Изображения страниц
PDF

The hospitals of the Jainas for the reception of animals and reptiles of all kinds, however vile, may be considered as singular among the customs of mankind. These hospitals are called pinjra-pul, and contain animals of various descriptions. There appears to be no restriction upon their admission on account of their species; and one of the most extraordinary objects of the establishment is a receptacle for vermin, in which the Jainas, upon the principle of their religion, which forbids them to deprive an animal of life, place maggots, weevils, and insects of all kinds, which they may find, either in their food, on their persons, or elsewhere. The houses which contain them are of considerable extent, and raised several feet from the ground. They are there fed with grain deposited for the purpose of their support, and exhibit a living mass of the vilest animal matter. It has been alleged (but with what degree of truth I do not pretend to determine), that pious Jainas occasionally take up an abode in these places for a night, in order to regale their inhabitants with a repast of a superior description.

The priests of the Jainas are, as just mentioned, called yatis orjatis; the laity are termed surarakas or swarkas. The jatis are usually taken from the tribe of the Banyas, and are devoted, in early life, to the purposes of religion. They pass their noviciate with a guru or teacher, and at a proper period are admitted as yatis. On this occasion a novice is stripped of his apparel, and, with certain ceremonies, invested with the dress of his order. A blanket, a plate, and a cloth for his provisions, a water-pot and his broom are then given to him. He may purchase provisions ready dressed, but he cannot dress them; neither can he, like a Buddhist priest, who can retire from his vocation, marry, as he is considered to have renounced the world, and all the enjoyments of it. His duties are to read and expound the sacred writings to the svrarakas. The religious ceremonies of the Jainas are also performed by the yatis; but marriage, which is a civil act, is celebrated by a Svraraka Brahman. The chief priest of the yatis is called sripuja, to which state he is chosen from among the chilas, or disciples. The Jainas have a variety of sects, which have many divisions, each of which has its

broke the instrument, and vowed he would not drink water again. He kept his promise, and died.”

sripuja or spiritual guru, whose duty is to visit his flock every year in all the places over which his functions extend. The Svrarakas, or laymen, conform to the usual customs of society. The two principal sects of the Jainas are the Swetambaras and the Digambaras. Of these there are also divisions; the Bispankhti and the Tirapankhti, or the thirteen or twenty ways to heaven; and the Duriya. The pilgrims of the Bispankhti sect worship with flowers and fruits, and offer different kinds of sweetmeats; but the people of the Tirapankhti division present no flowers nor fruits. They offer sacred rice called Akshau, sandal, cloves, nutmegs, &c. These things they place before the images, after which, standing before the temple, they leap and dance to their own songs, the naulet khana (or band of drums and trumpets) resounding all the time, and passages of their sacred volumes being read by their priest. When they advance to present their offerings, they tie a cloth over their mouth.-Oriental Magazine. The Digambaras wear no clothes, and the Swetambaras hold them in great contempt in consequence of their extravagant practices. The Duriyas are said to consider themselves as having obtained divinity, and therefore as exempted from the worship of any god. They are ascetics of the most extravagant degree of mortification, who wander about thoughtless of all worldly concerns. The Jainas, it is asserted, now acknowledge in some places the distinctions of caste; but this is considered to be a modern innovation. The names of the twenty-four Jaina Tirthankaras who are placed in their temples are Rishabha (Deva), Ajita, Sambhava, Abhinandana, Sumati, Padamaprabha, Suparsiva, Chandra Prabha, Pushpadanta, Sitala, Sreyamsa, Vasapujia, Vimala, Ananta, Dharma, Santhi, Kunthu, Arhamali, Mumsuvrata, Nami, Nemi, Parswanatha, and Verdhyamana. To each of these names the title of Deva or Tirthankara is added. The founder, with Par’swanatha and Verdhyamana, are those now most frequently worshipped. According to Dr. Buchanan the devotions of the Jainas are usually addressed to representations of their feet. Par’swanatha had, like Vishnu, many forms or appearances on earth.

The Jaina temples and caves exhibit some of the finest specimens of architecture and sculpture in India. The ancient and celebrated caves of Elephanta and Ellora have, by some, been thought to be of Jaina or Buddha workmanship, and by others of one or both and the Brahmans. Where there is scarcely any thing beyond conjecture to guide us, it may, perhaps, be as safe to suppose that these stupendous and magnificent excavations were formed before the first great schism of the Hindu race. The caves of Karli, Kanara, Nasuk, Adjunta, &c. appear to have been of later formation, and are generally acknowledged to have been the works of either the Buddhas or Jainas. These temples are highly enriched with sculptures, and are variously formed. (See Temples.) In an essay on the Jainas* from the pen of the late Lieut. Col. Delamain, from which the following is abstracted, it is stated the Srawacs (or Svrarakas), or laity of the Jains, appear to be the only considerable remnant in India of the earlier Jains, or Arhatas. “The Sráwac Yatis have fashioned much of history and tradition to suit their particular purpose, rendering it doubtful what is their invention and what original. “The Sráwacs seem to have thriven, and survived, in useful occupation, the wreck of their ancient faith. Some, probably all, the Jain temples in Mandu and the neighbourhood were built at the expense of the Sráwacs. “Besides the Jain distinction of Digambar and Swętámbar, the Sráwacs more or less differ, as Oswäls, Vaisyapariwárs, Hómars, Khaderwars, &c., and through connecting sects coalesce with the orthodox Hindus. “Some, I understand (as the Oswäls), eat at night, contrary to the Jain usage; and so much do the Sráwacs differ among themselves, that several sects will not intermarry. “The Swetambars appear more particularly devoted to Rishabha, the first Jina, and to have been the naked wood hermits of former days. “The eternal existence of the world, including gods and men, is generally understood to form a part of the Jain system, and is adhered to in a great measure by the Sráwacs, though of man they entertain a notion that fourteen

* Published in the Transactions of the Royal Asiatic Society.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic][graphic]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »