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Rishabha (c. 7190 BCE) also known as Adinatha is an important figure in Jainism. He is referred to as the founder of Jainism. He was the first of the twenty-four Tīrthaṅkara. According to Jain beliefs, Rishabha founded the Ikshvaku dynasty.
Names and titles 
Rishabha is usually depicted in lotus position or kayotsarga, a standing position. He is distinguished from other Tirthankara by his long locks of hair which falls on his shoulders. An image of bull is also used in his sculptures. In paintings, incidents of his life like Indra marking his forehead, Rishabha's marriage are depicted. Some paintings show the art of pottery where he is presenting a bowl to his followers. He is also depicted painting a house, weaving textile or being visited by his mother Marudevi.
Contemporary historians are of the opinion that there exists some link between the first Jain Tirthankar Rishabha and the Indus valley civilization. Based on archeological and literary evidence. P. C. Roychoudary puts the date of Rishabha at the end of the Stone Age and the beginning of the Agriculture age.
Ram Prasad Chanda, who supervised Indus Valley Civilisation excavations, states that, “Not only the seated deities on some of the Indus seals are in Yoga posture and bear witness to the prevalence of Yoga in the Indus Valley Civilisation in that remote age, the standing deities on the seals also show Kayotsarga (a standing or sitting posture of meditation) position. The Kayotsarga posture is peculiarly Jain. It is a posture not of sitting but of standing. In the Adi Purana Book XV III, the Kayotsarga posture is described in connection with the penance of Rishabha”
Christopher Key Chappel also notes some other possible links with Jainism. Seal 420, unearthed at Mohenjodaro portrays a person with three or possibly four faces. Jain iconography frequently depicts its Tirthankaras with four faces, symbolizing their presence in all four directions. In addition, Depictions of a bull appear repeatedly in the artifacts of the Indus Valley. Richard Lannoy, Thomas McEvilley and Padmanabh Jaini have all suggested that the abundant use of the bull image in the Indus Valley civilization indicates a link with Rishabha, whose companion animal is the bull.
Dr. Herman Jacobi, a noted indologist, writes that:
There is nothing to prove that Parshva was the founder of Jainism. Jain tradition is unanimous in making Rishabha, the first Tirthankara, as its founder and there may be something historical in the tradition which makes him the first Tirthankara
Literary Sources 
Adipurana, a Kannada language text by the poet Adikavi Pampa (fl. 941 CE), written in Champu style, a mix of prose and verse and spread over in sixteen cantos, deals with the ten lives of Rishabha and his two sons.
There is mention of Rishabha in Hindu scriptures. He finds some references in Veda. However, its meaning is not clear and has different interpretations. Lord Rishabha, who was also called Kesi, is depicted as head of Vatrasana Sramana in Bhagavata Purana. Scriptures like Bhagavata Purana, Markandaya Purana, Vayu Purana, Brahamanda Purana, Skanda Purana and Vishnu Purana specifically mentions the name of Rishabha. In the Skanda Purana (chapter 37) it is stated:
Rishabha was the son of Nabhi, and Rishabha gave birth to son Bharata, and after the name of this Bharata, this country is known as Bharata-varsha
This summary is based on various Jain scriptures like Kalpasutra, Adipurana and Trishatisalakapurushacharitra.
It is believed Rishabha was born to King Nabhi Raja and Queen Marudevi at Ayodhya before civilization developed. The soul of Rishabha descended into the womb of Marudevi on the fourth day of the dark half of the month of Ashadh during the night. Various details of previous births of Rishabha is mentioned in the ancient Jain scriptures. Some of these are Dhanna, the caravan leader, Jivanand, a doctor and Vajranabh, a king. When this soul was conceived, mother Marudevi dreamt of fourteen things:
- A beautiful and large white bull was entering her mouth
- A giant elephant having four tusks
- A lion
- Laxmi seated on a lotus
- A garland of flowers
- The full moon resplendent in the sky
- The scintillating sun
- A fluttering flag
- A golden urn
- A pond full of lotus flowers
- A sea of milk
- A space vehicle
- A heap of gems
- Smokeless fire
On the eighth day of the dark half of the month of Chaitra, around midnight, Marudevi gave birth to Rishaba.
Development of civilization 
Rishabha was the king of Ayodhya. It is said that the people were primitive and illiterate at his time and he taught people agriculture, tending of animals, cooking, and more (total 72 arts for men and 64 arts for women). He introduced karma-bhumi (Age of action).
Rishabha had two wives. One of them was Sunanda and the other is given different names, Yasaswati, Nanda and Sumangala, in different scriptures. Sunanda gave birth to Bahubali and Sundari where as Sumangala gave birth to Bharat and Brahmi. Jains believe Rishabha's eldest son, Bharata, was a Chakravartin who later attained moksha and hence is worshipped as a siddha. India was named 'Bhāratavarsha' or Bhārata after him.
Rishabha gave his kingdom to his two sons Bharata and Bahubali. Bharata received the northern half of his kingdom with Ayodhya as the capital where as Bahubali received the southern half with the royal city Podanapur. Some of the scriptures mentions that a nymph named Nilanjana was sent by Indra for the purpose of awakening Rishabha to renounce to world. He had his first alms as an ascetic in the town of Hastinapur. This was a Sugarcane Juice. Jains celebrate this event on the third day of bright fortnight of the month Vaishaka. He attained liberation on Mount Kailasa.
After a long span of time he started losing interest in mundane things and activities, and drifting toward detachment. He felt that he should transfer all his responsibilities to his sons and proceed towards liberation through spiritual practices. He also desired to reach the state of omniscience and consequently show the path of disciplined life and spiritual practices. His concept was that indulgence in mundane things does not give happiness. It gives only an illusion of happiness. True happiness is derived out of freedom from mundane indulgences.
Following the stream of his thoughts Rishabhdev divided the area of his rule between his one hundred sons. Bharat was given the state of Ayodhya and Bahubali that of Takshashila. Getting free of the responsibilities of the state, Rishabhdev decided to take Diksha (the formal initiation into the ascetic way). At that time the gods from the edge of the universe (the Lokantikdev) arrived and requested, "O savior of the human race! Your desire to show the path of renunciation to the mankind is admirable, kindly proceed soon to the task of propagating Dharma."
After one year of meritorious charity, Rishabhdev sat in the palanquin named Sudarshan and arrived in the Siddharth-vana garden. it was the eighth day of the dark half of the month of chaitra when, under an Ashok tree, Rishabhdev abandoned all his apparels and ornaments. He started pulling out his long strands of hair. After four fistfuls, when he was pulling out the fifth fistful of hair Indra said, "Sire! This strand of hair on the crown of your head and hanging down over you shoulders looks attractive. Kindly leave it as it is." Rishabhdev agreed. Due to this bunch of hair he got he popular name-Keshariya ji (one with hair). The king of gods collected the hair pulled out by Rishabhdev in a divine cloth and immersed them in the divine ocean of milk.
Following the example of Rishabhdev many of his subordinate rulers as well as common people got inspired to embrace the ascetic way of life. It is mentioned in scriptures that with Rishabhdev four thousand others also took Diksha.
The First Charity 
After becoming an ascetic, Rishabhdev took the vow of total silence and started wandering accompanied by other ascetics. When, after his penance, he went out to beg for food, he did not get anything to eat. The common people of that age were ignorant about the practice of giving food as alms. They did not even appreciate the need to do so. Whenever Rishabhdev approached them, they offered him respect and valuable gifts as they would to a king. Rishabhdev would then proceed ahead without accepting anything. As time passed the accompanying ascetics conferred among themselves and decided to eat fruits and vegetables naturally available. They slowly drifted away from Rishabhdev and the true ascetic way of life. After one entire year of wandering from place to place and doing harsh spiritual practices without touching any food or water Rishabhdev decided to beg food once again. He came to Hastinapur town.
Bahubali’s son, Somprabh, was the king of Hastinapur. His son Shreyans Kumar saw a dream during night that Suvarnagiri, the golden mountain had turned black and he had brought it back its golden color by washing it with pitchers full of milk. He narrated his dream to his father and friends, but no one could interpret its significance.
Shreyans Kumar was sitting in the balcony of his palace and brooding over the dream he saw last night. All of a sudden he heard the noise caused by happy masses who had seen Rishabhdev entering the town. Thousands of citizens of Hastinapur rushed toward Rishabhdev with gifts. Rishabhdev did not even look at these things and continued his graceful walk in the direction of the palace.
When Shreyans saw approaching Rishabhdev, he rushed to welcome his great grandfather. After bowing down at the great ascetics feet when Shreyans looked at Rishabhdev’s face he could not shift his gaze. He went into a state of meditative thoughts and suddenly he acquired Jati-smaran Jnan, the knowledge that opens up memories of the past births. In his past birth Shreyans was the charioteer of king Vajranabh (the past incarnation of Rishabhdev). This knowledge also made him aware of the duties of laity toward Shramans. He realized that Rishabha had been wandering around without food or water due to the prevailing ignorance of the people regarding ascetic norms.
With due reverence he requested Rishabhdev, "Prabhu! I am honored by your presence. I have just received 108 pitchers full of fresh sugar-cane juice that are pure and suitable for you in all respects. Kindly accept the juice and break your fast." Rishabhdev extended his cupped palms and Shreyans poured the sugar-cane juice from a pitcher. Rishabhdev broke his fast and the skies reverberated with the sound of divine drums and divine applaud, "Hail the alms giving!" The gods also showered gems, flowers and perfumes.
This was the beginning of the tradition of religious charity and alms giving. In memory of this incident, the third day of the bright half of the month of Vaishakh is celebrated as Akshay Tritiya festival. The Jains specifically celebrate it as the breakfast day after the penance of Varshi Tap (one meal and fast on alternate days for one year).
Omniscience and Nirvana 
For one thousand years Rishabha continued his spiritual practices completely ignoring his body and other mundane activities. On the eleventh day of the dark half of the month of Phalgun he was meditating under a banyan tree in the Shakatmukh garden outside Purimtal town, close to Ayodhya. Around forenoon he transcended to the purest higher state of meditation. The intensity of his practice caused the shedding of the knowledge and perception obscuring Karmas as well as the illusory Karmas. As a result, he attained Kevalya the enlightenment, He became an Omniscient, all seeing and all knowing . Rishaba became The Arihant, The Jina, The Samyaksambuddha.
When Rishabha attained omniscience the whole world was filled with a soothing glow for a moment. Numerous gods descended from heavens to pay their respects to the Tirthankara. They also created the Samavasarana, the divine pavilion. King Bharat also proceeded toward the divine assembly riding an elephant and taking along his grandmother Marudeva. Apprehensive about the hardships of the ascetic life of her son, Marudeva was relieved when she beheld the scintillating face of Rishabha sitting in the divine assembly surrounded by happy and dazzling gods. The vision of her son perched on the spiritual pinnacle triggered the flow of spontaneous joy in the heart of Marudeva. This mundane joy slowly turned into the ultimate bliss and she acquired omniscience. Coincidentally, at the same moment she completed her age and became liberated soul (Siddha). Bhagawan Rishabhdev made the announcement Marudeva had become a Siddha.
In his first discourse Rishabha detailed the trilogy of right conduct. Knowing about the significance of life as a human being and importance of a dutiful life, thousands of people including Rishabhsen, the eldest son of Emperor Bharat, and five thousand other members of royal family embraced the ascetic way of life. Thousand of other persons accepted the Shravak Dharm (the religious way for laity). As he founded the four pronged religious ford at the beginning of the present era, Bhagavan Rishabhdev became popularly known as Adinath, the first Tirthankar.
The first disciple of Lord Rishabhdev was Rishabhsen. He became the first chief disciple. He was also known as Pundarik.
For a long time Lord Rishabhdev continued to preach the Dhamma/Dharma of truth,compassion and non-violence. When he realized that all his remaining Karmas were approaching their end he proceeded to the Ashtapad mountain. On the thirteenth day of the dark half of the month of Magh, a little before noon time, Rishabhdev, along with ten thousand other ascetics,observed a six day fast without water. He sat in meditation in the Paryanka aasana. When the moon entered the Abhijit lunar mansion he attained the great nirvana and was liberated from the cycle of birth and death.
The king of gods, Saudharmendra, Emperor Bharat, numerous gods and men gathered and celebrated the auspicious event of Bhagawan Rishabhdev’s Nirvana.
Famous temples 
- Adinath Bhagwan Temple, Kaivalyadham, Kumhari, Chhattisgarh
- Adishwar Temple, Ranakpur, Rajasthan
- Adishwar temple, Palitana, Gujarat
- Adinath Mandir, Bibrod, Ratlam, M.P.
- Adinath Temple, Nahta Chowk, Bikaner, Rajasthan
- Adinath derasar, Vataman, Gujarat
- Adinath temple, Khajuraho, MP
- Adinath temple, Ayodhya, UP
- Adinath temple, Chand-Khedi, Near Kota, Rajasthan
- Adinath at Rishabhdeo or Rikhabdeo near Udaipur, Rajasthan
- Adinath Bhagvan Temple, Mahrauli, Delhi
- Bhagawan Adinath Temple, Hirehattihole, Karnataka
- Adinath Bhagvan Temple, Ponnur Hill, Tamil Nadu see Tamil Jain
- Adinath Temple in Ranila, Bhiwani, Haryana
- Adishwar Temple, Walkeshwar, Mumbai, Maharashtra
- Adinath Jain Temple, Santhu Bagra (Marwar), Jalore
- Shri Aadishwar Dada Jain Mandir, Jawahar Chowk, Durg, Chhattisgarh
- Aadinath Jain Temple, Valbhipur,Bhavnagar, Gujarat
- Shri sanghi Ji Temple,Sanganer,Jaipur,Rajasthan
- Shri Yatiyashodanandji Digambar Jain Temple,Chaura Rasta,Jaipur,Rajasthan
Notable Statues 
- Pre-Kushana Mathura sculpture
- Kushana images from Mathura
- Bronze from Chausa hoard, 1st century CE
- Bronze from Akota hoard, 6th century CE
- Monumental figure at Bavangaja, Badvani, 10th century
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- Sangave, Vilas Adinath (2001). Facets of Jainology: Selected Research Papers on Jain Society, Religion, and Culture. Mumbai: Popular prakashan. ISBN 81-7154-839-3.