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16th Jain Tirthankara, 5th Chakravartin, 11th Kamadeva
Statue of Tirthankara Shantinatha at Anwa, Rajasthan
Venerated inJainism
SymbolDeer or Antelope
Height40 bows (120 metres) (393.701 feet)
Ageover 700,000 years
Personal information
  • Vishvasena (father)
  • Achira (mother)

Shantinatha was the sixteenth Jain tirthankar of the present age (Avasarpini).[2] Shantinatha was born to King Vishvasena and Queen Achira at Hastinapur in the Ikshvaku dynasty. His birth date is the thirteenth day of the Jyest Krishna month of the Indian calendar. He was also a Chakravartin and a Kamadeva. He ascended to throne when he was 25 years old.[3] After over 25,000 years at the throne, he became a Jain monk and started his penance. According to Jain beliefs, he became a siddha, a liberated soul which has destroyed all of its karma.

Biography in Jain tradition[edit]

Shantinatha was the sixteenth Jain Tīrthankara of the 24 tirthankars of present age (avasarpini).[2]

Life before renunciation[edit]

He was born to King Vishvasena and Queen Achira at Hastinapur on 13th day of Jestha Krishna in the Ikshvaku clan.[3] Before the birth of Shantinatha, Queen Achira dreamt the sixteen most auspicious dreams.[4] Shantinatha spent 25,000 years as youth (kumāra kāla) and married a beautiful princess.[4][5] He ruled his kingdom for 50,000 years.[6] During his rule, armoury was blessed with divine chakraratna. During his reign He conquered all 6 divisions of earth in all direction, acquiring elephant, horses, nine-fold most precious treasures and fourteen ratna(jewels). Shantinatha became the 5th Chakravartin.[7][5]

During his time epidemic of epilepsy broke out and he helped people to control it.[5] Shantinath became idea of peace and tranquility by averted epidemics, fire, famine, foreign invasions, robbers etc. giving him name of Shantinath. He is also associated with special right known as Shantikarma.[8] According to Acharya Hemachandra, epidemics, evils and misery were destroyed when Shantinatha was in his mother's womb.[9]


Raja Dharma Mitra offering first meal to Shantinatha, 19th century

Shantinatha when made aware of his previous incarnations renounced his worldly life and became a Jain ascetic.[7] After sixteen year of asceticism, on the 9th bright day of month of Pausha (December–January), he achieved Kevala Jnana (omniscience) under a nandi tree.[3] According to Jain text, Shantinatha during his penance neither taken sleep nor food. After achieving Kevala Jnana he visited Somanasapur, and was offered first ahara food by King Dharma Mitra and his wife.[10]

He is said to have lived 1 lakh year and spend many years spreading his knowledge. On 13th day of the dark half of the month Jyestha (May–June), he attained nirvana at Sammed Shikharji,[3][7][note 1] known contemporaneously as the Parasnath Hills in northern Jharkhand.[13]

The yaksha and yakshi of Shantinatha are Kimpurusha and Mahamanasi according to Digambara tradition and Garuda and Nirvani according to Śvētāmbara tradition.[8]

Previous births[edit]

King Megharath, one of the Shantinatha previous incarnation, saving pigeons life by sacrificing his own limbs
  • King Srisena
  • Yugalika in Uttar Kurukshetra
  • Deva in Saudharma heaven
  • Amitateja, prince of Arkakirti
  • Heavenly deva in 10th heaven Pranat (20 sagars life span)
  • Aparajit Baldeva in East Mahavideha (life span of 84,00, 000 purva)
  • Heavenly Indra in 12th heaven Achyuta (22 sagars life span)
  • Vajrayudh Chakri, the son of Tirthankar Kshemanakar in East Mahvideha
  • Heavenly deva in Navgraivayak heaven
  • Megharath, the son of Dhanarath in East Mahavideh in the area where Simandhar Swami is moving at present
  • Heavenly deva in Sarvartha Siddha Heaven (33 sagars life span)


According to Jain texts Cakrayudha Svami was the leader of the Shantinatha disciples.[7][9]



Image of Shantinath on a leaf from Yogaśāstra, 12th century

Along with Rishabhanatha, Neminatha, Parshvanatha and Mahavira, Shantinatha is one of the five tirthankars who attract the most devotional worship among the Jains.[8][14] According to Santistava compiled by Acharya Manadevasuri, the head of Shvetambar in 3rd century AD, mere recitation of Shantinath negates all bad omens, brings peace and protect devotees from problems.[15] Santistava is considered one of the four most beautifully written stavans.[16] The Laghnu-Shantistavaa, compiled by Acharya Manadevi suri in 7th century, is hymn to Shantinatha full of tantric usage. The yakshi Nirvani devi is also known as Shanti-devi and prayed to with Shantinatha for peace.[8]


  • The Shantinatha Charitra, by Acharya Ajitprabhasuri, describes the life of 16th Jain tirthankara Shantinatha. This text is the oldest example of miniature painting and has been declared as a global treasure by UNESCO.[17]
  • Shantipurana written in around 10th century by Sri Ponna, considered to one of the three gem of Kannada literature.[18][19]
  • Santyastaka is a hymn in Praise of Śāntinātha composed by Acharya Pujyapada in 5th century.[20]
  • Ajitasanti compiled by Nandisena in 7th century is a praise to Shantinatha and Ajitnatha.[21][8]
  • Santikara compiled by Munisundarasuri in 15th century.[22]
  • Mahapurusha Charitra compiled by Merutunga in 13th-14th century, talks about Shantinatha.[23]


Shwetambar Shantinath idol with symbol of a deer

Shantinatha is usually depicted in a sitting or standing meditative posture with the symbol of a deer or antelope beneath him.[24][25] Every Tīrthankara has a distinguishing emblem that allows worshippers to distinguish similar-looking idols of the Tirthankaras.[26][27][28] The deer or antelope emblem of shantinath is usually carved below the legs of the Tirthankara. Like all Tirthankaras, Shantinath is depicted with Shrivatsa[note 2] and downcast eyes.[29]

Famous temples[edit]

Colossal statues[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Some texts refer to the place as Mount Sammeta.[11] This place is revered in Jainism because 20 out of 24 Jinas died here.[12]
  2. ^ A special symbol that marks the chest of a Tirthankara. The yoga pose is very common in Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism. Each tradition has had a distinctive auspicious chest mark that allows devotees to identify a meditating statue to symbolic icon for their theology. There are several srivasta found in ancient and medieval Jain art works, and these are not found on Buddhist or Hindu art works.



  1. ^ Tandon 2002, p. 45.
  2. ^ a b Tukol 1980, p. 31.
  3. ^ a b c d Jain 2009, p. 84.
  4. ^ a b Johnson 1931.
  5. ^ a b c Mittal 2006, p. 689.
  6. ^ Jain 2015, p. 198.
  7. ^ a b c d Jain 2015, p. 199.
  8. ^ a b c d e Shah 1987, p. 152.
  9. ^ a b Shah 1987, p. 151.
  10. ^ Art and Culture & Raja Dharma Mitra offering food to Tirthankara Shantinatha.
  11. ^ Jacobi 1964, p. 275.
  12. ^ Cort 2010, pp. 130–133.
  13. ^ Kailash Chand Jain 1991, p. 13.
  14. ^ Cort 2010, p. 215.
  15. ^ Cort 2001, p. 198.
  16. ^ Kelting 2001, p. 96.
  17. ^ Shāntinātha Charitra, UNESCO.
  18. ^ Das 2005, p. 143.
  19. ^ Rice 1982, p. 30.
  20. ^ Jain 2014, p. 15.
  21. ^ Cort 2001, p. 236.
  22. ^ Cort 2001, p. 197.
  23. ^ Dalal 2014, p. 791.
  24. ^ Doniger 1999, p. 550.
  25. ^ Dalal 2010, p. 369.
  26. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica.
  27. ^ Krishna 2014, p. 34.
  28. ^ Zimmer 1953, p. 225.
  29. ^ Moore 1977, p. 138.
  30. ^ Wilson & Ravat 2017, p. 23.
  31. ^ "Ajmer will have tallest Jain statue". Rajasthan Patrika. 16 June 2016.
  32. ^ "1,000-year-old Aggalayya Gutta in Warangal to open for tourists soon", The New Indian Express, 8 July 2019
  33. ^ ASI & Shantinatha Basti, Halebid.
  34. ^ Neelkanth.
  35. ^ Javid & Javeed 2008, p. 209.
  36. ^ Cunningham 1879, p. 40.