India and the World’s Great Religions : An introduction to Jainism – Philosophy, History and Relevance

Dr. Abhay Firodia, Chairman, Force Motors Limited and Member, PIC, delivered the second lecture in PIC’s ‘India and the World’s Great Religions’ series. He spoke on “An introduction to Jainism – Philosophy, History and Relevance” on 9th July. The event was chaired by Dr. Arvind Jamkhedkar, Archaeologist and Historian, and moderated by Prof. Pradeep Apte. Mr. Abhay Vaidya welcomed everyone and Prof. Apte introduced the chair and speaker.

Dr. Firodia began his presentation by noting that there was need for a comprehensive view of India’s heritage, which had been influenced by several cultures over the past millennia. Touching upon the academic definitions of religion, he mentioned that myths, rituals and values formed three core aspects of any religion. He emphasised that the philosophy of Jainism was based on the law of the world (wherein living beings have to eat or be eaten) and how humans could practice a life or process of causing the least harm. This taps into the concepts of atma, karma and dharma. Within Jainism, he explained that three universal principles – ahimsa, anekantvada and aparigraha, are followed. He went on to explain the path defined by these principles, the Shramana tradition, and how a synthesis of Shramana and Vedic traditions brought about the current Hindu ethic. He provided some background and history on the tirthankaras of the Jain tradition from Rishabhadeva to Mahavira, explained some of the differences between the Digambara and Shwetambara sects of Jainism and the exchange of knowledge between the Shramanic and Vedic traditions.

The session concluded with Dr. Jamkhedkar’s remarks on the lecture by Dr. Firodia, and Mr. Vaidya delivered the vote of thanks.