Some poor Hamdamming soul started talking about Jainism the other day, and I decided to go digging to learn more. I already knew some of the basic tenets and a few interesting factoids, a fun one being their heavy use of the swastika symbol in all aspects of religion, it's sort of akin to a cross for Christians or star of David for Jews. This obviously predates the Nazi co-opting of the symbol, as by far the #1 tenet of Jainism is non-violence. Check out the swastikas below at the feet of Mahavira, the great Indian sage that created Jainism in the 6th century BC:
And this statue of Mahavira brings me to the fun factoid and reason for the title of this Hamsterdam. You'll notice that Mahavira appears to be nude in this statue, and is usually depicted as such in other statues. This is because he supposedly practiced this during life as a representation of his refusal to give in to lowly human demands for comfort and material possessions. Thus one of the two main sects of Jainism practices nudity for all its ascetic holy men. These are the Digambara Jainsists. So if you have a hankering for seeing a bunch of old Indian dudes in the buff, sometimes practicing the important art of yoga and showing you their full monty in interesting poses, go ahead and GIS the word "Digambara". Or hey, you know what, I'll do it for you. If you are feeling so inclined, go ahead and just click on
Go ahead. Hamsterdam will wait for you, and we can discuss whatever else you like when you come back. To Hamsterdam!