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is put for Buddha-Sakiyaputta, so that it is difficult
not to suppose that Nataputta or Jnatiputra, the
leader of the Nigantha or Nirgrantha sect, is the
same person as Vardhamana, the descendant of the
Jnati family and founder of the Nirgrantha or Jaina
sect. If we follow up this idea, and gather together
the different remarks of the Buddhists about the
opponents of Buddha, then it is apparent that his
identity with Vardhamana is certain. A number

6 The Mahaparinibbana Sutta, in S. B. E. Vol. XI, p. 106.


of rules of doctrine are ascribed to him, which are
also found among the Jainas, and some events in
his life, which we have already found in the ac-
counts of the life of Vardhamana, are related.

In one place in the oldest part of the Singalese
canon , the assertion is put into the mouth of
Nigantha Nataputta, that the Kiriyavada the doc-
trine of activity, separates his system from Buddha's
teaching. We shall certainly recognise in this doc-
trine, the rule of the Kiriya, the activity of souls,
upon which Jainism places so great importance 7 .
Two other rules from the doctrine of souls are
quoted in a later work, not canonical : there it is
stated , in a collection of false doctrines which
Buddha's rivals taught, that Nigantha asserts that
cold water was living. Little drops of water con-
tained small souls, large drops, large souls. There-
fore he forbade his followers, the use of cold water.
It is not difficult, in these curious rules to recog-
nise the Jaina dogma, which asserts the existence
of souls, even in the mass of lifeless elements of
earth, water, fire, and wind. This also proves, that
the Nigantha admitted the classification of souls,
so often ridiculed by the Brahmans, which distin-
guishes between great and small. This work, like
others, ascribes to Nigantha the assertion, that the
so-called three danda the three instruments by
which man can cause injury to creatures thought,

7 Jacobi, Zeitschrift der Deutsch. Morg. Ges. Bd. XXXIV, S. 187;
Ind. Antiq. Vol. IX, p. 159.


word, and body, are separate active causes of sin.
The Jaina doctrine agrees also in this case, which
always specially represents the three and prescribes
for each a special control 8 .

Besides these rules, which perfectly agree with
one another, there are still two doctrines of the
Nigantha to be referred to which seem to, or
really do, contradict the Jainas; namely, it is stated
that Nataputta demanded from his disciples the
taking of four, not as in Vardhamana's case, of
five great vows. Athough this difficulty may seem
very important at first glance, it is, however, set
aside by an oft repeated assertion in the Jaina
works. They repeatedly say that Parsva, the
twenty-third Jina only recognised four vows, and
Vardhamana added the fifth. The Buddhists
have therefore handed down a dogma which Jainism
recognises. The question is merely whether they or
the Jainas are the more to be trusted. If the latter,
and it is accepted that Vardhamana was merely
the reformer of an old religion, then the Buddhists
must be taxed with an easily possible confusion
between the earlier and later teachers. If, on the
other hand, the Jaina accounts of their twenty-third
prophet are regarded as mythical, and Vardhamana
is looked upon as the true founder of the sect,
then the doctrine of the four vows must be ascribed
to the latter, and we must accept as a fact that he

8 Jacobi, Ind. Antiq. Vol. IX, p. 159.


had changed his views on this point. In any case,
however, the Buddhist statement speaks for, rather
than against, the identity of Nigantha with Jina .

Vardhamana's system, on the other hand, is
quite irreconcilable with Nataputta's assertion
that virtue as well as sin, happiness as well as
unhappiness is unalterably fixed for men by fate,
and nothing in their destiny can be altered by the
carrying out of the holy law. It is, however, just
as irreconcilable with the other Buddhist accounts
of the teaching of their opponent; because it is
absolutely unimaginable, that the same man, who
lays vows upon his followers, the object of which is to
avoid sin, could nevertheless make virtue and sin
purely dependent upon the disposition of fate, and
preach the uselessness of carrying out the law. The
accusation that Nataputta embraced fatalism must
therefore be regarded as an invention and an outcome
of sect hatred as well as of the wish to throw discredit
on their opponents 10 .

The Buddhist remarks on the personality and
life of Nataputta are still more remarkable. They
say repeatedly that he laid claim to the dignity of
an Arhat and to omniscience which the Jainas also

9 Jacobi, loc. clt. p. 160, and Leumann, Actes du Vliemc Cong-res
Int. des Or. Sect. Ary. p. 505. As the Jaina accounts of the
teaching of Parsva and the existence of communities of his disciples,
sound trustworthy, we, may perhaps accept, with Jacobi, that they
rest on a historical foundation.

10 Jacobi loc. cit. p. 159 160.


claim for their prophet, whom they prefer simply
to call 'the Arhat' and who possesses the universe-
embracing 'Kevala knowledge '. A history of con-
versions, tells us further that Nataputta and his
disciples disdained to cover their bodies; we are
told just the same of Vardhamana 2 . A story in the
oldest part of the Singalese canon gives an interesting
and important instance of his activity in teaching.
Buddha, so the legend runs, once came to the town
Vaisali, the seat of the Kshatriya of the Lich-
chhavi race. His name, his law, his community
were highly praised by the nobles of the Lich-
chhavi in the senate-house. Siha, their general,
who was a follower of the Nigantha, became anxious
to know the great teacher. He went to his master
Nataputta, who happened to be staying in
Vaisali just then, and asked permission to pay
the visit. Twice Nataputta refused him. Then Siha
determined to disobey him. He sought Buddha out,
heard his teaching and was converted by him. In
order to show his attachment to his new teacher
he invited Buddha and his disciples to eat with him.
On the acceptance of the invitation, Siha commanded
his servants to provide flesh in honour of the oc-
casion. This fact came to the ears of the followers
of the Nigantha. Glad to have found an occasion
to damage Buddha, they hurried in great numbers

1 See for example the account in the Chullavagga, in S. B, E.
Vol. XX. p. 7879; Ind. Antiq, Vol. VIII, p. 313.

2 Spence Hardy, Manual of Budhism, p. 225.


through the town, crying out, that Siha had caused
a great ox to be killed for Buddha's entertainment;
that Buddha had eaten of the flesh of the animal
although he knew it had been killed on his account,
and was, therefore guilty of the death of the animal.
The accusation was brought to Siha's notice and
was declared by him to be a calumny. Buddha,
however preached a sermdn after the meal, in which
he forbade his disciples to partake of the flesh of
such animals as had been killed on their account.
The legend also corroborates the account in the
Jaina works, according to which Vardhamana
often resided in Vaisali and had a strong following
in that town. It is probably related to show that
his sect was stricter, as regards the eating of flesh,
than the Buddhists, a point, which again agrees
with the statutes of the Jainas 3 .

The account of Nataputta's death is still more
important. "Thus I heard it", says an old book of
the Singalese canon, the Samagama Sutta, "once the
Venerable one lived in Samagama in the land
of the Sakya. At that time, however, certainly the
Nigantha Nataputta had died in Pava. After
his death the Nigantha wandered about disunited,
separate, quarrelling, righting, wounding each other
with words 4 . Here we have complete confirmation

3 S. B. E. Vol. XVII, pp. 108117.

4 The passage is given in the original by Oldenberg, Zeitsch.
der D. Morg. Ges. Bd. XXXIV, S. 749. Its significance in con-
nection with the Jaina tradition as to their schisms has been


of the statement of the Jaina canon as to the place
where Vardhamana entered Nirvana, as well as
of the statement that a schism occurred immediately
after his death.

The harmony between the Buddhist and Jaina
tradition, as to the person of the head of the Nir-
grantha is meanwhile imperfect. It is disturbed by
the description of Nataputta as a member of the
Brahmanic sect of the Agnivesyayana, whilst
Vardhamana belonged to the Kasyapa. The
point is however so insignificant, that an error on
the part of the Buddhists is easily possible 5 . It is
quite to be understood that perfect exactness is not
to be expected among the Buddhists or any other
sect in describing the person of a hated enemy.

overlooked until now. It has also been unnoticed that the assertion,
that Vardhamana died during Buddha's lifetime, proves that
the latest account of this occurrence given by traditions 467 B. C.
is false: Later Buddhist legends (Spence Hardy, Mbnual of Budhism,
pp. 266 271) treat of Nataputta's death in moie detail. In a leng-
thy account they give as the cause of the same the apostacy of
one of his disciples, Up all who was converted by Buddha. After
going over to Buddhism, Upali treated his former master with
scorn, and presumed to relate a parable which should prove the
foolishness of those who believed in false doctrines. Thereupon
the Nigantha fell into despair. He declared his alms-vessel was
broken, his existence destroyed, went to Pava, and died there.
Naturally no importance is to be given to this account and its
details. They are apparently the outcome of sect-hatred.

5 According to Jacobi's supposition, S. B. E. Vol. XXII, p. xvi,
the error was caused, by the only disciple of Vardhamana, who
outlived his master, Sudharman being an Agnivesyayana.


Enmity and scorn, always present, forbid that. The
most that one can expect is that the majority
and most important of the facts given may agree.

This condition is undoubtedly fulfilled in the case
on hand. It cannot, therefore be denied, that, in
spite of this difference, in spite also of the absurdity
of one article of the creed ascribed to him, Var-
d ham ana Jnatiputra, the founder of the Nir-
grantha or Jaina community is none other than
Buddha's rival. From Buddhist accounts in their
canonical works as well as in other books, it may be
seen that this rival was a dangerous and influential
one, and that even in Budda's time his teaching
had spread considerably. Their legends about con-
versions from other sects very often make mention
of Nirgrantha sectarians, whom Buddha's teaching
or that of his disciples had alienated from their
faith. Also they say in their descriptions of other
rivals of Buddha, that these, in order to gain
esteem, copied the Nirgrantha and went un-
clothed, or that they were looked upon by the
people as Nirgrantha holy ones, because they hap-
pened to have lost their clothes. Such expressions
would be inexplicable if Vardhamana's community
had not become of great importance .

This agrees with several remarks in the Buddhist
chronicles, which assert the existence of the Jainas
in different districts of India during the first century

6 See for the history of Siha related above, Spence Hardy, Manual
of Budhism, pp. 226, 266, and Jacobi, Ind. Antiq. Vol. VIII, p. 161


after Buddha's death. In the memoirs of the Chinese
Buddhist and pilgrim Hiuen Tsiang, who visited
India in the beginning of the seventh century of
our era, is to be found an extract from the ancient
annals of Magadha, which proves the existence of the
Nirgrantha or Jainas in their original home from a
very early time 7 . This extract relates to the building
of the great monastry at N a Ian da, the high school
of Buddhism in eastern India, which was founded
shortly after Buddha's Nirvana, and mentions inci-
dentally that a Nirgrantha who was a great astrologer
and prophet had prophesied the future success of
the new building. At almost as early a period the
Mahavansa, composed in the fifth century A.D.,
fixes the appearance of the Nirgrantha in the island
of Ceylon. It is said that the king Pandukabhaya,
who ruled in the beginning of the second century
after Buddha, from 367 307 B.C. built a temple
and a monastery for two Nirgranthas. The monas-
tery is again mentioned in the same work in the
account of the reign of a later king Vattagamini,
cir. 38 10 B.C. It is related that Vattagamini being
offended by the inhabitants, caused it to be destroyed
after it had existed during the reigns of twenty
one kings, and erected a Buddhist Sangharama in
its place. The latter piece of information is found
also in the Dipavansa of more than a century earlier 8 .

i Beal, Si-yu-ki. Vol. II, p. 168.

8 Tumour, Mahavansa, pp. 66 67 and p. 203, 206: Dtpavansa
XIX 145 comp. also Kern, Buddhismus^ Bd. I. S. 422. In the


None of these works can indeed be looked upon
as a truly historical source. There are, even in
those paragraphs which treat of the oldest history
after Buddha's death, proofs enough that they simply
hand down a faulty historical tradition. In spite of
this, their statements on the Nirgrantha, cannot be
denied a certain weight, because they are closely con-
nected on the one side with the Buddhist canon, and
on the other they agree with the indisputable sources
of history, which relate to a slightly later period.

The first authentic information on Vardhamana's
sect is given by our oldest inscriptions, the religious
edicts of the Maurya king Asoka, who, according
to tradition was anointed in the year 219 after
Buddha's death, and as the reference to his Grecian
contemporaries, Antiochos, Magas, Alexander,
Ptolemaeus and Antigonas confirms, ruled,
during the second half of the third century B.C. over
the whole of India with the exception of the Dekhan,
This prince interested himself not only in Buddhism,
which he professed in his later years, but he took
care, in a fatherly way, as he repeatedly relates,
of all other religious sects in his vast kingdom. In
the fourteenth year of his reign, he appointed offi-
cials, called law-superintendents, whose duty it was
to watch over the life of the different communities,
to settle their quarrels, to control the distribution

first passage in the Mahavahsa^ three Nighantas are introduced by
name, Jotiya, Giri, and Kumbhanda. The translation incorrectly
makes the first a Brahman and chief engineer.


of their legacies and pious gifts. He says of them
in the second part of the seventh 'pillar' edict, which
he issued in the twenty-ninth year of his reign, "My
superintendents are occupied with various charitable
matters, they are also engaged with all sects of
ascetics and householders; I have so arranged that
they will also be occupied with the affairs of the
Samgha; likewise I have arranged that they will be
occupied with the Ajivika Brahmans; I have
arranged it that they will also be occupied with the
Nigantha" . The word Samgha serves here as
usual for the Buddhist monks. The A j i v i k a s, whose
name completely disappears later, are often named
in the sacred writings of the Buddhists and the
Jainas as an influential sect. They enjoyed the
special favour of As ok a, who, as other inscriptions
testify, caused several caves at Barabar to be
made into dwellings for their ascetics 10 . As in the
still older writings of the Buddhist canon , the
name Nigantha here can refer only to the fol-
lowers of Vardhamana. As they are here, along
with the other two favourites, counted worthy of
special mention, we may certainly conclude that
they were of no small importance at the time. Had
they been without influence and of small numbers
As oka would hardly have known of them, or at

9 See Senart, Inscriptions de Piyadasi, torn. II, p. 82. Ed. VIII, 1. 4.
My translation differs from Senart's in some points especially in relation
to the construction. Conf. Epigraphia Indica, vol. II, pp. 272 f.

10 See Ind. Antiquary, vol. XX, pp. 361 ff.


least would not have singled them out from the
other numerous nameless sects of which he often
speaks. It may also be supposed that they were
specially numerous in their old home, as Asoka's
capital Pataliputra lay in this land. Whether
they spread far over these boundaries, cannot be

On the other hand we possess two documents
from the middle of the next century which prove
that they advanced into south-eastern India as far
as Kalinga. These are the inscriptions at Khan-
dagiri in Orissa, of the great King Kharavela
and his first wife, who governed the east coast of
India from the year 152 to 165 of the Maurya era
that is, in the first half of second century B.C.

The larger inscription, unfortunately very much
disfigured, contains an account of the life of Kha-
ravela from his childhood till the thirteenth year
of his reign. It begins with an appeal to the Arhat
and Siddha, which corresponds to the beginning
of the five-fold form of homage still used among
the Jainas, and mentions the building of temples
in honour of the Arhat as well as an image of the
first Jina, which was taken away by a hostile king.
The second and smaller inscription asserts that
Khar a vela's wife caused a cave to be prepared
for the ascetics of Kalinga, "who believed on
the Arhat." '

1 The meaning of these inscriptions, which were formerly believed
to be Buddhist, was first made clear by Dr. BhagvanlaPs Indraji's


From a somewhat later period, as the characters
show, from the first century B.C. comes a dedicatory
inscription which has been found far to the west
of the original home of the Jainas, in Mathura
on the Jamna. It tells of the erection of a small
temple in honour of the Arhat Vardhamana,
also of the dedication of seats for the teachers, a
cistern, and a stone table. The little temple, it says,
stood beside the temple of the guild of tradesmen,

careful discussion in the Actes du Vlieme Congres Internat. des
Orientalistes Sect. Ary. pp. 135 159. He first recognised the true
names of the King Kharavela and his predecessors and shewed
that Kharavela and his wife were patrons of the Jainas. We
have to thank him for the information that the inscription contains
a date in the Maurya Era. I have thoroughly discussed his excellent
article in the Oesterreichischen Monatsschrift, Bd. X, S. 231 ff.
and have there given my reasons for differing from him on an
important point, namely, the date of the beginning of the Maurya
Era, which, according to his view begins with the conquest of
Kalinga by Asoka about 255 B. C. Even yet I find it impos-
sible to accept that the expression, "in the hundred and sixty
fifth year of the era of the Maurya Kings", can mean anything
else than that 164 years have passed between the thirteenth year
of the rule of Kharavela and the anointing of the first Maur y a
King Chandragupta. Unfortunately it is impossible to fix the
year of the latter occurrence, or to say more than that it took
place between the years 322 and 312 B. C. The date given in
Kharavela's inscription cannot therefore be more closely fixed
than that it lies between 156 and 147 B. C. I now add to my
former remarks that appeals to the Arhat and Siddha appear
also in Jaina inscriptions from Mathura and may be taken as a
certain mark of the sect. Thus it is worthy of note that even in
Hiuen Tsiang's time, (Beal, Si-yu-ki. Vol. II, p. 205) Kalinga was
one of the chief seats of the Jainas.


and this remark proves, that Mathura, which,
according to the tradition of the Jainas, was one
of the chief seats of their religion, possessed a
community of Jainas even before the time of this
inscription 2 .

A large member of dedicatory inscriptions have
come to light, which are dated from the year 5 to 98
of the era of the Indo-Skythian kings, Kanishka,
Huvishka, and Vasudeva (Bazodeo) and therefore
belong at latest to the end of the first and to the
second century A.D. They are all on the pedestals
of statues, which are recognisable partly by the
special mention of the names ofVardhamana
and the Arhat Mahavira, partly by absolute
nudity and other marks. They show, that the Jaina
community continued to flourish in Mathura and
give besides extraordinarily important information,
as I found in a renewed research into the an-
cient history of the sect. In a number of them,
the dedicators of the statues give not only their
own names, but also those of the religious teachers
to whose communities they belonged. Further, they
give these teachers their official titles, still used
among the Jainas: vachaka, 'teacher', and ganin,
'head of a school'. Lastly they specify the names
of the schools to which the teachers belonged, and
those of their subdivisions. The schools are called,
gana, 'companies'; the subdivisions, kula, 'families'

2 This inscription also was first made known by Dr Bhagwanlal
Indraji, loc. cit. p. 143.


and sakha, 'branches', Exactly the same division
into gana, sakha, and kula is found in a list in
one of the canonical works, of the Svetambaras,
the Kalpasutra, which gives the number of the
patriarchs and of the schools founded by them, and
it is of the highest importance, that, in spite of
mutilation and faulty reproduction of the inscriptions,
nine of the names, which appear in the Kalpasutra
are recognisable in them, of which part agree ex-
actly, part, through the fault of the stone-mason
or wrong reading by the copyist, are somewhat
defaced. According to the Kalpasutra, Sushita, the
ninth successor to Vardhamana in the position of
patriarch, together with his companion S u p r a t i-
buddha, founded the 'Kodiya' or 'Kautika gana,
which split up into four 'sakha', and four 'kula.
Inscription No. 4. which is dated in the year 9 of
the king Kanishka or 87. A.D.(?) gives us a somewhat
ancient form of the name of the gana Kotiya and
that of one of its branches exactly corresponding
to the Vairi sakha. Mutilated or wrongly written, the
first word occurs also in inscriptions Nos. 2, 6 and
9 as koto-, kettiya, and ka . . . , the second in No. 6
as Vora. One of the families of this gana, the
Vaniya kula is mentioned in No. 6, and perhaps in
No. 4. The name of a second, the Prasnavahanaka,
seems to have appeared in No. 19. The last in-
scription mentions also another branch of the Kotiya
gana, the Majhima sakha, which, according to the
Kalpasutra, was founded by Priyagantha the second


disciple of Susthita. Two still older schools which,
according to tradition, sprang from the fourth disciple
of the eighth patriarch, along with some of their
divisions appear in inscriptions Nos. 20 and 10. These
are the Aryya-Udehikiya gana, called the school
of the Arya-Rohana in the Kalpasutra, to which
belonged the Parihasaka kula and the Purnapatrika
sakha, as also the Char ana gana with the Prttidhar-
mika kula. Each of these names is, however, some-
what mutilated by one or more errata in writing 3 .
The statements in the inscriptions about the
teachers and their schools are of no small impor-
tance in themselves for the history of the Jainas.
If, at the end of the first century A.D. (?) many
separate schools of Jaina ascetics existed, a great
age and lively activity, as well as great care as
regards the traditions of the sect, may be inferred.
The agreement of the inscriptions with the Kalpasutra
leads still further however: it proves on the one
side that the Jainas of Mathura were Svetambara,
and that the schism, which split the sect into two
rival branches occurred long before the beginning
of our era. On the other hand it proves that the
tradition of the Svetambara really contains an-
cient historic elements, and by no means deserves

3 Dr. Biihler's long note (p. 48) on these inscriptions was afterwards
expanded in the Wiener Zeitschrift fur die Kunde des Morgen-
landes Bd. I, S. 165 180; Bd. II, S. 141146. Bd. Ill, S. 233240;
and Bd IV, S. 169 173. The argument of these papers is sum-
marised in Appendix A, pp. 48 ff. Ed.


to be looked upon with distrust. It is quite probable
that, like all traditions, it is not altogether free

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