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Jainism : The World of Conquerors: Apendix 1

Published: 01.01.2016


The history of the first twenty-two tirthankaras is very ancient and is provided by the Jain texts, but it is impossible to substantiate it with our present knowledge The later history of Jainism can conveniently be divided into four broad periods: pre-historic, ancient, medieval, and modern.

  • The pre-historic period, from 15th century BCE to the 8th century BCE.
  • The ancient period, between the 8th century BCE and the 5th century CE.
  • The medieval period, from 5th century CE and the 14th century CE.
  • The modern period, from the 14th century CE to the present day.

Owing to a lack of authentic historical literature, many of the dates are approximate. Other than giving biographical information on the tirthankaras, Jain texts say little about history; however, in the table below, known major Jain historical events are compared with dates and events in Indian and world history. Most Indian dynasties were sympathetic to Jainism, certain of them observed Jainism as their religion or actively supported it, but persecution of the Jains was undertaken by other dynasties.

The dynasties in Avanti (North India) for 605 years after Mahavira were: Paalaka (60 years), The Nandas (155 years), The Mauryas (108 years), Pusyamitra (30 years), Balmitra and Bhaanumitra (60 years), Nahavarana (40 years), Gaddabhilla (13 years), The Sakas (4) years, and Vikrama (135 years). The Saka King followed them (Jain J. 1964: p.259, as Tapaagaccha pattavali list). Records of South Indian dynasties are not available in Jain texts. For the sake of convenience, historical events are grouped together in most cases in periods of 200 years.

Date Events in Jain History Prominent Persons/Places Events/Prominent Persons in Indian History Events/Prominent Persons in World History
4500-1500 BCE Oral Jain texts. (Ancient written texts: events pre- 4500 BCE). Twenty-two tirthankaras. Rigveda mentions
sramana tradition, Rishabhdeva and Neminatha.
Aryans destroy Indus valley civilisation and settle in India.
1500-800 BCE Indus Valley Civilisation at Mohenjodaro artefacts of nude figures, perhaps of Jain yogis in standing postures. Beginning of Jewish religion (worship of Yahweh) c.1200 BCE.
800-600 BCE Sramana tradition, establishment of four-vows 23rd tirthankara, Parsvanatha (877-777 BCE). Composition of Upanishads (800-400 BCE), Taxila university founded in NW India, attracting students from all regions. 753 BCE: traditional date of foundation of Rome. 776 BCE: First Olympic games held in Greece.
600-400 BCE Revival of Jain tradition, establishment of five-vows and the fourfold order. Mahavira (599- 527BCE), Gautam, Sudharma and Jambu (last omniscient). Caste system established in India with Brahmin superiority. Buddha founds Buddhism (563-483 BCE). (1,700 or 558 BCE:) Zoroaster begins prophetic work in Persia. 510 BCE: Roman Republic founded.
400-200 BCE Migration of Bhadrabahu to South India. Composition of Kalpa Sutra. Bhadrabahu, Sthulibhadra 12 Years of severe famine. Nandas defeated 322 BCE: Candragupta founds Mauryan empire. Invasion of India by Alexander the Great (305 BCE).
200-0 BCE Kalakacharya punishes Gardabhilla for kidnapping a nun. Migration of Jain ascetics to Mathura, west and south India. Kharvela, king of Kalinga (Orissa) adopts Jainism as state religion (150 BCE). Vikrama defeats Saka. Vikrama era (57 BCE). Tamil kings in Ceylon. Roman conquest of central Italy, Spain and Greece (290-46 BCE). Chin Shi Huang-Ti unites China (c. 221 BCE).
1 CE-200 CE SvetambaraDigambara split in 79 CE. Kundakunda Sakas establish Saka era (78 CE) Jesus crucified in Jerusalem (c. 30 CE) Julius Caesar conquers Rome (c. 45-47 CE).
200-400 CE Simhanandi monk helps to establish Ganga Kingdom in 188 CE. Umasvati (c. 240-340 CE) composes Tattvarthasutra. Consolidation of Kusan power. Commencement of Gupta (or Valabhi) era (c. 319-320 CE). 313 CE: Christianity becomes official religion of Roman empire.
400-600 CE Valabhi council (453- 473 CE) redacts scriptures (Svetambara). Devardhigani, Samantabhadra and Siddhasen. Gupta period consolidation. Pallava, Calukya and Kadamba dynasties commence in south India. Great literary era in India. Aryabhatta, Varamihara invent decimal system.
600-800 CE Persecution of Jains by Pandyas. Construction of Elora cave temples. Mantunga composer of Bhaktamar. Aklanka, Haribhadra. Calukyas send ambassador to China. Harsa organises religious conference (643 CE). Muslim era (622 CE). Hiuen-Tse-sang visits India (629 CE.) Bede writes his famous history of Christianity in Britain.
800-1000 CE Royal patronage: declines in north, continues in south and west India. Bappa-Bhatti secures Kanoj patronage. Silagunasuri helps Vanaraja Chavada to Gujarat throne. Rastrakuta empire consolidated in south and parts of central and western India. 800 CE Beginning of Holy Roman Empire 853 CE First printed book in China. 935 CE text of Koran finalised.
1000-1200 CE Construction of Delwara temples Golden period in Gujarat. Persecution in south by Cholas. VastupalTejpal, Hemcandra Kumarpala. Rise of small Rajput kingdoms. Mahmud of Ghazni sacks and breaks power of Hindu States (1018 CE). In 1175 CE Muzzuddin Ghazni founds Muslim rule in India. 1154 CE: Gothic architecture spreads throughout Europe. 1150 CE: Hindu temple of Angkor (Cambodia) built.
1200-1600 CE Lack of Royal patronage. Jains confined to banking and trading. Iconoclastic zeal of some Muslim rulers. Jain influence declines in south India. Sthanakvasi sect established (1460 CE). Hiravijaya secured decrees from Muslim rulers to build temples, celebrate festivals and allow pilgrimages. Arts developed. Manuscripts preserved and new ones prepared. Jain images distributed throughout India. c.1215 CE: Islamic architecture spreads in India. 1398 CE: Timur invades India and sacks Delhi. 1526 CE: Babar conquers Delhi and founds Mogul Empire. 1565 CE Akbar extends empire in Deccan. 1539 CE: Death of Nanak founder of Sikhism. 1234 CE: Moguls destroy Chin Empire. 1275 CE: Marco Polo arrives in China. 1498 CE: Vasco da Gama: first European sea voyage to India. 1509 watch invented by Peter Henly (Nuremberg) 1538 CE: Henry VIII of England breaks with Church of Rome.
1600-1800 CE Dark period for Jains. Confusion and political situation in India adversely affected Jains. Terapanthi sect established (1760 CE). Jain literary activities flourished. Yashovijay, Anandghana Bhiksu. 1653 CE: Taj Mahal completed in India. 1674 CE: Sivaji creates Hindu Maratha kingdom. 1690 CE: Foundation of Calcutta by English 1707 CE: Death of Aurangzeb. Decline of Moghul empire. c. 1610 Scientific revolution in Europe begins. 1616 CE: Foundation of Harvard College in North America. 1796 CE: British conquer Ceylon.
1800-1950 CE Interest of foreign scholars in Jainism. Translation of scriptures begins. Vallabh Vijay Rajcandra Jain migration to East Africa. British rule grants religious freedom. Mahatma Gandhi promotes ahimsa. India wins freedom (1947). 1818 CE: British defeat Maratha and become effective Rulers of India. 1864 CE: Foundation of Red Cross.
1950-1996 CE Jain migration to the West. Translation of scriptures and other literary activities. Jain temples established in UK and North America. Jain studies and courses in universities. Arrival of ascetics in West: Chitrabhanu, Sushilkumar and others. Celebration of 2500th
nirvan Anniversary of Mahavira.
1952 CE India becomes Republic 1962 CE: Sino-Indian war 1971 CE: IndoPakistan war, leading to breakaway of Bangaladesh 1989 Indira Gandhi assassinated. Tolerance of religions in India by the state. Communist victory in China. 1961 CE: First man in space - Gagarin (USSR). 1969 CE: First man lands on moon. 1980 CE: Computer revolution spreads in offices and homes. 1988-1996 Concern of global ecology.


Title: Jainism: The World of Conquerors
Dr. Natubhai Shah
Publisher: Sussex Academic Press
Edition: 1998
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Ahimsa
  2. Akbar
  3. Bhiksu
  4. Brahmin
  5. Buddha
  6. Buddhism
  7. Calcutta
  8. Chitrabhanu
  9. Christianity
  10. Delhi
  11. Delwara
  12. Ecology
  13. Gandhi
  14. Gujarat
  15. Haribhadra
  16. Jain Temples
  17. Jainism
  18. Kalpa
  19. Kalpa Sutra
  20. Kundakunda
  21. Mahatma
  22. Mahatma Gandhi
  23. Mahavira
  24. Mahmud of Ghazni
  25. Mathura
  26. Omniscient
  27. Orissa
  28. Parsvanatha
  29. Rajput
  30. Rishabhdeva
  31. Sikhism
  32. Space
  33. Sramana
  34. Sramana Tradition
  35. Sthanakvasi
  36. Sutra
  37. Svetambara
  38. Tamil
  39. Terapanthi
  40. Tirthankara
  41. Tirthankaras
  42. Tolerance
  43. Upanishads
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