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The period of Ramayana is earlier than Mahabharata. The majority of the scholarsbelieve most of the events and persons connected with the story of Ramayana to be real andhistorical. The oldest available Jain version of Rama epic is Paumachariya in Prakritwhich was composed in 530 years after the Mahavira-nirvana according to the statements ofthe author named3 Vimala Suri. It belongs to about the same period as the oldestBrahaminic version, the Ramayana of Valmiki i.e. to the first century B. C. No doubt Vimalseems to be acquainted with the other works on the life of Rama but he criticizes them asgiving false and fantastic statements. On the other hand, he himself claims to give a realand true account of the life of Rama, based on the words of Tirthankara Mahavira. Thestory of Ramayana as stated in the Jain Puranas is substantially similar to the account ofValmiki1 But the way in which the Jain version differs from the Brahaminic Ramayana throwsa very significant light on the position of Jainism. According to the Jain version, Ravanaand Raksas were highly cultured people belonging to the race of the Vidyadharas and weregreat devotees of Jina.2 But the Hindu tradition depicted them as evil natured andirreligious demons because they were antagonistic to the sacrificial cult of the Vedicsages. At the same time, they were defeated, therefore, they become the demons in thehands of the poets. Considering these two accounts together, it seems that the Vedicpeople denounced the Rakshas because they were the followers of Jainism. F. E. Pargiteralso asserts the Jains were treated as Asuras and Daityas by the3 Hindus. Rama, hisbrother Laksamana and their enemy Ravana were 63 prominent personages (the trisastisalakapurushas) of the Jain traditions where in the Raksas and Vanaras of the Ramayana have beendescribed not as semihuman or demons but as highly civilized and cultured human beings ofthe Vidyadhara race who were mostly devotees of the Jina.

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