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|23rd Jain Tirthankara|
Image of Tīrthankara Parshvanatha (Maharaja Chhatrasal Museum)
|Kalyanaka / Important Events|
|Chyavana date||Falgun Vad 4|
|Chyavana place||Benaras (now Varanasi)|
|Born||Pausha Vad 10, 877 BCE
Benaras (now Varanasi)
|Diksha date||Pausha Vad 11|
|Diksha place||Benaras (now Varanasi)|
|Kevalgyan date||Falgun Vad 4|
|Kevalgyan place||Benaras (now Varanasi)|
|Moksha date||Shravan Sud 8, 777 BCE|
|Height||9 cubits (13.5 feet)|
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Parshvanatha (Pārśvanātha), also known as Parshva (Pārśva), was the twenty-third Tirthankara of Jainism. He is the earliest Jain leader (c. 872 – c. 772 BCE) for whom there is reasonable evidence of having been a historical figure.
Circumstantial evidence including a description of the teachings of Parshvanatha in the Sayings of the Seers, dictates that he can be viewed as a historical figure.
Parshvanatha was born on the tenth day of the dark half of the month of Paush to King Asvasena and Queen Vama of Benaras (now Varanasi). He belonged to the Ikshvaku dynasty. He assumed and began to practice the twelve basic vows of the adult Jain householder when he reached the age of eight.
Prabhavati was the daughter of King Prasenjit of Kushasthal. She wanted to marry Parshvanatha. Yavan, a powerful ruler of Kalinga, wanted to marry Prabhavati. So he attacked Kushasthal but was defeated by Parshvanath. King Prasenjit, then, offered Prabhavati's hand for marriage to Parshva in reward.
He lived as formal prince of Varanasi and at the age of thirty, he renounced the world to become a monk. He meditated for eighty-four days before attaining Kevala Jnana. He achieved moksha at the age of one hundred atop Shikharji, which is known today as "the Parasnath Hills" after him. Pārśva was called purisādāṇīya "beloved of men", a name which shows that he must have been a genial personality. He remains beloved among Jains.
- Marubhuti - Visvabhuti, the prime minister of King Aravinda had two sons, elder one named Kamath and younger one named Marubhuti (Parshvanatha). Kamath killed Marubhuti and died as a criminal.
- Elephant - He was then reborn as an elephant in the forests of Vindyachal. His name was Vajraghosha (Thundering Voice of Lightening). Meanwhile, King Aravinda, after death of his minister Marubhuti, renounced his throne and was leading an ascetic life. When the elephant came near Aravinda, he recalled his previous human life by the blessings of Aravinda and became calm. Kamath was reborn as a serpent this time. One day, when the elephant went to a river to quench his thirst, the serpent attacked him and he died the peaceful death of absolute renunciation.
- Sasi-prabha - Vajraghosha was reborn as Sasi-prabha (splendor of the moon) in the twelfth heaven and the serpent went to hell.
- Agnivega - After spending a luxurious life in heaven, he was reborn as prince Agnivega (strength of fire). He ascended the throne of his father which he later renounced to lead an ascetic life. Kamath was reborn as a serpent again after hell and again killed the ascetic in Himalayas during penance.
- When he was a prince he saved two snakes that had been trapped in a log in an Kamath’s fire. Later, the snakes were reborn as Dharnendra, the lord of the underworld kingdom of the nāgas, and Padmavati. Dharnendra and Padmavati sheltered Pārśva from a storm sent by a Meghmali (Kamath reborn).
According to the Kalpa Sūtra, Pārśva had 164,000 śrāvakas (male lay followers) and 327,000 śrāvikās (female lay followers) and 16,000 sādhus (monks) and 38,000 sādhvīs (nuns). He had eight ganadharas (chief monks): Śubhadatta, Āryaghoṣa, Vasiṣṭha, Brahmacāri, Soma, Śrīdhara, Vīrabhadra and Yaśas. After his death, the ganadhara Śubhadatta became the head of the monastic order. He was then succeeded by Haridatta, Āryasamudra and Keśī.
Keśī is believed to have been born about 166 to 250 years after the death of Pārśva and to have met the ganadhara of Mahavira, Indrabhuti Gautama. Their discussion about the apparent differences between the teachings of the two tirthankaras is recorded in Jain texts.
Pārśva is the most popular object of Jain devotion. He is closely associated with compassion, although he is free from the world of rebirth like all tirthankaras and therefore unable to aid his devotees personally.
Famous Temples dedicated to Parshvanatha
Parsvanath Temple, Khajuraho Group of Monuments
Parshvanatha temple in Ranakpur
Mandapa of the Parshvanâtha's temple in Jaisalmer
- Shikharji (Sammet Sikhar) in Jharkhand
- Shri Amijhara Parshavanath
- Shri Andheshwar Parshvanath near Banswara
- Shri Kalikund Parshvanath
- Shri Chintamani Parshvanath in Navsari
- Shri Avanti Parshvanath in Ujjain
Parvantha image, Government museum, Mathura
Tirthankara Parsvanatha, Government Museum, Mathura
Parsvanatha image, Badami caves, Karnataka
Parshwanath Temple at the Khajuraho Group of Monuments
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