Jainism

Jainism beliefs in india mahavir jain mahavira

  • The Jain tradition has a succession of great teachers or Tirthankaras.
  • There were 24 Tirthankaras the last of which was Vardhaman Mahavira  539- 467 BC.
  • The 1st Tirthankara is believed to be Rishabhanath or Rishabhadev.
  • The 23rd Tirthankara was Parshvanatha who was born in Varanasi.
  • He may have lived in the 8th or 7th century BC.
  • All the Tirthankaras were Kshatriyas by birth.

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Vardhamana Mahavira Jainism

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Vardhamana Mahavira (539- 467 BC)

  • Vardhamana Mahavira was born at Kundagrama near Vaisali in 539 B.C.
  • His parents were Kshatriyas.
  • Father – Siddhartha (Head of Jnatrika Clan); Mother – Trishala (Sister of Lichchhavi chief Chetaka). (Chetaka’s daughter married Haryanka King Bimbisara).
  • Mahavira was married to Yasoda and had a daughter Anojja or Priyadarsana.
  • At the age of 30, Vardhaman Mahavira renounced his home and became a wandering ascetic..
  • He also observed self-mortification.
  • After 13 years of penance, Mahavira attained the highest spiritual knowledge called Kevala Jnan.
  • He attained this at Jimbhikagrama village under a sal tree aged 42.
  • This is called Kaivalya.
  • Thereafter, he was called Mahavira, Jina, Jitendriya (one who conquered his senses), Nigrantha (free from all bonds) and Kevalin.
  • Vardhamana Mahavira preached his teachings for 30 years and died at Pava (near Rajagriha) aged 72.

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Teachings of Jainism

  • Mahavira rejected Vedic principles.
  • He did not believe in God’s existence. 
  • According to him, the universe is a product of the natural phenomenon of cause and effect.
  • Vardhamana Mahavira believed in Karma and transmigration of the soul.
  • The body dies but soul does not.
  • One will be punished or rewarded as per one’s karma.
  • Mahavira advocated a life of austerity and non-violence.
  • Stressed on equality but did not reject the caste system unlike Buddhism.
  • But he also said that man may be ‘good’ or ‘bad’ as per his actions and not birth.
  • Asceticism was taken to a great length.
  • Starvation, nudity and self-mortification were expounded.
  • Two elements of the world
    • Jiva (conscious)
    • Atma (unconscious)

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Jain Text

  • Jain Literature is called Jain Agamas.
  • They are canonical texts of Jainism based on Mahavira’s teachings.
  • There are in all 46 texts.
  • 12 Upanga Agams
    • Upanga Agamas are explanations to Angas
  • 6 Chedasutras
    • These are texts related to behavior of Monks and Nuns.
  • 4 Mulasutras
    • These are texts which provide a base in the earlier stages of the monkshood
  • 10 Prakirnaka sutras
    • These are texts on Independent or miscellaneous subjects
  • 2 Culika sutras
    • These are texts which further enhance or decorate the meaning of Angas.

Jainism beliefs in india mahavir jain mahavira

Jainism beliefs in india mahavir jain mahavira

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Triratnas of Jainism

  • Right faith
  • Right knowledge
  • Right conduct (observance of five vows)
    • Ahimsa (non-violence)
    • Satya (truth)
    • Asteya (no stealing)
    • Parigraha (no acquiring property)
    • Brahmacharya (abstinence)

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Spread of Jainism

  • Mahavira admitted both women and shudras in its order of followers
  • He used prakrit (common language) for preaching instead of sanskrit
  • 200 years after the death of Mahavira, there was a serious famine in Ganga valley.
  • Many Jain followers led by Chandragupta Maurya & Bhadrabahu left for south (Karnataka) and rest stayed back under the leadership of Sthalbahu.
  • Emigrants spread Jainism in south India.

Jainism beliefs in india mahavir jain mahavira

Split in Jainism

  • When Bhadrabahu left for South India, Sthulabahu remained in the North with his followers.
  • Sthulabahu changed the code of conduct and said that white clothes could be worn.
  • Thus, split Jainism into two sects:
    • Swetambaras: White-clad; Northerners
    • Digambaras: Sky-clad (naked); Southerners

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Swetambaras

  • Swetambaras are divided into different sects
    • Murtipujakas
    • Sthanakavavasi
    • Terapanthi
    • Gacchas (total 84 Gacchas)

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Digambaras

  • Digambaras are divided into different sects
    • Bisapantha
    • Terapantha
    • Taranapatha
    • Gumanapantha
    • Totapantha 
    • Kanjipantha

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Jainism
Jain Temple, Ranakpur, Rajasthan

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1st Council

  • Held at Pataliputra in the 3rd century BC.
  • Presided by Sthulabahu.
  • 12 Angas were compiled here.

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2nd Council

  • Held at Vallabhi in Gujarat in the 512 AD.
  • Presided by Devardhigani.

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Royal patrons of Jainism

South India

  • Kadamba dynasty
  • Ganga dynasty
  • Amoghavarsha
  • Kumarapala (Chalukya dynasty)

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North India

  • Bimbisara
  • Ajatasatru
  • Chandragupta Maurya
  • Bindusara
  • Kharavela

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