The word Jainism goes back to “Jina”, derived from the word ‘to conquer”. As a school of religious order it is much older than Buddhism. It repudiates Vedic authority, refuses to believe in God and initiates a pessimistic outlook of life.
The essential features of the Jaina Philosophy are:
(a) The Universe is brought under two categories-‘Jiva’ and ‘Ajiva’ the conscious and the unconscious spirit. The Jiva is capable of expansion and contraction. It can be resembled to a lamp which illuminates the whole of the space enclosed in a small dark room. The category of Ajiva is divided into Kala, Akasa, Dharma and Adhara (space) and Pudgala (motto).
(b) The metaphysics is the doctrine of manyness of reality (Anekanthavada). Thus, it is realistic and pluralistic. The Jaina says that he who knows all the qualities of one thing knows all the qualities of all things. Human Knowledge is relative and limited.
(c) Reality is unity in difference and difference in unity. Jainism emphasises the partial views-of accepting performance and change. It is called Anekantavada.
(d) Ignorance is the cause of bondage. Right Knowledge is the act of liberation. The three jewels of Jainism are the Right Faith, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct. Thus, it is primarily ethical
(e) Discipline is strictly enforced. There are the five vows-Ahimsa, Astega, Nonstealing, Celibacy and Renunciation. The last two are not for the laymen
(f) The final aim is the development of personality. Individual and social aspects of personality are equally emphasised.
(g) Jainism is a religion of self-help. It denies God. But every liberated soul is God. The Educational implication of Jainism is as given below:
1. Development of the personality of the student is the educational aim. Jainism does not have any predetermined absolute goals. It believes in the development of the self.
2. Knowledge is relative. By knowing the different parts one can hope to get all about one relatively.
3. The many sidedness of personality should be taken care of.
4. The moral aspect of the individual’s growth in terms of right conduct was emphasised.
5. The difference in the stipulations between ascetics and laymen only speak of their practical objectives of education and consequent training.
6. There was a strong emphasis on memory. The spiritual aspect was stressed. Curriculum was based on the three Ratnas-right faith right knowledge and right conduct. The mother tongue was the medium of instruction. Debate and discussion were used as methods of instruction Residential life of the pupils were stressed.