Blog 2-Jain intellectuals from medieval times to the present, their arguments against moorti repudiation, and review of some Jain Indologists: In the last blog, we studied the background of Jain suffering against Islam, in the broader picture of Hindu suffering. In this second blog of the series, we shall be studying Jain intellectual responses to the intra-Jain debate: whether or not to worship (Jain) moortis, which line of argument then became available in the colonial era, to provide a template to counter even Christian propaganda against Indic faiths. We shall also be reviewing the works of some Jainology Indologists.


Jain intellectual responses:

For the purpose of this article on Jains, we shall be dealing with the intellectual battlefield – recovering less known critiques of Islamic violence by Jains; and most importantly, the debates that raged within Jains regarding one of the most cherished aspects of Jainism that was attacked by Islamic propaganda: moorti Pooja. These debates decided in favour of Jain alignment with mainstream, non-heterodox Vaidiks. Also, it is to the credit of Jain society’s own efficient internal mechanisms, that no Jain sect with moorti-repudiation could reach any critical proportion to participate in any anti-moorti political front or develop secessionist cognizable political ambitions so far by the 21st century, as the moorti-worshipping Jain sects remained strong and were in perfect alliance with Vaidiks in all Hindu movements.

Jain moorti Pooja and also, Jain opposition to moorti Pooja

Jain sects in the debate for and against moorti-Pooja:

Indeed, the bulk of the intellectual response to islam has been from one particular illustrious branch of Shwetambar Moorti-Poojaks, the Tapa Gachchha branch , within the overall Shwetambars.
Besides the Tapa-Gachchha, many other branches of moortipoojak Shwetambars exist.

LOGO OF A TAPA GACHCHHA ORGANISATION http://www.jainmahasangh.org/images/abhyudayamlogo.png

Also the opposition to moorti-Pooja has also been from two other sects of Shwetambars: the Sthanakwasis and Terapanthis.
Digambars also do practise moorti-Pooja but even amongst them, the Taran-Taaran panthis had followed moorti-repudiation.
A big chunk of Jains today are moorti-poojaks.

Disclaimer before we move on:

The blog writer has no intention of casting aspersions against any Jain sect, thinker or intellectual or against any Jainology Indologist in this blog. Those who want to oppose Moorti Pooja may continue to do so. But the Vaidik  Dharmeeya stands to gain from the arguments amongst Jain sects.

Jain repudiation of moorti rejection by fellow Jains:

As we had mentioned, a section of Jains had turned towards moorti repudiation and some amongst them had engaged in mercantile pursuits with lobbying hobnobbing with the ruling Muslim and pro-Muslim Rajput houses. But, a big chunk of Jain society remained firmly moortipoojak amidst the rule of moortibhanjaks. Thus, while some Jains ‘accommodated’ the an-iconism of Islam in the rising Islamic political environment, some other Jains stood firm about their moorti Pooja practices. But the Dharmik counter to the Abrahamic argument had to be culturally grounded and defiant, not just off-the-cuff. Further in this blog, we shall see how moorti rejection was itself rejected by Jains well-integrated into Jainism in particular and an overall Dharma narrative: the arguments in favour of moorti Pooja were derived from within the Jain tradition itself, and this line of arguments in favour of moorti Pooja were even carried forward for hundreds of years more, and even being used for to counter missionary Christianity later, potentially lending arguments to the Vaidik narrative in favour of Moorti Pooja. (Ref: The Inevitability of Tangible Form: A Natural Theology of Icons John E. Cort in ‘Framing the Jina: Narratives of Icons and Idols in Jain History’)

Moorti needed for Ultimatte Knowledge itself, to some Jains:

Let us see how Nirvana happens as per Jainism, and then return to moorti Pooja. There is a 1974 pan-sect compilation of Jain Sutras, called the Samanasuttam. The reference is to the 211st Shloka, of Part A: Vyavahara-Ratnatraya (The three jewels) of the 17th Sutra (the Ratnatrayasutra: the precepts of three jewel), where the three jewels of attitude and character must be understood from the stand-point of vyavahara-naya (practical view-point): “…Nadamsanissa nanam, nanena vina na humti caranaguna. Agunissa natthi mokkho, natthi amokkhassa nivvanam. (211) Without right faith, there cannot be right knowledge; without right knowledge, there cannot be right conduct; without right conduct, there cannot be release from Karmas; without release of Karmas there cannot be nirvana (salvation)…https://www.jainworld.com/samansuttam/samansuttam_eng.pdf

Now, while this is a compilation where the translation and content are acceptable to all Jain sects, both the moorti-repudiating and moorti-venerating, the interpretation of the sutra by a Moorti Poojak Jain is where ‘right faith’ = ‘Daarshan’ of the Moorti. It is THAT profound for  a  Jain to have Darshan of a consecrated moorti.

Without ‘Darshan’ (insight), there is no ‘Gyan’ (knowledge), without knowledge there is no ‘Chariter’ (character). Without character there is no ‘Moksha’. Without Moksha, there is no ‘Nirvana’”. – Sutta No 211 Saman Suttam https://www.quora.com/Why-is-photography-inside-the-Badrinath-temple-banned-Was-that-temple-originally-for-Jain-worship This webpage also displays Jain logic (navyanyaaya) and multi-facetedness in vision: anekaantvaad.

That glancing at the moorti is itself acquiring ultimate knowledge (kevala dnyaana) was stressed by Jain monk Kalyanvijay. Thus moorti Pooja is needed for spiritual succour by a chunk of Jains.

Jain arguments had to account for the rise of iconoclasm; here, the Jain defenders of icons pointed to Islam as the global root of all iconoclasm. This leads to an investigation of the long‐standing trope of Muslim iconoclasm in Jain literature.

Quote: “In the twentieth century, we find new Jain narratives in defense of icons… The Murtipujaka monks Jnansundar, Buddhisagar, Bhadrankarvijay, and Kalyanvijay all responded with defenses of icons in the new language of modernity. They argued that since humans are embodied, they must use material form, and so icon worship is ‘natural’. They argued for a processual development from that which has form to that which is formless, an argument that is then compared to the similar much earlier argument advanced in Christianity by Dionysus Areopagite (Pseudo‐Dionysus), John of Damascus, Theodore of Studion, as well as the Protestant Christian defense of material form by Martin Luther. The Jain authors also argued that icons and icon‐use are universal, and therefore argued against what David Freedberg has termed “the myth of aniconism.

Quoted from: The Inevitability of Tangible Form: A Natural Theology of Icons John E. Cort”  in Framing the Jina: Narratives of Icons and Idols in Jain Historyhttp://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195385021.001.0001/acprof-9780195385021-chapter-7

How Jain moorti-repudiators likened moorti-pooja to Vaidik ritual violence and ignored Islamic violence, while  how Jain moorti-pooja upholders likened this Jain repudiation of moorti-Pooja to getting influenced by Islam:

Sthanakwasi Acharya Hastimal – a Śvetāmbara sect – favorably compared aniconic Śvetāmbara Jain leader Lonka Shah (Loṅkā Śāh) to Kabir, saying, like Kabir, Lonka ‘favourably removed the growing corruption of idolatry among people of his day’. [Note the likening of Loṅkā Śāh to ‘progressive’ Kabir.]

States Jainology Indologist Cort: “…āratī, and …dhūpa both involve fire, and so harm beings in the air. The Lumpakas … likened pūjā to the Hindu rite of sacrifice (yajña)… Brāhmaṇical yajña, which usually was …vegetarian …and the less elite … bali-dāna… Jains lumped all of this together …single violent act… Hemacandra had termed the Mānava Dharmaśāstra a hiṃsā śāstra… Loṅkā Śāh and his followers characterized the Jain practice of icon worship … an ethic of harm (hiṃsā dharma), and in contrast defined their rejection of idols and idolatry as an ethic of compassion (dayā dharma) for all living beings.https://www.soas.ac.uk/ijjs/file58528.pdf (Lumpaka = moorti-repudiating Jain, used by Jain monks supporting moorti Pooja) It is ironic that Loṅkā Śāh could  consider burning a lamp as violence and as violent as actual animal balidaan, but could not find Islamic iconoclasm and destruction as himsa.

Almost wistfully, out of reverence for a Bhaarateeya-origin anti-moorti proponent, writes Peter Flügel, Faculty Member, Study of Religions, SOAS University of London: “…in the 1930s, at the height of the nationalist and religious revivalist movements in India. At the time, the Śvetāmbara revivalist movements competed vigorously with one another and with Hindu revivalist groups, such as the aniconic Ārya Samāj of Svāmī Dayānand Sarasvatī  (1824-1883),  and with Christian missionaries for support amongst the adherents of the traditional Jaina communities…” Page 189 in The Unknown Loṅkā: Tradition and the Cultural Unconscious (e-pdf at https://www.academia.edu/6655684/The_Unknown_Lo%E1%B9%85k%C4%81_Tradition_and_the_Cultural_Unconscious?auto=download)

We see a lot of explanation being given as to how Jains too are sometimes opposed to moorti Pooja (elsewhere, Jains have been credited to have introduced Mandirs and moorti poojas to Vaidik Dharma, but let that be now…). The fashion was to somehow oppose moorti Pooja. In the context of Islam deriding moorti Pooja, these attempts by such moorti-rejecting sects of Jains could have taken over the whole Jain society in an Islamist environment: moorti-repudiation had become a ‘doctrine’ in some sects of Jainism under Islamic rule.


1. Vibudh Shridhar (the first Agrawal poet) and Nattal Sanhu (merchant) (1186 CE):
In Delhi, during the Tomara dynasty, the Jain poet Vibudh Shridhar wrote the Apabhramsa work Pasanah Chariu “The Conduct of Parshva” in 1189 CE with the support of a Jain merchant prince, Nattal Sahu. This book praises Haryana as a country that makes the blood of enemies flow and provides the very first account of the city of Delhi and the first mention of the Agrawal community. It is important that this was in the setting of the invasions before Ghauri but after the national experience of Ghazni. (Source: Wikipedia: Jainism in Delhi)

2.  Jinaprabhāsuri (1261-1333 CE):
Jinaprabhāsuri self-commended the Shwetāmbar sense of continued greatness of Jainism despite moorti bhanjan happening by Islamic forces. He was one of the principal authors of narratives of the loss of Jain shrines and icons to Muslim iconoclasts, but was a member of the court of the Tughlaq Sultan of Delhi who had had kept himself free from the clutches of the ulemas: Mohammed Shah (1325 to 1351 CE).  Jinaprabhāsuri had even composed one hymn in Persian. Jinaprabhāsuri wrote the ‘Vividha Tirtha kalpa’.  https://www.jainworld.com/general/prem/Chapter%20XIV%20fe.htm

3. Mahāmahopādhyāya Dharma-sāgara (
died in 1596 CE):
Dharmasāgaragaṇi was a Tapā-gaccha monk who wrote polemical texts like Kupakṣakauśikāditya ; he is known for challenging the validity of other Jain sects, but is to be noted for refuting the criticisms of icons by Loṅkā and his followers, who tried to make Jainism moorti-repudiating or anti-iconic under the influence of Islam.

4. Devavimalāgni:
Early 17th Century CE Tapā-gaccha author Devavimalāgani characterized Islam and Jainism as being at variance with one another through their involving violence and compassion respectively, the former leading to hell and the later leading to ultimate spiritual release.

5. Yaśovijaya Mahāmahopādhyāy (1624–1688 CE):

He was a Śvetāmbara Tapā-gaccha monk who wrote extensively on Jain philosophy. http://www.jainpedia.org/resources/glossary.html

Indeed, Yaśovijaya remains THE most important Jain intellectual figure of the tradition. Yaśovijaya ji is a contemporary of Shivaji Maharaj, Samartha Ramdas Swami, Lachhit bar Phukan and Guru Govind Singh. The arguments, the abhyaas and the new original creations of Yaśovijaya remain useful centuries after his passing away.

Yaśovijaya ji was born as Jashvant, son to Narayan and Saubhagyadevi, at Kanoda in North Gujarat. Gifted with the ability to remember stotras by hearing them only once, his parents decided to dedicate this son of theirs to the service of Jainism. It is said he had the blessings of Devi Saraswati.


He was sent to learn Nyāy Shāstra (a Vaidik Darshan) at Varanasi with another Jain (there is some correlation between algorithms in Nyāy of Vaidik-Astika tradition and anekāntvād of Jain tradition); Yaśovijaya had enrolled as a Brahmin. Later, titles like nyāyavishārad and nyāyāchārya conferred on him by Vaidiks. He was now trained in Navya-Nyāya, the further development of Nyāy which had been developed by Bengali Brahmins; he was also influenced by the Jain monk who was venerated across Jain sects, Ānandaghan, who composed in many languages. Thus, when Yaśovijaya ji, when hereturned to Gujarat, was full of influences: well-trained in Jainism, he now was also a master of the Vaidik Darshan of Nyāy Shāstra, and had the experience of travel across parts of India with knowledge of many languages, classical to medieval. Yaśovijaya ji began composing Jain intellectual compositions of his own.


Yaśovijaya had produced several of the finest works in Jain epistemology, including the Jaina Tarkabhāṣā and the Jaina Nyāyakhaṇḍakhādya, utilising the methods of Navyanyāya in a reformulation of Jaina epistemology. (Page 3, http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pollock/sks/papers/Ganeri(IJJS).pdf)

Yaśovijaya wrote Pratima Shatak (One hundred verses on supporting moorti Pooja); and an extended commentary on his own composition, called Bṛhadvṛtti. He also wrote another Sanskrit text that Yaśovijaya devoted entirely to the subject of icons – his Pratimā Sthāpana Nyāya (The Suitability of Establishing Icons). He composed copiously, in Sanskrit, Prakrit, Gujarati and Hindi. Yaśovijaya laid emphasis on Moorti Pooja as being laid a precedent for by none other than Jain king Bharata (after whom India is named), son of Ādinātha or Rishabhdeva, the first Teerthankāra.  Yaśovijaya pejoratively called the aniconic Jains under Loṅkā Śāh, the ‘Lumpakas’, the “breakers” or “destroyers of moortis”! For example, in the “Pratimā Śataka”, Yaśovijaya said that since it was not wrong for Bharata, the son of the first Jina Ādinātha, to build the first temple of this era, then neither was it wrong for contemporary people to build temples. In the Vīr Stutirūp Huṇḍīnuṃ Stavan Yaśovijaya pointed out that Ādinātha, when he was the first king (of this era of time as believed in by Jains), before Ādinātha renounced the world and became the first Jina, he (Ādinātha) created sculpture and the other arts for the benefit of living beings, and hence this itself was an obvious justification for the sculptural work of the moortikār, just as Ādinātha’s creation of writing laid a precedent for the work of a scribe in copying manuscripts of the scriptures. Yaśovijaya also showed the historical precedent of which kings of various empires (Mauryans, Chalukyans, etc.) also built Jain madirs with moortis in numerous Jain pilgrimage centres.


The importance of Yaśovijaya to Hindu intellectual resurgence is that Yaśovijaya dared to stand by an obviously ancient tradition of moorti Pooja in Jain dharma, quoting ancient impeccably Jain sources, in an era of moorti bhanjan and Mandir  desecration under Islamic rule, when the moorti rejecting sects amongst  Jains threatened to make  Jains another completely aniconic society, alongside the militarily oppressive Muslim iconoclasts; and this compendium of ancient Jain sources and compositions by Yaśovijaya was used further by later intellectuals in Dharmik resurgence, who opposed Abrahamic expansionism in the plane of ideological perception. The period of Yaśovijaya coincides with the period when Vaidik Hindus of his era were getting more and more apologetic about moorti Pooja, with Sikhism emphasizing on NirGuna Pooja of Hari in the Hari Mandir (which later became just a Guru Grantha Mandir), or when abidance with native methods of worship as by moorti pooja, were being given up by the likes of Kabir. To show precedence and antecedents, Yaśovijaya used both existing Jain sources and his own original compositions. Yaśovijaya helped shape subsequent Mūrtipūjaka intellectual culture, and also contributed an important chapter to a global history of arguments between moortipoojaks and moorti-rejectors (like even the Aarya Samājis) / outright iconoclasts.
Yaśovijaya ji is also important because, he was also a past student of the Vaidik-Aastik Darshan of Nyāyshāstra which he had learnt in Vārānasi, and had developed a discipline from the osmosis, exactly in accordance with how Dharma actually is: with shāstrārtha amongst disciplines. (Today, thanks to such osmosis before and after Yaśovijaya ji, we have a system of Jain Nyāy too.)

6. Jñānsundar (1880–1955 CE):

He was a Sthanaka- vāsi mendicant who became a mūrti-pūjaka and spent the rest of his life defending image worship.
Jñānsundar used the words “Moorti nahin manane waale” (those who disregard moortis) for Christians, Parsis, and Muslims; but he also called two Jain sects iconoclasts:  the Digambara Tarana Pantha and the Shwetambar followers of Loṅkā Śāh; but did not elaborate any polemic against the Parsis and Digambar Tarana Pantha. Jñānsundar’s contention was, the fellow-Jain Sthānakavāsīs and Terāpanthīs were hypocrites if they first denied the validity of commentaries and then relied upon them for their own exegesis of the scriptures.
20th century Tapā-gaccha author Muni Darshanvijay wrote, in an introduction to Jñānsundar’s book: “Jñānsundar has made a great effort to collect the historical evidence, so that his name will be written in gold letters among the rank of historians”.

7. Buddhisāgar:
(1874–1925 CE):
Buddhisagarsuri was born as Bechardas Patel in the Vaidik Dharmeeya (read: “Hindu”) family of Shivabhai and Ambaben in 1874 at Vijapur in North Gujarat. This proves that the myind.net articles’ contention, that Jain monks were only derived from merchant Jain families, is not fully true.
As a Jain monk credited with over a hundred books, Buddhisagar got heavily involved in debates about moorti Pooja and against Abrahamism. Buddhisagar’s very first book was “Jain Dharma Khristi Dharma no Mukablo જૈન ધર્મ ખ્રિસ્તી ધર્મ નું મુકાબલો”, a comparison between Jainism and Christianity, and a critique on Christianity from the Jain perspective. He criticised Christianity and its missionary activities in Gujarat.


He was involved in debates regarding moorti pooja during those times where he defended moorti pooja and authored another booklet, “Jain Sutro maan Murtipuja”, or Moorti Pooja in Jain Scriptures. He termed icons as a form of love and devotion.  He argued, spiritual practices of necessity require  the person to use material forms before he and she can ascend to pure disembodied spirituality, using terms also used by Vaidiks, like sa-ākār, nir-ākār, and use of Dhyān (like in Yoga) to be able to support the focus of meditative attention (alamban).
https://upclosed.com/people/buddhisagarsuri/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhisagarsuri

Buddhisagar even got disciples from the aniconic sthānakwasi sect: Eg. Amirishi: who became ‘Āchārya Ajitasāgarji’ in his own time. Buddhisagar ji’s lineage continued the trend of bringing in moorti-repudiating sects into their sect which stood by moorti Pooja: Eg. The Punjabi Jain Sthānakwasi Acharya Kailassāgarji who took initiation from the then head of the Buddhisagar ji lineage, Āchārya Kirtisāgarji. We may thus interpret this as an intra-Jain counter to any exodus of lay people from moorti believing Jain sects towards moorti repudiating sects. We can draw a parallel with Vaidik society: Arya Samajis became separatist and Brahmos like Keshub Chandra Sen accepted Christianity; thus moorti rejection has the potential to become a half-way out of popular practice of Dharmik faiths.

The Ghantakarna Mahavir temple was established by Buddhisagar Suriswarji at Mahudi on the outskirts of Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Annual havans, a ritual typical of Vaidik society but also part of Jain rituals of some sects, are held every year in the Mandir, in the Navaratri season. Quotes a trustee of the celebrations (from a report of the 2013 havan): “After that, the renowned Jain saint started this tradition of havan on Kali Chaudas which continues till today. Each year now, apart from Jains, devotees of different faiths from various parts of the country flock to this temple. This year we expect 1.5 lakh devotees. It is believed that people who attend the havan are cured of diseases. And the bell at the derasar is rung to bring good luck to people who live around the temple and can hear it ringing. It is believed that any place where the ringing of the bell is heard is sanitized of plagues.” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/ahmedabad/Kali-Chaudas-havan-revered-by-all-faiths/articleshow/25078317.cms?from=mdr Kali Chaudas is the Amavasya of the lunar month of Ashwin (‘Aso’), which is Lakshmi Poojan and the date of Kali Pooja for Vaidiks in Eastern India, as also the tithi when, at midnight, the 24th teerthankār Bhagwan Mahavir is believed to have left his mortal body in Pavapuri Village in Bihar.

The importance of Buddhisagar to Hindu resurgence is that he was the first notable Jain leader to oppose Christian missionaries, with an intellectual Jain response which becomes part of the overall Hindu response. Buddhisagarji also upheld the steadfastness against Chrislamic critique with the practice of moorti Pooja, carrying forward the legacy of Yaśovijaya ji.

8. Kalyānvijay (1888–1975):

He was a Jain Mūrti-pūjak monk who devoted his life to studying manuscripts and inscriptions. He was also known as Pannyas Kalyānvijaygani.

Kalyānvijay used both the tradition of moorti Pooja within Jainism as well as support for moorti Pooja from outside Jainism to stand by the tradition of moorti Pooja: how Vaidiks do moorti Pooja, how token worship of the picture of the kaabaa or the cross is already worshipping a chinha or image, and how it is natural to respect any signs and symbols in everyday life. Kalyanvijay lamented that so much blood had fllowed when image worship was sought to be violently stopped.
Kalyanvijay wrote “Aitihasik khsterom mein moortiyon ka sthan” – the important place that moortis have in historical places. Kalyāṇvijay has described how it was only in the twentieth century that Sthānakavāsī authors began the systematic study of Sanskrit grammar and the Sanskrit commentaries. https://www.soas.ac.uk/ijjs/file58528.pdf

The importance of this information is that the moorti rejecting sects of Jains were also accused to be the relatively more sluggish to study or use classical Sanskrit for their compositions, underlying the argument that their contention about moorti rejection is also not classical.

Kalyānkālikā is a composition of Kalyanvijay, where he quotes two verses from a craft manual Jaya Samhita, which state that the roopa given to the form of the universe as the moorti is itself Keval Jñāna, the ultimate truth and knowledge and that the Jina is absorbed in the ultimate (Brahma)!

9. Bhadrānkarvijay: (1903–1980 CE):

He is the Jain author of many Jain works and an important figure in the 20th-century Tapā-gaccha. Born in Patan, Gujarat, he was influenced by Jain leaders, accepted deeksha and started studying texts including the works of Yaśovijaya ji. Bhadrankarvijay composed more works based on the works of Yashovijay, Jnanasundar and Buddhisagar. Bhadrankarvijay had once even said, a Jain temple in Mecca-Medina had also been converted to a mosque.

The most important book of Bhadrankarvijay is Pratima Poojan (originally in Gujarati but available in Hindi too), and the book is a defence of moorti Pooja. This developed a discourse in favour of mortis within a specifically recent Jain discourse, serving as an intra-Jain cultural rebuttal to both: to Jain thinkers who argued against moorti Pooja and also to Abrahamics (Muslims, Christians) who opposed moorti Pooja.



Jains of the last two centuries started discussing Islam and Christianity and opposing aniconic worship. Islam was blamed for moorti smashing, for all violence and Muhammad was called ignorant. Moorti worshipping Jains castigated and taunted moorti-repudiating Jains as influenced by Islam, as the ultimate insult – of being associated with beef-eaters – being hurled at Jain moorti-repudiaters. The Islamic veneration of the Qur’an and the pilgrimage to Mecca were considered equivalent to moorti Pooja.


This was discussed partly in the critical evaluation of the Jain website in the earlier blog.

Jain monks opposing Christianity:

The very first book by Jain intellectual Buddhisagar was: “Jain Dharma Khristi Dharma no Mukablo જૈન ધર્મ ખ્રિસ્તી ધર્મ નું મુકાબલો” – a comparison between Jainism and Christianity, and a critique on Christianity from the Jain perspective.

Since Buddhisagar ji followed the tradition of Yaśovijaya ji, it is obvious how the intra-Jain deebate against moorti rejection is transformeed into the overall anti-moorti-bhanjak narrative, and automatically becomes a crucial part of the pan-Hindu narrative against Abrahamic moorti-bhanjan. Thus Jains defied propaganda against Moorti Pooja, opposed conversions, critiqued Islamic violence and supported the Hindu narrative.

Jain ‘reformers’:


Like there were ‘reformers’ within the Vedic-Astik community, there were Jain ‘reformers’ too. This included names like Hem Chandra Rai (who wanted modern education without loss of Dharmik education). Refer to page 6 of –  http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/98/1/The_Invention_of_Jainism_%28without_photo%29.pdf

Gandhi’s source of influence by Jainism:
The closest that Gandhi had to a Guru was the saintly jeweler Raichandra or Raichand, a Jain intellectual. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/319454244_The_Jain_Tradition_a_basic_bibliography



Not too many people know that the advocate of the Hindu side in the Ayodhya case (in the Allahabad  High Court) who appeared on television, was a Jain. But there are numerous Jain intellectuals who support the Hindu cause; and we mean intellectuals, not just the aadhyaatmik leaders (Eg. Dada Bhagwan, who led a Jain-Vaishnava syncretism) or the Jain monks and activists who fight cow slaughter, who also lead the struggle in many a Hindu cause. With the restraint of space, the blog writer would like to point out the names of the better known ones, many names are not mentioned, with due apologies.

We have Mayank Jain, son of a freedom fighter, Ram Bhakt. Mayank Jain is the person (and also anchor) behind the famous documentary on Bangladeshi Muslim infiltration into India “The Bangla Crescent”.

Mayank Jain: In the documentary against Bangladeshi Muslim infiltration against India

Image source:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jerP3f58sT4 <iframe width=”854″ height=”480″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/jerP3f58sT4″ frameborder=”0″ allow=”autoplay; encrypted-media” allowfullscreen></iframe>

We also have the highly illustrious family of Girilal Jain, and his daughters, Sandhya Jain and Meenakshi Jain.

Girilal Jain lost his position of being in the Times of India after he developed sympathies for the Ram JanmaBhoomi movement. Girilal Jain has said, ‘Hindu’ is a civilisation as quoted in the book by Abhas Chatterjee: The concept of a Hindu nation.

Sandhya Jain ji is a noted columnist and author; two of her books are “Adi Deo Arya Devata- A Panoramic View of Tribal-Hindu Cultural Interface” (Rupa & Co., 2004) and “Evangelical Intrusions. Tripura: A Case Study” (Rupa & Co., 2009).

Book by Sandhya Jain

There is an entire archive of her works, available at http://www.sandhyajainarchive.org/

Meenakshi Jain ji is an academician, and the author on the best update and compilation on the Ayodhya Ram Janmabhoomi case, vide her book “Rama and Ayodhya” (Aryan Books International, New Delhi 2013).


Book by Meenakshi Jain

Meenakshi Jain ji has her book mentioned by Dr. Koenraad Elst. https://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/book-review-meenakshi-jains-definitive-ayodhya-chronicle-koenraad-elst/

Meenakshi Jain ji also features in discussion sessions with another noted contemporary author, Shri Rajiv Malhotra.





1. Jonardon Ganeri:
The author of the article “WORLDS IN CONFLICT: THE COSMOPOLITAN VISION OF YAŚOVIJAYA GAṆI”, is a leading scholar on Indic systems of thought, and is the author of “The Lost Age of Reason: Philosophy in Early Modern India 1450–1700” and other books; he is highly respected, and among awards, he has received the award for the Infosys Humanities Prize 2015.

Jonardon Ganeri and his book

Jonardon Ganeri and his book ‘The Lost Age of Reason: Philosophy in early modern India 1450 – 1700’.

Image courtesy: L: Amazon India; R: https://events.umich.edu/media/cache/event_large/media/attachments/2017/01/event_31514_original.jpeg

The website where this article on Jain medieval scholar Yaśovijaya is loaded is an article from a compendium of articles centred on Sheldon Pollock, from Columbia University, New York. It was Sheldon Pollock whose ‘expertise’ in Sanskrit, credentials and intent was effectively brought into the domain of public  Dharmik scrutiny by intra-US Dharma observer and contemporary intellectual, Rajiv Malhotra ji. Infosys (Narayana Murthy) was the corporate house which had given Sheldon Pollock the task of Sanskrit translation of Hindu works, which was opposed in principle by Rajiv Malhotra, and which had also awarded Jonardon Ganeri, who currently serves in NYU, Abu Dhaabi.

The blog writer does not want to play stigmatization of ‘A’ (in this case, Jonardon Ganeri) by association with ‘B’ (in this case, Sheldon Pollock). It is always good to evaluate an article with neutrality and an open mind. Yet, no upright Dharma activist whether Jain or non-Jain, can help but be at least wary of the eventual conclusions drawn by any project or assignment that emanates from such a background. To know more about Jonardon Ganeri’s thoughts for the lay reader, the blog writer would quote a newspaper article. http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-krishna-unlike-christ-buddha-or-mohammed-isn-t-portrayed-as-morally-perfect-says-philosophy-professor-jonardon-ganeri-2008581.

2. John E. Cort:
John Cort is an American Indologist specializing in Jainology. He is a professor of Asian and Comparative Religions at Denison University, where he is also Chair of the Department of Religion. We have quoted him for his really informational book, “Framing the Jina: Narratives of Icons and Idols in Jain History”. A lot of information from the blog is from his quotes available online. Let us give some overview to his book as glimpsed from online pages, know more about the gentleman and know his political associations too. So what are the political intentions of a person with the academic background of John Cort? How authentically Indian is his Drushti or gaze?

John Cort and his book

John Cort. Image courtesy: L: bokus.com R: https://d3c4grnenccqt6.cloudfront.net/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/contacts/john-cort.jpg

A Western academician that he is, John Cort, who indeed has authored numerous books on Jainism,  writes a book discussing Jain moorti pooja as a core ritual and practice and belief, and Jain defence of their own moorti Pooja tradition, but with a lot of comparison with Christian and classical European concepts. He omits the Vaidik arguments supporting moorti-pooja. That is alright but Jains, like Vaidiks, have their Agamas too; they too do consecrate their moortis with due Praana-pratishtha, hence, a moorti after consecration and with offerings and shungaar (gandha-chandana-pushpa-deepa-arati-etc.) is deeper than an icon of a polytheist pagan. While John Cort has written a book on, if he is an Indologist, he still uses the words icon or idol interchangeably with or in place of ‘moorti’, when it is now an accepted fact amongst Dharmikally oriented Indologists (the ‘True Indologists’) that certain Hindu terms (including Jain terms) are simply non-translatable into English without distortion of meaning or imbuing an unIndian, Biblical-Quranic bias.

Let us see what the surveillance lens of noted contemporary author Rajiv Malhotra has to say about John Cort: Quote:

RISA’s Token Hindus… This thread encapsulates the continuous attempts made by a section of the Western Academia to interpret, appropriate in ways that are convenient to them, ideas and developments that happen in the Hindu fold. They typically employ a reductive Western lens to analyze and ‘deconstruct’ events happening in the Dharmic world. Furthermore, they also act as gatekeepers, by not letting in the voices of practicing Hindus, and more importantly, any dissenting Dharmic. For example, the so-called ‘RISA list’ is barred to any practicing Dharmic who disagrees with this fabricated consensus, as Rajiv Malhotra does. Hence a person practicing dharma and coming from it is deprived of a seat at their own table where ostensibly, the freedom of speech is championed. On the other hand, we observe that token Hindus who are ‘useful’ for furthering this cause of western universalism are indeed welcomed at the table, and is one of the key talking points of this post…John Cort reminded us of the posters and hoardings of a muscular macho Vivekananda in Gujarat as recently as this year, used as props by the BJP…http://beingdifferentforum.blogspot.in/2014/11/pankajjain.html

What is RISA? To control and regulate this field pertaining to Indian religions, there is the association known as RISA (Religions In South Asia). RISA is a unit within The American Academy of Religion (AAR), which is the official organization of academic scholars of Religious Studies in the Western world. https://rajivmalhotra.com/library/articles/risa-lila-1-wendys-child-syndrome/

John Cort features in the RISA list as he taunts Hindu activists with why they should have a large poster of Vivekananda which looks macho, why the BJP poster should have Vivekananda as if the real Hinduism is known only to  people like him, etc. As if the RSS should not have anything to do with Vivekananda and should not be allowed to use images of Hindu icons (here, the word ‘icon’ is acceptable, as it denotes a respectable figure). The disconnect of Cort with the problems of India, and the organic interconnectedness and bonding amongst Jains and Vaidiks reflects poorly onto him. A scholar should not be just another lazy Westerner who has formed opinions on Jains, on Hindu society, on India from the narrative dished out by Indian Leftists and with a condescending Western attitude. How many Jains have participated in the GoSuraksha movement and the Ayodhya Kar Sewa and movement alongside Vaidiks! But Cort did not choose to reflect on this and used what expertise he has on Jains, to showcase his hatred for any Hindu resurgence.

Knowing that Western academicians often function towards Breaking India forces, it would do us good to be vigilant. John Cort’s book  and other such books must be read by Jain scholars who have  a Hindu narrative without losing connect with orthodox Jain practices, and who are aware of the need to not get colonized with a Western gaze, to  not  lose the “Insider’s view” to an “Outsider’s View”. Any objections to Cort’s style must be reviewed, complimented where agreeable and countered wherever necessary by practicing, indigenously ingrained Jains in particular and by indeed all Hindu activists in general, to retain what noted contemporary author Rajiv Malhotra calls, the Insider View, and to prevent some Jain academics from becoming sepoys of Western powers with an Outsider View. This effort will be a crucial part of the total Hindu battle for an upright Hindu narrative.



Jains waged an intellectual struggle for their own identity and contributed to the overall Hindu struggle for reestablishment of Dharma. This is part and parcel of  the national Hindu narrative and must be robustly studied without distorting the uniqueness of Jainism yet its inseparability from Dharma and Hindu.


1. http://www.jainpedia.org/resources/glossary.html
2. Framing the Jina: Narratives of Icons and Idols in Jain History… John Cort… This book denied copying of content. So the reader is directed to searching out the content online or purchasing the book in original, while due credit is given to the author for his research.
3. https://www.soas.ac.uk/ijjs/file58528.pdf
5. http://greatjainpeople.blogspot.in/2015/05/upadhayay-shri-yashovijayji-maharaj.html
6. https://www.jainworld.com/general/prem/Chapter%20XIV%20fe.htm

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