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Sects of Jainism

Although Parsavanath the predecessor of Mahavira had asked his follower to cover the upper and lower portions of their body.Mahavira asked them to discard clothes completely. There were two sects:

Swetambaras (white clad):

They wore white dress. They were more liberal and supporters of change.

Digambaras (Sky-clad):

They kept themselves naked. They were orthodox and rigid. In order to spread the Sects of Jainism, Mahavira organized an order of his followers which admitted both men and women. Since Jainism did not clearly mark itself out from the brahmanical religion it failed to attract the masses. Despite this Jainism gradually spread into south and west India where the brahmanical religion was weak.Chandragupta Mauraya spread Jainism in Karnataka. Jainism spread to Kalinga in Orissa in the 4th century BC and in the 2nd century BC it enjoyed the patronage of King Kharvela.In the south Jainism was patronised by royal dynasties such as Gangas,Kadambas,Chalukyas and Rashtrakutas.One of the important cause of the spread of Jainism in South India is said to be the great famine that occurred in Magadha 200 years after the death of Mahavira.This famine lasted for 12 years and in order to protect themselves many Jainas went to the south under the leadership of Bhadrabahu even Chandragupta Maurya accompanied him. But the rest of them stayed back in Magadha under the leadership of Sthalabahu.These emigrant Jainas spread Jainism in south India.