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Jainism Facts



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Jainism Facts Jainism: The founder: Rishabha, who was the father of king Bharata, the first Chakravarti king of India, founded Jainism. The Vishnu Purana and Bhagavat Gita describe Rishabha as an incarnation of Narayana. Risabha was succedded by 23 other Tirthankaras.

Parsvanatha (850 BC) was the 23rd Tirthankara. Jainism became a major religion under Vardhamana Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara.

Jainism in the past
  • The name of Jaina Tirthankaras Rishabha is found in the Rig Veda
  • The Vishnu Purana and the Bhagavat Purana describe Rishabhu as an incarnation of Narayana.
  • The mail nude toro discovered from the Indus Valley culture has something to do with the tirthankaras.
  • There were 24 tirthankars, all kshtriyas and belonging to the Royal family. Parsavanath was the 23rd tirthankara.

24 Tirthankaras
Name Symbol Name Symbol
1 Rishabha Bull 13 Vimalnath Boar
2 Ajitnath Elephant 14 Ananthnath Falcon
3 Sambharanath Hose 15 DharmnathVakra
4 Abhiaandam Swamy Monkey 16 Shantinath Deer
5 Sumathinath Curlew 17 KuntunathHe-Goat
6 Padamprabhu Red lotus 18 Arnath Fish
7 Suparaswanath Swastik 19 Mallinath Water port
8 Chanraji Prabhu Moon 20 Muniswasth Tortoise
9 Suvidhinath Crocodile 21 Naminath Blue Lotus
10 ShitalnathSrivatsa 22 NeminathConch Shell
11 ShregansnathRhinoceros 23 Parswanath Serpent
12 Vasupujya Buffalo 24 Mahavir Lion

Vardhamana Mahavira was born in 540 BC in a village Kundagrama near Vaishali. His father who was the head of a famous kshatriya clan (Inatrika), and his mother a Lichachhavi princess. At the age of 30 he became an ascetic. He kept on wandering for 12 years from place to place. He attained perfect knowledge for kaivalya at the age of 42. Through kaivalya, he conquered misery and happiness. Because of this conquest he is known as Mahavira or the great hero or jina.

Teaching of Jainism Jainism taught five doctrines:
  1. Do not commit violence.
  2. Do not speak a lie.
  3. Do not steal.
  4. Do not acquire property.
  5. Observe continence (brahmacharya).

It is said that only the fifth doctrine was edited by Mahavira, the other for being taken over by him from Prasavanath.
Three Gems or Ratnas of Jainism
According to Jainism, attainment of moksha or nirvana was the most important human desire. It says that moksha can be attained through ActiveSync the three following ratnas or gems:
  1. right faith(samyak Vishwas) in the Lord Mahavira
  2. right knowledge (samyak jnan) of the doctrines of Jainism
  3. right conduct (samyak karma)

Jain Sect: Although Parsva, the predecessor or Mahavira, had asked his four overs to cover the upper and lower portions of their body, Mahavira asked with them to discard clothes completely. On account of this, in later times, Jainism was divided into two sect:Svetambaras or those who put on white press, and Digambaras for those who keep themselves naked.

Some More Jaina Sects
  • Yapaniyan - Karnataka, impact of Tantricism
    Came out of Swetambara
    Finds mention in inscription of Vikramaditya VI
  • Pujiramat - came out of Swetambara
  • Terapainthi - Came out of Swetambara
  • Sammiya - Came out of Digambara
  • Bispanthi - Came out of Digambara - Supported idol worship

According to Svetanvaras, the original doctrine taught by Mahavira was contained in 14 old texts called Purvas, which were passed orally and were compiled later as twelve Angas.

12 Angas Of Jainism
1 Achranga
2 Sthananga
3 Vakyaprainapti
4 Upaska-Adyananga
5 Amuttarapada Kanga
6 Vipakasutranga
7 Sutrakruthanga
9 Dharma-Kathanga
10 Anthakrudasanga
11 Prashnavyakaranaka
12 Drustipravadanga

Spread of Jainism Jaina Councils by the end of fourth century, there was a serious famine in the Ganges Valley leading to great exodus of many Jaina monks to the Deccan and South India along with bhadrabahu and Chandragupta Maurya. They returned to the Gangetic Valley after 12 years. The leader of the group, which stayed back at Magadha, was Sthalabahu. The changes that took place in the code of conduct of the followers of Sthalabahu led to the division of the Jainas into Digambaras(sky-clad or naked) and Svetambaras(white clad)

First Council: First Council was held at Pataliputra by Sthulabahu in the beginning of the third century BC and resulted in the compilation of 12 Angas to replace the lost 14 Purvas.

Second Council: Second counselling was held at Valabhi in the fifth century A.D. under the leadership of Devaradhi Kshmasramana and resulted in the final compilation of 12Angas and 12 Upangas.

Spread of Jainism: in order to spread the teaching of Jainism Mahavira organised and order of his followers admitted what men and women. It is said that his followers counted 14,000. Since Jainism did not very clearly marked itself out from the brahmanical religion, it failed to attract masses. Despite this Jainism gradually spread into South and West India. According to relate tradition the spread of Jainism in Karnataka is attributed to Chandragupta Maurya (322-298 BC) the Emperor came in Jaina, gave up his throne and spent the last years of his life in Karnataka as a Jaina ascetic.

Spread Of Jainism
  • Jains built stupas with railing, pillars and gateways. The Hathi Gumpha, Udaigiri and Khandagiri caves of Orrisa contain Jain relics
  • Mathura became a centre of Jain art during the Kushan period
  • the statue of Gomatesawara and Karkala testify to the excellence of jain architecture
  • Dilwara temple at Mt Abu and temples a Ranakpur are example of suberb workmanship

Impact Of Jainism
  • Jainism made the first serious attempt to mitigate the evils of varna order and ritualistic vedic religion
  • the early jaina discarded the Sanskrit language mainly patronized by Brahmans and adopted Prakit language
  • their religious literature was written in Ardhamagadhi and the texts were finally compiled in the sixth century A.D. in Gujrat (Vallabhi)
  • The Jains composed the earliest important works in Apabhramsha and prepared its first grammar.

Five categories Of Siddhas
  • Tirthankara- who has attained salvation
  • Arhat - who is about to attain Nirvana
  • Acharya - the head of ascetic group
  • Upadhyaya, teacher or saint
  • Sadhu - which includes the rest

Decline of Jainism: Various factors contributed to the decline of Jainism in India. It had to company treat with both Hinduism and Buddhism. Absence of popular religious preacher after the death of Mahavira, its division into two important sect, absence of protection by later rulers and the revival of Hinduism all contributed to the decline of this religion. Besides, it also was unable to spread to any considerable extent behind the limits of India.

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