Jainism: Origin, Principles, Teachings and Tirtankaras
Posted on : 18-11-2017 Posted by : Admin

Origin of Jainism

The origin of Jainism is covered in Mystery. The Jains believe that their religion is the product of the teachings of twenty-four tirtankaras or prophets. All these prophets are said to be belonging to royal families of Kshatriya clan. But of these twenty-four, twenty-two have doubtful historicity. Though, the names of last two tirtankaras (Rishabha and Aristanemi) appear in Rig-Veda. Vishnu purana and Bhagavat purana describe Rishabha as the incarnation of lord Narayana.

Twenty-third tirtankaras, Parshvanath was the son of king Asvasena of Varanasi.  He abandoned the throne and became ascetic. He received enlightenment after 84 days of penance. He lived nearly 250 years before Mahavira.

Principles of Jainism

Jainism is traditionally known as Jain Dharma. It is an ancient Indian religion belonging to Sramana tradition. The central tenet is non-violence and respect towards all the living beings. The three main principles of Jainism are Ahimsa, Anekantavada and Aparigraha. The followers of Jainism mainly take the following five vows

1. Ahimsa (non-violence)

2. Satya (Not lying)

3. Asteya (Not stealing)

4. Bramhacharya (Chastity)

5. Aparigraha (Non attachment)

The word "Jain" derives from the Sanskrit word jina. A human being who has conquered all inner passions like attachment, desire, anger, pride, greed, etc. is called Jina. The motto of Jainism is Parasparopagraho Jivanam, "the function of souls is to help one another". Jains trace their history through a succession of twenty-four teachers and revivers of the Jain path known as Tirtankaras. In the current era, this started with Rishabha and concluded with Mahavira.

Personal details of Mahavir

Name: Vardhamana

Titles: Mahavira (Great Hero),

Jina (The conqueror),

Jitendriya (Conqueror of senses),

Nirgrantha (Free from all bonds)

Family: Kshatriya family (Jnatrika clan)

Birth year: 540 BC

Place of birth: Kundagrama near Vaisali, Bihar

Death year: 468 BC

Place of Death: Pavapuri, Rajagriha

Cause of death: By self-starvation (Sallekhana)

Father: Siddhartha, Head of Kshatriya clan called Jnatrikas

Mother: Trisala, sister of Chetaka, famous Licchavis prince



Tirtankara of Jainism list

S. No Name Symbol
1 Rishabha Bull
2 Ajitnath Elephant
3 Sambhav nath Horse
4 Abhinandan nath Monkey
5 Sumati nath Curlew
6 Padmaprabha Red lotus
7 Suprashvanath Svastika
8 Chandra prabha crescent
9 Pushpadanta Dolphin
10 shital nath Wishing tree
11 Shreyamsa nath Garuda
12 Vasu priya Buffalo
13 Vimal nath Boar
14 Ananth nath Bear
15 Dharma nath Vajradanda
16 Shanti nath Deer
17 Kunthu nath He-goat
18 Aranath Fish
19 Mali nath Water pot
20 Munisuvrata Tortoise
21 Naminath Blue lotus
22 Aristanemi Conch
23 Parshvanath Serpent
24 Vardhamana Mahavira Lion

Other miscellaneous details about Mahavira

  • Mahavira was married to Yasoda and they have a daughter named, Anojja. Anojja was married to Jamali. And Jamali is believed to be the first disciple of Mahavira.
  • After the death of his parents, at the age of 30 he left his home and became ascetic.
  • Soon he became member of an order founded by Parshvanath but later left it. He roamed for nearly 10 years.
  • He spent the first six years with Makkali Gosala
  • He attained supreme knowledge or Kaivalya under a sal tree at an age of 42. He preached for the next 30 years.
  • He preached his doctrine in Kosala, Magadha etc.
  • He often visited the court of Bimbisara and Ajatasatru
  • He died at an age of 72 at Pavapuri by self-starvation or Sallekhana.


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