Shravanabelagola, January 1, 2006: Jain agamas, which have for long remained in the confines of the elite, has to reach the masses if the Jain way of life is to be sustained. And this means bringing the agamas scriptures from the stronghold of classical words to the lingua franca of the common man, eminent writer Mr. Niraj Jain. He was delivering the valedictory address at the Five-day All India Jain Scholars Conference that concluded on Sunday at Shravanabelagola.
Mr. Jain said, in the present world of the Internet and worldwide web, there is a need to translate Jain literature into English language if the Jain religious values were to be imparted among youngsters. He urged the women to assume the pivotal role in inspiring children study the tradition and culture of Jain community. Only rational thinking among the new breeds of scholars would lead the young generation in the right path, he added.
Speaking on the contribution of Karnataka to Jain religion, he pointed out that Mysore kings were instrumental in protecting the Jain religion and protecting the historical importance of Shravanabelagola. The Bhattaraka tradition of South India not only protected the Jain centers of the South but also was instrumental in merging the Jain community of both the North and South.
Well-known Archeologist Mr. Iravatha Mahadevan describing the oldest Jain inscription found at Tamil Nadu said Jain inscriptions found inside caves that are natural formations are plain and not decorated like the inscriptions of the Pallava period. The oldest inscription dated second century B.C found at Mangola near Madhurai belongs Jain period, he said.
He expressed grave concern on the terrible state of many inscriptions owing to human negligence and interference, and urged the scholars to educate and create awareness among the people about the importance of these inscriptions.
Speaking on the contribution of Jain religion to Tamil literature he said many Tamil literary works were greatly influenced by Jain literature and the immense contribution of great Jain Acharyas. He also indicated the possibilities of inscription found at Shravanabelagola having a link with Indus valley civilization. The ‘Swasthika’ symbol found at the hills Shravanabelagola are similar to the symbol found at Indus Valley civilization, he added.
Swasthishri Charukeerthi Bhattaraka Swamiji of Shravanabelagola Digambar Jain Mutt, who graced the occasion, said we could not differentiate spiritualism and Agamas from each other. Both spiritualism and Agamas are important for attaining Moksha. Right conduct, knowledge and faith will not appear without one becoming free of his Karmas.
Mr. Shantiraj Shastri of Shravanabelagola presided over the function. Mr. Sumathichandra Shastri, Dr. M.A Subhachandra and Dr. Poolchand Premi, the Conference President, were present on the occasion. – Jain Heritage Centres News Service (JHCNS)