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Jainism (/[invalid input: 'icon']ˈnɪzəm/; Sanskrit: जैनधर्म Jainadharma, Tamil: சமணம் Samaṇam, Bengali: জৈনধর্ম Jainadharma, Telugu: జైనమతం Jainamataṁ, Malayalam: ജൈനമതം Jainmat, Kannada: ಜೈನ ಧರ್ಮ Jaina dharma), is a transtheistic religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul toward divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state of supreme being is called a jina ("conqueror" or "victor"). The ultimate status of these perfect souls is called siddha. Ancient texts also refer to Jainism as shramana dharma (self-reliant) or the "path of the nirganthas" (those without attachments or aversions).

Jain doctrine teaches that Jainism has always existed and will always exist.[1][2][3] Like most ancient Indian religions, Jainism may have its roots in the Indus Valley Civilization, reflecting native spirituality prior to the Indo-Aryan migration into India.[4][5][6] Other scholars suggested the shramana traditions were separate and contemporaneous with Indo-Aryan religious practices of the historical Vedic religion.[7] Several historians date the foundation of the organized or present form of Jainism to sometime between the 9th and the 7th century BCE.[8][9]

Contemporary Jainism is a religious minority with 4.2 million followers in India[10][11] and immigrant communities in Belgium, United States, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore etc.[12] Jains have the highest degree of literacy for a religious community in India.[13][14] Several Jain libraries are the oldest in the country.[15]

Core Principles


Five Mahavratas of Jain ascetics

Main article: Mahavrata

Jainism encourages spiritual development through cultivation of one's own personal wisdom and reliance on self control through vows (Sanskrit: व्रत, vrata).[16]

Jains believe that to attain enlightenment and ultimately liberation from all karmic bonding, one must practice the following ethical principles not only in thought, but also in words (speech) and action. Such a practice through lifelong work towards oneself is called as observing the Mahavrata ("Great Vows"). These vows are:

Ahimsa (Non-violence)
To cause "no harm" to living beings (on the lines of "live" and "let live"). The vow involves "minimizing" intentional as well as unintentional harm to another living creature. There should even be no room for any thought conjuring injury to others, let alone talking about it or performing of such an act.[17] Besides, it also includes respecting the views of others (non-absolutism and acceptance of multiple views).
Satya (Truthfulness)
To always speak of truth such that no harm is caused to others. A person who speaks truth becomes trustworthy like a mother, venerable like a preceptor and dear to everyone like a kinsman. Given that non-violence has priority, all other principles yield to it whenever there is a conflict. For example, in a situation where speaking truth would lead to violence, it would be perfectly moral to remain silent (for you are neither being untrue, nor causing violence by way of truth)
Asteya (Non-stealing)
Not to take into possession, anything that is not willingly offered. It is the strict adherence to one's own possessions without desiring for the ones that belong to others. One should remain satisfied by whatever is earned through honest labour. Any attempt to squeeze material wealth from others and/or exploit the weak is considered theft. Some of the guidelines for this principle follow as under:
  • Always give people fair value for their labor or product.
  • Not to take into possession materials that are not earned or offered by others.
  • Not to take materials into personal possession that have been dropped off or forgotten by others.
  • Not to purchase materials as a result of being cheaper in value, if the resultant price reduction is a result of improper method of preparation. For instance, products made out of raw materials obtained by way of pyramid schemes, illegal businesses, stolen goods, etc., should be strictly prohibited
Brahmacharya (Celibacy)
To exercise control over senses (including mind) from indulgence. The basic intent of this vow is to conquer passion, thus preventing wastage of energy in the direction of pleasurable desires. During observance of this vow, the householder must not have a sensual relationship with anybody other than one's own spouse. Jain monks and nuns practice complete abstinence from any sexual activity.[18]
Aparigraha (Non-possession, Non-materialism)
To observe detachment from people, places and material things. Ownership of an object itself is not possessiveness; however, attachment to the owned object is possessiveness. For householders, non-possession is owning without attachment, because the notion of possession is illusory. The basic principle behind observance of this vow lies in the fact that life changes. What you own today may not be rightfully yours tomorrow. Hence the householder is encouraged to discharge his or her duties to related people and objects as a trustee, without excessive attachment or aversion. For monks and nuns, non-possession involves complete renunciation of property and human relations.[19]

Jains believe in the importance of limiting possessions and leading a life useful to themselves and others. It is, therefore, important for a Jain to not to waste human life in evil ways, but to strive to rise on the ladder of spiritual evolution. Another core belief is the balancing of needs and desires while staying detached from possessions—non-possessiveness. Jains hold that owning an object by itself is not possessiveness; however, attachment to an object is possessiveness.[20] Finally, Jains value the company of the holy and better-qualified, strive to be merciful to afflicted souls, and tolerate the perversely inclined.[21]

A major characteristic of Jain belief is the emphasis on the consequences of not only physical but also mental behaviours.[22] One's unconquered mind tainted with anger, pride (ego), deceit, and greed joined with uncontrolled sense organs are powerful enemies of humans. Anger comes in the way of good human relations, pride destroys humility, deceit destroys peace, and greed destroys good judgement. Jainism recommends conquering anger by forgiveness, pride (ego) by humility, deceit by straight-forwardness, and greed by contentment.[23]

Jainism acknowledges that every person has different capabilities and capacities to practice and therefore accepts different levels of compliance for ascetics and householders. The Great Vows are prescribed for Jain monastics while limited vows (anuvrata) are prescribed for householders. Householders are encouraged to practice five cardinal principles of non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy, and non-possessiveness with their current practical limitations, while monks and nuns have to observe them very strictly. With consistent practice, it is possible to overcome the limitations gradually, accelerating spiritual progress.[24]


Main article: Jainism_and_non-creationism

Jainism does not support belief in a creator deity. According to Jain doctrine, the universe and its constituents—soul, matter, space, time, and principles of motion—have always existed. All the constituents and actions are governed by universal natural laws. Through the ages, Jain philosophers have adamantly rejected and opposed the concept of creator and omnipotent God.[25]

A number of Jainism's core beliefs focus on the soul. Jain beliefs hold that every living being is a soul[26] which is potentially divine. Souls possess innate qualities of infinite knowledge, perception, power, and bliss (masked by its karmas). Every soul is born as a heavenly being, human, sub-human (animal) or hellish being according to its own karma. Four things are difficult for a soul to attain: (1) human birth, (2) knowledge of the laws governing the souls, (3) absolute conviction in the philosophy of non-violence, and (4) practicing this knowledge with conviction in everyday life activities. For Jains, every soul is the architect of its own life—here or hereafter.[27] When a soul is freed from karmas, it becomes free and attains divine consciousness—experiencing infinite knowledge, perception, power, and bliss (Moksha).[28]

The importance of the soul is closely connected to the behavioral value system of Jainism. For example, the goal of Jainism is liberation of the soul from the negative effects of unenlightened thoughts, speech, and action. This goal is achieved by following the Triple Gems of Jainism to clear karmic obstructions. These central tenets of the Jain value system—"Right View, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct"—provide the way to the liberation of the soul.[29]


Main article: Ratnatraya

Jainism emphasizes that ratnatraya (triple gems of Jainism) — the Right View(Samyak Darshana), Right Knowledge (Samyak Gyana) and Right Conduct (Samyak Charitra) — constitutes the path to liberation. These are known as the triple gems (or jewels) of Jainism and hence also known as Ratnatraya. These three are essential for the soul to move up spiritually.[30]


Main article: Anekantavada

Aspects of Violence (Himsa)

Anēkāntavāda ("multiple points of view") is a foundation of Jain philosophy. This philosophy allows the Jains to accept the truth in other philosophies from their perspective and thus inculcating a tolerance for other viewpoints. Jain scholars have devised methods to view both physical objects and abstract ideas from different perspectives systematically. This is the application of non-violence in the sphere of thought. It is a Jain philosophical standpoint just as there is the Advaitic standpoint of Sankara and the standpoint of the "middle way" of the Buddhists.[31] This search to view things from different angles leads to understanding and toleration of different and even conflicting views. When this happens prejudices subside and a tendency to accommodate increases. The doctrine of Anēkānta is therefore a unique experiment of non-violence at the root.[26]

Concept of karma

Main article: Karma in Jainism

Karma in Jainism conveys a totally different meaning than commonly understood in the Hindu philosophy and western civilization.[32] It is not the so-called inaccessible force that controls the fate of living beings in inexplicable ways. It does not simply mean "deed", "work", nor mystical force (adrsta), but a complex of very fine matter, imperceptible to the senses, which interacts with the soul in intensity and quantity proportional to the thoughts, speech and physical actions carried out with attachments and aversions, causing further bondages. Karma in Jainism is something material (karmapaudgalam), which produces certain conditions, like a medical pill has many effects.[33] The effects of karma in Jainism is therefore a system of natural laws rather than moral laws. When one holds an apple in one's hand and then lets go of the apple, the apple will fall due to gravitational force. In this example, there is no moral judgment involved, since this is a mechanical consequence of a physical action.[34] The concept of Karma in Jainism is basically a reaction due to the attachment or aversion with which an activity (both positive and negative) is executed in thought, verbal, and physical sense. Extending on the example outlined, the same apple dropped within a zero gravity environment such as a spacecraft circling around earth, will float in its place. Similarly, when one acts without attachment and aversion there will be no further karmic bonding to the soul.

Karmas are grouped as Destructive Karmas, that obstruct the true nature of the soul and Non-Destructive Karmas that only affect the body in which the soul resides. As long as there are Destructive Karmas, the soul is caged in a body and will have to experience pain and suffering in many different forms. Jainism has extensive sub-classifications and detailed explanations of each of these major categories. Jain liturgy and scriptures explains ways to stop the influx as well as get rid of the accumulated karmas.

Shedding of past karmas (Nirjara)

Main article: Nirjara

Jainism prescribes mainly two methods for shedding karmas (Nirjara), accumulated by the soul.

The internal austerities are

  1. Atonement of sinful acts
  2. Practice politeness and humility - in spite of having comparatively more wealth, wisdom, social status, power, etc.
  3. Service to others, especially monks, nuns, elders and the weaker souls without any expectations in return
  4. Scriptural study, questioning and expanding the spiritual knowledge
  5. Abandonment of passions – especially anger, ego, deceit and greed
  6. Meditation

The external austerities are meant to discipline the sensual cravings. They are

  1. Fasting
  2. Eating less than one's normal diet
  3. Abstention from tasty and stimulating food
  4. Practising humility and thankfulness – by seeking help and offering assistance without egoistic tendencies
  5. Practising solitude and introspection
  6. Mastering demands of the body


Main article: Tirthankara

See also: Parshva and Mahavira

Sculpture representing two founders of Jainism: left, Rishabha first of the 24 tirthankaras; right Mahavira, the last of those 24, who consolidated and reformed the religious and philosophical system.

The purpose of life is to undo the negative effects of karma through mental and physical purification. This process leads to liberation accompanied by a great natural inner peace. A soul is called a 'victor' (in Sanskrit/Pali language, Jina) because one has achieved liberation by one's own efforts. A Jain is a follower of Jinas ("conquerors").[35][36] Jinas are spiritually advanced human beings who rediscovered the dharma, became fully liberated from the bondages of karma by conquering attachments and aversions, and taught the spiritual path to benefit all living beings.

Jains believe that dharma and true living declines and revives cyclically through time. The special Jinas who not only rediscover dharma but also preach it for the Jain community are called Tirthankara. The literal meaning of Tirthankara is "ford-builder". Jains compare the process of becoming a pure soul to crossing a swift river, an endeavour requiring patience and care. A ford-builder has already crossed the river and can therefore guide others. Only a few souls that reach Arihant status become Thirthankars who take a leadership role in assisting the other souls to move up on the spiritual path.

Jaina tradition identifies Rishabha (also known as Adinath) as the first tirthankar of this declining (avasarpini) time cycle (kalachakra).[37] The 24th, and last Tirthankar is Mahavira, who lived from 599 to 527 BCE. The 23rd Tirthankar, Parsva, lived from 877 to 777 BCE.[26][38] The last two Tirthankaras, Parshva and Mahavira, are historical figures whose existence is recorded.[38] The 24 Tirthankaras in chronological order are: Rishabha, Ajitnath, Sambhavanath, Abhinandannath, Sumatinath, Padmaprabha, Suparshvanath, Chandraprabha, Pushpadanta (Suvidhinath), Sheetalnath, Shreyansanath, Vasupujya, Vimalnath, Anantnath, Dharmanath, Shantinath, Kunthunath, Aranath, Mallinath, Munisuvrata, Naminatha, Neminath, Parshva and Mahavira (Vardhamana).

These special Jinas are also referred to in different languages as Bhagvān and Iṟaivaṉ (Kannada: ತೀರ್ಥಂಕರ Tīrthaṅkara, Tamil: இறைவன் Iṟaivaṉ and Hindi: भगवान Bhagvān). Tirthankaras are not regarded as deities in the pantheistic or polytheistic sense, but rather as pure souls that have awakened the divine spiritual qualities that lie dormant within each of us. Apart from the Tirthankaras, Jains worship special Arihants such as Bahubali. According to the scriptures, Bahubali, also known as Gommateshvara, was the second of the one hundred sons of Rishabha and king of Podanpur. A statue of Bahubali is located at Shravana Belagola in the Hassan district of Karnataka State. It is a sacred place of pilgrimage for Jains. When standing at the statue's feet looking up, one sees the saint against the vastness of the sky. This statue of Bahubali is carved from a single large stone that is fifty-seven feet high. The giant image was carved in 981 AD., by order of Chavundaraya, the minister of the Ganga King Rachamalla.


Main article: Jain cosmology

Structure of Universe as per the Jain Scriptures.
Depiction of Siddha Shila as per Jain cosmology, which is abode of infinite Siddhas.

According to Jain beliefs, the universe was never created, nor will it ever cease to exist. Therefore, it is shaswat (eternal) from that point of view. It has no beginning or end, but time is cyclical with progressive and regressive spirituality phases. In other words, within the universe itself there will be constant changes, movements and modifications in line with the macro phases of the time cycles.

Jain text claims that the universe consists of infinite amount of Jiva (life force or souls), and infinite amount of Ajiva (lifeless objects). The shape of the Universe as described in Jainism is shown alongside. At the very top end of the universe is the residence of the liberated souls that reached the siddha status. This supreme abode is above a crescent like boundary. Below this arch is the Deva Loka (Heaven), where all devas, powerful souls enjoying the positive karmic effects, reside. According to Jainism, there are 39 [39] heavenly abodes. The enjoyment in heaven is time limited and eventually the soul has to be reborn after its positive karmic effect is exhausted. Similarly, beneath the "waist" like area are the Narka Loka (Hells). There are seven hells, each for a varying degree of suffering a soul has to go through as consequences of its negative karmic effects. From the first to the seventh hell, the degree of suffering increases and light reaching it decreases (with no light in the seventh hell). The ray of hope is that the suffering in hell is also time limited and the soul will be reborn somewhere else in the universe after its negative karmic effects are exhausted. Human, animal, insect, plant and microscopic life forms reside on the middle part of the universe. Ultimate liberation is possible only from this region of the universe.

In Jainism, time is divided into Utsarpinis (Progressive Time Cycle) and Avasarpinis (Regressive Time Cycle). An Utsarpini and an Avasarpini constitute one Time Cycle (Kalachakra). Every Utsarpini and Avasarpini is divided into six unequal periods known as Aras. During the Utsarpini half cycle, humanity develops from its worst to its best: ethics, progress, happiness, strength, health, and religion each start the cycle at their worst, before eventually completing the cycle at their best and starting the process again. During the Avasarpini half-cycle, these human experiences deteriorate from the best to the worst. Jains believe we are currently in the fifth Ara of the Avasarpini phase.

During the first and last two Aras, the knowledge and practice of dharma lapse among humanity and then reappear through the teachings of enlightened humans, those who have reached liberation from their karma, during the third and fourth Aras. Traditionally, in our universe and in this time cycle, Rishabha is regarded as the first to realize the truth. Mahavira (Vardhamana) was the last (24th) Tirthankara to attain enlightenment. For further reading on this aspect of Jainism refer to 'The Jaina Path of Purification' by P.S. Jaini.[40]

Customs and practices

Jains are vegetarians. They avoid eating root vegetables in general, as cutting root from a plant kills it unlike other parts of the plant (leaf, fruit, seed, etc.). Furthermore, according to Jain texts, root vegetables contain infinite microorganisms called nigodas. Followers of Jain dharma eat before the night falls. They filter water regularly so as to remove any small insects that may be present and boil water prior to consumption.

Jain monks and nuns practice strict asceticism and strive to make their current birth their last, thus ending their cycle of transmigration.[41] The lay men and women also pursue the same five major vows to the limited extent depending on their capability and circumstances. Following the primary non-violence vow, the laity usually choose professions that revere and protect life and totally avoid violent livelihoods.

Jain monks and nuns walk barefoot and sweep the ground in front of them to avoid killing insects or other tiny beings. Even though all life is considered sacred by the Jains, human life is deemed the highest form of life. For this reason, it is considered vital never to harm or upset any person. Along with the Five Vows, Jains avoid harboring ill will and practice forgiveness. They believe that atma (soul) can lead one to becoming parmatma (liberated soul) and this must come from one's inner self. Jains refrain from all violence (ahimsa) and recommend that sinful activities be avoided.

Pratikraman (turning back from transgression) is a practice of confession and repentance. This is a process of looking back at the bad thoughts and actions carried out during daily activities and learn from this process so as to resolve not to commit those mistakes again. Forgiving others for their faults, extending friendship and asking forgiveness for their own wrongful acts without reservation is part of this process. This enables Jains to get away from the tendency of finding fault in others, criticizing others and to develop habit of self-analysis, self-improvement and introspection.

Jains practice Samayika, which is a Sanskrit word meaning equanimity. During this practice, they remain calm and undisturbed. This helps in recollecting the teachings of Thirthankars and discarding sinful activities for a minimum of 48 minutes.

Sadhvis meditating

Mahatma Gandhi was deeply influenced (particularly through the guidance of Shrimad Rajchandra) by Jain tenets such as peaceful, protective living and honesty, and made them an integral part of his own philosophy.[42]

Jainism has several different traditions. Historically, this has led to traditions refusing to recognize each other's religious texts as authoritative. For example, the Digamabaras reject the Svetambara canon.[43] Even though there are some differences in customs and practices among them, the core belief systems are the same. Each tradition brings a unique perspective and completes the picture in the true sense of Non-Absolutism (Anekantvad). For this reason Jains are encouraged to keep their tradition, and at the same time respect other practices so as to complete the Jain view. All traditions unanimously accept and believe in the core Jain philosophies including the major vows of Non-violence, Truthfulness, Non-stealing, Celibacy and Non-possession.

Jainism is mainly divided into two major sects, namely Svetambara and Digambara. Jainism has a distinct idea underlying Tirthankara worship. The physical form is not worshipped, but the characteristics of the Tirthankara (virtues, qualities) are praised and emulated. Tirthankaras remain role-models, and sects such as the Sthanakavasi and Terapanth stringently reject idol worship. However, Murtipujak and Digambara sects allow praying before idols so as to assist in stimulating and focusing thoughts while praying.


Compassion for all life, human and non-human, is central to Jainism. Human life is valued as a unique, rare opportunity to reach enlightenment; to kill any person, no matter what crime he may have committed, is considered unimaginably abhorrent. It is a religion that requires monks and laity, from all its sects and traditions, to be vegetarian. Some Indian regions, such as Rajasthan, Gujarat and Karnataka, have been strongly influenced by Jains and often the majority of the local Hindus of every denomination have also become vegetarian.[44]


Main article: Jain meditation

Jain scriptures offer extensive guidance on meditation techniques to achieve full knowledge and awareness. It offers tremendous physical and mental benefits.[citation needed] Jain meditation techniques are designed to assist the practitioner to remain apart from clinging and hatred thereby liberating from karmic bondages through the Ratnatraya: right perception, right knowledge and right conduct.[45] Meditation in Jainism aims at taking the soul to status of complete freedom from bondages.[46]

Meditation assists greatly in managing and balancing one's passion. Great emphasis is placed on the control of internal thoughts, as they influence the behavior, actions and goals. It prescribes twelve mindful reflections or contemplations to help in this process. They are called Bhavanas or Anuprekshas that assist one to remain on the right course of life, and not stray away. Jains apply the sevenfold predicate methodology of Syadvada, which includes the consideration of different views on each of these topics including the opposite view. The twelve contemplations for meditation are:

  1. Impermanence - Everything in this world is subject to change and transformation. Spiritual values are therefore worth striving for as they alone offer the soul, its ultimate freedom and stability.
  2. Protection - Under this reflection, one thinks about how helpless one is against old age, disease and death. The soul is its own saviour and to achieve total freedom one needs to follow the non-violent path of Arihants, Siddhas and practicing saints. Leaders with their powerful armies, scientists with their latest advances in technology cannot provide the protection from the eventual decay and death. The refuge to things other than the non-violent path are due to delusion, is unfortunate, and must be avoided.
  3. Worldly Existence - The soul transmigrates from one life form to another and is full of pain and miseries. There are no permanent relationships as the soul moves from one body form to another and can only exit this illusion through liberation from the cycles of birth, growth, decay and death.
  4. Solitude of the Soul - The soul has to bear the consequences of the positive and negative karmas alone. Such thoughts will stimulate to get rid of the existing karmas by one's own efforts and lead a peaceful life of co-existence.
  5. Separateness of Soul - Under this reflection, one thinks that the soul is separate from other objects or living beings. One should think even the current body is not owned by the soul. It is however an important vehicle to lead a useful life to progress the soul further. The soul therefore should not develop attachment or aversion to any worldly objects.
  6. Impureness of the body - Under this section of thought, one is urged to think about constituent elements of one's body so as to compare and contrast it with the purity of soul. This kind of concentration assists in detaching emotionally from one's body.
  7. Influx of Karma - Every time the soul enjoys or suffers through the five senses (touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing) with attachment, aversion or ignorance, it attracts new karma. Practising this reflection, reminds the soul to be more careful.
  8. Stoppage of influx of Karma - In this reflection, one thinks about stopping evil thoughts and cultivates development of right knowledge that assists to control the wandering mind.
  9. Karma shedding - Under this reflection, one thinks about practising external and internal austerities to shed the previously accumulated karma. This assists in development of right discipline as a matter of routine habit.
  10. Universe - Universe consists of Souls, Matter, Medium of motion, Medium of Rest, Space and Time. To think of the nature and structure of universe helps one understand the complex dynamics of eternal modifications and work towards the goal of freeing the soul from the seemingly never ending changes.
  11. Difficulties in developing triple gems of Jainism - It is very difficult for the transmigrating soul in this world to develop the Right View, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct. Just like one cannot aspire to become a doctor or lawyer or engineer without going through the development process starting from the very basic skill set developments in primary and secondary schooling, spiritual development also needs to go through several stages or steps. Depending on one's current spiritual progress and situation, the challenges faced will differ. Working through the difficulties and applying practical solutions will assist one to continuously make improvements, thereby moving the soul to its goal of ultimate liberation.
  12. Difficulties in practising Jain Dharma - Jain Dharma is characterised by the following;
Forbearance and Forgiveness
Self-restraint, control of senses and mind
External Penance
Neither attachment nor aversion
In this reflection, the practitioner thinks about the difficulties to practice all of these in the practical world and work through the challenges depending on one's current capabilities and circumstances.

Jains are encouraged to reflect on these thoughts with the following four virtues or value systems clearly in force. They are:

  1. Peace, love and friendship to all.
  2. Appreciation, respect and delight for the achievements of others.
  3. Compassion to souls who are suffering.
  4. Equanimity and tolerance in dealing with other's thoughts, words and actions.


Main article: Jain monasticism

Palitana Tirtha
Mulnayak Shri Adinath Bhagwan, Bibrod Jain Temple, Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh, India

In India there are several Jain Monks, in categories like Acharya, Upadhyaya and Muni. Trainee ascetics are known as Ailaka and Ksullaka in the Digambara tradition. There are two categories of ascetics, Sadhu (monk) and Sadhvi (nun). They practice the five Mahavratas, three Guptis and five Samitis:

Five major vows (Mahavrata)

Three Restraints (Gupti)

Five Carefulness (Samiti)

Digambara monks do not wear any clothes and are nude. They practice non-attachment to the body and hence, wear no clothes. Svetambara monks and nuns wear white clothes. Svetambaras believe that monks and nuns may wear simple, unstitched white clothes as long as they are not attached to them. Jain monks and nuns travel on foot. They do not use mechanical transport.

Digambaras take up to eleven oaths. Digambara monks eat standing in one place in their palms without using any utensils. They eat only once a day.


See also: Jain vegetarianism

Jains practice strict vegetarianism. The practice of vegetarianism is instrumental for the practice of non-violence and peaceful co-operative co-existence. Basic non-violence principles can be performed depending on one's capability and specific situation in terms of meeting one's life's demands and expectations. Jainism acknowledges that it is impossible to discharge one's duties without some degree of himsa/violence, but encourages to minimise as much as possible. Jains are strictly forbidden to use any leather or silk products since they are derived by killing of animals. Jains are prohibited from consuming root vegetables such as potatoes, garlic, onions, carrots, radishes, cassava, sweet potatoes, turnips, etc., as the plant needed to be killed in the process of accessing these prior to their end of life cycle. In addition, the root vegetables interact with soil and therefore contain far more micro-organisms than other vegetables. Also, the root vegetables themselves are composed of infinite smaller organisms, hence, consuming these vegetables would mean killing all those organisms as well. However, they consume rhizomes such as dried turmeric and dried ginger. Eggplants, pumpkins, etc. are also not consumed by some Jains owing to the large number of seeds in the vegetable, as a seed is a form of life. However, tomatoes are consumed normally as its seeds are difficult to be killed (even at high temperatures/pressures). Mushrooms, fungus and yeasts are forbidden because they are parasites, grow in non-hygienic environments and may harbor other life forms. Jains are also not supposed to consume food left overnight because of contamination by microbes. Most Jain recipes substitute potato with plantain.[47]

Apart from all these, Jains also follow strict diets on "teethees" - eleven days (six days in Shukla Paksha - Full Moon Fortnight and five days in Krishna Paksha - New Moon Fortnight). They do not eat greens on these days, also termed as not to touch / use any sharp cutting object in the kitchen. These days and are enlisted below: 1. All Bij - Second day of both the fortnights for aaradhna of "Samyag Darshan" 2. Pacham - Fifth day of Shukla Paksha & Agyiras - Eleventh day of both the fortnights for aaradhna of 14 Purva Gyan 3. Aatham - Eight day of both the fortnights, Chaudas - Fourteenth day of both the fortnights, Punam - Full Moon Day & Amavas - New Moon Day for aaradhna of Charitra. The reason for stricter dietary observance on these eleven days is that the probability of the finalisation of the next birth is much more on these days compared to the other days.


Main article: Fasting in Jainism

Fasting is one of the main tools for practicing external austerity. It helps to keep the demands of the body under check and assists in the focus on the upliftment of the soul. Spiritually, it helps in melting away the bad karmas accumulated by an individual. Depending on the capacity of an individual, there are several types of fasting:

During fasting one immerses oneself in religious activities such as worshipping, serving the saints (monks and nuns & to be in their proximity), reading scriptures, meditating, and donating to the right recipients. However, before starting the fast Jains take a small vow known as pachhchhakhan. A person taking the vow is bound to it and breaking it is considered to be a bad practice.

Most Jains fast at special times, such as during festivals (known as Parva. Paryushana and Ashthanhika are the main Parvas, which occurs 3 times in a year) and on holy days (eighth & fourteenth days of the moon cycle). Paryushana is the most prominent festival (lasting eight days for Svetambara Jains and ten days for Digambaras) during the monsoon. Most people fast during Paryushana because even the trouble-causing planets Rahu and Ketu become calm and instead help the penancing devotees. However, a Jain may fast at any time of the year. Fasting is also one of the ways of absolving one's Spashta, Baddha, or Nidhatta karmas. Variations in fasts encourage Jains to do whatever they can to maintain self-control over their abdominal desires.

A unique ritual in this religion involves a holy fasting until death called sallekhana. Through this one achieves a death with dignity and dispassion as well as a reduction of negative karma to a great extent.[48] When a person is aware of approaching death, and feels that s/he has completed all duties, s/he willingly ceases to eat or drink gradually. This form of dying is also called Santhara. It can be as long as 12 years with gradual reduction in food intake. Considered extremely spiritual and creditable, with all awareness of the transitory nature of human experience, it has recently led to a controversy. In Rajasthan, a lawyer petitioned the High Court of Rajasthan to declare santhara illegal. Jains see santhara as spiritual detachment, a declaration that a person has finished with this world and now chooses to leave. This choice however requires a great deal of spiritual accomplishment and maturity as a pre-requisite.

Rules of complete fast

A person undergoing a complete fast can eat nothing and drink only boiled water during his fasting period. The water has to be boiled for at least twenty minutes to ensure that all the living organisms in it die, and new ones don't form, thereby reducing the amount of himsa that a fasting person does. The unboiled water called sachet (meaning, full of life) is turned achet (meaning devoid of life) on boiling for this long. The boiled water remains achet for only five hours. So after five hours, it should be boiled again for at least another twenty minutes to ensure that it remains achet—fit for use by a fasting person.

All the different types of complete fasts mandate an individual to do the following steps stringently:

Chauvihar Upvas, Chauvihar Chhath, Chauvihaar Attham, Chauvihaar Atthai, etc. are those types of complete fasts in which the person can't drink even boiled water during his fasting period. He can eat nothing and drink nothing. The process of initiation and termination of the fast is the same as mentioned above.

Types of fasting

Worship and rituals

Main article: Jain rituals and festivals

Jains praying at the feet of a statue of Lord Bahubali.
Om Hrim Siddhi Chakra used by Jains in dravya puja

Every day most Jains bow and say their universal prayer, the Navakar Mantra which is also known variously as Panch Parmesthi Sutra, Panch Namaskar Sutra. Navakar Mantra is the fundamental prayer in Jainism and can be recited at any time of the day. Praying by reciting this mantra, the devotee bows in respect to liberated souls still in human form (Arihantas), fully liberated souls forever free from rebirth (Siddhas), spiritual leaders (Acharyas), teachers (Upadyayas) and all the monks (sarva sadhus) and nuns (sadhvis). By saluting them saying "namo namaha", Jains receive inspiration from them to follow their path to achieve true bliss and total freedom from the karmas binding their souls. In this main prayer, Jains do not ask for any favours or material benefits. This mantra serves as a simple gesture of deep respect toward beings that are more spiritually advanced. The mantra also reminds followers of the ultimate goal of reaching nirvana or moksha. Jains worship the icons of Jinas, Arihants, and Tirthankars, who have conquered their inner passions and attained divine consciousness, and study the scriptures of these liberated beings.

Jainism acknowledges the existence of powerful heavenly souls (Yaksha and Yakshini) that look after well-being of Tirthankarars. Usually, they are found in pair around the icons of Thirthankaras as male (yaksha) and female (yakshini) guardian deities. Even though they have supernatural powers, these deities are also souls wandering through the cycles of births and deaths just like most other souls. Over time, people started worshiping these deities as well.

The purpose of Jain worship or prayer is to break the barriers of the worldly attachments and desires, so as to assist in the liberation of the soul. Jain prayers and ritual in general include:

There are basically two types of prayers:

The material offerings made during the prayer are merely symbolic and are for the benefit of the offeror. The action and ritual of offering keeps the mind in meditative state. The symbolism of prayer is so strong it assists the devotee to concentrate on the virtues of Arihantas and Thirthankaras. Above all, prayer is not performed with a desire for any material goal. Jains are clear that the Jinas reside in moksha (Siddha-loka, the permanent abode of the siddhas) and are completely detached from the world. Jains have built temples where idols of tirthankaras are revered. Rituals include offering of symbolic objects and praising Tirthankaras in song. There are some traditions within Jainism that have no prayer at all, and are focused on meditation through scripture reading and philosophical discussions.

Preparation for prayer

Ashta Prakari Puja (Eight Symbolic Offering Prayer)

These eight pujas are enlisted chronologically below

Water Symbolizes the life's ocean of birth, struggle and death. Every living being continuously travels through the cycles of birth, life, death and misery. This prayer reminds the devotee to live with honesty, truth, love and compassion toward all living beings.

Sandal wood paste symbolizes Right Knowledge. The devotee reflects on Right Knowledge with clear, proper understanding of reality from different perspectives.

Flowers symbolize Right Conduct. The devotee remembers that conduct should be like a flower that provides fragrance and beauty to all living beings without discrimination.

The flame of the oil lamp represents pure consciousness or a soul without any karmic bondage. The devotee is reminded to follow the five major vows so as to attain liberation.

The incense stick symbolizes renunciation. While burning itself, it provides fragrance to others. This reminds the devotee to live life for the benefit of others, which ultimately leads to liberation.

One cannot grow rice plants by seeding with household rice. Symbolically it means that rice is the last birth. With this prayer, the devotee strives to make all effort in this life to get liberation.

With this prayer, the devotee strives to reduce or eliminate attachment.

Fruit symbolizes moksha or liberation. The devotee is reminded to perform duties without any expectation and have love and compassion for all living beings so as to attain the ultimate fruit - Moksha.

Dev Shastra Guru Puja (Prayer for Arihants/Siddhas, Scriptures, and Teachers)

Invocation begins with Namokar Mantra and Chattari Mangalam. In this prayer the devotee bows to Siddhas, scriptures and monks who are on the path of Right View, Knowledge and Conduct. This prayer is done by taking three full cloves and holding one clove at a time between two ring fingers while keeping the clove head pointed forward while offering and reciting. First Clove: The devotees think of the Arihants/Siddhas/Thirthankaras, Scriptures and Teachers, so that they come into their thoughts.
Second Clove: The devotees take the next step of retaining the above three in their thoughts.
Third Clove: The devotees take the last step of physically requesting them to be near them so as to guide them through on the right path.
The offerings here are similar to the Ashta Prakari Puja with flowers replaced with yellow rice, tasty food with white coconut and fruit with almond in its shell.
Barah Bhavana (12 reflections of mind) is sung as a song. After that prayer of peace for all living beings recited followed by Namokar Mantra.
At the conclusion, Visarjan (closing) prayer is recited, which means knowingly or unknowingly if any mistakes are committed during the prayer please forgive.


Jain festivals are characterized by both internal and external celebrations. The internal celebration is through praying (expressing devotion to Jinas), practicing meditation, spiritual studies and renunciation.


Template:Jainism timeline

Further information: Timeline of Jainism

Parshvanatha, the twenty-third Tirthankar, is the earliest Jain leader who can be reliably dated. As noted, however, Jain mythology asserts that the line of Tirthankars in the present era began with Rishabhdeva; moreover, Jains themselves believe that Jainism has no single founder, and that it has always existed and will always exist, although it is occasionally forgotten by humans. Emperor Chandragupta Maurya embraced Jainism after retiring. At an older age, Chandragupta renounced his throne and material possessions to join a wandering group of Jain monks. Chandragupta was a disciple of Acharya Bhadrabahu. It is said that in his last days, he observed the rigorous but self purifying Jain ritual of santhara i.e. fast unto death, at Shravana Belagola in Karnataka.

However, his successor, Emperor Bindusara, was a follower of a Hindu ascetic movement, Ajivika and distanced himself from Jain and Buddhist movements. Samprati, the grandson of Ashoka also embraced Jainism. Samrat Samprati was influenced by the teachings of Jain monk Arya Suhasti Suri and he is known[citation needed] to have built 125,000 Jain Temples across India. Some of them are still found in towns of Ahmedabad, Viramgam, Ujjain and Palitana. It is also said that just like Ashoka, Samprati sent messengers & preachers to Greece, Persia & the Middle East to facilitate the spread of Jainism. But to date no research has been done in this area. Thus, Jainism became a vital force under the Mauryan Rule. Chandragupta & Samprati are credited for the spread of Jainism in Southern India. Hundreds of thousands of Jain Temples and Jain Stupas were erected during their reign. But due to lack of royal patronage and its strict principles, along with the rise of Shankaracharya & Ramanujacharya, Jainism, once the major religion of southern India, began to decline.[1][2]

According to scholars, Parshvanath was a historical figure and lived in the 9th century BC.[51][52] In the 6th century BC, Vardhamana Mahavira became one of the most influential Jainism teachers. He built up a large group of disciples that learned from his teachings and followed him as he taught an ascetic doctrine in order to achieve enlightenment. The disciples referred to him as Jina, which means "the conqueror" and later his followers would use a derivation of this title to refer to themselves as Jains, a follower of the Jina.[53]

Kharavela's empire at its greatest extent.

It is generally accepted that Jainism started spreading in south India from the 3rd century BC. i.e. since the time when Badrabahu, a preacher of this religion and the head of the monks' community, came to Karnataka from Bihar.[54]

Kalinga (modern Orissa/Osiaji) was home to many Jains in the past. Rishabhnath, the first Tirthankar, was revered and worshipped in the ancient city Pithunda, capital of Kalinga. This was destroyed by Mahapadma Nanda when he conquered Kalinga and brought the statue of Rushabhanatha to his capital in Magadh. Rushabhanatha is revered as the Kalinga Jina. Ashoka's invasion and his Buddhist policy also subjugated Jains greatly in Kalinga. However, in the first century BCE Emperor Kharvela conquered Magadha and brought Rishabhnath's statue back and installed it in Udaygiri, near his capital, Shishupalgadh. The Khandagiri and Udaygiri caves near Bhubaneswar are the only surviving stone Jain monuments in Orissa. Earlier buildings were made of wood and were destroyed.

Deciphering of the Brahmi script by James Prinsep in 1788 enabled the reading of ancient inscriptions in India and established the antiquity of Jainism. The discovery of Jain manuscripts has added significantly to retracing Jain history. Archaeologists have encountered Jain remains and artifacts at Maurya, Sunga, Kishan, Gupta, Kalachuries, Rashtrakut, Chalukya, Chandel and Rajput as well as later sites. Several western and Indian scholars have contributed to the reconstruction of Jain history. Western historians like Bühler, Jacobi, and Indian scholars like Iravatham Mahadevan, worked on Tamil Brahmi inscriptions.

Geographical spread and influence

Double-sided Leaf from a Chandana Malayaqiri Varta Series ascribed to the artists Karam and Mahata Chandji - 1745. This painting was made for a practitioner of the Jain religion. The image illustrates a Jain text and includes a small shrine with an icon of a Jain savior, known as a Jina or Tirthankara, on the right. The icon sits cross-legged in a meditative posture, and the temple has two white towers of the classic North Indian form. A small pool in front of the temple reflects the surrounding architecture.
Doorway detail of a Dilwara Temple.
Jain temple in Antwerp, Belgium

This pervasive influence of Jain culture and philosophy in ancient Bihar gave rise to Buddhism. The Buddhists have always maintained that during the time of Buddha and Mahavira (who, according to the Pali canon, were contemporaries), Jainism was already an ancient, deeply entrenched faith and culture there. Over several thousand years, Jain influence on Hindu rituals has been observed and similarly the concept of non-violence has been incorporated into Hinduism. Certain Vedic Hindu holy books contain beautiful narrations about various Jain Tirthankaras (e.g. Lord Rushabdev). In the history of mankind, there have been no wars fought in the name of Jainism.

With 5.5 million followers,[10] Jainism is among the smallest of the major world religions, but in India its influence is much greater than these numbers would suggest. Jains live throughout India. Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat have the largest Jain populations among Indian states. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Bundelkhand and Madhya Pradesh have relatively large Jain populations. There is a large following in Punjab, especially in Ludhiana and Patiala, and there used to be many Jains in Lahore (Punjab's historic capital) and other cities before the Partition of 1947, after which many fled to India. There are many Jain communities in different parts of India and around the world. They may speak local languages or follow different rituals but essentially they follow the same principles.

Outside India, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda) have large Jain communities. The first Jain temple to be built outside India was constructed and consecrated in the 1960s in Mombasa, Kenya by the local Gujarati Jain community, although Jainism in the West mostly came about after the Oswal and Jain diaspora spread to the West in the late 1970s and 1980s. Jainism is presently a strong faith in the United States, and several dozen Jain temples have been built there, primarily by the Gujarati community. American Jainism accommodates all the sects. Smaller Jain communities exist in Nepal, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Fiji, and Suriname. In Belgium, the very successful Indian diamond community in Antwerp, almost all of whom are Jain, opened the largest Jain temple outside India in 2010, to strengthen Jain values in and across Western Europe.


Main articles: Digambara and Svetambara

Timeline of various splits in Jainism
The Jain sangha is divided into two major sects, Digambara and Svetambara. The differences in belief between the two sects are minor and relatively obscure. Digambara monks do not wear clothes because they believe clothes, like other possessions, increase dependency and desire for material things, and desire for anything ultimately leads to sorrow. This also restricts full monastic life (and therefore moksa) to males as Digambaras do not permit women to be nude; female renunciates wear white and are referred to as Aryikas. Svetambara monastics, on the other hand, wear white seamless clothes for practical reasons, and believe there is nothing in the scriptures that condemns wearing clothes. Women are accorded full status as renunciates and are often called sadhvi, the feminine of the term often used for male munis, sadhu. Svetambaras believe women may attain liberation and that Mallinath, a Tirthankara, was female.[55]

The earliest record of Digambara beliefs is contained in the Prakrit Suttapahuda of the Digambara mendicant Kundakunda (c. 2nd century AD).[56]

Digambaras believe that Mahavira remained unmarried, whereas Svetambaras believe Mahavira married a woman who bore him a daughter. The two sects also differ on the origin of Mata Trishala, Mahavira's mother. Digambaras believe that only the first five lines are formally part of the Namokar Mantra (the main Jain prayer), whereas Svetambaras believe all nine form the mantra. Other differences are minor and not based on major points of doctrine.

Excavations at Mathura revealed many Jain statues from the time of the Kushan Empire. Tirthankaras, represented without clothes, and monks with cloth wrapped around the left arm are identified as Ardhaphalaka "half-clothed" and mentioned in some texts. The Yapaniyas, believed to have originated from the Ardhaphalaka, followed Digambara nudity, along with several Svetambara beliefs.

Svetambaras sub-sects include Sthanakavasi, Terapanthi, and Murtipujaka. Some revering statues while other Jains are aniconic. Svetambaras follow the 12 agama literature.

Digambara sub-sects include Bisapanthi, Kanjipanthi, Taranapanthi, Terapanthi and Srimadi.

Most simply call themselves Jains and follow general traditions rather than specific sectarian practices. In 1974 a committee with representatives from every sect compiled a new text called the Saman Suttam.


Main article: Jain symbols

File:Jain hand.svg
The hand with a wheel on the palm symbolizes the Jain Vow of Ahimsa, meaning non-violence. The word in the middle is "Ahimsa". The wheel represents the dharmacakra, to halt the cycle of reincarnation through the pursuit of truth
The swastika is among the holiest of Jain symbols
  1. Swastika - Signifies peace and well-being
  2. Shrivatsa - A mark manifested on the centre of the Jina's chest, signifying a pure soul.
  3. Nandyavartya - Large swastika with nine corners
  4. Vardhamanaka - A shallow earthen dish used for lamps, suggests an increase in wealth, fame and merit due to a Jina's grace.
  5. Bhadrasana - Throne, considered auspicious because it is sanctified by the blessed Jina's feet.
  6. Kalasha - Pot filled with pure water signifying wisdom and completeness
  7. Minayugala - Fish couple. It signifies conquering over sexual desires
  8. Darpana - The mirror reflects one's true self because of its clarity

The holiest symbol is a simple swastika. A Jain swastika is normally associated with the three dots on the top accompanied with a crest and a dot.

Other important symbols are:


Contributions to Indian culture

While Jains represent less than 1% of the Indian constitution and population, their contributions to culture and society in India are significant. Jainism had a major influence in developing a system of philosophy and ethics that had a great impact on all aspects of Indian culture. Scholarly research and evidences have shown that philosophical concepts considered typically Indian—karma, ahimsa, moksa, reincarnation and the like—were propagated and developed by Jain teachers.[57]

Jains have also contributed to the culture and language of the Indian states Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Jain scholars and poets authored Tamil classics of the Sangam period such as the Silappatikaram, Civaka Cintamani, Manimekalai and Nālaṭiyār. In the beginning of the medieval period, between the 9th and 13th centuries, Kannada authors were predominantly of the Jain and Lingayati faiths. Jains were the earliest known cultivators of Kannada literature, which they dominated until the 12th century. Jains wrote about the Tirthankaras and other aspects of the faith. Adikavi Pampa is one of the greatest Kannada poets of all time and was the court poet of Chalukya king Arikesari, a Rashtrakuta feudatory, and is best known for his Vikramarjuna Vijaya. The works of Adikavi Pampa, Ponna and Ranna, collectively called the "three gems of Kannada literature", heralded the age of classical Kannada in the 10th century. The earliest known Gujarati text, Bharata-Bahubali Rasa, was written by a Jain monk. Some important people in Gujarat's history were Acharya Hemachandra and his pupil, the Solanki ruler Kumarpal.

Jains are among the wealthiest Indians. They run numerous schools, colleges and hospitals and are important patrons of the Somapuras, the traditional temple architects in Gujarat. Jains have greatly influenced Gujarati cuisine. Gujarat is predominantly vegetarian (see Jain vegetarianism), and its food is mild as onions and garlic are omitted.

Jains encourage their monks to do research and obtain higher education. Jain monks and nuns, particularly in Rajasthan, have published numerous research monographs. This is unique among Indian religious groups. The 2001 census states that Jains are India's most literate community and that India's oldest libraries at Patan and Jaisalmer are preserved by Jain institutions.


Jains have contributed to India's classical and popular literature. For example, almost all early Kannada literature and many Tamil works were written by Jains.

The oldest Jain literature is in Shauraseni and the Jain Prakrit (the Jain Agamas, Agama-Tulya, the Siddhanta texts, etc.). Many classical texts are in Sanskrit (Tattvartha Sutra, Puranas, Kosh, Sravakacara, mathematics, Nighantus etc.). "Abhidhana Rajendra Kosha" written by Acharya Rajendrasuri, is only one available Jain encyclopedia or Jain dictionary to understand the Jain Prakrit, Sanskrit, Ardha-Magadhi and other languages, words, their use and references within oldest Jain literature.

Jain literature was written in Apabhraṃśa (Kahas, rasas, and grammars), Standard Hindi (Chhahadhala, Moksh Marg Prakashak, and others), Tamil (Nālaṭiyār, Civaka Cintamani, Valayapathi, and others), and Kannada (Vaddaradhane and various other texts). Jain versions of the Ramayana and Mahabharata are found in Sanskrit, the Prakrits, Apabhraṃśa and Kannada.

Jains literature exists mainly in Jain Prakrit, Sanskrit, Marathi, Tamil, Rajasthani, Dhundari, Marwari, Hindi, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam,[58] Tulu and more recently in English.

Canonical texts

Main articles: Purvas and Jain_Agamas

The 14 Purvas, were a body of Jain scriptures that was preached by all Tirthankaras of Jainism. These teachings was memorized and passed on through ages, but it became fairly vulnerable and died off within 1,000 years after Lord Mahavira nirvana(liberation) on account of effects of famine.

Agamas are canonical texts of Jainism based on Mahavira’s teachings. These Agamas are composed of 46 texts: Twelve Angās, Twelve Upanga āgamas, Six Chedasūtras, Four Mūlasūtras, Ten Prakīrnaka sūtras and Two Cūlikasūtras.

The digambara sect of Jainism maintains that these Agams were too lost during that famine. In the absence of authentic scriptures, Digambars use about 25 scriptures written by great Acharyas for their religious practice. These include 2 main texts, 4 Pratham-Anuyog, 3 Charn-anuyoga, 4 Karan-anuyoga and 12 Dravya-anuyoga.

Constitutional status in India

Main article: Legal status of Jainism as a distinct religion in India

In 2005 the Supreme Court of India declined to issue a writ of mandamus towards granting Jains the status of a religious minority throughout India. The Court noted that Jains have been declared a minority in five states already, and left it to the rest of the States to decide on the minority status of Jain religion.[59]

In 2006 the Indian Supreme Court, in a judgment pertaining to an Indian state, opined that "Jain Religion is indisputably not a part of the Hindu Religion".[60]

Jainism and other religions

See also: Buddhism and Jainism, Islam and Jainism, and Jainism and Sikhism

Jains are not a part of the Vedic Religion (Hinduism).[61][62][63] Ancient India had two philosophical streams of thought: The Shramana philosophical schools, represented by Jainism movement, and the Brahmana/Vedic/Puranic schools represented by Vedanta, Vaishnava and other movements. Both streams have existed side by side for few thousands of years, influencing each other.[64]

The Hindu scholar, Lokmanya Tilak credited Jainism with influencing Hinduism and thus leading to the cessation of animal sacrifice in Vedic rituals. Bal Gangadhar Tilak has described Jainism as the originator of Ahimsa and wrote in a letter printed in Bombay Samachar, Mumbai:10 December 1904: "In ancient times, innumerable animals were butchered in sacrifices. Evidence in support of this is found in various poetic compositions such as the Meghaduta.

Swami Vivekananda[23][65] also credited Jainism as influencing force behind the Indian culture and said:

"What could have saved Indian society from the ponderous burden of omnifarious ritualistic ceremonialism, with its animal and other sacrifices, which all but crushed the very life of it, except the Jain revolution, which took its strong stand exclusively on chaste morals and philosophical truths? Jains were the first great ascetics and they did some great work. "Don't injure any and do good to all that you can, and that is all the morality and ethics, and that is all the work there is, and the rest is all nonsense." And then they went to work and elaborated this one principle all through, and it is a most wonderful ideal: how all that we call ethics they simply bring out from that one great principle of non-injury and doing good."

See also


  1. ^ a b Helmuth von Glasenapp,Shridhar B. Shrotri. 1999. Jainism: an Indian religion of salvation. P.15 "Jainas consider that religion is eternal and imperishable. It is without beginning and it will never cease to exist. The darkness of error enveloping the truth in certain, periodically occurring aeons clears up again and again so that the brightness of the Jaina-faith can sparkle again anew."
  2. ^ a b Dundas, Paul. 2002. The Jains. P.12 "Jainism is believed by its followers to be everlasting, without beginning or end..."
  3. ^ Varni, Jinendra; Ed. Prof. Sagarmal Jain, Translated Justice T.K. Tukol and Dr. Narendra Bhandari. Samaṇ Suttaṁ. New Delhi: Bhagwan Mahavir memorial Samiti. “The Historians have so far fully recognized the truth that Tirthankara Mahavira was not the founder of the religion. He was preceded by many tirthankaras. He merely reiterated and rejuvenated that religion. It is correct that history has not been able to trace the origin of the Jaina religion; but historical evidence now available and the result of dispassionate researches in literature have established that Jainism is undoubtedly an ancient religion.” Pp. xii – xiii of introduction by Justice T.K.Tutkol and Dr. K.K. Dixit.
  4. ^ Larson, Gerald James (1995) India’s Agony over religion SUNY Press ISBN 0-7914-2412-X. “There is some evidence that Jain traditions may be even older than the Buddhist traditions, possibly going back to the time of the Indus valley civilization, and that Vardhamana rather than being a “founder” per se was, rather, simply a primary spokesman for much older tradition. Page 27”
  5. ^ Joel Diederik Beversluis (2000) In: Sourcebook of the World's Religions: An Interfaith Guide to Religion and Spirituality, New World Library : Novato, CA ISBN 1-57731-121-3 Originating on the Indian sub-continent, Jainism is one of the oldest religion of its homeland and indeed the world, having pre-historic origins before 3000 BCE and the propagation of Indo-Aryan culture.... p. 81
  6. ^ Jainism by Mrs. N.R. Guseva p.44
  7. ^ Long, Jeffery D. (2009). Jainism: An Introduction. New York: I.B. Tauris. pp. 45–56. ISBN 978-1-84511-626-2.
  8. ^ Helmuth von Glasenapp,Shridhar B. Shrotri. 1999. Jainism: an Indian religion of salvation. P.24. "Thus not only nothing, from the philosophical and the historical point of view, comes in the way of the supposition that Jainism was established by Parsva around 800 BCE, but it is rather confirmed in everything that we know of the spiritual life of that period."
  9. ^ Dundas, Paul. 2002. The Jains. P.17. "Jainism, then, was in origin merely one component of a north Indian ascetic culture that flourished in the Ganges basin from around the eighth or seventh centuries BCE."
  10. ^ a b "Wolfram Alpha: Jainism : country, population, types, central figure, ..." Wolfram Alpha. Retrieved 23 June 2012.
  11. ^ "Indian Census". Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  12. ^ Estimates for the population of Jains differ from just over four million to twelve million due to difficulties of Jain identity, with Jains in some areas counted as a Hindu sect. Many Jains do not return Jainism as their religion on census forms for various reasons such as certain Jain castes considering themselves both Hindu and Jain. The 1981 Census of India returned 3.19 million Jains. This was estimated at the time to be at least half the true number. There are an estimated 25,000-30,000 Jains in Europe (mostly in Britain), 20,000 in Africa, 45,000 plus in North America (from Dundas, Paul (2002). The Jains. Routledge. p. 271. ISBN 0-415-26606-8, 9780415266062. ((cite book)): Check |isbn= value: invalid character (help)) and 5,000 in the rest of Asia.
  13. ^ "Press Information Bureau, Government of India". 2004-09-06. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  14. ^ "Census of India 2001". Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  15. ^ The Jain Knowledge Warehouses: Traditional Libraries in India, John E. Cort, Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 115, No. 1 (January – March, 1995), pp. 77–87
  16. ^ Buswell, Robert E. (2004) "Encyclopedia of Buddhism." p. 383
  17. ^ Book: Outlines of Jainism pg. 159, Author: S.Gopalan
  18. ^ Book: Outlines of Jainism pg. 163–164, Author: S.Gopalan
  19. ^ Book: Outlines of Jainism p. 164-165, Author: S.Gopalan
  20. ^ Jain, Dulichand (1998). Thus Spake Lord Mahavir, Sri Ramakrishna Math Chennai. p. 69. ISBN 81-7120-825-8.
  21. ^ Prof. S.A.Jain. Reality – English Translation of Sarvarthasiddhi by Srimat Pujyapadacharya, 2nd Edition, p. 195.
  22. ^ Tobias, Michael (1991). Life Force. The World of Jainism. Berkeley, California: Asian manush Press. pp. 6–7, 15. ISBN 0-89581-899-X.
  23. ^ a b Dulichand Jain (1998) Thus Spake Lord Mahavir, Sri Ramakrishna Math Chennai, ISBN 81-7120-825-8 Page 15
  24. ^ Jain, Yogendra (2007). Jain Way of Life, A Guide to Compassionate, Healthy and Happy Living. Boston, MA: JAINA (Federation of Jain Associations of North America). ISBN 978-0-9773178-5-1.
  25. ^ SONI, JAYANDRA (1998). Jaina philosophy. In E. Craig (Ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge. Retrieved November 06, 2012, from
  26. ^ a b c Mehta, T.U (1993). "Path of Arhat – A Religious Democracy" (DOC). 63. Pujya Sohanalala Smaraka Parsvanatha Sodhapitha. Retrieved 2008-03-11. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  27. ^ Mary Pat Fisher and Lee W. Bailey, (2008) An Anthology of Living Religions. New Jersey: Pearson Education.
  28. ^ Robert Kastenbaum, (2003) "Macmillan Encyclopedia of Death and Dying," p. 491.
  29. ^ Tattvartha Sutra
  30. ^ Tattvartha Sutra
  31. ^ Singh, Ramjee (1993). Jaina perspective in philosophy and religion. Pārśvanātha śodhapīṭha granthamālā. Varanasi: Pujya Sohanalal Smaraka Parsvanatha Sodhapitha. ISBN 81-7054-084-4. ((cite book)): Unknown parameter |Series number= ignored (help)
  32. ^ Kuhn, Hermann (2001). In: Karma, The Mechanism : Create Your Own Fate. Nevada: Crosswind Publishing.
  33. ^ Dr. H. V. Glasenapp, Doctrine of Karman in Jain Philosophy, Pg 2
  34. ^ Zydenbos (2006)
  35. ^ . . .from Hindi jaina, from Sanskrit jinah "saint," lit. "overcomer," from base ji "to conquer," related to jaya "victory." entry
  36. ^ Hindi jaina, from Sanskrit jaina-, "relating to the saints", from jinaḥ, "saint, victor", from jayati, "he conquers". entry
  37. ^ Singh, Ramjee Dr. Jaina Perspective in Philosophy and Religion, Faridabad, Pujya Sohanalala Smaraka Parsvanatha Sodhapitha, 1993.
  38. ^ a b Jarl Charpentier: The History of the Jains, in: The Cambridge History of India, vol. 1, Cambridge 1922, p. 153; A.M. Ghatage: Jainism, in: The Age of Imperial Unity, ed. R.C. Majumdar/A.D. Pusalkar, Bombay 1951, p. 411-412; Shantaram Bhalchandra Deo: History of Jaina Monachism, Poona 1956, p. 59-60.
  39. ^ Jain, Prof S.A. (1992). Reality - English Translation of Srimat Pujyapadacharya's Sarvarthasiddhi. Chennai, India: Jwalamalini Trust. pp. 116–122.
  40. ^ The Jaina Path of Purification, Pg 30 and 31, Padmanabh S. Jaini, University of California Press - ISBN 0-520-03459-7
  41. ^ Based on the Jain view of the Universe re the Avasarpini and Utsarpini eras, Final Liberation is only possible in the 3rd and 4th Eras of each of the latter. For further reading see 'The Jaina Path of Purification', P.S. Jaini mentioned previously.
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  43. ^ Bhattacharyya, Haridas (2006). The Cultural Heritage of India. Kolkota: The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture. p. 154. ISBN 81-87332-48-4.
  44. ^ Titze, Kurt, Jainism: A Pictorial Guide to the Religion of Non-Violence, Mohtilal Banarsidass, 1998
  45. ^ "Foreword". Jain Yog. Aadarsh Saahitya Sangh. 2004. ((cite book)): |access-date= requires |url= (help); |first= missing |last= (help)
  46. ^ "blessings". Sambodhi. Aadarsh Saahitya Sangh. 2004. ((cite book)): |access-date= requires |url= (help); |first= missing |last= (help)
  47. ^ "Jainism". Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  48. ^ Kastenbaum, Robert. "Macmillan Encyclopedia of Death and Dying" (2003) pg. 492
  49. ^ First 8 days observed by Svetambaras and next 10 days followed by Digambaras
  50. ^ "Mahaveer Janma Kalyanak". JainNet. Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  51. ^ "Parshvanatha". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-22.
  52. ^ Bowker, John (2000). "Parsva". The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2007-10-22.
  53. ^ Jerry Bentley and Herbert Ziegler: "Traditions and Encounters", in: "State, Society, and the Quest for SAlvation in India" p187; McGrawHill, 1999
  54. ^ Jainism by Mrs. N.R. Guseva, p.51
  55. ^ Anne Vallely; Guardians of the Transcendent: An Ethnography of a Jain Ascetic Community (page 15)
  56. ^ Gender and Salvation: Jaina Debates on the Spiritual Liberation of Women. Padmanabh S. Jaini University of California Press, 1991
  57. ^ Zydenbos, Robert J. (2006)
  58. ^ Banerjee, Satya Ranjan (2005). Prolegomena to Prakritica et Jainica. The Asiatic Society. p. 61.
  59. ^[dead link]
  60. ^ (para 25, Committee of Management Kanya Junior High School Bal Vidya Mandir, Etah, Uttar Pradesh v. Sachiv, U.P. Basic Shiksha Parishad, Allahabad, U.P. and Ors., Per Dalveer Bhandari J., Civil Appeal No. 9595 of 2003, decided On: 21.08.2006, Supreme Court of India)
  61. ^ J. L. Jaini, (1916) Jaina Law, Bhadrabahu Samhita, (Text with translation ) Arrah, Central jaina publishing House) " As to Jains being Hindu dissenters, and, therefore governable by Hindu law, we are not told this date of secession [...] Jainism certainly has a longer history than is consistent with its being a creed of dissenters from Hinduism." P.12-13
  62. ^ P.S. Jaini, (1979), The Jaina Path to Purification, Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi, p. 169 "Jainas themselves have no memory of a time when they fell within the Vedic fold. Any theory that attempts to link the two traditions, moreover fails to appreciate rather distinctive and very non-vedic character of Jaina cosmology, soul theory, karmic doctrine and atheism"
  63. ^ Y. Masih (2000) In : A Comparative Study of Religions, Motilal Banarsidass Publ : Delhi, ISBN 81-208-0815-0 “There is no evidence to show that Jainism and Buddhism ever subscribed to vedic sacrifices, vedic deities or caste. They are parallel to native religions of India and have contributed much to the growth of even classical Hinduism of the present times.” Page 18
  64. ^ Harry Oldmeadow (2007) Light from the East: Eastern Wisdom for the Modern West, World Wisdom, Inc ISBN 1-933316-22-5 "What is historically known is that there was a tradition along with vedic Hinduism known as sramana dharma. Essentially, the sramana tradition included it its fold, the Jain traditions, which disagreed with the eternality of the Vedas, the needs for ritual sacrifices and the supremacy of the Brahmins". Page 141
  65. ^ Swami Vivekananda (1900) The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 3, Buddhistic India] (Lecture delivered at the Shakespeare Club, Pasadena, California, on February 2, 1900)
  66. ^ Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. "Jainism – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2010-09-01.
  67. ^ Cited in T.G. Kalghati, Jaina View of Life (Sholapur: Jaina Samskriti Samrakshaka Sangha, 1969) p.163

Further reading

  • Alsdorf, Ludwig. Jaina Studies: Their Present State and Future Tasks. Eng. tr. Bal Patil. Edited by Willem Bollée. Pandit Nathuram Premi Research Series Volume 1. Mumbai: Hindi Granth Karyalay, 2006.
  • Amiel,Pierre. Les Jaïns aujourd'hui dans le monde Ed. L'Harmattan, Paris, 2003 translated in English and printed under the title "Jains today in the world" by Parshwanath Vidyapeeth, Varanasi,India, 2008
  • Amiel,Pierre.B.A.-BA du Jaïnisme Editions Pardès,Grez sur Loing,2008
  • Balbir, Nalini (Ed.) Catalogue of the Jain Manuscripts of the British Library. Set of 3 books. London: Institute of Jainology, 2006.
  • Bollée, Willem. The Story of Paesi Pandit Nathuram Premi Research Series Volume 2. Mumbai: Hindi Granth Karyalay, 2005.
  • Bollée, Willem. Vyavahara Bhasya Pithika. Prakrit text with English translation, annotations and exhaustive Index by Willem Bollée. Pandit Nathuram Premi Research Series Volume 4. Mumbai: Hindi Granth Karyalay, 2006.
  • Caillat, Colette "La cosmologie jaïna" Ed. du Chêne, Paris 1981.
  • Chand, Bool. "Mahavira-Le Grand héros des Jaïns" Maisonneuve et Larose, Paris 1998.
  • Hynson, Colin. Discover Jainism. Ed. Mehool Sanghrajka. London: Institute of Jainology, 2007.
  • Jain, Champat Rai (1929). Risabha Deva - The Founder of Jainism. K. Mitra, Indian Press, Allahabad.
  • Jain, DuliChand. English version of "Baghawan Mahavir ki Vani" – Thus Spake Lord Mahavir. Chennai, Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1998.
  • Jain, Duli Chandra (Ed.) Studies in Jainism. Set of 3 books. New York: Jain Stucy Circle, 2004.
  • Jalaj, Jaykumar. The Basic Thought of Bhagavan Mahavir. Ed. Elinor Velázquez. (5th edition) Jaipur: Prakrit Bharati Academy, 2007.
  • Joindu. Paramatmaprakasha. Apabhramsha text with Hindi tr. by Jaykumar Jalaj. Ed. Manish Modi. Pandit Nathuram Premi Research Series Volume 9. Mumbai: Hindi Granth Karyalay, 2007.
  • Joindu. Yogasara. Apabhramsha text with Hindi tr. by Jaykumar Jalaj. Ed. Satyanarayana Hegde. Pandit Nathuram Premi Research Series Volume 10. Mumbai: Hindi Granth Karyalay, 2008.
  • Kapashi, Vinod. Nava Smarana: Nine Sacred Recitations of Jainism. Ed. Signe Kirde. Mumbai: Hindi Granth Karyalay, 2007.
  • Kundakunda. Atthapahuda Prakrit text with Hindi tr. by Jaykumar Jalaj. Ed. Manish Modi. Pandit Nathuram Premi Research Series Volume 6. Mumbai: Hindi Granth Karyalay, 2006.
  • Mardia, K.V. The Scientific Foundations of Jainism. Motilal Banarsidass, New Delhi, latest edition 2007. ISBN 81-208-0659-X (Jain Dharma ki Vigyanik Adharshila. Parsvanath Vidhyapitha, Varanasi. 2004. ISBN 81-86715-71-1).
  • Mehta, T.U. Path of Arhat – A Religious Democracy, Volume 63, Faridabad: Pujya Sohanalala Smaraka Parsvanatha Sodhapitha, 1993.
  • Nagendra Kr Singh, Indo-European Jain Research Foundation, Encyclopaedia of Jainism ISBN 81-261-0691-3, ISBN 978-81-261-0691-2
  • Natubhai Shah, Jainism: The World of Conquerors, Published by Sussex Academic Press, 1998, ISBN 1-898723-97-4, ISBN 978-1-898723-97-4
  • Patil, Bal. Jaya Gommatesha. Foreword by Colette Caillat. Mumbai: Hindi Granth Karyalay, 2006.
  • Prabhacandra. Tattvarthasutra. Sanskrit text with Hindi tr. by Jaykumar Jalaj. Preface by Nalini Balbir. Ed. Manish Modi. Pandit Nathuram Premi Research Series Volume 7. Mumbai: Hindi Granth Karyalay, 2008.
  • Pujyapada. Samadhitantra. Sanskrit text with Hindi tr. by Jaykumar Jalaj. Pandit Nathuram Premi Research Series Volume 5. Mumbai: Hindi Granth Karyalay, 2006.
  • Pujyapada. Istopadesha. Sanskrit text with Hindi tr. by Jaykumar Jalaj. Ed. Manish Modi. Pandit Nathuram Premi Research Series Volume 14. Mumbai: Hindi Granth Karyalay, 2007.
  • Rankin, Aidan. 'The Jain Path: Ancient Wisdom for the West.' Winchester/Washington DC: O Books, 2006.
  • Reymond Jean-Pierre "L'Inde des Jaïns" Ed. Atlas 1991.
  • Roy, Ashim Kumar. A history of the Jains, New Delhi: Gitanjali Publishing House, 1984.
  • Samantabhadra. Ratnakaranda Sravakacara. Sanskrit text with Hindi tr. by Jaykumar Jalaj. Preface by Paul Dundas. Pandit Nathuram Premi Research Series Volume 3. Mumbai: Hindi Granth Karyalay, 2006.
  • Sangave Vilas. 'Le Jaïnisme-Philosophie et Religion de l'Inde" Editions Trédaniel Paris 1999.
  • Todarmal. Moksamarga Prakashaka. Jaipur: Todarmal Smarak Trust, 1992.
  • Vijayashri. Sachitra Pacchis Bol. Agra: Mahasati Kaushalya Devi Prakashan Trust, 2005.

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