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Reasons why Jainism can not win against Vedics

Updated on March 16, 2012
Jain Symbol of Ahimsa
Jain Symbol of Ahimsa

There are a lot of good things Jainism can offer which are very useful for individuals and communities for spiritual and material progress; but in spite of this Jainism has become a religion of a micro-minority community. This is the most ignored Indian religion by people of India.

On the other hand, the Vedic Brahmins, who are also in minority, have always succeeded to defeat Jainism, many times using latter’s merits.

There are some internal reasons for this. Although Jainism is a great religion, the people who have become owners of this religion are not so great, and therefore solely responsible for this defeat.

Comparison between Jains and Vedics

Let us take the example of Ayurveda. There was a great contribution by ancient Jain Acharyas in research and progress of this medical science. But this was always on paper or verbal. Jains never applied it to cure diseases of people. On the contrary, the Vedic Brahmins, used Ayurveda as an applied science. Even today, we can not get a single medicine in the market which is made according to Jain Ayurveda. What a sad thing, the Jain monks who always speak about the greatness of Jainism, always oppose use of Allopathic medicine, are dependant of Vedic Ayurveda, even after having their own Jain Ayurveda.

Another example is of Mathematics. Jain Acharya developed mathematics to a great degree in ancient and medieval times. We all know that zero was invented by Indians, but who were they? The oldest references to zero are in ancient Jain texts like Tiloyapannati and Sthanang Sutt. They knew about the concept of infinitive and discovered 8 types of infinitives. They developed formula for measuring the area of a Conch. But all this remained in books, all it was theoretical and they failed to promote its practical use. On the other hand, the Vedics were always successful to promote Vedic mathematics.

Further, Vedics are clever enough to keep touch with masses through temples and rituals. Jains failed to develop their own system where masses would get related themselves with Jainism. Most of the Jain temples are ‘private properties’ belonging to specific Jain communities where masses are not allowed.

Vedics have clearly separated the religion of ascetics and the religion of lay people. But Jains have failed to do it. Jain monks are forcing laypeople to follow unnecessary and complicated things, which are only meant to follow by the monks in their ascetic life.

So in my view, Jain will never win against Vedics. If they want to win, they will have to change. They will have to be practical and they will have to separate layman’s life from monkhood.

jainismus Mahavir Sanglikar


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  • Saramu profile image


    6 years ago from North West

    I find the title to the post quite irritating like it's some competition game for kids. Jainism brings invaluable philosophy of Ahimsa Non Violence only great thinkers , scientists , philosophers and ultimately truth seekers can be drown to such path as Jainism which does not approve of cast system as it is propagated in Vedic philosophy . Jainism is all about stepping out of once comfort zone making an individual solely responsible of their actions , it's about stepping outside of religious dogmatic box and realizing that mysteries or happiness is our own creation the ultimate goal of liberation from constant reincarnation brings ultimately freedom from all karmic affects and whims of Demi Gods

  • jainismus profile imageAUTHOR

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 

    7 years ago from Pune, India

    soumyasrajan, thank you for sharing your view in detail on this Hub. You have done a great analysis of the subject.

  • profile image


    7 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

    Hi! jainismus

    U do give interesting information in the article about Jain studies and their achievements.

    But I find your analysis a bit faulty and mainly because of faulty style adopted to analyse history of religions in India as if they went through similar development as in west.

    For example there is practically not even word religion in Indian languages, even now. The common word used as a substitution Dharma only means that which upholds, supports or maintains the regulatory order of the universe, so it essentially means Law or Natural Law or something like putting science and social science as one subject. Dharma designates those behaviours considered necessary for the maintenance of the natural order of things. Therefore dharma may encompass ideas such as duty, vocation, religion and everything that is considered correct, proper or decent behavior. Looking in this manner in India one can see that Hinduism Jainism and Budhism etc. are spiritual and other philosophical developments which help one to understand self and universe, our existence etc. The fact that they are different from dharma is also clear from the fact that each of them have dharma as subsection.

    We do not have (and never had ) concept of separation or exclusivity of philosophies. Since ancient times thousands of years ago in our country among all, common sentiment was "all paths (philosophies, religion, science what ever u like to call ) are parallel and lead to same unique truth, a person chooses one or more what ever one finds suitable" and "vasudhiava ktumbakam (whole earth is our family)".

    These sentiments are visible in all such philosophies - so thinking of them as some thing of bent on putting one against other is quite faulty idea - which has resulted in our country to look at every thing from Western tint (mostly tint from bad ideas from west and not many of their good ideas). In west social order has been for long time forced via a belief system based religions (mostly Abrahamic religions from middle east). Each of this style (even they treat science in some what similar fashion) has an exclusivity of the type beliefs have to be assumed to be true and only "my beliefs are true".

    In these ancient philosophies in India there are practically no belief systems - none of them have concepts like God-satan, good -evil etc. Emphasis has been on individual development to understand and to have better vision to reach (enlightenment, moksha or samadhi etc.) Using tools like shrvavana (reading books, listening, kirtan etc. ) manan (analysis) and niddhyasana (right apprehension via intense meditation etc.) ( I am Hindu so I am using terms more common in Hindusim but more or less the same ideas are in all of them).

    There is no space of concepts like conversion and making this or that philosophy more popular or feeling sad about less numbers etc.

    It will be unfair to say that today's ayurveda or for example vedantic philosophies have been result of only Hindu development (to talk about as if all development was by one cast brahman is to deny a complete reality of India, practically none of rishis or Avatars, devatas, monks or tirthankars have been brahmins). All philosophical developments continuously helped each other. Development from one formed the part of next development of other. This style of exclusivity and studying history with that tint has been completely alien to us and no wonder it puts history in some very nonexistent negative style and creates nonexistent enemies (just because in west certain aspects are considered enemy does not imply that there were similar animosity existed in whole world).

    Jainism and Buddhism are so called nastika philosophies in India which do not consider vedas as a main base, while vdantic or samkhya philosophies in Hindusim are astika tradtion based on considering vedas as main base. Jaisim and Bidhism are considered to be developed in shramana tradition which are much more ancient than any other from of philosophies. The intermingling and respect for each other can also be seen from the fact that Hindus consider Buddha and first Jain trithankar Rishabh dev as avatars of Vishnu. A lot of analysis of Adi shankarachraya is considered to have been influenced by Buddhist monk (and one of great philosophers from India) Nagarjun.

    We do have some idea of date when Jain 23rd jain trithankar Parshva Nath lived (around ninth century). But earlier tirthankars lived in so ancient times that we can not even fix up when they lived as a far as I know. So Jainism is among the most ancient thoughts in India.

    Karma philosophy, I think almost every body considers as initially developed by Jains and later on adopted in Hinduism and Buddhism. This type of exchange has been common in all periods in India. Before islamaic invasion in India practically there is no evidence of any bloodshed or big political differences in India - most of these ideas seem to be imported ideas from west and creation of nonexistent destruction. There is evidence that often one generation took one form of philosophy as base and next one other and next one back to earlier etc.

    Practically every Indian (from all religions) right in childhood learns about Mahavira and Buddha and respects them and their concepts of ahimsa, austerity etc. as a learning for life. So I do not know when people say that only this or that is popular what they mean? Do any of jains, buddhists, or hindus worry much about their numbers or converting or making their religion more popular? I have not heard much. These are not our ideas, to count spiritualism in terms of numbers. We also generally adopt to all ideas from any of them. We worry more about understanding, having better vision, removing ajnana or effects of karma etc. We do not consider aurveda or science as Hindu or Jain etc. they are always considered studies by Indians.

    That is the feeling of silent majority which includes almost all and from all religions ( I do not talk about a tiny numbers of people who consider themselves to "intellectuals" to mean all knowledge to have been sourced or styled to be in western style or these ideas as not secular and western brand of secularism as some kind religion to forced on all, or other side extremes who see whole society which very cohesive as very divisive ).

  • jainismus profile imageAUTHOR

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 

    7 years ago from Pune, India


  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Vedic has taken over the sovereignty of the Jainism and Buddhism as if it is theirs.

    We study the "winners" story as part of the History of India and the "runners" stories are buried which the Author is trying to expose. Good to see more such Hubs

  • profile image

    rajendra jain 

    8 years ago

    Dear Mahavirji

    The ancient jain cave temples of tamil nadu and karnataka where jain munis stayed invariably had a stone mortar carved out which was used to grind medicinal herbs. One such mortar can still be seen at the Kanakagiri hills (Karnataka) where Sri Parswanathji temple is situated.

    All the knowledge and practice was destroyed when thousands of jains were exterminated in religious hatred during medieval period.

  • profile image


    8 years ago


    Jainism is not about about winning over vedics, or any other religion for that matter.

    It is a prescription for winning of soul over its past karmas.

    Keeping in mind the above definition, it would be easy to understand, that though Jain Aagam shastras have vast source of valuable information, it is never put to into any "practical" use, in the normal sense of that word. This is because it is not meant for that purpose, the goal of studying jain shastras is to overcome weakness of one's soul, it is ONLY for this "practical" purpose why one studies Jain shastras.

    Few clarification regarding the following:

    1) The Jain temples are open to all, not specific communities. I have never seen a NO-ENTRY banner on any jain temple.

    2) Nor are they private properties, it belongs to entire Jain Sangh; though due to modern legal requirement, each temple has to create its own trust.

    3) Jains have separate code of conduct for Laymen and Monks.

    These are the few factually incorrect informations I could trace posted on your blog. I would expect, if something is being written on Jainism, at least factual information would not be deviated. Hope it is taken care in future.

  • profile image

    Ashish Shah 

    8 years ago

    Nicely Written Mahavir ji.

    I truly agree with you that most of the jains don't know their own Mathematics and Ayurveda, and are busy following the things which needs to be followed by monks.

  • profile image

    ravionder jain 

    8 years ago


  • jainismus profile imageAUTHOR

    Mahaveer Sanglikar 

    8 years ago from Pune, India

    Jason Marovich,

    Thank you for reading this Hub, and finding it informative and interesting. Your comment has inspired me to write more on related issues. Thank you once again.

  • Jason Marovich profile image

    Jason F Marovich 

    8 years ago from Detroit

    This very informative and interesting. It's not just Jainism that confuses religious ritual with what lay-followers are required to do, religions all over the world have the same issue. People that aren't priests or monks have little interest in living a monk's life.

    Fascinating reference to zero - I didn't know the oldest references to zero came from Jain texts.


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