About Jain Dharm

About Jain Dharm

Tirthankara

Jainism is one of the oldest existing religions in the world, with some scholars tracing its origin to the pre-Vedic, Indus Valley Civilisation. Going by this view, Jainism’s birth is stated by some to preceed even Hinduism, making it world’s most antique religion. Followers of Jainism may be numerically small today, but they exert an influence which is far greater than their population.

Who Is A Tirthankar?

Jainism is about simple living and non-violence (Ahimsa). Jainism is a way of life based on the teachings of 24 Tirthankaras, of whom Lord Mahavira was the last and most prominent The word Tirthankara signifies the founder of a tirtha which means a fordable passage across the sea of interminable births and deaths (called sa?s?ra). Tirthankaras are variously called "Teaching Gods", "Ford-Makers", "Crossing Makers" and "Makers of the River-Crossing.

 
No. Name Symbol Birthplace Color Age
1 Rishabhanatha (Adinatha) Bull Ayodhya Golden 84,00,000 Purva
2 Ajitanatha Elephant Ayodhya Golden 72,00,000 Purva
3 Sambhavanatha Horse Shravasti Golden 60,00,000 Purva
4 Abhinandananatha Monkey Samet Sikhar Golden 50,00,000 Purva
5 Sumatinatha Heron Ayodhya Golden 40,00,000 Purva
6 Padmaprabha Padma Samet Sikhar Red 30,00,000 Purva
7 Suparshvanatha Swastika Samet Sikhar Golden 20,00,000 Purva
8 Chandraprabha Crescent Moon Chandrapuri White 10,00,000 Purva
9 Pushpadanta Crocodile Kakandi White 2,00,000 Purva
10 Shitalanatha Shrivatsa Bhadrikpuri Golden 1,00,000 Purva
11 Shreyanasanatha Rhinoceros Samet Sikhar Golden 84,00,000 Years
12 Vasupujya Buffalo Champapuri Red 72,00,000 Years
13 Vimalanatha Boar Kampilya Golden 60,00,000 Years
14 Anantanatha Falcon Ayodhya Golden 30,00,000 Years
15 Dharmanatha Vajra Ratnapuri Golden 10,00,000 Years
16 Shantinatha Antelope or deer Hastinapur Golden 1,00,000 Years
17 Kunthunatha Goat Hastinapur Golden 95,000 Years
18 Aranatha Nandyavarta or fish Hastinapur Golden 84,000 Years
19 M?ll?n?tha Kalasha Mithila Blue 55,000 Years
20 Munisuvrata Tortoise Kusagranagar Black 30,000 Years
21 Naminatha Blue lotus Mithila Golden 10,000 Years
22 Neminatha Shankha Dvaraka Black 1,000 Years
23 Parshvanatha Snake Kashi Blue 100 Years
24 Mahavira Lion Kshatriyakund Golden 72 Years
 

Jains celebrate five major events in the life of a Tirthankar. They are called Kalyanak (auspicious events). They are:

  1. Chyavana Kalyanak - This is the event when the Tirthankar's soul departs from its last life, and is conceived in the mother’s womb.
  2. Janma Kalyanak - This is the event when the Tirthankar's soul is born.
  3. Diksha Kalyanak - This is the event when the Tirthankar's soul gives up all his/her worldly possessions and becames a monk/nun. (Digambar sect does not believe that women can become Tirthankar or be liberated.)
  4. Kevaljnana Kalyanak - This is event when Tirthankar’s soul destroys the four ghati karmas completely and attains the Kevaljnana (absolute knowledge). Celestial angels set Samavsaran for Tirthankars from where he/she delivers the first sermon. This is the most important event for the entire Jain order as the Tirthankar reinstates Jain Sangh and preaches the Jain path of purification and liberation.
  5. Nirvana Kalyanak - This event is when a Tirthankar’s soul is liberated from this worldly physical existence forever and becomes a Siddha. On this day, the Tirthankar’s soul destroys the four aghati karmas completely, and attains salvation, the state of eternal bliss.

There are other significant events also in the final life of a Tirthankars. When a Tirthankar’s soul is conceived, his/her mother has fourteen dreams (some texts mention sixteen dreams). A Tirthankar’s soul, while even in mother’s womb, has three types of knowledge, namely Matijnan, Shrutjnan, and Avadhijnan. One year before the time of renunciation, a group of celestial angels come to pay homage to the future Tirthankar. They remind him/her that the time to renounce the world is arriving. When a Tirthankar renounces the worldly life, he attains Manahparyavjnan, the fourth type of the knowledge, which enables him/her to know people’s thoughts.