Influence of Jainism on Pythagoras


Who Was Paythagoras?

Pythagoras was a Greek philosopher as well as a mathematician, who born in 570 B.C.E. on the island of Samos. He was founder of Pythagoreanism, a religious movement, which has many similarities with Jainism. The similarity suggests that Pythagoras was influenced by Jainism, as his period resembles with the period of Vardhaman Mahaveer, the great philosopher of India, and as there was connection between Indians and Greeks from ancient times.

Similarities between Pythagoreanism and Jainism

In his PhD theses submitted to Graduate faculty of Texas Tech university, Basnagoda Rahula says, "The main characteristics of Pythagoras’s religious teachings consisted of transmigration of soul, respectful treatment to animals and plants, purification of the soul through asceticism, absence of any absolute divinity and social organization as a community for religious practices, all of which closely resembles with the teachings of Jainism"

The similarities between Pythagoreanism and Jainism are surprising.

Pythagoreans believed in Soul and the wheel of birth. They also believed in release from the wheel of birth. This is a central concept of Jainism which was introduced by ancients Jain philosophers.

The striking thing is that Pythagoras was a vegetarian and being vegetarian was a must thing for the Pythagoreans. It is remarkable that being vegetarian is a must thing for Jain ascetics and lay followers. Like Jains, the Pythagoreans respected all types of living beings. He said: As long as Man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.

Another remarkable thing is that the Pythagoras gave equal opportunity of learning to women. This thing also matches with Jain thoughts.

Simple white linen clothing was the dress code for the followers of Pythagoras. Again a great similarity between Pythagoreans and Jain ascetics.

In 2nd century B.C.E. the followers of Pythagoreans highlighted that the soul and body are different things and ascetic life is must for freedom of soul from material things. They abandoned bodily pleasures. All these are key concepts in Jainism from ancient era.

It is a striking thing that Pythagoras remembered his previous births. It is again a great similarity with Jain concept or births and rebirths.

All this suggests that Pythagoras was influenced by Jain philosophy and the concepts in Jainism. As there were connections betweens ancient Indians and Greeks, it is possible that Pythagoras was introduced to the philosophy of Vardhaman Mahavir who was contemporary of Pythagoras.

Pythagoras of Samos - Genius

Pythagoras - Secret Teachings

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Comments 18 comments

muninamisagarji 4 years ago

The article is interesting.Pythagoras was influenced by Parsva than Mahavira,as per j p jain.Anyhow it becomes clear that jainism crossed the boundaries of bharat.The notion that it was confined to bharat is unsustainable.More impartial study on the history of jainism is necessary.Expect more indepth articles in future.

With blessings.

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jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India Author

Thank you PDXKaraokeGuy

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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

you're welcome!

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jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India Author

Thanks PDXKaraokeGuy for reading the Hub and the comment.

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PDXKaraokeGuy 4 years ago from Portland, Oregon

Interesting. I always thought Pythagoras was a math dude. Didn't know it was religious as well.

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MizBejabbers 4 years ago

Interesting. I had never heard of Jainism although I have studied Eastern religions. Is there a correlation between Jainism and the teachings of Dwal Khul (DK)?

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jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India Author

Well, Buddhism doesn't believe in soul, but Jainism believes. Pythagoras believed in soul and its transmigration. It clearly indicates that the influence was of Jainism, not Buddhism.

John Bartram 4 years ago from Ramsgate

On the historical relationship between Buddhism and Pythagoreanism:

Pythagorean philosophy in India

puneet jain 4 years ago

ji bahut achcha likha aapne...kaafi sahi samjhaaya...

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adomcruze 4 years ago

Plz Read and delete this comment :

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Dimitris GF Jain 4 years ago

? ????????? ??? ???????? ????? ?????? ???? ?? ??? ?????? ???????? . ? ????????? ???? ??? ?????????? [544-464 ??] Greek philosopher ????? ???????????? The philosophy of Pythagoras is almost identical to the Lord Machavira. But the philosophy HRAKLEITOS [544-464 BC] Greek philosopher is identical

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jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India Author

Lohrainne Janell, It was nice to know that you follow the philosophy. Thanks.

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Lohrainne Janell 4 years ago from Fairfield, IA

It was nice to learn about the two philosophies and religions most of which I practice in my life naturally. Very interesting Hub.

Chandrakant 4 years ago

What, if any, reference of Anekantvad in Pythogorus? Contribution of Anekantvad to religios philosophy differenciate Jainism from most of the religions.

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jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India Author

Thanks sadhuvedantmuni for reading the Hub and sharing your views.

sadhuvedantmuni 4 years ago

really the article is informative. you did comparison between PYTHOGORUS AND LORD MAHAVEER teachings. it is the need of the hour to establish the principles of jainism which will lead the universe in peaceful manner.

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jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India Author


Thanks for reading and sharing your views.

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rasta1 4 years ago from Jamaica

A lot in common between the two movements. Africa is the missing connection between the two school of thoughts.

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