JAINISM – Part 1

The origin of Jainism:

  • Jainism came to prominence in the 6th century B.C.E. when Vardhamana Mahavira propagated the religion.
  • Jain religion is believed to have been founded by Rishabhanath who is also called Rishabhadev.
  • Jains believe that there were 24 great teachers or Tirthankaras, the last of whom is Vardhamana Mahavira.

About Mahavira:

  • He was born at Kundagrama near Vaisali in 599 BCE.
  • His parents were Kshatriyas. His Father was Siddhartha who was the Head of Jnatrika Clan and his Mother Trishala who was the sister of Lichchhavi chief Chetaka.
  • Chetaka’s daughter married Haryanka King Bimbisara which makes Mahavira a relative of the Magadhan Ruler.
  • Mahavira was married to Yasoda and had a daughter Anojja or Priyadarsana.
  • He renounced his home and became a wandering ascetic at the age of 30.
  • He went on a truth searching journey for 12 years and spend those years practicing severe austerities, fasting and meditation.
  • He is said to have attained perfect/infinite knowledge (kevalajnana) at the age of 42 on the banks of the Rijupalika river.
  • It is believed that through kevalajnana, he conquered misery and happiness.
  • Because of this conquest, he came to be known as ‘Mahavira’ or The Great Hero or ‘Jina’ i.e, the conqueror and his followers were known as ‘Jainas’.
  • He passed away and became a Siddha (fully liberated) at the age of 72 in 527 BCE at Pavapuri near Patna.

The ideals of Jainism:

  • Jainism rejects the idea of a creator of the world (God) as well as the authority of the Vedas.
  • The Jains believe in karma and in the transmigration of the soul.
  • The philosophy of Jains believe that salvation or nirvana comes on getting rid of the cycle of birth and rebirth and can be attained by leading a pure life guided by the three-fold path of right faith, right knowledge and right conduct.
  • The right conduct involves not to steal (Asteya), non-possession (Aparigraha), nonviolence (Ahimsa), not to lie and control of the senses (Bramacharya).