(Reference : "Jain dharm aivam darshan" by Muni sri Pramansagarji, "Jain darshan " by Pt. Kailashchandraji and "Mokshamargprakashak" by Pt. Todarmalji)
Dear members,many a times we hear that the vedic religion is the oldest in the world & in India.But, it is not so.If we keenly observe the vedas, then we are able to find that there were anti-vedic or non-vedic beliefs & their followers in India before the vedas were being written.And it is because of this the vedas do mentions at various places about the non-vedic people.In the Rigveda, they have mentioned about the non-aryan people who were non-vedic followers.In the Rigveda they have called these people as Asurs & dasyus etc.The Rigveda says that these non-aryans speaks an unknown language (mrdhhavak), they don't do the vedic karmas (akarman), they don't believe in the vedic devas (adevyu), & they don't have faith in the vedic-dharma (abrhnn) , also they don't do the yajnas (apvrat).).(Ref:- Dr. Radhamukund Mukharji;s book- 'Hindu Sabhyataa')
So, it is clear that at the time the rigveda was being comiled, there existed people who were not following the vedic religion.Now, how can one confidently claim that the vedic religion is the oldest in the world?
Again , in the Rigveda (7-21-5), it says that the Indra prays that the Shishan dev (penis god, as the 'shishan' means penis) do not disturb their yajnas.There is also mention in the same veda that the Indra by his intelligency, killed the Shishan devs & captured the 'nidhi' or the treasure of the fort of 100 gates.This clearly means that the Shishan devs were not vedic or rather they were anti-vedics.
Now, let us come to the historians.Major Gen. J.C.R.Farlung ( in his book 'The short study in the comparative religion') says that -"from the countless times before the Christ, the Jainism was spread in India.When the Aryans came to India, there were already jains present here."We know that the Dravids were living in India from before the Aryans & so the jains referred by Shri Forlung means that these dravidians were following jainism.
Dr. Sir Radhakrishnan in his book (Indian Philosophy vol-1 pg 287) says that in the Yajurveda 3 jain tirthankars are being worshipped, namely Shri Rishabhdevji, Shri Ajitnathji & Shri Aristhnemiji.
Most imp. historical evidenses are from the excavations at the Mohanjodaro & Harappa ( these are major sites of the Indus valley civillization, which is the oldest in India & was non-vedic).Many seals & plates obtained from here has the images of naked idols in the kayotsarg mudra & with the bull's sign.These are of 1st tirthankara of jainism, lord Rishabhdevji .Kayotsarg mudra is the most imp. characteristics of Jain idols.In this regard, The former Joint Director of the Archaeological Survey of India Dr. T.R.Ramchandran says that these images are of tirthankar Rishabhdevji.
Now,it is quite obvious that this Shishan dev was not a shishan (penis) alone, but was a dev who was naked & so his penis was visible- this is the belief of many historians & phylosophers today.Also, from the description in the Rigveda, it is clear that these Shishan devs were non-vedics or rather anti-vedics.Both these derivations means that these Shishan devs were none else than the jain gods & munis ( naked & non-vedics).
Some other images are also found here which are attributed to be as the older forms of Lord Shiva.The Lingas are also present in this seal.But, the lingum worship started in the vedics ( or rather the shaivism) very late.Shri Patanjali has advocated to worship the image of lord Shiva(& not the ling).Also historian Dr. Bhandarkar has written that the lingum worship started in today's Shaivism very late.So,we can say that the images got in the Harrappa were of the original form of shiva which was worshipped by the non-vedic people , before the the Aryans came to India.
The various Brahmans ( which are regarded as the part of the vedic literature) has referred to lord Rishabhdev as "Pashupatinath"(In Tandav brahman- "Rishabhmeva Pashunam adhipati"In Prajapath brahman- "Rishabhmeva pashunam prajapati"In the various brahmans, the word "pashu" has been used for 'yash', 'shanti','dhan', aatma'etc.So, it is clear that the Brahmans have adored Lord Rishabhdevji a lot.In the Rigveda(2-33-15),it is written that- Oh Lord Rishabh, bless us so that we are never destroyed.Lord Rishabh's images are found in the non-vedic & pre-vedic Indus valley civillization & that too in the naked kayotsarg form (in which the jains do worship him today also) & the Shrimadbhagwat puran of non-jains also mentions that Lord Rishabhdev was started jainism- so it is clear that Lord Rishabhdev is the ist tirthankar of jainism in this yug, he was non-vedic & was worshipped by non-vedic people in India before the vedas were compiled & his influence was so great thet the vedas also mentioned him & worshipped him.
So, at last we can clearly say that the vedic religion is not the oldest.There was non-vedic religion before the vedic religion & we can say that it was Jainism