• Rishabhdeva, who is also known as Adinath, is the founder of the Tirthankara Sect of Jainism.
  • Tirthankaras Rishabhdeva and Aristanemi are mentioned in Rigveda.
  • The 23rd Tirthankara, Parsvanath, was the son of king Asvasena of Banaras. He became an ascetic at the age of 30 and got enlightenment after 84 days of penance.

Name of the Tirthankara                         Symbol                                                    

lRishabhdeva (first)                                     Bull
Ajitnath (second)                                          Elephant
Neminath (22nd)                                          Conch shell
Parsvanath (23rd)                                        Serpent
Mahavira (24th)                                            Lion

  • The 24th and last Tirthankhara was Vardhamana Mahavira, who was born in 540 BC in Kundagrama near Vaishali in Bihar.
  • His father, Siddhartha, was a chief of the Jnatrika clan.
  • His mother, Trisala, was the sister of Chetaka, an eminent Lichchhavi Prince of Vaishali.
  • He was married to Yasoda and had a daughter called Priyadarsena, who later married Jamali, the first disciple of Mahavira.
  • At the age of 30, after the death of his parents, he became an ascetic.
  • At the age of 42, he attained Kaivalya, i.e. the supreme knowledge at Jambhika Gram on the bank of the river Rijupalika.
  • He got the title of Arhant (worthy), Jina (conqueror) and Tirthankara (crossing maker).
  • He passed away in 468 BC at the age of 72 at Pavapuri.

His main messages were:
(i) non-injury
(ii) not to tell lies
(iii) non-stealing
(iv) non-possession

Three Ratnas of Jainism are:
1. Samyak Gyan — Right knowledge
2. Samyak Vichar — Right thought
3. Samyak Karma — Right action

  • Jainism adopted its spiritual thoughts from Sankhya philosophy.
    To attain nirvana (spiritual liberation) a man must abandon all trammels, including his clothes.
  • A monastic life is essential for salvation.
  • Jainism does not condemn the Varna System.
  • Chandragupta Maurya, Udayana,Kalinga Naresh Kharavela, the Chandelas, and the Rastrakuta ruler Amoghavarsha were the patrons of Jainism.

Ahimsa                 Non-injury to living beings
Satya                     Speaking the truth
Asteya                   Non-stealing
Aparigraha          Non-possession of property
Brahmacharya   Abstinence or celibacy

  • Four of the above doctrines were originally given by Parsvanath; the fifth was added by Mahavira.
  • Jainism says that souls are found everywhere, even in stones, rocks, water etc.
  • According to Jainism, it is not God, but man’s deeds(karma) and fruits (karmaphal) that shape the destiny of a man.
  • According to Jainism, this eternal world is full of sorrow and pain.
  • Jainism has given much wider definition to non-violence: it includes non violence of thought, non-violence of speech and non-violence of action.
  • The first council was held at Pataliputra (Bihar) by Sthulabhadra in 300 BC. After this the Jains were divided into Swetambara and Digambara.
  • The Digambaras wore nothing; they remained naked or sky-clad. They were led by Bhadrabahu. They observedthe tenets of Jainism very strictly.
  • The Swetambaras were liberal in approach and wore white clothes. They were led by Sthulabhadra.
  • The second council was held at Vallabhi (Gujarat) in the 6th century AD under the leadership of Devadhri Kshamasramana and resulted in final compilation of 12 Angas and 12 Upangas.

Jain Architecture
Shravanabelagola                               Karnataka
Hathigumpha Cave                            Udayagiri (Odisha)
Dilwara Temples                                 Mt Abu (Rajasthan)
Jain Temples                                        Khajur aho (bui l t by t he Chandela rulers)