Tirthankara


Tirthankara
Mahavira, 24th and last Tīrthaṅkara
Jainism
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In Jainism, a Tīrthaṅkara (Sanskrit: तीर्थंकर "ford-Maker", Old Tamil: கடவுள் Kaṭavuḷ) is a human being who achieves moksa ("liberation, enlightenment") through asceticism and who then becomes a role-model and teacher for those seeking spiritual guidance.

According to Jain teachings, a being who obtains Kevala Jnana - a kevalin - is sure to attain moksa. One who attains moksa is referred to as a siddha, but only a siddha who establishes or revitalises Jainism - one who establishes a "ford" or tīrtha across the river of human misery - is called a tīrthaṅkara.

Contents

Overview

The Tīrthaṅkaras' religious teachings form the Jain canons. The inner knowledge of all Tīrthaṅkaras is perfect and identical in every respect, for the teachings of one Tīrthaṅkara do not contradict those of another. However, the degree of elaboration varies according to the spiritual advancement and purity of humans during that period. The higher the spiritual advancement and purity of mind, the lower the elaboration required.

At the end of his human life-span, a Tīrthaṅkara achieves moksa or nirvana, ending the cycle of infinite births and deaths.

Jainism posits that time has no beginning or end. It moves like the wheel of a cart. There have been an infinite number of time cycles before our present era and there will be an infinite number of time cycles after this age. As of 2011, we are exactly 2,538 years into the fifth era of the present half cycle.[citation needed]

Jains believe that exactly twenty-four Tīrthaṅkaras are born in each half-cycle of time in this part of the universe. The first Tīrthaṅkara, Rishabha, who is credited for formulating and organising humans to live in a society harmoniously, attained liberation towards the end of the third era. The 24th and last Tīrthaṅkara was Mahavira (599-527 BC), whose existence is historically-accepted fact. Digambara Jains believe that all twenty-four Tīrthaṅkaras were men because women cannot achieve moksa, but Svetambara Jains believe that the 19th Tīrthaṅkara, Mallinath, was a woman and that sex and gender are no impediment to moksa.

The next Tīrthaṅkara in our part of the universe will be born at the beginning of the third era of the next (ascending) half cycle of time, in approximately 81,500 years.

As Tīrthaṅkaras direct us to enlightenment, their statues are worshipped in Jain temples by Jains aspiring to achieve enlightenment. Tīrthaṅkaras are not God or gods. Jainism does not believe in the existence of God in the sense of a creator; they are considered super-human beings but also lack full enlightenment.

Particular Tīrthaṅkaras

Tīrthaṅkaras in British Museum

Depictions of the Tīrthaṅkaras in various forms, including images and statues, are always represented as seated with their legs crossed in front, the toes of one foot resting close upon the knee of the other, and the right hand lying over the left in the lap. Only two are represented differently: that of Parshva, the twenty-third, who has snake-hoods over him, and Suparshvanath, the seventh, whom the Digambaras depict with a smaller group of snake-hoods.

Digambara representations are nude however those of the Svetambaras are decorated with crowns and ornaments. They are further distinguished from one another in representations by their attendant Yakshas and Yakshinis, as well as by their associated chihnas or Lanchans (cognizances) carved on the cushions of their thrones.

All but two of the Jains are ascribed to the Ikshvaku dynasty. Munisuvrata, the twentieth, and Neminatha, the twenty-second, were of the Harivamsa. Jain canons state that Rishabha, the first Tīrthaṅkara, founded the Ikshvaku.

All but Rishabha received diksha “consecration” and Kevala Jnana (complete enlightenment) at their native places. Rishabha became a ‘’Kevalin’’ at Purimatala, Nemi at Girnar, and Mahavira at the Rijuvaluka river. Twenty Tīrthaṅkaras achieved nirvana on Sammet Sikhar. Digamaras believe Rishabha did so on Mount Kailash while Svetambaras state he achieved nirvana on Mount Ashtapada. Vasupujya attained nirvana at Champapuri in North Bengal; Neminatha on Mount Girnar in Gujarat; and Mahavira, the last, at Pawapuri, near modern Bihar's capital, Patna.

Twenty-one of the Tirthakaras are said to have attained Moksha in the kayotsarga “standing mediation” posture and Rishabha, Nemi and Mahavira in the padmasana “lotus throne” posture.

Narration Chart of 24 Tirathankars

For each Siddha the particulars are given below:

Tīrthaṅkara Heaven before birth Birthplace;
Consecration
Parents Complexion Symbol Height Number of Years Lived Tree Attendant
spirits
Male disciple;
Female disciple
Place of Nirvan Birth
1 Rishabha Sarvarthasiddha Vinittanagari;
Palitana
Nabhiraja
by Marudevi
golden bull or ox 1500m 592.704 Quintillion Years Vata (banyan) Gomukha and
Chakresvari
Pundarika;
Brahmi
Ashtapad (Kailasha) 10224 Years Ago
2 Ajitnath Vijayavimana Ayodhya;
Shikharji
Jitashatru
by Vijayamata
golden elephant 1,350 Meters 508.032 Quintillion Years Shala
(Shorea robusta)
Mahayaksha and
Ajitabala;
or Rohi[n.]i
Shimhasena;
Phalgu
Shikharji 5 x 10223 Years Ago
3 Sambhavanath Uvarimagraiveka Savathi;
Sravasti
Jitari
by Senamata
golden horse 1200m 423.360 Quintillion Years Prayala
(Buchanania latifolia)
Trimukha and
Duritari;
or Prajnapti
Charu;
Syama
Samet Sikhar 2 x 10223 Years Ago
4 Abhinandannath Jayantavimana Ayodhya;
Shikharji
Sambararaja
by Siddhartha
golden monkey 1050m 352.8 Quintillion Years Priyangu
(Panicum italicum)
Nayaka and
Kalika; or
Yakshesvara and
Vajrasrinkhala
Vajranabha;
Ajita
Shikharji 10223 Years Ago
5 Sumatinath Jayantavimana Ayodhya;
Shikharji
Megharaja
by Mangala
golden curlew or
red goose
900 Meters 282.24 Quintillion Years Shala Tumburu and
Mahakali; or
Purushadatta
Charama;
Kasyapi
Shikharji 10222 Years Ago
6 Padmaprabha Uvarimagraiveka Kausambi;
Sammet Shikharji
Sridhara
by Susima
red lotus 750m 211.68 Quintillion Years Chhatra Kusuma and
Shyama; or
Manovega
or Manogupti
Pradyotana;
Rati
Shikharji 10221 Years Ago
7 Suparshvanath Madhyamagraiveka Varanasi;
Shikharji
Pratishtharaja
by Prthvi
golden
or emerald
swastika 600 Meters 141.12 Quintillion Years Sirisha
(Albizia lebbeck)
Matanga
and Santa; or
Varanandi
and Kali
Vidirbha;
Soma
Shikharji 10220 Years Ago
8 Chandraprabha Vijayanta Chandrapura;
Sammet Shikharji
Mahasenaraja
by Lakshmana
white moon 450m 70.56 Quintillion Years Naga Vijaya and
Bhrikuti; or
Shyama or Vijaya
and Jvalamalini
Dinna;
Sumana
Shikharji 10219 Years Ago
9 Pushpadanta Anatadevaloka Kanandinagari;
Shikharji
Sugrivaraja
by Ramarani
white Crocodile 300m 14.112 Quintillion Years Sali Ajita and
Sutaraka;
or Mahakali
Varahaka;
Varuni
Shikharji 10218 Years Ago
10 Sheetalnath Achyutadevaloka Bhadrapura or Bhadilapura;
Shikharji
Dridharatha-raja
by Nanda
golden Kalpavriksha or
Ficus religiosa
270m 7.056 Quintillion Years Priyangu Brahma and
Asoka; or
Manavi
Nanda;
Sujasa
Shikharji 10217 Years Ago
11 Shreyansanath Achyutadevaloka Simhapuri;
Shikharji
Vishnuraja
by Vishna
golden rhinoceros 240m 8,400,000 Years Tanduka Yakshet and
Manavi; or
Ishvara and
Gauri
Kasyapa;
Dharani
Shikharji 10212 Years Ago
12 Vasupujya Pranatadevaloka Champapuri;
Shikharji
Vasupujya
by Jaya
ruddy female buffalo 210 Meters 7,200,000 Years Patala
(Bignonia suaveolens)
Kumara and
Chanda; or
Gandhari
Subhuma;
Dharani
Champapuri 4 x 10211 Years Ago
13 Vimalnath Mahasaradevaloka Kampilyapura;
Shikharji
Kritavarmaraja
by Shyama
golden pig 180 Meters 6,000,000 Years Jambu
(Eugenia jambolana)
Shanmukha and
Vidita; or
Vairoti)
Mandara;
Dhara
Shikharji 1.6 x 10211 Years Ago
14 Anantnath Pranatadevaloka Ayodhya;
Shikharji
Simhasena
by Suyasah
or Sujasa
golden porcupine 150 Meters 3,000,000 Years Asoka
(Saraca asoca)
Patala and
Ankusa; or
Anantamati
Jasa ;
Padma
Shikharji 7 x 10210 Years Ago
15 Dharmanath Vijayavimana Ratnapuri;
Shikharji
Bhanuraja
by Suvrita
golden vajra 135m 2,500,000 Years Dadhiparna
(Clitoria ternatea)
Kinnara and
Kandarpa;
or Manasi
Arishta;
Arthasiva
Samet Sikhar 3 x 10210 Years Ago
16 Shantinath Sarvarthasiddha Gajapura or Hastinapuri;
Shikharji
Visvasena
by Achira
golden deer 120 Meters 100,000 Years Nandi
(Cedrela toona)
Garuda and
Nirvani; or
Kimpurusha and
Mahamanasi
Chakrayuddha;
Suchi
Shikharji 10194 Years Ago
17 Kunthunath Sarvarthasiddha Gajapura;
Shikharji
Suraraja
by Srirani
golden goat 105m 95,000 Years Bhilaka Gandharva and
Bala; or
Vijaya
Samba;
Damini
Samet Sikhar 10194 Years Ago
18 Aranath Sarvarthasiddha Gajapura;
Shikharji
Sudarsana
by Devirani
golden fish or
Pisces
90 Meters 84,000 Years Amba
(Mango)
Yaksheta and
Dhana; or
Kendra and
Ajita
Kumbha;
Rakshita
Shikharji 16,584,980 BCE
19 Mallinath Jayantadevaloka Mithila;
Shikharji
Kumbharaja
by Prabhavati
blue jar or Kalasa 75 Meters 55,000 Years Asoka Kubera and
Dharanapriya;
or Aparajita
Abhikshaka;
Bandhumati
Shikharji 6,584,980 BCE
20 Munisuvrata Aparajita-devaloka Rajagriha;
Shikharji
Sumitraraja
by Padmavati
black tortoise 60 Meters 30,000 Years Champaka
(Magnolia champaca)
Varuna and
Naradatta; or
Bahurupini
Malli;
Pushpavati
Shikharji 1,184,980 BCE
21 Nami Natha Pranatadevaloka Mithila;
Sammet Shikharji
Vijayaraja
by Viprarani
yellow;
or emerald
blue water-lily or blue lotus 45 Meters 10,000 Years Bakula
(Mimusops elengi)
Bhrikuti and
Gandhari; or
Chamundi
Subha;
Anila
Shikharji 584,979 BCE
22 Neminatha Aparajita Sauripura and Ujjinta (Ujjain);
Mount Girnar
Samudravijaya
by Sivadevi
black conch 30m 1,000 Years Vetasa Gomedha and
Ambika; or
Sarvahna and
Kushmandini
Varadatta;
Yakshadinna
Mount Girnar 3228 BCE
23 Parshva Pranatadevaloka Varanasi;
Sammet Shikharji
Asvasenaraja
by Vamadevi
blue snake 7.7142852 Feet 100 Years Dhataki
(Woodfordia fruticosa)
Parsvayaksha or
Dharanendra
and Padmavati
Aryadinna;
Pushpachuda
Shikharji 877 BCE
24 Mahavira Pranatadevaloka Kundagrama (Vaishali District Bihar) ;
Rijubalika
Siddhartharaja,
Sreyansa or
Yasasvin
by Trisala
Vidchadinna
or Priyakarini
yellow lion 7 Feet 72 Years teak Matanga and
Siddhayika
Indrabhuti;
Chandrabala
Pava Puri 599 BCE

The total length of the lifespans of all 24 Tīrthaṅkaras combined equals 2.603672 Sextillion years.

Living Tīrthaṅkaras

At present time and age, there are no living Tīrthaṅkaras on this Earth. The last living on Earth in this age was Mahavira, who attained omniscience some 2500 years ago.

Nevertheless, Jains believe the universe is never devoid of living Tīrthaṅkaras at any point of time, even though they may at times exist only in other parts of the universe.

See also

References

External links



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Look at other dictionaries:

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