Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 22.djvu/17

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constitution of Vesâli. So we are enabled to understand why the Buddhists took no notice of him, as his influence was not very great, and, besides, was used in the interest of their rivals. But the Gainas cherished the memory of the maternal uncle and patron of their prophet, to whose influence we must attribute the fact, that Vaisâlî used to be a stronghold of Gainism, while being looked upon by the Buddhists as a seminary of heresies and dissent.

We have traced the connection of Mahâvira's family not out of mere curiosity, which indiscriminately collects all historical facts however insignificant in themselves, but for the reason that the knowledge of this connection enables us to understand how Mahâvîra came to obtain his success. By birth he as well as Buddha was a member of a feudal aristocracy similar to that of the Yâdavas in the legends about Krishna, or that of the Râjpoots of the present day. In feudal societies family ties are very strong and long remembered.[1] Now we know for certain that Buddha at least addressed himself chiefly to the members of the aristocracy, that the Gainas originally preferred the Kshatriyas to the Brâhmans.[2] It is evident that both Mahâvîra and Buddha have made use of the interest and support of their families to propagate their order. Their prevalence over other rivals was certainly due in some degree to their connection with the chief families of the country.

Through his mother Mahâvîra was related to the ruling dynasty in Magadha; for Ketaka's daughter Kellanâ[3] was married to Seniya Bimbhisâra[4] or Bimbisâra, king of Magadha, and residing in Râgagriha. He is praised by the Gainas and Buddhists, as the friend and patron of both

  1. The Gainas are very particular in stating the names and gotras of Mahâvîra's relations, of whom they have recorded little else. Kalpa Sûtra, Lives of the Ginas, § 109.
  2. See Kalpa Sûtra, Lives of the Ginas, §§ 17 and 18.
  3. See Nirayâvalî Sûtra, ed. Warren, p. 22. She is commonly called by the Buddhists Vaidehî; in a Thibetan life of Buddha her name is Srîbhadrâ, which. reminds us of the name of Ketaka's wife Subhadrâ. See Schiefner in Mémoires de l’Académie Impériale de St. Pétersbourg, tome iv, p. 253
  4. He is usually called only Seniya or Srenika; the full name is given in the Dasâsrutaskandha, Weber, Ind. Stud. XVI, p. 469.