Jainas the name of a very powerful heterodox sect of Hindus particularly flourishing in the southern and western parts of Hindustan. Their name, Jainas, signifies followers of Jina, the generic name of deified saints; but, as these saints are also called Arhat, the sect is frequently 'called Arhatas. The tenets of this sect are in several respects analogous to those of the Buddhists SEE BUDDHISM, but they resemble in others those of the Brahmanical Hindus. Like the Buddhists, they deny the divine origin and authority of the Veda (which, however, they do not hesitate to quote if the doctrines of the latter are conformable to the Jaina tenets), and worship certain saints whom they consider superior to the other beings of their pantheon. They differ, indeed, from them in regard to the history of these personages, but the original notion which prevails in this worship-is the same. Like the Brahmanical Hindus, on the other hand, they admit the institution of caste, and perform the essential ceremonies called Sanskdras (q.v.), and recognise some, of the subordinate deities of the Hindu pantheon at least apparently, as they do not pay especial homage to them, and as they disregard completely all those Brahmanical rites which involve the destruction of animal life. The Jainas have their own Puranas and other religious books, which in the main confine themselves to a delineation of their Tarthankharas, or deified teachers of the sect. The Vedas of the Brahmans they supply by their Siddhdntas and Aganmas.
Their peculiar doctrines are that "all objects, material or abstract, are arranged under nine categories, called Tatwas (truths or principles), of which we need notice only the ninth and last, called Moksha, or liberation of the vital spirit from the bonds 'of action, i.e. final emancipation. In reference to it the Jainas not only affirm that there is such a state, but they define the size of the emancipated souls, the place where they live, their tangible qualities, the duration of their' existence, the distance at which they are from one another, their parts, natures, and numbers. Final emancipation is only obtained 'in a state of manhood (not in that of a good demon, or brute), while in possession 'of five senses: while possessing a body capable of voluntary motion, in a condition of possibility; while possessing a mind, through the sacrament of the highest asceticism, in that path of rectitude in which there is no retrogression; through the possession of perfect knowledge anti vision; and on the practice of abstinence.' Those who attain to final liberation do not return to a worldly state, and there is no interruption to their bliss. They have perfect vision and knowledge, and do not depend on works (see J. Stevenson, The Kalpa Sûtra and Nava Tattwa). The principles of faith, as mentioned before, are common to all classes of Jainas, but some differences occur in the practice of their duties, as they are divided into religious and lay orders Yatis and Srâvakas. Both, of course, must place implicit belief in the doctrines of their saints; but the Yati has to lead a life of abstinence, taciturnity, and continence; he should wear a thin cloth over his mouth to prevent insects from flying into it and he should carry a brush to sweep the place on which he is about to sit, to remove any living creature out of the way of danger; but, in turn, he may dispense with all acts of worship, while the Srâvakas has to add to the observance of the religious and moral duties the practical worship of the saints, and a' profound reverence for his more pious brethren. The secular Jaina must, like the ascetic, practice the four virtues--liberality, gentleness, piety, and penance; he must govern his mind, tongue, and acts; abstain at certain, seasons from salt, flowers, green fruits, roots, honey, grapes, tobacco; drink water thrice strained, and never leave a liquid uncovered, lest an insect should be drowned in it; it is his duty, also, to visit daily a temple where some of the images of the Jaina saints are placed, walk round it three times, make an obeisance to the image, and make some offerings of fruits or flowers, while pronouncing some such formula as 'Salutation to the Saints, to the Pure Existences, to the Sages, to the Teachers, to all the Devout in the world.' The reader in a Jaina temple is a Yati, but the ministrant priest is not seldom a Brahman, since the Jainas have no priests of their own, and the presence of such Brahmanical ministrants seems to have introduced several innovations in their worship. In Upper India the ritual in use is often intermixed with formulas belonging more properly to the Saiva and Sakta worship (see Hindu Sects under INDIA SEE INDIA ), and images of Siva and his consort take their place in Jaina temples. In the south of India they appear, as mentioned before, to observe also all the essential rites or Sanskaras of the Brahmanical Hindu. The festivals of the Jainas are especially those relating to events in the life of their deified saints; but they observe, also, several common to other Hindus, as the spring festival, the Sripanchami, and others." The sect is divided into two principal factions-the Digambaras and the Swetâmbaras. The name of the former signifies "sky-clad," or naked, and designated the ascetics who went unclad; but at present they wear colored garments, and dishabilitate only at mealtimes. The name of the latter faction means "one who wears white 'garments." But it is not mainly in dress that these two factions are distinct from each other; there are said to be no less than seven hundred different points upon which they split, 84 of which are considered vital by each party. Thus, e.g. "the Swetâmbaras decorate the images of their saints with ear-rings, necklaces, armlets, and tiaras of gold and jewels, whereas the Digambaras leave their images without ornaments. Again, the Swetâmbaras assert that there are twelve heavens and sixty-four Indras, whereas the Digambaras maintain that there are sixteen heavens and 100 Indras. In 'the south of India the Jainas are divided into two castes; in Upper Hindustan, however, they are all of one caste. It is remarkable that amongst themselves they recognize a number of families between which no intermarriage can take place, and that they resemble in this respect also the ancient Brahmanical Hindus, who established similar restrictions in their religious codes.
"As regards the pantheon of the Jaina creed, it is still more fantastical than that of the Brahmanical sects (whence it is borrowed to a great extent), but without any of the poetical and philosophical interest which inheres in the gods of the Vedic time. The highest rank amongst their numberless hosts of divine beings divided by them into four classes, with various subdivisions-they assign to the deified saints, whom they call Jina, or Arhat, or Tirthcakara, besides a variety of other generic names. The Jainas enumerate twenty-four Tirthakaras of their past age, twenty-four of the present, and twenty-four of the age to come; and they invest these holy personages with thirty-six superhuman attributes of the most extravagant character. Notwithstanding the sameness of these attributes, they distinguish the twenty-four Jinas of the present age from each other in color, stature, and longevity. Two of them are red, two white, two blue, two black; the rest are of a golden hue, or a yellowish-brown. The other two peculiarities are regulated by them with equal precision, and according to a system of decrement, from Rishabha, the first Jina, who was 500 poles in stature, and lived 8,400,000 great years, down to Malhdvra, the twenty- fourth, who had degenerated to the size of a man, and was no more than forty years on earth-the age of his predecessor, Parswanatha, not exceeding-100 years. The present worship is almost restricted to the last two Tirthakaras; and, as the stature and years of these personages have a reasonable possibility, H. T. Colebrooke inferred that they alone are to be considered as historical personages. As, moreover, amongst the disciples of Mahavira there is one, Indrabhfiti, who is called Gautama, and as Gautama is also a name of the. founder of the Buddha faith, the same distinguished scholar concluded that, if the identity between these names could be assumed, it would lead to the further surmise that both these sects are branches of the same. stock. But against this view, which would assign to the Jaina religion- an antiquity even higher than- 543 B.C. (the date which is commonly ascribed to the apotheosis of Gautama Buddha), several reasons are alleged by professor Wilson. As to the real date, however, of the origin of the Jaina faith. as the same scholar justly observes, it is immersed in the same obscurity which invests all remote history amongst the Hindus. We can only infer from the existing Jaina literature, and from the doctrines it inculcates, that it came later into existence than the Buddhist sect." See Colebrooke, Miscellaneous Essays; Wilson, Works, 1 (Lond. 1862); Trevor, India, its Natives and Missions, p. 109 sq. SEE INDIA; SEE HINDUISM.