Jainism in Wikipedia
Jainism is an ancient religion of India that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul towards divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state of supreme being is called Jina (Conqueror or Victor).
Jainism is also referred to as Shraman (self-reliant) Dharma or the religion of Nirgantha (who does not have attachments and aversions) by ancient texts. Jainism is commonly referred to as Jain Dharma in Hindi and Samanam in Tamil.
Jainism, which its followers consider to have always existed, is believed by historians to have arisen between the ninth and the sixth centuries BCE. Some have speculated that the religion may have its roots in much earlier times, reflecting native spirituality from before the Indo-Aryan migration into India. In the modern world, it is a small but influential religious minority with as many as 4.2 million followers in India, and successful growing immigrant communities in North America, Western Europe, the Far East, Australia and elsewhere.
Jains successfully sustained this ancient religion to this era and have significantly influenced and contributed to ethical, political and economic spheres in India. Jains have an ancient tradition of scholarship and have the highest degree of literacy in India; Jain libraries are the oldest in the country. Tamil Jains and Kannada Jains who are native to their regions, residing in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka respectively early since 1st century BCE, are distinguishable in some of their routines and practices from North Indian Jains, but the core philosophies and belief systems are the same for both cultures.
Lord MahavirEvery living being has a soul
Every soul is potentially divine, with innate qualities of infinite knowledge, perception, power, and bliss (masked by its karmas).
Regard every living being as you do yourself, harming no one and being kind to all living beings.
Every soul is born as a celestial, human, sub-human or hellish being according to its own karmas.
Every soul is the architect of its own life, here or hereafter.
When a soul is freed from karmas, it becomes free and attains divine consciousness, experiencing infinite knowledge, perception, power, and bliss.
Right Faith (right vision), Right Knowledge and Right Conduct (triple gems of Jainism) provide the way to this realization. There is no supreme divine creator, owner, preserver or destroyer. The universe is self-regulated and every soul has the potential to achieve divine consciousness (siddha) through its own efforts.
Navakar Mantra is the fundamental prayer in Jainism and can be recited at any time of the day. Praying by reciting this mantra, the devotee bows in respect to liberated souls still in human form (Arihantas), fully liberated souls (Siddhas), spiritual leaders (Acharyas), teachers (Upadyayas) and all the monks (sarva sadhus). By saluting them saying "namo namaha", Jains receive inspiration from them to follow their path to achieve true bliss and total freedom from the karmas binding their souls. In this main prayer, Jains do not ask for any favours or material benefits. This mantra serves as a simple gesture of deep respect towards beings who are more spiritually advanced. The mantra also reminds followers of the ultimate goal of reaching nirvana or moksha.
Non-violence (to be in soul consciousness rather than body consciousness) is the foundation of right view, the condition of right knowledge and the kernel of right conduct. It leads to a state of being unattached to worldly things and being nonjudgmental and non-violent; this includes compassion and forgiveness in thoughts, words and actions toward all living beings and respecting views of others (non-absolutism).
Jainism stresses on the importance of controlling the senses including the mind, as they can drag one far away from true nature of the soul.
Limit possessions and lead a life that is useful to yourself and others. Owning an object by itself is not possessiveness; however attachment to an object is. Non-possessiveness is the balancing of needs and desires while staying detached from our possessions.
Enjoy the company of the holy and better qualified, be merciful to afflicted souls and tolerate the perversely inclined.
Four things are difficult for a soul to attain: 1. human birth, 2. knowledge of the laws governing the souls, 3. absolute conviction in the philosophy of non-violence and 4. practicing it in every day life activities.
It is therefore important not to waste human life in evil ways. Rather, strive to rise on the ladder of spiritual evolution.
The goal of Jainism is liberation of the soul from the negative effects of unenlightened thoughts, speech and action. This goal is achieved through clearance of karmic obstructions by following the triple gems of Jainism.
Jains worship the icons of Jinas, Arihants and Tirthankars, who have conquered the inner passions and attained divine consciousness, and study the scriptures of these liberated beings.
Jainism acknowledges the existence of powerful heavenly souls (Yaksha and Yakshini) that look after the well beings of Thirthankarars. Usually, they are found in pair around the icons of Jinas as male (yaksha) and female (yakshini) guardian deities. Even though they have supernatural powers, these deities are also souls wandering through the cycles of births and deaths just like most other souls. Over time, people started worshiping these deities as well.
Principles and other beliefs
Five Mahavratas of Jain asceticsSee also: Mahavrata
Jainism encourages spiritual development through cultivation of one's own personal wisdom and reliance on self-control (by means of ????, vrata= vow). Right perception, Right knowledge and Right conduct ( triple gems of Jainism) provide the path for attaining liberation (moksha) from the cycles of birth and death (samsara). When the soul sheds its karmic bonds completely, it attains divine consciousness. The goal of Jainism is to realize this soul's true nature. Jainism prescribes a path of non-violence to progress the soul to this ultimate goal. Those who have attained moksha are called siddha (liberated souls), and those who are attached to the world through their karma are called samsarin (mundane souls). Every soul has to follow the path, as explained by the Jinas and revived by Tirthankaras, to attain the complete liberation.
Jains believe that to attain enlightenment and ultimately liberation, one must practice the following ethical principles (major vows) in thought, speech and action. The degree to which these principles are practiced is different for householders and monks. They are:
to cause no harm to living beings. This is the fundamental vow from which all other vows stem. It involves minimizing intentional and unintentional harm to any other living creature. "Non-violence", is sometimes interpreted as not killing, but the concept goes far beyond that. It includes not harming or insulting other living beings, either directly, or indirectly through others. There can be even no room for thought to injure others, and no speech that influences others to inflict harm. It also includes respecting the views of others (non-absolutism and acceptance of multiple views).
to always speak the truth in a harmless manner. A person who speaks the truth becomes trustworthy like a mother, venerable like a preceptor and dear to everyone like a kinsman. Given that non-violence has priority, all other principles yield to it, whenever there is a conflict. For example, if speaking truth will lead to violence, it is perfectly ethical to be silent.
to not take anything that is not willingly given. Asteya, "non-stealing", is the strict adherence to one's own possessions, without desire to take another's. One should remain satisfied by whatever is earned through honest labour. Any attempt to squeeze material wealth from others and/or exploit the weak is considered theft. Some of the guidelines for this principle are:
(1) Always give people fair value for labor or product.
(2) Never take things which are not offered.
(3) Never take things that are placed, dropped or forgotten by others
(4) Never purchase cheaper things if the price is the result of improper method (e.g. pyramid scheme, illegal business, stolen goods, etc.)
to control the senses including mind from indulgence. The basic intent of this vow is to conquer passion and to prevent the waste of energy. In this vow, the house holder must not have a sensual relationship with anybody other than one's own spouse. Jain monks and nuns should practice complete abstinence from sex.
Non-possession or Non-materialism (Aparigraha)
to detach from people, places, and material things. Ownership of an object itself is not possessiveness; however attachment to an object is possessiveness. For householders, non-possession is owning without attachment, because the notion of possession is illusory. The reality of life is that change is constant; thus, objects owned by someone today will be property of someone else in future. The householder is encouraged to discharge his or her duties to related people and objects as a trustee, without excessive attachment or aversion. For monks and nuns, non-possession is complete renunciation of property and relations including home and family.
Jains hold that our universe and its laws of nature are eternal, without beginning or end. However, it constantly undergoes cyclical changes. Our universe is occupied by both living beings ("Jiva") and non-living objects ("Ajiva"). The samsarin (worldly or mundane) soul incarnates in various life forms during its journey over time. Human, sub-human (animal, insect, plant, etc.), super-human (heavenly being), and hell-being are the four macro forms of the samsari souls. A living being's thoughts, expressions and actions executed with intents of attachments and aversions, give rise to accumulation of karma. And these influx of karma in turn contribute to determine our future circumstances that are both rewarding and punishing. Jain scholars have explained in depth on methods and techniques that will clear the past karmas accumulated as well as stopping the flow of fresh karmas.
A major characteristic of Jain belief is the emphasis on the consequences of not only physical but also mental behaviours. One's unconquered mind with anger, pride (ego), deceit, greed and uncontrolled sense organs are the powerful enemies of humans. Anger spoils good relations, pride destroys humility, deceit destroys peace and greed destroys everything. Jainism recommends conquering anger by forgiveness, pride (ego) by humility, deceit by straight-forwardness and greed by contentment.
The principle of non-violence seeks to minimize karmas which limit the capabilities of the soul. Jainism views every soul as worthy of respect because it has the potential to become Siddha (Param-atma – "highest soul"). Because all living beings possess a soul, great care and awareness is essential in one's actions. Jainism emphasizes the equality of all life, advocating harmlessness towards all, whether the creatures are great or small. This policy extends even to microscopic organisms. Jainism acknowledges that every person has different capabilities and capacities to practice and therefore accepts different levels of compliance for ascetics and householders. The "great vows" (mahavrata) are prescribed for monks and "limited vows" (anuvrata) are prescribed for householders. In other words, the house-holders are encouraged to practice the five cardinal principles of non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, celebacy and non-possessiveness with their current practical limitations while the monks have to observe them very strictly. With consistent practice, it will be possible to overcome the limitations gradually, accelerating the spiritual progress.
Emphasis on non-violence in thought and practice
Main articles: Ahimsa in Jainism and Anekantavada
Jains hold the above five major vows at the center of their lives. These vows cannot be fully implemented without the acceptance of a philosophy of non-absolutism. Anekantavada (multiple points of view), is a foundation of Jain philosophy. This philosophy allows the Jains to accept the truth in other philosophies from their perspective and thus inculcating a tolerance for other viewpoints. Jain scholars have devised methods to view both physical objects and abstract ideas from different perspectives systematically. This is the application of non-violence in the sphere of thought. It is a jain philosophical standpoint just as there is the Advaitic standpoint of Sankara and the standpoint of the Middle Path of the Buddhists. This search to view things from different angles, leads to understanding and toleration of different and even conflicting views. When this happens prejuidices subside and tendency to accommodate increases. The theory of Anekanta is therefore a unique experiment of non-violence at the root..
A derivation of this principle is the doctrine of Syadvada that highlights every model relative to its view point. It is a matter of our daily experience that the same object which gives pleasure to us under certain circumstances becomes boring under different situations. Nonetheless relative truth is undoubtedly useful as it is a stepping stone to the ultimate realization and understaning of reality. The theory of Syadvada is based on the premise that every proposition is only relatively true. It all depends on the particular aspect from which we approach that proposition. Jains therefore developed logic that encompasses sevenfold predication so as to assist in the construction of proper judgment about any proposition.
Syadvada provides Jains with a systematic methodology to explore the real nature of reality and consider the problem in a non-violent way from different perspectives. This process ensures that each statement is expressed from seven different conditional and relative viewpoints or propositions, and thus it is known as theory of conditioned predication. These seven propositions are described as follows:
1.Syad-asti — "in some ways it is"
2.Syad-nasti — "in some ways it is not"
3.Syad-asti-nasti — "in some ways it is and it is not"
4.Syad-asti-avaktavya — "in some ways it is and it is indescribable"
5.Syad-nasti-avaktavya — "in some ways it is not and it is indescribable"
6.Syad-asti-nasti-avaktavya — "in some ways it is, it is not and it is indescribable"
7.Syad-avaktavya — "in some ways it is indescribable"
For example, a tree could be stationary with respect to an observer on earth; however it will be viewed as moving along with planet Earth for an observer in space.
Jains are usually very welcoming and friendly toward other faiths and often help with interfaith functions. Several non-Jain temples in India are administered by Jains. A palpable presence in Indian culture, Jains have contributed to Indian philosophy, art, architecture, science, and to Mohandas Gandhi's politics, which led to the mainly non-violent movement for Indian independence.. Though Mohandas Gandhi stated clearly in his Autobiography that his mother was a Vaishnava, Jain monks visited his home regularly. He spent considerable time under the tutelage of Jain monks, learning the philosophies of non-violence and doing good always.
Main article: Karma in Jainism
Karma in Jainism conveys a totally different meaning than commonly understood in the Hindu philosophy and western civilization. It is not the so called inaccessible force that controls the fate of living beings in inexplicable ways. It does not simply mean "deed", "work", nor mystical force (adrsta), but a complex of very fine matter, imperceptible to the senses, which interacts with the soul in intensity and quantity proportional to the thoughts, speech and physical actions carried out with attachments and aversions, causing further bondages. Karma in Jainism is something material (karmapaudgalam), which produces certain conditions, like a medical pill has many effects. The effects of karma in Jainism is therefore a system of natural laws rather than moral laws. When one holds an apple in one's hand and then let go of the apple, the apple will fall due to gravitational force. In this example, there is no moral judgment involved, since this is a mechanical consequence of a physical action. The concept of Karma in Jainism is basically a reaction due to the attachment or aversion with which an activity (both positive and negative) is executed in thought, verbal and physical sense. Extending on the example outlined, the same apple dropped within a zero gravity environment such as a spacecraft circling around earth, will float in its place. Similarly, when one act without attachment and aversion there will be no further karmic bonding to the soul.
Karmas are grouped as Destructive Karmas, that obstruct the true nature of the soul and Non-Destructive Karmas that only affect the body in which the soul resides. As long as there are Destructive Karmas, the soul is caged in some body and will have to experience pain and suffering in many different forms. Jainism has extensive sub-classification and detailed explanation of each of these major categories and explain ways to stop the influx as well as get rid of the accumulated karmas.
Shedding of Past Karmas (Nirjara)
In Jainism, there are two methods of shedding of past karmas or Nirjara, by which bondages to soul due to accumulated karma can be removed.
Passive Method – By allowing past karmas to ripen in due course of time and experiencing the results, both good and bad with equanimity. If the fruits of the past karmas are not received without attachment or agitation then the soul earns fresh karmic bondages. It is also not possible for the soul to know before-hand when and which karma will start to produce results and therefore require good discipline in practicing equanimity under all circumstances.
Active Method – By practicing internal and external austerities (penances or tapas) so as to accelerate the ripening process as well as reducing the effects produced. This is recommended approach as it prepares and conditions the soul and reminds it to be vigilant.
The internal austerities are
1.Atonement of sinful acts
2.Practice politeness and humility
3.Service to others, especially monks, nuns, elders and the weaker souls without any expectations in return
4.Scriptual study, questioning and expanding the spiritual knowledge
5.Abadonment of passions – especially anger, ego, deceit and greed
The external austerities are meant to discipline the sensual cravings. They are
2.Eating less than one's normal diet
3.Abstention from tasty and stimulating food
4.Practicing humility and thankfulness – by seeking help without egoistic tendencies
5.Practicing solitude and introspection
6.Mastering over demands of body
[show]v • d • e24 Tirthankars of Jainism
Rishabha or Adinath • Ajitnath • Sambhavanath • Abhinandannath • Sumatinath • Padmaprabha • Suparshvanath • Chandraprabha • Pushpadanta • Sheetalnath • Shreyansanath • Vasupujya • Vimalnath • Anantnath • Dharmanath • Shantinath • Kunthunath • Aranath • Mallinath • Munisuvrata • Naminatha • Neminatha • Parshva • Mahavira
Bhaktamara Stotra and 10th couplet in Thirukural: A Tirthankara is a shelter from ocean of rebirths.
Sculpture representing two founders of Jainism: left, Rishabha first of the 24 tirthankara; right Mahavir, the last of those 24, who consolidated and reformed the religious and philosophical system.The purpose of life is to undo the negative effects of karma through mental and physical purification. This process leads to liberation accompanied by a great natural inner peace. A soul is called a 'victor' (in Sanskrit/Pali language, Jina) because one has achieved liberation by one's own efforts. A Jain is a follower of Jinas ("conquerors"). Jinas are spiritually advanced human beings who rediscovered the dharma, become fully liberated from the bondages of karma by conquering attachments and aversions, and teach the spiritual path to benefit all living beings. Jains follow the teachings of 24 special jinas who are known as Tirthankars ("those who have shown the way to salvation from the river of births and deaths"). Jains believe that knowledge of the true living (Jain dharma) has declined and revived cyclically throughout history. Those who rediscover and preach Jain dharma are called Tirthankara. The literal meaning of Tirthankar is 'ford-builder'. Jains compare the process of becoming a pure soul to crossing a swift river, an endeavour requiring patience and care. A ford-builder has already crossed the river and can therefore guide others.
Jaina tradition identifies Rishabh (also known as Adhinath) as the First Tirthankar of this declining (avasarpini) time cycle (kalachakra). The 24th, and last Tirthankar is Mahavir, lived from 599 to 527 BC. The 23rd Tirthankar, Parsva, lived from 872 to 772 BC. The last two Tirthankaras: Parsva and Mahavira are historical figures whose existence is recorded
The 24 Tirthankaras in chronological order are: Adinath (Rishabhnath), Ajitnath, Sambhavanath, Abhinandan Swami, Sumatinath, Padmaprabhu, Suparshvanath, Chandraprabhu, Pushpadanta (Suvidhinath), Sheetalnath, Shreyansanath, Vasupujya Swami, Vimalnath, Anantnath, Dharmanath, Shantinath, Kunthunath, Aranath, Mallinath, Munisuvrata Swami, Nami Natha, Neminath, Parshvanath and Mahavir (Vardhamana).
Identified as divine, these individuals are called by title in kannada as ???????? , in Tamil as ?????? and in Hindi bhagavan (e.g., Bhagavan Rishabha, Bhagavan Parshva, etc.). Tirthankar are not regarded as deities (??????? – heavenly powerful souls that are a few steps ahead of us) in the pantheistic or polytheistic sense, but rather as pure souls that have awakened the divine spiritual qualities which lie dormant within each of us.
Only a few souls that reach Arihant status become Thirthankars who take a leadership role in assisting the other souls to move up on the spiritual path. Apart from Thirthankars, Jains worship special Arihants such as Gommateshwara or Bahubali. According to Jain Scriptures, Bahubali (also known as Gommateshvara) was the second of the one hundred sons of the first Tirthankara, Lord Rishabha and king of Podanpur. A statue of Lord Bahubali is located at Shravanabelagola in the Hassan district of Karnataka State. Shravanabelagola is a sacred place of pilgrimage for Jains with a splendid statue of monolithic stone on top of a hill. When standing at the statue's feet looking up, one sees the inspiring vision of the saint against the vastness of the sky. The figure is lofty like the sky, and the serenity of the face is unique and incomparable in its beauty. This statue of Gommateshwara Bahubali is carved from a single large stone which is fifty-seven feet high. The giant image was carved in 981 A.D., by order of Chavundaraya, the minister of the Ganga King Rachamalla. Bahubali is another name for Gommateshwara.
Creation and cosmology
Structure of Universe as per the Jain Scriptures.According to Jain beliefs, the universe was never created, nor will it ever cease to exist. Therefore, it is shaswat (infinite). It has no beginning or end, but time is cyclical with progressive and regressive spirituality phases.
Jainism divide time into Utsarpinis (Progressive Time Cycle) and Avsarpinis (Regressive Time Cycle). An Utsarpini and an Avsarpini constitute one Time Cycle (Kalchakra). Every Utsarpini and Avsarpini is divided into six unequal periods known as Aras. During the Utsarpini half cycle, humanity develops from its worst to its best: ethics, progress, happiness, strength, health, and religion each start the cycle at their worst, before eventually completing the cycle at their best and starting the process again. During the Avsarpini half-cycle, these notions deteriorate from the best to the worst. Jains believe we are currently in the fifth Ara of the Avsarpini phase.
During the first and last two Aras, the knowledge and practice of dharma lapse among humanity and then reappear through the teachings of enlightened humans, those who have reached liberation from their karma, during the third and fourth Aras. Traditionally, in our universe and in this time cycle, Rishabh (???) is regarded as the first to realize the truth. Mahavira (Vardhamana) was the last (24th) Tirthankara to attain enlightenment (599–527 BC).
According to Jainism, the universe consists of infinite amount of Jiva (life force or souls), and infinite amount of Ajiva (lifeless objects). The shape of the Universe as described in Jainism is shown alongside. Please note that unlike the current convention of using North direction as the top of map, this uses South as the top. The pure souls (who reached Siddha status) reside at the very south end of the Universe. They are referred to in Tamil literature as ????????????? (Kural 43).
The Deva Loka (Heavens) are at the symbolic "chest" , where all devas, souls enjoying the positive karmic effects reside. Similarly, beneath the "waist" are the Narka Loka (Hell). There are seven Narka Lokas, each for a varying degree suffering a soul has to go through to face the consequences of its negative karmic effects. From the first to the seventh hell, the degree of suffering increases and light reaching it decreases (with no light in the seventh hell). Human, animal, insect, plant and microscopic life forms reside on the middle.
Jain festivals are characterised by both internal and external celebrations. The internal celebration is through praying and expressing devotion to Jinas, practicing meditation, spiritual studies, and renunciation.
Paryushan is an important festival among the Jain festivals. It happens during late August / September commencing on the twelfth day of the fortnight of the wanning moon cycle and ending in the fourteenth of the fortnight of the waxing moon cycle. This is generally a rainy season in Northern parts of India. During this 18 day period Jain scholars and monks visit temples and explain the Jain philosophy. Jains during this period practice external austerities such as fasting, limiting their normal activities so as to reduce the harm to worms and insects that thrive during this season. At the conclusion of the festivities, a lookback is encouraged, and Pratikraman is done for repentance of faults and forgiveness is given and asked for from all.
Mahavir Jayanti, The birthday of Mahavir, the last Thirthankar is celebrated on the thirteenth day of the fortnight of the waxing moon, in the month of Chaitra. This day occurs in late March or early April on the Gregorian calendar. Lectures are held to preach the path of virtue. People meditate and offer prayers.
Diwali(Deepavali or festival of lights) is celebrated on the new moon day of Kartik, usually in late October or early November on the Gregorian calendar. On the night of that day, Mahavir, the last Thirthankar attained Nirvana or deliverance and attained liberation from the bondage of all karmas. During the night of Diwali, holy hymns are recited and meditation is done on Mahavir. And on the very second day of Diwali they celebrate their New Year.
Ashadh Chaturdasi, The sacred commencement of Chaturmas takes place on the 14th day of the fortnight of the waxing moon of Ashad. The Jain monks and nuns remain where they happen to be for four months until the 14th day of Kartik Shukla. During these four months the monks give daily discourses, undertake religious ceremonies, etc.
Shrutha panchami or Gyan Panchami is on the fifth day of the fortnight of the waxing moon of Kartik (the fifth day after Diwali). This day is devoted for pure knowledge. On this day books preserved in the religious libraries are cleaned and studied.
Apart from Mahavir Jayanti and Diwali, South Indian Tamil Jains of Digambara sect also celebrate Tamil New Year, Pongal (harvest festival), Avani Avittam(renewal of sacred thread called 'poonool') similar to most Tamils.
Customs and practices
Jains are strict vegetarians. They avoid eating root vegetables in general, as the micro-organisms killed while cooking and eating them are countless. Followers of Jain dharma eat before the night falls. They filter water regularly so as to remove any small insects that may be present and boil (and may cool) the water prior to consumption, as heated water will not be the suitable base for micro organisms to develop immediately.
Jain monks and nuns practice strict asceticism and strive to make their current birth their last, thus ending their cycle of transmigration. The lay men and women also pursue the same five major vows to the limited extent depending on their capability and circumstances. Following the primary non-violence vow, the laity usually choose professions that revere and protect life and totally avoid violent livelihoods.
Jain monks and nuns walk barefoot and sweep the ground in front of them to avoid killing insects or other tiny beings.
Even though all life is considered sacred by the Jains, human life is deemed the highest form of life. For this reason, it is considered vital never to harm or upset any person.
Along with the Five Vows, Jains avoid harboring ill will and practice forgiveness. They believe that atma (soul) can lead one to becoming parmatma (liberated soul) and this must come from one's inner self. Jains refrain from all violence (Ahimsa) and recommend that sinful activities be avoided.
Pratikraman (Turning back from Transgression) is a practice of confession and repentance. This is a process of looking back at the bad thoughts and actions carried out during daily activities and learn from this process so as to resolve not to commit those mistakes again. Forgiving others for their faults, extending friendship and asking forgiveness for their own wrongful acts without reservation is part of this process. This enables Jains to get away from the tendency of finding fault in others, criticizing others and to develop habit of self-analysis, self-improvement and introspection.
Jains practice Samayika, which is a Sanskrit word meaning equanimity. During this practice, they remain calm and undisturbed. This helps in recollecting the teachings of Thirthankars and discarding sinful activities for a minimum of 48 minutes.
Jain sadhvis meditatingMahatma Gandhi was deeply influenced (particularly through the guidance of Shrimad Rajchandra) by Jain tenets such as peaceful, protective living and honesty, and made them an integral part of his own philosophy.
Jainism has several different traditions. Even though there are some little differences in customs and practices among them, they are inconsequential. Each tradition brings a unique perspective and completes the picture in the true sense of Non-Absolutism (Anekantvad). For this reason Jains are encouraged to keep their tradition, and at the same time respect other practices so as to complete the Jain view. All traditions unanimously accept and believe in the Jain philosophy including the major vows of Non-violence, Truthfulness, Non-stealing, Celibacy and Non-possession.
Jainism is mainly divided into two major sects, namely Shvetambar and Digambar. Jainism has a distinct idea underlying Tirthankar worship. The physical form is not worshiped, but their characteristics (virtues, qualities) are praised and emulated. Tirthankaras remain role-models, and sects such as the Sthanakavasi, Terapanth stringently reject idol worship. However Murtipujak and Digamabar sects allow praying before idol so as to assist in stimulating and focusing thoughts while praying.
Shvetambar- Murtipujak (Idol worshippers)
The monks and nuns of this sect wear white dress. Worship and spiritual endeavors are equal for both men and women. They worship and decorate the idols of Thirthankars.
Shvetambar – Sthanakvasi
This sect emphasizes on the study of scriptures (Agam) and following of Jain path to soul purification. They do not worship idols and therefore do not have temples. However, they build prayer halls (sthanaks) where they carry on their religious fasts, festivals, practices, prayers and discourses, etc. Further, the ascetics of Sthanakvasis cover their mouth with strips of cloth.
Shvetambar – Terapanth
Svetambar Terapanth sect arose from Sthanakvasis ascetic sect and was founded in 1760 A.D by Acharya Bhikshu. Terapanthis also do not worship idols and the ascetics use a piece of white cloth to cover their mouth. Ascetics of all Shvetambar sects use wooden pots for seeking alms.
In Digambar tradition idols of Thirthankars are worshipped. However they are not decorated with ornaments. The Digambar monks who have reached the highest stages of spiritual state do not wear any clothes. They carry in their hands a special kind of pot and a broom made of fallen peacock's feathers. They eat food once a day with both their palms folded in a shape of a bowl (without using plate).
Jain worship and rituals
Main article: Jain rituals and festivals
Jains praying at the feet of a statue of Lord Bahubali.
Om Hrim Siddhi Chakra used by Jains in dravya pujaEvery day most Jains bow and say their universal prayer, the "Namokara Mantra", also known variously as Navkar Mantra, Parmesthi Mantra, Panch Namaskar Mantra. The purpose of jain worship or prayer is to break the barriers of the worldly attachments and desires, so as to assist in the liberation of the soul. Jain rituals in general include:
Panch-kalyanak Pratishtha, Installation with five auspicious events.
Pratikramana, Repentance of sins.
Guru Vandana, Chaitya Vandana, and other sutras to honor ascetics.
Over time, some sections of Jains also pray deities, which are yakshas and yakshinis.
There are basically two types of prayers:
Dravya Puja (with symbolic offerings of material objects)
Bhav Puja (with deep feeling and meditation)
The material offerings made during the prayer are merely symbolic and are for the benefit of the offerer. The action and ritual of offering keeps the mind in meditative state. The symbolism of prayer is so strong it assists the devotee to concentrate on the virtues of Arihantas and Thirthankaras. Above all, prayer is not performed with a desire for any material goal. Jains are clear that the Jinas reside in moksha and are completely detached from the world. Jains have built temples where idols of tirthankaras are revered. Rituals include offering of symbolic objects and praising Tirthankaras in song. There are some traditions within Jainism which have no prayer at all, and are focused on meditation through scripture reading and philosophical discussions.
Preparation for Prayer
Body Cleansing: A bath should be taken before the prayer. A clean body prepares and assists the mind to be in spiritual mode. This is also symbolic of washing one's dirt or karmas. In order to assist in the meditative process place saffron paste or sandal paste on ring finger and anoint the forehead. This may be applied to earlobes, neck and other acupressure parts of the body.
Clothes: Clean washed clothes that are simple worn. White clothing is preferred.
Ashta Prakari Puja (Eight Symbolic Offering Prayer)
Jala Puja (Water)
Water Symbolizes the life's ocean of birth, struggle and death. Every living being continuously travels through the cycles of birth, life, death and misery. This prayer reminds the devotee that he/she should live life with honesty, truthfulness, love and compassion toward all living beings.
Chandan Puja (Sandal-wood)
Sandal wood paste symbolizes Right Knowledge. During this prayer devotee reflect on the Right Knowledge with proper understanding of reality from different perspectives.
Pushpa Puja (Flower)
Flower symbolizes Right Conduct. The devotee reminds himself/herself that his/her conduct should be like flower which provides fragrance and beauty to all living beings without discrimination.
Dhup Puja (Incense)
The incense stick symbolizes renunciation. While burning itself, it provides fragrance to others. This reminds the devotee to live life for the benefit of others, which ultimately leads to liberation.
Deepak Puja (Oil Lamp)
The flame of the oil lamp represents pure consciousness or soul without any karmic bondages. The devotee reminds to follow the five major vows so as to attain liberation.
Akshat Puja (Rice)
One cannot grow rice plants by seeding the household rice. Symbolically it means that rice is the last birth. By doing this prayer, the devotee thrive to put all the efforts in this life so as to get fully liberated.
Naivedya Puja (Tasty food)
By doing this prayer, the devotee is thriving to reduce or eliminate attachment.
Fal Puja (Fruit)
Fruit symbolizes moksha or liberation. The devotee reminds to perform his/her duties without any expectation and have love and compassion for all living beings so as to attain the ultimate fruit which is moksha.
Dev Shastra Guru Puja (Prayer for Arihants/Siddhas, Scriptures, and Teachers)
Invocation begins with Namokar Mantra and Chattari Mangalam. In this prayer the devotee bows to Siddhas, scriptures and monks who are on the path of Right View, Knowledge and Conduct. This prayer is done by taking three full cloves and holding one clove at a time between two ring fingers while keeping the clove head pointed forward while offering and reciting. First Clove: The devotees think of the Arihants/Siddhas/Thirthankaras, Scriptures and Teachers, so that they come into their thoughts.
Second Clove: The devotees take the next step of retaining the above three in their thoughts.
Third Clove: The devotees take the last step of physically requesting them to be near them so as to guide them through on the right path.
The offerings here are similar to the Ashta Prakari Puja with flowers replaced with yellow rice, tasty food with white coconut, fruit with almond in its shell.
Barah Bhavana (12 reflections of mind) is sung as a song. After that prayer of peace for all living beings recited followed by Namokar Mantra.
At the conclusion, Visarjan (closing) prayer is recited, which means knowingly or unknowingly if any mistakes are committed during the prayer please forgive.
See also: Jain vegetarianism
All living beings require food for their survival. Jains practice strict vegetarianism. The practice of vegetarianism is instrument for the practice of non-violence and peaceful co-operative co-existence. They do not consume root vegetables such as potatoes, garlic, onions, carrots, radishes, cassava, sweet potatoes, turnips, etc, as the plant needed to be killed in the process of accessing these prior to their end of life cycle. In addition, the root vegetables interact with soil and therefore contain far more micro-organisms than other vegetables. However, they consume rhizomes such as dried turmeric and dried ginger. Brinjals are also not consumed by some Jains owing to the large number of seeds in the vegetable, as a seed is a form of life. Strict Jains do not consume food which has been left overnight, such as yogurt because large amounts of bacteria. Most Jain recipes substitute potato with Plantain.
Main article: Fasting in Jainism
Fasting is a tool for doing Tapa and to attach to your inner-being. It is a part of Jain festivals. It is three types based on the level of austerity; Uttam, Madhyam and Jaghanya; first being the most stringent:
1. Uttam: Renounce all worldly things including food & water on the day of fasting and eat only once on the eve & next day of fasting.
2. Madhyam: water is taken on the day of fast, but not the food.
3. Jaghanya: Eat only particular time on the day.
During fasting a person immerses himself in religious activities (worshiping, serving the saints & be in their proximity, reading scriptures, Tapa, and donate to the right candidates – Supatra). But before starting the fast Jains take a small vow known as pachkaan. A person taking the vow is bound to it and breaking it is considered to be a bad practice.
Most Jains fast at special times, like during festivals (known as Parva. Paryushana and Ashthanhika are the main Parvas which occurs 3 times in a year), and on holy days (eighth & fourteenth days of the moon cycle). Paryushana is the most prominent festival, lasting eight days for Svetambara Jains and ten days for Digambars, during the monsoon. The monsoon is considered the best time of fasting due to lenient weather. However, a Jain may fast at any time, especially if he/she feels some mistake(negative karma generally known as paap has been committed. Variations in fasts encourage Jains to do whatever they can to maintain self control.
A unique ritual in this religion involves a holy fasting until death; it is called sallekhana. Through this one achieves a death with dignity and dispassion as well as no more negative karma. When a person is aware of approaching death, and feels that s/he has completed all duties, s/he willingly ceases to eat or drink gradually. This form of dying is also called Santhara / Samaadhi. It can be as long as 12 years with gradual reduction in food intake. Considered extremely spiritual and creditable, with all awareness of the transitory nature of human experience, it has recently led to a controversy. In Rajasthan, a lawyer petitioned the High Court of Rajasthan to declare santhara illegal. Jains see santhara as spiritual detachment, a declaration that a person has finished with this world and now chooses to leave. This choice however requires a great deal of spiritual accomplishment and maturity as a pre-requisite.
TYPES Of FASTING 1. Aathai: A person practicing this form of fasting, will not eat any thing for eight days. During this period, they live only by drinking previously boiled water (8 hours ago at the maximum). They drink water after going to temple or after prayer that is done after 11'o clock and before sunset. Normally on 8th day of fasting, the success is celebrated by the community by organising a procession to the temple. On the 9th day, the person will stop fasting. The relatives and friends will come and help the person to break the fast. 2. Masskhaman: A person practicing this form of fasting, will not eat any thing for thirty days. During this period, they live by drinking previously boiled water. Normally on 30th day of fasting their successful completion is celebrated. 3.Aorie: In this practice, for 9 days food taken without any one of important additive that provide taste such as Ghee (clarified butter), Spices, Salt, etc. 4.Varshitap: This is difficult form of fasting and demands a high level of skill and discipline. Lord Rishabh did not eat or drink water for 400 days. It is possible for people to try a variation of Varshitap by eating every alternate days, in general. They can eat only twice in every alternate days, but in between during some special calendar events, they may have to fast longer periods
Further information: Timeline of Jainism
Parshvanatha, the twenty-third Tirthankar, is the earliest Jain leader who can be reliably dated. As noted, however, Jain mythology asserts that the line of Tirthankars in the present era began with Rushabhdeva; moreover, Jains themselves believe that Jainism has no single founder, and that it has always existed and will always exist, although it is occasionally forgotten by humans.
According to scholars, Parshvanatha probably lived in the 9th Century BC. In the sixth century BC, Vardhamana Mahavira became one of the most influential Jainism teachers. He built up a large group of disciples that learned from his teachings and followed him as he taught an ascetic doctrine in order to achieve enlightenment. The disciples referred to him as Jina, which means "the conqueror" and later his followers would use this title to refer to themselves.
It is generally accepted that Jainism started spreading in south India from the third century BC. i.e. since the time when Badrabahu, a preacher of this religion and the head of the monks' community, came to Karnataka from Bihar.
Kalinga (modern Orissa and Osiaji) was home to many Jains in the past. Rushabh, the first Tirthankar, was revered and worshipped in the ancient city Pithunda. This was destroyed by Mahapadma Nanda when he conquered Kalinga and brought the statue of Rushabhanatha to his capital in Magadh. Rushabhanatha is revered as the Kalinga Jina. Ashoka's invasion and his Buddhist policy also subjugated Jains greatly in Kalinga. However, in the 1st century BC Emperor Kharvela conquered Magadha and brought Rushabhnath's statue back and installed it in Udaygiri, near his capital, Shishupalgadh. The Khandagiri and Udaygiri caves near Bhubaneswar are the only surviving stone Jain monuments in Orissa. Earlier buildings were made of wood and were destroyed.
Deciphering of the Brahmi script by James Prinsep in 1788 enabled the reading of ancient inscriptions in India and established the antiquity of Jainism. The discovery of Jain manuscripts has added significantly to retracing Jain history. Archaeologists have encountered Jain remains and artifacts at Maurya, Sunga, Kishan, Gupta, Kalachuries, Rashtrakut, Chalukya, Chandel and Rajput as well as later sites. Several western and Indian scholars have contributed to the reconstruction of Jain history. Western historians like Bühler, Jacobi, and Indian scholars like Iravatham Mahadevan, worked on Tamil Brahmi inscriptions.
Geographical spread and influence
Jain temple in RanakpurThis pervasive influence of Jain culture and philosophy in ancient Bihar may have given rise to Buddhism. The Buddhists have always maintained that during the time of Buddha and Mahavira (who, according to the Pali canon, were contemporaries), Jainism was already an ancient, deeply entrenched faith and culture there. (For connections between Buddhism and Jainism see Buddhism and Jainism). Over several thousand years, Jain influence on Hindu philosophy and religion has been considerable, while Hindu influence on Jain rituals may be observed in certain Jain sects. Certain Vedic Hindu holy books contain beautiful narrations about various Jain Tirthankaras (e.g., Lord Rushabdev). There have been no wars fought in the name of Jainism.
With 10 to 12 million followers, Jainism is among the smallest of the major world religions, but in India its influence is much greater than these numbers would suggest. Jains live throughout India. Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat have the largest Jain populations among Indian states. Karnataka, Bundelkhand and Madhya Pradesh have relatively large Jain populations. There is a large following in Punjab, especially in Ludhiana and Patiala, and there used to be many Jains in Lahore (Punjab's historic capital) and other cities before the Partition of 1947, after which many fled to India. There are many Jain communities in different parts of India and around the world. They may speak local languages or follow different rituals but essentially follow the same principles.
Jain temple in Antwerp, BelgiumJains has a significance presence in the Southern Indian State of Karnataka from a long time. The holy Moodabidre,famously renouned as 'Southern Kashi' has 1000 pillar temple(????? ???? ????). Shravanabelagola has world famous monolithic statue of Lord Bahubali. Similar Monolithic statues of Lord Bahubali can be also seen in Venur, Dharmasthala, Karkala and Mysoreas well. In all of the above mentioned places, holy festival of Mahamastakabhisheka will be held every 12 years once where in the statue of the lord will be worshiped and bathed in Holy water, Milk, Turmeric and other natural herbs which has its own significant importance.
Outside India, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and East Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) have large Jain communities. The first Jain temple to be built outside India was constructed and consecrated in the 1960s in Mombasa, Kenya, by the local Gujarati community, although Jainism in the West mostly came about after the Oshwal and Jain diaspora spread to the West in the late 1970s and 1980s. Jainism is presently a strong faith in the United States and several dozen Jain temples have been built there, primarily by the Gujarati community. American Jainism accommodates all the sects. Smaller Jain communities exist in Nepal, South Africa, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Fiji, and Suriname. In Belgium the very successful Indian diamond community, almost all of whom are Jain, are also establishing a temple to strengthen Jain values in and across Western Europe.
Timeline of various splits in JainismJain sangha is divided into two major sects, Digambar and Svetambar. The differences between the two sects are minor and relatively obscure. Digambar Jain monks do not wear clothes because they believe clothes, like other possessions, increase dependency and desire for material things, and desire for anything ultimately leads to sorrow. Svetambar Jain monks, on the other hand, wear white, seamless clothes for practical reasons, and believe there is nothing in Jain scripture that condemns wearing clothes. Sadhvis (nuns) of both sects wear white. In Sanskrit, ambar refers to a covering generally, or a garment in particular. Dig, an older form of disha, refers to the cardinal directions. Digambar therefore means "covered by the four directions", or "sky-clad". Svet means white and Svetambars wear white garments. As nudity is impractical for women, it follows that without it they cannot attain moksha. This is based on the belief that women cannot reach perfect purity (yathakhyata), "Their lack of clothes can, therefore, be a hindrance to their leading a holy life". The earliest record of this belief is contained in the Prakrit Suttapahuda of the Digambara mendicant Kundakunda (c. second century A.D. )..
Digambars believe that Mahavir remained unmarried, whereas Svetambars believe Mahavir did marry a woman who bore him a daughter. The two sects also differ on the origin of Mata Trishala, Mahavira's mother. Digambars believe that only the first five lines are formally part of the Namokara Mantra (the main Jain prayer), whereas Svetambaras believe all nine form the mantra. Other differences are minor and not based on major points of doctrine.
Excavations at Mathura revealed many Jain statues from the Kushana period. Tirthankaras, represented without clothes, and monks with cloth wrapped around the left arm are identified as Ardhaphalaka and mentioned in some texts. The Yapaniya sect, believed to have originated from the Ardhaphalaka, follows Digambara nudity, along with several Svetambara beliefs.
Svetambaras are further divided into sub-sects, such as Sthanakavasi, Terapanthi and Deravasi. Some are murtipujak (revering statues) while non-Murtipujak Jains refuse statues or images. Svetambar follow the 12 agam literature (voice of omniscient).
Most simply call themselves Jains and follow general traditions rather than specific sectarian practices. In 1974 a committee with representatives from every sect compiled a new text called the Samana Suttam.
Main article: Jain symbols
The hand with a wheel on the palm symbolizes the Jain Vow of Ahimsa, meaning non-violence. The word in the middle is "Ahimsa". The wheel represents the dharmacakra, to halt the cycle of reincarnation through the pursuit of truth.
The swastika is among the holiest of Jain symbols. Worshippers use rice grains to create a swastika around the temple altar.The holiest symbol is a simple swastika. A Jain swastika is normally associated with the three dots on the top accompanied with a crest and a dot. Another important symbol incorporates a wheel on the palm of a hand, symbolizing Ahimsa. Other major Jain symbols include:
24 Lanchhanas (symbols) of the Tirthankaras
Triratna (three umbrellas, signifying triple gems of Jainism) and Shrivatsa symbols
A Tirthankar's or Chakravarti's mother dreams
Dharmacakra and Siddha-chakra
Eight auspicious symbols (The Asta Mangalas). Their names are (in series of pictures)
1.Swastika -Signifies peace and well-being
2.Shrivatsa -A mark manifested on the centre of the Jina's chest, signifying a pure soul.
3.Nandyavartya -Large swastika with nine corners
4.Vardhamanaka -A shallow earthen dish used for lamps, suggests an increase in wealth, fame and merit due to a Jina's grace.
5.Bhadrasana -Throne, considered auspicious because it is sanctified by the blessed Jina's feet.
6.Kalasha -Pot filled with pure water signifying wisdom and completeness
7.Minayugala -A fish couple. It signifies Cupid's banners coming to worship the Jina after defeating the God of Love
8.Darpana -The mirror reflects one's true self because of its clarity
Jain contributions to Indian culture
A Jain temple in Kochi, Kerala, India.While Jains represent less than 1% of the Indian population, their contributions to culture and society in India are significant. Jainism had a major influence in developing a system of philosophy and ethics that had a great impact on all aspects of Indian culture. Scholarly research and evidences have shown that philosophical concepts considered typically Indian – Karma, Ahimsa, Moksa, reincarnation and like – either originate in the sramana school of thought or were propagated and developed by Jaina and Buddhist teachers.
Jains have also contributed to the culture and language of the Indian states Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Gujarat and Rajasthan. Great ancient Tamil books titled Silapathigaram, Seevaka Sinthamani, Manimegalai, Naaladiyar, etc. were written by Jain scholars. In the beginning of the medieval period, between the 9th and 13th centuries, Kannada writers were predominantly of the Jain and Veerashaiva faiths. Jains were the earliest known cultivators of Kannada literature, which they dominated until the 12th century. Jain authors wrote about Jain Tirthankars and other aspects of the Jain religion. Pampa (Kannada: ???, born 902 C.E.), also known as Adikavi Pampa (Kannada: ?????? ???), is one of the greatest Kannada poets of all time and was the court poet of Chalukya King Arikesari, a Rashtrakuta feudatory. The works of Jain writers Adikavi Pampa, Sri Ponna and Ranna, collectively called the "three gems of Kannada literature", heralded the age of classical Kannada in the 10th century. The earliest known Gujarati text, Bharat-Bahubali Ras, was written by a Jain monk. Some important people in Gujarat's Jain history were Acharya Hemacandra Suri and his pupil, the Chalukya ruler Kumarapala.
Doorway detail of a Dilwara Temple.Jains are among the wealthiest Indians. They run numerous schools, colleges and hospitals and are important patrons of the Somapuras, the traditional temple architects in Gujarat. Jains have greatly influenced Gujarati cuisine. Gujarat is predominantly vegetarian (see Jain vegetarianism), and its food is mild as onions and garlic are omitted. Though the Jains form only 0.42% of the population of India, their contribution to the exchequer by way of income tax is an astounding 24% of the total tax collected.
Jains encourage their monks to do research and obtain higher education. Jain monks and nuns, particularly in Rajasthan, have published numerous research monographs. This is unique among Indian religious groups and parallels Christian clergy. The 2001 census states that Jains are India's most literate community and that India's oldest libraries at Patan and Jaisalmer are preserved by Jain institutions.
Sanskrit manuscript about dreams of Mahaviras' mother TrishalaJains have contributed to India's classical and popular literature. For example, almost all early Kannada literature and many Tamil works were written by Jains.
Some of the oldest known books in Hindi and Gujarati were written by Jain scholars. The first autobiography in Hindi, Ardha-Kathanaka was written by a Jain, Banarasidasa, an ardent follower of Acarya Kundakunda who lived in Agra.
Many Tamil classics are written by Jains or with Jain beliefs and values as the core subject.
Practically all the known texts in the Apabhramsha language are Jain works.
The oldest Jain literature is in Shauraseni and Ardha-Magadhi Prakrit (Agamas, Agama-Tulya, Siddhanta texts, etc.). Many classical texts are in Sanskrit (Tatvartha Sutra, Puranas, Kosh, Sravakacara, mathematics, Nighantus etc.). "Abhidhana Rajendra Kosha" written by Acharya Rajendrasuri, is only one available Jain encyclopedia or Jain dictionary to understand the Jain Prakrit, Sanskrit, and Ardha-Magadhi and other Jain languages, words, their use and references with in oldest Jain literature. Later Jain literature was written in Apabhramsha (Kahas, rasas, and grammars), Hindi (Chhahadhala, Mokshamarga Prakashaka, and others), Tamil (Jivakacintamani, Valayapathi, Naaladiyaar and others), and Kannada (Vaddaradhane and various other texts). Jain versions of Ramayana and Mahabharata are found in Sanskrit, Prakrit, Apabhramsha and Kannada.
Jainism and other religions
See also: Buddhism and Jainism, Islam and Jainism, and Jainism and Sikhism
Jains are not a part of the Vedic Religion (Hinduism). Ancient India had two philosophical streams of thought: The Shramana philosophical schools, represented by Jainism movement, and the Brahmana/Vedic/Puranic schools represented by Vedanta, Vaishnava and other movements. Both streams have existed side by side for few thousands of years, influencing each other.
The Hindu scholar, Lokmanya Tilak credited Jainism with influencing Hinduism and thus leading to the cessation of animal sacrifice in Vedic rituals. Bal Gangadhar Tilak has described Jainism as the originator of Ahimsa and wrote in a letter printed in Bombay Samachar, Mumbai:10 December 1904: "In ancient times, innumerable animals were butchered in sacrifices. Evidence in support of this is found in various poetic compositions such as the Meghaduta.
Swami Vivekananda also credited Jainism as influencing force behind the Indian culture and said:
"What could have saved Indian society from the ponderous burden of omnifarious ritualistic ceremonialism, with its animal and other sacrifices, which all but crushed the very life of it, except the Jain revolution which took its strong stand exclusively on chaste morals and philosophical truths? Jains were the first great ascetics and they did some great work. "Don't injure any and do good to all that you can, and that is all the morality and ethics, and that is all the work there is, and the rest is all nonsense." And then they went to work and elaborated this one principle all through, and it is a most wonderful ideal: how all that we call ethics they simply bring out from that one great principle of non-injury and doing good."
Relationship between Jainism and Hinduism – According to the Encyclopædia Britannica Article on Hinduism,"...With Jainism which always remained an independent Indian religion. Hinduism has some common concepts and practices, that nowadays some Hindus tend to consider Jainism as Hindu sect.
Independent Religion – From the Encyclopædia Britannica Article on Jainism: "...Along with Hinduism and Buddhism, it is one of the three most ancient Indian religious traditions still in existence. ...While often employing concepts shared with Hinduism and Buddhism, the result of a common cultural and linguistic background, the Jain tradition must be regarded as an independent phenomenon. It is an integral part of South Asian religious belief and practice, but it is not a Hindu sect or Buddhist heresy, as earlier scholars believed." The author Koenraad Elst in his book, Who is a Hindu?, summarises on the similarities between Jains and the mainstream Hindu society.
Monier Williams, in his article of Jainism, mentions that Jains outdo every other Indian sect in carrying the prohibition of violence to the most extent.
Main article: Jain monasticism
Mulnayak Shri Adinath Bhagwan, Bibrod Jain Temple, Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh, IndiaIn India there are several Jain Monks, in categories like Acharya, Upadhyaya and Muni. Trainee ascetics are known as Ailaka and Ksullaka in the Digambar tradition.
There are two categories of ascetics, Sadhu (monk) and Sadhvi (nun). They practice the five Mahavratas, three Guptis and five Samitis:
Five major vows (Mahavrata)
Non-violence (Ahimsa): Non-violence in thought, word and deed so as not to cause harm to any living beings
Truthfulness (Satya): Truth which is (hita) beneficial, (mita) succinct and (priya) pleasing. In other words, to speak the harmless truth
Non-stealing (Astey): Not to take anything that has not been given to them willingly by the owner
Chastity (Brahmacarya): Absolute purity of mind and body without indulging in sensual pleasure
Non-possession (Aparigraha): Exercise no attachment or aversion to all people, places and material objects around.
Three Restraints (Gupti)
Control of the mind (Managupti)
Control of speech (Vacanagupti)
Control of body (Kayagupti)
Five Carefulness (Samiti)
Carefulness while walking (Irya Samiti)
Carefulness while communicating (Bhasha Samiti)
Carefulness while eating (Eshana Samiti)
Carefulness while handling their fly-whisks, water gourds, etc. (Adana Nikshepana Samiti)
Carefulness while disposing of bodily waste matter (Pratishthapana Samiti)
Male Digambara monks do not wear any clothes and are nude. They practice non-attachment to the body and hence, wear no clothes. Shvetambara monks and nuns wear white clothes. Shvetambaras believe that monks and nuns may wear simple un-stitched white clothes as long as they are not attached to them. Jain monks and nuns travel on foot. They do not use mechanical transport.
Digambar followers take up to eleven Pratimaye (oath). The Male Digambar monk eat standing at one place in their palms without using any utensil. They eat only once a day.
Languages used in Jain literature
Jains literature exists mainly in Prakrit, Sanskrit, Tamil, Rajasthani, Hindi, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Tulu, Dhundhari (Old Marwari), and more recently in English.
Constitutional status of Jainism in India
Main article: Legal status of Jainism as a distinct religion in India
In 2005 the Supreme Court of India declined to issue a writ of Mandamus towards granting Jains the status of a religious minority throughout India. The Court noted that Jains have been declared a minority in five states already, and left it to the rest of the States to decide on the minority status of Jain religion.
In 2006 the Supreme Court in a judgment pertaining to a state, opined that "Jain Religion is indisputably not a part of the Hindu Religion". (para 25, Committee of Management Kanya Junior High School Bal Vidya Mandir, Etah, Uttar Pradesh v. Sachiv, U.P. Basic Shiksha Parishad, Allahabad, U.P. and Ors., Per Dalveer Bhandari J., Civil Appeal No. 9595 of 2003, decided On: 21.08.2006, Supreme Court of India