User talk:Indian Chronicles/Discussion with IAF

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AnishShah an honest no-holes-barred question to you. I expect you to reply honestly. Have you spared a few minutes and read my replies to you in the IR talk page ? Even once ? Ever ? I ask this because every time you simply repeat what you said before and do not try to refute me point by point, whereas I like a mule reply to you point by point (whether in tabular form or simple text). I have even memorised your references Masih, Sangawe etc.

My opinion is that you just speedily glance through my reply and post what you said earlier all over again. Without thinking. Only difference is that you now post it in new words and sentences. Sometimes it is tabular form. Sometimes you get a buddy like Manish Modi along to speak the same lines over and over again.

Do reply to this here. Indian_Air_Force —Preceding comment was added at 18:37, 15 November 2007 (UTC)

Hi IAF, Let me be Honest with you. I am really surprised by your statement that I am not reading your arguments and not replying to you point wise or refuting your arguments. Maybe it is your genuine perception. My first endeavor has always been arriving at a consensus rather than refute someone. I have seen your other edits, some of which have come out quite good, but I did not approve tone of your discussion in certain talk pages (IR included). That we could not arrive at a consensus on pages of IR is a different story, as a lot of negative energy and passion were flowing.
Coming back to your point, I always tried to give reply, to not only your arguments, but have tried to give additional points to convince you. Maybe that could have got you confused. In fact to avoid confusion, I also tried to give my understanding as against your edits in table format point wise. In some cases I also found your arguments not clear as to what point you were making (as per my impression) like you kept on repeating Hiranyagarbha, which was never a Jain concept. I request you to go thru the discussion page once more, (I believe) that I have replied to all your points and concerns. If not, please point out specific points that you feel I have not replied and I will restrict my discussion to the same. Look, I am not interested in “Winning” and nothing is gained out of getting someone banned, it creates a lot of bad feeling and lose-lose situation. Nothing would please me more if I can convince you to some of my points even if half way. Whether we ultimately agree or not, at least let us be courteous and civil with each other as individuals.
I have realized one thing – we Indians have a mentality that whatever is older and original is best and older the better. We need to understand that it is not always the case. That is why, we tend to push back the dates of our religious leader to prove that whatever is best in humanity was derived from our religion and culture. That is why many people try to push the dates of Shankaracharya to 4th / 5th century BC and certain Jains sources put Mahavira to 10th Century BCE. That is why I have tried to avoid Jain sources for history and tried to rely on Western and non-Jain Indian Scholars with some exceptions.

--Anish 06:53, 16 November 2007 (UTC)

You said, "If not, please point out specific points that you feel I have not replied and I will restrict my discussion to the same." You keep repeating about Shramana's antiquity stretching back in parallel to Vedic times, even when Gautama Buddha and Mahavira have been proven to have lived and preached around 500 B.C. and it is them under whom Shramana was at its peak. All other Jain tirthankars are mythological characters and have no historical record to their names.

Sangawe says that Jain teachers are distinct from Vedic literature, which is absolutely false. You can google to find out the exact verse number in the Vedas to find mention of some tirthankars. He says that Jain religion began in Indus Valley civilization, whose refutation I've given godzillion times. What is even more mind numbing is that Sangave clings on to the straws of Rishabh when Rishabh in the first place finds extensive mention in the Rig Veda---acknowledged to be one of the world's oldest extant texts !! So which religion has first claim to the IVC ? Jainism or Vedic religion ? But according to Sangave it should be Jainism, whereas striking similarities to Rishabh deva in Rigved, Shiva, Devi, Pashupathinath, Yogic postures can be all dammed.

Still you keep playing the same track like a stuck record. I have posted all this in the table, in the sections before that right about everywhere. Masih also says pretty much the same stuff as Sangave and so do others. Indian_Air_Force(IAF)

I will respond to you point wise in 1 or 2 days as I am a bit busy--Anish (talk) 06:33, 18 November 2007 (UTC)

Reply on Sramanas and IVC[edit]

I have given a detailed response to your points. I have kept it detailed as obviously; you would not be satisfied with one line responses, so please bear with me. Below the table, I have also provided the references for my reply in the table. My references are more detailed as I have also quoted the authors text rather than just citing the title. I am totally ignoring the references from Jain sources, Jain texts and books written by Jain munis and Jain laymen. Rather, I am quoting from Western and Indian Scholars. I am ignoring Sangave and Masih as I have already discussed them.

Your Points My Reply
You keep repeating about Shramana's antiquity stretching back in parallel to Vedic times, even when Gautama Buddha and Mahavira have been proven to have lived and preached around 500 B.C. and it is them under whom Shramana was at its peak. All other Jain tirthankars are mythological characters and have no historical record to their names. a) Your Point is well taken. There is no doubt that Buddha and Mahavira lived around 500 BCE and it is under them the sramana tradition was at a "peak". But that does not rule out existence of Sramanas before Mahavira. I will provide a proof of this.
b) Your statement that all Tirthankaras were Mythological figures is only partially correct. Parvanath the 23rd Tirthankar is accepted as a Historical Figure.
c) It is true that other Tirthankaras are having mythological biographies similar to Rama and Krishna. But that does not preclude their existence. It fact vedas itself provides proof of existence of non-vedics. See list of references below
Sangawe says that Jain teachers are distinct from Vedic literature, which is absolutely false. You can google to find out the exact verse number in the Vedas to find mention of some tirthankars. It is true that certain Tirthankaras are mentioned in Vedas. However only some times they are mentioned with reverence or as Arhats. Most of the times they have been demonised (asuras) as they were opposed to Vedic sacrifices and rituals as meaningless and harmful. As such Vedics and Sramanas were at loggerheads with each other. Even the philosophies were different. Vedics were optimistic and celebrated the richness of life and Grihasta (Marriage, procreation and Worldly life) was a sacred duty. Sramanas were pessimistic and saw the worldly samsara as full of suffering and advocated renunciation early.
This philosophy of Sramanas is partly discussed in Vedas. Infact they have been variously described in Rigvedas as - Vatarasana, Digvasa, Nirgrantha and Nirambara, Vratyas and described as - naked, indifferent to bathing, unclean, due to sweat, dirt. They used to remain silent and looked wild owing to their meditative practices. By controlling breathing they used to attain godhood. Many of the Vratyas (persons who had taken vows or vratas) are said to be unversed in the Vedic tradition and rituals and belong to Licchavi, Natha and Malla clans. Vedas clearly bring out such differences between vedics and non-vedics.
He says that Jain religion began in Indus Valley civilization, whose refutation I've given godzillion times. What is even more mind numbing is that Sangave clings on to the straws of Rishabh when Rishabh in the first place finds extensive mention in the Rig Veda---acknowledged to be one of the world's oldest extant texts !! So which religion has first claim to the IVC ? Jainism or Vedic religion ? But according to Sangave it should be Jainism, whereas striking similarities to Rishabh deva in Rigved, Shiva, Devi, Pashupathinath, Yogic postures can be all dammed. Forget Sangave, there are many scholars who hold that Jainism did have some link with IVC. This is not my invention. True, Indus script is not yet dechipered and scholars hold a divergent views on IVC. Some of it is quite speculative but they all hold that IVC and Vedic civilisation were different. That is why I did not put this up in my edit and mentioned only in talk page. In fact some authors like P.S.K. Pandian hold that Shaivism is different from Vedic religion and consider Shiva and Rishabha as same persons. (I was not mentioning it as this theory is not accepted universally and is not really relevant in this context. I am only mentioning it to show a divergence of views)
The fact that Rishabha is mentioned in Rgveda, does that not mean logically that he existed before writing of Vedas ?

See list of references below.

List of references:

A) References for “Shramana's antiquity stretching back in parallel to Vedic times”

1. Mary Pat Fisher (1997) In : Living Religions: An Encyclopedia of the World's Faiths I.B.Tauris : London ISBN 1860641482

“The extreme antiquity of Jainism as a non-vedic, indigenous Indian religion is well documented. Ancient Hindu and Buddhist scriptures refer to Jainism as an existing tradition which began long before Mahavira.” Page 115

2. Heinrich Zimmer (1969) Joseph Campbell ed. In: Philosophies of India, Princeton University Press NY, ISBN 0691017581

These heterodox systems represent the thinking of the non-Aryan peoples of India, who were overcome and despised by the Brahmans, but nevertheless could boast of extremely subtle traditions of their own. Dr. Zimmer regarded Jainism as the oldest of the non-Aryan group, in contrast to most Occidental authorities, who consider Mahavira, a con¬temporary of the Buddha, to have been its founder instead of, as the jainas themselves (and Dr. Zimmer) claim, only the last of a long line of Jaina teachers. Dr. Zimmer believed that there is truth in the Jaina idea that their religion goes back to a remote antiquity, the antiquity in ques¬tion being that of the pre-Aryan, so-called Dravidian period, which has recently been dramatically illuminated by the discovery of a series of great Late Stone Age cities in the Indus Valley, dating from the third and perhaps even fourth millennium b.c. (cf. Ernest Mackay, The Indus Civilization, London, 1935; also Zimmer, Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization, pp. 93ff.).

3. Harry Oldmeadow (2007) Light from the East: Eastern Wisdom for the Modern West, World Wisdom, Inc ISBN 1933316225

Over time, apparent misunderstandings have arisen over the origins of Jainism and relationship with its sister religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. [..] There has been an ongoing debate between Jainism and Vedic Hinduism as to which revelation preceded the other. What is historically known is that there was a tradition along with vedic Hinduism known as sramana dharma. Essentially, the sramana tradition included it its fold, the Jain and Buddhist traditions, which disagreed with the eternality of the Vedas, the needs for ritual sacrifices and the supremacy of the Brahmins. Page 141

4. Dr. A. N. Upadhye , A Cultural History of India, Clarendon Press, Oxford

As Dr. A. N. Upadhye remarked -- "The origins of Jainism go back to the pre-historic times. They are to be sought in the fertile valley of Ganga, where they flourished in the past, even before the advent of Aryans with their priestly religion, a society of recluses who laid much stress on individual exertion, on practice of a code of morality and devotion to austerities, as means of attaining religious Summum Bonum." , P. 100

5. Dr. Kalghatgi, T. G. 1988 In: Study of Jainism, Prakrit Bharti Academy, Jaipur

The essence of Indian culture is to be found in the synthesis of the sramana and the vedic currents of thought. Sramana current of thought is non-vedic. It is infact pre-vedic.

B) Links between IVC and Jainism

1. Christopher Key Chappel 1993, Nonviolence to Animals, Earth, and Self in Asian Traditions SUNY Press ISBN 0791414973

Several Scholars including Ramprasad Chandra, John Marshall, and Mircea Eliade, claim that current yogic practices stem from Indus Valley sramanistic rituals as indicated on these seals. However, Doris Srinivasan warns against associating them with later Hindu Culture. Page 6 Both Meditative poses and apparent veneration for animals have been cited by Thomas McEvilley as evidence of proto yoga tradition in India akin to Jainism. In support of his claim, he refers to Indus seals where animals surround a person engaged in what he describes as mulabandhasana, a sitting yogic posture whereby ones heels are pressed against perineum with knees pressed firmly to the ground. Page 6 This particular image, depicting a contemplative figure surrounded by a multitude of animals might suggest that all the animals depicted are sacred to this particular practioner. Consequently, these animals would be protected from harm. This might be the first indication of the practice of ahimsa. Page 7 This particular scene is also described in the Acaranga sutra, the oldest text of Jaina canon. It is said to adorn the palanquin that Mahavira ascended in the fantastic and embellished tale that describes his renunciation. Seal 420, unearthed at Mohenjodaro portrays a person with 3 or possibly 4 faces. Jaina iconography frequently decpts its tirtahnkaras with four faces, symbolizing their missionary activities in all four directions. The figure portrayed in seal 420 as well as those depicted in seals 222 and 235 and in various other images, sits in the mulabandhasana mentioned above. The first literary mention of this pose is found in the Acaranga Sutra and later in Kalpa sutra in association with Mahaviras pose when he entered into the state of Kaivala, the pinnacle of Jaina spirituality. For McEvilley, the depiction of this pose in the Indus valley material and the later description in the Jaina texts perovide evidence of a strong link between the archaic and the institutional religion of India. Page 7 One stamped amulet from Mohenjodaro depicts a figure in what McEvilley calls as mulabandhasana flanked by two devotees and two upright serpents; McEvilley notes that the Tirthankara Parsvanatha at the moment he passed into kaivala was protected on both sides by upright serpents. Another seal depicts “seven persons in upright position with arms somewhat hanging somewhat stiffly and held slightly away from the sides of the body. Which correlates with the Jaina Kayatsarga pose, the posture in which the very first Tirthankara, Rshabha, is said to have entered kevala. [..] While this can be interpreted in may ways, Richard Lannoy however does see Jaina influences on this seal : “That of a nude man represented as a repeat-motif in a rigidly upright position, legs slightly apart, arms held parallel to the sides of his body, which recurs as a Jaina tirthankara, repeated row upon row. Page 8 Depictions of a bull appear repeatedly in the artifacts of the Indus Val¬ley, Lannoy, McEvilly, and Padmanabh Jaini all have suggested that the abundant use of the bull image in the Indus Valley civilization indicates a link with Rsabha, the first of the twenty four Tirthankaras, whose companion ani¬mal is the bull. Page 8 Additionally, the RgVeda describes the odd practices of an ancient religious order wherein men with unshorn locks are described variously as naked, going where the gods have gone before, “intimate with the wind”, and "a sweet most delightful friend" {Rg Veda. X:136). The Atharvaveda devotes its fifteenth chapter to the Vratyas, a sect that includes among its practices stand¬ing erect in one spot for a full year, a practice mentioned in the Uttara Sutra a jaina text. These references to not cutting the hair, postures such as Mulabandhasana and standing motionless, nudity, and so forth, might be indicative of a proto-yogic religion related to later forms of Jainism. All these materials suggest that some form of religion involving meditation and veneration of animals flourished in the Indus Valley cities. Although it is not possible to conclude that these persons were practitioners of ahimsa as it exists in its present form, so the iconographic and thematic continuity stretching from the Indus Valley into classical and modern Jainism seems evi¬dent. Pp. 8 – 9

2. Ivan Van Sertima (1988) African Presence in Early Asia, Transaction Publishers: New Jersey, ISBN 0887387179

Two major spiritual influences governed the Indus Valley culture: the philosophy of Jainism and the science of yoga. Contemporary historians underestimate the age of both of these disciplines; Vardhanana Mahavir a contemporary of the Buddha who lived in the fifth century B.C., said to have founded Jainism while a grammarian named Patanjali is held to have written the first yoga sutras in the 2nd century B,C. Evidence unearthed at Mohenjo Daro and Harappa bears, testimony to a far greater antiquity. The genesis of these philosophies occurred during the days of the Indus Valley civilization.
Images in Harappan artwork corroborate the existence of Jainism in the Harappan civilization. One of the characteristics of the Jain a monks is that upon initiation they would become gymnosophist. Several of these nude religious images have been unearthed in terra cotta form; these constitute powerful evidence of the Jaina presence in Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa. A,L. Basham describes these images to be of "nude men with coiled hair; their posture, rigidly upright, with the legs slightly apart, and the arms held parallel to the sides of the body but not touching it, closely resembles the stance called by the Jaina's Kayotsarga in which meditating teachers are often portrayed in later times." Page 97

3. Prof. Ram Prasad Chanda, (who supervised Indus Valley Civilisation excavations), article Mohen-jo-Daro: Sindh 5000 Years Ago in Modern Review (August, 1932)

Not only the seated deities on some of the Indus seals are in Yoga posture and bear witness to the prevalence of Yoga in the Indus Valley Civilisation in that remote age, the standing deities on the seals also show Kayotsarga (a standing or sitting posture of meditation) position. The Kayotsarga posture is peculiarly Jain. It is a posture not of sitting but of standing. In the Adi Purana Book XV III, the Kayotsarga posture is described in connection with the penance of Rsabha, also known as Vrsabha.

4. Indus civilisation, Rigveda, and Hindu culture / Author: Deshmukh, P. R. Publisher: Nagpur : Saroj Prakashan, Date: 1982.

The first Jain T¤rtha¯kara belonged to Indus Valley Civilisation. The Indus Valley deities were nude. The Jains sustained that culture and worshipped nude T¤rtha¯karas


5. Dr. Natalya Guseva (Russian scholar) in her book Jainism says :-

If one juxtaposes the yogic posture on Indus seals with the fact that the most ancient philosophical work of the Jains, ‘The Book of Wisdom of Arhatas’ ascribed to Rsabha himself was also called Yoga (Benjamin Rowland, The Art and Architecture of India, Plate 81a) and also that this posture is the classical echelon of the posture of Tirthankara for 25 centuries (and possibly much longer); then all this brings back to our minds the thought that there is possibly an ancient connection between Jainism and the Indus Valley Civilisation.

6. Thomas McEvilley (2002) The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies Allworth Communications, Inc. 816 pages ISBN 1581152035

Among many forms of Indian atomism, the occurrence of such contradictions is unique to Jainism and it seems to identify it as older than other forms. It is not just that Jainism seems to be pre-buddhist, In fact “ Jainas hold their religion and philosophy to be even older than Vedic thought” and it may be parts of it can be traced clear back to the IVC. Page 203. The origins of Jain iconography reach back like the origins of Jainism itself to the remotest depth of unrecorded Indian past. In fact they may reach back past the Indus valley into the heart of Sumer. P. 250

7. Larson, Gerald James (1995) “India’s Agony over religion” SUNY Press ISBN 079142412X

There is some evidence that Jain traditions may be even older than the Buddhist traditions, possibly going back to the time of the Indus valley civilization, and that Vardhamana rather tha being a “founder” per se was, rather, simply a primary spokesman for much older tradition. Page 27

--Anish (talk) 19 November 2007 (UTC)

As I was called here to help edit war on Indian religions end, I'll try my best to arbritrate between you two. I'll mainly address Anish Shah's response to Indian Air Force.

Parshvanath was a well documented historical figure,[1][2] but the burden of proof is essentially on Anish Shah to prove statements about other Tirthankars being more than mythological figures. As a Jain, I would believe they were historical, but as a Jain I'm also biased in saying that. IAF says that Jain Tirthankars are mentioned in the Vedas, but this does not prove that Sramana traditions were part of the Vedic tradition. All it means is that Vedic scholars knew about the existence of the Sramana tradition. As for the third contention, please keep in mind that the Indus Valley Civilization was pre-Aryan and therefore most likely did not follow Vedic traditions. Although Jainism may not have been influential or even known in the IVC, there's a very good chance it existed in pre-Aryan India (although this would be hard to ascertain and I don't have the resources to provide references for this statement; Anish Shah has alreayd provided some). Now that I have that out of the way, I'll get to the main point.

Clearly, there is evidence for both points of view. As long as the article is well-referenced and clearly doesn't support either view, I don't see a problem with integrating both of your ideas into the article. Civilized discussion in the talk page of the article can help you decide how you'll structure the article. For example, you may want to discard any part of either viewpoint, bring in more viewpoints, or create another section in the article to discuss alternate theories.It would probably be best to keep potentially inflammatory remarks out of the introduction. I'll look over the history of this debate and possibly add more to this.

P.S. - Both of you, please work on your grammar! --Qmwne235 19:45, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

After rereading the lengthy discussion on the talk page, I found numerous things that disturbed me. First of all, there was bad grammar, but that's unrelated to the point. However, I noticed that both of you used "????" as a response to the references of the other, even when they brought up very good points. Also, statements such as "You are quoting some Stephen Knapp who does not have a standing in the academic world. He has made a lot of wild claims bordering on lunacy..." and "AnishShah, if Mr. Joel Diederik Beversluis (your source) claims [something], he'd better go back to school (with you in tow of course). Not only is this source bogus and dubious, it appears to be motivated" are inflammatory and do not help the debate proceed. If you would like to dispute each other's references, do so with sources and keep in mind that discrediting one source does not disprove the point. I also noticed a lack of assumption of good faith, as when IAF implied that Anish Shah and Manish Modi have a conspiracy to make the article POV. I appreciate that both of you have stated that you would like to reach a consensus, but we need to get beyond talk. To this end, I suggest a voluntary moratorium on editing for both of you until a consensus is reached. You can make suggestions about wording of certain passages here or on the talk page. You should also make clear statements as to exactly what you disagree on at this point, and I'll see what I can do then. --Qmwne235 20:15, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

References[edit]

  1. ^ University of Warwick Jain Society
  2. ^ Sangave, Vilas. Facets of Jainology. India: Popular Books, 2001.