gave an inferiority complex to manual labor and, at the same time, most of them were
idlers, while only a small percentage took to learning. They had become the self-
appointed guardians and interpreters of Sruti and Smriti (revelation and tradition).
Mahavira Vardhamana was, however, not an ardent supporter of Brahmana supremacy, as he
declared that men of the other two, higher castes, namely, Kshatriya and Vaishya, could
also officiate as priests. Thus he was, in a way, both a defenders of casteism and also an
idealist who really dug at the root of casteism.
was a religion of the poor, as well, for it was a religion preaching the equality of men.
Mahavira preached for all-probably more for the poor-and it may be recalled that, despite
being physically assaulted in Rarh Desha by the ruffians, he stayed on there for months
preaching his gospel. Today the Jain images are lying scattered in a large number of
villages in that district, neglected and often worshipped as Hindu deities. In this
manner, as C.J.Shah in his Jainism in North India has observed, his world-embracing
sympathy led him to proclaim this method of self-culture and holy living to the suffering
humanity, and he invited the poor and lowly to end their suffering by cultivating
brotherly love and universal peace.