Difference between Hinduism and Jainism

Difference between Hinduism and Jainism is explained here in detail. The most important aspect of Jainism is Ahiṃsa (non-violence), Anekantavada (many-sidedness), Aparigraha (non-attachment) and Asceticism. Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, many practitioners refer to it as “the eternal way”. The differences between Hinduism vs Jainism given here can help in understanding the basics better and know their comparisons and similarities thoroughly.

Aspirants would find this article very helpful while preparing for the IAS Exam.

Difference between Hinduism and Jainism – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

Difference between Hinduism and Jainism

The major differences between Hinduism and Jainism are:

Hinduism Jainism
Hinduism believes the Universe was created by Brahma, the creator. Jainism does not believe that the universe was created by one God Brahma, rather Jainism believes the Universe itself is eternal and powerful. Jainism believes it was never created as it is eternal.
As per Hinduism, Soul was separated from Supreme Soul (Parmatma) and the main purpose of life is to attain moksha i.e. merger of Soul back into the supreme soul. As per Jainism, every soul itself is supreme Soul, hence the objective of life is to separate the soul from bad karma (sinful actions) and attain moksha.
Hinduism also believes in non-violence, however, if violence is absolutely necessary to achieve victory over evil, then it is permitted, Mahabharat or Ramayan are good examples. Jainism does not believe in violence, it strongly believes only in non-violence.
The 4 largest denominations of Hinduism are Shaktism, Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Smartism. The 2 important sects of Jainism are Svetambara and Digambara.
Holy Days in Hinduism are plenty. There are many important days for worshipping different Gods, some of the most important holy days are Ganesh Chaturthi, Mahashivaratri, Ram Navami, Krishna Janmashtami, Navaratri, Durga Puja etc. Some of the most important Jain festivals are Paryushana, Mahavira Janma Kalayanak, Ashtanhika Parv, Nandishwar Ashtanika, Maun agiyaras, Mahamastabhisheka etc
In Hinduism many Gods are worshipped, most Prominent are Ganapathi, Shiva, Vishnu, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Parvati, Hanuman, Kartikeya etc. In Jainism, 24 Tirthankars, besides some celestial beings are worshipped as DemiGods. Mahavira was the 24th Thirthankara of Jainism.
Hinduism has different castes and classes In Jainism, there is no division of followers on the basis of castes and class.
In Hinduism, one can find people strictly following vegetarian diets as well people who consume non-vegetarian diets. In Jainism, it is strictly forbidden from having non-vegetarian diets including eggs.
In Hinduism Vedas, Upanishads, Smritis etc are considered sacred In Jainism, Vedas and other religious books of Hinduism are not accepted. Jainism has its own sacred scriptures like Agamas and Sutras.
In Hinduism, animal sacrifices were mostly associated with Shaktism, animal sacrifices were done in ancient times, however, Puranas and Gita forbid animal sacrifice. Animal Sacrifices are strictly not allowed in Jainism
Hinduism has 4 stages of life: Brahmacharya (student life), Grihastha Ashram (householders life), Vanaprastha Ashram (searching for truth), and the final stage Sanyasa Ashram.  As per Hinduism Spirituality must be pursued in the last 2 stages of human life. One has to follow Dharma at all stages, but focus on salvation is at the last 2 stages. Jainism does not have different stages of human life, the main focus of entire life is to attain liberation and must be strictly spiritual.
People following Hinduism are spread across India, Nepal, Bhutan, Mauritius, Bali in Indonesia, North America, Caribbean etc. People following Jainism are sort of confined in India, they are predominantly found in the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh. Small groups exist in many countries.

Some of the Similarities between Hinduism and Jainism are given below

  1. Both Hinduism and Jainism believe in reincarnation, i.e. cycle of birth and death.
  2. Both Hinduism and Jainism believe in non-violence, 
  3. Both Hinduism and Jainism emphasise on consuming a vegetarian diet.
  4. Both religions give importance to meditation.
  5. Followers of both religions celebrate festivals like Diwali.
  6. Both religions have the same concepts as Moksha, Samsara, Karma; although the precise meaning may be different.
  7. Both religions believe that violence for self-defence is permitted.

These are the main similarities and differences between Hinduism and Jainism. The differences given in the above table can help the UPSC Civil Service Exam aspirants to answer any related questions easily in the exams.

After learning about Differences between Hinduism and Jainism, visit the below-given links to refer to the NCERT Notes on Jainism in India, Jain & Buddhist Architecture in India. Also visit the below-given links to refer to NCERT Notes on Ancient Indian History, Medieval Indian History, Modern Indian History; Art, Culture, Literature and Architecture NCERT Notes. Further strengthen your understanding of the History of Buddha, Buddhism, Teachings of Buddha: Noble 8 fold paths, 3 Jewels, 4 Noble Truths. Apart from the above-mentioned topics, the below-given links also covers topics on Difference between Buddhism and Hinduism, Difference between Art and Culture, Difference between History and Prehistory and finally Difference between History and Mythology.

Difference between Hinduism and Jainism – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

The above details would help candidates prepare for UPSC 2021.

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