Girnar Jain temples
The group temples of Jainism are situated on the Mount Girnar situated near Junagadh in Junagadh district, India. There temples are sacred to the Svetambara branches of Jainism. According to Jain religious beliefs, the 22nd Tirthankara Neminath became an ascetic after he saw the slaughter of animals for a feast on his wedding, he came to Mount Girnar to attain salvation. He Moksha on the Mount Girnar, his bride-to-be Rajulmati renounced and became a nun. Girnar was anciently called Raivata or Ujjayanta, sacred amongst the Jains to Neminath, the 22nd Tirthankar, a place of pilgrimage before 250 BCE. Situated on the first plateau of Mount Girnar at the height of about 3800 steps, at an altitude of 2370 ft above Junagadh, still some 600 ft below the first summit of Girnar, there are Jain temples with marvelous carvings in marble; some 16 Jain temples here form a sort of fort on the ledge at the top of the great cliff. These temples are along the west face of the hill, are all enclosed; the Neminath temple is the largest temple of the group standing in a quadrangular court 195 x 130 feet.
The temple was rebuilt by Sajjana, the governor of Saurashtra appointed by Jayasimha Siddharaja, in 1129 CE. There is an inscription on one of the pillars of the mandapa stating that it was repaired in 1278 CE, it consists of two rangamandapa halls with two porches and a central shrine, which contains a large black image of Neminath sitting in the lotus position holding a conch in his palm. The principal hall in front of the central shrine measures across from door to door inside 41' 7" x 44' 7" from the shrine door to that leading out at the west end; the roof is supported by 22 square columns of granite coated with white lime while the floor is of tessellated marble. Round the central shrine is a circumambulatory passage with many images in white marble including that of a Ganesha and a Chovishi or slab of the twenty four Tirthankara. Between the outer and inner halls are two shrines; the outer hall measures 38' x 21' 3". The outer hall has two small raised platforms paved with slabs of yellow stone, covered with representations of feet in pairs called padukas, which represent the 2452 feet of the Gandharas, first disciples of Tirthankaras.
On the west of this is a closed entrance with a porch overhanging the perpendicular scarp of the hill. On two of the pillars of the mandapa are inscriptions dated 1275, 1281, 1278 — dates of restoration; the enclosure in which these rangamandapas and the central shrine are situated, is nearly surrounded inside by 70 little cells, each enshrining a marble image on a bench, with a covered passage running round in front of them lighted by a perforated stone screen. The principal entrance was on the east side of the court. On south side, there is a passage leading with granite pillars in lines. Opposite the entrance is a recess containing two large black images. Behind these figures is a room from, a descent into a cave, with a large white marble image, concealed, it has a slight hollow in the shoulder, said to be caused by water dropping from the ear, whence it was called Amijhara, "nectar drop". There are few shrines in the court dedicated to Jain monks. In the North porch are inscriptions which state that in Samwat 1215 certain Thakurs completed the shrine, built the Temple of Ambika.
There is a small temple of Adinath behind the Neminath temple facing west, built by Jagmal Gordhan of Porwad family in VS 1848 under guidance of Jinendra Suri. There are three temples to the left of the passsage from the north porch of the Neminath temple. Of them, the temple on the south contains a colossal image of Adinatha, the first Tirthankar like that at Palitana temples; the image is in standing meditating position On the throne of this image is a slab of yellow stone carved in 1442, with figures of the 24 Tirthankars. On the north, opposite the Adabadji temple, there is Panchabai's or Panchmeru temple, built in VS 1859, it contains spires each enshrining quadruple images. West of Panchmeru temple, there is a large temple; the temples is called Merakavasahi or Merakavashi due to false identification. Madhusudan Dhaky noted that the Merakavasahi was a small shrine somewhere near east gate of Neminatha temple while the current temple is large one and outside the north gate of the Neminatha temple.
Based on its architecture, Dhaky dates the temple to 15th century and notes that it is mentioned as Kharataravasahi built or restored by Bhansali Narpal Sanghavi in the old itineraries of Jain monks. The temple is depicted in the Shatrunjaya-Giranar Patta dated 1451 CE in Ranakpur temple so it must have built before it; the temple may have been built as early as 1438 CE. Dhaky believes that the temple may have been built on the site of the Satyapuravatara Mahavira's temple built by Vastupala. According to an anecdote said by modern Jain writers, the minister of Chaulukya king Siddharaja Jayasimha, built the Neminatha temple using the state treasury; when he collected the funds to return as a compensation, the king declined to accept it so the funds were used to built the temple. Dhaky concludes that the anecdote is false. Sahastraphana Parshwanatha, the image, consecrated in 1803 CE by Vijayajinendra Suri, is the central deity in the temple; the temple housed the golden image of Mahavira and brass images of Shanti
Ethics of Jainism
Jain ethical code prescribes two dharmas or rules of conduct. One for those who wish to become ascetic and another for the śrāvaka. Five fundamental vows are prescribed for both votaries; these vows are observed by śrāvakas and are termed as anuvratas. Ascetics observe these fives vows more and therefore observe complete abstinence; these five vows are: Ahiṃsā Satya Asteya Brahmacharya Aparigraha According to Jain text, Puruşārthasiddhyupāya:All these subdivisions are hiṃsā as indulgence in these sullies the pure nature of the soul. Falsehood etc. have been mentioned separately only to make the disciple understand through illustrations. Apart from five main vows, a householder is expected to observe seven supplementary vows and last sallekhanā vow. Mahavrata are the five fundamental observed by the Jain ascetics. According to Acharya Samantabhadra’s Ratnakaraņdaka śrāvakācāra:Abstaining from the commitment of five kinds of sins by way of doing these by oneself, causing these to be done, approval when done by others, through the three kinds of activity, constitutes the great vows of celebrated ascetics.
Ahimsa is formalised into Jain doctrine as the foremost vow. According to the Jain text, Tattvarthsutra: "The severance of vitalities out of passion is injury." Satya is the vow to not lie, to speak the truth. A monk or nun must not speak the false, either be silent or speak the truth. According to Pravin Shah, the great vow of satya applies to "speech and deed", it means discouraging and disapproving others who perpetuate a falsehood; the underlying cause of falsehood is passion and therefore, it is said to cause hiṃsā. Asteya as a great vow means not take anything, not given and without permission, it applies to anything if unattended or unclaimed, whether it is of worth or worthless thing. This vow of non-stealing applies to action and thought. Further a mendicant, states Shah, must neither encourage others to do so nor approve of such activities. According to the Jain text, Puruṣārthasiddhyupāya:Driven by passions, taking anything that has not been given be termed as theft and since theft causes injury, it is hiṃsā According to Tattvarthasutra, five observances that strengthen this vow are: Residence in a solitary place Residence in a deserted habitation Causing no hindrance to others, Acceptance of clean food, Not quarreling with brother monks.
Brahmacharya as a great vow of Jain mendicants means celibacy and avoiding any form of sexual activity with body, words or mind. A monk or nun should not enjoy sensual pleasures, which includes all the five senses, nor ask others to do the same, nor approve of another monk or nun engaging in sexual or sensual activity. According to Tattvarthsutra, "Infatuation is attachment to possessions". Jain texts mentions that "attachment to possessions is of two kinds: attachment to internal possessions, attachment to external possessions; the fourteen internal possessions are: Wrong belief The three sex-passions Male sex-passion Female sex-passion Neuter sex-passion Six defects Laughter Liking Disliking Sorrow Fear Disgust Four passions Anger Pride Deceitfulness GreedExternal possessions are divided into two subclasses, the non-living, the living. According to Jain texts, both internal and external possessions are proved to be hiṃsā; the five great vows apply only to ascetics in Jainism, in their place are five minor vows for householders.
The historic texts of Jains accept that any activity by a layperson would involve some form of himsa to some living beings, therefore the minor vow emphasizes reduction of the impact and active efforts to protect. The five "minor vows" in Jainism are modeled after the great vows, but differ in degree and they are less demanding or restrictive than the same "great vows" for ascetics. Thus, brahmacharya for householders means chastity, or being sexually faithful to one's partner. States John Cort, a mendicant's great vow of ahimsa requires that he or she must avoid gross and subtle forms of violence to all six kinds of living beings. In contrast, a Jain householder's minor vow requires no gross violence against higher life forms and an effort to protect animals from "slaughter, beating and suffering". Apart from five fundamental vows seven supplementary vows are prescribed for a śrāvaka; these include four śikşā vratas. The vow of sallekhanâ is observed by the votary at the end of his life, it is prescribed both for the householders.
According to the Jain text, Puruşārthasiddhyupāya:The man who incessantly observes all the supplementary vows and sallekhanâ for the sake of safeguarding his vows, gets fervently garlanded by the maiden called'liberation'. Digvrata- restriction on movement with regard to directions. Bhogopabhogaparimana- vow of limiting consumable and non-consumable things Anartha-dandaviramana- refraining from harmful occupations and activities. Samayika- vow to meditate and concentrate periodically. Desavrata- limiting movement to certain places for a fixed period of time. Prosadhopavâsa- Fasting at regular intervals. Atihti samvibhag- Vow of offering food to the ascetic and needy people. An ascetic or householder who has observed all
Paryushana is the most important annual holy events for Jains and is celebrated in August or September in Hindi calendar Bhadrapad Month's Shukla Paksha. It lasts 10 days for Digambara sect of Jains. Jains increase their level of spiritual intensity using fasting and prayer/meditation to help; the five main vows are emphasized during this time. There are no set rules, followers are encouraged to practice according to their ability and desires. Digambaras refer it as Das Lakshana Dharma while Śvētāmbaras refer to it as Paryushana; the duration of Paryushana is for eight days for Śvētāmbara Jains and ten days for Jains belonging to the Digambara sect. The festival ends with the celebration of Kshamavani. Paryushana means "abiding and coming together", it is a time when the Jains take on vows of fasting. The Digambara Jains recite the ten chapters of the sacred Jain text, Tattvartha Sutra on ten days of fasting. Digambaras celebrate Ananta Chaturdashi. Many towns have a procession leading to the main Jain temple.
Ananta Chaturdashi marks the day. At the conclusion of the festival, followers request forgiveness from others for any offenses committed during the last year. Forgiveness is asked by saying Micchami Dukkadam to others, which means, "If I have offended you in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought, word or action I seek your forgiveness." During the eight-day festival, the Śvētāmbara Murtipujakas recite the Kalpa Sūtra, which includes a recitation of the section on birth of Mahavira on the fifth day. Some Śvētāmbara Sthānakavāsīs recite the Antagada Sutra, which details the life of great men and women who attained moksha during the eras of Neminatha and Mahavira. During Paryushana, Jains observe a fast; the span of the fast can last from a day to 30 days or more. In Digambara Jainism, śrāvakas do not take food and/or water more than once in a day when observing fasts, while Śvētāmbaras observing a fast survive on boiled water, consumed only between sunrise and sunset. At the conclusion of the festival, śrāvakas request each other for forgiveness for all offenses committed during the last year.
This occurs on the Paryusha day for Śvētāmbaras and on the Prathama of the month of Ashvin Krashna for Digambaras. Forgiveness is asked by saying Micchami Uttam Kshama to each other, it means "If I have caused you offence in any way, knowingly or unknowingly, in thought word or deed I seek your forgiveness". Das-Dharma are mentioned in Tattvartha Sutra; these are: Uttam Kshama - उत्तम क्षमा Uttam Mardava - उत्तम मार्दव Uttam Aarjava - उत्तम आर्जव Uttam Satya - उत्तम सत्य Uttam Soch - उत्तम सोच Uttam Sanyam - उत्तम संयम Uttam Tap - उत्तम तप Uttam Tyaga - उत्तम त्याग Uttam Aakinchanya and - उत्तम अकिंचन्य Uttam Brahmcharya - उत्तम बह्मचर्यIn the full form, it is a 10-day vrata that comes every year. It may be undertaken during Shukla Panchami to Chaturdashi of Magh or Chaitra months; however it is common to do it during Bhadrapada. The Das-dharmas are all prefixed by the word ‘Uttam’ to signify that they are practiced at the highest level by the Jain monks; the householder practises them to a lesser extent.
It lasts over a period of ten days, each day being dedicated to one of the ten Dharmas. In the sections below a) stands for the temporary point of view of modes and modification b) stands for the permanent point of view of underlying substance. A) We forgive those who have wronged us and seek forgiveness from those we have wronged. Forgiveness is sought not just from human colleagues, but from all living beings ranging from one sensed to five sensed. If we do not forgive or seek forgiveness but instead harbor resentment, we bring misery and unhappiness on ourselves and in the process shatter our peace of mind and make enemies. Forgiving and seeking forgiveness oils the wheel of life allowing us to live in harmony with our fellow beings, it attracts meritorious karma. B) Forgiveness here is directed to oneself; the soul, in a state of mistaken identity or false belief, assumes that it consists of the body, the karmas and the emotions – likes, anger, pride etc. As a result of this incorrect belief, it inflicts pain upon itself and is thus the cause of its own misery.
Nischay Kshama Dharma teaches the soul to identify itself by encouraging it to contemplate in its true nature and hence achieve the state of right Belief. It is only by achieving Samyak Darshan that the soul ceases to inflict pain on itself and attains supreme happiness. A) Wealth, good looks, reputable family or intelligence lead to pride. Pride means to believe one to look down on others. By being proud you are measuring your worth by temporary material objects; these objects will either leave you or you will be forced to leave them when you die. These eventualities will cause you unhappiness as a result of the ‘dent’ caused to your self-worth. Being humble will prevent this. Pride leads to the influx of the bad karmas. B) All the souls are equal, none being superior or inferior to another; the Nischay view encourages one to understand their true nature. All souls have the potential to be liberated souls; the only difference between the liberated souls and those in bondage is that the former have attained liberation as a result of their ‘effort’.
With effort the latter can achieve liberation. A) The action of a deceitful pe
Jain cosmology is the description of the shape and functioning of the Universe and its constituents according to Jainism. Jain cosmology considers the universe, as an uncreated entity, existing since infinity, having neither beginning nor end. Jain texts describe the shape of the universe as similar to a man standing with legs apart and arm resting on his waist; this Universe, according to Jainism, is broad at the top, narrow at the middle and once again becomes broad at the bottom. According to Jains, the Universe is made up of six simple and eternal substances called dravya which are broadly categorized under Jiva and Ajiva as follows: Jīva Jīva i.e. Souls – Jīva exists as a reality, having a separate existence from the body that houses it, it is characterised by upayoga. Though the soul experiences both birth and death, it is neither destroyed nor created. Decay and origin refer to the disappearing of one state of soul and appearing of another state, these being the modes of the soul. Ajīva Pudgala – Matter is classified as solid, gaseous, fine Karmic materials and extra-fine matter i.e. ultimate particles.
Paramāṇu or ultimate particle is the basic building block of all matter. The Paramāṇu and Pudgala are indestructible. Matter combines and changes its modes but its basic qualities remain the same. According to Jainism, it destroyed. Dharma-dravya and Adharma-dravya – Dharmastikāya and Adharmastikāya are distinctly peculiar to Jaina system of thought depicting the principle of Motion and Rest, they are said to pervade the entire universe. Dharma and Adharma are by itself not motion or rest but mediate motion and rest in other bodies. Without Dharmastikāya motion is not possible and without Adharmastikāya rest is not possible in the universe. Ākāśa – Space is a substance that accommodates the living souls, the matter, the principle of motion, the principle of rest and time. It is all-pervading and made of infinite space-points. Kāla – Kāla is an eternal substance according to Jainism and all activities, changes or modifications can be achieved only through the progress of time. According to the Jain text, Dravyasaṃgraha: Conventional time is perceived by the senses through the transformations and modifications of substances.
Real time, however, is the cause of imperceptible, minute changes that go on incessantly in all substances. The Jain doctrine postulates an eternal and ever-existing world which works on universal natural laws; the existence of a creator deity is overwhelmingly opposed in the Jain doctrine. Mahāpurāṇa, a Jain text authored by Ācārya Jinasena is famous for this quote: According to Jains, the universe has a firm and an unalterable shape, measured in the Jain texts by means of a unit called Rajju, supposed to be large; the Digambara sect of Jainism postulates that the universe is fourteen Rajju high and extends seven Rajjus from north to south. Its breadth is seven Rajjus at the bottom and decreases till the middle where it is one Rajju; the width increases till it is five Rajju and again decreases till it is one Rajju. The apex of the universe is one Rajju wide and eight Rajju high; the total space of the world is thus 343 cubic Rajju. The svetambara view differs and postulates that there is constant increase and decrease in the breadth and the space is 239 cubic Rajju.
Apart from the apex, the abode of liberated beings, the universe is divided into three parts. The world is surrounded by three atmospheres: dense-wind and thin-wind, it is surrounded by infinitely large non-world, empty. The whole world is said to be filled with living beings. In all the three parts, there is the existence of small living beings called nigoda. Nigoda are of two types: Itara-nigoda. Nitya-nigoda are those which will reborn as nigoda throughout eternity where as Itara-nigoda will be reborn as other beings too; the mobile region of universe is one Rajju broad and fourteen Rajju high. Within this, there are animals and plants everywhere where as Human beings are restricted to 2.5 continents of middle world. The beings inhabiting lower world are called Naraki. Deva live in top three realms of lower world. Living beings are divided in fourteen classes: 1. Fine beings with one sense. 2. Crude beings with one sense. 3. Beings with two sense. 4. Beings with three sense. 5. Beings with four sense. 6.
Beings with five sense without mind. 7. Beings with five sense with a mind; these can be developed which makes it a total of fourteen. Human beings are the only ones which can attain salvation; the early Jains contemplated the nature of the earth and universe and developed a detailed hypothesis on the various aspects of astronomy and cosmology. According to the Jain texts, the universe is divided into 3 parts: Urdhva Loka – the realms of the gods or heavens Madhya Loka – the realms of the humans and plants Adho Loka – the realms of the hellish beings or the infernal regionsThe following Upanga āgamas describe the Jain cosmology and geography in a great detail: Sūryaprajñapti – Treatise on Sun Jambūdvīpaprajñapti - Treatise on the island of Roseapple tree.
History of Jainism
History of Jainism is the history of a religion founded in Ancient India. Jains trace their history through twenty-four tirthankara and revere Rishabhanatha as the first tirthankara; some artifacts found in the Indus Valley civilization have been suggested as a link to ancient Jain culture, but this is speculative and a subjective interpretation. This theory has not been accepted by most scholars because little is known about the Indus Valley iconography and script; the last two tirthankara, the 23rd tirthankara Parshvanatha and the 24th tirthankara Mahavira are considered historical figures. Mahavira was the elder contemporary of the Buddha. According to Jain texts, the 22nd Tirthankara Arshth-nemi lived about 85,000 years ago and was the cousin of Hindu god Krishna. Jains consider their religion eternal; the two main sects of Jainism, the Digambara and the Śvētāmbara sect started forming about the 3rd century BCE and the schism was complete by about 5th century CE. These sects subdivided into several sub-sects such as Sthānakavāsī and Terapanthis.
Jainism co-existed with Hinduism in ancient and medieval India. Many of its historic temples were built near the Buddhist and Hindu temples in 1st millennium CE. After the 12th-century, the temples and naked ascetic tradition of Jainism suffered persecution during the Muslim rule, with the exception of Akbar whose religious tolerance and support for Jainism led to a temporary ban on animal killing during the Jain religious festival of Paryusan; the origins of Jainism are obscure. The Jains claim their religion is eternal, consider Rishabhanatha the founder in the present time-cycle, someone who lived for 8,400,000 purva years. Rishabhanatha is the first tirthankar among the 24 Tirthankaras who are considered mythical figures by historians. Different scholars have had different views on the origin; some artifacts found in the Indus Valley civilization have been suggested as a link to ancient Jain culture, but this is speculative. According to a 1925 proposal of Glasenapp, Jainism's origin can be traced to the 23rd Tirthankara Parshvanatha, he considers the first twenty-two tirthankaras as legendary mythical figures.
According to another proposal by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the first vice president of India, Jainism was in existence long before the Vedas were composed. Jain texts and tradition believes in 24 Tirthankaras. Historians only consider the last two based on historical figures of the 1st millennium BCE. Buddhist sources don't mention Mahavira as a founder of new the tradition, but as part of an ascetic Nirgranthas tradition; this has led scholars to conclude that Mahavira was not the founder, but a reformer of a tradition established by his predecessor, Parsvanatha. During the 6th century BCE, Mahāvīra became one of the most influential teachers of Jainism. Jains revere him as the last tirthankara of present cosmic age. Though, Mahavira is sometimes mistakenly regarded as the founder, he appears in the tradition as one who, from the beginning, had followed a religion established long ago. There is reasonable historical evidence that the 23rd Tirthankara, the predecessor of Mahavira, lived somewhere in the 9th–7th century BCE.
Neminatha was the predecessor of Parshvanatha, 84,000 years ago, 22nd Tirthankara of the Jain tradition. The texts of Jainism call the Hindu god Krishna a cousin of Neminatha, say that Neminatha taught Krishna all the wisdom that he gave to Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita. According to Jeffery D. Long, a professor of Religion known for his publications on Jainism, this connection between Krishna and Neminatha has been a historic reason for Jains to accept and cite the Bhagavad Gita as a spiritually important text, celebrate Krishna related festivals and intermingle with Hindus as spiritual cousins; the Vedas mention the name Rishabha. However, the context in the Rigveda and the Upanishads suggests that it means the bull, sometimes "any male animal" or "most excellent of any kind", or "a kind of medicinal plant". Elsewhere it is an epithet for the Hindu god Shiva. Hindu mythical texts such as the Bhagavata Purana include Rishabha Jina as an avatar of Vishnu. After the nirvana of Parshvanatha, his disciple Subhadatta became the head of the monks.
Subhadatta was succeeded by Haridatta, Aryasamudra and lastly Kesi. Uttaradhyayana, a Svetambara text have records of a dialogue between Kesi; the Tirthankaras are believed in the Jain tradition to have attained omniscience, known as kevala jnana. After Mahavira, one of his disciples Sudharma Svami is said to have taken over the leadership, he was the head of Jain community till 515 BCE. After his death, Jambuswami, a disciple of Sudharma Svami became the head of the monks, he was the head till 463 BCE. Sudharma Svami and Jambu Svami are traditionally said to have attained keval jnana, it is said. After Sudharma svami, there followed five sutrakevalis, i.e. those who were well versed in the scriptures, who headed the monks of the Jain community. Bhadrabahu was the last sutrakevali. After Bhadrabahu, there were seven leaders. Knowledge of the scriptures was progressively being lost with each in turn. During Chandragupta Maurya's reign, Acharya Bhadrabahu moved to Karnataka to survive a twelve-year-long famine.
Sthulabhadra, a pupil of Acharya Bhadrabahu, stayed in Magadha. When followers of Acharya Bhadrabahu returned, there was a dispute between them regarding the authenticity of the Angas; those who stayed at magadha started wea
Jain symbols are symbols based on the Jain philosophy. The swastika is an important Jain symbol; the four arms of the swastika symbolize the four states of existence as per Jainism: Heavenly beings Human Benefits Hellish being Tiryancha It represents the perpetual nature of the universe in the material world, where a creature is destined to one of those states based on their karma. In contrast to this circle of rebirth and delusion is the concept of a straight path, constituted by correct faith and conduct, visually symbolized by the three dots above the running cross of swastika, which leads the individual out of the transient imperfect world to a permanent perfect state of enlightenment and perfection; this perfect state of liberation dot at the top of the svastika. It represents the four columns of the Jain Sangha: sadhus, sadhvis and shravikas - monks and female and male laymen, it represents the four characteristics of the soul: infinite knowledge, infinite perception, infinite happiness, infinite energy.
The hand with a wheel on the palm symbolizes Ahimsa in Jainism. The word in the middle is "ahiṃsā"; the wheel represents the dharmachakra, which stands for the resolve to halt the saṃsāra through the relentless pursuit of Ahimsa. In 1974, on the auspicious 2500th anniversary of the nirvana of the last Jain Tirthankara, the Jain community at large collectively chose one image as an emblem to be the main identifying symbol for Jainism. Since this emblem is used in all of Jain magazines, on wedding cards, on Jain festival cards and in magazines with links to events related to Jain society; the Jain emblem is composed of symbols. The outline of the image represents the universe as described in Jain Agamas, it consists of three Loks. The upper portion indicates heaven, the middle portion indicates the material world and the lower portion indicates hell; the semi-circular topmost portion symbolizes siddhashila, a zone beyond the three realms. All of the siddhas or liberated bodiless souls reside on this forever, liberated from the cycle of life and death.
The three dots on the top under the semi-circle symbolize the Ratnatraya – right belief, right knowledge, right conduct. Every creature in this world can become free from the cycle of death; this gives the message. In the top portion, the swastika symbol is present; the symbol of hand in the lower portion shows fearlessness and symbolizes the feeling of ahimsa towards all the creatures in this world. The circle in the middle of the hand symbolizes saṃsāra and the 24 spokes represent the preachings from the 24 Tirthankaras, which can be used to liberate a soul from the cycle of reincarnation; the meaning of the mantra at the bottom, Parasparopagraho Jivanam, is "All life is bound together by mutual support and interdependence." In short, the Jain emblem represents many important concepts to show the path to enlightenment by following the basic principles of ahimsa, the Ratnatraya and Parasparopagraho Jivanam. It is important that an emblem or symbol is used in the same format to preserve its value and the meaning.
There are many variations of the symbol in use currently. However, they do not show all the fundamental concepts embedded in the current emblem. For example, JAINA in North America uses a modified version of the standard Jain symbol, it replaces the swastika with Om. The Jain flag depicts the panch parmeshtis: Arihantas: enlightened beings Siddhas: liberated souls Acharyas: spiritual leaders Upadhyays: spiritual teachers Sadhus and Sadhvis: spiritual practitioners In Jainism, Om is considered a condensed form of reference to the Pañca-Parameṣṭhi, by their initials A+A+A+U+M; the Dravyasamgraha quotes a Prakrit line: oma ekākṣara pañca-parameṣṭhi-nāmā-dipam tatkathamiti cheta "arihatā asarīrā āyariyā taha uvajjhāyā muṇiyā" AAAUM is one syllable short form of the initials of the five parameshthis: "Arihant, Acharya, Muni". The Om symbol is used in ancient Jain scriptures to represent the five lines of the Navakar mantra, the most important part of the daily prayer in the Jain religion; the Navakar mantra honors the panch parmeshtis.
The Ashtamangala are a set of eight auspicious symbols. There is some variation among different traditions concerning the eight symbols. In the Digambara tradition, the eight symbols are: Parasol Dhvaja Kalasha Fly-whisk Mirror Chair Hand fan VesselIn the Śvētāmbara tradition, the eight symbols are: Swastika Srivatsa Nandavarta Vardhmanaka Bhadrasana Kalasha Darpan Pair of fish Dharmachakra, Kalasha, Ashoka Tree and Nandavart. Jain temple Jansma, Rudi. Shrotri, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 81-208-1376-6 Titze, Kurt.
In Jainism, a tīrtha is used to refer both to pilgrimage sites as well as to the four sections of the sangha. A tirtha provides the inspiration to enable one to cross over from worldly engagement to the side of moksha. Jain tirthas are located throughout India. A tirtha has a number of temples as well as residences for the pilgrims and wandering monks and scholars. Tirtha sites include: Siddhakshetras or site of moksha liberation of an arihant or Tirthankaras like Ashtapada Hill, Girnar, Palitana, Mangi-Tungi and Champapuri Atishayakshetras where divine events have occurred like Mahavirji, Kundalpur, Aharji etc. Puranakshetras associated with lives of great men like Ayodhya, Vidisha and Rajgir Gyanakshetra: associated with famous acharyas or centers of learning like Mohankheda and Ladnu Geographically, the tirthas are divided into six quarters: North India: Hastinapur and Ashtapada South India: Shravanabelagola, Moodabidri, Anantnath Swami Temple, Gummileru Eastern India: Shikharji, Champapuri, Pundravardhana Western India: Palitana, Mount Abu, Shankheshwar, Mahudi Central India: Vidisha, Sonagiri, Muktagiri Overseas: Siddhachalam, Nava Ashtapada, Siddhayatan Jain temple Vividha Tirtha Kalpa Tirtha jainuniversity.org, Jain Tirtha all over India http://www.jainteerth.com http://tirth.jinvani.com http://www.jainpilgrimages.com http://www.jaintirths.com http://www.siddhayatan.org First Hindu-Jain Tirth in North America http://www.jainheritagecentres.com Shri Nageshwar Parshwanath Jain Tirth Darshan on jainreligion.in