Jain Archaeological Sites Outside India

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Jain Archaeological Sites Outside India
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For the first time when I happened to read an article on Angkor temples in National Geographic, May 1982 by Peter J. White, I had envisaged that these temples are basically dedicated to the Jain religion because the Five Meru Temples (i.e Angkorvat) and 52 towers temples of Angkor Thom have been of biggest reverence to the Jains all over the world. I feel that western historians and geographers are not fully aware of the Jain religion, philosophy, and the geographical locations of famous Jain temples throughout the world.

The Chinese pilgrims of the 4th to 14th centuries AD and the Arab merchants and traders of the 7th to 14th centuries were well acquainted with the Jains and distinguished them from the followers of Brahminism and even Buddhism. The European adventurers and travelers of the 15th to 18th centuries do not appear to have noticed the distinction between the two communities, the Hindu and the Jain, because, looking superficially with the eyes of a stranger from far-off countries, there was none. The Muslim chroniclers of medieval times also generally suffer from the same lapse, but not all of them [71].

Keeping this in view, I visited these temples first time in March 1996 and found these to be exactly true to my surmise. On the basis of these findings, I published two books [10] & [11]. These findings encouraged me to such an extent that I traveled to more than thirty-three countries in the world to explore the existence of Jain archaeology outside India. This book is an outcome of this effort.

The most important finding of my research in this field is of proving that South-East Asia was the old Mahabharat which geographers and historians have translated 'Mahabharat' as 'Greater India', Exterior India, or further India; etc.. In this exploration, I have had the blessings of Muni Shri Vidyanandji Maharaj and Muni Shri Vidya Sagar ji Maharaj.

I am glad to accept Shri Nirmal Kumarji Sethi Sahib's offer for publishing this book under the banner of Mahasabha, which will spread information about Jain Archeological sites outside India to the general public.

I am further thankful to Dr. Narendra Jain, Professor of Zoology in Govt. College of Rajasthan for giving me academic help and accompanying me in exploring the archaeological sites and also for going through this manuscript and giving me useful suggestions.

I am very much thankful to Shri Alok Jain, Managing Director, Jaipur Printers Pvt. Ltd., who besides having obtained a Master's Degree in Physics and having a wide experience and an unshakable belief in Jainism has shown a great interest in the formative and printing of this book.

Introduction

There is no doubt that Jainism prevailed even before Vardhamana or Parshvanath. The Yajurveda mentions the names of three Tirthankaras, Rishabh. Ajit, and Arishtanemi, the first, second, and 22nd Tirthankaras. The Bhagwat Purana endorses the view that Rishabh was the founder of Jainism.

Dr. Sarvapalli Radha Krishnan has mentioned in his book " Indian Philosophy Vol.1, p.287" the evidence to show that so far back as the 1st century BC there were people who were worshipping Rishabh Deva, the 1st Tirthankara.

Jaina agamas and religious textbooks mention the names of different cities and towns such as Dvarawati, Ayerawat regions, etc which are supposed to be the birthplaces of Tirthanakaras. Munis and learned scholars went there. One can find all these places in Southeast Asia (See Map.1.[33]). The rulers of these places were the followers of the Jaina religion. However, these rulers had to flee from these places during an upsurge in the local people and communities and settled in India. In India, these people gave the names to many cities the same names which were very auspicious and religious in South- East Asia so that the people could have similar respect for these places. But this is also a fact that these very settlers, traders, and rulers, businesses men when traveled to the South-East-Asian countries they built their huge temples, monasteries, for example, Borobudur in Indonesia, Angkorvat and 52 towered temples in Cambodia, etc. I differ from the view of many scholars and historians that they gave the names to these south-East Asian countries the same names as were existing in India. It is rather the other way around. It may be mentioned here that South East Asia was actually ancient Mahabharata which happened to be the most advance.

Few civilizations have as long a continuous history as that of Jainism. Using the evidence from archaeological finds and literature we are able to comfortably embrace the last 4500 years. Once the Ayerawat and Videha regions were discovered, I was confident in believing that Aryans came to India to settle. These settlers gave the very names to different cities in India as were popular and religious in South-East Asia, eg. Ayodya, Hastinapur, Champa, Vaishali, etc. After they settled in India their religious activities like building temples, Dharamshalas (monasteries), approach roads, etc started with much vigor. The most prominent were Sravanbelgola, Khajuraho, and many places on top of hills. The stone sculpture technique developed in India was carried by the rulers of India to the places like Indonesia, Thailand, and Cambodia and erected world fame monuments like Borobudur in Indonesia„ Angkorvat/Angkor Thom in Cambodia, Pyramids in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, etc. Because of an upsurge in these countries by the local tribes from these places. Jainism had already been established as an important religion in various countries before Mahavira and Buddha began their missionary activities.

Before describing the archeological findings, I preferred to include three chapters namely 1. Indian Religions and Culture, in which the main idea is to remove the misunderstandings and misinterpretations about the similarities and diversities among the three important religions of India, 2. Lord Mahavira and Lord Buddha, in which I have tried to explain the misunderstandings in the common belief about Naag Buddha and 23 Buddhas existed before Lord Buddha. 3, Lord Prashvanath and the serpent angels, in which the main modifications in the common beliefs among Jains is that the serpent whom Lord Parshavanath saved from burning, the very serpent was alive and came to rescue the Lord. The Local King & Queen, Dharmendra, and Padmavati also came on the upsurge spot.

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