The Eternal Cycle of Time
The Jain Concept of Time and Tirthankaras Jainism accords time a sovereign, irreducible and metaphysical status. Jain scholars argue that like time, Jainism too has neither beginning nor end – it is limitless in its scope. However, just as every moment is connected to another, so too is Jainism logical and coherent. Time rolls along in eternal cycles of rise and decline. Utsarpini is a ‘rising’ era in which human morale and natural conditions improve over time. At the end of utsarpini, begins avsarpini, a ‘declining’ era of the same duration in which standards of human behaviour come down.
During the interim of every rising and declining era twenty-four souls become ‘Tirthankaras’. They are humans like us who rise to that level.
The Omniscient Soul
about a person who walked away from the wealth and comfort that royalty offered to become an ascetic in search of enlightenment. But that is precisely what Mahavira did. Belonging to the Kashyapa sect, Mahavira was born into the royal Kshatriya family of King Siddhartha and Queen Trishala of the Ikshvaku dynasty on the 13th day of the rising moon of Chaitra in the Vira Nirvana Samvat calendar in 599 BCE in what is now Bihar. At the age of 30, he left his home in pursuit of spiritual awakening, and abandoned worldly things to become a monk. For the next 12 years, Mahavira practiced intense meditation and severe penance, after which he became omniscient.
of Jainism in parallel with Brahmanism and Buddhism. As we know, Jainism expanded over different parts of India but when we look at the Bihar region,it can be seen that the Jain religion expanded far and wide in this state. It is mentioned in various texts that rulers of ancient Bihar rendered vigorous patronage towards Jain religion and its community. Representatives like Bimbisara and Ajatashatru of Bihar, according to Jain legends, were actually related to Lord Mahavira, a fact due to which they professed Jainism. Many temples and places of pilgrimage (tirthas) were built as symbols of this exemplary religion. The remains found in this state truly show the popularity of the Jain religion in Bihar, reflecting a glorious picture through its valuable contribution in the field of art, literature, philosophy etc. Some of the prominent places synonymous with the glory of Jainism in Bihar are described below.
Lothal Global Trade in the Ancient Era Heritage
Our second city to be featured in the Indus valley series is Lothal. While Mohenjodaro (which we covered in the previous issue) and Harappa are the most well known cities of the Indus valley civilization, there are other equally important cities with unique features of their own. Over the last 60 years Indian archaeologists have carried out intensive explorations as a result of which nearly 2,000 new sites have been brought to light, of which over 1,500 are in India and the remaining are in Pakistan. Some of them have been scientifically excavated, revealing many new features which indicate that it was the largest civilisation of the Old World, spread over a large part of northern and western India with its influence discernible in other regions also. M K Dhavalikar puts together an interesting account of those times.
Lamani India’s Colourful Gypsies People
Dr. Shaunak Kulkarni and Aarti Nawathe of the Department of Anthropology, Savitribai Phule Pune University, provide a description of the Lamani tribals, also known as Banjaras or Labanas. Usually noticed at construction sites where both men and women work as daily wage labourers, they once raised cattle and were traders.