Jain Remains of Ancient Bengal

by Shubha Majumder | 2017 | 61,684 words

This page relates ‘Digambaras and Shvetambaras’ of the study on the Jain Remains of Ancient Bengal based on the fields of Geography, Archaeology, Art and Iconography. Jainism represents a way of life incorporating non-violence and approaches religion from humanitarian viewpoint. Ancient Bengal comprises modern West Bengal and the Republic of Bangladesh, Eastern India. Here, Jainism was allowed to flourish from the pre-Christian times up until the 10th century CE, along with Buddhism.

The followers of Mahāvīra were originally known as Nirgranthas or those who were without bonds and who subsequently received the designation of “Jaina” (Bhattacharya 1974: 9). In and around the 79 CE, after the nirvāṇa of Mahāvīra, a division took place among the followers of Jainism. Digambaras (Sky-robed or wearing no garment) and Śvetāmbaras (Putting on white clothes) represent the two principle sects of the Jain community. This almost synchronizes with the time of the similar sectarian division of Buddhism into Mahāyāna and Hīnayāna. This division in Jainism began as early as the time of the First Council of Pataliputra, at the end of the 4th century BCE. B.C. Bhattacharya in his book gives the detail reasons behind the schism in Jainism (Bhattacharya 1974: op.cit.,).

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