The popular beliefs about Jainism differ widely from those held by its followers,
or as they were expounded by its religious Teachers. Such notions are confined not
only to the field of Ethics. Metaphysics, Ritualism, Cosmogony, Philosophy and what
not, but they extend to its very origin and antiquity. An attempt will be made in
these few pages to dispel some of such false notions by putting before the readers
the other side of the picture and let them their own judgments.
Originally the book was in the form of a collection of short notes for the writer’s use-ideas to be chewed like cud later at his leisure: they were never intended to be published till he could claim authority to speak and write, but then it was realized that the notes may be lost and time for rumination may not come, and as such they may not prove of any service even to him. The notes were consequently subjected to loud thinking in the present form.
The writer, however, had certain limitations which made his task difficult. Help had consequently, to be sought from the writings of the author of his being, the copious writer of the various books in Urdu, the late L.Sumer Chand Jain, Divisional Accountant, Punjab and then of that intellectual giant the late Vidya Varidhi Shri Champat Rai Jain, Bar-at-Law, Hardoi as well as some others like professor A. Chakravarty, Brahmachari Shital Prasad Ji, Dr. Kamta Prasad, Prof. Ghasi Ram all of whose services to this great religion cannot be ignored, and from whose inexhaustible fountain-heads of knowledge, he lavishly drew his material.It had been the endeavour of the writer to present the subject in as concise a manner as possible. Exceptions had, however, to be made in the case of certain chapters Viz. antiquity any Short History of Jainism, where for sheer necessity of presenting detailed arguments for those wiseacres who despite repetition by eminent scholars remain unconvinced, further elucidation was considered necessary.
Some of the subjects Viz Concept of Matter in Jainism, Allegories in World Religions etc., have been reproduced either from the voice of Ahimsa, edited by Late Dr. K.P. Jain, Ph.D. of Aligarh Etah, or abridged from certain books and articles by other eminentmen. This was so, for it was felt that the writer could do no better than that done by them.
Let the writer also submit that whatever else he has written about Jainism is in accordance with what he has understood it to be. He now craves the indulgence of the scholars and promises to add or omit any thing if any one makes a constructive suggestion, and the same is considered proper and desirable.
The book, it is now hoped, will be found useful by such non-Jains who, though are anxious to know about this religion, do not find time, opportunity, and energy to go through big volumes as well as most of the present day educated Jains who have as little knowledge about it as the non-Jains. In short the object is to provide the inquisitive students with a food for thought and thus to afford them an impetus to study more later on. It now remains to be seen how far the above objects have been realised. The book can serve as a text book for college boys’ examination of the All India Digamber Jain Parishad and other similar institutions. Religion, it may be pointed out, is a subject. It is to meet this difficulty we have added some actual quotations and happenings from newspapers and religions other than Jainism.
The young readers may find some chapters difficult or interesting to follow. They have been marked with asterisks in the list of contents and may be left out on its first reading. Difficult words have also been explained in the foot-notes for their convenience.
The undersigned cannot finish writing this preface without expressing his gratitude to late Shri Jai Bhagwan Jain, Advocate, Panipat; who was kind enough to go through this book in manuscript and make necessary additions and alterations,. Besides this, the services of Sh. Naresh Chand Jain, B.A.,B.Ed., cannot be forgotten. Without him the book could not see the day.
The author would heartily welcome suggestions form the readers to improve this book.