Commemorate Jainism In Tamil Nadu

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Respected Sir,

Sub:- Request To Install Lord Mahavir Statue - Mamallapuram

Ref:- Recent Vist Of Indian Prime Minister & Chinese Premier 

Jainism is one of the oldest religions in India.  Present historians say that it is at least 5000 years old but Jains believe it to be eternal.  Jainism is thought to have begun in the Indus valley civilization around 3000 B.C.

History of Jainism is the history of a religion founded in ancient India. Jains trace their history through twenty-four Tirthankara and revere Rishabhanatha as the first Tirthankara (in the present time-cycle). Some artifacts found in the Indus Valley civilization have been suggested as a link to ancient Jain culture. 

The last two Tirthankara, the 23rd Tirthankara Parshvanatha (c. 8th–7th century BCE and the 24th Tirthankara Mahavira (c. 599 – c. 527 BCE) is considered historical figures.  Mahavira was the contemporary of the Buddha.  

Lord MAHAVIR (“Great Hero”) lived at the same as the Buddha and like him, rejected the concept of the caste system.  He was born into the KSYATRIYA (warriors) family and was born a prince.  Being the son of a king, he had all the pleasures, comforts and services that he wanted and were at his command.  However, he left his home at the age of 30, giving up his worldly possessions, becoming a monk to find out how to do away with the pain and suffering from life.  For the next twelve and a half years, he spent his life in deep silence and meditation to conquer his desires, feelings, and attachments.  He was careful to avoid harming and even annoying, other living beings such as animals, plants, and insects.  He was calm and peaceful against all hardships.  By the age of 42, he fully developed his spiritual powers and reached the state of KEVALAJNAAN (perfect enlightenment).    In this case, enlightenment means understanding the ultimate truth.

For the next 30 years, Lord Mahavir traveled barefoot around India preaching the eternal truth than he realized.  He was trying to teach how one can attain total freedom from the cycle of birth, life, pain, misery, and death as well as how to achieve the permanent blissful state within one's self.  This is known is MOKSHA (absolute freedom).  At age 72, Lord Mahavir attained Moksha and his soul, now purified, left his body, achieving complete liberation.  He is now a liberated soul, living in a state of complete bliss forever.   

The exact origins of Jainism in Tamil Nadu is unclear. However, Jains flourished in Tamil Nadu at least as early as the Sangam period. Tamil Jain tradition places their origins are much earlier. The Ramayana mentions that Rama paid homage to Jaina monks living in South India on his way to Sri Lanka. Some scholars believe that the author of the oldest extant work of literature in Tamil (3rd century BCE), Tolkāppiyam, was a Jain.[5]

Some scholars believe that Jain philosophy must have entered South India some time in the sixth century BCE. Literary sources and inscription state that Bhadrabahu came over to Shravanabelagola with a 12,000-strong retinue of Jain sages when north India found it hard to negotiate with the 12-year long famine in the reign of Chandragupta Maurya. 

According to scholars, Jainism must have existed in South India well before the visit of Bhadrabhu and Chandragupta. There are plenty of caves as old as the fourth century found with Jain inscriptions and Jain deities around Madurai, Tiruchirāppaḷḷi, Kanyakumari, and Thanjavur.

Tirukkural by Thiruvalluvar is considered by many to be the work of a Jain by scholars like V. Kalyanasundarnar, Vaiyapuri Pillai, Swaminatha Iyer, and P. S. Sundaram.  It emphatically supports strict vegetarianism (or veganism) (Chapter 26) and states that giving up animal sacrifice is worth more than a thousand burnt offerings (verse 259).

Silappatikaram, the earliest surviving epic in Tamil literature, was written by a Samaṇa, Ilango Adigal. This epic is a major work in Tamil literature, describing the historical events of its time and also of then-prevailing religions, Jainism, Buddhism, and Shaivism. The main characters of this work, Kannagi and Kovalan, who have a divine status among Tamils, Malayalees. and Sinhalese were Jains.

Considering the long history of Jain Presence in Tamil Nadu and the contribution of Tamil Literature we urge Tamil Nadu Government & Government Of India to commemorate our religion by installing Lord Mahavira Statue In the historical site of Mamallapuram.

Thanking you

LIVE & LET LIVE

Tamil Nadu Jain Samaj