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 promises 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.
Kevalya Gyana or Kevala Nana (in Prakrat) 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.
Jain Cosmology & Concept of Universe
Mahapurana 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 viz. one living i.e. Jiva and five non living or ajiva. The non-living substances include:
- 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.
Samsāra, as per Jain 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 Samsāra.
Ahimsa is the fundamental principle of Jainism. Most Jains are vegetarians and this practice shows their faith in the principle of Ahimsa. Apart from that there are 5 Mahavratas.
- Non-violence (Ahimsa)
- Truth (Satya)
- Non-stealing (Asteya)
- Chastity (Brahmacharya)
- Non-possession/Non-attachment (Aparigraha)
- Samyak Gyan: means right knowledge
- Samyak darshana : Means right view
- Samyak Acharana:Means right conduct.
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.
The conferences of Jainism are called Jain Sangeeti. The first jain Sangeeti was convened in 300 BC and this conference was headed by Sthoolbhadra. The second Jain Sangeeti was called in 512 AD and was held in Vallabhi Gujarat. The chairman was Devardhi Kshammaramana.
Jain Emblem or Jain 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. The below image shows the features of the Jain emblem.
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 R
- The Chalukyan period rock cut caves 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