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Modern World


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Stephens 1 Before Jainism evolved all of India was Hindu. India was divided into several independent City States ruled by “Kings who ruled over these Democratic independent City States” (Shah 101). Although Kings were political rulers, court priest ruled over the religious and spiritual decisions of the City States. These priests were called “Brahmin priest”. “These Brahmin priest conducted animal sacrifices for their kings so that the latter could gain entry to heaven, beget a son, get a kingdom, or a bridegroom for their daughters. The sacrifices were for God or for the Gods of rain, water, or fire, and etc” (Shah 101). The result of the Brahmin priest animal sacrifices created Jainism and even Buddhism to develop in India. The births of these two religions created a revolt against the Brahmin tradition of killing any living soul. Initially the Brahmins ignored the uprising of Jainism and Buddhism but it quickly begun taking an interest in India. “Jainism spread first predominately to the south and then northward to come to Gujarata on the west coast, which is the main center of Jainism today” (Shah, 101).
Jainism is a “religion that has developed over 2500 years ago in India around the 6th century BCE This is about 500 years before Jesus Christ and about 1100 years before the prophet Muhammad and Islam” (Shah 100). The birth place of Jainism was in a State in Eastern India called “Magadha”. “Jainism started by Lord Mahavira (Maha = great, Vira= a warrior), the founder of Jainism lived in Magadha. Jainism, traditionally known as “Jain Dharma, is one of the oldest religions in the world. The Jains follow the

Stephens 2 teachings of the 24 Jinas (conquerors) who are also known as Tirthankaras”. (Anonymous pg Vii) The 24 Tirthankaras combined as a group is called “Chauvisi meaning twenty-foursome” (Shah 109). Tirthankaras are characterized as “great omniscient teachers, they accomplished the highest spiritual goal of existence and then teach others how to achieve it. Each new Tirthankara preaches the same basic Jain philosophy, but they give the Jain way of life subtly different forms in order to suit the age and the culture in which they teach” ( Tirthankaras helped develop Jainism’s growth to prosper and expand all over the world. “Jains are a small but influential religious minority with at least 4.2 million practitioners in modern India and more in growing immigrant communities in the United States, Western Europe, the Far East and elsewhere”(Anonymous pg vii). Jainism continues to grow and share great contributions world wide. Jainism is a religion that has very different beliefs and practices from most religions. In the eyes of a Jain every living soul was created with the equal opportunity to live a natural life until a natural death. “The word is very sacred to Jains so they take great measure to make sure to appreciate the earth by treating it with respect and equality” The body is a shell or a holder for the soul which is a “conscious being called Jiva. Jains believe “after each bodily death, the jiva is reborn into a different body to live another life, until it achieves liberation” ( Some people who study Jainism come across a perception that Jains are atheist but that’s not entirely correct. “Jains do not believe in a God or Gods in the way that Stephens 3 many other religions do, but they do believe in divine beings who are worthy of devotion. The only Gods that exist for Jains are pure souls that are omniscient, perfectly happy and eternal”( The world isn’t a perfect world, it can be mistreated and taking for granted especially by people. There are wars because of difference of religion, different countries obtaining power over one another and the gain of wealth. Even though the world can be chaotic, Jains “make room for pure thoughts and to drive out evil ones. The twelve thoughts or Bhavnas are meditations designed to serve as aids to spiritual progress, and develop purity of thought and sincerity in the practice of religion” (Anonymous 2). There various practices in Jainsin religion.

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