|22nd Jain Tirthankara|
Idol of Neminath Swami
|Historical date:||3rd Millennium BCE|
Neminatha (Devanagari: नेमिनाथ) was 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.
The most astonishing claim made so far about historicity of Neminath (and possibly about the antiquity of Jainism itself) was made following the discovery of a copperplate inscription found at Kathiawar, deciphered by Dr. Pran Nath. According to Dr. Pran Nath King Nebuchadnezzar I (Reign ca. 1126–1103 BC, Dynasty IV of Babylon) considered himself to be the Lord of Mt. Girnar (historically also known as Ujjayanta or Raivata OR Revata) visited Mt. Raivata and paid homage to Neminath (or Arishtanemi), the paramount deity of Mt. Raivata. He also contributed a grant to build a temple in honor or Neminath.
There seems to be no doubt about the existence of Jainism in the 7th century BCE, but the history of Jainism goes back even earlier than of Parsvanatha. The Jain record mentions the names of twenty one Tirthankaras before him. Neminatha, the 22nd Tirthankara of the Jains, was the son of Samudra Vijaya and grandson of Andhakavrishni. Jains and some Hindus consider Neminath to be the cousin of Krishna..(Krishna was son of Vasudev who was brother of Samudra Vijaya i.e. father of Neminath)
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 paleographical grounds dates to the 1st or 2nd century BCE. It seems 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 certain instructions of the spiritual sacrifice to Krishna, the son of Devaki. The liberal payment of this sacrifice was austerity, liberality, simplicity, non-violence and truthfulness. These teachings of Ghora Angirasa seem to be the tenets of Jainism. 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.
In fact, 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.
Neminatha was a cousin of Krishna.
- 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 or Arishtanemi also contains the story of Krishna, Balrama and the Jain version of the Mahabharata.
- Kumar 2001, pp. 4-5
- 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
- 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
- Faith & Philosophy of Jainism, by Arun Kumar Jain, Volume 6 of Indian religions series, Gyan Publishing House, 2009, ISBN 8178357232, 9788178357232
- Jain Journal, Volumes 2-3, Published by Jain Bhawan 1967