Jain Tirthankaras - Seeker's Thoughts

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Jain Tirthankaras


Jain Tirthankaras









Jain Tirthankaras


Jainism is a religion which emphasizes nonviolence, truthfulness and chastity as ways of transcending life's cycle between birth and death. By adhering to these teachings people may gain victory over this cycle.


Jainism recognizes 24 Tirthankaras who are considered the greatest spiritual teachers ever known to mankind, possessing complete and identical knowledge that does not contradict one another.





Mahavira (Great Hero), was the 24th and final Tirthankara of Jainism and born into a royal Kshatriya family in India in 599 BCE (although scholars now date it later). 


Renouncing his family privileges, he took up asceticism for 12 years, reaching Kevala or omniscience en route. Mahavira taught a doctrine of austerity while encouraging his disciples to practice nonviolence and the five Mahavrata vows (great vows) of renunciation.


He preached that each soul is tied together with karmic atoms that accrue from good or bad deeds, and that these can only be freed by practicing right faith, knowledge, and conduct (samyak-darshana). Furthermore, he cautioned against seeking pleasure through materialistic items as these may lead to self-centered violent thoughts and deeds; following this practice would bring about liberation at its highest levels.


Mahavira faced many difficulties throughout his life. Due to his uncouth appearance and lack of grooming, he often became the target of abuse, insults, and physical injury; nevertheless, he persevered until eventually winning support from many Jain monks.


He founded two main Jain sects, Shvetambara ("White-robed") and Digambara ("Sky-clad"). Additionally, he was an early proponent of nonviolence - now an integral component of Jain faith - often depicted with him sitting or standing meditative in posture with the symbol of a lion underneath them; Mahavira Janma Kalyanak and Nirvana are celebrated annually as festivals by Jain followers worldwide.






Gomateshwara, more commonly known by its nickname of Bahubali, is an enormous monolithic statue dedicated to Lord Bahubali of Jain religion found in Shravanbelagola, Karnataka. Standing at 57-feet-tall it stands as one of the world's largest. 


Dedicated to Lord Bahubali who was son of Rishabhanatha and Sunanda respectively; Jainism follows an ethic founded upon nonviolence, truthfulness and non-stealing; these principles were already part of Jain religion during Lord Bahubali's life-time.


Bahubali stands in Khadgasana or Kayotsarga meditation pose, which is difficult to maintain for prolonged periods of time. This posture symbolises his peaceful meditation which personified ideals of peace and tranquility. Additionally, its presence represents manly perfection in physique as well as divine chastity; his body being enveloped by climbing vines and flowers adorning his frame.


This monumental statue is an integral part of Jain religious heritage. Additionally, its temple complex contains a pillared mandapa with 43 carvings of Jain Tirthankaras; while skilled sculptors crafted it meticulously - paying special attention to figures' details and intricate carvings on pillars - and inscribed it with Kannada writing at its bottom.


Chavundaraya I, a general of Hoysala King Vishnuvardhana, took inspiration for this statue from a dream he had. In order to build an impressive statue at Shravanbelagola he chose Shravanbelagola because his mother, Kalala Devi was an ardent devotee of Lord Bahubali who pledged not to eat until her wish had come true - leading Chavundaraya I to construct this magnificent structure - that now serves as living history as it attracts tourists from around the globe!





Jainism is a religion founded upon nonviolent philosophy and emphasizes spiritual purity and enlightenment. According to Jain teachings, souls may find liberation from births and deaths by following a path of disciplined nonviolence. Tirthankaras or Jinas, rare individuals who have conquered samsara - death and rebirth world - and made way for others.


 Parshwanath (also known as Parasnath), known as one of 23 Jain Tirthankaras was born 273 years before Mahavira; his birth provides some historical evidence; many consider him preachers or revivalist of faith.


King Ashvasen was reigning over Varanasi (now Banaras). One night his Queen Vama Devi dreamt about seeing a snake which caused her to become deeply moved and gestate a baby boy whom they named Parshwa; over time this youngster would go on to become one of Banaras' most notable Princes.


At about 30 years old, Parshvanath took Diksha and conducted rigorous penance for 84 days to achieve Keval-Gnan or omniscience. After this he traveled (did vihaar) and gave Deshna to many people; inspiring many towards Moksha or ultimate liberation as he inspired many himself; eventually attaining Nirvana on Sammet Shikharji Mountains.


One famous tale from Lord Parshwanath's life involves Kamath Tapas, a mendicant conducting a fire sacrificial ritual in Varanasi. Hearing about it, Parshvanath immediately considered how this might threaten living beings trapped inside it and utilized his clairvoyance abilities to spot snakes inside a log used for this ceremony before breaking it open safely .





Sambhavanath was the Jain Tirthankara (omniscient teaching god) of our current age (Avasarpini). Born to King Jitari and Queen Susena at Sravasti, during his lifetime Sambhavanath worked tirelessly for people's upliftment while spreading Jainism across India and beyond. Over time he attained spiritual purity until finally attaining Moksha (liberation).


Tirthankaras are souls who have successfully emerged from samsara, or the cycle of birth and death, by attaining Kevala Jnana and ultimately Nirvana. This goal should be the ultimate aim of every individual living on this Earth, requiring immense spiritual strength but once accomplished it leads to Nirvana.


According to Jain philosophy, a Tirthankar can only become born once all four aghati karmas (attachment, hatred, pride and delusion) have been completed - which are at the source of human suffering in this world. When these are destroyed by a Tirthankar they attain Moksha and can move beyond this worldly physical existence forever.


Jain cosmology describes two cycles for humanity's progress: Utsarpini and Avasarpini. Utsarpini describes humanity moving from its worst state in terms of health, ethics, and religion towards its best state while Avasarpini moves in the opposite direction.


Sambhavanath gave up all of his possessions during his lifetime and dedicated himself to improving the lives of ordinary people and spreading Jain religion. 


He engaged in intense penance for spiritual purification. One drought saw Sambhavanath overcome with compassion as his subjects suffered in poverty. To relieve their plight he opened his granaries for public consumption using money from his treasury to import food grains while opening his kitchen up to feed monks and ascetics while instructing caretakers that no one should go hungry.





Jainism is a religion which emphasizes reincarnation and spiritual liberation through individual effort, unlike major monotheistic faiths like Judaism, Christianity and Islam which depend on god for salvation. Jains believe souls can gain spiritual liberation through their own efforts alone. 


To achieve this goal, people must purify themselves of inner enemies by eliminating four Ghatiya Karmas: Gyanavarniya Karma (knowledge-obscuring), Darshanavarniya Karma (perception-obscuring), and Mohniya Karma (obstacle-creating). Teachers that guide souls on this spiritual path are known as Tirthankaras or Arihantas/Jinas/Kevalis; one such stone tirthankara depicted here shows his complete renunciation from material possessions.


Parshvanath, one of Jainism's twenty-four Tirthankaras and worshiped with reverence, lived between the 9th and 8th centuries BC and was widely recognized for advancing karma philosophy as well as becoming one of its early proponents. Additionally, he established himself as a historical figure.


Jain Tirthankaras are men who have attained enlightenment and helped others achieve Nirvana - eternal freedom from birth and death - through Jain religion. Jain tradition recognizes 24 Tirthankaras who spread Jainism while alive on Earth, eventually attaining freedom from Karma through preaching the Jain faith during their lives on Earth and finally finding Nirvana themselves.


Parshvanath is widely considered one of the most beloved Jain Tirthankaras. Born to King Vishvasena and Queen Vamadevi, he led an ascetic lifestyle and practiced severe penance to become a Tirthankara, teaching Jainism's principles before attaining Nirvana at 100 years old at Sammet Shikhara in Hazaribag district, Bihar state - so affectionate was his personality that some refer to him as Kalikalkalpataru or Kalikalkalpaka due to his extremely charming and friendly demeanour!


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