|22nd Jain Tirthankara|
Idol of Neminath Swami
|Historical date:||3rd Millennium BCE|
Neminatha (Devanagari: नेमिनाथ) was the twenty-second Jain tirthankara. According to Jain beliefs, he became a Siddha, a liberated soul which has destroyed all of its karma. Neminatha was born to King Samudravijaya and Queen Shivadevi at Souripur in the Harivamsha clan. His birth date is the 5th day of Shravana Shukla in the Indian calendar.
Secular scholars accept the existence of Jainism as far back as the 7th century BCE, but for Jains the story goes back much further than Parsvanatha. Jain texts mention the names of twenty-one Tirthankaras before him. Neminatha, the 22nd Tirthankara, was the son of Samudra Vijaya and grandson of Andhakavrishni. Jains and some Hindus consider Neminath to be the cousin of Krishna - the son of Samudra Vijaya, brother of Krishna's father Vasudeva.
According to both religions, Krishna negotiated his marriage with Rajamati, the daughter of Ugrasena, but Neminatha, empathizing with the animals which were to be slaughtered for the marriage feast, left the procession suddenly and renounced the world. Some writers of the Jain scriptures say that Tirthankara Neminatha was the master of Krishna.
The name of the Vrishni corporation is also found on a coin which on paleographic grounds dates to the 1st or 2nd century BCE. It seems[according to whom?] that the republic was named after Andhakavrishni, the grandfather of Neminatha. If Andhakavrishni is a real person, there seems to be little doubt that his grandson Neminatha was real.
It is mentioned in the Chandogya Upanishads III, that the sage Ghora Angirasa imparted instruction in the spiritual (as opposed to physical) sacrifice to Krishna. This sacrifice was austerity, liberality, simplicity, non-violence and truthfulness. These teachings are also to be tenets of Jainism, and includes the first mention of ahimsa. Hence, Ghora Angirasa seems to be a Jain sadhu. The word Ghora Angirasa seems to be an epithet given to him because of the extreme austerities he undertook. It may be possible to suggest that Neminatha was his early name and when he had obtained nirvana after hard austerities, he might have been given the name of Ghora Angirasa[original research?].
The Jaina traditions about Neminatha or Arishtanemi as incorporated in the Harivamsha, Arittha Nemi Cariu and other works may be corroborated to some extent by the Brahaminical traditions. He is mentioned in some of the hymns of the Vedas but their meaning is doubtful.
- Tukol 1980, p. 31
- The Encyclopædia Britannica s.v. "Jainism" has: "Jainism originated in the 7th–5th century BCE in the Ganges basin of eastern India"
- Helen, Johnson (2009) . Muni Samvegayashvijay Maharaj, ed. Trisastiśalākāpurusacaritra of Hemacandra: The Jain Saga (in English. Trans. From Prakrit). Part III. Baroda: Oriental Institute. ISBN 978-81-908157-0-3. pp. 1–266
- Note: The story of Neminatha is told alongisde the stories of Krishna and Balarama in the Jain version of the Mahabharata.
- Kumar 2001, pp. 4–5
- Schmidt, Hanns-Peter (1968). The Origin of Ahimsa (in "Melanges d'Indianism a la memoire de Louis Renou). Paris: Editions E de Boccard. p. 653.
- Tukol, T. K. (1980). Compendium of Jainism. Dharwad: University of Karnataka.
- Permanent World Parliament of Religions, Fraternities, and Philosophies,, Sivanand (Swami.) (1956). World Parliament of Religions Commemoration Volume. Sivanandanagar, Rishikesh, India: The Yoga-Vedanta Forest University Press. p. 659.
- History Congress, Indian (1947). Proceedings of the Indian History Congress. Indian History Congress.
- Ahluwalia, Shashi, Meenakshi (1992). Living faiths in modern India. Indian Publishers' Distributors. p. 404.
- Jain, Bhawan (1967). Jain Journal Volumes 2-3. Jain Bhawan.
- Facets of Jainology by Vilas Adinath Sangave Published 2001 by Popular Prakashan
- Article of Dr.Pran Nath The Times of India 19 March 1935 (said to suggest a link between Nebuchadnezzar I and Neminath)
- Proceedings of the Indian History Congress, Published 1947
- World Parliament of Religions Commemoration Volume: Issued in commemoration of the World Parliament of Religions held at Sivanandanagar, Rishikesh, in April, 1953, Published The Yoga-Vedanta Forest University Press, 1956
- Living faiths in modern India, Authors Shashi Ahluwalia, Meenakshi Ahluwalia, Published 1992 by Indian Publishers' Distributors
- Jain Journal, Volumes 2-3, Published by Jain Bhawan 1967