Jaina and Krishna- Part 1
By Dr. Dwaraka Nath on 24-06-2013
The story comes from a time when Hindus and Jains were not two separate traditions. It is after Mahavira, the last Jaina Tirthankara that Jains separated from Hindus. Neminath, the 22nd Tirthankara* in Jaina Tradition, was Krishna’s cousin. But there is no esoteric connection between the two; there is a reason for it. Neminath belongs to the long tradition of Jaina Tirthankaras who were all devoted to the pursuit of one dimensional spiritual discipline. Perhaps no other tradition has done so much in the dimension of sacrifice and renunciation as the Jainas have done. In this respect Jainas have the longest history, adorned by a galaxy of extraordinary people. It is rare in the whole history of mankind.
The first Jaina Tirthankara, Rishbhadeva, is a contemporary of Rig-Veda. May be he even preceded this most ancient of Vedas, because the Rig-Veda mentions Rishabhadeva with a respect not usually given to contemporaries. The terms used in Rig-Veda to describe Rishabhadeva are so respectful that it suggests the first Tirthankara has already an established reputation when Rig-Veda was being created. Man has yet to be so civilized that he will be respectful to his contemporaries. However, it is certain that Rishabhadeva is contemporary with the Rig-Veda. There is a gap of thousands of years between Rig-Veda and Mahavira, the last Jaina Tirthankara. History has not been able to ascertain exactly, the time that passed between the Veda and Mahavira. Western historians could not put this gap at more than one and a half thousand years. They were so hemmed in by the belief enshrined in the Christian scriptures, that the world was created only four thousand years before Jesus which means that our universe is hardly 6000 years old. The western historians had to compress the whole human history into this brief span of time. Evidently, Hindus and Jainas too cannot transgress this limit. So, those who think along western lines say that the distance in time between the Vedas and Mahavira cannot be more than fifteen hundred years. But the truth is far from it.
The science now accepts that the universe is very old. According to Tilak’s calculations, based on the lunar positions mentioned in scriptures, the Vedas are at least ninety thousand years old. This much can be said without fear of contradiction, that they are much more ancient than what western historians believe. For thousands of years, the Vedas existed in oral tradition, and now they have existed in written form for so many thousands of years. And the oral tradition is longer than the present written tradition, proven by present scientific historians. The first Jaina Tirthankara is mentioned in the Rig-Veda. And as far as the last Tirthankara is concerned, he happened twenty five hundred years ago, according to all historical evidences. It is better if we can change the wordings in Indian history text books mentioning the term that Mahavira is the founder of Jainism! A lot more we shall discuss in the following weeks!
* -Tirthankara – Religious head
About The Author
Dr. Dwaraka Nath, who took his doctorate from Mangalore University in 2007 is a qualified healer in Naturopathy and Yogic sciences. The insatiable fire within, to exploit the good old Indian preventive health care strategies to its full, ended up in Mitran Foundation, dedicated to humanity.