Persecutin by/on Jains

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Oct 2 18:50:10 UTC 2000

Prof. Zydenbos wrote:
>I would very much like to see examples of such cases. I have never
>come across any (despite my repeated requests in various forums,
>no one has provided any), and such information would be a
>genuinely interesting contribution that could lead to further
>investigation. (I am thinking of something like a text by a Jaina
>theoretician who advocates hatred and persecution against other
>religious communities, or justifies war for the spread of the religion.)

Don't know a tamil jaina text mentioning this. But remember
during the sectarian rivalries, many heretic texts, buddhist
and jain, were destroyed for centuries by Shaivism and Vaishnavism
in TN.

The charges levied against Jainas by Shaivaite saints of 7-9th
centuries are analyzed in:
1) A. Veluppillai, "The Hindu Confrontation with the Jaina and the Buddhist.
Saint Tirunanacampantar's Polemical Writings", The Problem of Ritual, ed.
T. Ahlback ( Åbo (Finland): The Donner Institute for Research in Religious
Cultural History, 1993), pp. 335- 364.
2)  Indira V. Peterson, "Srama.nas against the Tamil way: Jains as
     Others in Tamil "Saiva literature, p. 163-186 in
     Open Boundaries, Jain communities and cultures in Indian history,
     ed., J. E. Cort, SUNY, 1998.
(John Cort's volume has an article by Richard Davis
on some shaiva rituals coming from Jainism).
PeriyapurANam, the most popular of all Tamil purANas, describes
many Jain kings torturing Shaivaites. You can get an idea from
a liberal translation: G. Vanmikanathan,
Periya puranam, a Tamil classic on the great Saiva saints
of South India / by Sekkizhaar ; condensed English version
by G. Vanmikanathan. Madras : Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1985.
xvi, 578, xvi p. : ill. ; 22 cm.
Jains trying to destroy Shaivaite poems/poets by burning, drowning in
floods etc., is elaborated there.

The periyapuraaNam section right at this place of impalement seems to
have been broken away and missing (Acc. to Prof. A. Veluppillai
in his paper cited above). Note that periyapurANam has
no critical edition. Unlike Tevaram which atleast has a critical
edition by Murray S. Rajam/T. V. Gopalaiyar from French Inst. at Pondichery
(this edition also does not use all mss.). Because of the breaks,
it is hard to say whether Jains got onto the stacks voluntarily
or by the king's guards. But note that PeriyapurANam myth
could well be a later myth created with no truth in it.
See Prof. A. Veluppillai's message:

It is important that no inscriptions mention about Jains
being impaled in Madurai or elsewhere in Tamil Nadu.
But I heard the AblUr (abalUru) inscriptions in Karnataka
mention Veerashaivaites killing Jainas. Is this correct?
Any references?

In late 19th century, Arumuka Navalar of Jaffna and other Tamils
opposed conversion to Christianity by referring to
ThirugnAnasambandhar's activities at Madurai converting
the Pandyan king from Jainism. Kaasivaasi CentinAthaiyar
wrote a booklet (full of aagama and tevaram quotes)
titled, "Srii cIkAzip peruvAzvi_n cIvakAruNya
mATci" defending Sambandhar's involvement in the impaling
of (8000) Jainas. (I was thanked by Dr. Indira in her paper
for giving a copy :-) ).

My knowledge of Jaina works in Tamil is very little, but there are
vast sources still untapped. Jains introduced the maNipravAla
style (sriipuraaNam, mErumantarapurANam, ...) which later was
used by Srivaishnava commentators. Jain influence in TN can
be seen in personal name endings: "cAmi" (<swAmi) first used for the
hero of the 8th century Jaina epic (cIvakacAmi). Later used
by others too, for example as "rAmacAmi" in cIkAzi aruNAcalak
kavirAyar's music opera, irAma nATakak kIrtta_nai.
Also, the name tirumUrtti refering to MahavIra (and, not
the hindu trimUrti) is common in KongunADu districts. Among many Jain
bastis converted into Shaivaite places of worship, ThirumUrtti
temple near Udumalpet on the banks of Amaravati (old aa_nporunai
river) is famous.

Would like to know about Ablur inscription and,
Veerashaivism vs. Jainism history,
N. Ganesan

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