Jain History: An Outline
Jainism is one of the oldest religions. A detailed discussion of Jain history would be very long. It covers many different periods of history.

I have divided the time-scale into seven periods so that we can correlate the events within the Jain history, and can also relate the history of Jainism with other events in India and outside of India. You will note that several famous philosophers were contemporary of Lord Mahavira, and that 13-15th century was the age of reform in India as well as in Europe.

It should be recognized that as we go back in time, it becomes harder and harder to date events exactly. The dates I have given below, have been taken from several different sources.

We must distinguish between tradition and history. Tradition is the info- rmation that we have received through oral or written tradition. History on the other hand, is an analytical but approximate science. A historian takes a critical look at the information available to come to a conclusion. It is common for the historians to disagree.

Kirti-Stambha at Chittor, 14th cent. Details

In many cases, the historians do not accept a tradition until supporting evidence becomes available. For example, the Kalpa-Sutra gives a list of ancient orders (Ganas etc.) Many historians were not convinced of the historicity of this information until the excavations at Mathura un-earthed many inscriptions mentioning the very same orders. Several archaeological discoveries and studies of the Buddhist and Vedic/Puranic literature has confirmed the antiquity of the jain tradition. I will gradually add additional items and links to detailed information. The outline below will serve as an index.


History Outline with links to articles

Links to Jainism: Principles, Tradition and Practices (resources & images)