviously a reference to Brahman priests who supported a non-ascetic religion of rituals and ceremonies and themselves possessed wealth and property. The Sankya, Yoga, Vedanta and other views also have been referred to in order to equip the Nirgrantha ascetic with the usual beliefs of the common people entertained under wrong understanding, and also with a view to show up the apparently contradictory views held by the Vedantists and the Purantists. The Philosophy of the Nastikas, the materialists, who deny the existence of the soul, is also mentioned as a wrong doctrine.

 

There is mention of a host of minor schools, holding quite unusual views: (1) That a Jiva performed right conduct and wrong conduct at the same time, (2) That there is no harm in enjoying the pleasures of the senses, for it gave relief to the enjoyer without causing harm to any one else, (3) that the soul and everything else is mere appearance, mirage, an illusion, a dream, a phantasy, etc.

 

Nihnavas

 

The twenty-seventh year of Mahavira�s ascetic life, that is, the fifteenth year after the attainment of Kevala, the year of his famous encounter with Gosala, was marked by the occurrence of the first schism in the community, when Jamali separated from the Lord with a small band of his disciples who afterwards gradually left him. The event that had led to the dissension can briefly be stated as follows. Once Jamali begged permission to go wandering with a large number of ascetics, but Mahavira gave no reply even after being asked three times. Jamali, however, did not wait for the permission any further and left Mahavira, together with his own disciples. While thus wandering independently, once upon a time he went to Sarvasti and stayed at the Tinduka garden. He had been suffering from fever at the time and asked his companion ascetics to stretch a bed to lie down upon. While they were stretching the bed, he asked them whether it was ready. They replied in the affirmative. But when Jamali found that it was only being made ready, he got angry, and ascribed their affirmative answer to their false doctrine that a thing in the making is as good as a thing completely made (karain manrai kedai). His companions tried to convince him of the soundness of the doctrine, but he would not listen to them. There was much discussion about Jamali�s refutation of the doctrine, and some of his disciples left him consequently. Jamili visited Mahavira at Campa in order to inform him that he had attained omniscience. But when Mahavira refused to admit his claim, Jamali felt humiliated and finally left him to establish his own order. His order, however, does not appear to have lasted for long. It is most probable that his order did not survive him. Jamali is the first Nihnava �dissenter� in the Sangha established by Mahavira.

 

The texts record six more such Nihnavas belonging to different periods, within the first six centuries of the Nirvana of Lord Mahavira in the history of the Jaina church. They are Tisyagupta (15 years after Mahavira�s Kevalihood) the Acarya of the Jivapradesikas; Asadha 214 years after Vira-nirvana) the Acarya of the avyaktikas; Asvam itra (220A. V.) the Acarya of the Samucchedkas, Ganga (228 A. V.) the Acarya of the dvaikriyas; Saduluka (also known as Rohagupta, 544 A. V.) the Acarya of the Trairasikas; and Gosthamahila, (584A. V.) the Acarya of the Ababdhikas.

 

The Jivapradesikas held that the last space-point of the soul was the soul proper in view of the fact that the soul is incomplete and, therefore, not soul proper unless it includes its last space-point which completes its being. But they did not notice the fact that any and every space point of the soul could be considered as the last space point and as such they insisted on a doctrine which had no sound reasoning behind it. Tisyagupta formulated the doctrine on the basis of some texts which he failed to understand properly. The Avyaktikas were skeptics who were suspicious of everybody and so did not bow down to anyone. The result was that their lay disciples also began to withhold their respectful homage from them. It is said that the Avyaktikas developed this skeptic attitude after they were made to bow down to the corpse of their Acarya named Asadha, who re-inhabited his own corpse, out of mercy, in order to bring to a speedy end the Yoga of his disciples. The Samucchedikas were those who believed in the momentariness of all things. Asvamitra was their Acarya. He misinterpreted a text and developed the doctrine. He remained quite blind to the other texts, which clearly stated the permanence as well as constituting the nature of a thing. The Dvaikriyas upheld the doctrine of the possibility of the experience of two-fold actions at one and the same time. Ganga the Acarya of Dvaikriyas was one day crossing a river, when he experienced both cold and heat, and jumped to the conclusion that they felt simultaneously. The Agama text, however, clearly denies the possibility of two-fold experience. The Trairasikas were those who believed in the three categories of Jiva, Ajiva and No-jiva instead of the two, viz., Jiva and Ajiva as accepted in the Agamas. Sauluka as their Acarya, who is said to have invented the third category in order to defeat his opponent by confronting him with a new problem. But afterwards when he was asked by his gura to admit the trick before the judges, he disagreed and was consequently turned out of the Sangha. The Abaddhikas upheld that the Karma-matter can only touch the soul, cut cannot become one with it, because if it became one with the soul, there would be no possibility of re-separation. This doctrine openly goes against the accredited view that Karma unites with the soul exactly as heat unites with iron and water with milk, Gosthamahila was the Acarya of the Abaddhikas.

 

The sects founded by these Nihnavas, it appears from the accounts given, did not survive their founders. The accounts further reveal the fact that the Jaina Sangha as strong enough to foil the attempts of these dissenters at bringing about any untoward change in it.