Tirthankara

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Jainism
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Adinatha
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Agama
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In Jainism, a Tīrthaṅkara is a human being who helps in achieving liberation and enlightenment as an arihant. According to Jain scriptures,[1] that which helps one to cross the great ocean of worldly life is called tirth and a person who fills the role of tirth is known as Tirthankar. Tīrthaṅkars achieve liberation and enlightenment by destroying their constraining (ghati karmas and becoming role models and leaders for those seeking spiritual guidance.[2][3] They also seek Kevala Jnana, a state of permanent, perpetual, absolute knowledge of the Soul; it is the precursor to final liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

The twenty-four known Tīrthaṅkars in this time cycle revitalized the Jain religion by establishing the fourfold sangh order which consists of monks (Sadhu), nuns (Sadhvi), laymen (Shravak) and laywomen (Shravika).[4]

Overview[edit]

Rishabhadeva (left) and Mahavira (right)

Tīrthaṅkars religious teaching form the basis for Jain canons. The inner knowledge of Tīrthaṅkar is perfect and identical in every respect and their teachings do not contradict one another. However, the degree of elaboration varies according to the spiritual advancement and purity of the society during their period of leadership. The higher the spiritual advancement and purity of mind of the society, the lower the elaboration required.

While Tirthankars are documented and revered by those of Jain faith, their grace is said to be available to living beings, regardless of religious orientation.[5]

Tirthankars dwell exclusively within the realm of their Soul, and are entirely free of kashays, inner passions, and personal desires. As a result of this, unlimited siddhis, spiritual powers, are readily available to them – which they use exclusively for the spiritual elevation of living beings. Through their darshan, divine vision, and deshna, divine speech, they grant their own state of Keval Gyaan, and moksha, final liberation to anyone seeking it sincerely.

At the end of his human life-span, a Tīrthaṅkar achieves siddha status, ending the cycle of infinite births and deaths.

Jainism postulates that time has no beginning or end. It moves like the wheel of a cart. Jains believe that exactly twenty-four Tīrthaṅkars are born in each half-cycle of time in this part of the universe. The first Tīrthaṅkar is Rishabh, who is credited for formulating and organising humans to live in a society harmoniously. The 24th and last Tīrthaṅkar was Mahavir (599-527 BC).

Particular Tīrthaṅkars[edit]

The 24 Tirthankars

Tīrthaṅkar images are usually seated with their legs crossed in front, the toes of one foot resting close upon the knee of the other, and the right hand lying over the left in the lap.[6]

In Jain tradition the Tīrthaṅkars were royal in their final lives, and Jain traditions record details of their previous lives, usually as royalty. Their clan and families are also among those recorded in very early, or legendary, Hindu history. All but two of the Jains are ascribed to the Ikshvaku dynasty. Munisuvrat, the twentieth, and Neminath, the twenty-second, were of the Harivansh. Jain canons state that Rishabha, the first Tīrthaṅkar, founded the Ikshvaku.

Twenty Tīrthaṅkars achieved “siddh” status on Shikharji. Rishabha attained nirvana on Mount Kailash, Vasupujya at Champapuri in North Bengal, Neminath on Girnar in Gujarat, and Mahavir, the last Tirthankara, at Pawapuri, near modern Patna.

Twenty-one of the Tīrthaṅkars are said to have attained moksh in the kayotsarg (standing meditation) posture, while Rishabh, Nemi and Mahavir are said to have attained moksh in the lotus position.

List of the 24 Tīrthaṅkars[edit]

In chronological order, the names, signs, colors etc. of the 24 Tīrthaṅkars of this age are mentioned below[7]

Tīrthaṅkar

Heaven before birth Birthplace;
Consecration
Parents Complexion Symbol Tree Attendant
spirits
Male disciple;
Female disciple
Place of Nirvana
1 Rishabha Sarvarthasiddh Ayodhya;

palithana

Nabhiraja
by Marudevi
golden bull or ox Vat (banyan) Gomukh and
Chakresvari
Pundarik;
Brahmi
Ashtapad (Kailash)
2 Ajitnath Vijayaviman Ayodhya;
Sammet Shikharji
Jitashatru
by Vijayamata
golden elephant Shala
(Shorea robusta)
Mahayaksh and
Ajitabala;
or Rohi[n.]i
Shimhasen;
Phalgu
Sammet Shikharji
3 Sambhavanath Uvarimagraiveka Savathi;
Sravasti
Jitari
by Senamata
golden horse Prayal
(Buchanania latifolia)
Trimukh and
Duritari;
or Prajnapti
Charu;
Shyaam
Samet Sikhar
4 Abhinandannath Jayantavimana Ayodhya;
Sammet Shikharji
Sambararaja
by Siddharth
golden monkey Priyangu
(Panicum italicum)
Nayak and
Kalika; or
Yakshesvara and
Vajrasrinkhala
Vajranabh;
Ajita
Sammet Shikharji
5 Sumatinath Jayantaviman Ayodhya;
Sammet Shikharji
Megharaj
by Mangala
golden curlew or
red goose
Shala Tumburu and
Mahakali; or
Purushadatt
Charama;
Kasyapi
Sammet Shikharji
6 Padmaprabh Uvarimagraiveka Kausambi;
Sammet Shikharji
Sridhara
by Susima
red lotus Chhatra Kusum and
Shyam; or
Manovega
or Manogupti
Pradyotana;
Rati
Sammet Shikharji
7 Suparshvanath Madhyamagraiveka Varanasi;
Sammet Shikharji
Pratishtharaja
by Prthvi
golden
or emerald
swastika Sirisha
(Albizia lebbeck)
Matanga
and Santa; or
Varanandi
and Kali
Vidirbha;
Soma
Sammet Shikharji
8 Chandraprabhu Vijayanta Chandrapura;
Sammet Shikharji
Mahasenaraja
by Lakshmana
white moon Nag Vijaya and
Bhrikuti; or
Shyama or Vijaya
and Jvalamalini
Dinna;
Sumana
Sammet Shikharji
9 Pushpadanta, or Suvidhinath Anatadevalok Kanandinagari;
Sammet Shikharji
Sugrivaraja
by Ramarani
white Crocodile Sali Ajita and
Sutaraka;
or Mahakali
Varahaka;
Varuni
Sammet Shikharji
10 Sheetalnath Achyutadevaloka Bhadrapura or Bhadilapura;
Sammet Shikharji
Dridharatha-raja
by Nanda
golden Kalpavriksha or
Ficus religiosa
Priyangu Brahma and
Asoka; or
Manavi
Nanda;
Sujasa
Sammet Shikharji
11 Shreyansanath Achyutadevaloka Simhapuri;
Sammet Shikharji
Vishnuraja
by Vishna
golden rhinoceros Tanduka Yakshet and
Manavi; or
Ishvara and
Gauri
Kasyapa;
Dharani
Sammet Shikharji
12 Vasupujya Pranatadevaloka Champapuri;
Sammet Shikharji
Vasupujya
by Jaya
ruddy female buffalo Patala
(Bignonia suaveolens)
Kumara and
Chanda; or
Gandhari
Subhuma;
Dharani
Champapuri
13 Vimalnath Mahasaradevaloka Kampilyapura;
Sammet Shikharji
Kritavarmaraja
by Shyama
golden pig Jambu
(Eugenia jambolana)
Shanmukha and
Vidita; or
Vairoti)
Mandara;
Dhara
Sammet Shikharji
14 Anantnath Pranatadevaloka Ayodhya;
Sammet Shikharji
Simhasena
by Suyasah
or Sujasa
golden porcupine Asoka
(Saraca asoca)
Patala and
Ankusa; or
Anantamati
Jasa ;
Padma
Sammet Shikharji
15 Dharmanath Vijayavimana Ratnapuri;
Sammet Shikharji
Bhanuraja
by Suvrita
golden vajra Dadhiparna
(Clitoria ternatea)
Kinnara and
Kandarpa;
or Manasi
Arishta;
Arthasiva
Samet Sikhar
16 Shantinath Sarvarthasiddha Gajapura or Hastinapuri;
Sammet Shikharji
Visvasena
by Achira
golden deer Nandi
(Cedrela toona)
Garuda and
Nirvani; or
Kimpurusha and
Mahamanasi
Chakrayuddha;
Suchi
Sammet Shikharji
17 Kunthunath Sarvarthasiddha Gajapura;
Sammet Shikharji
Suraraja
by Srirani
golden goat Bhilaka Gandharva and
Bala; or
Vijaya
Samba;
Damini
Samet Sikhar
18 Aranath Sarvarthasiddha Gajapura;
Sammet Shikharji
Sudarsana
by Devirani
golden fish or
Pisces
Amba
(Mango)
Yaksheta and
Dhana; or
Kendra and
Ajita
Kumbha;
Rakshita
Sammet Shikharji
19 Mallinath Jayantadevaloka Mithila;
Sammet Shikharji
Kumbharaja
by Prabhavati
blue jar or Kalasha Ashok Kuber and
Dharanapriya;
or Aparajita
Abhikshaka;
Bandhumati
Sammet Shikharji
20 Munisuvrata Aparajita-devaloka Rajagriha;
Sammet Shikharji
Sumitraraja
by Padmavati
black tortoise Champaka
(Magnolia champaca)
Varuna and
Naradatta; or
Bahurupini
Malli;
Pushpavati
Sammet Shikharji
21 Nami Natha Pranatadevaloka Mithila;
Sammet Shikharji
Vijayaraja
by Viprarani
yellow;
or emerald
blue water-lily or blue lotus Bakula
(Mimusops elengi)
Bhrikuti and
Gandhari; or
Chamundi
Subha;
Anila
Sammet Shikharji
22 Neminath Aparajita Sauripura and Ujjinta (Ujjain);
Mount Girnar
Samudravijaya
by Sivadevi
black conch Vetasa Gomedha and
Ambika; or
Sarvahna and
Kushmandini
Varadatta;
Yakshadinna
Mount Girnar
23 Parshvanath Pranatadevaloka Varanasi;
Sammet Shikharji
Asvasenaraja
by Vamadevi
blue snake Dhataki
(Woodfordia fruticosa)
Parsvayaksha or
Dharanendra
and Padmavati
Aryadinna;
Pushpachuda
Sammet Shikharji
24 Mahavir Pranatadevalok Kundagrama (Vaishali District Bihar) ;
Rijubalika
Siddhartharaja and Trishala yellow lion teak Matanga and
Siddhayika
Indrabhuti;
Chandanbala
Pava Puri

Future Tirthankars[edit]

In every time-cycle, 48 Tirthankar are born in two batches of 24. In the current time cycle, the first 24 are the ones listed above. The names of the next 24 are as follows. (mentioned in the parentheses is (one of) the soul's previous human births)

  1. Padmanabh (king Shrenik)
  2. Surdev (Mahavir's uncle Suparshva)
  3. Suparshva (king kaunik's son king Udayi)
  4. Svamprabh (the ascetic Pottil)
  5. Sarvanubhuti (shravak Dridhayadha)
  6. Devshruti (kartik's shreshti)
  7. Udaynath (shravak Shamkha)
  8. Pedhalputra (shravak Anand)
  9. Pottil (shravak Sunand)
  10. Shatak (sharavak Shatak)
  11. Munivrat (Krishna's mother Daivaki)
  12. Amam (Lord Krishna)
  13. Shrinishkashay (Satyaki Rudhra)
  14. Nishpulak (Krishna's brother Balbhadra also known as Balrama)
  15. Nirmam (shravika Sulsa)
  16. Chitragupt (Krishna's brother's mother Rohini)
  17. Samadhinath (Revati Gathapatni)
  18. Samvarnath (sharavak Shattilak)
  19. Yashodhar (rishi Dwipayan)
  20. Vijay (Karna of Mahabharata)
  21. Malyadev (Nirgranthaputra or Mallanarada)
  22. Devachandra (shravak Ambadh)
  23. Anantvirya (shravak Amar)
  24. Shribhadrakar (Shanak)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Sangave 2001, p. 101
  2. ^ "Britannica Tirthankar Definition". Retrieved 02-04-2012. 
  3. ^ "Tirthankar Definition". Retrieved 02-04-2012. 
  4. ^ "Tirthankar reestablishes the four fold order". Retrieved 02-04-2012. 
  5. ^ Flügel, P. (2010). The Jaina Cult of Relic Stūpas. Numen: International Review For The History Of Religions, 57(3/4), 389-504. doi:10.1163/156852710X501351
  6. ^ "Tirthankar Depictions". Retrieved 02-04-2012. 
  7. ^ "Chronological information on the 24 Tirthankars, Britannica". Retrieved 02-04-2012. 

References[edit]