Jainism was born in north India, i.e., in Bihar but later on Karnataka became the second home of Jainism since fourth century sc. She has provided a good account for the development of Jain centres in south Karnataka like Sravanbelagola, Humcha, Moodabidri, etc., which are the most important Jain Sacred places even today where number of devotees visits, every year.
The idol of Bahubali installed by the Camundaraja in AD 981 at Sravanbelagola is one of the wonders of the world and the author describes this in detail, which forms an interesting reading. The author makes use of epigraphical and archaeological evidences to trace the development of Jainism in south Karnataka, besides the works of B.L. Rice, R. Narasimhachar, H.K. Sastri, B.A. Saletore. The personal visit to the historically important places like Humcha, Moodabidri, Sravanbelagola, etc., helped the researcher to get better insight into the problems dealt in this thesis. Thus it can be said that, she is familiar with the relevant sources both primary and secondary.
Author also narrated very nicely the role of Bhattarakas of south Karnataka in spreading and projecting Jainism in early medieval period. No doubt this book will be welcomed by academic world at a large scale and for everyone interested in religious history, this book is in the collectors segment as well as a must for the devoted and true institutions, college and public libraries engrossed in preserving the world religions chronically.
Therefore Jainism was a force which flourished for more than two thousand years in Karnataka. Fortunately, there are a number of epigraphs, inscriptions and old historical monuments available to reconstruct the various stages of development of Jainism in this period.
Some earlier archaeologists, epigraphists and historians of south India like B.L. Rice, R. Narasimhacharya, K.A. Nilkanthasastri, H.K. Sastri, S. Setter, etc., have rendered great services by making all these inscriptions available in English. In addition to epigraphical sources, an abundant literary sources, produced by pandits and Jain acaryas and other scholars during this period, are also important and useful to fill up the gaps. There is no systematic study of the role played by temple cities like Sravanbelagola, Humcha, Moodabidri, Karkala and Venur in promoting Jainism in south Karnataka.
Philosophy apart, Jain monks and their followers have also contributed handsomely to the literature, art, architecture and culture of India. The Jain grantha bhandaras are recognized as a part of our proud heritage. The Jain temples have attracted people for their sculpturesque beauty.
Tirthankaras and Jain munis have preached love, non-violence and renunciation of 4st/a (passion). The fundamental concept underlying the doctrines of Jainism is LIVE AND LET LIVE.
Since the times of Bhagwan Rsabhadeva this religion has spread over the different parts of the country. Although the tirthankaras of Jainism were born in Bihar and in the northern provinces of the country, the religion preached by them has also blossomed and flowered in Karnataka as well.
Jainism was founded by 24 tirthankaras from Rsabhanatha, also known as Adinatha, to Vardhamana Mahavira. All these tirthankaras flourished in north India and due to their endeavour Jainism as a heterodox religion came into existence. Last two of the 24 tirthankaras, namely, Parsvanatha of eight century BC and Mahavira of the sixth century BC are regarded respectively, as historical personalities.
In the fourth century BC, during the period of Candragupta Maurya, Jainism penetrated into the south and Karnataka became the second home of Jainism. Fortunately, Jainism received royal patronage from Royal dynasties like Kadambas, Calukyas, Rastrakatas, Gangas, Hoyasalas, and Vijaynagara rulers who ruled Karnataka area from time to time. Even today, there are a number of sacred Jain places like Sravanbelagola, Humcha, Moodabidri, Karkala, which are located in southern Karnataka. Rich archaeological and literary sources are available to study the spread of Jainism in South Karnataka. Therefore, sincere attempts have been made in this research work, to study the development of Jainism in southern Karnataka upto AD 1565.
Here it would be quite apt to include a brief physiography and formation of modern Karnataka State which would be of great help in understanding the sites of southern Karnataka and the Jain centres which played a vital role in the development and spread of Jainism in south Karnataka, upto AD 1565.
Formation of Karnataka State
Karnataka is the land of primeval forests, lovely cities, ornate shrines and scenery abounding with all charms of the tropics. Situated between 2000 to 3000 ft above the sea level, it has a mild and salubrious' climate attracting and appealing a great number of tourists. EXTENT, LOCATION AND BOUNDARY Karnataka may be broadly described as the region inhabited by the Kannada-speaking people in south India.
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