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Influence of Jainism on Pythagoras

Updated on March 8, 2018
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Mahaveer Sanglikar is a famous numerologist, graphologist, face reader, motivator and author from Pune, India.

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.

Pythagoras
Pythagoras

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 Sketch
Pythagoras Sketch | Source

Pythagoras of Samos - Genius

Pythagoras - Secret Teachings

Comments

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  • profile image

    sjain70 

    6 weeks ago

    Thank you for wonderful post. I have a theory that Pythagorous attended Samosaran of bhagwan Mahavir. Pythagorous visited india between year 554-527BCE - Where he may have received his inspiration of theories he provided to the world. Through Mahavir's Samosaran everyone got their questions answered for past, present and future.

  • jainismus profile imageAUTHOR

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 

    6 months ago from Pune, India

    Thanks, you provided some more info about this subject.

  • profile image

    AveryQuinn 

    7 months ago

    I know that this article is from quite some time ago, but I'm thrilled to see that someone else came up with this conclusion. I first heard of Jainism earlier today in reference to creating vegetarianism, which surprised me as I was under the impression that Pythagoras had. With the connection between India and Greece, as well as the time frame of when Jainism started it seemed very unlikely to me that the two wouldn't be connnected in some way. This i such an informative and fascinating article

    A couple other similarity between the two I noticed is how Jain monks and nuns won't eat root vegetables because the ability to sprout is seen as that off a higher being, and Pythagoras thought that eating beans was like eating a human. As well as the 5th vow of Jainism is of non possessiveness and nuns will renounce anything they own to follow through with that. in Pythagoreanism his followers had to give up everything they owned personally and would share all items between members of Pythagoras' school.

  • profile image

    muninamisagarji 

    6 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.

  • jainismus profile imageAUTHOR

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 

    6 years ago from Pune, India

    Thank you PDXKaraokeGuy

  • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

    Justin W Price 

    6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

    you're welcome!

  • jainismus profile imageAUTHOR

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 

    6 years ago from Pune, India

    Thanks PDXKaraokeGuy for reading the Hub and the comment.

  • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

    Justin W Price 

    6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

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

  • MizBejabbers profile image

    Doris James-MizBejabbers 

    6 years ago from Beautiful South

    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)?

  • jainismus profile imageAUTHOR

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 

    6 years ago from Pune, India

    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.

  • profile image

    John Bartram 

    6 years ago from Ramsgate

    On the historical relationship between Buddhism and Pythagoreanism:

    Pythagorean philosophy in India

    http://historyhuntersinternational.org/2012/05/28/...

  • profile image

    puneet jain 

    6 years ago

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

  • adomcruze profile image

    Adom Cruze 

    6 years ago

    Plz Read and delete this comment :

    Mahavir jee, I'm looking for guest post provider on reputed site /blog. In place of a guest post, i can provide a biznik article (which is paid ) as i've a premium login there.

    Hoping to hear from you soon at my gmail id adomcruze@gmail.com

  • profile image

    Dimitris GF Jain 

    6 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

  • jainismus profile imageAUTHOR

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 

    6 years ago from Pune, India

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

  • Lohrainne Janell profile image

    Lohrainne Janell 

    6 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.

  • profile image

    Chandrakant 

    6 years ago

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

  • jainismus profile imageAUTHOR

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 

    6 years ago from Pune, India

    Thanks sadhuvedantmuni for reading the Hub and sharing your views.

  • profile image

    sadhuvedantmuni 

    6 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.

  • jainismus profile imageAUTHOR

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 

    6 years ago from Pune, India

    rasta1,

    Thanks for reading and sharing your views.

  • rasta1 profile image

    Marvin Parke 

    6 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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