Readers may have noted that the earlier posts in this blog have marshaled a few strings of evidences to assert that Buddhism was present in Karavali /Tulunadu since ca. 300 BC from the times of composition of Siri paDdana upto 10 or 11th century when Shaivism gradually overtook the Buddhism as mass favoured religious cults. While the evidences in favour of Buddhism are strong during the early period (ca.300 BC to 500 CE) similar evidences are not distinctly available in favour of early Jainism in Karavali/Tulunadu.
Jainism and Buddhism
Gautama Buddha and Mahavira were contemporaries and hailed from the same province. Buddhism was founded by Gautama Buddha ,but Jains, in general, believe that Jain philosophy was founded by the first Tirthankara known as Rishaba and Mahavira has been considered as the last TIrthankara in the sequence of 24th tirthankaras. This assertion of pre-Vedic antiquity possibly suggests to the existence of basic ascetism in pre-Vedic cultures. It can be b noted that the concept of Shiva, with tiger -skin loin cloth and ash covered body, which was subsequently developed into Shaivism during post-Vedic period, is also basically a primitive path of ascetism.
Jain tradition also believes that Chandragupta Maurya (grandfather of King Ashoka) adopted Jainism and travelled to Sravanbelagola along with Jain monk Bhadrabahu. These data suggest that Jainism was introduced to southern India before the introduction of Buddhism.
However, the available evidences in the Karavali are in favour of imprints of Buddhism rather than Janinism especially during the early centuries of the Christian Era.
Dormant Jainism in Early CE
This apparent paradox has been answered by scholars. The early Jainism (Nirgrantha) was highly ascetic that did not attract common people. The Buddhism and mainstream Hinduism followed paths of Bhakti to attract common people. The Jain monks had to compete with these devotional cults like Buddhism and mainstream Hinduism, which they resorted to after 5th century CE to enhance the mass appeal according to scholars and religious analysts like M.A.Dhaky and John E .Cort.
Thus we find proliferation of Jainism only after 5th century CE in different parts of southern India including Tulunadu/Karavali.
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