5.3 History of Education: Do you understand the place of Jainism in Ancient Indian Education?

Chapter 5


5a iii). Explain the place of Jainism in ancient Indian Education

Jainism and Education

Jainism is closely associated with Buddhism and is one of the oldest religions in India, though a minority one. The religion was founded around 500 B.C. by Vardhamana, who was born in northwest India. Jain means “Conqueror of evil”. There are believed to be several such conquerors, the supreme ones being Pishabha and Mihavira. Jains believe that the earth is external and is revived in different cycles by different Jains.

Salvation in Jainism is achieved when the soul is isolated from the body and attains the ultimate states, Nirvana. Like Buddhism, Jainism emphasizes asceticism and monastic life, and in the course of time has become more and more identified with Buddhism in India.

Educationally, the major aim was to produce an individual who would be critical and self-reliant, one who constantly viewed existing religions with skeptism and sought to achieve spiritual well being through Yoga.


In this lesson, we have discussed the influence of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism on education in ancient India.

Note:              The striking similarities between Buddhism and Jainism, and their consequent compatibility in religious, social and educational terms.

Question:       What was the major aim of Jainist education?

Activity:         List at least four similarities between the religions of Jainism and Buddhism.


  1. Discuss the aims and content of education in ancient
  2. Show how aspects of the aims and content of education in ancient India may be relevant and incorporated into education in your country

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