Who is Jain?

  • A Jain is a follower of Jina.
  • A Jina is a victor or conqueror.
  • The Jains are followers of certain ascetics who obtained omniscience and who preached a doctrine which promise a super mundane bliss of eternal salvation.
  • Jainism originated centuries before Buddhism, but revived by Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankar of Jainism.
  • The religion is one of the oldest and actually has no evidence of its dates of origin.
  • The Jain theology says that it is the oldest religion which has no beginning and no end.

What is a Tirthankara?

  • A Tirtha is a religious pilgrim place.
  • Most tirths in India of any religion are based upon the banks of rivers.
  • A Tirtha in Sanskrit is derived of Tir, which is a bank of river.
  • A Tirtha is a ford or a shallow coastal part of a water body which can be easily miseries.
  • A Tirthankara is a founder of a Tirth.
  • He achieves the enlightment and then shows the path to others.
  • A Tirthankar achieves Moksha or liberation at the end of his human life.
  • We all know that there are 24 Tirthankaras of Jainism.
  • The first Tirthankara was Rishabhdev and last 24th Tirthankara was Mahavira.


  • Rishbdev is also known as Rishabh, Adinath, Adishwar or Kesariya Ji.
  • He was born at Ayodhya in the Ikshwaku Kula or clan.
  • In Hinduism he is known to be an avatara or incarnation of Vishnu.
  • The name of Rishbh’s parents has been mentioned in the Bhagvata Purana.
  • His parents were King Nabhi Raja and Queen Marudevi.
  • The mythological stories relate that Bharat wanted to attack on the kingdom of Bahubali and both brothers nearly readied for a war.
  • The minister negotiated and it was decided that the two brother only contest personally through Jai Yuddha, Malla Yuddha and Drishti Yuddha.
  • Bharata struck him first, but when it was Bahubali turn, he respected the elder brother and did not strike him and became a renunciant.
  • Some years later, Bharta won the meru parvata and hoisted a flag there.
  • But, when he reached the zenith, he found many flags out there.
  • So he felt insignificant and also became a renunciant.
  • Two sons of Rishbhdev are worth mention.
  • One was king Bharata, a Chakravarti Samrata and another is Bahubali.
  • Bharta was the king, after whose name India is called Bharat Varsha.
  • Please note that in Hindu mythology Bharata is mentioned as son of Dushyanta.
  • However, some sources say that Bharata was eldest of a hundred sons od a saintly king by the name of Rishbhdev.
  • The Jain theology calls Rishbhdev a Tirthankara and Bharat a King, whose younger brother was Bahubali.
  • Bahubali was Bahu Bali, one with enormous strength in his arms.
  • Bahubali is also known as Gomateshwara.
  • There are 5 monolithic statues are present in Karnataka, out of which 57 feet at Shravanabelagola in Hassan District was created in 981 AD and his highest.
  • The location of other statues are : Karkala in Udupi District, Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada district, Venur in Dakshina Kannada District, Gommatagiri in Mysore District.
  • the sign of Rishbhdev is a Bull and achieved nirvana on the Kailasa mountain of the Himalayas as per digambar canons and as per shwetambar canons he achieved nirvana on Ashtapad mount.
  • Please note that 20 out of the 20 Jain Tirthankara attained Niravana at Summet Shikhar or Shikarji located near Giridih, in Jharkhand, one of the most sacred places for Jains in the world.
  • Vasupujya attained nirvana at Champapuri in North Bengal; Neminatha on Mount Girnar in Gujrat; and Mahavira, the last at Pavapuri near Patna in Bihar.


  • Parshva was the son of king Ashvasena and Queen Vama of Varanasi.
  • He renounce the world and bacame an ascetic when he was 30 years old.
  • He achieved Nirvana on the Sammet Sikhar, now name Parsgvanatha after him.
  • He has 108 names.
  • He lived in Varanasi around 800 BC.
  • Parsvanatha is only Jain Tirthankar which is always represented with the hood of a naga shading his head.
  • Two Yakshas viz. Yaksha Dharenendra and the Yakshi Padmavati are often shown in flanking him.


  • Mahavira was the 24th and last Tirthankara known as Vira of Viraprabhu, Sanmati, Ativira and Gnatputra in many texts and Arugan or Arugadevan in Tamil texts.
  • He is known as Nigantha Nataputta in Buddhist Pali canon.
  • Historical dates assigned to Mahavira are 599- 527 BC and he was born in to King Siddartha and Queen Trishala in the 13th day under the rising moon of Chaitra, which is celebrated as Mahavir Jayanti and falls of early April.
  • His name was Vardhamana and he despite of deing a prince, had exhibited a virtuous nature.
  • He started engaging in mediation and immersed himself in self- contemplation.
  • At the age of 30 he renounced his kingdom and family, gave up his worldly possessions,and spent twelve years as an ascetic.
  • During these twelve years he spent most of his time mediating.
  • He attained the Kevalya Gyan (Omniscience) and devoted the rest of his life to preaching the eternal truth of spiritual freedom to people around India.
  • At the age of 72 years and 4.5 months, he attained Nirvana in the area known as Pawapuri on the last day of the Indian and jain calendars, Dipavali.
  • Kundagrama where Mahavira was born in located in Muzzaffarpur Bihar.
  • Father of Vardhamana, Siddarth was head of Gyatrika Kshtriyas.
  • His mother Trishla was a Licchhavi princess and sister of ruler Chetak.
  • Chetaka’s daughter later married powerful king of Magadha, Bimbisara.
  • Mahavira’s Gotra was Kashyapa.

Family of Mahavira was called in Sanskrit Jnatri and in Prakit Naata. The male members of the family were called Jnatriputras or Naataputtas.

  • The most notable text about Mahavira is Kalpasutra by Acharya Bhadrababu.
  • The first Sanskrit biography of Mahavira was Vardhamacharitra by Asaga.
  • Mahavira was married to Yasoda.
  • A daughter was born to Mahavira and Yasoda whose name was Anojja or Priyadarsana.
  • Priyadarsana was later married to a nobleman Jamali and became mother of a daughter Sesvati.
  • Now here it is a controversy.
  • The digambar Jain tradition is of the view that Mahavira had never married.
  • He lived a life of an ascetic even as a boy and his parents were alive when he became a monk.
  • The author has placed both the views and has no intention to hurt any Jainism follower.

Universal Truth

  • Jain doctrine is established upon undying Universal truths.
  • As per the Jain doctrine, during the first and two Aras, the truth lapse among the human beings and then reappear through the teachings of enlightened humans, whose who have reached the Kevalya Gyana.

Three Jewels or Triratna

  1. Right Faith (Samyakdarshana)
  2. Right Knowledge (Samyakjnana)
  3. Right Action (Samyakcharita)

Five Doctrines of Jainism Ahimsa:

  1. Non-injury to a living being Satya:
  2. Do not speak a lie Asteya:
  3. Do not steal Aparigraha:
  4. Do not acquire property
  5. Brahmacharya: Observe continence

Kevalyana Gyana

  • Kevalya Gyana or Kevala Nana (in Orakrat) is “absolute knowledge”, “Enlightenment” and “Omniscience”.
  • It is the highest form of knowledge that a soul can attain.
  • A person who has attained Kevala Gyana is called a Kevalin.
  • To get a status of a Jina, attaining Kevalagyana is required first.


  • Emphasises that the ultimate truth and reality is complex, and has multiple-aspects i.e theory of plurality.
  • It refers to the simultaneous acceptance of multiple, diverse, even contradictory viewpoints.


  • All judgments are conditional, holding good only in certain conditions, circumstances, or senses.
  • Syadavada literally means the ‘method of examining different probabilities’.

Jain cosmology and Concept of Universe

  • Mahapurna a great Jainism text, composed by Acharya Jinasena during the rule of Rashtrakuta ruler Amoghavarsha and completed by his pupil Gunabhadra says that:
  • “Some foolish men declare that creator made the world. The doctrine that the world was created is ill- advised and should be rejected. If god created the world where was he before creation? If you say he was transcendent then and needed no support where is he now?”
  • The Jain cosmology says that world is made up of 6 Dravyas or substances:
  • Jiva: All living substances.
  • Ajiva: Ajiva includes all non living substances.
  • Pudagala: This means matter.
  • Dharma- Tattva: This means principle of Motion
  • Adharma tattva: This means principle of rest.
  • Akasa: This means space.
  • Kala: This means time.


  • Samsara, as per Jian faith is worldly life characterized by continuous rebirths and reincarnations in various realms of existence.
  • The mundane existence is full of suffering and misery and hence is worth renunciation.
  • Moksa is the only liberation from Samarasa.


  • Ahimsa is the fundamental Mahavrata of Jainism.
  • Most Jains are vegetarians and this practice shows their faiths in the principle of Ahimsa.
  • Apart from that there are 5 Mahavratas:
  1. Non- violence (Ahimsa)
  2. Truth (Satya)
  3. Non- stealing (Asteya)
  4. Chastity (Brahmacharya)
  5. Non- possession/ Non- attachment (Aparigraha)

Tri Ratnas

          Triratnas are:

  1. Samyak Gyan: means right knowledge
  2. Samyak darshana: means right view
  3. Samyak Acharana: means right conduct

Jain sects

  • Jain Samgha could not maintain its unity after 200 years of Mahavira’s Parinirvana.
  • It split in Digambar sect and Shwetambar sect during the Mauryan Era.
  • The Digambar sect observed the tenets of religion strictly and the monks remained naked.
  • Shwetambar sect were liberal and they wore white clothes.

Jain Sangeeti

  • The conference of Jainism are called Jain Sangeeti.
  • The first Jain Sangeeti was convened in 300 BC and this conference was headed by Stoolbhadra.
  • The second Jain Sangeeti was called in 512 AD and was held in Vallabhi Gujarat.
  • The chairman was Devardhi Kshammaramana.

Jain symbol

  • Jain emblem or Jaain symbol was adopted in 1975, at the auspicious occasion of 2500th Nirvana anniversary of Lord Mahavira.
  • This emblem is used in almost all of the Jain magazines, wedding invitation cards, Jain festival cards, and every magazine with links to events related to Jain society.
  • Use of this emblem helps to create a culture showing dedication and trust for the religion and the values that are represented by the emblem.

Jain literature

  • Jain literature is called Jian Agamas.
  • They are canonical texts of Jainism based on Mahavira’s teachings.
  • There are in all 45 sets.
  • 12 Angas: they are as follows:
  1. Acaranga sutra
  2. Sutrakratanga
  3. Sthananga
  4. Samavayanga
  5. Vyakhyaprajnapti or Bhagavati sutra
  6. Jnatrdharmakathah
  7. Upasakadasah
  8. Antakrddasah
  9. Anuttaraupapatikadasah
  10. Prasnavyakarani
  11. Vipakasruta
  12. Drstivada (This Anga had disappeared by the time second Sangeeti was organized in 512 AD. The remaining Angas were written down in Ardhamagadhu (Jain Prakrit) language).
  • 12 Upanga Agams: Upanga Agamas are explained to Angas.
  • 6 Chedasutras: These are texts related to behavior of monks and nuns.
  • 4 Mulasutras: These are texts which provide a base in the earlier stages of the monkhood,
  • 10 Praktrnaka sutras: These are texts on Independent or miscellaneous ubjects.
  • 2 Culikasutras: These ate texts which further enhance or decorate the meaning of Angas.

The Jain literature

  • Shauraseni and Ardhamagadhi (Jain Pakrit) (Most ancient): Agmas and sutras.
  • Sanskrit: Tatvartha suta of Uma swati, Jain Puranas, Koshas, Shravakacharas, Mathematics and Nightantus.
  • Apbhramsa: Most of the known Apbhramsha texts are of Jain origin, they include Kahas, Rasas and Grammars.
  • Tamil: Tirukural, Cilappathikaram and Jivakachintamani.
  • Hindi: Ardha- Kathanaka, Chhah- dhala and Mokshamarga Prakashaka.
  • Kannada: Vaddaradhane
  • Gujarati: Bharata- Bahubali Ras ( it is considered to be the first Gujarati Book).

After the end of famine, when the Southern group came back to Magadha, the changed practices led to the division of Jainism into two sects.


  • Monks of this sect believe in complete nudity.
  • Male monks do not wear clothes while female monks wear unstitched plain white sarees.
  • Believe women cannot achieve liberation.


  • Monks wear white clothes.
  • Follow only 4 vows (except brahmacharya).
  • Believe women can achieve liberation.

Jain Councils :

First Jain Council

  • Held at Patliputra in 3rd Century B.C.
  •  presided by Sthulbhadra.

Second Jain Council

  • Held at Vallabhi in 512 A.D.
  • presided by Devardhi Kshmasramana.
  • Final Compilations of 12 Angas and 12 Upangas.

Royal patrons of Jainism

  • Asoka’s grandson Samprati
  • King Kharvela of Orissa: set up Jain rock cut cave.
  • Gangs, Kadambs, Chalukyas, Rastrakutas had patronized Jainism.
  • King Amoghavarsha of Rastrakuta Dynasty became a Jain monk. He wrote Ratnamalika.
  • The Chalukyan period rock cut canes at Badami and Aihole have the figures of Jain Tirthankaras. Samatabhadra in Kanchi preached this religion. The Dilwara Jain temples at Mount Abu were built by Chalukya Dynasty kings between 11 to 13th


















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