Criticism of Jainism
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|Criticism of religion|
Throughout its history, Jainism has been engaged in debates with the other Indian philosophical and religious traditions, in which its theories and practices have been questioned and challenged.
There are two criteria of criticism of any system of thoughts; one is based on rational evaluation of its doctrines, texts, teachings and practice, and the other criterion pertains to the consistency or inconsistency of the practitioners in applying the teachings.
- 1 Philosophical criticism
- 2 Criticism of religious practices
- 3 Hindu revivalism and Indian identities
- 4 See also
- 5 Notes
- 6 References
- 7 Sources
At the beginning of the Muslim-reigns in India, Hindu-philosophers categorized the Indian philosophical-religious traditions according to their stand toward the vedas. It helped in creating a common identity, in opposition to the Muslims. Those who rejected the Vedas as the prime source of religious knowledge were labeled "nāstika". As a consequence, Jainism along with Buddhism was categorized as nāstika darśana. Nevertheless, they share a substantial philosophical idiom with orthodox Hinduism, which was profoundly influenced by the shramanic tradition: Gomez:
The sramanas set religious goals that stood outside, and in direct opposition to, the religious and social order of the brahmanas (brahmans), who represented the Indo-Aryan establishment. Most of the values that would become characteristic of Indian, and therefore Hindu, religion in general were shaped by the interaction of these two groups, especially by a process of assimilation that transformed the Brahmanic order into Hindu culture.
Non-creation and karma
According to Jain beliefs, the universe was never created.[note 1] According to Jain doctrine, the universe and its constituents—soul, matter, space, time, and principles of motion—have always existed. All the constituents and actions are governed by universal natural laws. It is not possible to create matter out of nothing and hence the sum total of matter in the universe remains the same.[note 2] Jain text claims that the universe consists of Jiva (life force or souls), and Ajiva (lifeless objects).Similarly, the soul of each living being is unique and uncreated and has existed since beginningless time. The Jain theory of causation holds that a cause and its effect are always identical in nature and hence a conscious and immaterial entity like God cannot create a material entity like the universe.
Shankara has criticised the Jain position on the supremacy and potency of Karma in Jainism, specifically the insistence on non-intervention by any Supreme Being. The fruits of karma, according to Shankara, must be administered through the action of a conscious agent, namely, a supreme being (Ishvara). In a commentary to Brahma Sutras[note 3] Adi Shankara argued that the original karmic actions themselves cannot bring about the proper results at some future time; neither can supersensuous, non-intelligent qualities like adrsta—an unseen force being the metaphysical link between work and its result—by themselves mediate the appropriate, justly deserved pleasure and pain.
Criticism of religious practices
Fasting to death
Santhara, commonly called Sallenkhana is a procedure in which a Jain stops eating with the intention of death. Human rights organisations say santhara is comparable to suicide and euthanasia and must not be allowed to continue. In India, euthanasia is banned and suicide is a crime. In Rajastan, a lawyer petitioned the High Court of Rajasthan to declare santhara illegal. There is ongoing human rights debate about whether santhara has any place in modern society.
Status of women
Although Jainism is dedicated to equality in many ways, women do face difficulties in attaining moksha "liberation" in Jainism. Some texts state that women are spiritually unequal and impure. Women are believed to be harmful by nature. Their menstrual blood is considered to be impure in several important Jain texts. Digambara sect believes that women are inherently himsic (which is best translated as harmful) as the bleeding that occurs in menstruation is thought to kill micro-organisms in the body, making the female body less nonviolent than the male body. The very femininity of females is a deterrent to their religious freedom.
Digambaras in particular believe women must be reborn in male form before they can achieve moksha. They claim that women cannot become full monasticism or nuns because nakedness is key to achieving non-attachment but they ban women from being nude in public. Digambaras believe that if women go without clothing, men will experience sexual desires, thus diverting them from divine liberation. In turn, women would feel ashamed, and they would also be denied holy deliverance.
Hindu revivalism and Indian identities
With the onset of British colonialism, select groups of Indians developed responses to the British dominance and the British critique of Hinduism. The Brahmo Samaj strived towards mono-theism, while no longer regarding the Vedas as sole religious authority. The Brahmo Samaj had a strong influence on the Neo-Vedanta of Vivekananda, Aurobindo, Radhakrishnan and Gandhi. They strived toward a modernized, humanistic Hinduism with an open eye for societal problems and needs. Other groups, like the Arya Samaj, strived toward a revival of Vedic authority. In this context, various responses toward Jainism developed.
Hindu exclusivism - Dayanand Saraswati and the Arya Samaj
The Arya Samaj "teaches that the Vedic religion is the only true religion revealed by God for all." The Arya Samaj was founded by Dayanand Saraswati (1824-1883), who "was the solitary champion of Vedic authority and infallibility". His "magnus upos" contains the basic teachings of Dayanand and the Arya Samaj. It contains "Dayananda's bitter criticisms of the major non-Vedic religions of Indian origins." In the Satyarth Prakash he writes that he regarded Jainism as "the most dreadful religion", and that Jains are "possessed of defective and childish understanding."[note 4]
Hindu inclusivism - Hindutva and "Dharmic religions"
In modern times, the orthodox measure of the primacy of the Vedas has been has been joint with the 'grand narrative' of Vedic origins of Hinduism. The exclusion of Jainism and Buddhism excludes a substantial part of India's cultural and religious history from the asserttion of a strong and positive Hindu identity. Hindutva-ideology solves this problem by taking recourse to the notion of Hindutva, "Hinduness", which includes Jainism and Buddhism. A recent strategy, exemplified by Rajiv Malhotra, is the use of the term dhamma as a common denominator, which also includes Jainism and Buddhism. Many Jains have joined the Hindu nationalist movements and are fine with their identity as Hindus.
- Criticism of Buddhism
- Criticism of Christianity
- Criticism of Hinduism
- Criticism of Islam
- Criticism of Religion
- Criticism of Sikhism
- Compare ajativad in Advaita Vedanta.
- Similar to law of conservation of mass
- III, 2, 38, and 41
- Daniels cites Dayanand in his investigation of the claim that "Hinduism is the most tolerant of all religions and Hindu tolerance is the best answer in fostering peace and harmony in a multi-religious society", taking Swami Vivekananda, Swami Dayananda and Mahatama Gandhi as cases. He asks the question "Why was Dayananda so aggressive and negative in his response to other religions?". Panicker also mentions that Dayanand's views are "strongly condemnotary, predominantly negative and positively intolerant and agressive."
- Nicholson 2010.
- Flood 1996, p. 16.
- Gomez 2013, p. 42.
- "Glory of Jainism", p. 12, by R. B. Pragwat, V. G. Nair, year = 1969
- Nayanar (2005b), p.190, Gāthā 10.310
- Pandey 1978, p. 1.
- Reichenbach, Bruce R. (April 1989). "Karma, causation, and divine intervention". Philosophy East and West (Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press) 39 (2): 135–149 . doi:10.2307/1399374. JSTOR 1399374. Retrieved 2009-12-29.
- "Religions - Jainism: Fasting". BBC Religions. 2009-09-10. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
- "Women in Jainism". BBC Religions. 2009-09-10. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
- "Women Impure During their Menstrual Cycle?". Anekant Education Foundation. Retrieved 2011-09-27.
- "Religions - Jainism: Jain sects". BBC. 2009-09-11. Retrieved 2011-09-28.
- "Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America: Native American creation stories", p. 693, by Rosemary Skinner Keller, 2009
- King 2001.
- Rambachan 1994.
- Rambachan 1994, p. 38.
- Panicker 2006, p. 39.
- Panicker 2006, p. 38.
- Panicker 2006, p. 38-39.
- Daniel 2000, p. 92.
- Eastern Book Company, About the Book: [P.S. Daniels (2000)], Hindu Response to Religious Pluralism
- Springer 2012.
- Babb, Lawrence A. (1996). Absent Lord: Ascetics and Kings in a Jain Ritual Culture. University of California Press. p. 4. ISBN 978-0-520-91708-8.
- Daniel, P.S. (2000), Hindu Response to Religious Pluralism, Kant Publications, ISBN 8186218106
- Flood, Gavin D. (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press
- Gomez, Luis O. (2013), Buddhism in India. In: Joseph Kitagawa, "The Religious Traditions of Asia: Religion, History, and Culture", Routledge
- King, Richard (2001), Orientalism and Religion: Post-Colonial Theory, India and "The Mystic East", Taylor & Francis e-Library
- Nicholson, Andrew J. (2010), Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History, Columbia University Press
- Pandey, G.C. (1978), Sramana Tradition, Ahmedabad: L.D. Indology
- Panicker, P.L. John (2006), Gandhi on Pluralism and Communalism, ISPCK
- Rambachan, Anatanand (1994), The Limits of Scripture: Vivekananda's Reinterpretation of the Vedas, University of Hawaii Press
- Springer (2012), International Journal of Hindu Studies, Vol. 16, No. 3, December 2012