THE JAIN CONONICAL HITS
It is a historical fact that during the reign of Emperor Chander gupta Maurya in the fourth Century
B.C. a terrible famine broke out in Magadha and Shri Bhadrabahu and his disciples were so pressed that
they had to migrate to a place in Mysore. After residing there for a few years they returned to Magadha
and found that the Jains living there had discarded Mahavira’s teachings and had taken to clothes.
Thus originated a great schism which divided the community into sects, the Digambras preferring to
remain named and the Swetambras wearing white appearel.
At this time, B.C. 300, Sthulbhadra, the successor of Bhadrabahu convoked an assembly at Patluputra (Patna), the capital of Magdha, to collect the genuine canons of the faith. A portion of it had already been lost, but whatever was found was not taken down. The Digambras, however, refused to acknowledge the canon as it emerged in the council and declared that the original canon had been irretrievably lost.
Another council was held in the fifth and sixth Century A.D. at Valabhi (modern Walah) on
the Gulf of Cambay,
under the presidency of Devaridhi Kshama Sumana. The existing Sutras were collected, codified and formed
systematic canon. But the twelfth Anga had by now gone astray. This is why we find only
eleven Angas now a days.
Further as a result of the Mohamadan conquest many of the Jain were driven away from idolatory. About 1452, in the city of Ahmadabad, which was mostly under Muslim influence, there arose the Lonka sect, the first of the non-idolatrous Jain sects, and was followed by the Dhundia or Sthanak Vasi sect about 1653, dates which coincide strickingly with the Lutheran* and Puritan** movements in Europe.
All the three sections of the Jain, the two already mentioned the Digambras and the Swetambras and the third one, namely the Sthanak. Vasis revere the twenty four Tirthankaras, the difference bwtween them relate to minor details of traditions and ritual not deserving much attention. There is, however, no difference worth the name in tenets, principles, and philosophies which in fact should really count.
The minor difference consists in fact the while the Digambras worship the images of the Lords as They originally lived in their saintly career, the Swetambras out of their devotion decorate the image and out on crowns of gold and silver on their head but the Sthanak Vasis worship neither sort of images, they are non-idolators. The Digambras saints give up all clothes, including the loin strip in stages, but the Sthanak Vasi saints put on scanty clothes.
Another important difference in the view points of Digambras and Swetambras in that according to the former only males can attain nirvana; female because of their natural physical limitations cannot concentrate fully and thus being deprived of opportunity of deep meditation and austerity cannot aspire liberation .
*Lutheranism. Form of Protestant Christianity emboding the teaching of the reformer Martin Luther (1482-1556) . Its main distinctive tenets are that Scripture is te sole rue of faith, and that all other creeds and confessions, though possessing a measurer of genuine authority , are subordinate to it, that the will of man is n bondage to sins, and that justification is by faith alone. The aspect of salvation has always received special emphasis. Lutheranism is practised chiefly in Germany,Denmark,Norway, and Sweden; it is widely represented in U.S.A.
** Puritanism. Doctrine or school of English , Protestants of the 16th and 17th Century whose ain was the purification of the religious practice from anything not specially authorised by Scripture.