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23rd Jain Tirthankara
India, deccan, jina parshvanatha, 1100-1300.JPG
India, deccan, jina parshvanatha, 1100-1300
Predecessor Neminatha
Successor Mahavira
Dynasty/Clan Ikshvaku
Father Ashvasena
Mother Vamadevi
Kalyanaka / Important Events
Chyavana date Falgun Vad 4
Chyavana place Varanasi
Birth date Pausha Vad 10, 877 BCE
Birth place Varanasi
Diksha date Pausha Vad 11
Diksha place Varanasi
Kevalgyan date Falgun Vad 4
Kevalgyan place Varanasi
Moksha date Shravan Sud 8, 777 BCE
Moksha place Shikharji
Complexion Blue
Symbol Snake
Height 9 cubits (13.5 feet)[1]
Age 100 years
Attendant Gods
Yaksha Dharnendra
Yakshini Padmavati
Aarti Jai Paras Deva

Parshvanatha (Pārśvanātha), also known as Parshva (Pārśva) was the twenty-third Tirthankara of Jainism.[2][3] He is the earliest Jain leader (c. 877–777 BCE) for whom there is reasonable evidence of having been a historical figure.[4][5][6]



Bhagvan Parshvanath was born in Varanasi, on the tenth day of the dark half of the month of Paush. Pārśva was the son of King Aśvasena and Queen Vāmā of Varanasi. He belonged to the Ikshvaku dynasty.[7]


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.[8]


He lived as formal prince of Varanasi and at the age of thirty, he renounced the world to become a monk.[9] He meditated for eighty-four days before attaining Kevala Jnana.[10] He achieved mokṣa 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.[11] He remains beloved among Jains.[12]

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 Dharanendra, the lord of the underworld kingdom of the nāgas, and Padmavati. Dharanendra and Padmavati sheltered Pārśva from a storm sent by a Meghmali (Kamath reborn).[13]

According to the Kalpasutra, Pārśva had 164,000 male and 327,000 female lay followers and 16,000 men and 38,000 female monks. He had eight chief disciples known as ganadharas. They were Śubhadatta, Āryaghoṣa, Vasiṣṭha, Brahmacāri, Soma, Śrīdhara, Vīrabhadra and Yaśas. After his death, the gandhara Śubhadatta became the head of the monastic order. He was then succeeded by Haridatta, Āryasamudra and Keśī.[14]

Keśī is believed to have been born about 166 to 250 years after the death of Pārśva. He 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.

Tirthankara Parshvanatha Sculpture, Thirakoil

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.[15]

Guru Gobind Singh has penned life history of Parsavnath in form of composition called Paranath Avtar, which is included in Dasam Granth.[16] He designated Parsvanath, a Rudra Avtar.

Famous Temples dedicated to Parshvanatha[edit]

Parsvanath Temple, Khajurao

Some of the famous temples of Lord Parshvanath in India are -

  • Sammed Shikharji (Sammet Sikhar) in Jharkand
  • Shri Jain temples of Khajuraho Parshavanath
  • Shri Amijhara Parshavanath
  • Shri Andheshwar Parshvanath near Banswara (Raj.)
  • Shri Kalikund Parshvanath
  • Shri Chintamani Parshvanath in Navsari
  • Shri Avanti Parshvanath in Ujjain



  1. ^ Sarasvati 1970, p. 444.
  2. ^ Fisher 1997, p. 115
  3. ^ Vir Sanghvi. "Rude Travel: Down The Sages". Hindustan Times. 
  4. ^ Charpentier, Jarl (1922). "The History of the Jains". The Cambridge History of India 1. Cambridge. p. 153. 
  5. ^ Ghatage, A.M. (1951). "Jainism". In Majumdar, R.C. and A.D. Pusalker. The Age of Imperial Unity. Bombay. pp. 411–412. 
  6. ^ Deo 1956, pp. 59–60
  7. ^ Ghatage p. 411, Deo p. 60.
  9. ^ Glasenapp 1999, pp. 24–28
  10. ^ Danielou, A (1971) L'Histoire de l'Inde Translated from French by Kenneth Hurry. pp.376 ISBN 0-89281-923-5
  11. ^ Ghatage p. 411.
  12. ^ Walther Schubring: Jinismus, in: Die Religionen Indiens, vol. 3, Stuttgart 1964, p. 220.
  13. ^ "Parshvanatha". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 28 June 2013. 
  14. ^ Glasenapp 1999, pp. 24–28
  15. ^ Bowker, John. World Religions. New York: DK Publishing, Inc. 1997.
  16. ^ Dasam Granth, S.S. Kapoor, Page 17


  • Fisher, Mary Pat (1997). Living Religions: An Encyclopedia of the World's Faiths. London: I.B.Tauris. ISBN 1-86064-148-2. 
  • Deo, Shantaram Bhalchandra (1956), History of Jaina monachism from inscriptions and literature, Pune: Deccan College Post-graduate and Research Institute