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The Jain symbol that was agreed upon by all Jain sects in 1975.

Jainism /ˈnɪzəm/ is an Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice emphasize the necessity of self-effort to move the soul toward divine consciousness and liberation. Any soul that has conquered its own inner enemies and achieved the state of supreme being is called a jina ("conqueror" or "victor"). The ultimate status of these perfect souls is called siddha. Ancient texts also refer to Jainism as shraman dharma (self-reliant) or the "path of the nirganthas" (those without attachments or aversions).

The core principle of Jainism is non-violence. Among the five great vows taken by Jain ascetics, non-violence is the first and foremost. Jains believe in reincarnation; the soul is trapped in the cycle of birth and death (samsara) due to the actions of karmic particles. They emphasize that liberation can be achieved through the three jewels of Right View, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct. According to Jains, reality is multifaceted, and humans can grasp only a partial understanding of reality. This has led to the development of doctrines like Anekantavada (theory of multiple viewpoints), Syadvada (theory of conditional predication) and Nayavada (theory of partial viewpoint). Jains follow the teaching of 24 Tirthankara (ford-makers). Contemporary Jainism is divided into two major sects, Digambara and Svetambara.

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Mahavira, 24th and last Tīrthaṅkara

In Jainism, a Tīrthaṅkara (Sanskrit: तीर्थंकर "ford-Maker", Tamil: கடவுள் Kaṭavuḷ) is a human being who in addition to achieving liberation and enlightenment (Arihant ) by destroying all of their soul constraining (ghati) karmas, became a role-model and leader for those seeking spiritual guidance.[1][2] Thirthankaras revitalise Jain Society by organisation of four fold Jain Order consisting of monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen.[3] Not all Arihants can become Thirthankaras. There are 24 Thirthankar in this time era and each of them revitalized the Jain Order.

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Bahubali monolith of Shravanabelagola dates from 978-993 AD.

Bahubali (Sanskrit: बाहुबली) also called Gomateshwara (Kannada: ಗೊಮ್ಮಟೇಶ್ವರ Tulu: ಗೊಮ್ಮತಾ) was a Jain monk. According to Jainism he was the second of the hundred sons of the first Tirthankara, Rishabha,and king of Podanpur. The Adipurana, a 10th century Kannada text by Jain 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 the first tirthankara, Rishabha and his two sons, Bharata and Bahubali.[4][5]

A monolithic statue of Bahubali referred to as "Gommateshvara" built by the Ganga minister and commander Chamundaraya is situated 60 feet (18 m) above a hill in a place called Shravanabelagola in the Hassan district of Karnataka state, India. It was built in the 10th century AD.[citation needed] Hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, devotees and tourists from all over the world flock to the statue once in 12 years for an event known as Mahamastakabhisheka. On August 5, 2007, the statue was voted by Indians as the first of Seven Wonders of India.[6] 49% votes went in favor of this marvel.

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Stella depicting Śhrut Jnāna, or complete scriptural knowledge


Stella depicting Śhrut Jnāna, or complete scriptural knowledge as per Jainism.


WLA lacma Jina Rishabhanatha.jpg
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  1. ^ "Britannica Tirthankara Definition". Retrieved 02-04-2012.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. ^ "Tirthankara Definition". Retrieved 02-04-2012.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. ^ "Tirthankara reestablishes the four fold order". Retrieved 02-04-2012.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. ^ History of Kannada literature
  5. ^ Students' Britannica India, Volumes 1-5. Popular Prakashan. p. 78. ISBN 0852297602. 
  6. ^ "And India's 7 wonders are...". The Times of India. August 5, 2007.