In the Jainism, there is a great deal of importance given to the leshya. A leshya refers to the state of mind. Our activities reflect the state of our mind. The following illustration shows how our activities vary with the state of our mind.

Once there were six friends, who were going on a trip. Along the way, they got lost in a forest. After a while they were hungry and thirsty. They searched for the food for sometime, and finally found a fruit tree.

As they ran to the tree, the first man said, “Let’s cut the tree down and get the fruit.” The second one said, “Don’t cut the whole tree down, cut off a big branch instead.” The third friend said, “Why do we need a big branch? A small branch has enough fruit.” The fourth one said, “We do not need to cut the branches, let us just climb up and get the bunches of the fruit.” The fifth man said, “Why pick those many fruit and waste them, instead just pick the fruit that we need to eat.” The sixth friend said quietly, “There are plenty of good fruit on the ground, so let’s just eat them first.”

You can see that the states of minds of these six friends caused a range of thoughts that begin with the destruction of the entire tree and ended with the picking up of the fruits on the ground. The six friends’ minds represent six types of leshyas.

The first friend’s state of mind represents krishna (black) leshya.

The second friend’s state of mind represents neel (blue) leshya.

The third friend’s state of mind represents kapot (brown) leshya.

The fourth friend’s state of mind represents tejo (red) leshya.

The fifth friend’s state of mind represents padma (yellow) leshya.

The sixth friend’s state of mind represents shukla (white) leshya.

The first leshya is the worst and the sixth leshya is the best. The first three leshyas lead the soul to ruin, and the last three lead the soul to the spiritual prosperity. We know that our minds run into different states all the times for the better or for the worst.. Therefore, we should strive for the white leshya, and not the red leshya. The story of King Prasenjit, who lived during Lord Mahavira’s time, illustrates how fast the surrounding can effect our mind and in turn our leshyas as well as our spiritual progress.

One day, King Shrenik was on his way to pay homage to Lord Mahavira, and he saw a sage who was meditating and had a bright glow around him. He bowed down to

the sage and continued on his way. After reaching Lord Mahavira, King Shrenik asked the Lord, “Oh Lord, I saw a brilliant sage who was engaged in the meditation. If he died at that moment, what would be his destiny?”

The Lord replied, “He would have been hurled down to the seventh hell-region.”

The king was much astonished to hear this reply from the Lord. He thought,

“Why would such a sage go to hell? Perhaps the Lord might have misunderstood

me.” He asked the Lord again, “Oh Lord, if his soul leaves this body just now, where will it go?”

The Lord replied, “He will be an angel in the Sarvarthasiddhi, a heavenly region.”

The king was much surprised at this reply, too. He thought, “The Lord first said he would attain the seventh hell, and now he says that the sage would be an angel.” The king was perplexed. At that very moment, drums began sounding in the sky and voices of ‘victory’ were proclaimed. The king asked the Lord, “What is the cause of these sounds?”

The Lord said, “Oh, king, the sage about whom you were inquiring has acquired

omniscience and so the angels are beating the drums and proclaiming the ‘Victory’.”

The king was extremely confused by these answers and requested for the explanations.

So Lord Mahavira explained, “Oh king, right before you approached the sage, two soldiers leading your procession diverted his mind by their conversation that his son was betrayed by his entrusted ministers and they were planning to overthrow his son and even kill him. His meditation was disturbed due to rising of the affection for his son. He was inflamed with rage, and he lost his mental equanimity. Therefore, he started mentally to fight against his ministers. He very violently discharged his weapons one after the other against his ministers. Soon his weapons were exhausted and his foes were not destroyed. So, he thought of throwing his steel helmet against them in order to destroy them. If he would have died at that moment, he would have gone to the 7th hell. Now as he reached for the steel helmet, he realized that he was not the King Prasenjit, but that he was a sage. His anger calmed down immediately. He remembered that he has been initiated into the vow of equanimity and of non-violence to all living beings mentally, verbally, and physically. He deeply regretted and repented for the breach of his vow and indulgence in the acute anger. He further thought that he ought to have maintained love for all the creatures of the world, ought to have no malice for the ministers, and no attachment for his son. He severely condemned his mental act. He despised it and withdrew himself from such a feat of anger and malice. Oh king, when he thought this way, you asked me the next question and I replied that he would be born in the Sarvarthasiddhi (heaven) as an angel. Even thereafter, he continued the purification of his mental reflections and gradually he reached the stage of ‘Kshapaka’, where he annihilated all of his ghati karmas, and attained omniscience.”

King Shrenik’s doubts were resolved and he learned how mental reflections can fluctuate. He, also learned that not only can physical acts or verbal abuses have such devastating effects, but so can mental acts. We, too, must learn from this episode. Let us understand how a person with the different leshyas behaves and what are the outcome of such leshyas.

  1. Krishna (Black) Leshya: The people in this state of mind do not show any compassion or mercy. Everyone is afraid of them as their anger turns into the violence. They always burn with jealousy and have ill-will for everyone. They are filled with animosity and malice, and do not believe in the religion. This state of mind is the worst and most dangerous. If anyone dies in this state of mind, he will to hell.
  2. Neel (Blue) Leshya: The people in this state of mind are proud, haughty, and lazy. They are unreliable and other people avoid their company. They are cheaters, cowards, and hypocrites. Such people also avoid the religious discourses. If anyone dies in this state of mind, he gets reborn as a plant.
  3. Kapot (Brown) Leshya: The people in this state of mind always remain sad and gloomy. They find faults in others and are vindictive. They boast about themselves, become excited over small matters, and lack mental balance. If anyone dies in this state of mind, he gets reborn as a bird or an animal.
  4. Tejo (Red) Leshya: People in this state of mind are very careful about their actions and discriminate between good and evil. They know the difference between what is right and what is wrong. They are kind, benevolent, religious, and lead a harmonious life. If anyone dies in this state of mind, may get reborn as a human being.
  5. Padma (Yellow) Leshya: People in this state of mind are kind and benevolent and forgive everyone, even their enemies. They observe some austerities and are vigilant in keeping their vows till their last breath. They remain unaffected by joys and sorrows. If anyone dies in this leshya, he gets reborn in heaven as a celestial being.
  6. Shukla (White) Leshya: There are two levels of this leshyas. The People in this state of mind strictly observe the principles of non-violence, truth, non-stealing, celibacy, and non-attachment. They are trustworthy, treat every soul as if it was their own soul, and do not have any ill feelings even for their enemies. They remain calm even if someone abuses them. If anyone dies in this state of mind, he gets reborn as a human being or an angel. The people who have perfected this state of mind where there is no more attachment or hatred and treat everyone alike. They do not become happy or sad. Their state of mind is the purest. If anyone dies in this perfected state of mind, he or she will be liberated from the cycle of birth and death.


Bhavana means reflection or contemplation. We are always thinking of something which may be near us or could even be as far away as the other end of the world. This thinking may cause happiness, sorrow, anger, greed, jealousy, or egoism, etc.  And depending upon how we react, we attract different types of karmas to our souls. No prudent person would like to attract bad karma and at certain stages any karma at all. But it is not as easy as turning off a switch. So to minimize the bondage of karmas, the Jina have taught us to observe sixteen Bhavanas. Of them the following four can easily be practiced by the householders while the rest of twelve may be observed once we become more serious about spiritual uplift.

1) Maitri Bhavana (Thinking of being a Friend)

2) Pramod Bhavana (Thinking of Appreciation)

3) Karuna Bhavana (Thinking of Compassion)

4) Madhyastha Bhavana (Thinking to stay neutral or uninvolved)

Let us understand how these bhavanas play important roles in our lives, how they can keep us away from bad karmas, and ultimately how they can improve our overall chances to uplift our souls.

  1. Maitri Bhavana (Thinking of the Friendship) Lord Mahävira said, “We must be friend to all living beings.” The feeling of friendship brings love and respect to others. It also initiates a feeling of brotherhood among all and in turn leaves no room for the harm, deceit or quarrelsomeness with anybody. If we contemplate on Maitri Bhavana, our thoughts, words, and actions will not be harsh, and we will not hurt anybody. On the contrary, we will support and protect everybody. Friendship will lead us to be tolerant, forgiving, and caring for one another. Therefore, if we develop a friendship with all living beings, we will avoid bad karma.
  2. Pramod Bhavana (Thinking of the Appreciation) In this bhavana, we admire the success of our friends, spiritual leaders, and the Arihants. One of the most destructive forces in our lives is jealousy. However, friendship combined with the admiration, destroys jealousy . As jealousy subsides, negative impulses are turned into positive ones, and in due time, we will be at peace.
  3. Karuna Bhavana (Thinking of the Compassion) Instead of succeeding, many of our friends may be getting into trouble for the things that can be avoided and should not be done. Even some of those who are successful may be accumulating vices such as greed and ego. They are not on the right path. They may be weak, helpless, and in distress. At a time like this, we should contemplate on the karuna Bhavana and show compassion for them instead of disgust or hate. We should show them the right path with the patience, tolerance, and forgiveness and offer them the needed support. This way we can avoid accumulating bad karma for us as well as for them.
  4. Madhyastha Bhavana (Think of staying neutral or uninvolved) The life appears to be nothing but involvement. Sometimes the situation works out favorably and sometimes it does not. So instead of getting disappointed, angry, or more involved, we should contemplate on Madhyastha Bhavana which leads to the feeling that “I did my best to resolve the situation.” This leads our mind to decide that if someone does not want to understand, then leave that person alone without getting further involved. We should simply hope that one of these days, that person may understand things and change. By observing Madhyastha Bhavana, we remain in equanimity, instead of provoking turmoil in our minds. When our mind stays neutral and uninvolved, then the karma stay away.

In short, we can avoid the influx of bad karmas and live peacefully in this worldly life by developing friendships with all living beings, admiring their success, holding their hands when they are in the distress, and leaving them alone at the times when they do not understand what is right or wrong. So until it becomes the natural way of life to observe the above bhavanas, one should contemplate on them as many times as needed. If there is a goal, then there is an achievement!


As a student, you have seen that some students do very well in class even when they don’t study, while others struggle to maintain their good grades in spite of studying very hard. In the same way, you might have heard that for some people the money come easily, while others cannot even find a job. You might have also heard that some people stay sick all the time, while others never get sick. You might have heard someone lives over hundred years, while someone dies as a young child. Everybody is looking for an answer to these strange disparity. Some may say it is the God’s will, others may say it is his luck, and so on. The Jainism says every thing happens due to the result of our past doings. You reap what you saw and no God or someone else can make this happen or change.

We and only we are the reason for our suffering or happiness. This can be explained by the theory of Karma. Therefore, it is very important that we understand this process very clearly. It also explains what karmas are, why and what role karmas play in our life (with soul), and how do we accumulate different kinds of karmas as well as how we get rid of them.

If you sit back and think, then you will realize that you are doing something all the time. Sometimes you might be talking or listening if you are not doing anything physically or you might be thinking. So you are always busy doing something. This is our nature. These activities may involve harm to others or help to others. We do not realize that everything we do brings karmas to our souls. When these karmas are mature that is when they are ready to depart form the soul that process results into happiness or suffering in our lives. This is how the karmas are responsible for our happiness or suffering.

Karmas are the derivatives of the karman particles. The Karman particles are made up of the non-living matter (pudgals). They are scattered and floating all over the universe (Lok). They are very very fine particles and we are neither able to see them with our eyes or with the regular microscope. A cluster of such innumerable karman particles is called a karman vargana. The karman varganas is one of the eight kinds of pudgal varganas. The karman vargana has the most subtle particles. When the soul acts with a passion like aversion or attachment; or anger, greed, ego, or deceitfulness, it attracts these karman varganas to itself. When these karman varganas get attached to the soul, they are called karmas. Karmas are classified into eight categories depending upon their nature. The karmas can be good (punya) or bad (Pap). The good karmas are the result of good or pious activities while the bad karmas are the result of bad or sinful activities.


Once again as said earlier, whenever, we think, talk or do something, karman varganas are attracted to our soul, and get attached to it and these karman varganas are then called the karmas. This process is also called the bondage of karmas to the soul. When our activities are unintentional or without any passions, these karmas are called the Dravya Karmas. On the other side, when our activities are intentional or with passions, like anger, ego, greed and deceit these karmas are called the Bhava Karmas. The passions work as the gluing factors, and that is why the bhava karmas stay for a longer time with the soul while dravya karmas fall off almost immediately and easily from the soul.

Our activities are:

  1. physical,
  2. verbal or
  3. mental

We further do these activities in three different ways,

  1. We do the activities ourselves,
  2. We ask someone else to do for us, or
  3. We encourage someone else to carry on these activities.

Thus, in different combinations, we do our activities in nine different ways that cause bondage of the karmas to the soul. At the time of the bondage of karmas to the soul, the following four characteristics are determined about the karmas. They are:

What Kind of (Nature) Karmas will these be?

  1. How many Karma particles (Quantity) will attach?
  2. How long (Duration) will these karmas stay with soul?
  3. How strong (Intensity) will be the bondage of these karmas?

The nature and the quantity of the bondage of the karmas depend on the vigor of activities while the duration and the intensity of the bondage of the karmas depend on the intensity of the desires behind those activities.


Depending upon the nature of the results of the karmas, they are grouped into eight types. They are:

  1. Knowledge-Obscuring (Jnanavarniya) Karma
  2. Perception-Obscuring (Darshanavarniya) Karma
  3. Obstructive (Antaräy) Karma
  4. Deluding (Mohniya) Karma
  5. Feeling-Producing (Vedniya) Karma
  6. Body-Determining (Nam) Karma
  7. Status-Determining (Gotra) Karma
  8. Age-Determining (Ayushya) Karma

These eight karmas are also grouped into two categories,

  1. Destructive (Ghati) Karmas
  2. Non-destructive (Aghati) Karmas

Ghati means destruction. Those karmas that destroy the true nature of the Soul are called destructive or ghati karmas. Those karmas that do not destroy the true nature of the soul, but only affect the body in which the soul resides are called non-destructive or Aghati karmas. The first four types of karmas from above list are destructive (ghati) karmas, and last four are non-destructive (aghati) karmas.


If the physical vigor of our activities is weak, then we accumulate smaller number of karman particles, but if the physical vigor is stronger, then we accumulate larger number of karman particles on our soul.


Duration of the karmic particles on the soul is decided by how intense are our desires at the time of our activities. If the desire for the activity is mild, then the duration of the bondage will be for a short time, but on the other side if the desire is stronger, then the duration of the bondage will be for a long time. The minimum time could be a fraction of a second and a maximum time could be thousands or even millions of years.


The intensity of karmas depends upon how intense our passions are at the time of our activities. The lesser the intensity of our passions, the less strong is the resulting bondage; the greater the intensity the more stronger the resulting bondage.

The intensity of the bondage of the karmas to the soul is described in four different levels.

  1. Loose Bondage: This would be like a loose knot in the shoe string which can easily be untied. Same way, the Karmas which are attached loose to the soul could be easily untied (shed off) by simple thing like repentance.
  2. Tight Bondage: This would be a tight knot which needs some efforts to untie it. Same way, the Karmas which are attached tight to the soul could be untied (Shed off) with some efforts like the atonement.
  3. Tighter Bondage: This would be a tighter knot which needs too much efforts to untie it. Same way, the Karmas which are attached tighter to the soul could be untied (Shed off) with special efforts like the austerities.
  4. Tightest Bondage: This would be a knot which could not be untied no matter how hard you work at it. Same way, the Karmas which are attached so tight to the soul would not shed off by any kind of efforts but we would have to bear their results to shed off.

There are the few terms, which we should know, are related to the bondage and the manifestation of the karmas.

  1. Bandh means when the bondage of the karmas to the soul happen.
  2. Uday means when the karmas mature at their own set time and manifest their results. (As the karmas mature and give the results they fall off the soul.)
  3. Udirana means when the karmas are brought to the maturity prior to their set time of maturity with the active efforts like penance, active sufferings, etc.
  4. Satta means when the karmas are bonded with the soul in the dormant form and are yet to mature.
  5. Abadhakal means the duration of the bondage of the karmas to the soul. It starts from the time of their bondage to the soul until their maturity.

Many of us do nothing special but just wait for accumulated karmas to mature (to produce their results) and fall off thinking that they can’t do anything about them. But by understanding udirna, we should realize that we can do something to our accumulated karmas. We don’t have to wait for them to fall off themselves if we want to accelerate our progress. Because, we can get rid off accumulated karmas ahead of their due time by special efforts. This means we have a control on our own destiny (to liberate) and it is us not God or someone else who decides when that will happen. Now it may be more clearer why many people follow austerities or take up monkshood or nunhood.


We are always busy doing something good that may be helping others or being bad and causing trouble to others. When we help someone, not only does it bring comfort to that someone, but it also brings us comfort by punya. But when we cause trouble for others, it causes us to suffer too due to pap (sins). The kinds of activities that cause others to suffer are called sinful activities and they can range in various levels from a simple tale-telling to the killing. In Jainism such activities are divided into 18 categories and they are considered the sources of the sins that lead to bad karmas or pap. These pap cause trouble in our current lives as well as future lives, too. Therefore, we should be careful not to carry out any of thefollowing 18 sinful activities, which are interconnected with one another.

  1. Pranatipata (Violence)
  2. Mrushavada (Untruth)
  3. Adattadan (Theft)
  4. Maithun (Unchaste)
  5. Parigraha (Possessiveness)
  6. Krodh (Anger)
  7. Mana (Arrogance)
  8. Maya (Deceit)
  9. Lobh (Greed)
  10. Rag (Attachment)
  11. Dwesh (Hatred)
  12. Kalah (Quarreling)
  13. Abhyakhyan (Accusation)
  14. Paishunya (Gossip)
  15. Parparivada (Criticism)
  16. Liking and disliking (Rati-arati)
  17. Maya-mrushavada (Malice)
  18. Mithya-darshan-shalya (Wrong beliefs)

Let us discuss about them one by one.

Pranatipata: This word is formed by two words. 1) pran means vitalities of living being, and 2) atipata means to kill or to hurt. Therefore, Pranatipata means to cause suffering or kill any of the vitalities of living beings. This is caused by our physical activities as well as by our harsh words, or even by our thoughts. Physical violence is easy to understand. Even then non-vegetarian people do not realize that by eating eggs, chicken, poultry products, fish, sea food, or flash they are causing violence. Hunting or fishing games also cause violence. Verbal violence is caused by name calling, and offensive, hateful, bitter or harsh words or sentences. Let us explain mental violence with an example. Ramesh is a tall and heavy guy and he beats up Anil every now and then. Anil is a skinny guy and can not win Ramesh physically. So, Anil thinks that he will make a friendship with some bully guy and ask him for the help. He also thinks on various other ways to get even with him. During all these thoughts, even though he does not undertake any physical action but his feelings were to hurt Ramesh so he gets sins (pap) as if he was hurting Ramesh. Thus mental thoughts affects us same way as do physical or verbal expressions. Thinking is tremendously faster, easier, and has no inhibition factors than actual physical or verbal activity and hence it increases the potential of accumulation of pap (or even punya due to good thoughts) much faster and more easily.

Some other forms of violence are piercing, crushing, binding, torturing, and overloading the animals; starving or not feeding at proper times, and exploiting laborers. Cosmetics, ivory, silk clothes, or leather articles involve the direct or indirect injury to the animals and are reasons for accumulation of sins. One should be careful even while walking, running, sitting that one does not step on the small insects like ants and tiny bugs. We should be careful not to walk on plants or grass because they have life. Taking such care is called “Jatna” “Upayoga” in Jainism. Therefore, we should be very careful and live a simple peaceful life. This leads one to be compassionate and tolerant of others.

Mrushavada: It is formed of two words. 1) Mrusha means lie, and 2) Vada means to tell or speak. So mrushavada means to tell a lie. Most common causes to speak a lie are anger, greed, fear, and deception. Some other kinds of lies are spreading rumors, revealing the secrets, writing false documents, or not returning someone other’s things that were given for safekeeping. Besides accumulating pap, by lying we lose our friends. Therefore, we should not tell lies.

Adattadan: It is formed of two words. 1) Adatta means without permission, and 2) adan means to take. To take a thing without the permission of the owner or to steal is known as adattadan. To acquire something which does not belong to us by adopting wrong means is also considered stealing. Even if we do not steal directly, but ask or encourage someone else to do so, or receive or buy stolen property, evade the tax, adulterate, keep false weights and measures to deceive people, indulge in smuggling activities, then it is considered stealing. Once, we start doing such things, there will be no limit as to how far we would go. Moreover, this habit will bring calamity to other family members too. Therefore, we should not steal.

Maithun: Maithun means being unchaste or engaging in sensuous enjoyment. This occurs when we enter in improper sexual activities. In Jainism, there is no place for any pre or extra marital sexual relationship because excessive sensual desires brings bad karmas. Even within the bounds of marriage, it is advised to observe possible restraint. Unnatural gratification, indulging in profuse speech, excessive passion even for one’s own spouse are considered unchaste. A person who suffers from the high desire for lust and sensual pleasures cannot resist temptations and indulges in immoral deeds. If there is a control over the urge for material gratification, the sexual desire can be restrained.

Parigraha: Attachment to the worldly possessions is known as ‘parigraha’. Unlimited possessions and hoarding things beyond a person’s basic needs is considered a sin. This occurs when we try to accumulate more than our needs. We should not keep too many vehicles, too large a house, too many vacation homes, of too many things such as toys, furniture, clothes, etc. We should learn to live happily with what our needs are rather than accumulating more just because we like those things. This is easy to say, but rather hard to follow. We should remember that unnecessary accumulation is the root cause of all unrest and that keeps our craving alive for more possessions. Therefore, we should be content and should learn to control our desires

We discussed what is meant by sinful activities and what do they do to us. We also discussed first five activities namely, Violence (Pranatipata), Untruth (Mrushavada), Theft (Adattadan), Unchaste (Maithun), and Possessiveness (Parigraha) in the last chapter. Now we will discuss next six sins in this chapter.

Krodh: It means anger. Whenever we do not get what we want, we get upset and mad, and depending upon the situation either we throw the things, use the harsh words or have negative thoughts. When a person is angry, he cannot distinguish between right and wrong or good and bad. To overcome this anger, we should develop tolerance. This way, we can stay calm even if things do not look right. If we can achieve that, then there will be no place for quarrels around us and we will be able to live peacefully.

Mana: It means the ego. Egoism, pride, arrogance, self-admiration, and conceit are all synonymous. The ego means thinking too much of the self. Due to the ego, we tend to look down upon others. Ego can be overcome by cultivating the sense of the humbleness.

Maya: It means to deceive, cheat, or mislead. Deceit, cunning, and maya are synonymous. When we cheat and succeed in doing so, then that leads to ego because we feel proud of what we have done even though it was wrong. When we get caught cheating, then we get in big trouble. So instead of cheating, we should be honest.

Lobha: It means greed. When we have enough to meet our needs but we want more for the sake of having it, then this act is called greed. We should realize that there is no end to our desires. We should not forget that when we do not get what we want, we get angry. We become jealous of someone who may have what we want. To get what we want, we may use all means from a simple buy out to deception, stealing or even killing. Most of the wars between nations are the result of greed of one to take over the other. Therefore, instead of being greedy let us be content and share with others what we have. If everybody does that, then there will be peace and harmony among ourselves.

Raga: Raga means attachment. Suppose you went shopping at a clothing store and you saw pants that you liked. You checked the price tag and decided to forget it, but then you saw a T-shirt which was cute. You liked it very much and you wanted to buy that. You checked its price tag and it was high too. You thought, “Well, I will wait until it comes on the sale.” You kept on checking every two to three days to see if it was on the sale. Your coming back to the store was due to your attachment for that T-shirt. Attachment can be towards any thing including the relationship with spouse, parents, children, relatives, money, toys, clothes, house, etc. Sometimes this attachment can blind us to get what we want and to do so, we may even use harmful methods. Therefore, we should avoid developing attachments for things. After all that is not the only thing in the whole world. In other words, we should learn to live a life where it is all right whether we get what we like or not.

Dvesha: Dvesha means hatred. Every now and then, we may come across a situation where we do not like something. Most of the time we can ignore that, but sometimes it develops into the hatred towards someone. If the hatred is due to the loss of something, then it can turn into anger and may cause harm to others and to us. Hatred brings enmity. Instead, we should develop love and friendship for everybody. Even if someone is cruel to us, we should show compassion.

In the next chapter we will discuss the last 7 sinful activities namely, Quarreling (Kalah), Accusation (Abhyakhyan), Gossip (Paishunya), Criticism (Parparivada), Liking and disliking (Rati-arati), Malice (Maya-mrushavada) and Wrong beliefs (Mithya darshan shalya).

So far, we have discussed the first eleven sinful activities including, Violence (Pranatipata), Untruth (Mrushavada), Theft (Adattadan), Unchaste (Maithun), Possessiveness (Parigraha), Anger (Krodh), Arrogance (Mana), Deceit (Maya), Greed (Lobh), Attachment (Rag), and Hatred (Dwesh) in the last two chapters. We are going to discuss the rest of the seven sinful activities in this chapter.

Kalah: It means to fight. Most of the time, if we do not agree with others, the first thing we do is to fight. Many people fight even for a trivial matter. Sometimes, it may seem that we win by fighting, but we lose in the long run. Frustration or anger are the cause for fighting. We should not forget that fighting breaks up even a good friendship. Therefore, we should learn to let go and believe in forgiveness.

Abhyakhyan: Making false accusations on somebody is called abhyakhyan. Some persons cannot accept their losses and blame others for it even when the others are not at fault. When people find out the truth, they are going to lose trust in these people. Therefore, before accusing anyone, we should ask ourselves, “What is the truth and why am I looking for the short term gain?” No wise person will do this. Therefore, accept the truth and live by that even though sometime it may not be in our favor.

Paishunya: Talking behind someone’s back or spreading rumors are all known as paishunya. Many people try to look smart by spreading rumors about others. This is a wrong habit which leads to the unnecessary friction and the quarrels. This takes time away from constructive activities. Instead of indulging in the gossip, we should form the habit of appreciating others.

Parparivada: It is formed of two words. 1) Par means the other person and 2) parivada means to criticize. Many people do nothing but criticize others. Instead of admiring others, they always find faults instead. If criticism is done with the good intention of improvement cause, then it is considered positive or constructive criticism, and that is welcome. But if the criticism is done to put down others, then it is considered negative criticism and it should be avoided. It creates unnecessary friction, cultivates anger in the people, and can lead to unfortunate events.

Rati-arati: Rati means liking, while arati means disliking. When a friend comes to our house, we like him, but on the other side if a funny looking stranger comes to our door we dislike him. This liking or disliking seems to be a natural response but we should not forget that they can bring the feeling of attachment or hatred in our minds. Therefore, even though our expressions may look innocent, we should be careful about them and try to balance them.

Maya-mrushavada -Telling a malicious lie is called maya mrushavada. As such any lie is bad, but when it is done with the malice it is even worst. Malicious behavior causes nothing, but quarrel and friction. Not only should we avoid such habits, but we should stay away from those who have such habits. Instead of being vicious, we should be kind to the others.

Mithya-darshan-shalya: This word is combination of three words. 1) mithya means false, 2) darshan means the faith, and 3) shalya means a thorn. This means to believe in a false faith is a thorn. We know thorn never gives pleasure, but rather they always hurt. In the same way, keeping faith in a false belief will lead us to nothing but sufferings. False beliefs can start from believing in false teachers, false religions and false gods. False teachers are those who do not believe in the five major vows as prescribed by the Jinas. They promote violence, lying, stealing, immoral sensual activities, and possessiveness. These activities will bring our downfall. In the same way, false religions will promote teaching opposite of what the Jinas have taught. False religions would promote violence, anger, ego, deceit, and greed. They will nourish attachment and hatred. Therefore, that will be bad for us. In the same way, false god would be the one who is tinted with attachment and hatred. When someone is biased, he cannot give proper advice. But Jinas do not have any attachment or hatred; therefore, they do not expect anything from what they advise. There is no reason for them to give us any advice that will hurt us. They reached the higher state by following the same path they have shown us. They have taught us that we are our own savior, and only we can save ourselves. Thus, we should have faith in the right teachers, the right religion, and the right god if we want to stay away from the troubles.

So, from the discussion in the last three chapters, we can realize that any of these 18 types of sinful activities are harmful. As long as we are living, we are bound to undertake some of these activities, but we should be careful and replace the sinful activities with good activities to minimize harm to our souls. If we have to get involved in any sinful activity due to the unavoidable circumstances, then we should do it with regret, and repent for doing such acts but never enjoy doing it.

Jain monks and nuns (Sadhu or Muni Maharaj)

Main article: Jain Monks and Nuns

Mulnayak Shri Adinath Bhagwan ,Bibrod Tirth ,

In India there are thousands of 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 Mahavratas

  • Ahimsa: Non-violence in thought, word and deed
  • Satya: Truth which is (hita) beneficial, (mita) succinct and (priya) pleasing
  • Acaurya: Not accepting anything that has not been given to them by the owner
  • Brahmacarya: Absolute purity of mind and body
  • Aparigraha: Non-attachment to non-self objects

Three Guptis

  • Managupti: Control of the mind
  • Vacanagupti: Control of speech
  • Kayagupti: Control of body

Five Samitis

  • Irya Samiti: Carefulness while walking
  • Bhasha Samiti: Carefulness while communicating
  • Eshana Samiti: Carefulness while eating
  • Adana Nikshepana Samiti: Carefulness while handling their fly-whisks, water gourds, etc.
  • Pratishthapana Samiti: Carefulness while disposing of bodily waste matter

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). Monks take all eleven oaths. They eat only once a day. The Male Digambar monk (Maharajji) eat standing at one place in their palms without using any utensil.

Jain Festivities / AKA Parva

  • Paryushan Parva, 10/8 (Digambar/Svetamber) day fasts, and for observe, 10/8 important principles.
  • Mahavir Janma Kalyanak,[33] Lord Mahavir’s birth, it is popularly known as Mahavir Jayanti but the term ‘jayanti’ is inappropriate for a Tirthankar, as this term is used for mortals.
  • Kshamavaani, The day for asking everyone’s forgiveness.
  • Diwali, the nirvana day of Lord Mahavira
  • Astami / Chaturdashi, The day to learn the eight karmas. To release from the four gathis or bhava, Manushya, triyancha, Nariki, deva
  • Veerashasana jayanthi, The day divya dvani of lord mahaveera was heard from the samvathsarana.
  • Shrutha panchami, The completion day of the first grantha of shatkandagama. On this day the we do the jinavani pooja or stuti and read the granthas or Aagamas. i,e Davala, Jayadavala, Mahadavala ( 39 volumes ).

Karma theory

Main article: Karma in Jainism

Karma in Jainism conveys a totally different meaning than commonly understood in the Hindu philosophy and western civilization.[34] It is not the so called inaccessible force that controls the fate of living beings in inexplicable ways. It does not mean “deed”, “work”, nor invisible, mystical force (adrsta), but a complex of very fine matter, imperceptible to the senses, which interacts with the soul, causing great changes. Karma, then, is something material (karmapaudgalam), which produces certain conditions, like a medical pill has many effects.[35] According to Robert Zydendos, karma in Jainism is a system of laws, but natural rather than moral laws. In Jainism, actions that carry moral significance are considered to cause consequences in just the same way as physical actions that do not carry any moral significance. When one holds an apple in one’s hand and then let go of the apple, the apple will fall: this is only natural. There is no judge, and no moral judgment involved, since this is a mechanical consequence of the physical action.[36]

Customs and practices

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 relentless pursuit of truth.

Jain monks and nuns practice strict asceticism and strive to make their current birth their last, thus ending their cycle of transmigration. The laity, who pursue less rigorous practices, strive to attain rational perception and to do as much good as possible and get closer to the goal of attaining freedom from the cycle of transmigration. Following strict ethics, the laity usually choose professions that revere and protect life and totally avoid violent livelihoods.

Jains practice Samayika, which is a Sanskrit word meaning equanimity and derived from samaya (the soul). The goal of samayika is to attain equanimity. Samayika is begun by achieving a balance in time. If this current moment is defined as a moving line between the past and the future,samayika happens by being fully aware, alert and conscious in that moving time line when one experiences atma, one’s true nature, common to all life forms. Samayika is especially significant during Paryushana, a special period during the monsoon, and is practiced during the SamvatsariPratikramana ritual.

Jains believe that Devas (demi-gods or celestial beings) cannot help jiva to obtain liberation, which must be achieved by individuals through their own efforts. In fact, Devas themselves cannot achieve liberation until they reincarnate as humans and undertake the difficult act of removing karma. Their efforts to attain the exalted state of Siddha, the permanent liberation ofjiva from all involvement in worldly existence, must be their own.

The strict Jain ethical code for monks/nuns is:

  1. Ahimsa (Non-violence)
  2. Satya (truth)
  3. Achaurya or Asteya (non-stealing)
  4. Brahmacharya (Celibacy)
  5. Aparigraha (Non-attachment to materialistic things)

Common men and women also have the five vows of non-violence, truth, non-stealing, celibacy and non-possession. It is not possible to observe these vows completely in day-to-day life and therefore followed to a limited extent. As these vows are limited in their scope, they are called ‘Anuvratas’. Apart from these, additionally there are seven vows designed to assist the householders in their spiritual journey.

Nonviolence includes vegetarianism. Jains are expected to be non-violent in thought, word, and deed, both toward humans and toward all other living beings, including their own selves. 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.

For laypersons, brahmacharya means either confining sex to marriage or complete celibacy. For monks and nuns, it means completecelibacy.

While performing holy deeds, Svetambara Jains wear cloths, muhapatti, over their mouths and noses to avoid saliva falling on texts or revered images. It is not the case, as is sometimes believed, that this is to avoid accidentally inhaling insects. Many healthy concepts are entwined. For example, Jains drink only boiled water. In ancient times, a person might get ill by drinking unboiled water, which could prevent equanimity, and illness may engender intolerance.

True spirituality, according to enlightened Jains, starts when one attainsSamyak darshana, or true perception. Such souls are on the path to moksha, striving to remain in the nature of the soul. This is characterized by knowing and observing only all worldly affairs, without raag (attachment) and dwesh(repulsion), a state of pure knowledge and bliss. Attachment to worldly life collects new karmas, and traps one in birth, death, and suffering. Worldly life has a dual nature (for example, love and hate, suffering and pleasure, etc.), for the perception of one state cannot exist without the contrasting perception of the other.

Jain Dharma shares some beliefs with Hinduism. Both believe in karma and reincarnation. However, the Jain version of the Ramayanaand Mahabharatais different from Hindu beliefs, for example. Generally, Hindus believe that Rama was a reincarnation of God, whereas Jains believe he attained moksha (liberation) because they are free from any belief in a creator god.

Jain sadhvis meditating

Along with the Five Vows, Jains avoid harboring ill will and practice forgiveness. They believe that atma (soul) can lead one to becomingparmatma (liberated soul) and this must come from one’s inner self. Jains refrain from all violence (Ahimsa) and recommend that sinful activities be avoided.

Mahatma 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.[37] Jainism has a distinct idea underlying Tirthankar worship. The physical form is not worshiped, but their Gunas (virtues, qualities) are praised. Tirthankaras remain role-models, and sects such as the Sthanakavasi stringently reject statue worship.

Jain fasting

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: Food & water is not taken on the day of fast.

3. Jaghanya: Eat only once 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).

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 s/he feels some error 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 calledsallekhana. Through this one achieves a death with dignity and dispassion as well as no more negative karma. [38] 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 declaresanthara 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.

Jain worship and rituals

Every day most Jains bow and say their universal prayer, the “Namokara Mantra”, a.k.a. the Navkar Mantra, Parmesthi Mantra, Panch Namaskar Mantra, Anadhi Nidhan Mantra. Jains have built temples, or Basadi orDerasar, where idols of tirthankaras are revered. Rituals may be elaborate because symbolic objects are offered and Tirthankaras praised in song. But some sects refuse to enter temples or revere images. All Jains accept that images of Tirthankaras are merely symbolic reminders of their paths to attain moksha. Jains are clear that the Jinas reside in moksha and are completely detached from the world.

Jain rituals include:

Over time, some sections of Jains also pray deities, which are yakshas and yakshinis.

Jain cuisine

See also: Jain vegetarianism

Jains practice a unique concept of restricted vegetarianism [39]. They do not consume root vegetables such as potatoes, garlic, onions,carrots, radishes,cassava, sweet potatoes, turnips, etc. However, they consume rhizomes such as turmeric, ginger, peanuts. Brinjalsare also not consumed by some Jains owing to the large number of seeds in the vegetable, as a seed is taken to be a carrier of budding life. Strict Jains do not consume food which has been left overnight, such as yogurt which may have been set overnight, and have their meals before sunset so that the bacteria inside the food may not be inhaled and accidentally killed. Most Jain recipes substitute potato with Plantain.


Jainism timeline
Prior to 10th Century BCE The first 22 TīrthaṇkaraṚṣabha to Neminātha.
The age of Tīrthaṇkaras
2000–1500 BCE Terracotta seals excavated at site suggest links of Jainism withIndus Valley civilization. Mention of JainTīrthaṇkaras in Vedasindicates pre-historic origins of Jainism.
877–777 BCE The period of Pārśva, the 23rdTīrthaṇkaras
599–527 BCE The age of Māhavīra, the 24thTīrthaṇkaras of Jainism
527 BCE Nirvāṇa of Māhavīra, Kevala Jñāna of his chief disciple Ganadhara Gautama and origin of Divāli.
The age of Kevalins
523 BCE As per Jain cosmology, the end of the 4th āra Duḥṣama-suṣamāand start of 5th āra Duḥṣama(sorrow and misery). The age of sorrow is said to have started three years and eight and a half months after the nirvana of Māhavīra.
527–463 BCE The Reign of the Kevalins — Gautama, Sudharma and Jambusvami
The age of Sruta-kevali’s
463–367 BCE
320–298 BCE The reign of Chandragupta Maurya. became a Jain ascetic at the end of his reign.
2nd century BCE Khāravela, reign of King of Kalinga (Orissa). Reinstallation of Jina image taken by Nanda Kings of Magadha as per Hathigumpha inscription
The Agamic Age
156 CE Recitation of Ṣaṭkhaṇdāgamaand Kaṣāyapahuda by Ācārya Dharasena to ĀcāryaPuṣpadantaand Ācārya Bhūtabali in Candragumpha in Mount Girnar. (683 years after Māhavīra)
2nd Century CE Kundakunda, founder of Mūla sangha– the mainDigambaraascetic lineage.
2nd – 3rd Century CE Compilation of Tattvārthasūtra by Umāsvāti (Umāsvāmi). This was the first major Jain work inSanskrit.
300 CE Two simultaneous councils for compilation of Āgamas, 827 years after Māhavīra – MathuraCouncil headed by Ācārya Skandila and The First Valabhi Council headed by Ācārya Nāgārjuna.
453 or 466 CE Second Valabhi Council headed by Devarddhi Ganin, that is, 980 or 993 AV – Final redaction and compilation of ŚvetāmbaraCanons.
The Age of Logic
4th – 16th Century CE, also known as the age of logic, was the period of development of Jain logic, Philosophy and Yoga. Various original texts, commentaries and expositions were written. The main Ācāryas were – Samantabhadra, Siddhasena Divākara, Akalanka, Haribhadra, Mānikyanandi, Vidyānandi, Prabhācandra, Hemacandra, Yaśovijaya. For a detailed chronological list of Jain philosopher-monks see Jain Philosophers. It was also a period of formation of modern Jain communities and extensive Jain contribution to Sanskrit, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Gujarati Literature.
981 CE Construction of Gommaṭeśvara– Statue of LordBāhubalī (18 meters- 57 feet, worlds tallest monolithic free standing structure), at Sravana Belagola,Karnataka by Cāmuṇḍarāya, the General-in-chief and Prime Minister of the Gaṅga kings ofMysore.
10th Century CE Emergence of Śvetāmbara Gacchas out of which, most prominent are – Tapā Gachha, and Kharatara Gaccha
11th–12th Century CE Construction of Delwara temples at Mount Ābu built by the Jain ministers of the king of Gujarat, Vastupāla and Tejapāla
13th Century CE Emergence of institution ofBhattāraka
1474 CE Establishment of non-image worshipping Śvetāmbarasect ofSthānakvasi established by a Jain layman, Lonka Shah.
1506 CE Establishment of TaranapanthaDigambara sect
1683 CE Establishment of Digambara sect of Terapantha by aŚvetāmbara layman,Banarasidas
1760 CE Separation of Ācārya Bhikṣu fromSthānakavasi and establishment of Śvetāmbara Terāpantha sect.
1901 CE Establishment of Kavi Pantha based on the teachings ofSrimad Rājacandra (1867 – 1901)
1934 CE Separation of Kānjisvāmi fromSthānakavasi and establishment of Digambara Kānjipantha
Main article: History of Jainism
Further information: Timeline of Jainism

Parshvanatha, the twenty-third Tirthankar, is the earliest Jain leader who can be reliably dated.[13] According to scholars, he probably lived in the 9th Century BCE.[40][41] In the sixth century BCE, 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.[42]

It is generally accepted that Jainism started spreading in south India from the third century BCE. i.e. since the time when Badrabahu, a preacher of this religion and the head of the monks’ community, came to Karnataka from Bihar. [43]

Kalinga (modern Orissa and Osiaji) was home to many Jains in the past.Rishabh, 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 ofRishabhanatha to his capital in Magadh. Rishabhanatha is revered as the Kalinga Jina.Ashoka‘s invasion and his Buddhist policy also subjugated Jains greatly in Kalinga. However, in the 1st century BCE Emperor Kharvela conquered Magadha and brought Rishabhnath’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 Ranakpur

Jainism has been a major cultural, philosophical, social and political force since the dawn of civilization in Asia, and its ancient influence has been noted in other religions, including Buddhism and Hinduism.

This 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 ofBuddha 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 seeBuddhism 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 figures who were adopted by Jains as Tirthankars (e.g., Lord Rishabdev).[clarification needed]

For instance, the concept of puja is Jain. The Vedic Religion prescribedyajnas andhavanas for pleasing god. Puja is a specifically Jain concept, arising from the Kannada words, “pu” (flower) and “ja” (offering).[44]

With 10 to 12 million followers,[45] Jainism is among the smallest of themajor world religions, but in India its influence is much greater than these numbers would suggest. Jains live throughout India. Maharashtra, Rajasthanand 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 inLudhiana andPatiala, 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.

Outside India, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and East Africa(Kenya,Tanzania and Uganda) have large Jain communities. Jainism is presently a strong faith in the United States and several Jain temples have been built there. American Jainismaccommodates 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.


It is generally believed[citation needed] that the Jain sangha divided into two major sects,Digambar and Svetambar, about 200 years after Mahāvīra’s nirvana. Some historians[who?] believe there was no clear division until the 5th century. In the bookOutlines of Jainism, it states, “It seems certain that even at the time of Mahāvīra the two sects were in existence, though he was able to maintain at least a semblance of unity between them. The final ‘parting of ways’ came much later” [46]. The best available information indicates that the chief Jain monk, Acharya Bhadrabahu, according to the Svetambara version of the split between the two sects, foresaw a 12-year famine and led about 12,000 Digambar followers to southern India[47]. Twelve years later they returned to find the Svetambara sect, and in 453 theValabhi council edited and compiled the traditional Svetambara scriptures.

The differences between the two sects are primarily 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, ambarrefers 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.

There is one major difference between the sects. Digambars believe that women cannot attain moksha in the same birth, while Svetambars believe that women may attain liberation and that Mallinath, a Tirthankar, was a woman. The difference is because Digambar asceticism requires nudity. As nudity is impractical for women, it follows that without it they cannot attain moksha.[48] 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. ).[49]This of course has extreme consequences for women and effectively polarises the two sects in this regard.

Digambars believe that Mahavir was not married, whereas Svetambars believe Mahavir was married and had 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 theNamokara 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.

Diagramatic representation of schisms within Jainism along with the timelines.

Excavations at Mathura revealed many Jain statues from the Kushanaperiod. 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 agamliterature (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.

Jain symbolism

Main article: Jain symbols

The fylfot (swastika) is among the holiest of Jain symbols. Worshippers use rice grains to create a fylfot 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:

  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. Vardha manaka -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 considerable. Jainism had a major influence in developing a system of philosophy and ethics that had a major impact on all aspects of Indian culture in all ages. 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 teachers.[50]

Jains have also wielded great influence on the culture and language of Karnatak, Southern India and Gujarat most significantly. The earliest known Gujarati text, Bharat-Bahubali Ras, was written by a Jain monk. Some important people in Gujarat’s Jain history wereAcharya Hemacandra Suri and his pupil, the Calukya ruler Kumarapala.

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.[51]

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.

Jain literature

Sanskrit manuscript about dreams of Mahaviras‘ mother’sTrish

Jains 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 AcaryaKundakunda who lived in Agra.
  • Several 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 inApabhramsha (Kahas, rasas, and grammars), Hindi (Chhahadhala, Mokshamarga Prakashaka, and others),Tamil (Jivakacintamani 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

Jains are not a part of the Vedic Religion (Hinduism).[52][53][54] Ancient India had two philosophical streams of thought: The Shramanaphilosophical schools, represented by Jainism , and the Brahmana/Vedic/Puranic schools represented by Vedanta, Vaishnava and other movements. Both streams are subsets of the Dharmic family of faith and have existed side by side for many thousands of years, influencing each other.[55]

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 ofAhimsa 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[56] also credited Jainism as influencing force behind the Indian culture.

“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. “Don’t injure any, 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… Throw it away.” And then they went to work and elaborated this one principle, and it is a most wonderful ideal: how all that we call ethics they simply bring out from 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 Indian religion, Hinduism has so much in common, especially in social institutions and ritual life, that nowadays Hindus tend to consider it a Hindu sect. Many Jains also are inclined to fraternization…”[57]
  • 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.”[58] 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 Jainas outdo every other Indian sect in carrying the prohibition of himsa to the most prosperous extremes.[59]

Languages used in Jain literature

Jain literature exists in[citation needed] Prakrit, Sanskrit, Tamil,Apabhramsha, Rajasthani, Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Kutchi, Kannada,Tulu,Telugu, Dhundhari (Old Marwari), English, German, French, Spanish, Italian,Portuguese and Russian.

Constitutional status of Jainism in India

In 2005 the Supreme Court 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 5 states already, and left it to the rest of the States to decide on the minority status of Jain religion.[60]

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, U.P. 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)


The history of the Jaina tradition is amply borne out both by literary and archaeological evidences. This traditional history of Jainism from the earliest times to the age of the last Tirthankara Mahavira (6th Century B.C.) can be consistently traced from the facts maintained by Jaina religion. In this regard, Jainism primarily assumes that the universe, with all its constituents or components, is without a beginning or an end, being everlasting and eternal and that the wheel of time incessantly revolves like a pendulum in half circles from the descending to the ascending stage and again back from the ascending stage to the descending stage. Thus, for practical purposes, a unit of the cosmic time is called kalpa, which is divided into two parts viz. the avasarpini (i.e. descending) and the utsarpini (i.e. ascending), each with six-division known as kalas i.e., periods or ages. It means that at the end of the sixth sub-division of the avasarpini(i.e. descending half circle) part the revolution reverses and the utsarpini (i.e. ascending half circle) part commences where the steps are reversed like the pendulum of a clock and that this process goes on ad infinitum. Hence the utsarpini part marks a period of gradual evolution and the avasarpini part that of gradual decline in human stature, span of life, bodily strength and happiness and even in the length of each kala or age itself (i.e., the first age being the longest and the sixth age being the shortest). Moreover, the life in the first age, the second age and the third age is known as the life of bhogabhumi (i.e., natural, happy, enjoyment-based life without any law or society); while life in the remaining three ages viz., the fourth age, the fifth age and the sixth age, is called the life of karmabhumi (i.e., life based on individual and collective efforts).

In accordance with this wheel of time, the avasarpini (the descending half circle) part is continuing at present and we are now living in this part’s fifth age which commenced a few years (3 years and 3 1/2 months) after Tirthankara Mahavira’s nirvana in 527 B.C. As per Jaina scriptures, the first age of the present avasarpini part was of enormous, incalculable length and it had the conditions of bhogabhumi when human begins lived in the most primitive stage which was entirely dependent on nature. In the second age, therefore, the condition began to show some signs of gradual decline, but still they were of a happy bhogabhumi stage and in the third age, the process of degeneration continued further in spite of the prevailing bhogabhumi stage. But towards the end of the third age, man began gradually to wake up to his environments, to feel the effects of deteriorating conditions and to have desire, for the first time, for the necessity of seeking guidance. Hence to satisfy this need, the fourth age produced, one after the other, fourteen law-givers or preliminary guides of human beings known as the Kulakaras or Manus. In the fourth age, the conditions greatly deteriorated since nature was not benevolent as before and conflicts among men had begun to appear and the Kulakaras, in succession, as the earliest leader of men, tried to improve the conditions in their own simple ways. In the succession of fourteen Kulakaras or Manus the 14th manu by name Nabhiraya and his wife Marudevi gave birth to Rsabha or Adinatha who later on became the first Tirthankara or Expounder of Jaina religion. This Lord Rsabha is considered as the harbinger of human civilization because he inaugurated the karmabhumi (the age of action); founded the social institutions of marriage, family, law, justice, state etc. taught mankind the cultivation of land, different arts and crafts, reading, writing and arithmetic; built villages, towns and cities; and in short, pioneered the different kinds of activities with a view to provide a new kind of social order meant for increasing the welfare of human-beings. Lord Rsabha had two daughters and one hundred sons. After guiding human beings for a considerable period of time, Lord Rsabha abdicated his temporal powers in favor of his eldest son, Bharata, who in course of time, became the Chakravarti i.e., Paramount sovereign of this country; led a life of complete renunciation, got Kevala-jnana, i.e., supreme knowledge, preached the religion of ahimsa, became the first prophet of salvation and in the end attained nirvana, i.e., liberation at Mount Kailasa.

After Lord Rsabha, the first Tirthankara, there was a succession of 23 other Tirthankaras, who came one after the other at intervals varying in duration. In this way, the Jaina tradition of 24 Tirthankaras was established in the course of historical times beginning from the first Tirthankara Lord Rsabha and ending with 24th Tirthankara Lord Mahavira.

Thus it is now an accepted fact that Mahavira (599-527 B.C.) was the last Tirthankara or prophet of Jaina religion and that he preached the religion which was promulgated in the 8th century B.C. by his predecessor Parsvanatha, the 23rd Tirthankara. The historicity of Tirthankara Parsvanatha (877-777 B.C.) has been established. Parsvanatha, the son of king Viavasena and queen Vamadevi of the kingdom of Kasi, led the life of an ascetic, practiced severe penance, obtained omniscience, became a Tirthankara propagated Jaina religion and attained nirvana or salvation at Sammed Shikhar, i.e., Parsvanatha as a historical personage and a preacher of Jaina religion.

The predecessor of Parsvanatha was Nemi-natha or Aristanemi, the 22nd Tirthankara whose historicity like that of Parsvanatha, can be easily established. Nemi-natha, according to the Jaina tradition, was the cousin of the Lord Krsna of the Mahabharata fame as Samudravijaya, the father of Nemi-natha and Vasudeva, the father of Krsna, were brothers. Nemi-natha was a unique personality due to his great compassion towards animals. This is clearly revealed by a significant incident in his life. While Nemi-natha was proceeding at the head of his wedding procession to the house of his bride, Princess Rajulakumari, the daughter of king Ugrasena of Gujarat, he heard the moans and groans of animals kept in an enclosure for some meat eaters and instantly decided not to marry at all as his marriage would involve a slaughter of so many innocent animals. Immediately Nemi- natha renounced his royal title and became an ascetic. Learning this renunciation of Nemi-natha, the betrothed princess Rajulakumari or Rajamati also became a nun and entered the ascetic order. Nemi-natha after achieving omniscience preached religion for a long time and finally attained nirvana on the Mount Girnar in Junagadh district of Gujarat. Since this great war Mahabharata is a historical event and Krsna is an historical personage, his cousin brother Nemi-natha too occupies a place in this historical picture. There is also an inscriptional evidence to prove the historicity of Nemi-natha. Dr. Fuherer also declared on the basis of Mathura Jaina antiquities that Nemi-natha was a historical personage (vide Epigraphia Indica, I, 389 and II, 208-210). Further, we find Neminatha’s images of the Indo-Scythian period bearing inscriptions corroborate the historicity of 22nd Tirthankara Neminatha.

Among the remaining 21 Tirthankaras of the Jaina tradition, there are several references from different sources to the first Tirthankara Rsabhanatha or Adinatha. Thus the tradition of twenty-four Tirthankaras is firmly established among the Jainas and what is really remarkable is that this finds confirmation from non-Jaina sources, especially Buddhist and Hindu sources.

A is for Ahimsa

Ahimsa means non-violence.

When there are no stop lights, a policeman tells us when to stop. He does this by holding up his hand, this tells us to stop. In the same way the hand in the picture tells us to stop and think about what we are going to do, talk to other people, or think. We can hurt someone by any of these actions. We need to stop and think before doing anything. This way, we will be able to observe the principles of Ahimsa better. We get either good or bad karmas*by the things we do, the words we say, and the way we think. The wheel in the hand tells us that if we don’t watch all of these things, then our soul** will never be free from this cycle of life and death.

So Ahimsa reminds us to stop and think before we do anything, and to be sure that what we do, say, or think doesn’t get us in trouble.

B is for Bowing down

Bowing down means paying respect.

We bow down to Siddha* and Arihant Bhagwans. We also bow down to Acharyas**, Upadhyayas**, and all Monks and Nuns***. By bowing down, we show our respect to them and we admire their success. We also bow down to our parents, grandparents, and our teachers because we want to show our respect for them. And thank them for what they have done for us. In this picture, a man is bowing down. When we bow down, our ego disappears and we become more humble.

So remember, respect others by Bowing down.

C is for Charity

Charity means share what you have with others.

Charity is when we give something to others without expecting anything in return. When we have wealth, we shouldn’t forget that there are a lot of people who are not as lucky as we are. So we should use some of our wealth to help these people. We can give money, clothes, vegetarian food, books and things like that. We should also use our wealth to help people learn more about religion. We get wealth in return for all the good things we do. In the picture, the boy is giving food to the Monk*. Monks and nuns are respectable personalities. Food offered to them is one of the noblest types of charities. We should be happy that we can help others.

So, remember that we should share our wealth with others by doingCharity.

D is for Discipline

Donation means a state of order.

Discipline is living your life in harmony with certain principles or guidelines. Discipline brings order and structure to our activities and helps us reach our goals just as the two banks of a river help the water reach its destination by giving it guidence and direction.

Some examples of Discipline are

1. Waking up at a certain time everyday and sleeping at a certain time.

2. Praying every morning, night and before meals.

3.Bowing before our elders in respect for their age, experience and wisdom.

E is for Evening prayer

Evening prayer should remind us to think on what we did today and should try to di better next day.

Prayer can be done in the morning and in the evening. In the picture, the boy and the girl are doing the evening prayer. The most important prayer in Jainism is the Navkar Mantra*. We should say the Navkar Mantra at least five times in the morning and five times in the evening before going to bed. Another prayer we, as a Jain, must do is called Pratikraman. We say this prayer to remember all the bad things we’ve done during day, apologize for them and promise ourselves to be more careful.

Prayers purify our soul, and we should always do them in the morning and the Evening.

F is for Forgiveness

Forgiveness means pardoning someone

who may have done something bad to you.

In Jainism, just as Ahimsa* is the main goal, forgiveness is the main action. We will find a lot of people who have done, said, or thought something bad about us. But no matter how they hurt us, we should forgive them. We should always think that may be we did something bad to them first, and now they’re getting back at us. No matter what, we should stay calm and not get angry, and we shouldn’t try to get even. In the picture, Lord Mahavira**is forgiving Chandkaushik, the snake, even though he bit Mahavira. This shows that if Mahavira can forgive we, his followers, should also forgive those who hurt us. Forgiving helps our soul and anger will only pull us down.

Just as Ahimsa is part of our life, forgiveness should also be part of our actions.

G is for Gautamswami

Gautamswami was Lord Mahavir’s* first disciple.

Gautamswami was the most well-known Brahmin during the time of Lord Mahavira. He was also very arrogant. He thought that no one was smarter than him. He thought he knew everything. One day, he saw some angels coming into the town. He told everyone, “See how great I am. Even heavenly angels come to see me.” But the angels didnot come to him. Gautam was surprised and asked someone where they went. The town’s people said that the angels went to pay their respect to Lord Mahavira, who had come to town.

When Gautam came to Lord Mahavira and saw his nice personality, Gautam felt something different that he never felt before. Then, Lord Mahavira told him what was going through his mind. Gautam couldn’t take anymore. He knew that Mahavira was more powerful than he was. He lost his ego. Gautam bowed down to him and became his first student.

We owe a lot to Gautamswami. Even though he knew almost all the answers to all the questions in the world, he still asked Lord Mahavira questions so that other people could learn about them. They are a part of our Agams Sootras, the original books. If people like Gautamswami can give up their ego, so can we.

H is for Help

Help means aiding somebody when he is in trouble.

We should be helpful to anyone who needs support. We shouldn’t leave anyone out. Even though Jainism says that you should help those who are good, it also says that, out of thoughtfulness, you should help everyone. We don’t just help people, but we should also help animals, birds, etc. We can help in many different ways like giving money, clothes, food, medicine, and books, etc. We can also help by making a person feel better if they are sad. If someone comes for help and we have only a little, we should still give some of that. In the picture, the boys are helping a blind man to cross the road.

We must make it a habit to help others.

I is for Immortal

Immortal means Eternal.

All souls are immortal. But, while karmas* are still attached to the souls, the souls occupy into various types of bodies, like the humans, the animals, the birds, the plants, etc. The body and the soul are different things. When all the attached karmas are destroyed the soul is liberated from the body permanently and reaches to the top of universe, called Siddh Shila and stays there forever. These souls then are called Siddhas. That is the state of being our Immortal soul from the bondage of the body.

J is for Jai-Jinendra

Jai-Jinendra means “Praise to the Jinas*.”

Just like we say, “Hi!!” or , “Hello!!” or, “Namaste”, when we meet others, we should also greet them by saying, “Jai-Jinendra”. This helps us in a lot of ways. We are honoring the virtuous**. It also tells others that you are Jain.

Every morning and before you go to bed, you should say, “Jai-Jinendra”, with respect to your parents, sisters, brothers, and grandparents. You should say, “Jai-Jinendra”, with respect to your guests. You should also say, “Jai-Jinendra”, to your teachers, other students at Jain Pathshala***, and other Jains who you may see at the Jain Center or any other place. When you talk on the telephone greet your friends with “Jai Jinendra”. In the picture, the boy is saying “Jai Jinendra” to his parents.

Remember always greet others by saying “Jai-Jinendra”.

* someone who does not have any anger, ego, deceit and greed

** those who have freed themselves from the cycle of birth and death

K is for Karma

Karma is the end result of what we do.

Every moment, we doing something physically, verbally or mentally. We should remember that while we do things, we always get karmas. There are two kinds of karmas: good and bad. When we do good things, like helping or sharing, we get good karmas. But when we do something bad, like getting mad, screaming, or cheating, we get bad karmas.

Both of the karmas give results. If you get bad karmas, then you will have to suffer. Your life could be sad and very hard. But if you get good karmas, your life will be comfortable and happy. In the top picture, the man is shooting a bird and is getting bad karmas. In the bottom picture, the girl is donating clothes to the needy people and is getting good karmas.

Be sure to do good things that will help your soul. Be careful of what you do and how you do it, because you are always gatheringKarmas.

L is for Leshya

Leshya is the color of your thoughts.

There were six friends going to a big city. On the way, they got lost in the forest. They were hungry and thirsty, but they couldn’t find anything. Then one of them noticed a fruit tree. They ran to it.

The first friend wanted to chop down the whole tree and get the fruit. The second friend thought that they should just chop off a big branch. The third friend said that they only needed to chop off a small branch. The fourth one thought that they didn’t need to chop off a branch, they should just get big bunch of fruit. The fifth friend asked why they should waste any fruit. He wanted to pick what they needed so there would be no waste. The sixth one asked why they should climb the tree, when there were many good fruits on the ground.

See how differently the six friends thought? The first one wanted to destroy the whole tree while the sixth one didn’t want to hurt the tree at all. You can see how differently people can think. The way the sixth man thought was the best way to thing and the way the first man thought was the worst way. There are six leshyas that described the way the people in the story thought. The first leshya is the worst one. It’s called the Black (Krishna) leshya. The second one is called the Blue (Neel) leshya and the third leshya is called the Brown (Kapot) leshya. The fourth one is called the Red (Tejo) leshya and the fifth leshya is called the Yellow(Padma) leshya. Last, the sixth leshya, the best one, is called the White(Shukla) leshya.

Our thoughts change all the time and so will be our Leshya. We should thrive to think like the sixth man did. This will happen when we keep our needs as little as possible.

M is for Mahavira

Mahavira was our last and 24th Tirthankar*.

Lord Mahavira was born in 559 B.C. in Kshatriyakunj. His father was King Siddhartha and his mother was Queen Trishala**. Soon the people in King Siddhartha’s kingdom began noticing that business and farming were starting to get better. They told the King and Queen. The King thought that the reason was because of the baby the Queen was going to have. When the baby was born, they named him “Vardhaman” which means ever growing.

As he grew, Prince Vardhaman showed bravery while he was playing with his friends. One time a snake came to where they were playing, everyone got scared except Prince Vardhaman who was still calm. He gently caught the snake, and took it away. Another time, they were playing hide-and-go-seek. Whoever was caught would have to give a piggy ride to the winner. A strange boy came there and asked if he could play with them. Soon, Prince Vardhaman caught him, and the boy gave the Prince a piggy ride. Suddenly the child started to grow taller and taller and he began to look scary. The rest of the kids got scared and ran away. Some of them climbed up a tree, and some of them ran to tell their parents. While all of this was going on, Prince Vardhaman was enjoying the ride. When he realized that the child wasn’t a child anymore, but a big monster, the Prince hit the monster’s head with fist. The monster couldn’t take the pain and gave up. He asked the Prince for forgiveness*** and the Prince forgave him. The Monster named Prince Vardhaman “Mahavira, meaning strong one”.

We should try to be like Mahavira.

* one who establishes the Jain Sangh (four fold order of monks, nuns, laymen and lay women).

N is for Navkar Mantra

Navkar Mantra is the most important prayer in Jainism.

When we say the Navkar Mantra, we are paying our respect to the Arihant Bhagwans, the Siddha Bhagwans, the Acharyas, the Upadhyayas, the Monks, and the Nuns*. Arihant Bhagwans are in their last life and they have destroyed the four ghati (heavy) karmas which affect the condition of the soul. They have infinite knowledge and don’t have any attachment to anything. They don’t hate anything either. They will get rid of the other four karmas called aghati (lighter) karmas before they die. Then they will become Siddha Bhagwans. They are first in the Navkar Mantra, even though their souls aren’t free because they show us the path to freedom. Since they are our teachers, we pay respect to them first. Those souls who don’t have any karmas and don’t have to go through the cycle of birth and death anymore are called Siddha Bhagwans. Next we pay respect to Acharyas. They are the heads of all monks and live a very pure and perfect life. Then we pay respect to Upadhyayas. They have learned the sacred scriptures and are now teaching them to the monks and nuns. Last we pay respect all the monks and nuns who have accepted to live under strict code of conduct.

We should always recite the Navkar Mantra to pay homage to these great souls. This leads to purer thoughts which in turn leads to purer activities. It should recite it when we wake up in the morning and at the night or for that matter at anytime.

O is for Om

Om is used during meditation.*

Om is a holy word used in the beginning of many prayers. Om is also used to set a tune for meditation. We also think that Om is like the Navkar Mantra**.

By paying attention to one word, Om, we are paying respect to Arihants, Siddhas, Acharyas, Upadhyayas, and Monks and Nuns.

* deep prayer

P is for Pathshala

Pathshala is the place where we learn about Jainism.

We need a place to go to learn about our religion. A pathshala is that place. Almost all Jain centers in North America have pathshalas. Most of the centers have pathshala classes on each Sunday.

Children should go to the pathshala so they can learn more about our religion, since there are no other places to learn Jainism. Parents should make sure that their children get a chance to go there.

So remember to go to your Pathshala to learn more about Jainism.

Q is for Queen Trishala

Queen Trishala had fourteen (sixteen) dreams after

Lord Mahavir’s* soul entered her womb.

Queen Trishala had fourteen dreams when she was pregnant. (Some scriptures mention Queen Trishla had sixteen dreams.) All the dreams symbolized good qualities of her child. Queen Trishala was very happy to have such a wonderful child. That child was Lord mahavira*. He showed us the path to freedom from the cycle of birth and death.

The fourteen dreams were:

  1. a lion,
  2. an elephant,
  3. a bull,
  4. goddess Laksmi,
  5. a pair of garlands,
  6. the Moon,
  7. the Sum,
  8. a flag,
  9. a silver jug,
  10. a lake with lotuses,
  11. the milky ocean,
  12. a divine aerial car,
  13. a heap of jewels and
  14. a smokeless fire.

(15th a pair of Fish and 16th a lofty throne.)

Queen Trishala was a very good woman.

R is for Rosary

Rosary is used for meditation*.

Usually, we say the Navakar Mantra** in the morning and in the evening. Some people say it three to five times, and some people say it one hundred and eight times. It would be hard to count one hundred and eight times and meditate at the same time. This is when we use a rosary. One hundred and eight beads in the rosary represent total of one hundred and eight attributes of Arihants (12), Siddhas (8), Acharyas (36), Upadhyayas (25) , and Monks and Nuns (27). So in a way we are reminding ourselves that when would we get these one hundred and eight attributes ourselves.

To say the Navkar Mantra we should sit in the same quiet place everyday. We should forget everything else and concentrate on the 5 great souls in the Navakar Mantra. It can destroy our karmas*** and bring good thoughts into our minds.

This can be done by sing a Rosary.

S is for Sadhu

Sadhu (monk) is a male religious leader.

The sadhus are person like us but they have voluntarily left the worldly life and have accepted five great vows* as a code of conduct to purify his soul from karmas and in turn to uplift the soul. The sadhus stay in upashraya. They do not cook for themselves and do not eat any food that is cooked for them. They take only accepted food from various houses. They give up attachment for their parents and relatives. The sadhus keep a few clothes, a few bowls to collect food, rajohan (soft cotton or woolen broom to clean), muhapati (mouth cover to protect fine living beings). Some sadhus donot wear any clothes and they keep morpichhi (broom made from shed off feathers of peacock) and kamandal (water utensil to wash the feet). They do not keep money, jewelry, or own anything, e.g. house or car. They do not keep anything more than what they need. They walk bare foot so that they donot crush bugs or insects. The sadhus do not touch or sit with ladies or girls. They do not stay in one place for more than a few days at a time, except in rainy season. Svetambar sadhus wear white clothes while Digambar sadhus do not wear any clothes.

They observe total Ahimsa, non-violence. They tell the truth, observe the celibacy, and do not believing in possessions. They follow strict code of conduct, study scripture, perform meditation, and austerity to free their souls from the cycle of birth and death. They go through a hardship to get rid of their karmas. They teach people about our religion. Upadhyayas sadhus teach sadhus and sadhvis (a female religious leader)about the scriptures. Acharyas are the heads of all the sadhus and sadhvis and look after the Jain Sangh, that is made up of sadhus, sadhvis, shravaks** and shravikas***.

We should always respect the Sadhus and Sadhvis for all the discipline they have and for all that they teach us.

T is for Temple

Temple is a place for prayer and worship.

Temples are the places where Jains have the idols of their Jinas (those who have conquered their passions). They go there to worship the Jina. All Jains don’t worship idols. The main reason to worship is to pay respect to the souls that have reached salvation. This also reminds us that we should be like them. Just praying and not taking any actions to free our soul does not work. We must discipline ourselves so that we can control our desires and karmas.

We should be silent in the temple and should keep it very clean.

The Temple is the best place to go to worship.

U is for Upashraya

An Upashraya is a place where sadhus* or sadhvis* stay.

An upashraya is a very simple place with a big hall and a few rooms. It does not have air conditioner or any fans but has many windows. An Upashraya does not have any furniture except a few wooden beds for the sadhus or the sadhvis to sit and sleep. The place where the sadhus and the sadhvis stay is called an upashraya. Usually the sadhus or the sadhvis do not stay more than a few days at one place except during rainy season. the sadhus and the sadhvis do not stay together in the same upashraya at the same time. However the same upashraya can be used by either sadhus or sadhvis at different times.

An upashraya is also used by householders to study or perform samayika and other religious activities.

The sadhus and the sadhvis deliver their religious lectures in Upashraya.

V is for Vow

Vow means a promise.

A vow is an earnest promise or pledge that binds one to a specified act or mode of behavior. To take a vow means you make a promice to yourself to do certain things in certain ways. The vows help us discipline ourselves. The vows are very important to help reduce bad karmas and accumulate good karmas. There are various types of vows like chauvihar (not to eay and drink from sunset to sunrise or certain period of time), ektana (to eat for one time a day siutting in one place), upvas (not to eat for thirty-six hours starting from sunset day before till sunrise next day) , samayik (to sit in peace for forty minutes in one place without being affected by worldly thoughts or things). The different vows can be for different times. The sadhus and the sadhvis take five great vows, not to 1) do any violence (himsa), 2) lie, 3) steal, 4) be unchaste, and 5) be possessive. Thye take these vows for the rest of their lives.

The vows you take should be observed very carefully.

W is for Worship

Worship means to pray.

The reverent love accorded to an idol, statue, diety or sacred objecy is called worship. This love is expressed by a set of ceremonies or prayers. The Jains show their ardent devotion to Arihant (Jina) and Siddha Bhagwans* who have freed themselves from the cycles of birth and death. We worship them to remind ourselves that they are liberated souls and have now become our model and that we want to be like them. Worship is to help uplift our soul and realize that if they can be free from attachment and averson through the practice of Ahimsa, Truth, Non-stealing, Celebacy and Non-accumulation, we can also be free.

The worship is done by prayers, meditation, fasting etc. The worship can be done in the temple, upashraya, Jain centers, or even at home.

We should worship with our full heart and mind and not just for show.

X is for Xylography

Xylography is the art of making engravings in thw wood

Xylography is an art of carving in wood. This art has been a speciality in the state of Gujarat and Karnataka in India. There are wood carvings of Jina idols, dieties, auspeciuous symbols and window frames, domes, and arches of Jain houses. There are some temples with exquisite wood carvings since the fourteenth century. The circular carvings in the picture repressent the endless world. The Jinas remind us to move beyond this cycle of birth and death and thus be free from miseries.

Xylography are is seen in many temples.

Y is for Yoga.

Yoga means activities.

As per Jainism, we do yoga in three different ways. We perform yoga, by physical, verbal or mental means. That means that we’re doing yoga all the time. All of our activities good or bad brings karma* to our soul. Therefore, we should control our activities. We can do this by paying attention to what we do. It is easy to control physical yoga, but it is harder to control verbal yoga and mental yoga is the most difficult to control. Therefore, be careful when you want to do something, and be sure that you are not doing, saying or thinking anything bad.

In Jainism, yoga and meditation are two different things.

Z is for Zalar

Zalar is an instrument.

Zalar is used in the temple. It is played by pujari with the help of wooden hammer before the idol of Jina at the time of worship. It is made of brass and it looks like a thick disk.

Jain philosophy can be described in various ways, but the most acceptable tradition is to describe it in terms of Nav Tattvas or nine fundamentals. They are:

  1. Jiva (soul): All living beings are called Jivas. Jivas have consciousness known as the soul, which is also called the atma (soul – chetan). The soul and body are two different entities. The soul can not be reproduced. It is described as a sort of energy which is indestructible, invisible, and shapeless. Jainism divides jivas into five categories ranging from one-sensed beings to five-sensed beings. The body is merely a home for the soul. At the time of death, the soul leaves the body to occupy a new one. Tirthankaras have said that the soul has an infinite capacity to know and perceive. This capacity of the soul is not experienced in its present state, because of accumulated karmas.
  2. Ajiva (non-living matter): Anything that is not a soul is called ajiva. Ajiva does not have consciousness. Jainism divides ajiva in five broad categories: dharmastikay (medium of motion), adharmastikay (medium of rest), akashastikay (space), pudgalastikay (matter), and kala (time).
  3. Punya (results of good deeds): By undertaking these wholesome activities, we acquire punya or good karmas. Such activities are: providing food or other items to the needy people, doing charity work, propagating religion, etc. When punya matures, it brings forth worldly comfort and happiness.
  4. Pap (results of bad deeds): By undertaking bad activities, we acquire pap or bad karmas. Such activities are: being cruel or violent, showing disrespect to parents or teachers, being angry or greedy and showing arrogance or indulging in deceit. When pap matures, it brings forth worldly suffering, misery, and unhappiness.
  5. Asrava (influx of karmas): The influx of karman particles to the soul is known as asrav. It is caused by wrong belief, vowlessness (observing no vows), passions, negligence, and psychophysical activities. Such an influx of karmas is facilitated by mental, verbal, or physical activities.
  6. Bandh (bondage of karmas): This refers to the actual binding of karman particles to the soul. Bandh occurs, when we react to any situation with a sense of attachment or aversion.
  7. Samvar (stoppage of karmas): This is the process by which the influx of karman particles is stopped. This is achieved by observing samiti (carefulness), gupti (control), ten fold yati-dharma (monkshood), contemplating the twelve bhavanas (mental reflections), and parishaha (suffering).
  8. Nirjara (eradication of karmas): The process by which we shed off karmas is called nirjara. Karmas can be shed off either by passive or active efforts. When we passively wait for karmas to mature and give their results in due time, it is called Akam Nirjara. On the other hand, if we put active efforts for karmas to mature earlier than due time, it is called Sakam Nirjara. Sakam Nirjara can be achieved by performing penance, repentance, asking for forgiveness for the discomfort or injury we might have caused to someone, meditation, etc.
  9. Moksha (liberation): When we get rid of all the karmas, we attain liberation or moksha.

Now, let us use a simple analogy to illustrate these Tattvas. There lived a family in a farm house. They were enjoying the fresh cool breeze coming through the open doors and windows. The weather suddenly changed, and a terrible dust storm set in. Realizing it was a bad storm, they got up to close the doors and windows. By the time they could close all the doors and windows, much dust had entered the house. After closing all of the doors and windows, they started cleaning away the dust that had come into the house.

We can interpret this simple illustration in terms of Nav-Tattvas as follows:

1) Jivas are represented by the people.

2) Ajiva is represented by the house.

3) Punya is represented by worldly enjoyment resulting from the nice cool breeze.

4) Pap is represented by worldly discomfort resulting from the sand storm, which brought dust into the house.

5) Asrava is represented by the influx of dust through the doors and windows of the house which is similar to the influx of karman particles to the soul.

6) Bandh is represented by the accumulation of dust in the house, which is similar to bondage of karman particles to the soul.

7) Samvar is represented by the closing of the doors and windows to stop the dust from coming into the house, which is similar to the stoppage of influx of karman particles to the soul.

8) Nirjara is represented by the cleaning up of accumulated dust from the house, which is similar to shedding off accumulated karmic particles from the soul.

9) Moksha is represented by the clean house, which is similar to the shedding of all karmic particles from the soul.


In Jainism, Jiva and soul are more or less described synonymously. When the spiritual or psychic status is described it is referred to as the soul, and when the physical structure is described, it is called Jiva.

The jiva which grows, decays, fluctuates, varies, eats, sleeps, awakes, acts, fears, rests, has knowledge and perception, attempts to self defend, and reproduces. These and many more qualities of the jiva are obvious through a physical body when the soul is present in it but when the soul leaves these qualities cease. These qualities are external features and consciousness (chetan) is the basic inner feature of the soul. This also makes it clear for us that the body and the soul are separate entities.

Since the soul is flexible, it pervades the entire body it occupies. For example, the same soul can occupy the body of an ant or an elephant. Such bodies stay alive as long as there is a soul. A live body, or rather, a body with a soul is described here as a Jiva.

Jivas are categorized in two groups:

  1. Liberated or Siddha Jiva
  2. Non-liberated or Sansari Jiva.

Liberated souls have no karmas and therefore, they are no longer in the cycle of births and deaths. They do not live among us, but reside at the uppermost part of this universe called Siddhashila. They are formless and shapeless, have perfect knowledge and perception, and have infinite vigor and bliss. All Siddhas are equal, and there is no difference in their status.

On the other side, non-liberated (worldly) jivas have karmas, and are continually going through the cycle of birth and death. They experience happiness and pain and have passions, which in turn cause the soul to wander more. Except for the jiva of Arihants, non-liberated jivas have limited knowledge and perception.

Jivas are found on earth, as well as in water, air, and sky, and are scattered all over the universe. Human beings, celestial beings, infernal beings, animals, fish, birds, bugs, insects, plants, etc. are the most common forms of Jiva with which we can easily relate. However, Jain scriptures state that there are 8.4 million species of Jiva in all. They are known by the senses they possess. There are five senses in all, namely touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. Different types of Jivas possess one or more of these senses.

Based upon the number of senses and mobility, Jivas are classified into different categories.

Based on mobility, all Jivas are divided into two broad categories:

  1. Non-mobile or Sthävar Jiva – those that can not move on their own and have only one sense.
  2. Mobile or Trasa jiva – those that can move on their own and have two to five senses.

(A) Non-Mobile (Sthavar Jiva, Single Sensed Being, or Ekendriya Jiva):

Jivas having only one sense, the sense of touch are called Ekendriya. They are further divided into the following five sub-categories.

  1. Prithwikäya or Earth Bodied Jiva:Seemingly inanimate forms of earth are actually living beings, e.g. clay, sand, metal, coral, etc. They have earthly bodies, hence the name prithwikaya which is derived from the Sanskrit term for earth, which is prithwi.
  2. Apkäya or Water Bodied Jiva:Seemingly inanimate forms of different types of water are living beings. Examples are dew, fog, iceberg, rain, etc. They have water bodies, hence the name apkäya which is derived from the Sanskrit term for water, which is ap..
  3. Teukäya or Fire Bodied Jiva:Seemingly inanimate forms of different types of fires are living beings. Examples are flames, blaze, lightening, forest fire, hot ash, etc. They have fire bodies, hence the name teukaya which is derived from the Sanskrit term for fire, which is tejas.
  4. Väyukäya or Air Bodied Jiva:Seemingly inanimate forms of air are actually living beings. Examples are wind, whirlwinds, cyclones, etc. They have air bodies, hence the name vayukay which is derived from the Sanskrit term for gas, which is väyu.
  5. Vanaspatikäya or Plant Bodied Jiva:It is well known that plants grow, reproduce, etc., and they are accepted as living beings. Trees, plants, branches, flowers, leaves, seeds, etc. are some examples of plant life. The Sanskrit term for plant is vanaspati and therefore such jivas are called vanaspatikäya jiva.

A plant life can have one or more souls in a single body and, depending upon this, plant life is further divided into the following two sub-categories:

Pratyek Vanaspatikäya Jiva:

Pratyek means each or one. Such plant life have one soul in one body. Therefore, they are called pratyek vanaspatikäya. Trees, plants, bushes, stem, branches, leaves, and seeds, etc., are all examples of pratyek vanaspatikäya jiva.

Sädhäran Vanaspatikäya Jiva:

Sädhäran means common. In such plant life many souls occupy the same body making this type of plant life multi-organic. Therefore, such plant life is called sädhäran vanaspatikäya jiva. This kind of plants life have an infinite number of souls in one body are called “Anantkäya”. Roots such as potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, beats, etc., belong to this category.

(B) Mobile (Tras Jiva, Multi Sensed Being, Bahu Indriya) Jiva:

Mobile jivas have two, three, four or five senses and are divided into the following categories:

(1)Two Sensed Beings (Beindriya Jiva):

Two sensed beings have the senses of touch and taste. Examples are shells, worms, insects, microbes in stale food, termites, etc.

(2)Three Sensed Beings (Treindriya Jiva):

Three sensed beings have the senses of touch, taste, and smell. Examples are bugs, lice, white ants, moths, insects in wheat, grains, and centipedes, etc.

(3)Four Sensed Beings (Chaurindriya Jiva):

Four sensed beings have the senses of touch, taste, smell and sight. Examples are scorpions, crickets, spiders, beetles, locusts, flies, etc.

(4)Five Sensed Beings (Panchendriya Jiva):

Five sensed beings have all the five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. Examples are human beings, cow, lions, fish, birds, etc.

The following are four sub-categories of the Panchendriya Jivas.

  1. Näraki (Infernal) – Jivas living in hell,
  2. Tiryancha (Animals) – elephants, lions, birds, fish, etc.,
  3. Dev (Celestial) – heavenly beings,
  4. Manushya – Human beings.

Among the five sensed beings some have minds and some do not. Those having a mind are called sangni panchendriya and those without a mind are called asangni panchendriya.

Among all of these Jivas the most worldly happiness is found in the celestial being, while the most worldly suffering is found in the infernal beings. Neither celestial nor infernal beings can take any vows. They cannot attain salvation during that life. Animals possess limited restraint only and, therefore, they also cannot attain salvation directly. The human state of existence is the most preferable to attain salvation, because during that life one can use logic to the fullest extent, can perform austerities, can live with restrain. Thus, only through this human phase can a jiva attain salvation or Moksha.

All jivas have special attributes related to the body such as paryäpti (power) and pran (vitality). The inert substance or ajiva does not possess any such quality. The following is the discussion relating to paryapti and pran.


Paryapti means a special power through which the jiva takes in matter (pudgals) like food and converts it into separate kinds of energy. There are six kinds of paryaptis:

(1) Ahar (food) (2) Sharir (body)

(3) Indriya (senses) (4) Shwasochchhwas (respiration)

(5) Bhasha (speech) (6) Man (mind)

When the life of a jiva is over, the soul along with tejas and karman bodies leaves the current body and acquires a new body. As soon as a jiva is born, the first thing it does is consume food. The jiva, with the help of Tejas body, digests the food. After this, the jiva gradually attains the power of a body and the power of senses. The activities of consuming the food, developing the body, and forming and strengthening the sense-organs goes on continuously. The body is formed in a duration called the Antarmuhurt (within 48 minutes). Next, the jiva, receives the matter of respiration, which allows it to acquire the power of respiration and eventually the power of mind.

The ekendriya, one sensed jivas have (1) Ahar, (2) Sharir, (3) Indriya, and (4) Shwasochchhwas Paryaptis. The beindriya, the treindriya, the chaurindriya and the asangni panchendriya jivas also possess (5) Bhasha paryapti in addition to the above four. The sangni panchendriya jivas also possess (6) Man paryapti in addition to the above five. Depending upon the development of the paryaptis the jivas are also classified as (1) Paryapta Jiva, (2) Aparyapta Jiva. The paryapta jiva means that their corresponding paryaptis have developed to their fullest capacity. The aparyapta jiva means that their paryaptis are not developed to their full capacity.

Pran (Vitality):

Depending upon the development of the Jiva, there are up to ten kinds of prans or vitalities present in each jiva. These vitalities are:

1) Sparsh-Indriya (Touch): The ability to feel the sensation of touch

2) Ras-Indriya (Taste): the ability to taste

3) Ghran-Indriya (Smell): the ability to smell

4) Chakshu-Indriya (Vision): the ability to see

5) Shravan-Indriya (Hearing): the ability to hear

6) Mano-bal (Mind): the ability to think

7) Vachan-bal (Speech): the ability to speak

8) Kaya-bal (Body): the ability to move the body

9) Shwasochchhwas (Respiration): the ability to inhale and exhale

1O) Ayushya (Longevity): the ability to live

The Ekendriya jivas possess only four prans:

(1) Touch (2) Respiration

(3) Body (4 ) Longevity

The beindriya jivas possess six prans. They possess the taste and speech vitality in addition, to the above four prans.

The treindriya jivas possess seven prans. They possess the smell vitality, in addition, to the above six prans.

The chaurindriya jivas possess eight prans. They possess the vision vitality in addition to the above seven prans.

The panchendriya jivas are divided into two groups: (1) The asangni (non-sentient) jivas, whose minds are not developed and (2) The sangni (sentient) jivas, whose minds are fully developed.

The asangni panchendriya jivas possess nine prans. They possess the hearing vitality in addition to the above eight prans.

The sangni panchendriya jivas possess ten pranas. They possess mind vitality in addition to the above nine prans.

The reason we need to know these prans is because any injury, no matter how little it may be to any of these prans, is considered himsa (violence). When himsa is done by us, our soul accumulates the bad karmas or pap (sin). Therefore to prevent accumulation of karma observe ahimsa (non-violence) related to all of these ten prans for all the categories of the Jivas. The first vow of non-violence is very important for the householders, monks and nuns. Now you may understand why we say “Ahimsa Parmo Dharma” (nonviolence is supreme religion), because by observing ahimsa we are protecting the vitality of the soul.

The summary of number of paryaptis and prans in various Jivas.

Abilities Paryaptis Prans

Ekendriya – those having one sense 4 4

Dwindriya – those having two senses 5 6

Treindriya – those having three senses 5 7

Chaurindriya – those having four senses 5 8

Asangni Panchendriya- those having five senses without a mind 5 9

Sangni Panchendriya- those having five senses with a mind 6 10


If we look around us, we see not only men and women, boys and girls, but also cats, dogs, birds, bugs, plants, etc. It can be seen that there are various forms of living beings in this universe. Nothing is permanent. Every second someone dies and someone is born. This makes us wonder what happens to those who die, and who decides what one should be born as. Jainism explains that in a very simple and sound logical way based on the karma theory. Due to the karmas associated with their souls, living beings have been going through the cycle of births and deaths in various forms since times immemorial. Unless the soul gets rid of its karmas, it will never be free from the cycle of births and deaths in different forms. When a living being dies, it can be reborn into one of the four gatis (destinies). These four destinies are as follows:

(1) Human (Manushya) beings.

(2) Dev (Celestial) beings.

(3) Tiryancha (Animal) beings.

(4) Naraki (Infernal) beings.

Present science is inconclusive about the life after death or rebirth or reincarnation. But Jinas who had kevalgnan (omniscience) have explained that there is life after death and it is us, and no one else, who decides what will happen to us after our death. No God or super power decides your future. Your past and current deeds accumulate the karmas, which govern what we will be reborn as. Let us discuss about these destinies.

  1. Human Beings: As the human beings we have been endowed with the ability to think. We can make out right from the wrong. We can decide what is good for us, and what is not. We also have the capacity to control our minds and activities. We can learn about the wholesome religious principles of the Jainism and put them to practice by adopting the appropriate vows and restraints. We can also renounce worldly life (samsar) for the monkshood which can lead us to the liberation or salvation
  2. Heavenly Beings: As a heavenly being one has superior physical capabilities, numerous supernatural powers, and access to all the luxuries. But the heavenly life is transient and when it comes to an end, heavenly beings feel very unhappy. They can not adopt restraints or renounce their lives to become monks or nuns. Therefore, there is no salvation in the heavenly life, and such beings will have to be reborn as the human beings in order to attain liberation. It may be said that the soul is born as heavenly being due to relatively accumulation of more good karmas (punya). But at the same it should be remembered that the soul uses up good number of good karmas there too.
  3. Tiryanch Beings: As a tiryanch (being born as an animal like a lion, an elephant, a bird, a plant, a bug, etc.) one is considered to be a lower form of life. Animals, birds, sea creatures and reptiles has mind but rest of tiryanch do not have a mind. Therefore most of tiryanch suffers passively. Even animals and birds, etc., who has mind can not think or restrain nearly as much as humans and therefore their progress is compromised. Overall there is a great degree of passive suffering and dependency in their life. The cruel animals accumulate more bad karmas. In short, their life is not conducive to attain salvation.
  4. Infernal Beings: As an infernal being (living beings of the hell), one has to continuously suffer. Most of the time, infernal beings fight among themselves, and cause more suffering to each other. Such a life is, therefore, absolutely unsuitable for the spiritual pursuit.

Thus, it is clear that out of these four Gatis or destinies only the human life is suitable for spiritual pursuit and freedom from the cycle of births and deaths. Let us now try to understand what leads a soul to the different destinies.

Those who do excessive violence, lying, stealing, and enjoy sensual pleasure or are too possessive, angry, egoistic, greedy, deceptive, or intensely attached to the worldly life are likely to be re-born as infernal beings in the hell.

Those who are selfish, cause troubles, or wish evil for the others are likely to be re-born as the tiryancha.

Those who are simple and disciplined, observe vows, behave well, have a good character, and follow a good moral life are generally re-born as the heavenly beings.

Those who are simple, straightforward, observe vow and restraints, have faith in true teachers, attemt to gain true knowledge, have only a slight attachment, have a controlled level of anger, greed, or deception, and try to follow the religious teachers are generally re-born as the humans.

In conclusion, we (the souls) are the masters of our own destiny and we should not blame anyone or anything else for our own destiny. Let us inspire to lead a spiritual life without any delay, so that we may be reborn as the human beings again and may continue to progress on the path of the liberation.


Anything that does not have the life or a consciousness is Ajiva. Ajiva literally means without a soul and therefore, they cannot accumulate any karmas. They have no birth, death, pleasure, or pain; they are achetan (inert). Examples of Ajivas are: a box, car, fan, television, photo frame, iron, watch, etc..

The Jain Philosophy has divided Ajivas into the following five categories:

(1) Dharmastikay (Medium of Motion).

(2) Adharmastikay (Medium of Rest).

(3) Akashastikay (Space).

(4) Pudgalastikay ( Matter).

(5) Kal (Time).


Dharmastikay is formed from two words: Dharma + Astikay. The term Dharma here does not refer to religion, but means the medium of motion. Astikay means collection of spaces.

Dharmastikay denotes the medium of motion for things in the universe. In the absence of this medium, Jivas and other things would be unable to move. This medium prevails in lok, but is absent in alok.


This term is also formed of two terms: Adharma + Astikay. Here again, Adharma does not refer to a lack of religion, but rather it means the medium of rest. In the absence of this medium, jivas and other things would continuously move. This medium also prevails in lok, but is absent in alok.


Äkäshtikay is formed of two words: Äkäsh and Astikay. Whole space in the universe is called Äkäsh. In Jainism, Akash is divided into two parts: Lokakash (Lok) and Alokakash (Alok). Jiva, Pudgal, Kal, Dharmästikäy, and Adharmästikäy exist only in Lokäkäsh. Alokakash is an empty space and does not contain any Jiva, Pudgal, kal, Dharmästikäy, and Adharmästikäy.


The word Pudgal is made up of two terms: Pud means addition and Gal means division. In other words, what continuously changes by addition and/or division is called the Pudgal or the matter. All the matters in the universe are called Pudgals.

A pudgal has the form or a shape. A pudgal can be experienced by touching, tasting, smelling, or seeing. Like Jiva, Pudgal is also mobile. The karman particles that attach to our souls are the pudgal. Pudgal can only be divided and subdivided to a certain extent. This indivisible smallest part of pudgal is called Paramänu. A paramänu is much more minute than even an atom. When a Paramänu is attached to the main pudgal, it is called a Pradesh. These sub-atomic paramänus are too minute to be detected by normal vision, but they can be combined. Thus, when a paramänu is combined with other paramänus, they are called a skandha.. A part of a skandha is called the desh. Such skandhas may be large or small. Small skandhas may be invisible to the eye, but they can be seen when the combinations are larger.


Käl means time, which brings forth changes. A child becomes a young person, a young person becomes an old person, and the old person dies. In other words, something which is new becomes old, worn, and torn with the time. All of these changes involve the time. The past, present, and future are the different modes of the time and are measured in terms of the years, months, days, hours, minutes or seconds. For all practical purposes a second happens to be the smallest measurement of time. Jainism however, recognizes a very tiny measurement of time known as samay which is an infinite small part of a second.

The following are the measurements of the time as adopted by the Jainism:

Indivisible time = 1 Samay

(finest units of measurement)

Countless Samayas = 1 Ävalikä

16777216 Ävalikäs = 1 Muhurt

30 Muhurtas = 1 Day and night

15 Days and nights = 1 Paksha

2 Pakshas = 1 Month

12 Months = 1 Year

Countless years = 1 Palyopam

10 Crores of Crores of Palyopams = 1 Sägaropam

10 Crores of Crores of Sägaropams = l Utsarpini or 1 Avasarpini.

1 Utsarpini + Avasarpini = 1 Kälchakra (One time cycle).