view of deliberate attempts in recent decades to project Buddhism
and Jainism as separate religions, distinct from Hinduism, it would
be in order to deal with them in passing. The attempts have clearly
been motivated by the design to separate their followers from the
parent body called Hinduism just as Sikhs have been to an extent.
Though not to the same extent as in the case of Sikhs, the attempts
have succeeded inasmuch as neo- Buddhists and at least some Jains
have come to regard themselves as non-Hindus.
In reality, however, Buddhism and
Jainism have been no more than movements within the larger body of
Hinduism, not significantly different from Lingayats, Saktas or
Bhaktas of more recent times. Regardless of whether we call them
sects or religions, and in the case of Jains, whether we accept the
view that they represent the earliest religion of India or that
their first Tirthankar, Adinath, is the same as the Hindu god Shiva,
the reality is the constant interaction of the most intimate kind
between them and Brahmins. Indeed, individuals, Brahmin by birth,
have been leaders in the formulation and propagation of Jainism as
well as Buddhism. Narrowness of the spirit, peculiar to Semitic
faiths, has been alien to India.