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The flag of Jainism was first mentioned in a holy text dating 5th century BC. It has five colors: orange or red, yellow, white, green and black or dark blue.
It is also believed that the complexion of all the 24 Tirthankaras was of one of these 5 colors. For instance, Chandraprabha and Pushpadanta were white, Munisuvrata and Neminatha were blue or dark color, Padmaprabha and Vasupujya were red, Suparshvanatha and Pārśva were green, while the remaining were golden or yellowish.
These five colours represent the "Pañca-Parameṣṭhi" (Supreme Five):
- White - represents the arihants, souls who have conquered every evil of self (anger, attachments, aversion) and reached the state of eternal bliss through omniscience and salvation. It also denotes peace or Ahimsa (nonviolence).
- Red - represents the siddha, souls that have attained salvation and truth. Siddhas attain omniscience under guidance of arihants.
- Orange - represents the acharya or sect leader. They are the preceptors who guide the community.
- Green - represents the upadhyaya, those who teach scriptures to sadhus and sadhvis. It also signifies abstinence.
- Dark blue or black - represents the sadhus and sadhvis or monks and nuns. It also signifies non-possession.
The swastika in the centre of the flag represents the four states of existence of soul. The four stages may be:
- heaven-beings or deities
- human beings
- hell beings
It represents that the soul can embody any of these forms, owing to karma, which may escalate it to higher-level forms such as heavenly beings, or degrade it to lower-level forms such as lesser animals or hell beings.
The purpose of soul is to liberate itself from these four stages and be arihants or Siddha eventually.
- Samyak Darshana - "Right Faith" or "Right Vision"
- Samyak Gyana - "Right Knowledge"
- Samyak Charita - "Right Conduct"
The curve above the three dots denotes Siddhashila, a place in the highest realms of Universe, composed of pure energy. It is above hell, earth, or heaven. It is the place where souls that have attained salvation, for instance, Arihants and Siddhas reside eternally with supreme bliss.
Respect for Jain Flag is respect for Pañca-Parameṣṭhi (Supreme Five). According to Jainism, respect for Pañca-Parameṣṭhi and abiding the Ratnatraya (Three Jewels) destroys the sorrow of the four states of existence and finally guides one to the sweet home of infinite bliss (Siddhashila).
Flag atop the Shri Mahavirji temple, Rajasthan, India
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