Champat Rai Jain
Champat Rai Jain.jpg
Born(1867-08-06)6 August 1867
Delhi, India
Died2 June 1942(1942-06-02) (aged 74)
Pen nameC.R. Jain
LanguageEnglish, Hindi, Urdu
SubjectJainism, Comparative religion
Notable works"The Key of Knowledge", "The Practical Dharma", "Jainism Christianity and Science"
Notable awardsJain Darshan Diwakar

Champat Rai Jain (6 August 1867–2 June 1942) was a Digambara Jain born in Delhi and who studied and practised law in England. He became an influential Jainism scholar and comparative religion writer between 1910s and 1930s who translated and interpreted Digambara texts. In early 1920s, he became religiously active in India and published essays and articles defending Jainism against misrepresentations by colonial era Christian missionaries, contrasting Jainism and Christianity. He founded Akhil Bharatvarsiya Digambara Jain Parisad in 1923 with the aim of activist reforms and uniting the south Indian and north Indian Digambara community. He visited various European countries to give lectures on Jainism. He was conferred with the title Vidya-Varidhi (lit. Ocean of Wisdom) by Bharata Dharma Mahamandal (The India-Religious Association).


Champat Rai Jain was born on 6 August 1867 in Delhi, India.[1] He was married at the age of 13.[1] In 1892, he went to England to study law, and became a barrister.[2]

Champat Rai Jain was a Digambara, whose writings represent that sect's propaganda with his personal interpretations, according to Robert Williams.[3] Jain became a part of a Digambara group presenting Digambara point of view in the 1920s and 1930s such as with Jagadarlal Jaini, Nathuram Premi, Jugalkishor Mukhtar and Hiralal Jain.[3] Jain was the founder of the Jaina mission in London.[4] He died on 2 June 1942. He was a barrister-at-law, orator, writer, and attempted to explain Jainism with modern age psychology and science terminology.[5][6][7]

According to Padmanabh Jaini, the colonial-era Champat Rai Jain was an apologist of Jainism, defended the Jain doctrines that were criticized by Christian missionaries, and authored the first Jaina text aimed at the Christian world when Christian missionaries were extremely frustrated at Jain people they understood to have "no pagan gods" and refused to convert to Christianity.[4] He was among the early 20th-century Jain activists who participated in the colonial discussion about whether Jains are culturally Hindus or a minority community.[8]

He became a part of Digambara activists who sought to energise and reform Digambara community. He participated in several Digambara societies, and founded Akhil Bharatvarsiya Digambara Jain Parisad in 1923 with the aim of activist reforms, reducing caste divisions within Jainism, and uniting the south Indian and north Indian Digambara community.[8]


Champat Rai Jain attempted to present Jainism as a scientific religion:

Jainism is a science, and not a code of arbitrary rules and capricious commandments. It does not claim to derive its authority from any non-human source, but is, science-like, founded on the knowledge of those Great Ones who have attained perfection with its aid. Scientific validity can be claimed neither by dogmatism nor mysticism; and it is unnecessary to add that nothing but science and scientific thought can be relied upon to produce immediate, certain and unvarying results.

— Champat Rai Jain, Essays and Addresses[9]


Champat Rai Jain wrote in three main languages of his time: English, Hindi, Urdu.[14]

According to Williams, the translations of Champat Rai Jain were of "no high merit", he added his own interpretation often "disfiguring the sense of the original" Jain texts about monastic life and doctrines for Jain laypeople.[3]

Essays and Addresses




"Key of Knowledge", a book authored by Champat Rai Jain, was published in 1915.[18]


Vijay K. Jain, a modern Jainism scholar in the Preface of his book From IIM-Ahmedabad To Happiness wrote:[6]

Many illuminated works and teachings of great thinkers and sages of the past have repeatedly told us that we need to be able to distinguish between valuable gems and valueless stones, both of which are scattered along our way. One such valuable gem that I could lay my hands on, about a decade ago, was that amazingly comprehensive yet precise treatise The Key of Knowledge, by Champat Rai Jain. The book, first published in 1915, true to its title, has timeless pearls of wisdom in each of its 900-plus pages; one has only to have patience, and develop appreciation and understanding to pick them up. No other work that I know of treats of the great issues that confront humanity with the same simplicity, charm, ease, authority and freedom. As could be expected from a Barrister-at-Law of that era, he was a brilliant grammarian and logician; but more than that, he was a great philosopher.

See also



  1. ^ a b Kumar 1996, p. 98.
  2. ^ Kumar 1996, p. 205.
  3. ^ a b c Robert Williams (1991). Jaina Yoga: A Survey of the Mediaeval Śrāvakācāras. Motilal Banarsidass. p. xv. ISBN 978-81-208-0775-4.
  4. ^ a b c Jaini 2000, p. 33.
  5. ^ Indian Book Industry. 1976. p. 8.
  6. ^ a b Jain, Vijay K (2006). From IIM-Ahmedabad to Happiness. p. xi. ISBN 9788190363907.
  7. ^ Farhadian, Charles E. (2015). Introducing World Religions: A Christian Engagement. Baker Academic. ISBN 9781441246509. Retrieved 26 October 2015.
  8. ^ a b Peter Flügel (2006). Studies in Jaina History and Culture: Disputes and Dialogues. Routledge. pp. 313–314, 347, 423–425. ISBN 978-1-134-23552-0.
  9. ^ What is Jainism?: Essays and Addresses, C.R. Jain (1927)
  10. ^ Jain 1928, p. 27.
  11. ^ Jain 1928, p. 35.
  12. ^ Jain 1928, p. 46.
  13. ^ Bregman 2010, p. 203.
  14. ^ Pruthi 2004, p. 123.
  15. ^ Jain, Champat Rai (1919). The Key Of Knowledge. Internet Archive (Second ed.). Allahabad: The Central Jaina Publishing House. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  16. ^ Jain, Champat Rai (1917). "The Ratna Karanda Sravakachara". Internet Archive. The Central Jaina Publishing House.
  17. ^ Jain, Champat Rai (1929), The Practical Dharma, Allahabad: The Indian Press Ltd. Alt URL
  18. ^ a b Jain 1921.
  19. ^ *Jain, Champat Rai (1926), The Jaina Law, Devendra printing & publishing Company, Limited
  20. ^ *Flügel, Peter (2006), Studies in Jaina History and Culture: Disputes and Dialogues, Routledge, p. 424, ISBN 9781134235520
  21. ^ Jain, Champat Rai (1916). "Nyaya- The Science Of Thought". Internet Archive. The Central Jaina Publishing House. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  22. ^ Jain, Champat Rai (1931). "The Lifting Of The Vell or The Gems Of Islam". Internet Archive. Alt URL
  23. ^ Champat Rai Jain (1935). Risabha Deva - The Founder of Jainism. Internet Archive. The Jain Mitra Mandal.