CONTENTS:- 1. Jainism and Royal Patronage; 2. Jaina Social Order; 3. Jaina Caste System; 4. Jaina Communities: Historical Development; 5. Jainas Social Conduct.
This is a study of Jaina Social Life in Ancient and Medieval India. The Jaina society had always been dynamic and value based. It is a fact Mahavira never differentiated between Aryans and the non-Aryans, the rich and the poor, the peasants and the business community while addressing his sermons. The great teachers religious discourses were for all. He even admitted despised Mlechchas and low caste people in Jaina church. As such Jainism never attached importance to the prevailing caste system rather opposed it. In Jainism 'Jati' has been used to describe the mundane conditions of the Jiva (soul). It believed men of all Kulas (Clans) are competent to attain salvation. It never accepted birth as a basis of caste. It declared that actions of man are the main determinants of his social status in life. A man's high or low status is because of his Karman (actions). A man belonging to upper caste becomes low if his actions are degenerating. For a follower of Jina, caste is a trivial consideration. As such there were no community restrictions in Jainism of yore. There is mention in Jaina texts that Orthodox Vedic Brahmans were highly upset of Jaina catholicity. In later days Hindu Puranas attacked Jainism and Buddhism for admitting low caste Sudras in Jaina and Buddhist church.