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Jain Philosophy

"Jina" is the word attributed to those great souls who have completely conquered the misery inflicting Passion, Anger, Pride, Greed, Attachment, etc. and the Religion propagated by them is Jain Religion. It is the oldest of all prevalent religions in this World. Its aim is to enable all living beings attain bliss.

According to the Jain Religion the Universe consists of Six Substances viz., Jiva (Soul), Pudgala (Matter), Dharma (Medium of Motion), Adharma (Medium of Rest), Aakaasha (Space) and Kaala (Time). These Substances are distinguished from one another by their following exclusive properties (attributes):-

JIVA : Has Consciousness (Knowledge and Perception), also called Soul. This is Non-Material.
PUDGALA : Has touch, Taste, Smell and Colour. This is Material and can be grasped by the five Senses.
DHARMA : Assists the Substances in their State of motion. This is Non-Material.
ADHARMA : Assists the Substances in their State of Rest. This is Non-Material.
AAKASHA : Provides space to all Substances. This is Non-Material.
KAALA : Assists the Substances in changing their State. This is Non-Material.

Non-Material Substances cannot be grasped by the five senses. JIVA and PUDGALA are active and the rest inactive.

No Substance ever is devoid of its properties and all Substances are without beginning and are eternal. Jain Religion does not accept "God" as the Creator of the Universe, as the Universe is without beginning or end, on its own.

The Existence of Soul and Salvation

Jain Religion accepts the individuality of every Soul which is not part of any Supreme Being. Due to its bondage with "Karma" (particles of matter) since time immemorial, it migrates from one birth to another through 84,00,000 types of lives in four forms (Hell, Animal, or Vegetable, Human & Celestial) and experiences Pleasure or Sorrow. The particles of matter known as "Karma" are attracted to the Soul according to its thoughts and deeds and bind themselves and impart fruits of Such action to the Soul in eight ways:

JNANAVARNIYA: : Obstructs Knowledge
DARSHANAVARNIYA : Obstructs the attribute of Perception
VEDANIYA : Affords Pleasure and Sorrow
MOHANIYA : Distorts belief preventing the Soul from taking the right attitude towards the State of Things.
AAYU : Holds the Soul for a definite period in the body in any of the four forms. Death in any birth is due to this "Karma" Span being over.
NAAM : Responsible for constructing the body for the Soul in any of the four Worldly forms.
GOTRA : Responsible for the Soul attaining high or low birth.
ANTARAAYA : Obstructs the Soul from attaining its Unlimited Strength and

After imparting to the Soul the fruits of its deeds the "Karma" particles detach themselves from the Soul but under their influence and during the period of bondage, the Soul binds itself to new "Karma" and the Worldly Cycle continues. When the Soul on recognizing its identity, gets itself rid of "Karma" through the agency of Self-Control, Penance and Meditation, it attains the Status of a Supreme Being. Salvation is thus, the ending of the Soul's attached status to "Karma" and the Worldly Cycle there by attaining its purest form. The Soul is the doer of its Own deeds and reaps it’s own fruits.

Realizing the above State of the Universe and considering that Eternal Bliss lies in the Soul freeing itself from the bondage of "Karma" is known as "Samyak Darshan" or Right Belief. The knowledge of the ways and means to attain such purified State of the Soul is known as "Samyak Jnan" or Right Knowledge. To adopt such ways and means and to traverse such a path is known as "Samyak Chaaritra” or Right Conduct.

Right Belief, Right Knowledge and Right Conduct are also known as "Ratna Traya" or "The Three Jewels." The combination of this trio is the only way to Salvation. The "Tirthankars" have realized this Truth and preached for the benefit of all living beings.

Anekant

Jain Philosophy embraces the "Anekant" method of viewing things, which covers the different points of views, while observing things. In this all aspects of any substance are taken into consideration. Observing a substance from one point of view alone is incomplete observation. Observation covering all aspects and viewpoints of any substance can alone lead to full knowledge about the same.

Non Violence

Jain Religion has laid emphasis on the control of thought, speech and deeds. The Creed of Non Violence envisages that one should not think of doing evil to others. One should always utter words that harbinger the good of others and are pleasant and one should not cause pain to others through bodily activity also. It is through the observance of Non Violence only that the Soul can be purified. "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”

"Live and Let Live" is the slogan of the Jains.

Good Conduct

The indulgence in Violence, Untruth, Theft, Debauchery and Hoarding is sinful and leads to untold misery. Vices like Gambling, Drinking, Consuming Meat, Prostitution, Coveting others wives, Hunting and Theft lead to one’s complete downfall. These Sins and Vices are injurious to the Nation, Society, and Self and by forsaking them all round progress can be achieved by Mankind.

Non Attachment

Hoarding is the root of all evils. Man indulges in all sort of evil doings to accumulate possessions. Jain Religion decries sensuousness & hoarding and prescribes limits to be placed on every householder’s desires. Ascetics have to forego all worldly possessions and concentrate on Self realization. To attain happiness and peace in this World, this is the only way. The "Tirthankars" or the propagators of the religion have realized this Truth and preached for the benefit of all living beings.

Tirthankar (Propagator of Religion)

According to Jain scriptures, the Universe is a finite portion of infinite space. This consists of the upper portion inhabited by celestial beings, the lower portion inhabited by hell beings & the central portion consisting of innumerable continents & oceans, inhabited by human beings, animals & plants. In the centre of the innumerable continents & oceans is the central continent known as "Jambu Dweep". The continent of Jambu Dweep is divided into seven regions, one of which is Bharat Kshetra (our present world is a part of this). Ayodhya is the capital of Bharat Kshetra. This region is subject to time cycle known as "Kalp".

In the Cycle of time, only 24 Tirthankars are born in every half kalp period. They are the only son of their parents, born in Ayodhya. This is Jain Tradition. They forsake Worldly life and through penance and meditation attain Omniscience and propagate the Religion for the benefit of all living beings. Unlike other Religions, Jain Religion does not advocate the theory of incarnation of God. The Human Soul attains Godhood by Self Purification.

Only that Soul is fit to become the World Savior who has pined from the innermost core of his heart for the liberation of all living beings. His whole being pulsates with universal love and desire to enable a soul to become free from the eternal bonds of birth and death to come out of the terrible and dismal abyss of attachment to the bodily existence.

In the incarnation of Tirthankar, he finds the true path of knowledge himself which he follows and then throws open to the true seekers of inner calm and spiritual peace.

Temples are constructed to venerate and worship such Tirthankars, to gain inspiration from them to attain the same state for oneself.